Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Political Philosophy

Was Reagan a Conservative?

Here's an interesting discussion of this issue, featuring ME, Richard Gamble, Dr. Pat Deneen, and our brilliant Pete. I admit I'm not a WWRD man today, but we were blessed to have him president when we did.


Is this really the Washington Post?

A favorable profile of an opponent of same-sex marriage appears in today's WaPo Style. Not without the typical WaPo condescension, however.

Categories > Journalism

Pop Culture

Who can take your money...

...with a twinkle in their eye? Take it all away and give it to some other guy?  The government!  The government can!
Categories > Pop Culture


Michael Tomasky's Elastic Rules of Decent Political Discourse

Michael Tomasky, the American columnist and blogger for the U.K.'s Guardian, is shocked and dismayed that some conservatives have written venomous things about Ted Kennedy in the days since he died.  Tomasky lets the case against the tweets by Andrew Breitbart speak for itself, on the plausible theory that retrospectives including the terms "villain," "a big ass motherf@#$er," "duplicitous bastard" and "pile of human excrement" harm the eulogist's reputation more than the departed's.

Tomasky was more direct with those who posted "deeply tasteless" comments in response to his own obituary of Kennedy.  "What's the matter with you people?" Tomasky says.  And to those who want to reduce Kennedy's biography to Chappaquiddick, "Shame on you."  He pushes back against comment section critics who thought he was too generous to Kennedy and, a couple of weeks earlier, too stingy in writing Robert Novak's obituary: "All I said then was I disagreed strongly with his politics and thus couldn't offer the man a deeply heartfelt eulogy.  I didn't even mention the homeless guy he hit with his car."

There's a small and a not-so-small problem here.  The small problem is that if you applaud yourself for not mentioning something, and then mention it in the course of applauding yourself, the number of people who will join in commending you for your restraint is likely to drop sharply.  This is particularly so when a liberal criticizes a conservative for hitting a homeless guy with his car, and fails to mention that the accident occurred because of the conservative's brain tumor, which neither he nor his doctors knew about before the auto accident and was diagnosed a couple days after it.  By choosing to leave that part of the story unreported, but including the detail about the pedestrian Novak hit being homeless, Tomasky unfairly leaves the impression that the political menace Novak posed in print and on television was of a piece with the public safety menace he posed behind the wheel.

The bigger problem is that the conduct Tomasky deplores is about as tasteless, and about as representative, as the behavior of those on the Left after Ronald Reagan died in June 2004.  America is now in the midst of a bitter debate over health care reform, but the moment five years ago was politically charged, too, as the campaign to deny George W. Bush a second term was intensifying.  Most Democratic politicians and journalists dutifully said the right things and avoided saying the wrong ones after Reagan's death.  They slogged through "a week of praise for a man they didn't really like," one reporter wrote at the time.

But in a big country, where lots of people are politically engaged and some are politically enraged, message discipline is never universal.  As the news that Reagan was dying reached some anti-war protesters in front of the White House, one said, "We need to clap when he dies."  Another called him "the arch-enemy of the poor people of the world and of the people of the United States," while a third said, "He is a slime; basically, a horrible, horrible person.  People didn't like him.  They despised him."

Some of the Reagan haters had megaphones bigger than those available to street demonstrators.  An article by the playwright and activist Larry Kramer said, "The man who murdered more gay people than anyone in the entire history of the world is dead. . . More people than Hitler even."  The famous New York columnist Jimmy Breslin said Reagan "proudly hurt the boroughs of this city more than anyone before or after him.  [Since this column appeared almost three years after 9/11, this includes Osama bin Laden.]  If you live in Brooklyn, the record shows that Ronald Reagan hated children."

As for the Village Voice obituary by Tom Carson, you had to read it not to believe it.  "He should have died alone - a long, long time ago," it begins, before turning hostile.  The ensuing condolences include:

  • "I think that Reagan, like no other American, deserves the honor of being the first person ever embalmed at Disneyland." 
  • "Ronald Reagan is the man who destroyed America's sense of reality - a paltry target, all in all, given our predilections.  It only took an actor: the real successor to John Wilkes Booth." 
  • "No other chief executive has been so at ease with his own preposterousness."
If Michael Tomasky publicly rebuked his political allies for the way they reacted to Reagan's death, Google hasn't heard about it.  We do know that in 2004 Tomasky was the executive editor of The American Prospect.  Four days after Reagan's death its website published "What Reagan Taught Bush," by David Lytel, who was then running a group called "ReDefeat Bush."  Lytel's distillation of Reagan's politics included:

