Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Charlottesville makes the WSJ

Charlottesville is covered in today's WSJ. I totally agree on Bizou (restaurant). Ten is OK, but trying a bit too hard to be trendy in my book.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another interesting podcast quote:

"No two democracies have ever gone to war against each other." - Swedish writer Johan Norberg in a podcast titled "Globalization is Good."

I don't think this justifies nation-building or neocon-driven intervention, but it certainly is a good point to remember as we consider foreign policy choices, defense spending as the world becomes more free and democratic, and who REALLY is (or can be) America's friends.

Based on the premise that democracies are inherently allied, why not form a free-trade zone across all democracies, not only to boost trade among friends, but to add an incentive to non-democracies to change their form of government?

Amazing economic fact:

"In the last 25 years, we've had only 3 down quarters." - Former Secretary of State George Schultz,in an interview on Bloomberg, promoting his new book "Putting Our House in Order: A Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform."

We sure don't hear messages like this often enough. Our economy has been in decline only 3% of the time over the last quarter century. I'd certainly say that I hear bear arguments or outright doom and gloom way more than 3% of the time.

And while the current view of our economic future may be dominated by the current financial crisis, there's still every reason to believe that global growth, opening economies, and IT and communication revolutions will continue to propel the world and US ecomies upward, as best outlined by Peter Schwartz in the classic Wired article The Long Boom.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How NOT to play baseball

Easton created a series of commercials with big leaguers spoofing the immortal Tom Emanski training videos. Check out this great bit of instruction from the Big Z, Carlos Zambrano, on how to be hit by a pitch.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Environment meets energy meets tax policy

Larry Kudlow blogs to comment on McCain's recently announced carbon cap and trade platform (he doesn't like it, nor should you). What caught my eye was hearing that intelligent people (Greg Mankiw and Al Gore to name a few) are suggesting a carbon tax with proceeds to defray federal income and/or payroll taxes in lieu of the cap and trade system.

I LOVE this idea! Here's why:

-tax efficiency: fundamentally, a carbon tax is a consumption tax, while income is, well, income. When you tax something, you get less of it - shouldn't we create incentive to consume less, and remove disincentives to generating more income?

-transparency: directly taxing carbon will give us all a direct and greater understanding of the cost and environmental impact of all economic activities.

-feasibility: a stand-alone carbon tax would never fly - no one wants to vote for a new tax - but substituting taxes could fly. Likewise, there's no chance that either the payroll or income taxes are spontaneously reduced or eliminated on their own.

-economic impact: just a guess on my part, but I think that a payroll or income tax cut will have a net greater positive on the economy than a tax on carbon consumption.

-and finally, this idea works because frankly, cap and trade - already in use in europe - DOESN'T WORK!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Boss in Charlottesville!

I had the pleasure of experiencing a Bruce Springsteen concert last
week. It was a religious experience - amazing, inspirational,
passionate, and with a message. Bruce and the band exceeded all that
i'd heard about their energy and passion.
Also memorable about the night: I got in by scalping a $95 ticket for
$30 after flying home on a red-eye the night before. I was exhausted,
but Bruce was well worth the effort!

Hell freezes over and Tim becomes a Clinton supporter?

Tell me what you think of the realization that I had in the last month: as much as it pains me to suggest this, the best thing that can happen for someone of my political leanings (conservative libertarian), and, I'd argue, the country as a whole, is Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. (Which, I believe leads to her winning in the general election.)

Why? Because I'm hoping that the Democratic party spurning Obama in spite of the vote & delegate advantages would splinter the monolithic African-American voting block. I think the implicit message in an HRC-nomination that the Democratic party isn't any more favorable to African-Americans than the Republicans would allow these voters to consider other options, facilitating both a more diverse Republican party, and perhaps a viable third party.

But more important than party politics, spurned African-American voters could break the logjam on issues that I believe we need to move on to make a better America. African-Americans have been voting for the status quo and against change to their own detriment. (Ironic, eh?) Best example: school choice. I really think the biggest beneficiaries of increased school choice will be the least advantaged students, but African-American voting in support of the traditional Democrat lobbies (in this case, teacher's unions) sustains the status quo. Plenty of polls show that core African-American issues/stances actually match up well with Republican policies, but since buying into the Great Society, African-Americans have been solidly, and perhaps blindly Democrats.

(Counter-interpretation: Party elders (Dean, Pelosi, etc.) realize the long-term stakes, and that's why Obama will be the nominee.)

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous