Archive for January, 2007

The Man Who Made “Free to Choose”

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/31/2007

John Fund reports:

In 1966, [Bob Chitester] became the general manager of the PBS station in Erie, Pa., at age 29. An opponent of the Vietnam War, he handed out literature for George McGovern in 1972 and admits he knew nothing about economics. Then, in 1976, he met with economist W. Allen Wallis, who gave him a copy of Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom.” Mr. Chitester soaked it up, became a believer in markets, and immediately began pursuing Friedman to do a series that would provide a counterpoint to one by liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith that PBS was airing.

After all these years, Mr. Chitester is still surprised by how easily Friedman’s cooperation came. “I was a bearded, leather-jacketed, small-town TV executive, yet he treated me as competent and honorable, as he did everyone he met, until you proved otherwise,” he recalls.

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Obama Intregrates Quatum Theory with Gravitation

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/30/2007

No really. At least that is what leftist scholar Larry Tribe has talked the press corp into believing. More:

“[Obama was] certainly the most all-around impressive student I had seen in decades,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional scholar at Harvard for whom Obama served as a research assistant.

You wonder why this guy is wasting his talents on politics when he could be solving all of the outstanding problems in physics.

Posted in Law, Politics, The Left | Leave a Comment »

Chicago Honors Milton Friedman

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/30/2007

A service in Chicago honoring Milton Friedman:

The celebration of Milton’s tolerance of human beings not of poor thinking or ideas, his lack of interest in the rank of an ideas champions a cabbie did as well as a prime minister, his courage in defending his ideas even when they were scorned or ridiculed by almost everyone, his lack of vainglory when he was finally recognized as the great thinker he was became the ground bass of the whole occasion.

More here and here.

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Milton Friedman on PBS Tonight

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/29/2007

“The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman” airs tonight on PBS. Click on the link for a preview and more details. Some folks are impressed by the program and some folks are not.


The biggest quarrel one can have with “The Power of Choice” is that it tends to give a foreshortened view of history. The celebratory tone gets a little irritating, almost Catskill-like. Watching it, you get the impression that Friedman single-handedly invented free-market economics or taught Tallinn, Estonia, that trade was good. In fact — as even one opponent, Galbraith, points out on the air — many of the ideas for which Friedman fought were well understood in the 18th century. Tallinn knew how to trade long before Friedman was born — trading was part of its identity as an open port city and member of the Hanseatic League.

But it is Friedman’s admirers who paint him too grandly. Milton himself was simply what he was: the best of all possible professors, one who reminded the world of what it knew as common sense before Keynesianism made it forget.

UPDATE:  The program will be broadcast Friday at 9:30 p.m. in Los Angeles — instead of the Friedman program KCET is broadcasting a program on Cuban photographers tonight.  It figures.

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The Secret Story of Clarence Thomas

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/29/2007

ABC legal correspondent Crawford Greenburg explains how Clarence Thomas is a better judge than you ever guessed:  Quotable:

Justice Thomas’s dissents persuaded Justice Scalia to change his mind several times that year. Even in Hudson v. McMillan, the case that prompted the New York Times to infamously label Justice Thomas the “youngest, cruelest justice,” he was again, initially, the lone dissenter. Justice Scalia changed his vote after he read Justice Thomas’s dissent, which said a prison inmate beaten by guards had several options for redress — but not under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

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Pinker on Consciousness

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/27/2007

Lots of interesting research findings explained by Steven Pinker. Teaser:

Our authorship of voluntary actions can also be an illusion, the result of noticing a correlation between what we decide and how our bodies move. The psychologist Dan Wegner studied the party game in which a subject is seated in front of a mirror while someone behind him extends his arms under the subject’s armpits and moves his arms around, making it look as if the subject is moving his own arms. If the subject hears a tape telling the person behind him how to move (wave, touch the subject’s nose and so on), he feels as if he is actually in command of the arms.

The brain’s spin doctoring is displayed even more dramatically in neurological conditions in which the healthy parts of the brain explain away the foibles of the damaged parts (which are invisible to the self because they are part of the self). A patient who fails to experience a visceral click of recognition when he sees his wife but who acknowledges that she looks and acts just like her deduces that she is an amazingly well-trained impostor ..

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Krugman on Friedman

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/25/2007

The intellectually dishonest Paul Krugman examines Milton Friedman. Read it with a more than a few grains of salt. As is common with Krugman, the dishonesties begin in the first paragraph. The man simply has no shame.

UPDATE: Read the article? Now it’s time for your pop quiz.

UPDATE II: Russell Roberts slams Krugman’s dishonest piece.

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Jan. 29 is Milton Friedman Day

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/25/2007

From Milton Friedman Day web page:

Dr. Milton Friedman was perhaps the most influential economist of the 20th Century, and the impact of his ideas will extend far into the future. To honor the man, January 29th is declared as Milton Friedman Day – a celebration of the economist’s positive impact on American life and business, and the spread of the benefits of free markets to nations around the globe. Milton Friedman Day will include a host of activities, including a “Day of National Debate” at universities across the country, a live online discussion on The Economist’s Free Exchange blog, and the premiere of the PBS special, “The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman”, among other events.

A list of Friedman Day events can be found here.

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Quotations From Chairman Milton

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/25/2007

The best of Milton Friedman from the pages of Reason Magazine.  A teaser:

The two chief enemies of the free society or free enterprise are intellectuals on the one hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite reasons. Every intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he’s opposed to freedom for others.…He thinks…there ought to be a central planning board that will establish social priorities.…The businessmen are just the opposite—every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself that’s a different question. He’s always the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a tariff, this, that, and the other thing…

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Arnold’s Big Lie

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/22/2007

on taxes — and his pathetic efforts to evade that lie — has turned Gov. Schwarzenegger into a laughing stock across the country. It’s hard to see how Schwarzenegger’s reputation as man of integrity will ever recover from this colossally dishonest stab in the back to California voters.

Posted in California | Leave a Comment »