Archive for July, 2005

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/31/2005

declare victory, open the borders

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The California Border Police

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/31/2005

Get your copy of the California Border Police Initiative. Coming to a ballot near you.

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John Roberts at Harvard

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/31/2005

At look at (the Harvard undergrad) papers of John Roberts. Quotable

Two of Roberts’s college history papers survive, however, in the Harvard University Archives. For a few bucks the archivists will send you copies of “The Utopian Conservative: A Study of Continuity and Change in the Thought of Daniel Webster” and “Old and New Liberalism: The British Liberal Party’s Approach to the Social Problem, 1906-1914.” ..

Roberts .. seems to be drawn to noble causes — Webster’s attempt to save the Union, Lloyd George and Churchill’s program of incremental reform — that end in failure. The Union busted; there was civil war. The Liberal party collapsed; the British welfare state metastasized. A deep respect for courageous intentions and righteous politics courses through Roberts’s college papers. He grows most eloquent when he describes a man of character, a disinterested, self-sacrificing man of wisdom who continually worked with others of his sort to resolve any controversy which threatened national harmony. The man of character did not fight in the thick of political battles, but rather raised himself above the conflict and stilled it through dispassionate compromise.

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Michael Blowhard takes a look at Economics

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/31/2005

Michael Blowhard shares his thoughts on The Changing Face of Economics (edited by David Colander, Richard Holt, and Barkley Rosser Jr.) and A Guide to What’s Wrong With Economics (edited by Edward Fullbrook). Lots of interesting quotes from academic economists — and Michael’s own unique perspective on things. Quotable:

I’ve done my own share of head-shaking over self-loving, spinning-their-wheels academicians. In my case, I followed book publishing closely for a couple of decades. In that entire time — during which I was interviewing authors, lunching with agents and publishers, and attending publishing events — I never once encountered a literary academic who was investigating how this thing called “literature” actually comes about — not a one who was doing actual fieldwork. Instead of looking into the politics, the economics, the personalities, the institutions, and the business of writing and publishing, literary academics of the time were (what else?) debating Theory. Not coincidentally, I never once met a lit prof who showed any interest whatsoever in what I’d learned about writing and publishing, and about how literature does (or doesn’t) arise from these activities. Instead, they always wanted to lecture me about what literature really is. Sigh.

And this:

FWIW, I think of economics as resembling meteorology. Like the weatherguys, economists know a lot, and have a lot that’s interesting to tell us. But can a weatherguy’s predictions be taken seriously once they extend beyond a very short range? We have no trouble enjoying and making use of the work of meteorologists while being wary of analytical or predictive claims that are too grand. We know that the weather is infinitely complex, and that meteorologists will never master it. Yet we give economists much more credence than we do weatherguys. Why?

UPDATE: Arnold Kling weighs in Michael Blowhard and the troubles of contemporary economics:

A lot of the criticism of economics centers on the assumptions of self-interest and rationality. Those don’t bother me so much. I think that the amount of interesting and empirically supported predictions that you get out of those assumptions far outweighs the occasional clinker.

If you think in terms of the analogy of drilling for oil, I think there’s still a lot more to be found drilling in the fields of self-interest and rationality than in the field of behavioral economics.

I think that where economists become the proverbial drunk looking for a lost watch under a lamp post is when they insist on formal mathematical modeling. We need to find a way to maintain professional standards without forcing people to turn their ideas into equations.

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God vs. God

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/29/2005

“Few things matter more than how men chose to deceive themselves”

Lee Harris

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Building a Free Society

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/29/2005

Tom Palmer reports back from Iraq. (pdf file)

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Bush & business interests against the American worker

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/28/2005

The President is teaming up big money with professional lobbists to push for a massive new influx of cheap foreign labor to drive down wages in America. Parapundit has a full report.

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Put an end to the NASA nonsense

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/28/2005

From the LA Times:

The aged shuttles (Discovery is 21 years old) are already at more than twice their intended design life. Engineers are sometimes reduced to hunting for obsolete hardware and electronics on EBay. Despite this, Congress has irrationally considered extending shuttle flights to 2014 or beyond.

Particularly galling is the shuttles’ chief remaining mission, servicing the International Space Station. The station, once intended as a platform for planetary exploration, is now only a floating laboratory for mostly trivial scientific experiments. It is expected to cost the U.S. and its partners $100 billion if it is ever completed (roughly 25 times the original budget of the shuttle program).

It is uncertain what will happen to the one American and one Russian left aboard the station. NASA did not, in Wednesday’s announcement, cancel Discovery’s visit there. The pair should return to Earth with Discovery, as long as it is determined to be safe. That should be the end of it, except for planning the space station’s ultimate, flaming descent in the safest possible way.

NASA is the U.S. governments version of the gladiator and circus shows conducted by the Roman government for the entertainment of the masses. Manned spaceflight serves _no_ scientific purpose — so why do it? To entain bored elementary school teachers who would rather spend time building planets than teaching our children to read and add.

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Bush asks Congress for Open Borders

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/28/2005

President Bush is still pushing for open borders .. as if he hasn’t already allowed that to happen ..

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Podcasting Economics

Posted by PrestoPundit on 07/26/2005

Interviews with economists — at Radio Economics.

via EconRT and Craig Newmark.

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