Archive for November 29th, 2008

November 29, 2008

Roll Tide!

FINAL
ALABAMA 36, AUBURN 0
You’ll excuse me if I failed to blog the last three touchdowns. I’ve been basking in the glow!

RAMMER JAMMER YELLOW HAMMER! The shutout against Auburn was sweet — Alabama allowed only 8 first downs and 170 yards — but perhaps the sweetest thing was in the 4th quarter, after Saban pulled all the starters, and backup quarterback Greg McElroy threw a 34-yard TD. Now the No. 1 Tide is 12-0, undefeated going into the SEC championship game against No. 3 Florida and, as the CBS announcers agree, will probably still be the underdog!

13:15 3rd Quarter: TOUCHDOWN! Alabama recovers a fumble and, on first down, John Parker Wilson throws a 39-yard TD pass to Nikita Stover. Extra point blocked. Alabama 16, Auburn 0.

HALFTIME — Alabama blocks a 40-yard Auburn field goal attempt. Glenn Coffee is on the sideline with what appears to be a minor ankle injury. I understand that Nick Saban doesn’t want to risk aggravating the injury if he can win without Coffee but . . . I’m not sure if that’s possible. We need him healthy.
10:28, 2nd QTRTOUCHDOWN! Glenn Coffee breaks an off-tackle run down the right sideline for 41 yards. The TD run was set up by Wilson’s 3rd-and-11 pass to Julio Jones. Alabama 10, Auburn 0.

End of the 1st QTR: Leigh Tiffin’s FG caps a long drive. Alabama 3, Auburn 0.
Alabama now leads the time of possession 8:40-5:55, and that kind of 14-yard drive is just what we need to run down the Auburn defense.
1:51 1ST QTR: John Parker Wilson runs a QB sneak for a first down on 4th-and-1 at the Auburn 29.
6:19, 1st QTR — Glenn Coffee runs for Alabama’s first first down.
7:36, 1st QTR — Auburn starts at midfield, can’t make a first down, punts. Alabama again starts deep in its own territory. Lousy field possession. Need to make something happen, O.
9:55, 1st QTR — Auburn got two first downs, then had to punt, now Alabama goes 3-and-out.

PREVIOUSLY: While we wait for the Iron Bowl kickoff, now would be a good time to read my column about the game.

UPDATE: Ooooh, Tech upsets Georgia, 45-42!

November 29, 2008

Amity Shlaes vs. Paul Krugman

Amity Shlaes’ excellent history of the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, has already been featured in our Holiday Book Sale, and today she takes on Paul Krugman:

Paul Krugman of the New York Times has been on the attack lately in regard to the New Deal. His new book “The Return of Depression Economics,” emphasizes the importance of New Deal-style spending. He has said the trouble with the New Deal was that it didn’t spend enough. . . .
New Dealers raised taxes again and again to fund spending. The New Dealers also insisted on higher wages when businesses could ill afford them. Roosevelt, for example, signed into law first his National Recovery Administration, whose codes forced businesses to pay an above-market minimum wage, and then the Wagner Act, which gave union workers more power. . . .
High wages hurt corporate profits and therefore hiring. The unemployed stayed unemployed.

As I said Monday, many of Obama’s supporters “will be disheartened to discover that there is no magic in Obama’s economic plan, a patchwork of warmed-over Keynesian ‘pump-priming’ claptrap as stale as the memory of Hubert Humphrey.”

It is evident that many liberals (even Nobel prize-winning liberals) simply can’t shake their mental addiction to the Keynesian fallacy. Back in the ’60s, liberals prescribed Keynesian “solutions” to an economy that was already running at full tilt, and the ultimate result was the “stagflation” of the ’70s. Now, amid a deflationary financial freeze, their answer is yet more Keynesianism. When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Don Boudreaux on the Keynesian demand-side obsession: “It’s ultimately futile as a means of restoring vigor to a market economy.” More comment from Bill Anderson and McQ.

If you don’t get what’s wrong with Keynes (and Krugman), let me try to explain what is really meant by “supply-side” economics. Keynesians have always focused on the demand side of the supply/demand market equation, trying to figure ways to boost consumer buying power. The genius of Art Laffer and the other so-called supply-siders was to realize that the secret of capitalism is . . . (wait for it) . . . capital.

