Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: August 2012


Academia: Ivory tower or “The New Plantation”?

A friend of mine sent along a link to a brand new blog written by a former Professor at Georgia Tech.  He only has 6 posts up but I’m already intrigued.  He takes on the Southern Poverty Law Center (which he once supported monetarily) and he also has a pretty biting review of academia, an institution within which he spent 40 years.  His metaphor for academia, as the title states, isn’t that of an ivory tower, but instead that of the plantation:

The proper metaphor for the university is no longer the “ivory tower,” a shining refuge from daily life that promotes creative thought—if it ever was. A better metaphor is something more down-and-dirty. Like any metaphor, it only goes so far, but in its limited way may aid our understanding.

The modern university is a plantation.

I’m defining “plantation” as a large agricultural enterprise that raises and sells livestock and crops for profit. Antebellum Southern plantations were defined by slaveholding; after the War Between the States those that were left shifted to a different but hardly more moral system. This is what characterizes modern public research universities. Consider the parallels between universities and plantations:

Undergraduates are livestock. In an actual plantation, livestock are raised and sold for profit.

How much profit depends on quality, numbers and value. Undergraduates bring money in two ways. First is tuition and fees, and is the lesser contribution. The last estimate I heard, from two separate schools, was that tuition and fees accounted for 15% of the operating budget.* The greater contribution comes from State funding, which pays some number of dollars per student credit hour. This accounts for 35% of the annual budget, according to the same sources.

So the “livestock” are, in reality, a rather minor portion of the money coming in (tuition and fees) but worth a lot because of the government funding tied to the credit hours taken.

How is that a function of govenment again?  And why, if that’s going on, have tuition and fees become so outrageous?  Why are student loans so high?

To answer that question, it is high because it can be.  Low interest loans actually don’t help the process and students, and more problematic, parents, have fallen for the siren song of academia – “we’re vital for you child’s future and success”.

Of course, the government end of it provides another incentive that’s not particularly good.

What’s important here is that moving undergrads through the system is how universities make a great deal of money. The better the students and the more of them, the more funding.

Some schools depend more on quality to attract students (or a reputation for quality, which isn’t the same thing), some more on perceived value for tuition money, whether that includes classes or party time. The principle is the same regardless. Profit (how much is left over from direct expenses for salaries, new buildings, fancy office furniture and so forth) depends on spending as little as possible on livestock production while maintaining a salable product. What’s the outcome? Large classes taught by the cheapest employees. Dependence on online services instead of real (and responsive) human contact. Discarding hands-on laboratories in favor of computer simulations. All of these make undergraduate production easier and cheaper.

Plantations not only have livestock, but they raise crops.  And what are the “crops” of academia?

Research grants and contracts. Not research itself, but research done in order to receive outside money. Most people outside the university don’t know that grants, whether from Federal or State agencies, foundations or industry, cover not only direct costs such as equipment and salaries, but “indirect costs,” expressed as “overhead.” Overhead was originally intended to cover such necessities as building maintenance, lights, water, heat and so forth. Today overhead may add 45% or more to the cost of a grant. If, for example, direct costs amount to $1,000,000, the grant must be written for $1,450,000 or more.  This $450,000, minus actual overhead, is what corresponds to profit, and can be used by administrators for pretty much whatever they want. Overhead from grants and contracts amounts to another 35% of operating budgets.

In the modern research university, obtaining grants is a requisite for employment. Yes, one can do research without external funding, but that doesn’t count, at least not for much. An assistant professor in science or engineering must obtain grant funds to receive tenure, regardless of other contributions. A tenured associate or full professor can’t be fired out of hand (most places) for a lack of funding, but can be punished in other ways. Forgoing raises, for instance. Having one’s teaching load increased and being assigned to basic undergrad classes, for another. Losing office space, lab space, or travel funding for conferences. Having fewer grad students. These may not seem terribly severe penalties to non-academics, but trust me, they’re very effective.

While there is nothing wrong with making a profit, this points to how government has again had a hand in distorting a market.

He goes on to discuss a lot more in the post that deals with academia today (to include recommended solutions).  Worth the read and a new blogger to keep an eye on.  Seems he’s gone through the halls of academia, survived there for quite a while and is now looking back and saying WTF?  A valuable look and some interesting analysis.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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Meanwhile, the economy returns another “unexpected” negative

I’m not sure how this is “unexpected, but it certainly isn’t good news around election time.  Why?  Because when consumer confidence dips, that means the likelihood of an increase in private consumption, something that would help the economy, isn’t at all high.

