Assorted Links (9/30/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading (and videos that I have been viewing) lately:

Chinese Company’s Device Turns IPod Into IPhone – Video

“Bloomberg’s Margaret Conley reports on Yosion Technology’s Apple Peel 520. A Chinese company is trying to overcome copyright restrictions before releasing a device that can provide Apple Inc.’s iPod Touch with iPhone functions.”

Review & Outlook: Department of Disinformation

“The Wall Street Journal on Kathleen Sebelius’s North Carolina fairy tale.” This is the WSJ’s followup to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s WSJ article from yesterday entitled “Health Insurers Finally Get Some Oversight” (see, which helps provide some context…

The Pelosi-Reid Deficits

“In The Wall Street Journal, Steve Moore says to blame Congress, not presidents Bush or Obama, for our perilous fiscal situation.”

Review & Outlook: Blaming the Voters

“The Wall Street Journal writes that Democrats embrace the Chris Farley school of political motivation.”

Europe’s Social Safety Net and the Jobless U.S. Recovery

“If the United States expands its social safety net, Americans might enjoy some of the European lifestyle, or recover the jobs lost during this recession, but not both, an economist writes.”

Why Obama Needs Fox News

“…it would be far worse for Obama if there was no Fox News, because then he’d only have the American people to get mad at. There is no Republican adversary right now, and without Fox News–who’s left?”

Obama Calls Fox News a `Destructive’ Channel –

The president tells Rolling Stone that Fox News promotes a point of view that is “destructive” to the growth of the United States.

Obama Rolling Stone interview: three awesome bits

Yes, yes, President Obama talks about plans for energy policy and so forth in his interview with Rolling Stone magazine. But the intriguing bits include attitudes about … his socks?

Social Media Revolution 2

Social Media Revolution 2 is a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics that are hard to ignore.

2010 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Pool

Every year in early October the Nobel Prize Committee honors a few select individuals who have made tremendous contributions to science and society. Shortly afterwards they hand out a prize in Economics. Continuing an annual tradition, the Harvard Department of Economics is hosting the world’s most accurate prediction market—The Nobel Pool.

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll – Rasmussen Reports


“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 29% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14 (see trends)… Only 34% of voters believe last year’s economic stimulus plan helped the economy. A plurality holds the opposite view.”

America in an Age of Open Field Politics

“This year’s Republican success will likely prove to be no more permanent than the 2006–2008 Democratic successes were.”

Assorted Links (9/27/2010)

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

It’s Easier to Be Brilliant than Right

“There is a danger with intellectual brightness. It is to overemphasize and develop a bias for cleverness, quickness, facility with data, and the ability to persuade.”

Curb Corruption or Lose the War in Afghanistan

“In The Wall Street Journal, former CIA official Rufus Phillips says that association with the agency has given some Afghan officials impunity, threatening Gen. David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy.”

How to Grow Out of the Deficit

“In The Wall Street Journal, Hoover Institution fellow Edward Lazear says that limiting spending increases to inflation minus 1% would balance the budget in less than a decade.”

Jeffrey Goldberg is Fidel’s Latest American Dupe

“In The Wall Street Journal, Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady notes that the Atlantic Monthly’s Jeffrey Goldberg is not the first American journalist to cuddle up to Castro.”

The Regulation Tax Grows

“In The Wall Street Journal, Lafayette College economists Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain say that federal regulatory burdens, not Chinese competition, are responsible for the decline of U.S. manufacturing.”

The Seduction of the Tea Partiers

“Will the rhetoric of the House Republicans’ Pledge to America win over Tea Party members?”

The Weekend Interview With Tony Blair

“In the Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens interviews former British prime minister Tony Blair, who defends the West and Third Way politics.”

Tax Cuts and Revenue: What We Learned in the 1980s

“In The Wall Street Journal, Richard Rahn says that supply-siders never argued that all tax cuts pay for themselves. But the evidence is clear that lower rates on high earners do produce more revenue over time.”

Jim Towey: Pastors For ObamaCare? –

“In the Wall Street Journal, the leader of George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives office writes that if the office is going to be used as a propaganda unit by President Obama, it might as well be shut down.”

