Assorted Links (9/28/2011)

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

Christian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces potential execution

“Just days after Iran released two Americans accused of spying in Iran, an Iranian court has upheld the apostasy conviction and execution sentence of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.”

Jessy Dixon, Gospel Legend, Dead at 73

This morning, I was saddened to hear of Jessy Dixon’s passing. I had the privilege of touring with Jesse as a member of the Jessy Dixon Singers (I didn’t sing, rather, I played sax and flute) from 1978-1980. Jessy was a wonderful Christian man, and I have many fond memories of playing in concerts with him and the likes of the Thompson Community Singers, Andre Crouch and the Disciples, Billy Preston, the Hawkins Family, the Mighty Clouds of Joy and others. Rest in peace, Jessy! (be sure to watch his performance of “I am Redeemed” (at on the steps of the US Capital!)…

The Heresies of Chris Christie

“In his speech at the Reagan Library, the outspoken New Jersey governor challenged his fellow conservatives on four vital points.”

The President’s third goal for tax reform: raise taxes

“The President’s goal of raising taxes undermines his goal of increasing investment and growth.”

John Steele Gordon: A Short History of the Income Tax

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Steele Gordon writes that one original sin was the separation of the corporate and personal tax, giving lawyers, accountants and the wealthy a chance to game the system.”

McGurn: Granholm’s Perfect Bad Example –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist William McGurn writes about former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s failures—and what they tell us about the Obama administration.”

Matt Ridley: From Phoenecia to Hayek to the ‘Cloud’ –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley writes that human progress has always depended on spontaneous collaboration to harness dispersed knowledge.”

Merrill Matthews: Perry Is Right—There Is a Texas Model for Fixing Social Security –

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Cross Country column, Merrill Matthews writes that public employees in three Texas counties have benefited from an ‘Alternate Plan’ for 30 years.”

Susan Collins: The Economy Needs a Regulation Time-Out –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Maine Senator Susan Collins says that creating more rules for American business will drive jobs overseas.”

Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian: Stimulus and the Depression—The Untold Story –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian say that government manipulation of aggregate demand did not rescue the country from the Great Depression. Increased productivity led the recovery.”

Sally Pipes: The Census, ObamaCare and the Uninsured –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes writes that the percentage of Americans lacking health insurance will not decline until the economy recovers, but ObamaCare’s taxes and regulations will retard economic recovery.”

Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite! | Video on

“TED Talks Studies show that sketching and doodling improve our comprehension — and our creative thinking. So why do we still feel embarrassed when we’re caught doodling in a meeting? Sunni Brown says: Doodlers, unite! She makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen.”

Good CEOs plan ahead

“The problem with the President’s tax increase argument is that good CEOs plan ahead.”

Amateur Hour at the White House –

“But at the U.N., Obama stands tall, while Perry makes himself small, Peggy Noonan writes.”

Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?

“Ever since Rick Perry derided Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, economists and other pundits have jumped into the fray. Progressive blogger Matt Yglesias says it’s “nuts” for anyone to talk like this, because Social Security merely relies on future economic growth — just like a private pension plan. Free-market economist Alex Tabarrok responded to Yglesias with links to arch-Keynesians (and Nobel laureates) Paul Samuelson and Paul Krugman, both comparing Social Security to a “Ponzi game.””

Bing West: The Afghan Rescue Mission Behind Today’s Medal of Honor

“In The Wall Street Journal, Bing West tells the heroic story of Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, writing that inside a village on the Pakistan border in September 2009, America’s defining values were on display.”

Nicolas Lecaussin: The Trouble With French Banks –

This article helps to explain (in part) why global stock markets have been selling off at such a torrid pace. Incidentally, economic historians such as Dartmouth University professor Doug Irwin also blame the French for “causing” the Great Depression by hoarding gold – see The main difference now is that the French are effectively “hoarding” sovereign debt of various financially profligate countries like Greece, Italy and Spain…

Jack Bogle: Why Mark Cuban Is Wrong on Investing

“Buying and holding stocks and bonds for the long term and maintaining a diversified portfolio are still the smartest strategies for the average investor, says Vanguard founder Jack Bogle.”

