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Current Affairs

March 19, 2015

"Can You Guess America’s Best and Worst Retailers?"

The best few aren't much of a surprise, and, fortunately, I have relatively little to do with the worst.

"Would You Rather Die Sooner Than Take a Daily Pill?"

Wow: talk about "first world problems":

In a recent study, one-third of the participants said they'd shave time off their lives to avoid taking medication each day.

March 18, 2015

"Have Americans Officially Given Up on Washington?"

"Poll results reveal an overwhelming preference for stronger local leadership, and less federal input."

See also "Poll: Americans understand federal government is worthless, prefer local and state."

A small amusement: the next time a Liberal asserts that we absolutely must have the federal government do X, Y, or Z, reply that suppose, for the sake of argument, the government does need to do X, Y, or Z, but why must it be the federal government? The answer is almost guaranteed to be good for laughs.


March 17, 2015

"Conservatism Can Win More People Over Than You Think"

I'm skeptical of virtually all polls, so I'm skeptical of this one, but it would be nice if the results were accurate.

Given that nine in ten African-American women voted for Democrats in 2014, it may be no surprise that a focus group of urban, female, African-Americans had mostly contempt for all things “Republican” or “conservative.” But what was shocking is that this group also, unprompted, uniformly opposed both extended unemployment benefits and a minimum wage increase, and volunteered conservative economic and moral arguments about their potentially destructive impact on job creation, costs, and conduct.

"Detroit Is Dying Because GM Stuck Around, New York City Booms Because Nabisco Did Not"

John Tammy:

When depressed U.S. cities are talked about in the media, the explanation for their decrepitude is nearly always described through the prism of a departed industry, a natural disaster, or overseas competition.  Pittsburgh is allegedly a shadow of its former self because the steel industry is no longer vibrant,  Galveston, TX supposedly never recovered from a hurricane back in 1900, Flint, MI and Detroit are depopulated because the U.S. car industry has been eclipsed by more efficient global producers, and then Selma, Alabama’s limp economy was recently reported in the New York Times as a function of still-healing scars from the 1960s Civil Rights struggles.

The problem with the diagnoses offered up is that they don’t measure up to the most basic of logical and observable realities.  Particularly the industry explanations for a city’s demise.  Indeed, the departure or decline of already established forms of work would far more likely signal an economic renaissance whereby the economy of a city evolves with the times, with abundant wealth the result.

Mr. Tammy's forthcoming book get a nice review here.

Finally, an elegantly rendered book that makes the dismal science engaging, with real-world examples from Hollywood, rock ‘n roll, and sports, including actor Ben Affleck,  the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, and the Dallas Cowboys. Real life stories of people struggling with the real life consequences of government officials who too often view the economy in the abstract.

"'Everybody is reading' a paper about how the world is now at the mercy of the US Federal Reserve"

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard who, if memory serves, is too excitable and pessimistic. People who are more versed than I am in the intricacies of international finance are especially welcome to comment. 


Best summary I've seen of the big flaws in her recent press conference: "Hillary Clinton’s Excuses For Her Use of a Personal Email Account While At State Are Falling Apart".

Maureen Down at the New York Times--no right-wing crazy, she--puts it succinctly: "None of what you said made any sense."

Jonah Goldberg explains why the press conference tells us exactly how a (second) President Clinton would behave: "It’s Hillary All the Way Down".

Debra J. Saunders has a flashback: "Does Anyone Believe Her? It depends on what the meaning of 'believe' is".

Jeffrey Lord has a bigger flashback: "Call Her Hillary Milhous Nixon".

Charles Krauthammer coins a phrase for what many of us have: "Early Onset Clinton Fatigue". And he wins the award for best opening line: "She burned the tapes."

Michael Goodwin offers a "modest proposal":

Stop the ridiculous game of denying her obvious character defects and embrace them as a perfect match for the corrupt era she helped to shape.

Instead of trying to persuade voters that Hillary’s honest, Team Clinton should sell her as a president who will meet the public’s low expectations.

Vote for me, she could say, because you already know you can’t trust me.

J. Christian Adams declares that if she signed a Form OF-109, then she committed a felony.

Finally, Jennifer Rubin imagines what a Hillary Clinton--Scott Walker Presidential debate would look like.

In just about every way imaginable, Walker is the antithesis of Clinton. There is no doubt that he can run as the change candidate voters say they want. Voters now think the biggest problem is government itself. In such a circumstance, one would think voters would reject an old and old-style politician, someone who does just what the voters hate — plays by her own rules and lives the high life playing off her status and name.

"Funny How Since Obamacare, All Those 'Early Detection' Tests They Used to Push Have Become Bad"

I've thought the exact same thing.

March 16, 2015

"How did Carolina lose its way? A UNC grad returns to campus to find out"

By S. L. Price, Carolina '83. Methinks there is even more big trouble coming for Chapel Hill athletics. Two particularly interesting bits from the article:

The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Chapel Hill from '84 to '88 is quoted as follows: "Every time we closed the barn door, the athletics department built a new barn."

William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology John Shelton Reed sat on the special admissions committee in the mid '80s and recalls three athletes--one a men's basketball player--being admitted with SAT verbals of 200. He and two colleagues voted against admitting them but were outvoted. "To this day I regret I didn't blow the whistle right then and there." He continues ". . . we were admitting guys who had a lot of trouble reading and writing and they were taking courses like Arts and Crafts for Elementary School Teachers. They learned how to make turkeys out of pinecones."

"Three Square Meals"

Wonderful piece by James Lileks. I laughed out loud.

This three-meals-a-day thing? It’s anti-science. So says Mother Jones magazine, touting a book by one Heather Carroll. For the Left, anti-science is a serious charge, because you might be a Denier. I once remarked that I wasn’t particularly worried about nuclear waste, because in a few decades we could probably bring it up to orbit in a space elevator and shoot it into the sun with a rail gun. A reasonable reply would be a discussion of the feasibility of space elevators, but my interlocutor looked at me as though I had suggested making the waste disappear by chanting Bible verses while shaking a dried gourd full of rattling pebbles.

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