Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Investigating people rather than crimes

The Volokh Conspiracy » Glenn Reynolds: “Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime”: This is a great problem. Laws are so numerous, contradictory and vague that a prosecutor can find something with which to charge almost anyone. It has come to the point where prosecutors decide to go after an individual before they have a report of a crime knowing that they can always find something they can charge with.

Correlation does not equal causation

But that doesn't mean we can't investigate. Global Warming and Hot Women: A pictorial investigation.

Mead's Typology of American Ideology

Full Fathom Five: 5.0 Liberalism and the Future of the State:

I was discussing the standard two dimensional, four part typology of American ideology in my Public Policy class today and then I ran across this posy by Walter Russell Mead. In discussing the troubles of the "Blue State Model," his term for the high tax/high level of services model of social policy that prevails in the so called Blue States, he lays out a different typology of American ideologies based on the area of the country in which they originated and the chief theoretical and political proponent of those ideologies. The dimensions on which ideologies differ are three instead of two: the size of the state, the scope of the state and the degree of centralization of the state (in the American context the division of powers between the state and central governments).

The New England Puritan tradition: strong state, involvement in social issues, centralized. This tradition wants a strong and centralized state that will be the moral agent of the community, taking a leading role in the moral improvement of the citizenry.

The New York, Hamiltonian tradition: Strong state, intervening to strengthen economic growth but staying out of moral issues, centralized.

The Virginia, Jeffersonian tradition: Weak state, staying out of moral issues but sometimes intervening in the economy to protect against the kinds of large businesses fostered by the Hamiltonians, decentralized, states over federal governments and local governments before state governments.

The West Virginal, Jacksonian tradition: strong state, intervening in moral issues (though often disagreeing with the New England tradition about what moral issues are important) but intervening in the economy on the side of the little guy and even supporting direct benefits to the citizenry from the state, supportive of the central government.

Mead argues that most political debate is less about specific policy questions than it is about which of these four models or grand theories of the proper role of the state and aims towards which government should be directed should predominate. This leads to a lot of purely practical questions about how policies designed for the 1930s should be adapted to current conditions, or, as Mead puts it, "it has turned the question of the transformation out of industrial Fordism into a question of political philosophy in the United States."

This is the meaning of the post's title, Liberalism 5.0. Liberalism 4.0 dominated the 20th century but the economics of strong family formation and constant or increasing population, well-defined gender roles and lifetime employment at large industrial firms that supported it are no more.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I have been meaning to buy this book, but never seem to get around to it

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Another story you will never see on national news

12 Year Old Girl Shoots Home Intruder: doesn't fit the mass media's preferred narrative of the only good citizen is a passive citizen, a citizen that waits like a good little bunny for the 'professionals' to come and save her. If the girl has, say, shot herself, of the intruder had taken the gun from her--now that would be a story!

Justice department's case against file sharing mogul falling apart

Kim Dotcom: the internet cult hero spoiling for a fight with US authorities | Technology | guardian.co.uk: The Justice Department under President Obama is a shill for Hollywood--one of the main sources of campaign funds for Democrats and the administration--so they are going after one of the major threats to their profits, i.e., file sharing. In a contest that pits insiders and outsiders against one another the insiders win. The losers are, of course, upstart businesses and suckers--oh, excuse me, I meant to say 'young people'.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Why Are College Textbooks So Absurdly Expensive? - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic

Why Are College Textbooks So Absurdly Expensive? - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic: I just assigned Mankiw's Micro-econ (about $170?) to my public policy students and this guy comes out with an article making the obvious point that whenever the person making the decision does not have to pay the costs, costs go up. Ouch.  Sorry students. I must admit the students took the news of the price of the textbook with remarkable equanimity. And it is a great text.

Great moments in domestic live

My girlfriend just asked me "How do you boil brocklie?" Imagine my internal conflict. How to restrain myself from a sarcastic answer. And yet I did. I said nothing. And then, "Do you put it in  water?" At that point I think that any agreements to not be 'such a troll' were abrogated. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Why it isn't Necessary to "Throw the Bums Out" - YouTube

Why it isn't Necessary to "Throw the Bums Out" - YouTube: Milton Friedman explains that the way you solve things "...isn't by electing the right people, it is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.

Seeing Economics in Everyday Life

Lunch with the FT: Tyler Cowen - FT.com: Interview with a man whose blog should be on everyone's reading list.