Judith Miller: How the NYPD Foiled the Post-9/11 Terror Plots –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Judith Miller writes that New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly allocates some $330 million of his annual budget and 1,200 of his staff to counterterrorism, at home and abroad.”

The Weekend Interview with Michael Mukasey: Two Decades of Pursuing al Qaeda –

“In The Wall Street Journal, James Taranto interviews Michael Mukasey, the former attorney general who as a federal judge in New York City on 9/11 already knew all about a free society’s vulnerabilities to mass terrorism.”

Michael J. Boskin: The Obama Presidency by the Numbers

“In The Wall Street Journal, Michael J. Boskin writes that President Obama constantly reminds the American people that he was dealt a difficult hand when it comes to the economy—but the evidence is overwhelming that he played it poorly.”

Monthly Unemployment Rates, January 2001-August 2011

In commemoration of President Obama’s speech tonight, here’s a time series graph of monthly unemployment rates from January 2001 –  August 2011 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics):


Interestingly, here’s an Internet polling graph captured minutes after President Obama’s speech came to a close; it is very bimodal, as is the current mood of our country (source:


Finally, here’s the latest from the prediction markets concerning the odds of President Obama winning re-election in 2012:


Assorted Links (9/6/2011)

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

In Government We Mistrust

“The Wall Street Journal: Obama said he’d be Reagan in reverse. He was right.”

A Tale of Two Vermont Floods, 84 Years Apart

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Cross Country column, Amity Shlaes writes that President Coolidge didn’t believe the federal government should be an ‘insurer of its citizens against the hazards of the elements.'”

Washington’s Antitrust Timewarp

“In The Wall Street Journal, George L. Priest writes that blocking the AT&T-T-Mobile merger won’t protect jobs.”

Ten Years Without an Attack

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Yoo writes that the decision to treat the 9/11 attacks as acts of war rather than crimes was crucial.”

The 2012 Election Will Come Down to Seven States

“In The Wall Street Journal, Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia writes that national polls are nice, but Electoral College math is what matters.”

In Trouble Once Again: What do About the US Post Office?

The ever thoughtful Nobel laureate Gary Becker opines about what to do about the USPS…

One and Done?

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is quite unhappy about the POTUS these days… One and done!

The President’s Speech Impediment

“William McGurn writes in his Wall Street Journal column that President Obama’s speeches no longer inspire.”

How the Index Fund Was Born

“In The Wall Street Journal, John C. Bogle writes that the Vanguard 500 Index, once derided as ‘Bogle’s Folly,’ now totals $200 billion.”

PJ O’Rourke endorses Libertarianism – Exclusive

“Check out this exclusive video where political writer/comedian PJ O’Rourke delivers a powerful speech at the CATO Institute.”

Postal Service on verge of going broke, shutting down

“The U.S. Postal Service is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress acts to stabilize its finances.”

Angst for the educated

“MILLIONS of school-leavers in the rich world are about to bid a tearful goodbye to their parents and start a new life at university. Some are inspired by a pure love of learning.”

Barack Obama, investor-in-chief

“Would you buy a used car from Barack Obama? Or would you want him managing your 401(k) investment retirement plan at work?”

Finally: A Garden Hose to the Sky

“Well, it’s actually happening. An idea reported extensively in SuperFreakonomics has come to fruition, and some mad scientists are getting their way (and a little government funding) to build a garden hose to the sky — and potentially save the world by cooling it down.”

The Great Recession and Government Failure

This succinct essay by 1992 Nobel Economics Laureate and University of Chicago professor Gary Becker clearly explains how misguided public policy has made the economy even worse than it was already was and how such policy presently impedes its recovery.

Solar Flare-out

“The Wall Street Journal writes that another green government favorite goes belly up.”

Did Libya Vindicate ‘Leading From Behind’?

“In The Wall Street Journal, Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations assesses what Tripoli’s fall tells us about the Obama doctrine.”

Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism

“Shelby Steele writes in The Wall Street Journal that post-1960s liberals, with the president as their standard bearer, seek to make a virtue of decline.”


“The Wall Street Journal writes that Justice’s antitrust lawyers find a dynamic industry and yell, ‘Stop.'”