Book Review: John Kenneth Galbraith, the Non-Economist’s Economist

“James Grant reviews Galbraith: The Affluent Society & Other Writings, published by the Library of America.”

Faith and Science Symposium

My good friend Larry Linenschmidt has organized the “Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science” Symposium, which is scheduled to take place October 26–28 in Austin, TX.  Larry is executive director for the Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and he has succeeded in putting together a very impressive roster of speakers, including (among others) my Baylor colleague Walter Bradley!

For more information about the Symposium, visit the website at  In closing, here’s Larry himself describing the Symposium in his own words: 

Assorted Links (9/24/2010)

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

Adoption Season for Evangelicals: A Biblical Mandate to Help Children, Especially Those in Foster Care

“Naomi Riley writes in The Wall Street Journal Houses of Worship column about growing numbers of evangelicals who are adopting children out of foster care in particular, and who see it as a Biblical mandate to give children their love and care.”

How Seniors Will Pay for ObamaCare

“John C. Goodman writes in The Wall Street Journal that seniors will bear the brunt of ObamaCare’s costs. in many areas, Medicare Advantage enrollees will lose about one-third of their health insurance benefits. The cuts will finance new subsidies for younger people.”

Memo to Hawking: There’s Still Room for God

“In The Wall Street Journal, the philosopher Roger Scruton writes that neither Kant nor Einstein thought physics explained everything.”

Why Business Bashing Has Flopped

“In the Wall Street Journal, Potomac Watch columnist Kimberley A. Strassel writes that former CEOs and Wall Street vets are holding up well against Democratic attacks.”

The Enraged vs. the Exhausted

“If you thought the 1994 election was historic, just wait till this year, writes Peggy Noonan.”

Getting Lehman Profoundly Wrong

“The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers is widely misunderstood: We have inverted a morality tale about individual recklessness to become one about collective culpability through inaction.”

Still No Good News for ObamaCare

“ObamaCare addresses every healthcare problem, with every solution further centralizing power and decision making in Washington. The promises do not come cheap.”

Moderate Republicans and the Ratchet Effect

“While the Left claims to want bipartisanship and compromise, the incremental clicks of the ratchet only go in one direction: toward European-style social democracy.”

Visigoths at the gate?

“Fear-over-hope rides again, this time with Dems warning darkly about ‘the Republican Tea Party.’”

The Decivilizing Effects of Government

“If there is anything that government is actually good at doing, it is destroying things. Strangely, love for this destruction has become a popular cause, revealed in the push for “sustainability” and the banning of technologies that improve our lives.”

Economics One: Senate Budget Committee Reopens Debate on Policy and the Crisis

Here is Stanford’s John Taylor’s assessment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: “Rather than predictable, the policy has created uncertainty about the debt, growing federal spending, future tax rate increases, new regulations, and the exit from the unorthodox monetary policy. Rather than permanent, it has been temporary and thereby has not created a lasting economic recovery. And rather than pervasive, it has targeted certain sectors or groups such as automobiles, first time home buyers, large financial firms and not others. It is not surprising, therefore, that the policy response has left us with high unemployment and low growth. Given these facts, the best that one can say about
the policy response is that things could have been even worse, a claim that I disagree with and see no evidence to support.”

Life After the Home Buyer Tax Credit

“Aside from the rush to meet the deadline, the credit seems to have had very little impact on the housing market, an economist writes.”

Killing the Extremist Idea that Threatens America: Counter Fear with Freedom

“Wahhabi teachings have been present in American mosques for decades (they were exported here by our Saudi friends and allies). And yet, American Muslims have seemed relatively immune, certainly in comparison to their counterparts in Western Europe, who have been far more easily radicalized.”

The Empire strikes back

“The role of financial institutions in the global crisis has led to a consensus that financial regulation must change. This column argues that the banking lobby, far from depleted, has struck back with a vengeance. It has managed to postpone the much needed regulation for a time when the need for it will be forgotten.”

Competition and stability in banking | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from lead

“With the recent wave of bank bailouts and mergers, competition in the sector has surely been affected. This column introduces a new Policy Insight arguing that a trade-off between regulation and competition in the banking sector, while complex, does exist. The optimal policy requires coordination between regulation and competition policy depending on the level of competition in the market.”