U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly weakened in August to its lowest in nine months as Americans turned more pessimistic about the short-term outlook, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

According to the article, consumers are concerned about price increases and expecting inflation during the next 12 months. It was the lowest level since November. July was originally reported as 65.9.

“Consumers were more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

But hey, don’t worry … be happy!  Hope and change.  Forward.

Yee haw …

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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Economic Statistics for 28 Aug 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The seaonally adjusted S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose strongly in June at an adjusted 0.9%. This follows three strong gains in a row of between 0.7% and 0.9% between March to May. Prices came off the bottom, reflected in the year-on-year rate which is finally positive at 0.5%. Non-seasonally adjusted results are much stronger, with the index up 2.3%.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index in July fell 5 points to 60.6. July was revised -0.5 lower to 65.4.

The Richmond Fed manufacturing index rose in July to -9 from last month’s -17 to show continued contraction. New orders rose to -20 from July’s already very weak -25.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index, which measures the changes in investor holdings of equities, is down sharply this month, more than 3 points to 90.9.

In retail sales, Redbook reports a weak 1.5% year-over-year sales growth. Conversely, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales rose a solid 0.5% for the week and 3.4% year-over-year.

~
Dale Franks
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You are just not relying on government enough

Or perhaps, you’re just not thankful enough for the nanny’s help and nanny feels a little put off.  Why?  You just don’t rank mommy government high enough (especially at election time) in your hierarchy of what helped you most through these difficult economic times:

“Given that only 15 percent of you turn to government assistance in tough times, we want to make sure you know about benefits that could help you,” USA.gov announced today. The ”government made easy’ website has created a “help for difficult financial times” page for people to learn more about the programs.

The government got that statistic from a poll asking Americans what helps them the most during tough times. Here are the results:

  • Savings 44%
  • Family 21%
  • Credit cards/loans 20%
  • Government assistance 15%
Oh my, you mean people are being too “self-reliant”?  Not enough reliance on government?  Why, if this sort of trend continues the people may not vote to expand government like certain parties would prefer.
So we get the “pitch”:
“Government assistance comes in different forms—from unemployment checks and food assistance to credit counseling and medical treatment,” USA.gov reminded readers.
Good to know, no?  Also good to know that self-reliance isn’t yet dead.  But the government sounds desperate that you don’t realize how important they are to you:

This leg of the financial assistance push has ended. “Although our campaign to highlight Help for Difficult Financial Times has ended, we know that your struggles may continue,” said USA.gov today. “We will keep updating the tools and information we provide to help you get back on your feet.”

“Because without us, well, you can’t even find your feet” … or something.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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FCC tries to fly an internet tax under the radar

Here we go again.  Unaccountable bureaucracy has decided it needs to tax you some more:

The Federal Communications Commission is eyeing a proposal to tax broadband Internet service.

The move would funnel money to the Connect America Fund, a subsidy the agency created last year to expand Internet access.

The FCC issued a request for comments on the proposal in April. Dozens of companies and trade associations have weighed in, but the issue has largely flown under the public’s radar.

Well, for the usual reasons, of course:

"Today we propose three goals for contribution reform: efficiency, fairness, and sustainability," Genachowski said. "And we underscore that any reforms to the contribution system must safeguard core Commission objectives, including the promotion of broadband innovation, investment, and adoption."

That’s right friends, they have first claim to your earnings out of "fairness".  Because, you know, not everyone has internet and well, it’s a "right" now, or something.

If you’ve ever looked at your phone bill, you know that you’re already paying a fee (tax) called the Universal Service Fund .  But that fund just isn’t making it:

Consumers already pay a fee on their landline and cellular phone bills to support the FCC’s Universal Service Fund. The fund was created to ensure that everyone in the country has access to telephone service, even if they live in remote areas.

So last year the FCC established the Connect America Fund to funnel subsidy money (taxes) into construction of an internet infrastructure, because, you know, private companies, the one’s who’ve made the internet what it is today, simply can’t be left to do that.

And:

And in recent years, with more people sending emails instead of making long-distance phone calls, the money flowing into the program has begun to dry up. The Universal Service fee has had to grow to a larger and larger portion of phone bills to compensate.

