We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, July 23. 2007
If you are returning from vacation today, don't miss a couple of our good recent essays - they are up on the left column. Also, our piece on the Roger Scruton essay - scroll down.
Breaking news. Teens don't like the Nanny State. They rebel against that sort of thing, naturally.
Do you take Vit C? It's made in China.
Aid to poor nations does no good at all. Mankiw. Of course it doesn't - it's just a feel-good thing.
Brave police work in the UK. Blair. How can you catch a guy if you can't say what he looks like? On the same theme, Captain Ed, like me, is also confused about why the Dems seem to want to protect possible terrorists. Is it just PC gone psychotic?
The Call of the Entrepreneur. It's a new movie, which celebrates freedom. Kling discusses at TCS.
These inequality mavens seem to believe that the sin of envy is the most important source of unhappiness. It may apply to them, but not to most. I feel every sort of emotion on occasion, including envy, but it doesn't ruin my life. Plus I know that I could do something entrepreneurial any time I want. Right now, finding a nice girlfriend is all I need to be fully happy.
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Chelsea returned from a date, and Hillary asked her if she had a good time.
Chelsea said she had a wonderful time and she thinks she's in love.
Hillary said, "You didn't have sex, did you?"
Chelsea said, "Not according to Dad."
From the Financial Times
Globalisation backlash in rich nations
By Chris Giles in London
A popular backlash against globalisation and the leaders of the world’s largest companies is sweeping all rich countries, an FT/Harris poll shows.
Large majorities of people in the US and in Europe want higher taxation for the rich and even pay caps for corporate executives to counter what they believe are unjustified rewards and the negative effects of globalisation.
Pressure for higher taxes on rich
Viewing globalisation as an overwhelmingly negative force, citizens of rich countries are looking to governments to cushion the blows they perceive have come from the liberalisation of their economies to trade with emerging countries.
Those polled in Britain, France, the US and Spain were about three times more likely to say globalisation was having a negative rather than a positive effect on their countries. The majority was smaller in Germany, with its large export base. Corporate leaders fared little better, with 5 per cent or fewer of those polled in the US and all large European economies (except Italy) saying they had a great deal of admiration for those who run large companies. In these countries, between a third and a half said they had no admiration at all for corporate bosses.
In response to fears of globalisation and rising inequality, the public in all the rich countries surveyed – the US, In response to fears of globalisation and rising inequality, the public in all the rich countries surveyed – the US, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain – want their governments to increase taxation on those with the highest incomes.
In European countries, a large majority want governments to go further and to Europeans still overwhelmingly support the principle of free competition within the European Union, contrary to Nicolas Sarkozy’s wishes at the recent European summit, but in France, Germany and Spain, the populations want their political leaders to play a larger role in managing their economies.
The depth of anti-globalisation feeling in the FT/Harris poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 people online in each of the six countries, will dismay policy-makers and corporate executives. Their view that opening economies to freer trade is beneficial to poor and rich countries alike is not shared by the citizens of rich countries, regardless of how liberal their economic traditions.
The issue of rising inequality is now high on the political agenda of every country and will feature prominently in the 2008 US presidential election.
The issue of rising inequality is now high on the political agenda of every impose pay caps on the heads of companies.
I believe Habu has mentioned this.
July 23, 2007
Leaving Boomer Conflicts Behind
By Michael Barone
For the past 15 years, our politics has been a civil war between two halves of the baby boom generation (generally taken to include those born between 1946 and 1964). We have had two presidents who were born in 1946 and graduated from high school in the class of 1964, which had the highest test scores in history.
Both those presidents happened to have personal characteristics that people on the opposite sides of the culture war absolutely loathe. We first saw the acrimony of the boomer civil war in the 1992 vice presidential debate between Dan Quayle (born 1947) and Al Gore (born 1948). We see it in the hate-filled reactions to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And we are tired of it. Most voters would like to move on to something new.
It's not clear whether we will. Right now, the Democrats seem likelier than the Republicans to nominate the next president, and the candidate they seem likeliest to nominate is Hillary Rodham Clinton (born in 1948). She tends to polarize voters in much the same way her husband and his successor have. Her favorable-unfavorable in poll after poll runs around 49 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable. That means: a) she can win and b) she can lose. Obviously, many Democratic primary voters are troubled by the existence of this second possibility in a time when other factors are so positive for their party.
The leading alternative, Barack Obama, has presented himself from his first moment on the national stage, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, as a man who wants to move us beyond the boomer civil war by emphasizing what we all have in common. Born in 1961, he came in at the tail end of the baby boom generation, and in his book "The Audacity of Hope," portrays himself as having a very different generational identity.
