Memorial Day in the Poetry Corner

How did I miss this one when I did the week-long cycle of American war poetry a few years back?  Well, better late than never.  Thanks to all the veterans who have answered the call.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Grannis for Congress

I hope Reasonable Minds will forgive this intrusion between installments of Tim Peach’s annual equine handicapping extravaganza, but I have some news I want to share.  I am running for Congress.  I will be the Libertarian candidate for Chris Van Hollen’s seat, representing Maryland’s 8th District.  That’s the same Chris Van Hollen who serves as Assistant Speaker, chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and has a gazillion dollars in campaign contributions already in the bank.  Three strikes, I say. Read the rest of this entry »

The 135th Preakness Stakes: Yes, I Know Who Calvin Borel Is

Calvin thanks the dude who sidelined the favorite, gave him an inside post, made it rain like crazy, and had Ice Box and Lucky run the gauntlet.  And fine, it was another fabulous ride for Rail Man!

When people find out that I am not betting on Super Saver to the win the Preakness, I fully expect to get a torrent of emails and maybe some phone calls desperately trying to wake me up to the facts.  “Brim, don’t you know who Calvin Borel is?  He’s the best jockey in the world.  You have to bet on the horse he’s riding.  Didn’t you know he’s won the Kentucky Derby three out of the last four years now?   That guy always wins!”  Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Day in the Poetry Corner (Reposted)

I posted this two years ago, but I can’t resist reposting it.  Happy Mother’s Day all around. Read the rest of this entry »

Toward a Conservative Foreign Policy of Non-Interventionism

During the presidency of George W. Bush, those of us who criticized U.S. foreign policy as overly hawkish tended to be considered “liberal,” a tendency neoconservatives had little reason to resist.  I personally found this very frustrating, for reasons that probably mystify some readers.  Does it really matter whether any given position is suitably “conservative”?  It does to a conservative, because conservatives are supposed to obsess about continuity with the past.  Conservatives are, by definition, strongly committed to the proposition that our received political traditions represent centuries of political wisdom which, at least in the ordinary case, should trump all but the most extraordinarily well-founded private judgments.  Read the rest of this entry »

The 136th Kentucky Derby: Karma, Race Breakdowns, and Girl Power

Calvin Borel comes flying home in the 2009 Derby with 50 to 1 shot Mine That Bird for his 2nd victory in 3 years (with a 3rd place in between).

Hear Tom Durkin understandably bungle the stretch call: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlXCC7otxQo

Those of you who have graciously followed my rantings for the past several years may be familar with the “Peach Derby Curse”, which kicked into high gear the past two years.  My top pick in 2008 was Eight Belles, the filly who ran a gutsy second to Big Brown but then broke both front legs galloping out after the wire, and was euthanized on the track.  It was horrible, and a friend of mine punctuated the dread by pleading with me “…never to pick him to win anything, ever.”  Last year, my top selection, pre-race-favorite I Want Revenge, was scratched the morning of the Derby, and hasn’t been in the starting gate since.

Read the rest of this entry »

Market Failures and Government Failures

Discussions about whether government should interfere with the workings of an otherwise free market tend to take on a dogmatic flavor; frequently, assertion meets counter-assertion with nary an empirical fact in sight.  In part, this is because such discussions are forward-looking, and the future is by definition data-free at any present moment.  To make matters worse, historical experience is often of limited usefulness in macroeconomic matters, either because there are simply too many economic variables to account for (and no way to control for irrelevant factors), or because some party to the discussion claims that “this time is different.”

Nonetheless, there are times when the balance of empirical evidence is so overwhelming that some conclusions are inescapable.  For example, anyone who claims that government can fix the prices of goods and services without courting calamity is rightly dismissed as ill-informed (unless he’s talking about the price of money, in which case he’s appointed to the Fed).

As a further contribution to the list of Topics on Which We Have Very One-Sided Evidence, I offer this link to an interesting study by Clifford Winston Read the rest of this entry »