As more and more homes go fully wireless that fund (taxes) they had is drying up.

Time to update the fee (tax) and fund.  How?  It’s only "fair" of course.

The FCC could run into legal problems with the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a 1998 law that bans the government from taxing Internet access. But the FCC has long argued that Universal Service is a fee that the providers choose to pass on to consumers and not a tax.

Ah, providers chose to pass that along to consumers so it’s not a tax.  Right.  I see how that works.

Numerous companies, including AT&T, Sprint and even Google have expressed support for the idea.

Gee, there's a surprise (*cough* cronyism *cough*).

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Romney offers states control and the ability to create jobs, the NY Times offers spin

But remember, they’re not biased.

What’s a good way to for the Federal government to begin the long road toward economic recovery?  Do something that creates incentives for businesses to hire and expand.

Here’s one, but look how it is spun by the NY Times:

By proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands, Mitt Romney is making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key Western states while dangling the promise of a big reward to major campaign supporters from the energy industry.

He’s “making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key western states”  while pandering to “Big Oil”.  That’s it?  That’s what this is all about?

State control isn’t really bidding for the anti-Washington vote as much as a return to “federal” government vs.a national or “unitary” government.  Here’s the point:

The federal government owns vast portions of states like New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Alaska. Under President Obama, officials in Washington have played a bigger role in drilling and mining decisions on federal lands in the states, and such involvement rankles many residents and energy executives, who prefer the usually lighter touch of local officials.

It owns more than “vast portions”, the federal government owns most of the West.  And when an administration like the Obama administration takes the angle on energy it has taken, it is free to block and slow walk oil and gas exploration while carpeting vast stretches of the West with marginally efficient solar and wind farms.

Most believe those sorts of decisions should not be left up to the neer-do-wells in Washington.  Those sorts of decisions should be left to the states and those who have to live with the DC decisions.  But they’re not.  And consequently you see the difference as reflected in the progress in North Dakota (where the decisions are made by the state and local government in conjunction with private property owners) and Nevada (which is 80% owned by the Federal government and where most decisions are  made in Washington).  North Dakota is booming.  Nevada is not.

Federico Peña, secretary of energy in the Clinton administration and now a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said Mr. Romney’s plan would cause more problems for the oil and gas industry. “I cannot imagine a world in where there are 50 different kinds of rules and regulations for industry,” Mr. Peña said. “To see Balkanization of rules and regulation I think would drive the industry crazy.”

Really?  Seems the industry is handling it just fine in those states in which it is already happening.  And, my guess is they’re willing to endure it in those states where the Federal government now restricts exploration and drilling.

“It is a preposterously bad idea — we are talking about federal trust lands that belong to the whole nation,” said Bobby McEnaney, a senior aide at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Because it would be impossible to sort out those lands which should actually be in a “federal trust” and “belong to the whole nation” vs. those included just “because”, huh Mr. McEnaney?

Here there is an opportunity to a) actually return to a bit of federalism and get the federal government out of making decisions states could make and b) create incentives that would lead to expansion of an industry, jobs, revenue for the federal government and produce more domestic oil and gas (which would effect the global price of those fuels).

Win-win, yet those possible outcomes are never mentioned by the NY Times.

Instead we get the “anti- Washington” (how dare the proles question their elite masters!) and “Big Oil” spin.

Some things never change.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Obama: "I’m prepared to make a whole range of compromises" Me: “As long as you let him define what a compromise is”

Among the various annoying sophistries of the left, their attempt to re-define the term “compromise” is high on my list.

If I’m sitting in Nashville on I-40 and I want to go to Memphis, and I’m trying to share transportation with someone who wants to go to Knoxville, there isn’t much room for compromise. Standing still is a better choice than any option that takes me further from my goal.

But the left don’t want us to look at it that way. They insist on setting a ground rule that some sort of movement in their direction is a sine qua non.

Oh, sure, they’ll alter non-essential details. “Well, if you insist, we can take Highway 70 instead of I-40. That’s a real sacrifice on our part, because it’s a scenic route and a lot slower. But, in the spirit of compromise, we’ll do that. Now, why won’t you go along with that? You’re just inflexible. Don’t you see we need to compromise and come to an agreement here? We have to do something!

It does no good to point out that the exact highway doesn’t matter – it’s the goal I don’t agree with. And that doing nothing is preferred to taking even one more step in their preferred direction.