His favorable-unfavorable ratio is much more positive than Clinton's, and he obviously has a greater upside potential. It's possible to conceive of him winning a larger percentage of the vote than either of the boomer presidents won in their re-election years (49 percent for Clinton, 51 percent for Bush). But he also has a greater downside potential, given his lack of executive experience and relative untestedness on the campaign trail.
As a senator, Clinton has tried to move beyond the boomer civil war herself. She has worked conscientiously on the Armed Services Committee to learn more about the military and has made the valid point that she has more experience in the White House than almost any other presidential candidate in history. She has stressed her lifelong religious faith and has provided no basis to doubt her sincerity. But she has also had to respond to the Democratic left's demands for ever-angrier opposition to the military effort in Iraq. And she is still inevitably tied to her husband, who had high professional job ratings but low character assessments. She can argue that she has not stopped thinking about tomorrow, but she is inevitably tied to the 1990s.
Most of the leading Republican candidates do not have this problem. Rudolph Giuliani (born 1944) is still perilously close to being identified as a boomer, but his stands on many cultural issues and his personal life are closer to the half of the boomer generation that backs the other party. John McCain (born in 1936) is a heroic member of a different generation, one whose leading politicians typically served in the military (Edward Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis). Fred Thompson (born in 1941) had at least one child who was a boomer and is the father of two young children today. Only Mitt Romney (born in 1947) is clearly a boomer -- one who has lived his life and has taken positions (albeit some of them recently) that clearly identify him as part of the conservative half of his generation.
All of which suggests that the Republicans are better positioned than the Democrats to move beyond the boomer civil war. But some things may keep us there. Attitudes on Iraq are reminiscent of those on Vietnam, the war that split the baby boom generation in two. Abortion, though overemphasized by a press full of aging boomers, is still a proxy for the cultural issues that divide their generation. Global warming is advanced by liberal boomers like Gore with an intensity that makes it less a technical or scientific matter and more like a religious faith -- the stuff of culture wars. It's not clear that voters who want to move on will get their wish.
That Financial Times article has some wonderful graphs that apparently did not translate to the site. I would recommend a look them.
Also for those interested in a masterful book outling some of the why's executives pay should be limited, even in a "free market economy" take a look at Charles Gaspirino's
Blood on the Street: The Sensational Inside Story of How Wall Street Analysts Duped a Generation of Investors
Here is one reviewers observations.
88 of 98 people found the following review helpful:
A Wall Street journalism masterpiece, February 18, 2005
By Bert Ruiz "Author" (Pleasantville, NY USA) - See all my reviews
"Blood on the Street," by the former Wall Street Journal reporter Charles Gasparino is a journalism masterpiece. To this end, the author has firmly established himself as one of the "best & brightest" financial journalists in the nation today. Moreover, "Blood on the Street," is a sure bet to command strong attention for several big-time book awards.
On that note, Gasparino is a tireless investigator. His fascinating narrative tells the story of how Wall Street's most powerful investment banking groups (and senior management) often tailored "New Economy," dot com and telecommunication research to win deals that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.
The sad thing about the unsavory/criminal practice is that hundreds of thousands of small investors suffered massive losses because they considered the research honest. However, the frightening aspect of Gasparino's reporting is that the Federal watchdogs at the Security Exchange Commission did little to protect small investors across the nation.
Gasparino's portrayal of the cast is superb. Jack Grubman, the top telecommunications analyst at Salomon Smith Barney and one of the highest paid executives on Wall Street is arrogant, mean-spirited, shallow and not particularly good looking. Henry Blodget, the Merrill Lynch golden boy from Yale (affectionately known as "King Henry," before the dot com bubble bursts) is a talented communicator but way out of his league when it comes to the earnest work of crunching numbers. And Mary Meeker called the "Queen of the Net," by Barron's is "petite, Midwestern, and famously hardworking" according to Gasparino. Meeker is the best of the lot (by far) but still succumbs to the pressure from investment bankers and becomes a "cheerleader" for big fee clients.
The primary hero of this sensational story is New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer. He takes on the giant financial institutions and particularly humiliates Sandy Weill, the Citigroup CEO who without a doubt is the most powerful player on Wall Street. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending. Reforms are implemented and some investors manage to win litigation but for the most part "Wall Street analysts gets away with duping a generation of investors." Highly recommended.
Good post Mr. Thrornberry. Iread the book and it it great.
P.S. A friend told me about Maggies Farm.