  • "While overt racism is unseemly, a Republican leader should signal to white-power proponents that he agrees with them: Reagan pioneered insulting the poor and powerless and proved how popular this is with white men." 
  • "Bust unions whenever you can, because those people are a danger to the continued concentration of wealth and power in the hands of trust-fund Republicans." 
Summing up, Lytel says, "In reality, Reagan was the first figurehead president, incapable of answering questions about the policies of his administration that he understood in only the most summary way, and responsible only as the public spokesperson for decisions made by others.  Reagan enhanced the role of the Republican Party as the primary vehicle for the sale of influence to corporate decision-makers eager to undermine the national government, the only institution powerful enough to confront global commercial interests seeking to evade environmental, labor, and other standards of conduct."

What's the matter with you, David Lytel?  Shame on you, Michael Tomasky.

Categories > Journalism


Great Sounds

This Alex Ross article from The New Yorker is worth reading.  It tells of Pristine Classical, a place where you can get extraordinary remastered historic performances of not only Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson, but also Toscanini's 1947 Otello, Willem Mengelberg's "swaggering" 1941 take on Strauss's "Eign Heldenleben," and so on.  Very impressive.  Here is the site: Pristineclassical.  You will hate yourself and if you don't visit and listen and download.

Categories > Technology


Silent Language

Mark Bauerlein claims rightly that those students who are always texting, etc., are missing something about "the silent language".  A reasonable point, one reason why we shouldn't allow the use of computers and other gadgets in a classroom, where both kinds of conversations--and verbal and non-verbal--take plac.

Categories > Education

Pop Culture

Harley to India

The Wall Street Journal reports that Harley-Davidsons will soon be selling bikes in India (12 models).  You learn something about Harley's troubles, but more about India's prospects for wealth creation.  Good for them. 

Categories > Pop Culture


A Note on Ted Kennedy

You may have noticed that on the news stations it is Ted Kennedy, twenty four seven (Hayward's book hardly mentioned).  Although a bit dreary, some of the reports do have the virtue of reminding me of some interesting political history over the last fifty or so years, not all of it to Teddy's advantage.  It took me a few hours to become conscious of the fact that the late senator's political life roughly coincided with my own.  That is, at about age fourteen (1960) I remember liking Jack Kennedy over Nixon, well, because JFK seemed tougher on foreign policy.  I also remember what a silly sight Teddy was running for the U.S. Senate in 1963, still in his salad days, still green in judgment, winning only because of the name.  I stopped liking the Kennedys soon thereafter (also Nixon).  So now everyone is talking about this "Lion" of the Senate (RIP) and what great good the third longest serving person in the Senate did.  Well, that is all disputable, of course.  But he was a fierce partisan and did outlive most of his opponents, thereby becoming a bit of an anachronism himself, of course.  Jay Winik, in praising Ted Kennedy, reminds us of the Senate's "Golden Age" the large personalities dwelling therein.  I also note, along with Nick Gillespie, that I never heard any commentator mention that Kennedy was instrumental in deregulating the trucking and airline ticket pricing in the 1970's, "two innovations that have vastly improved the quality of life in America even as--or more precisely, because--they pushed power out of D.C. and into the pocketbooks of everyday Americans. We are incalculably richer and better off because something like actual prices replaced regulatory fiat in trucking and flying."
Categories > Politics


O'Rourke Crushes WaPo

P.J. O'Rourke is a wit worker without example, and he aims at the amazing fact that the Washington Post is alarmed by the conservative tendencies of some of our citizens, you know them, the "town hall hecklers," "birthers" and the other scary people.  PJ nails Perlstein, MacGillis, et al, to the wall, calling them everything but stones and blocks and worse than senseless things.  The piece is too funny to read with coffee, but a cigar calms your innards enough to read on.

Categories > Politics

Ashbrook Center

Welcome to the New No Left Turns

In the seven years since October 2002 when we launched No Left Turns, our authors have written over 14,000 entries on this blog and our readers have left almost 60,000 comments. In the past year, over 350,000 people visited the site. We think the site has been long overdue for an upgrade, and we are happy to launch it today.

