Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reagan on the Fear of Socialized Medicine

Opponents of broad health care reform used same arguments nearly 50 years ago.
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Where are the jobs?

The Atlantic Sphere: Related Content

A friend turned me on to this video - Scary Mary.

Thanks to Ruby. Sphere: Related Content

New York City Hall looks like the entrance to Santa's village at the Mall

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Would you save more if saving was more like gambling

Jason Zweig writes in the Journal about a type Certificate of Deposit that is also a raffle for cash prizes. It seems that incentive is working. The eight credit unions in Michigan participating in this type of CD have attracted $3.1 million in new deposits because of this product.

Would you save an additional $25 for the possibility of winning $400? or $100,000?

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It seems improbable but,

Bernard Madoff's long time accountant pleads not guilty. Sphere: Related Content

John Pugh

Found the John Pugh site through Urban Prankster. Some of Pugh's murals are incredible.
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Brilliant Fun LEGOS

Click here for Urban Prankster.
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Not everyone should go to college.

This is interesting from Reason's Hit & Run Blog, The Case Against College Entitlements. Michael Moynihan makes the argument that we should not try to send everyone to college. I would agree.

Not everyone is capable of succeeding in college. Just graduating is not succeeding.

Mr. Moynihan used drop-out and graduation in four-years statistics as evidence for his position that we should not be putting more money into the federal expense for higher education. While his argument kind of makes sense he is wrong to make the fiscal argument when the problem is standards.

We should put more money into education so qualified students can attend but we need to strengthen standards. Because the long term benefit of funding qualified students can be so great.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Sonia and The Man - McWhorter brings reason and thoughfulness to the discussion on Judge Sotomayor

The reasons I love reading John McWhorter is his close detail to language, he is a linguist.

In Sonia and The Man he is quick to point that Judge Sotomayor will be a fine justice. But he continues into a excellent explanation of how he views her attempts to qualify her past statements, "wise latina" in particular, were logically hopeless. He is correct. Refering the "wise latina" McWhorter writes,
"This is a statement that a certain racial group does have an 'advantage.' 'I stand by the words. It fell flat,' Sotomayor says --which is closer to the truth. She believed what she said, but what she said didn’t go over well with others listening in. But -- not because she didn’t use the proper wording, but because of what the words clearly meant."

Essentially she should have and wishes she had made the statement with finesse.

This is a fantastic essay from Mr. McWhorter. I sincerely hope you click through and read it in its entirety.

Here is a link to a previous essay on Judge Sotomayor from John McWhorter.
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Gnomes are some type of evil. That type turns out to be Nazi.

BBC story about Nazi Gnomes. Sphere: Related Content

There is evil in the world. These poor children.

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"...And that's the way it is" Walter Cronkite dies.

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Politico Video is great

Look at Politico's video site. Since some Senator's this week walked up to the line of calling Judge Sotomayor a bitch because of anonymous quotes saying that she is "nasty," "angry" and a "terror on the bench" I thought it necessary to listen to a few of the arguments from her court.

Here is a clip from Ricci v. DeStefano (the firefighter case) on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She sounds no different than audio I have heard from the Supreme Court justices.

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Is Rep. Tiahrt a douche or a racist? Maybe both?

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Bob Bennett makes up problems with judge in order to vote NO.

Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) announces he will vote no on Judge Sotomayor nomination to the Supreme Court. His reasons are generally crap but his motivation is that he needs to raise money as he is running for re-election in 2010.
I understand Sen. Bennett's concern on the second amendment. But his other concerns are clearly wrong.
Sen. Bennett:
"The rate at which Judge Sotomayor's cases have been overturned by the Supreme Court is cause for great concern. Eighty percent of the cases she's participated in that have been heard or considered by the Supreme Court have been reversed or vacated, which further indicates to me a tendency to legislate from the bench."
This is absolutely wrong. According to, "But only five of her decisions have been reviewed by the justices. Using five as a denominator, the rate comes out to 60 percent." Only three out of five had been overturned. Less than the average. In contrast Justice Alito has been oberturned by the Supreme Court 100% (2 out of 2).
Sen. Bennett:
"Finally, Judge Sotomayor has stated that she believes American judges should consider foreign law when interpreting the Constitution. The Constitution is an inspired document and I strongly believe the Supreme Court should strictly interpret American law based on the Constitution rather than the laws of other countries.
Here is Sotomayor answering this question with Sen Coburn.

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Sen. Jeff Sessions is "goin to do that crack cocaine."

