Assorted Links (7/13/2010)

Eugene White: Dodd-Frank, Meet William Jennings Bryan –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Eugene White explains why a ‘Financial Crisis Fund,’ similar to current proposals, was rejected over a century ago during the financial crisis of 1893.”

Amity Shlaes: FDR, Obama and ‘Confidence’ –

“Amity Shlaes writes in The Wall Street Journal that demonizing business deepened the Great Depression. The Obama White House can learn from Roosevelt’s mistakes.”

William McGurn: Obama’s Immigration Fakery –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist William McGurn says that in 2007, Barack Obama helped derail immigration reform as a junior senator from Illinois. As president, he is not serious about a bipartisan bill today.”

Brian Riedl: The Bush Tax Cuts and the Deficit Myth –

“In The Wall Street Journal Heritage Foundation fellow Brian Riedl explains that runaway government spending, not declining tax revenues, is the reason the U.S. faces dramatic budget shortfalls for years to come.”

Two Thumbs Down on the Financial-Reform Bill – Freakonomics Blog –

Economics Nobel laureate Gary Becker’s take on the financial-reform bill; he particularly dislikes the facts that this bill 1) adds regulations and rules about many activities that had little or nothing to do with the (financial) crisis, and 2) essentially says nothing about Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

Bret Stephens: Dr. Berwick and That Fabulous Cuban Health Care –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens writes about the death march of progressive medicine.”

Op-Ed Columnist – An Economy of Grinds –

“The slow economic recovery is shutting out the small businesses that are vital to its success.”

Fund Track: Collar Fund Offers Low Risk, Low Reward –

“A cautiously bullish strategy is the mainstay of the $31 million Collar Fund, whose portfolio has low enough risk to inspire comparisons to a bond fund, but whose hedged exposure to stocks aim for stronger returns than bonds.” The Collar Fund represents an interesting application of some very simple financial engineering; this is the sort of stuff we study in my “Options, Futures and Other Derivatives” course at Baylor University…”

Correlation Soars on S&P 500 Shares –

“Stocks are trading in lock-step more than at any time since the 1987 crash, and the trend has some analysts concerned.”

2010 World Cup comes to a close – The Big Picture –

Who Pays for ObamaCare? –

“The Wall Street Journal on what Donald Berwick and Joe the Plumber both understand.”

Lessons From the Swedish Welfare State –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Swedish economists Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson cite research that shows bigger government is associated with slower economic growth. Sweden is a prime example. It’s recent performance is due to market-oriented policies and a declining government share of GDP.

Pat Michaels: The Climategate Whitewash Continues: Don’t Believe the ‘Independent Reviews’

“In The Wall Street Journal, climate scientist Patrick J. Michaels criticizes the recent exoneration of charges that the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. He says that the members of the committee had a conflict of interest and that the review work was shoddy.”

Fred Barnes: Obama’s Entitlement Opportunity –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes notes that the president’s deficit commission isn’t likely to agree on tax increases. But it might recommend Social Security reform.”

Book review: Getting It Wrong –

“Edward Kosner reviews W. Joseph Campbell’s Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism.”

Assorted Links (7/11/2010)

Paul Berman: What You Can’t Say About Islamism –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Paul Berman writes that American intellectuals won’t face up to Muslim radicalism’s Nazi past.”

The Case of Apple and the Mysterious Bars – The Numbers Guy – WSJ

“Apple’s announcement that its formula for calculating signal bars to display on the iPhone was “totally wrong” spotlighted a mysterious aspect of cellphone technology.”

No Garden-Variety Public Pension Crisis

“Public-sector pensions in New Jersey and other states completely ignore the risk and cost to taxpayers of investing in increasingly risky assets.”

Kimberly Strassel: Obama and the Chicago Machine –

“In the Wall Street Journal, columnist Kimberly Strassel writes that testimony in the Blagojevich trial shows the White House in an unflattering light.”

Donald Luskin: Why This Isn’t Like 1938—At Least Not Yet –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Donald Luskin notes that stock prices show we’ve dodged another depression, but toxic, antibusiness rhetoric and policy errors like the Dodd-Frank bill are hurting the still-fragile recovery.”

Eric Felten: Fox TV’s Glenn Beck is Opening a University? Imagine the Curricula if Every Celebrity Did

“In his De Gustibus column in The Wall Street Journal, Eric Felten notes that Fox TV’s Glenn Beck is opening an online university, and wonders why any or all celebrities can’t open schools, with curricula to suit their reputations and (sometimes) peculiar talents.”