This is the spirit with which Obama claims he’s willing to compromise in an interview with the AP (which I saw via Ace of Spades). After spending most of his time bashing Romney for his “extreme” views, Obama came out with his faux-reasonable, “why can’t we all get along” schtick:

If Republicans are willing, Obama said, "I’m prepared to make a whole range of compromises" that could even rankle his own party. But he did not get specific.

I’ll bet he didn’t get specific. If he had, the entire fiction would have been exposed. And any “rankling” we see in his own party would just be the usual moaning that we’re not growing government fast enough.

Because what he means is that he wants the other side to give him more collectivist stuff, with perhaps a few meaningless changes to let GOP congressmen save face. He most certainly does not mean that he’s willing to cut government in any shape, form, or fashion.

I must note, for the umpteenth time, that Obama does not think he’s lying when he says such things. The headline at Ace of Spades is “Obama Tells Another Whopper”. Most commentators on the right feel the same way, but I don’t. I think it’s important to understand what’s going on in the minds of those on the left when they trot out their preposterous untruths.

Here’s an example I’ve discussed before – Harry Reid attempting to redefine the word “voluntary”. If you’ve never seen that video, you really should take four minutes and watch it – it’s eye opening. If you’re new to QandO and never heard me go off about the post-modernist stance involved, read the comments.

That video was just a particularly egregious example of the post-modern debate tactics of the left. They really do believe that they can simply redefine a word to suit their argument. All they have to do then is to get enough people to go along with their new definition, and it becomes the “valid” definition.

One of their earliest triumphs in this space was co-opting the very term “liberal”. That case shows the pattern. They take a word that has positive connotations and redefine it to suit their partisan purposes. They do it through repetition via their mainstream media arm plus an occasional dose of shouting down the opposition.

“Compromise” has almost reached this state. They want it redefined to mean “giving collectivists at least part of what they want”. But they want to preserve the connotation that compromise is a good thing.

For the current crew in charge of the Democratic Party, plus their media comrades, “compromise” never means taking something away from collectivists or reducing the size and scope of government. Anything  of that nature is immediately branded “extreme”. And, of course, you just can’t reason with extremists, so the implication is that they don’t need to be a part of the political process.

That’s how they are trying to tag Mitt Romney right now.

"I can’t speak to Governor Romney’s motivations," Obama said. "What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken.

That’s laughable! Mitt Romney, an extremist? He’s the very archetype of an establishment, go-along-get-along Republican. He proved it in Massachusetts.

But it doesn’t matter whether he’s really extreme. The word has the connotation they want, so they use it incorrectly to promote their point of view, without a shred of shame or guilt, because they don’t think doing that is wrong.

To see additional recent examples of this insistence on the left to own definitions and set the terms of the debate in their favor, let’s look at some bilge from Nancy Pelosi and Tom Friedman.

First, here’s Pelosi in USA Today.

Though we never compromised principles, we did seek common ground to achieve results. From the start, we acted to strengthen workers by increasing the minimum wage for the first time in more than a decade. We worked with President Bush to jump-start our economy with recovery rebates for 130 million American families, even though Democrats preferred including investments to create jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges.

To promote the industries of the future and safeguard national security, we enacted the comprehensive Energy Independence and Security Act, raising fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years, investing in renewables and biofuels while creating clean energy jobs. We followed up with the COMPETES Act to support high-tech jobs, extend math and science education and boost research.

What she means by “not compromising principles” is “never giving in to reducing government”. Her examples prove it. They’re all about expanding government in some way.

These are not compromises, and having some gullible Republicans vote for them doesn’t change that.

Some of those gullible Republicans have since been sent to the showers, and the GOP’s major gains in 2010 reflected the dissatisfaction of these ridiculous “compromises” and the ever-expanding scope of government that goes along with them. Voters made it pretty explicit that they wanted to go in a different direction, and finally enough Republicans got that message to stop “compromising” in a way that constantly grew government.

But of course, Nancy wants to own the terminology. For her, the stand off resulted in a “do-nothing Congress”, which she seems to regard as intolerable.

This is one of the least productive Congresses in history, reported USA TODAY — even worse than the "do-nothing Congress" President Truman lambasted in 1948.

It never occurs to Nancy or her lapdog media acolytes to notice that the GOP passed a bunch of bills that were turned down by the Democrat-majority Senate. Why didn’t Nancy and her buddies in the Senate have some responsibility for compromise? Why weren’t some of those bills made law? It would have not been a “do-nothing Congress” then. Isn’t that important, Nancy?