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Great blog post at The Audit @ CJR

Ryan Chittum at Columbia Journalism Review finds business story in The Daily Show's Lenny Dykstra story. Mr. Chittum brings together reporting on the supposed genius of Lenny 'Nails' Dykstra, financial guru.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lenny Dykstra's Financial Career
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day
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Ex-Governor Palin may be more crazy fun that Cov. Palin?

Gov. Palin on twitter today:

elected is replaceable;Ak WILL progress! + side benefit=10 dys til less politically correct twitters fly frm my fingertps outside State site
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Grooming an Evil Genius!!!

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Funny recording about Bruno from a Irish movie theater

Found this from Slate.

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Is this offensive? I know it is not funny!

After reading this piece from Iowahawk twice I can't determine if it is offensive or just dumb. Can you help me understand? Sphere: Related Content

Big Subway Instruments

I am surpised by the size of the musical instruments I am seeing in the subway recently.

This guy ripped of the excess wood from an upright piano. Sphere: Related Content

Can we get past this? He is the President.

Represetnative sign on to Presidential Bill Certificate bill.
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Is the Electoral College necessary? Or is change dangerous?

In How To Win the Presidency Tara Ross writes about the National Popular Vote for the The Weekly Standard today. She predicts "devastating ramifications would follow any elimination of the Electoral College." The devastation seems to be the possibility of new parties, felons, that are allowed to vote, being equal to people that are not felons and litigation after elections.

First, new parties would not be too bad. But, I don't think new parties would emerge very quickly if we side-stepped the present electoral college process. The two BIG PARTIES have a very strong hold on the process in each state. The National Popular Vote change won't change that very quickly.

Second, felons should vote in all states.

Third, is litigation really a concern after Bush Gore, Franken Coleman and the others.

I agree with Ms. Ross that this plan needs to more detail as to handle disputes with states and how to handle the procedure for recounts. But the Electoral College is out dated.

She is correct that we should make changes to the process that create one national standard. Presidential elections should be national elections not 50 separate elections with 50 different sets of rules, but, that requires a constitutional amendment.

The subject Ms. Ross avoids in her essay is the shift in power that the "red states" (states with less people, generally) will feel if we change the current process. But as someone well known said, we are not "a collection of red states and blue states we have been and always will be the United States of America." Sphere: Related Content

Peggy Noonan nails it. Two columns in a row.

This is the second column in a row from Peggy Noonan that I absolutely agree with, a new record. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The witness part of the hearing

Have the witnesses at the hearing added anything? Sphere: Related Content

Coney Island fascinates

Our trip to Coney Island yesterday was great. Thinking about history of Coney Island inspired me to look at old pictures on Google Images. I would say it made me nostalgic but that would imply that I have memories of Coney Island.

I came across the Nathan Kensinger Photography Blog. This may be one of the most enjoyable blogs I have seen. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Here is a link to his under the Coney Island boardwalk post. Sphere: Related Content

UPS mystery solved!!!

After speaking with UPS today I have arrived at the answer to the second delivery on th trucks. According to the person I spoke with the number of people on the truck is solely dependent on the number of deliveries a route has for that day. I asked about the parking ticket role in the number of people on board the truck. He said that the parking ticket agents will ticket you even if you are in the truck.

Oh well, I am slightly disappointed. The parking tickets was a much more interesting theory.

Here is the links to previous post on UPS:

Update on UPS extra labor II

Update on UPS extra labor

Why do some UPS trucks have two people making deliveries?

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"Masturbation is another landmine"

Great article in yesterdays NYTimes about nudity and kids.

My two year old son does not want to be naked but his friend, a girl also two, strips down anywhere to run through a sprinkler in the park.

Do you let your kids run around naked? Sphere: Related Content

Should Supreme Court nominees be questioned by the Senate?

Stephen Carter of Yale Law School thinks the Senate should stop. What do you think?

Listen to the NPR On Point interview with Professor Carter. Sphere: Related Content

Mr. McCarthy it is absolutely wrong to call people liars while you are lying.

I want to only address a few of Andrew C. McCarthy's mistakes in his piece in the National Review Online today. Mr. McCarthy it is absolutely wrong to call people liars while you are lying.

Mr. McCarthy writes:

"We must heartily agree with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s observation that a 'wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases' — even if we’ve spent our professional lives denying that simple truth."