Peggy Noonan: The Town Hall Revolt, One Year Later –

“Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal that Democrats didn’t get the message from all of the townhall meetings last summer. Will Republicans do better?”

Walking Away From Million-Dollar Mortgages –

“The well-to-do have stopped paying their home loans in greater numbers, and apparently with less guilt.”

Ohio hamburger chain says insurance reform will bite into profits

“The White Castle hamburger chain fears that a health insurance reform law adopted earlier this year will put its profits on a downward slide…White Castle, which currently provides insurance to all of its full-time workers and picks up 70 to 89 percent of their premium costs, believes it will likely end up paying those penalties. The financial hit will make it hard for the company to maintain its 421 restaurants, let alone create new jobs, says company spokesman.”

Charles Krauthammer – The selective modesty of Barack Obama

“Obama is convinced of his own magnificence, and hardly any of his own country’s.”

New Takings, Just Like the Old Takings

“Oh, for the good ol’ days when eminent domain was the government’s preferred method for taking private land.”

How Much the World Has Changed – Freakonomics Blog –

“Advertisements from days gone by.”

Why Limits On Banker Bonuses Are Meaningless « StreetTalk – 

“Limiting compensation will not prevent the next blow up.”

Lee E. OHanian: More Unionization Means Fewer Jobs –

“In The Wall Street Journal, UCLA economist Lee E. O’Hanian says that the president’s drive to spread unionization throughout the private economy will raise prices, lower production, increase unemployment and retard growth.”

The Superfund Bait and Switch –

“The Wall Street Journal writes that the EPA is using the spill as a pretext to raise taxes and revive a destructive liability theory.”

Arthur B. Laffer: Unemployment Benefits Aren’t Stimulus –

“Arthur B. Laffer writes in The Wall Street Journal that increasing unemployment benefits will not have a stimulative effect on the economy but it will reduce the incentive to find work. A federal tax holiday is a better way to cut the high jobless rate.”

The Friends of Israel Initiative: Israel: A Normal Country – 

“In the Wall Street Journal, the new Friends of Israel Initiative writes that Western democracies must reevaluate their jaded perspectives on Israel.”

Daniel Henninger: Obama and the Spending Volcano – 

“Daniel Henninger writes in The Wall Street Journal that voters are frustrated with the Democrats’ unprecedented spending and the debt that it has created.”

AT&T Finds Glitch Affecting iPhone 4 –

“AT&T said a software defect is slowing down the wireless connection for more than one million customers looking to send data from smartphones like the iPhone 4 or laptop modems.”

Assorted Links (7/7/2010)

Q&A: Public vs. Private Equity – Fama/French Forum

“Asset pricing theory suggests that less liquid assets should have higher expected returns to compensate for lower liquidity. Whether there is in fact a liquidity premium in the returns to private equity is, however, difficult to document. The problem is lack of data on private equity returns.”

The Paradox of Parenting – Freakonomics Blog –

“Parents don’t seem to enjoy parenting.”

Our Deeply Unethical National Organ Policy

“In our zeal to protect the poor from exploitation by the moneyed classes, the organ donor—alone among all the participants in the world of transplantation—receives no benefit.”

Stephen Moore: Why a Teacher Bailout Would Be a Mistake –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore says that unions will keep resisting reasonable concessions if Washington rides to the rescue.”

Joseph Rago: The Massachusetts Health-Care ‘Train Wreck’ –

“The future of ObamaCare is unfolding here (in Massachusetts): runaway spending, price controls, even limits on care and medical licensing.”

Banking Bill Invites the Next Global Meltdown: Roy C. Smith

“The financial overhaul bill set for passage sometime next week is supposed to ‘bring accountability to Wall Street’… The final bill, though, does little to prevent a systemically important bank from failing, and makes it far more difficult for regulators to assist one seeking to avoid failure. This all but insures that the system-wide calamity the bill should be trying to prevent will, in fact, occur again.”

iHand Will Solve All Your iPhone 4 Reception Issues | Geeky Gadgets

“If you have got yourself one of the new iPhone 4’s and are having reception issues then you may want to check out the iHand, which is designed to easily let you receive and make calls on your iPhone 4 without experiencing any signal drop.”

Review & Outlook: Expelled in Morocco –

“The Wall Street Journal writes that Morocco, a U.S. ally, is mistreating American Christians.”

Bret Stephens: A (Better) Reason to Hate BP –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens asks if BP lobbied to release Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in order to get an agreement with Moammar Gadhafi to begin deepwater drilling off Libya’s coast.”