Did France cause the Great Depression? | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from le

“A large body of research has linked the gold standard to the severity of the Great Depression. This column argues that while economic historians have focused on the role of tightened US monetary policy, not enough attention has been given to the role of France, whose share of world gold reserves soared from 7% in 1926 to 27% in 1932. It suggests that France’s policies directly account for about half of the 30% deflation experienced in 1930 and 1931.”

That Sinking Feeling, Again

“The latest Duke/CFO survey shows CFOs’ optimism about the economy declining to recession levels.”

Corporate CEOs unhappy with Obama – MSN Money

“Corporate leaders are slamming the president over taxes and the uncertain effects of his policies, and the executives’ siege mentality is holding back the economy.”

Obama, Warren and the Imperial Presidency

“In the Wall Street Journal, Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman writes that the Senate should vote on all senior appointments within 60 days. But the president should give it a chance to vote.”

Governments Hand Out Report Cards – The Numbers Guy

“Increasingly, government agencies are grading schools, vehicles and restaurants. Not everyone uses the same grading curve.”

Elizabeth III

“The Wall Street Journal writes that President Obama’s decision Friday to put Elizabeth Warren in charge of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while avoiding Senate confirmation and, for that matter, any political supervision shows a lot of chutzpah.”

Rauf and Islam’s Encounter with America

“In The Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami says a majority in the Arab world object to building the mosque near Ground Zero.”

GOP, Tea Party Unity Spells Defeat for Obama

“In The Wall Street Journal Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour writes that Republicans should be grateful tea partiers did not run as third-party candidates and split the antistatist vote.”

Republicans Gain Ground Among Independents

“In The Wall Street Journal, Douglas E. Schoen and Heather Higgins report on a new poll of political independents. Independent voters are leaning Democratic but a majority still have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party.”

The GOP Will Not Back Down from the Fight Over Tax Cuts.

“In The Wall Street Journal, Republican House whip Eric Cantor says that roughly half of all small business income in America will face a higher rate if Democrats don’t continue all of the Bush tax cuts.”

Many Are the Errors

“Perhaps Paul Krugman believes that by labeling other economists as politically extreme, he can undercut their credibility. But his is badly weakened by the myriad errors he makes.”

Elizabeth III

“The Wall Street Journal writes that President Obama’s decision Friday to put Elizabeth Warren in charge of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while avoiding Senate confirmation and, for that matter, any political supervision shows a lot of chutzpah.”

Assorted Links (9/17/2010)

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

Shultz, Boskin, Cogan, Meltzer and Taylor: Principles for Economic Revival –

“In The Wall Street Journal, George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan Meltzer and John B. Taylor write that our prosperity has faded because policies have moved away from those that have proven to work. Here are the priorities that should guide policy makers as they seek to restore more rapid growth.”

The Prisoner’s Dilemma Makes a Reality TV Appearance –

“Once in a while, something happens in the real world that brings a flurry of e-mail to the Freakonomics office. If, for instance, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, or at least a version thereof, makes an appearance on a network TV show.”

Sizing Up Austan Goolsbee, Nominee to Head White House Council of Economic Advisers

“President Obama’s nominee as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers combines sophisticated economics research with a keen appreciation of public policy, an economist writes.”

The game theory of ATM locations – Mind Your Decisions

“It’s interesting because the authors show how game theory principles can be used by banks to optimize ATM location. The key is that banks should not only consider a location’s demographics, but it should also consider how other banks are locating their ATM’s. This is particularly useful in a city where a bank will want to serve its customers but also reach other bank’s customers and get fees.”

Two Cheers for the Clean Air Act

“This week marked the 40th anniversary of its passage with scarcely any observance of the magnitude of progress under the legislation.”

A Poverty of Statistics

“Our official poverty measure is measuring the wrong thing.”

The Backlash Myth

Contrary to popular belief, this week’s Tea Party victories haven’t hurt the electoral prospects of Republicans in November.

Scientific Capitalism – Project Syndicate

“To understand how we got ourselves into our current economic mess, complicated explanations about derivatives, regulatory failure, and so on are beside the point. The best answer is both ancient and simple: hubris – in this case, that of modern mathematical economics, which claimed to have devised a set of scientific tools that could really predict human behavior.”