In addition to looking a bit better, the new site allows you to share our writer's comments on Twitter, Facebook, and many other web sites, it offers many improvements in the ways readers can comment on blogs, it offers a much better set of RSS feeds for those of us who use newsreaders like Google Reader, and it helps us fend off those pesky spammers who cluttered up the old site.

Take a look around, and if you have any suggestions for the site, please leave them as comments to this entry. Happy reading.

Categories > Ashbrook Center


Clunkers advantage foreign manufacturers

Reuters reports that Japanese and South Korean automakers registered the biggest market share gains in the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" program that ended this week. Ford Motor Co was the only domestic manufacturer to hold its own in market share compared with its performance so far this year, while GM slipped and Chrysler stumbled noticeably.
Categories > Economy


On the CIA investigation, Obama is the decider

While much can be said on the Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. decision to reopen the investigation of CIA interrogators, Robert Alt makes one large point: Holder has given President Obama an opening to overturn his decision, and he should. Also see this note at Powerline. If allowed to stand, this decision is likely to have great political consequences, none of them favorable to the Democrats.
Categories > Presidency



Sen. John F. Kennedy formally announced his presidential candidacy on January 2, 1960. Since it was carefully planned and well-funded, it is safe to say that the campaign was already moving at full speed in August 1959. The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, then, puts a closing bracket on a half-century during which one or more of three Kennedy brothers were among the most famous and influential politicians in the country.

For the final 41 of those 50 years, following the assassination of Robert Kennedy, his younger brother Ted was not only the leader of a political family, but a synecdoche for American liberalism. Conservative candidates and organizations raised millions of dollars using Kennedy's image and words in direct mailings. Kennedy was the nation's leading liberal for so long that it seems obvious that the conservative opposition to liberalism was identical to its opposition to Kennedyism.

The story of the entire half-century is a little different, and more interesting. During John Kennedy's 34 months in the White House there were a number of signals that both he and his brother/consigliere Bobby couldn't stand liberals for the same reason that conservatives couldn't, and can't. Specifically, JFK seemed to disdain the sob-sister liberalism of Eleanor Roosevelt and Hubert Humphrey, which collapsed the distinction between politics and social work. The Kennedy administration, instead, was supposed to usher in the age of "liberalism without tears." Kennedy also seemed to disdain the high-minded dithering of Adlai Stevenson and the "amateur Democrats" who idolized him. Kennedy liberals prided themselves on being tough, decisive and vigorous. They were professionals.

Kennedy's admirers praised the tone of cool irony he brought to national politics. Conservatives weren't among those admirers, but felt that JFK's irony operated at only one remove from his cynicism, which they found reassuring. As president, Kennedy delivered Ted Sorenson's resonant lines about domestic policy impressively, but used or risked very little political capital to advance the liberal domestic agenda. His involvement in the civil rights issue, for example, was conspicuously cautious, even reluctant. It was clear, during his presidency, that Kennedy was no crusader, and far from clear what he really cared about and wanted to accomplish.

After Dallas, however, all of that ironic detachment was transformed into moral urgency. The rhetoric about which JFK had seemed so equivocal and done so little was transformed into sacred scripture. As James Piereson has argued, Kennedy's family and retainers began an aggressive campaign to turn his murder into a politically resonant tragedy, one that would see him remembered "as a martyr for civil rights and equal justice for all." Sen. Mike Mansfield, the Democrats' majority leader, said in his eulogy, "He gave us his love that we, too, in turn, might give. He gave that we might give of ourselves, that we might give to one another until there would be no room for the bigotry, the hatred, prejudice and the arrogance which converged in that moment of horror to strike him down." For the record, Mansfield was speaking of Kennedy's assassination rather than Christ's crucifixion.

"Once having accepted the claim that Kennedy was a victim of the national culture," writes Piereson, "many found it all too easy to extend the metaphor into other areas of life, from race and poverty to the treatment of women to the struggle against communism." Dallas saw the demise of liberalism without tears, which was replaced by a liberalism regularly operating at the brink of hysteria. Both the surviving Kennedy brothers got swept up in it. It wasn't sufficient for Bobby Kennedy to say that the war in Vietnam he had helped his brother launch was a mistake, or that the national interest would be better served by choosing a more promising and important battlefront for repelling Communist aggression. Rather, he told an audience in 1967 that what America was doing in Vietnam was not that much different from what Hitler did to the Jews. Nineteen years later, Ted Kennedy was equally fair-minded in declaring his opposition to Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court: "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, children could not be taught about evolution."