George Melloan: Hard Knocks From Easy Money –

“In The Wall Street Journal, George Melloan writes that the Federal Reserve is feeding big government and harming middle-class savers.”

Andrew G. Biggs and Jason Richwine: The Government Pay Bonus –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Andrew G. Biggs and Jason Richwine say there is a substantial pay gap that favors federal workers over comparable private-sector workers. Private employees toil 13½ months to earn what federal workers do in 12.”

Matthew Kaminski: We Can All Still Cry for Ghana –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kaminski explains that while World Cup soccer is a beautiful game, it is also cruel and unfair.”

Green Menace

“To saddle hungry Haitians with American romanticism about agriculture is the worst kind of imperialism.”

Is Obama really a socialist? Some say so, but where’s the evidence?

“Some critics cite government ‘takeover’ of business and ‘giveaways’ to the poor as signs that President Obama is a socialist. Members of the Socialist Party are among those who disagree.”

How to read a book

The advice given on how to read a book by J. Oswald Sanders (cf. p. 107 of Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership) seems spot on to me:

“Canon Yates advised that every good book needs three readings. The first should be rapid and continuous, to give your mind an overview and to associate the book’s material with your previous knowledge. The second reading should be careful and paced. Take notes and think. Then after an interval of time, a third reading should be like the first. Write a brief analysis of the book on the inside back cover. Thus will the book make a solid imprint on your memory.”

Quote for the day…

I love this quote from the book Spiritual Leadership, by J.Oswald Sanders:

“Hours and days will surely pass, but we can direct them purposefully and productively. Philosopher William James affirmed that the best use of one’s life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. Life’s value is not its duration but its donation – not how long we live but how fully and how well.”

Assorted Links (7/2/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

Scientists Discover Keys to Long Life –

“By analyzing the DNA of the world’s oldest people, Boston University scientists said Thursday they have discovered a genetic signature of longevity. They expect soon to offer a test that could let people learn whether they have the constitution to live to a very old age.”

Charles Krauthammer – Terror — and candor in describing the Islamist ideology behind it

“The administration’s refusal to identify terrorists reflects a dangerous cowardice.”

Brad Greenberg: How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire and Why They Should Add the Gospel Back

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship column, Brad Greenberg says that over the past century, Protestant mission workers have moved from spreading the Gospel to do doing good works, and says that they should be doing both.”

Paul H. Rubin: Why Is the Gulf Cleanup So Slow? –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Paul Rubin writes that there are obvious actions to speed up the Gulf oil spill, but the government oddly resists taking them.”

Kim Strassel: The Obama Trade Games –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Potomac Watch columnist Kimberley Strassel writes that free trade is making a convenient comeback in the Obama administration.”

E.J. McMahon: The Empire State’s Stimulus Addiction –

“In The Wall Street Journal, E.J. McMahon writes that New York will never get its budget under control as long as Washington feeds its spending habit.”

Daily Kos Founder Says Polling Data Was Faked – The Numbers Guy – WSJ

“In an unusually public rift, a prominent left-wing political Web site is renouncing polling it had commissioned and published and is suing its former pollster.”

Short-term insurance buyers in Massachusetts

“Further evidence on how consumers in the real world “game” insurance mandates – this is a cautionary tale for Obamacare, given that ObamaCare is in essence a nationwide implementation of RomneyCare…”

Keynes vs. Alesina. Alesina Who? – BusinessWeek

“Economist Alberto Alesina argues that austerity triggers growth.”

The Problem With Food Aid – Freakonomics Blog –

“Planet Money and Frontline report on the distorting effects of foreign food aid on local food economies, particularly in Haiti. People don’t buy rice when they can get it for free.”

It Depends on What the Definition of ‘Austerity’ Is

“Paul Krugman says we are in a ‘new era of austerity.’ When will government spending be enough? … In the last ten years, the private sector has, on average, grown 1.2 percent annually, while the government has, on average, grown 3.5 percent annually.”

John B. Taylor: The Dodd-Frank Financial Fiasco –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford University economist John B. Taylor says the Congressional financial reform bill all but guarantees bailouts as far as the eye can see, while failing to address real problems like Fan and Fred and our outdated bankruptcy code.”

No Way to Help Small Business

“The need of many small businesses to raise money has led to several proposals to give small businesses more access to credit. Will they work?”

Menace to Mobility

“Comparing the administration’s new transportation plan to a Soviet ‘five-year plan’ would be unfair to the Soviets.”