You might have figured this out yourself, if you’d ever tried to start a business with change you found under the sofa cushions. Capital investment is the secret of creating new jobs, and the secret of promoting capital investment is a business environment that offers the opportunity for . . . (wait for it) . . . profit.

Once you understand that, political economy (which is what most people mean when they talk about “economics”) becomes fairly simple. Governments worldwide make policies that have economic impacts on the business environment. The secret of success is to make policies that allow the kind of profit opportunities that will attract capital investment.

Keynesianism doesn’t address this fundamental economic reality. The Keynesians suffer from a fixed-pie (static) conception of capital investment, and can never seem to grasp how their tax/spend/regulate approach serves as a disincentive to investment in a dynamic economic environment. They bitch, bitch, bitch about “outsourcing” and “offshore investments” without ever confronting how their policy schemes contribute to this exodus of capital.

UPDATE: Marion Maneker sneers at the “troglodyte right” (!) for their admiration of Shlaes’ book, and then cites Megan McArdle’s criticism of Shlaes: “There is an academic argument that the National Recovery Administration prolonged the Great Depression. . . . But the Great Depression is complicated, and it’s hard to make the case that government intervention was the main problem with the economy.” A criticism that, even if accurate, does not vindicate Krugman!

It is not necessary to believe that “government intervention was the main problem with the economy” in the 1930s to believe that the interventions were, both specifically and generally, an impediment to recovery. There were fundamental economic problems (including the moribund condition of Europe) that, in the 1920s, led to the Crash — a classic financial “panic” of the sort that the American economy had experienced before.

In the past, these panics had been sudden and severe, followed by a year or two of sharp recession, and then a gradual recovery. The fact that the normal historic boom-bust-recovery cycle didn’t happen after 1929 — that instead the crisis extended for a full decade and did not end until World War II — is the salient fact to be explained. And this Shlaes has sought to do. (See also Jim Powell’s FDR’s Folly and Burt Folsom’s New Deal or Raw Deal.)

Obviously, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was a big contributing factor to to the Depression (protectionism doesn’t work), but since that was a Republican policy, liberals don’t waste their time defending the tariff. Where they get flinchy is when Saint Franklin comes under attack, because Roosevelt’s approach — programmatic interventionism — is still the basic liberal economic policy 75 years later. To say that the New Deal didn’t work, that it in fact made the Depression worse, is to undermine the entire economic rationale of the Democratic Party. And thus Krugman’s partisan hostility to Shlaes.

Say what you will about Bill Clinton, at least in his embrace of global free trade, Clinton tried to break free of partisan dogma (Democrats having adopted protectionism about 40 years after Republicans abandoned it). As is becoming increasingly clear in the current crisis, most liberals are still clinging desperately to Keynesian nonsense like a frightened child clings to a security blanket. They would rather preserve their dogma than do things that might actually foster economic recovery. And I’m a troglodyte?

UPDATE: Krugman fires back. Nothing like a full-on pissing match between the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Life is good. And Alabama’s leading Auburn 10-0 at the half.

UPDATE II: Linked by Fausta. Thanks.

November 29, 2008

Holiday Books: Family values

Only 27 shopping days until Christmas!

The 2008 Holiday Book Sale continues with three great books addressing the “culture war” issues of marriage, family and sexuality:

  • Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family is a mind-opening examination of the historical development of our society’s attitudes toward marriage and divorce. This is a book I enthusiastically recommend to anyone who wants to understand the crisis that currently afflicts the American family.
  • Carolyn Graglia’s Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism is the best defense of traditional womanhood you’ll ever read. Keep in mind that Graglia graduated law school back in the pre-feminist era, so she offers a powerful first-person debunking of the feminist myth that the “women’s movement” was necessary to women’s “empowerment.”
  • Ten years after it was first published, Wendy Shalit’s A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue remains a powerful rebuttal to the barbaric culture of promiscuity. Shalit takes on our society’s popular mythology of the evils of sexual “repression” in a way that is elegant, intelligent and persuasive.