John Kennedy's death started an era where that sort of rhetoric was common and even obligatory. It would be a step forward if Ted Kennedy's death marked the beginning of an era where national issues, even the most important ones, are debated in the belief that decent, reasonable and intelligent people can disagree.

Categories > Congress

Health Care

How Much is Health Care Reform Going to Cost?

Ask the Congressional Budget Office. Then, at the very least double that amount. In the words of the great P.J. O'Rourke, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free."
Categories > Health Care

Shameless Self-Promotion

There's Always Tomorrow

Okay, so maybe I am starting to get a little superstitious. The first volume of my Reagan project arrived in bookstores on Sept. 10, 2001, so needless to say I didn't do any electronic media for it. This time, I thought, I'll have better luck. Then I arrived at my hotel in New York on Monday to hear I'd been bumped to Wednesday on "Morning Joe," and the hotel clerk handed me my room key. Room 911.

And so up early today to hear the news of Sen. Kennedy's passing, and getting bumped again to an unspecified date down the road. Whenever it happens, I'll let you know, along with my prayers for the health of Robert Byrd. I'm back down in DC now, where I shall be on Bill Bennett's radio show live in the studio for a full hour tomorrow morning starting at 7 am eastern time. Then on to the Cato Institute for a book panel at noon that should be interesting. Meanwhile, I have a long piece up over at NRO explaining the writing of the book.

UPDATE: C-SPAN says they will broadcast my Cato Institute book panel at noon (eastern) Thursday. This might change too, of course, but if it does go off as planned, tune in! Should be interesting because of the respondents, Bill Niskanen and James Mann.

Health Care

"Death Panels"

This provocative piece by Will Wilkinson suggests that no matter what happens to the Obama health care plan we're likely to see something resembling Sarah Palin's "Death Panels," if Medicare is to remain at all solvent.
Categories > Health Care


Obama's Hold Music

Would you believe that the music played as 1,000 Rabbis waited to hear the President on the phone was "Deutschland Uber Alles"?
Categories > Presidency


E.J. Dionne, George Bush and David Foster Wallace

E.J. Dionne explained yesterday why governance in a democracy is so difficult and thankless. "The hardest slogan to sell in politics," he wrote, "is: 'Things could have been a whole lot worse.'" Avoiding a "cataclysm" is likely to be "an invisible achievement."

The problem, in essence, is epistemological. Precisely because the disaster did not befall us, there will always be doubts that it was ever really heading our way or even all that dangerous. The preventive measures taken against it may have been successful and necessary, but the non-cataclysm can just as easily be used to argue that they were excessive or even hysterical.

Inevitably, many of those measures were conceived and executed hurriedly, on the basis of incomplete and ambiguous information. The adversarial nature of our politics guarantees that critics who want to will find many reasons to belabor the measures' costs and disparage their benefits. The typical reaction to the invisible achievement of avoiding a cataclysm, according to Dionne, is that many people "whose bacon was saved . . . do not want to admit how important the actions of government were." What happens instead is that "ideologues try to pretend that no serious intervention was required."

The ostensible point of Dionne's column is that George Bush, Barack Obama, and the leaders of other industrialized nations, deserve great credit "for acting swiftly when the global economy began coming apart" last year. The massive, unprecedented fiscal and monetary measures they fashioned and implemented at a time of contagious worldwide panic were decisive in preventing the world's economy from plunging into the abyss.

It's clear, however, that Dionne's framework can be employed more generally. As we approach the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it must be gratifying to George W. Bush that one of his most severe critics is now laying the groundwork for the argument that the Bush administration succeeded admirably at what became its central task. Bush served in the White House for seven years and four months after 9/11, during which there were no subsequent jihadist attacks on American soil.

The aggressive measures his administration undertook, overseas and at home, were routinely castigated by "ideologues" who, as each month passed without a second 9/11, became bolder and more disdainful in declaring Bush's policies unwarranted abominations. The implicit premise of these attacks is that no hard choices were required to prevent the next 9/11; the menu of policy options included many ways to combine a scrupulous concern for civil liberties and world opinion with the efficacious protection of civilians' lives and peace of mind.