No, it isn’t. What’s important is that she keeps growing government. That’s the only thing that matters to today’s left. The budget doesn’t matter (over three years without one, which I thought was something Congress was required to do), and the debt doesn’t matter (the Democrats want even more stimulus). They actually demand more regulations and higher taxes.

If you oppose any of those things, Nancy and her buddies are never, ever going to compromise with you. But they will constantly bitch and moan that you won’t “compromise” with them, i.e., go along with another round of making government bigger. 

We’ve been seeing that sort of “compromise” for decades now, and it’s brought us to the verge of an economic meltdown unprecedented in history. Yet the collectivists keep insisting that somehow, some way, one more round of “compromise” that gives them most of what they want will do the trick and make things work out better.

To see Nancy’s support in the chin-pulling media, last week’s Tom Friedman column is a great example.

And even if Ryan’s entry does spark a meaningful debate about one of the great issues facing America — the nexus of debt, taxes and entitlements — there is little sign that we’ll seriously debate our other three major challenges: how to generate growth and upgrade the skills of every American in an age when the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution means every good job requires more education; how to meet our energy and climate challenges; and how to create an immigration policy that will treat those who are here illegally humanely, while opening America to the world’s most talented immigrants, whom we need to remain the world’s most innovative economy

But what’s even more troubling is that we need more than debates. That’s all we’ve been having. We need deals on all four issues as soon as this election is over, and I just don’t see that happening unless “conservatives” retake the Republican Party from the “radicals” — that is, the Tea Party base. America today desperately needs a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century “conservative” opposition to President Obama, and we don’t have that, even though the voices are out there.

This is the same sort of nonsense as that from Pelosi, under a different cover.

Friedman attempts to sound fair by admitting that we’re about to go off the cliff from entitlements and debt, and magnanimously agrees that we have to “do something”. Naturally, he ducks any mention of his preferred solution, and I don’t even have to know the details, because it is certain to mean higher taxes and more government. What else would we expect from someone who admires the authoritarians in China? (I notice that he doesn’t seem eager to notice their recent economic problems, and perhaps revisit his “analysis”, does he?)

But after that pro forma acknowledgment that serious problems must be solved, he veers off into how we absolutely must handle three other areas. It’s equally obvious that, as far as Friedman is concerned, more government is the preferred outcome.

Why else would these debates be so essential as soon as there’s a new Congress? What he’s suggesting is federal intervention to “upgrade skills” and “meet energy and climate challenges”. Naturally, he doesn’t bother to tell us precisely what government can do in these areas. He doesn’t really care much, as long as government gets more control.

Then he starts in on one area that is definitely the purview of the federal government: immigration. But he’s not for enforcing laws or any similar silly conservative notions. No, to him one of the top four critical issues that absolutely must be dealt with is how to treat illegal immigrants humanely. The fact that they chose to come here and can leave whenever they don’t like the way they’re treated never seems to enter his mind, nor does he support the claims of inhumane treatment. He just wants to again generate the urgency to “do something” because he expects the “something” that is reached via “compromise” to be within shouting distance of his preferred policy.

But he’s just setting the stage for his real lament:

We need deals on all four issues as soon as this election is over, and I just don’t see that happening unless “conservatives” retake the Republican Party from the “radicals” — that is, the Tea Party base.

See the rhetorical sleight of hand? Anyone who disagrees with his positions is automatically “radical”. Those who would “make a deal” with his side are the true conservatives.

This is just another example of wanting to own the terminology. Friedman thinks it’s completely appropriate for the left to dictate how political terms are used, even in describing their opponents. He want’s to redefine “conservative” to mean “someone who isn’t quite as collectivist as me, but is still willing to go along with the collectivist programs of the Democrats after some token opposition”. That is, he wants all respectable political labels to be flavors of collectivism.

He wants to redefine the Democrats like Pelosi too. I think it’s completely reasonable to say that she’s the most collectivist, far left Speaker of the House we’ve ever had, and her district is ideologically as collectivist as any in the nature. Obama is pretty much in the same territory, as his background and priorities during office have proven.

But to Friedman, they’re just “center left”:

We are not going to make any progress on our biggest problems without a compromise between the center-right and center-left. … Over the course of his presidency, Obama has proposed center-left solutions to all four of these challenges.