Don’t risk getting trampled at Wal-Mart. Books make great Christmas gifts and Amazon.com will ship your purchases nationwide. Why wait? ORDER NOW!

PREVIOUSLY:

  • 11/28:

Black Friday Special

  • 11/27: Civil War
  • 11/26: Immigration
  • 11/25: Thomas Sowell
  • 11/24: The Great Depression
  • 11/23: Blacklisted by History
  • 11/22: Mises & Hayek
  • 11/21: White Guilt by Shelby Steele
  • November 29, 2008

    Britney uber Deutschland

    There’s a lot of dancing in that act, but Britney’s not doing much of it.

    November 29, 2008

    Terrorism expert Glenn Greenwald

    He’s like a gay liberal Jack Bauer:

    As documented by this superb Washington Post Op-Ed today from Dileep Padgaonkar, former editor of the Times of India, the Indian Government — in
    response to prior terrorist attacks — has been employing tactics all-too-familiar to Americans: “terrorism suspects have been picked up at random and denied legal rights”; “allegations of torture by police are routine”; “suspects have been held for years as their court cases have dragged on. Convictions have been few and far between”; Muslims and Hindus are subjected to vastly disparate treatment; and much of the most consequential actions take place in secrecy, shielded from public view, debate or accountability.
    As Padgaonkar details, many of these measures, particularly in the wake of new terrorist attacks, are emotionally satisfying, yet they do little other than exacerbate the problem, spawn further extremism and resentment, and massively increase the likelihood of further and more reckless attacks — thereby fueling this cycle endlessly — all while degrading the very institutions and values that are ostensibly being defended. The greater one’s physical or emotional proximity to the attacks, the greater is the danger that one will seek excessively to empower and submit to government authority and cheer for destructive counter-measures which allow few, if any, limits.

    That’s what we need: Journalists and bloggers running the world’s counter-terrorism programs.

    UPDATE: Linked by Ace. Welcome, morons! And don’t forget to check out the 2008 Holiday Book Sale.

    UPDATE II: Thanks to Kev the commenter who points out what an ungainly sentence Greenwald has beginning with “As Padgaonkar details . . .” Sixty-three words!

    November 29, 2008

    Nuclear Hugo

    Oh, this sounds like a splendid idea:

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to help start a nuclear energy program in Venezuela and said Moscow is willing to participate in a socialist trade bloc in Latin America led by President Hugo Chavez.
    Medvedev used his visit to Venezuela—the first by a Russian president—to extend Moscow’s reach into Latin America and deepen trade and military ties. Chavez denied trying to provoke the United States, but he welcomed Russia’s growing presence in Latin America as a reflection of declining U.S. influence.
    Chavez and Medvedev planned to visit a Russian destroyer docked in a Venezuelan port on Thursday. The arrival of Russian warships this week for training exercises with Venezuela’s navy was the first deployment of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War.

    The “Camelot” comparisons for the Obama administration might be a little more accurate than we thought. “Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis . . . to test the mettle of this guy. . . . I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.”

    November 29, 2008

    Shootout in Aisle 7

    In the old days of the Wild West, men met in the dusty streets, six-shooters at their sides. Now? They’re killing each other at a California Toys R Us:

    Authorities released few details about the mayhem that broke out at the Toys “R” Us store around 11:30 a.m. Friday, sending scared shoppers fleeing. . . .
    The victims were identified as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs, and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City. No one else was hurt.
    Witnesses Scott and Joan Barrick said they were checking out of the store when the brawl began between two women, each with a man. . . .
    One woman suddenly started punching the other woman, who fought back as blood flowed from her nose, said Scott Barrick, 41. The man who was with the woman being punched pulled a gun halfway out of his pocket, then shoved it back in, he said. . . .
    The other man pulled a gun and pointed it at the first man but forgot to cock it, Scott Barrick said. The first man tried to run but was blocked by the line of people, then ran back toward the store’s electronics section as the other man fired his gun, he said. The first man reached a dead-end in electronics, turned around and ran toward an exit, pulling his gun and firing back, Scott Barrick said.

