Unfortunately you can’t hear my jokes. I would’ve asked them to mic me if I realized Walter was going to be dishing so many questions my way.
Here’s a great article on Mises.org discussing the sickness and finally death of the Bretton Woods world monetary system. It was always awkward for me to discuss this, because the conventional graphs of gold prices make it look as if the Fed did a good job for a few decades:
But if you read the article linked above, the author (John Paul Koning) explains what was going on during that apparent period of tranquility when gold traded at $35 per ounce.
Here is an email I sent to a Listserv:
On the way to work this guy on the radio was talking about American Idol, and it reminded me of a possible paper topic. I don’t even have a TV and I can proudly say I never watched the show, but for those of you who have, this could be a fun paper:
I think you could show that the rock stars chosen by the evil music industry are much better than those chosen “democratically” by the American people. Done correctly, I think you could convince most Americans that if they had to choose between the entire menu of rock stars produced from one or the other, that they would much rather stick with what the rich elites “tell them” to listen to, as opposed to the people’s choice as produced by the American Idol process.
You could neatly deal with possible objections like, “A musician with real talent won’t hurt his image by going on American Idol.” Right, and nobody in his right mind would run for senator either, and have the press interviewing his old girlfriends etc.
Although I haven’t watched American Idol, I am betting that people (in the early rounds especially) have to do really “obvious” things like make their voice wave around, even though that is amateur stuff to a true musician. I definitely noticed that in some of the comedy shows where they have to give a 2-minute routine in the early rounds and then the audience votes to see who advances. Somebody like George Carlin would probably get knocked out early on because some other guy has a really funny impression of Bill Clinton, but that’s all the guy has. But his 2-minutes are funnier than Carlin’s two minutes (if you’ve never heard of him before), and so Carlin ends up as a cranky janitor.
One last point: Is it a coincidence that (what my dad would call) the golden age of rock and roll coincided with payola? If you’ve got a few rich recording studios, and they think they’ve spotted someone with real star power, they can pay the radio stations to play that song a million times. People think that’s awful and manipulative, but you could say that about any advertising campaign.
All right this confusion with multiple Bob Murphys is really getting out of hand. I was just talking to my boss about media training and he said, “Of course, we really need to polish the karaoke.” So I just laughed, figuring he’d heard of my antics at Mises University. But then he said, “For one thing, that was a really hard song you picked.”
I said, “Wait, what are you talking about?” It seems someone posted it on YouTube without telling me.
Now I just want to say one thing: Below was a song I picked as a warm up, the first song of the night, when the bar wasn’t even half full yet. OK? I had never done it before, and I was curious. When more of the students showed up, then I unloaded with the stand-bys that I have practiced several times.
Folks, it’s no fun being a critic of the government when they do stuff like this. C’mon people, you need to wake up and start asking questions, so that I can turn up the investigative reporting. In the meantime, I am reduced to pointing out the absurdities of this CNBC article:
President Obama unveiled his much-anticipated plan Wednesday to fight the housing crisis, pledging up to $275 billion to help stem a wave of foreclosures sweeping the country….
A total of 8.1 million U.S. homes, or 16 percent of all households with mortgages, could fall into foreclosure by 2012, according to a report by Credit Suisse….
An Obama administration official said the total plan commits up to $275 billion for housing, including $50 billion from funds already committed in the country’s financial sector bailout. It aims to help up to 9 million American families.
The Obama administration’s summary of the plan said the plan could offer a buffer of up to $6,000 against value declines on the average home.
So do I need to spell it out? I didn’t realize postage (for the government checks) was so expensive these days.
Holy cow, it’s Calvin Coolidge railing against Big Government. But guess what? Coolidge actually slashed taxes enormously and ran a surplus every year in office. (HT2PB)
In the beginning it’s a bit slow, but then it picks up. And be sure to watch Coolidge’s smooth delivery in the beginning. You almost forget the note cards are there.
What a concluding line! “One of the greatest favors that can be bestowed upon the American people, is economy in government.”
Despite a campaign that certainly led you to believe otherwise, the Obama Department of Justice has not altered the Bush position on whether victims of rendition could sue the Boeing subsidiary that facilitated their torture. GG is fuming, and rightly so. (HT2SR)
Here’s a great part in one of the updates:
It’s really remarkable what happened. One of the judges on the three-judge panel explicitly asked the DOJ lawyer, Doug Letter, whether the change in administrations had any bearing on the Government’s position in this case. Letter emphatically said it did not. Instead, he told the court, the new administration — the new DOJ — had actively reviewed this case and vetted the Bush positions and decisively opted to embrace the same positions.
There’s no doubt about that….This was an active, conscious decision made by the Obama DOJ to retain the same abusive, expansive view of “state secrets” as Bush adopted, and to do so for exactly the same purpose: to prevent any judicial accountability of any kind, to keep government behavior outside of and above the rule of law.
Finally, Wizner noted one last fact that is rather remarkable. The entire claim of “state secrets” in this case is based on two sworn Declarations from CIA Director Michael Hayden — one public and one filed secretly with the court. In them, Hayden argues that courts cannot adjudicate this case because to do so would be to disclose and thus degrade key CIA programs of rendition and interrogation — the very policies which Obama, in his first week in office, ordered shall no longer exist. How, then, could continuation of this case possibly jeopardize national security when the rendition and interrogation practices which gave rise to these lawsuits are the very ones that the U.S. Government, under the new administration, claims to have banned?
I suppose the die-hard Obama fans will say that he needs to placate the right on civil liberties, in order to push through his trillion-dollar spending spree. But notice that’s exactly how Bush partisans excused his capitulation on prescription drug benefits and spending in general: Bush “had” to go along on those matters in order to get the Democrats to go along with national defense.
Wouldn’t it be great if the parties compromised the other way? For example, the Democrats say, “OK we’ll support tax cuts, but only if you join us in insisting that the FBI gets a warrant before tapping an American’s phone.” And the Republicans would say, “OK fine, we’ll have all the troops out of Iraq by 2011, but only if you agree to abolish the Department of Education by the same deadline.” Ahhh…
David Henderson tips us off to these hilarious interviews by some guy Jan Helfeld. Two of David’s favorites are below. The first is Nancy Pelosi explaining why she doesn’t pay her interns minimum wage, and the second is Harry Reid explaining that taxes are voluntary. (Note: If you get bored during the first one, at least check out the ending–it’s pretty testy.)