One intellectually honest exception can be found in a few brief lines written by the late David Foster Wallace for The Atlantic in 2007. In them he asked if we should choose "to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?" Rather than hypothesize that the Patriot Act and Guantanamo were entirely unnecessary, Wallace entertains the possibility that they "really have helped make our persons and property safer" but still asks whether they are worth it: "Have we actually become so selfish and scared that we don't even want to consider whether some things trump safety?" Braver Americans will, instead, incline to the belief that "a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price" of keeping our society free.

There are two problems with this position. First, there is no guarantee that if terrorists are not thwarted by our government they will limit themselves to attacks that occur "every few years" rather than every few months, and kill "hundreds or thousands" but not tens or hundreds of thousands. What even those who agree with Wallace are prepared to regard as "reasonable precautions" may, under those circumstances, evince much less self-restraint.

Second, among the reasons to regret Wallace's suicide, which occurred less than a year after this argument appeared in print, is that it makes it impossible to assess the question he raised so provocatively. The cool detachment with which Wallace contemplated the murder of thousands of his compatriots can never stand outside the shadow cast by his own death. In 1949 the Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson famously argued that the refusal to "temper . . . doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" would "convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact." Wallace leaves behind a critique of the war on terrorism that turns a metaphor into a tangible, and chilling, possibility.

Categories > Presidency

Literature, Poetry, and Books

Hallowed Ground, even in Los Angeles

Chris Flannery the poet sings mystic chords of memory, in a lyrical recollection of Los Angeles National Cemetery, where some 85,000 veterans rest in peace.     

Health Care

Free Health Care

From over-regulation. Sally Pipes sheds light on the sources of many of our current difficulties--in the pages of today's New York Post:
"Private insurance works well where it's least regulated. To find the unaffordable disasters, you must head to states such as New York or New Jersey that have pioneered the reforms Obama is peddling for the entire country. . . .

A 55-year-old man in Allentown, Pa., can choose from 99 plans starting as low as $141 a month for hospital coverage. A zero-deductible HMO plan costs $418 a month. Or he can pick a more flexible PPO, with a higher deductible and pay less monthly out-of-pocket for the premium.

Young people, "the invincibles," often skip insurance, because they have few assets to protect and little fear of getting sick. The congressional Democrats' solution is a tax increase by another name: Force employers to keep paying for them on their parents' expensive plans until age 26.

Yet the market has responded with products targeted at the needs of the young, such as Wellpoint's Tonik, which offers excellent protection, prescription drugs and preventive care for less than $100 a month for the under-30 set. . . .

Change the zip code from Pennsylvania to neighboring New Jersey, and choice plummets even as the cost per plan skyrockets. In New York, our 55-year-old has only 12 plans to choose from."

Read the whole thing. 
Categories > Health Care


U.S. Debt Clock

This is extremely cool, but also extremely troubling.
Categories > Economy


Call me Ishmael

Trouble in Saudi Arabia:
Ahmed Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co., a family-owned Saudi company known as Ahab, filed a lawsuit accusing Maan Al-Sanea, the billionaire owner of the Saad Group, of ``massive fraud,'' the Financial Times reported.

The suit, filed in New York, alleges that Al-Sanea ``misappropriated approximately $10 billion'' by obtaining loans and then diverting the funds received for his own use, the FT said.

Saad Group, also based in Saudi Arabia, told the newspaper it hasn't seen the claim and, if served with it, will respond vigorously.

Categories > Economy


No First Amendment for Capitol Hill GOP

An important element of the Republican success in the revolution of 1994 (the "Contract with America") was the Democrats' exemption of Congress from federal laws.

Now comes the news that Democrats on the franking committee are censoring Republican mail to their constituents. The Democrats maintain that the Republican mailings violate the non-partisan rule for franked mailings.

"Cap and tax" was not the only phrase that was barred by the franking commission.

In addition to demanding changes to terminology about the Democratic energy bill, a proposed e-newsletter from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) was returned to his office with notes asking for detailed citations to back up passages critical of Democratic policies. In one instance, the commission asked that the word "Democratic" be removed from the text and "majority" be put in its place.

"The franking commission is not there to fact-check," Franks said. The commission "is not there to tell us what our own vernacular should be."

Franks said he was also asked to remove his reference to the stimulus package as the "so-called stimulus."

Franking rules stipulate that taxpayer-funded mailings cannot be used for campaign purposes. The rules also state that comments about policy or legislation "should not be partisan, politicized or personalized" and should avoid "excessive use of party labels."

But Franks said that by barring Republicans from using phrases such as "government-run health care" in communication with their constituents, Democrats "truly diminish free speech itself."

