Friday, May 27

France is not exactly libertarian

Speaking of French the "second family" of Fran├žois Mitterrand and the "nocturnal escapades" Giscard d'Estaing and Jacques Chirac, Xavier Durringer claims,
The French people are quite willing to accept that politicians lead double lives, that they have affairs and mistresses. Infidelity and extramarital affairs are normal parts of life. France is a libertarian society; we have politicians who are a lot like us.
Although I realize the interview of a French director appearing in a German magazine was probably not conducted in English, France is by no means libertarian. Maybe he meant "libertine".

Thursday, May 26

Insider trading among members of the House of Representatives

A study released Wednesday in the journal Business and Politics by Alan J. Ziobrowski of Georgia State University, James W. Boyd of Lindenwood University, Ping Cheng of Florida Atlantic University and Brigitte J. Ziobrowski of Augusta State University found
“...strong evidence that members of the House have some type of non-public information which they use for personal gain,” according to four academics who authored the study, “Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

To the frustration of open-government advocates, lawmakers and their staff members largely have immunity from laws barring trading on insider knowledge that have sent many a private corporate chieftain to prison.

The watchdog group OpenSecrets.org said on its blog Wednesday that the findings suggest “that U.S. House members are using their powerful roles for more than just political gain.”

Wednesday, May 25

A niche that no one else has explored

David Rubinstein writes of the life of the college professor, and notes,
As Thomas Sowell has argued, building a scholarly reputation requires finding a niche that no one else has explored—often for good reason. I am hard pressed to explain why sometimes exquisitely esoteric interests should be supported by taxpayers: This expertise certainly does not match the educational needs of students.

Friday, May 20

The U.S. didn't reach per capita GDP of $16,740 until 1963

In the 1970s growth rates in western Europe and Japan cooled off at approximately the $16,740 threshold. Singapore’s early-1980s slowdown matches the model, as does the experience of South Korea and Taiwan in the late 1990s.

Saturday, May 14

E.J. Dionne, political hack

Yuval Levin points this out:
First:
The passage of health care reform provided the first piece of incontestable evidence that Washington has changed.  Congress is, indeed, capable of carrying through fundamental social reform. No longer will the United States be the outlier among wealthy nations in leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage. In approving the most sweeping piece of social legislation since the mid-1960s, Democrats proved that they can govern, even under challenging circumstances and in the face of significant internal divisions.
     -E.J. Dionne, March 22, 2010
And second:
As if our political system were not having enough trouble already, we now confront the possibility that a highly partisan judiciary will undo a modest health-care reform that is a first step toward resolving a slew of other difficulties.
     -E.J. Dionne, May 12, 2011
Wow.