Fear the Boom and Bust

À propos of the upcoming vote on whether to confirm Ben Bernanke for another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, I pass along the following video.  Proving once again the capacious bounds of human imagination, it presents some of the basic differences between Keynesian and Austrian economic perspectives by casting Keynes and Hayek as . . . well, you’d better just watch it yourself.  (Bernanke and Geithner make an appearance (in character at least) at 4:28.)

One of the creators, Russ Roberts of George Mason University, has a weekly podcast called Econtalk that’s terrific.


A Random Cultural Indicator

I’m not sure if this says more about professional life or family life, but the ABA Journal‘s headline is certainly arresting:

35% of Professionals Would Choose BlackBerry Over Spouse

I went to the Chicago Sun-Times for the original report, and found that the ABA Journal‘s crisp summary is, sadly, absolutely correct.  In addition, Read the rest of this entry »

On Denouncing and Rejecting — or Empathizing

I’ve been corresponding extensively with family and friends about Sen. Obama’s two recent stumbling blocks: his speech on race, in which he addressed controversial sermons by Jeremiah Wright, and his comments about frustration and bitterness in small-town America. I had decided not to blog about these episodes, because the issues felt stale. But now, thanks to Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, I realize I was wrong. Given the amount of time those two devoted to these “gotcha” questions in Wednesday night’s debate, we may be talking about this for a long time yet to come. Since this ground has been well covered, though, I’ll focus only on what the two controversies have in common: In both cases, Obama put himself in the cross-hairs by empathizing.

Read the rest of this entry »

My New Crib

Sometimes this blog seems so impersonal to me — sure, ideas are the lifeblood of the reasonable mind, but we are people, too, and the foibles and triumphs of our stupid, little lives are just as important.

I work on Wall Street, and my life has been a stress-filled bloodbath these past 6-odd months. I’ve faced enormous hits to my net worth combined with the constant threat of firing, making me tired and agitated and extremely unpopular wherever I go.

To address the leverage element of my equation for misery, I’ve moved into more practical living arrangements. I haven’t sacrificed anything in terms of total square footage, and the joint has a certain casual elegance to it that better fits my lifestyle and natural bearing. See what you think: Read the rest of this entry »

David Mamet: Reasonable Mind or Liberal Traitor?

Ok, so there are two kinds of people in this world. The first (e.g. Granulous) does things, like setting up this blog, having carefully considered opinions, making simple topics unnecessarily complicated, and trying to get the second kind of people (e.g. me) involved.

The second kind of people don’t do things. We are basically vultures who feed on what’s easily available and have strong yet unconsidered opinions, and we bitch about the general state of affairs with no real intention to do anything about it.

But like David Mamet below, I digress.

So here I am, doing Granulous’ bidding, feeding his blog. I do read things here and there, looking for wisdom, and I feel like I really found some in, of all places, the Village Voice. David Mamet outs himself as a failed “brain-dead liberal”, finally succumbing to his inner voice of reason.

And sure, I get cheap, obvious pleasure when any lefty throws in the towel, but Mamet’s “conversion” is a more thoughtful, mitigated shuffle toward the middle. If you read the commentary around the Internet from the left, you’ll find him painted as a full-blown traitor. But I don’t think it’s that simple.

But you decide for yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Eliot Spitzer and the Gospel of Matthew

I had not planned to write anything about the flame-out of Eliot Spitzer, largely because Schadenfreude is one of those things that tastes so good you know it must be bad for you. But as we move through the wave of “why would he do this?” articles, like this one in yesterday’s Washington Post, I wonder if we are overlooking one important factor, an explanation we might draw from the Gospel of Matthew, as unlikely as that seems. The answer is: Read the rest of this entry »

Moderation in Ill Repute?

For some time now, I’ve been paying attention to the way people talk about moderation, and I don’t like what I hear. In politics, at least, there are clearly a large number of people who associate moderation with half-measures, philosophical inconsistencies, and perhaps even fecklessness. No wonder extremism is such a dominant element in our rhetoric. I think there is some home-spun (Texan?) idiom about nothing good ever being found in the middle of the road — if you know that one please put it in the comments.

Half-measures and fecklessness may characterize a certain sort of “moderation,” the sense of which is perhaps captured by our contemporary usage of the word “temporizing.” But that is certainly not the only form moderation can take, and I think it is not even the most common. Read the rest of this entry »