On Liberalism, Political Correctness, and Illegal Immigration

Uneasy Money

Last week I wrote a post about criticism by some left-wing liberals of Tim Kaine. My post elicited a series of comments from Peter Schaeffer. I responded to his first comment in the comment section, and he has followed up with some further comments, which raise a number of important issues, partly historical and partly philosophical. While his comments are in some respects insightful, I think that are also very misguided. But it is certainly the case that many of the positions he takes are rather widely held, including by some well-known public figures, so I think that they are worth responding to. So even though some of what Peter and I disagree about are fairly obscure matters of British and American history, I think that it is worth taking the time to respond to most of Peter’s comments.

Peter begins by challenging the main point of my previous…

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In Honor of Mustang……and H.L. Mencken

GeeeZ ....

HL MenckenOur great friend and fellow blogger/commenter, Mustang, has been saying much this same thing for a few years now….he has little faith in Americans anymore, and many of them deserve his low opinion.  When I saw Mencken’s quote, I thought of him.   This is a homage to Mustang, whose blogs are HERE and HERE and whose brains and wit are undeniable, enjoyable, and should be read by a LOT more people than actually are…

Isn’t this a great quote?  Do you agree?  And tell us why you believe this happened?  Could be a good in-depth discussion.  And an important one.

 (and thanks to SilverLady for emailing it to me)

FYI:  H.L. Mencken


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Book Review: Alternatives to Capitalism


Alternatives to Capitalism A review of Elster and Moene (eds.), Alternatives to Capitalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), $31.99.

(Originally posted on Amazon.com, 8/29/2012.)

“Alternatives”? Yes. “To Capitalism”? Not Quite…

Despite its rather controversial reputation among the more orthodox elements of the contemporary Left, there are aspects of the analytical Marxist tradition which I consider to have been valuable contributions to Marxist theory. G. A. Cohen’s political philosophy, for instance, is immensely useful for challenging the ethical dimensions of bourgeois ideology, as well as for envisioning how a just society might be organized.[1] And although I found John Roemer’s “coupon socialism” proposal utterly ridiculous upon learning of it years ago,[2] I had heard that other members of the September Group were proponents of worker controlled variants of market socialism, and even democratic economic planning. So I had anticipated Alternatives to Capitalism to consist of concrete proposals for transitioning away from…

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Islamic Politicians Who Advocated Chastity Arrested For Allegedly Having Sex In Car On Public Beach


160823-islamist-couple-caught-in-car-featureMoulay Omar Benhammad, 63, and Fatima Nejjar, 62, have long been figures in the Islamic community calling for chastity and advocating Islamic justice. The two Islamic politicians are now under fire after being found allegedly having sex on a Moroccan beach.

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What are the essential qualities of good cricket commentary? How does TV commentary differ from radio?

Mostly Economics

An interesting interview of Geoff Boycott who never minces words. He is asked about the new England coach and son.

The last q is on cricket commentary and its quality (f there is any). And as he mostly does, answers it with a straight bat. Such comparisons to cricket are useful as we see similar kind of  commentary on economics and markets as well- stating the obvious:

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What cricket can learn from poker?

Mostly Economics

The just concluded weekend was full of cricket. It makes sense to start the week by posting something on cricket.

This is a wonderful article by Amit Varma. He moved from being a cricket writer to a poker player (wow, though wonder how I managed). Now he is trying to link cricket decisions on the field using lenses from game of Poker:

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An Alternative Interpretation of the Fryer / Dobbie Texas Charter School Study


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Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie just published an excellent study on the Texas charter school sector.

But it’s unclear to me that they captured a very important implication of their research.

I. Study Overview

The study found that charter schools in Texas, on average, have no impact on test scores and a slightly negative impact on earnings.

More interestingly, the study found that No Excuses charter schools increase test scores but only have a small and statistically insignificant impact on earnings.

Their paper ends with this cautionary statement:

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 10.34.38 AMII. Walking Through Low Effect Size and High Effect Size Schools 

The famous Anna Karena quote goes something like this: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

I think the opposite is true of schools.

When I visit low effect size schools, I am often saddened by the level of dysfunction. Students walk the halls aimlessly, teachers seem…

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The badly dysfunctional New Zealand housing supply market

croaking cassandra

This chart has had a bit of coverage in the last few days.  It was produced by Statistics New Zealand, and was included in a useful release last week bringing together dwelling consent and population data over the last 50 years or so.

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As SNZ noted, there is a bit in the chart for everyone.

The number of new homes consented per capita has doubled over the past five years, but is only half the level seen at the peak of the 1970s building boom, Statistics New Zealand said today.

One sees these sorts of per capita charts from time to time, but I’ve never been sure they were very enlightening.  After all, the existing population typically doesn’t need many new houses built –  it is already housed, and the modest associated flow of new building permits will result mostly from changes in tastes, changes in occupancy patterns (eg more marriage breakups…

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On choosing the Bourgeois Deal behind the veil of ignorance


Source: Deirdre McCloskey: editorials: Review of Michael J. Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy:  The Moral Limit of Markets , New York: Ferrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. Pp. 244 +viii. Index. by Deirdre McCloskey  August 1, 2012. Shorter version published in the Claremont Review of Books XII(4), Fall 2012