Again, the “compromise” he has in mind grows government. His “center-left” (which by historical standards is way, way to the left) would never, ever agree to anything else.

He concludes with

As things stand now, though, there is little hope this campaign will give the winner any basis for governing.

Sure, Tom, but whose fault is that? You want to claim it’s the fault of the right, because of course your vaunted collectivists are never at fault for anything that goes wrong, either here or in China. But why can’t your guys suck it up and compromise this time around?

The collectivist left has gotten their “compromises” from the GOP that led the way to bigger, more expensive, more debt-laden, and more intrusive government for decades. Isn’t it time for the compromise to go the other way for a while? Given the trouble we’re in, isn’t it time for the “center-left” to compromise for a while in the direction of less government?

No, of course not. For the likes of Obama, Pelosi, and Friedman, the day of admitting that their political opponents might have a point about big government will never come. They will never truly compromise with anyone who believes in limited government. They will only “compromise” – which means to keep growing government with the collusion of the establishment GOP.

I’m not the only one noticing this trend of redefining the terms instead of actually debating anything. Here’s James Taranto talking about the same thing:

Note carefully what is being asserted here. It’s not just that Democratic ideas are morally superior to Republican ones or that Barack Obama is a better president, or a better man, than Mitt Romney or would be, or is. Rather, the claim is that whereas billionaires who support Romney are greedy and selfish, those who back Obama are altruistic–or, to the extent they have a selfish motive, it is a relatively benign one, a simple desire to be in the presence of the Dear Leader.

It’s a leftist cliché that money corrupts politics. These leftists, however, believe that their politics somehow purifies money–that writing a check to Obama for America is an act of moral money-laundering.

Leftists have tried to own the terminology of politics as long as I remember. But notice, all these examples are within the last few days.

This is another sign to me that the Democrats are starting to feel desperation. They don’t have anything positive to talk about. They have no original or constructive ideas to offer the electorate. They have fallen back to spending almost all their time attempting to define the opposition as an intolerable alternative. They think that will let them win without a program, because they think they can simply define themselves as the only reasonable choice.

I do not think that’s going to work. But the collectivist Democrats will probably keep enough power in Congress to stymie any attempts by Republicans to do anything that reduces government in any substantial way.

If the Democrats lose the presidency (as I think likely) and the Senate (as I think possible), somehow I bet the collectivist left will suddenly lost their fervor for compromise. The filibuster will become an essential tool of democracy. A “do-nothing Congress” will quickly become a badge of honor instead of an insult.

But, when you’re a post-modernist, you never worry about consistency or hypocrisy. You just redefine your terms.


One more time with emphasis

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That’s not going to take away from the blog as I, for one, have the need to blog. 

QandO will be 9 years old on the 29th of August.  The Facebook page is just a part of the evolution of the blog.  In this case, it actually improves content without cluttering the blog. It’s not exactly "micro blogging" ala Twitter (we’re on that too) but it is short-form blogging.

Our Facebook page is here.  If you haven’t seen it you’ll recognize it. 

Please come over and join us with a “like.”

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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“Because it is all about me!” Obama asks Euro leaders to keep Greece in Eurozone till after the election

No I’m not kidding.  Talk about political gall.

There’s a meeting taking place in Europe:

Representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are due to arrive in Athens next month to assess Greece’s reform efforts.

They are expected to report in time for an 8 October meeting of eurozone finance ministers which will decide on whether to disburse Greece’s next €31bn aid tranche, promised under the terms of the bailout for the country.

American officials are understood to be worried that if they decide Greece has not done enough to meet its deficit targets and withhold the money, it would automatically trigger Greece’s exit from the eurozone weeks before the Presidential election on 6 November.

Oh my … election.  Hey Europe, this is about me!  Suck it up and hold off doing anything until after I win!

American officials are understood to be worried that if they decide Greece has not done enough to meet its deficit targets and withhold the money, it would automatically trigger Greece’s exit from the eurozone weeks before the Presidential election on 6 November.

They are urging eurozone Governments to hold off from taking any drastic action before then – fearing that the resulting market destabilisation could damage President Obama’s re-election prospects. European leaders are thought to be sympathetic to the lobbying fearing that, under pressure from his party lin Congress, Mitt Romney would be a more isolationist president than Mr Obama.

Amazing.  Disturbing.  But not surprising.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO

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