I am not a lawyer but I can read and then apply that knowledge to the world. Justice O'Connor's statement on its face is nice but does it square will reality? Unless the justices of the Supreme Court are not wise it seems that nine wise judges don't always arrive at the same conclusion. Judge Sotomayor's now infamous "wise latina" speech while sometimes not very artfully written contains some very true ideas. In the speech, addressing Justice O'Connor's statement Judge Sotomayor asserts that there "can never be a universal definition of wise". I would agree that there is no absolute way to define "wise." In general two people can arrive at differing opinions or conclusions and both be wise and correct. Yes.

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." One of only a few statements that made the world stop eight years after it was spoken. Mr. McCarthy writes,

"The notion that a “wise Latina” or a wise fill-in-the-racial/ethnic/gender group will make better decisions than judges drawn from other categories of Americans — especially white men — is repulsive."

What is repulsive is that the ops research people discard context or they don't understand context. The title of the judge's speech is "A Latina Judge's Voice". The speech took place at a conference titled "Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation." The context of this area of the speech is in the area discrimination. Prior to this infamous line the Judge cites research that finds female judges are more likely to "uphold women's claims in sex discrimination cases and criminal defendants' claims in search and seizure cases" or "grant a protective order against a father's visitation rights." In this context I believe the "wise latina" is fine.

Mr. McCarthy repeats the ridiculous claim that Judge Sotomayor on the topic of abortion supports the argument "that the denial of such funding to low-income women is tantamount to slavery." This is not true. No one has made that claim. The Associated Press researched this claim and found:

"The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund board, along with three other organizations, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that banning taxpayer-funded abortions discriminated against poor minority women. At the time, Sotomayor served on the group's board of directors.

There is no connection to slavery in that brief. After the Supreme Court upheld the Illinois law, however, the PRLDEF joined 285 other civil rights asking the court to reconsider. That document does draw a link between abortion rights and slavery, but not quite as explicitly as Graham said.

"Just as Dred Scott v. Sanford refused citizenship to black people, these opinions strip the poor of meaningful citizenship under fundamental law," the documents say.

The Dred Scott case ruled that slaves are not citizens.

In the abortion case, the civil rights groups argued that, under the Constitution, treating people differently because they are black is the same as treating them differently because they are poor. By citing the Dred Scott case, the lawyers clearly sought to draw a parallel between denying abortion access and slavery. But they did not argue that denying poor women access to free abortions was a form of slavery."

Finally, is Judge Sotomayor a "judicial activist"? How would I know. How would Mr. McCarthy know. His evidence is weak and misleading, his favorite kind. He quotes Judge Sotomayor, "court of appeals is where policy is made.” That is outrageous until you understand the context of the statement. The context is that the appellate court is where the laws are interpreted and developed to be applied to a broad class of cases. Watch the longer clip on this topic.

Context matters and truth matters. This process is too important to be fooled by lies.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gay porn on Air Force One?

Wonkette posts a photo from Air Force One.

The movie playing on the screen is Planet of the Apes. I hope.

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Smoking is dangerous to your wallet.

Funny story from WMUR about a man buying cigarettes in New Hampshire. He should balance his check book to avoid overdraft fees.

WATCH THE VIDEO Sphere: Related Content

Is fruit vendor competition good for consumers?

The NYTimes Fruit Stands Wage Midtown Turf War

Makes me think back to Flight of the Conchords

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Despicable ad calling Judge Sotomayor a terrori$t.

Found this at The Daily Dish 'The Terrorist Plot Thickens!'. The playbook hasn't changed.

How much money is this add raising?

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Can you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and perform a lobotomy on yourself?

The only part Thomas Szasz gets right in his WSJ essay, Universal Health Care Isn't Worth Our Freedom, is that we can all make better choices to improve our health. I vow to not eat a rare cheeseburger for lunch.

Mr. Szasz sets off with an unfortunate analogy between a car and the human body. He writes, “People who seek the services of auto mechanics want car repair, not "auto care." Similarly, most people who seek the services of medical doctors want body repair, not "health care."”

Okay fine, he has a problem with the rhetorical devices that are framing this debate but he continues,

“We own our cars, are responsible for the cost of maintaining them, and decide what needs fixing based partly on balancing the seriousness of the problem against the expense of repairing it. Our health-care system rests on the principle that, although we own our bodies, the community or state ought to be responsible for paying the cost of repairing them.”

This is where Mr. Szasz has become a ghoul. The decisions to get a new carburetor and necessary medical attention are not analogous in the current context of the rising cost of health care or most other contexts. I have not read the stories of the tens of thousands of people that have landed in bankruptcy because the engine rebuild for their 1984 Buick Regal (my first car) cost too much. All too often, unforeseen medical problems have not only landed people in bankruptcy they crash.