Categories > Congress

Shameless Self-Promotion

Book Video

Okay, I couldn't help it. Here's the short YouTube I did to celebrate/explain the new book, which officially launches today. (A couple small glitches in this video, but it works well enough):

UPDATE: Thanks to our pals at Powerline for some major props for the book.


Obama as Jimmy

I didn't say it: Richard Cohen did in today's Washington Post. Sample:

More and more Obama is being likened to Lyndon Johnson, with Afghanistan becoming his Vietnam. Maybe. But the better analogy is to Jimmy Carter, particularly the president analyzed by James Fallows in a 1979 Atlantic magazine article, "The Passionless Presidency." "The central idea of the Carter administration is Jimmy Carter himself," Fallows wrote. And what is the central idea of the Obama presidency? It is change. And what is that? It is Obama himself.
Categories > Presidency

Shameless Self-Promotion

Book Podcast

John Miller interviews me in one of his Between the Covers podcasts over on NRO.


National security & CIA turbulance

I bring to your attention three different events or reports that may be related to one another, and could have explosive consequences. The Justice Department "ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter." And then note this: "President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, part of a broader effort to revamp U.S. policy on detention and interrogation, senior administration officials said Sunday." And then note this from ABC News: "A 'profanity-laced screaming match' at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC"
Categories > Presidency

Shameless Self-Promotion

T-Minus 1

Book launch is tomorrow. Order your copy today and beat the rush!

Meanwhile, for TV viewers, I'm scheduled to be on "Morning Joe" with Joe Scarborough at about 8:40 am (eastern time) tomorrow morning, as my first media event. Scratch that: I've been moved to Wednesday morning, at 7:45 am (even worse for you west coasters).

In the meantime, Ed Driscoll, the impresario of PajamasMedia's "Silicon Graffiti" series, has posted this recent interview with me, which mentions and includes an excerpt from an appearance at Ashbrook back in 2001.



You won't see this but once every 50 years or so. An unassisted triple-play to end the Phillies-Mets game.

Andy McCarthy offers useful commentary on how truly extraordinary it was.

Categories > Sports


Me in the WaPo Today

The Washington Post asked me and my climate studies partner Ken Green for a brief comment on the prospects for cap and trade in the Senate. Here's our answer. We didn't have enough space to propose the obvious solution: combine cap and trade with the health care bill!!

Since health care reform will require rationing, why not give out carbon and health care allowances to everyone, and then let us start trading amongst ourselves. I'll trade a colonoscopy for a month of driving Schramm's Hummer, for example. (Schramm doesn't have to have the colonoscopy; he can trade it for some high-emitting cigars.) Why this hasn't occurred to the same geniuses that gave us cash for clunkers is beyond me.

Categories > Environment


The Latest Studies on Money and Happiness

Studies show that money can make you more happy if you know how to spend it. Buying status doesn't work that well. Spending on experiences--being more social--works better than spending on stuff. And philanthropy turns out to be a the most reliable form of hedonism. Although money can't buy me love, the happiest spenders are guided by love. This new theory may or may not slight unempirically the Aristotelian view that the happiest spenders are also good at displaying their excellence through spending that reflects their taste or class. In any case, restoring the connection between virtuous, "prosocial" personal spending and happiness is a particularly convincing way of opposing the huge spending of big government, which is hardly, of course, a display of the taxpayers' virtue.
Categories > Economy


Harry Reid in trouble

A recent poll reveals this, according to a Las Vegas paper: "It's the highest stakes ever for a Nevada election, and former boxer Sen. Harry Reid is on the ropes early. Either Republican Danny Tarkanian or Sue Lowden would knock out Reid in a general election, according to a recent poll of Nevada voters.

The results suggest the Democratic Senate majority leader will have to punch hard and often in order to retain his position as the most accomplished politician in state history, in terms of job status.

Nevadans favored Tarkanian over Reid 49 percent to 38 percent and Lowden over Reid 45 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll." .

Categories > Elections

Foreign Affairs

Statistic du Jour

From the latest Barron's:

The Center for Strategic and International Studies projects that China will have more than 438 million over 60 by the year 2050; more than 100 million of them will be age 80 and above. There will be just 1.6 working-age adults to support people 60 and older, versus 7.7 in 1975, when food scarcity and overpopulation were more pressing concerns.

One child left behind.
Categories > Foreign Affairs