Economic Conditions Snapshot, September 2010

“Two years after the economic crisis, executives’ confidence has returned—albeit tenuously—suggesting a better ability to cope with and manage economic volatility. A Economic Studies article by McKinsey Quarterly.”

SSRN-Regulating the Shadow Banking System by Gary Gorton, Andrew Metrick

Here’s the abstract for this paper by Professors Gorton and Metrick: “The “shadow” banking system played a major role in the financial crisis, but was not a central focus of the recent Dodd-Frank Law and thus remains largely unregulated. This paper proposes principles for the regulation of shadow banking and describes a specific proposal to implement those principles. We first document the rise of shadow banking over the last three decades, helped by regulatory and legal changes that gave advantages to the main institutions of shadow banking: money-market mutual funds to capture retail deposits from traditional banks, securitization to move assets of traditional banks off their balance sheets, and repurchase agreements (“repo”) that facilitated the use of securitized bonds in financial transactions as a form of money. All of these features rely on an evolution of the bankruptcy code that allows securitized bonds to be used as a form of privately created money in large financial transactions, a usage that can have significant efficiency gains and would be costly to eliminate. History has demonstrated two successful methods for the regulation of privately created money: strict guidelines on collateral (used to stabilize national bank notes in the 19th century), and government-guaranteed insurance (used to stabilize demand deposits in the 20th century). We propose the use of strict rules on collateral for both securitization and repo as the best approach for shadow banking, with compliance required in order to enjoy the safe-harbor from bankruptcy.”

Why Does Government Grow and Grow and Grow?

“If Americans prefer smaller government, why does it continue to grow?”

The Myth of a Return to Clinton-era Taxes

“The claim that the president’s plan would only take the top tax rates back to Clinton levels isn’t quite right. Here’s why.”

The Day After Tomorrow

“Republicans are riding a wave of revulsion about what is happening in Washington. But once things settle down, what about the conservative future?”

Charles Krauthammer – The Buckley rule

“If DeMint and Palin care about the GOP keeping the Senate, they should stump for O’Donnell.”

Alberto Alesina: Tax Cuts vs. ‘Stimulus’: The Evidence Is In –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Harvard University economist Alberto Alesina writes that a review of 200 fiscal adjustments in 21 countries shows that spending discipline and tax cuts are the best ways to spur economic growth.”

The Sources of Liberal Intolerance

“American conservatives frequently complain that American liberals are intolerant—a striking paradox for a political movement whose very name suggests a respect for freedom. In their political rhetoric, liberals frequently resort to demonization, claiming, for example, that those who oppose same-sex marriage are animated by irrational hatreds.”

Obstacle to Deficit Cutting: A Nation on Entitlements

“Efforts to tame the U.S. deficit could soon confront a daunting reality: Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives benefits, more than at any time in history.”

American Thinker: Retirement Fund Trillions Lure Government Grabbers

All I can say is, don’t cry for me Argentina…

America the Progressive

“The U.S. Social Security program is already among the most progressive in the world. Both liberal and conservative reformers would make it more so.”

Review & Outlook: Kathleen Sebelius Has a List –

“The Wall Street Journal on political thuggery from HHS.”

Arthur Brooks and Paul Ryan: The Size of Government and the Choice This Fall –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute and Paul Ryan, a Congressman from Wisconsin, say that Americans overwhelmingly prefer small government and low taxes to the alternative. Yet they’ve been given big government, one program at a time.”

Amar Bhidé: Don’t Expect Much From the R&D Tax Credit

“In the Wall Street Journal, Amar Bhidé of Tufts University writes that Apple does little of the kind of research that would be eligible. Nor do the thousands of companies that develop applications and accessories for iPhones and iPads.”

The Obama Administration and the Treatment of Human Embryos « Public Discourse

“Until every human being created in the image and likeness of God is protected in law and cared for in life, we shall not weary, we shall not rest. And, in this the great human rights struggle of our time and all times, we shall overcome.” With these words, the late Richard John Neuhaus concluded his last major pro-life address.”