    (Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

    November 29, 2008

    What Kathleen Parker wants for Christmas

    Via Yuval Levin and Instapundit.

    “It’s enough to make Kim Jong-Il blush!”

    November 29, 2008

    (Deer) season’s greetings!

    News from my neck of the woods:

    HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Some of the “Black Friday” shoppers flocking to malls were buying bullets, boots and hunting licenses for Maryland’s modern-firearm deer season, which opens Saturday.
    Drew Trimble, pushing a loaded shopping cart out of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Hagerstown, said hunting helps stretch his food dollars.
    The 28-year-old information-technology worker from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said he and his hunting buddies got two deer in the Green Ridge State Forest during the early muzzleloader season. They hope to bring back more meat during the rifle season, which ends Dec. 13.
    “It’s nice not to have to buy beef from the store since we have venison,” Mr. Trimble said.
    More than 68,000 people hunt for Maryland deer, an activity that helps control the deer population while contributing more than $150 million annually to the state’s
    economy, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
    The rifle season is the most popular deer-hunting season, accounting for nearly half
    of the deer taken each year. DNR Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler predicted hunters will kill up to 45,000 deer during the next two weeks.

    Liberals look at a deer and see Bambi. Conservatives look at a deer and see venison.

    November 29, 2008

    Her right to jailbait

    How dare you deny her her rights?

    A Queens teacher fired for bedding a 17-year-old male model is suing to win her job back, saying she had no idea her lover boy was enrolled in high school during their affair.
    Gina Salamino, 37, contends her job as a tenured second-grade teacher at Public School 121 should have been spared because Joshua Walter was so busy catwalking he never attended a single class during the 2006-07 school year.
    “They have no case,” Salamino angrily told the Daily News. “There is no improper relationship.”
    Salamino maintains in Manhattan Supreme Court documents that it’s “complete fiction” and “ludicrous” for the Department of Education to insist the globetrotting runway star was a “student” when he hooked up with the teacher, who was then 34.

    Exactly how is Ms. Salamino different from those idiots who end up caught on camera with Chris Hansen? I am unfamiliar with the New York Department of Education’s rules, but I’m reasonably sure that the taxpayers of New York would frown on any teacher dating a 17-year-old. The taxpayers be damned, of course, when it comes to a tenured teacher in the union-controlled public school system.

    Be assured that if Ms. Salamino should win her suit, others will learn from her example. Hey, if all that’s preventing an affair between a teacher and a teenager is the teenager’s status as a student, then all the teenager needs to do is drop out of school, and it’s perfectly legal.

    I am no prude, but this disturbing effort to blur the legal distinctions about underage sex — involving a professional educator, no less — is an entirely logical extension of the demand for unrestricted sexual freedom. Unless you’re willing to say “anything goes” without regard for the consequences, then at some point the line must be drawn, and the line ought to be clear enough that everyone knows where it is.

    Two unrelated incidents earlier this year called to my attention how confused our society has become in this regard:

    Fifteen-year-old Disney “Hannah Montana” franchise starlet Miley Cyrus poses in her panties, shows her bra, and now poses topless in Vanity Fair — and yet no legal action is threatened? Meanwhile, in Texas, the mere suspicion that teenagers are getting married causes a SWAT raid and state officials take 416 children away from their parents.
    Maybe if the polygamous cult would make some Disney movies, they could get away with it. Otherwise, Texas officials might fear those fundamentalist kids are being deprived of an underwear-flashing, topless-posing normal adolescence like Miley’s.

    Notice how the pop-culture sexualization of adolescents plays a role here, just as with the Miley Cyrus photos. Because this New York boy was modeling for Hugo Boss as a teenager, he is therefore legally “fair game,” according to Ms. Salamino and her lawyers. The popular culture is offering up teenagers as sex objects and, therefore, some people feel entitled to act on these cultural messages. And yet what is winked at when it involves a TV starlet or a fashion model is enough to land others in prison.

    But who are we to judge? After all, didn’t the Supreme Court tell us that “individual decisions concerning the intimacies of physical relationships . . . are a form of ‘liberty’ protected by due process”? Ms. Salamino can ride her teenage lover like a pogo stick and that’s her constitutional right.