I was wrong, Mr. Szasz was also correct that the “rich and educated people not only receive better goods and services in all areas of life than do poor and uneducated people, they also tend to take better care of themselves and their possessions, which in turn leads to better health.” Any education of the, “poor and uneducated people” in the area of healthy choices is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, in the time that elapses in the "national health class", people will continue to become bankrupt. Perhaps we can teach the wretched and also let them see a doctor.

The rich always have a great percentage of their income or wealth available to purchase goods and service and they still will if poor people can see doctor. The rich will see any doctor they want because they can afford it.

Mr. Szasz has a problem with the current debate. The options are not going to be perfect but we need to do more than educate.

Perhaps while you donate your old car to Habitat for Humanity they can take your sick bankrupt aunt as well. Here is the link to donate your car. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Update on UPS extra labor II

Larry's Blog at writes, "It costs UPS about $1M per month in NYC parking ticket fines."

San Fransisco Chronicle writer Rachel Gordon 1997 said, "Neither UPS, based in Atlanta, nor FedEx, based in Memphis, keeps a tally of how much it spends nationally on parking fines, according to their spokesmen. But the tab is big: In New York City alone, UPS paid $18.7 million and FedEx paid $8.2 million during the 2005-06 fiscal year."

Previous posts:

Update on UPS extra labor

Why do some UPS trucks have two people making deliveries?

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Jeff Sessions seems confused II

Does Judge Sotomayor speak in sentences too complicated for Senator Sessions?

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Interesting thoughts on Supreme Court Diversity

From The Daily Dish What's the Point of Diversity on the Supreme Court?, Ctd

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Conor Clarke at The Daily Dish is "sickened" by Sarah Palin's essay

Read Conor Clarke's reaction to the Sarah Palin essay. Sphere: Related Content

Jeff Sessions seems confused

Senator Sessions is confused by Sanio Sotomayor use language? Sphere: Related Content

Sarah Palin is trying to confuse me.

Sarah Palin is the author of an essay in today’s Wash Post. I am skeptical of the authorship. Nothing in the past 11 months points to her being able to sustain a theme for the length of this essay. But it does have here “style” if you read it out loud.

Governor Palin may be correct that cap and trade is not the optimal solution to an energy policy. She writes that it will “inflict permanent damage” on the US economy. Unfortunately she does not prescribe a better solution beyond what is essentially her unsustainable trope “drill baby drill”.

It is a safe assumption that this essay was someone else’s idea. But instead of focusing on the topic it does address the Governor’s narcissism:

“Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges. So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind”.

Her initial evidence in support of her claim against cap and trade is wrong. “American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy.” Innovation and creativity are the factors that propel the US economy. Innovation comes from education, thoughtfulness and the persistence. Cheap energy is valuable to controlling cost but it is not the primary factor to American prosperity. If that were true we would be in real trouble.

Warren Buffet (spelled incorrectly in the essay) did say that, "poor people are going to pay a lot more for electricity." Governor Palin should not imply that Mr. Buffet rejects cap and trade for this reason. You can read the transcript of the interview by CNBC with Mr. Buffet here.

The Governor may be correct that that cap and trade is wrong but she needs to be serious and give real alternatives. Why is drilling a better option than straight carbon tax. A carbon tax will still pass cost to consumers but it has less cost due to less regulatory structure. We need to address our energy externalities. We can’t just ignore the impact of our prosperity.

Governor Palin also avoids the need for investment in alternative sustainable energy goals.

I like that the Governor made this step but leaders need to have thoughtful robust ideas if we are to take them serious.

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Excellent piece breaking down the first day of SCOTUS hearings

In the Washington Independent Daphne Eviatar give excellent account of the first day in her comment Sotomayor Hearing Pits ‘Bias’ Against ‘Empathy’.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Update on UPS extra labor

A follow up on a previous post. I hope to ask the UPS drivers on my block the next time I see them but meanwhile I came across a San Diego Union Tribune article.

The article states:
"UPS pays about $2,000 a month in parking fines for its San Diego drivers, said company spokeswoman Ronna Branch.

That's relatively low, considering UPS drivers in New York City have collected about 15,000 tickets - close to $10 million in fines – in a recent year."

Wow! Sphere: Related Content

Reactions to Liz Cheney's Essay

Commentary Magazine

Real Clear World

Kaj Leers

Zandar Versus The Stupid
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Liz Cheney has a monopoly on truth. So be careful!!

Liz Cheney asserts in the Wall Street Journal today that President Obama lied during his speech to the New Economic School (NES) in Russia. But really Ms. Cheney is wrong and deceitful.

If you don’t say what Liz Cheney believes is the truth you are a liar and a borderline traitor.

Ms. Cheney as usual either removes context from Pres. Obama speech to graduates of the NES. Perhaps she is genetically incapable of understanding context. If so I apologize for judging her to harshly. She quotes the President’s speech and implies that he frames the cold war as a competition for achievements in science and sports and ignores the brutal totalitarianism of the Soviet government.

The speech was an address to graduating students. Therefore it was an optimistic speech about change and people.

Using the jingoistic trope that “America was an unmatched force for good in the world” Ms. Cheney implies that it was America alone that lead to the fall of the Soviet communism. It is surprising that the name Ronald Reagan was not written once in her essay.

Her deception continues as she quotes DesirĂ©e Glapion Rogers, White House Social Secretary, from a Wall Street Journal interview, “We have the best brand on Earth: the Obama brand,’ Rogers says. ‘Our possibilities are endless.” Ms. Cheney uses this line as an insight into the administrations foreign policy approach. Ms. Cheney tries to expose this quote from Ms. Rogers as the President being misguided by “Obama exceptionalism” at the expense of America. Is it necessary to remind the President of the United States that he is the President of the United States.

Ms. Cheney’s zero sum mentality is evident in her distaste for President Obama’s response to the inquiry if he believes in American Expectionalism. "I believe in American Exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." She translates this reasonable answer as, “in other words, not so much.”

Asking that President Obama claim America’s exceptionalism is to ignore the past actions of the United States whether successful or mistakes. To ignore our mistakes while the rest of the world knows those mistakes is asking us to believe that the rest of the world is dumb while we wear Ms. Cheney’s dunce cap. Thinking about the threats we face with open mindedness and humility is exceptional. Perhaps a strong thoughtful humble approach to the world will create exceptional American international relations.

From the Urban Dictionary:

a figure of speech expressing a fantasy, generally used to manipulate (ie. "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." --March 16, 2003, or "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." -- June 20, 2005)

Nuts don't fall far from the tree. Sphere: Related Content

Mommy Nanny relations show progress

I am watching the Sonia Sotomayor hearing today but during certain Senator's statement I walk away and do other tasks. During Sen. Feinstein's statement I took the dog out for pee. Walking past the playground across the street I witnessed something I have never seen before. A nanny pushing her ward on the swing talking with a mommy pushing her child on the swing. This is an amazing breakthrough for the groups that don't interact much on the playground.

Perhaps this happened only because there was few people in the playground.

Why don't the mommies and the nannies talk more? Sphere: Related Content

Sonia Sotomayor hearings

The judge looks very uncomfortable. The wife thinks she looks she may cry. Sphere: Related Content

Sonia Sotomayor hearings

Three republicans into the hearings and we can see the line being drawn on empathy. Sphere: Related Content

Sonia Sotomayor hearings

Is empathy by definition bias? Sen. Sessions just said it was. Sphere: Related Content

A great way to get the news

If you haven't seen Auto Tune the News. Go there right now.

Here is a sample:

Here is another link to an Auto Tune I found on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish. Pretty funny.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Do we need to stop being slapped around by the Invisible Hand?

Economist Robert Frank of Cornell University thinks that we need to temper the dogmatic faith in Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. Mr. Frank believes the our unrelenting faith in this metaphor "has undermined regulatory conflicts between the individual and the collective interests" of our society. He wants to fuse Mr. Smith's idea with Charles Darwin.

Where individual and society needs meet sometimes society loses.

It is an interesting essay with Mr. Franks usual easy and entertaining style.

Take a look here.
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I thought John McCain would have learned something about Sarah Palin.

John McCain is supporting Sarah Palin. Touting her qualifications on Meet the Press. It is not mavericky. Can all of the stories of her failures be wrong.

Daily Dish - The Rise and Fall Of A Delusional celebrity.

The inexplicable rise of mediocrity II

Peggy Noonan

Todd Purnham

This is just a sample.

I just don't get it. Sphere: Related Content

What is the Southwest equivalent of a Redneck?

Is it still a redneck. Here is a video of a gorilla at the Albuquerque, NM zoo. It is fun to watch the gorillaness of the animal but it is funnier to listen to the "redneck" strongly claim that "I didn't not evolve from that. I don't care what they say I did not evolve from that." He says it at about 25 seconds into the video. I looked at this guy and he may be almost right. He has not evolved very much from this gorilla. His redneckness was scary and as fun as the gorilla.
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