4 Responses to Unprecedented

Debate: Has Halloween Become Too Commercial?

Sunday, October 31, AD 2010

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  My last trick or treating experience as a child was in 1969 and I have reared my children in the McClarey Halloween tradition of ample candy, cheap costumes and Dad falling asleep on the couch after over indulging in candy.  May my offspring keep these hallowed traditions alive for the next generation!

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2 Responses to Debate: Has Halloween Become Too Commercial?

Negative Politics 1800 Style

Sunday, October 31, AD 2010

Reason TV reminds us that there is nothing new in regard to negative politics.  The most vitriolic election in US history was probably, as the above video indicates,  the election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

The above video is for my co-blogger Paul, not the biggest fan, to put it mildly, of the Third President of the United States.  Jefferson and Adams were accused of every vice imaginable except, perhaps, of cannibalism.   If  television had been available in 1800 the attack ads would have been sulphurous.

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3 Responses to Negative Politics 1800 Style

  • The only real difference is the media available for disseminating information, especially tv and the internet – that and our population is about 75x bigger today than in 1800, so more people = more rancor to spread around.

  • I know Don has seen this… the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL, has a video display of what TV campaign commercials might have looked like in 1860 had they existed. The late Tim Russert appeared in these clips originally (don’t know whether he still does). Needless to say they contain a lot of over the top attacks among each of the four (count ’em, four) major candidates — Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell.

  • I love those Elaine and I sit through them each year when I am down at the Museum. If they are ever posted on Youtube, I’ll have them up on TAC in heartbeat.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, AD 2010

In the spirit of the season, Taylor Marshall (Called to Communion) offers “top ten ways to have a Catholic Halloween:

This time of year introduces several debates. Among conservative Protestants it’s “Halloween or no Halloween?” which sometimes becomes “Halloween vs. Reformation Day,” the latter being the celebration of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses on Oct 31. Even some Catholics are concerned that Halloween has become “evil.” Well, here are ten ways to keep good ol’ Halloween fun and sacred. …

Secondly, a great reflection by John Zmirak (InsideCatholic) on “the brightest, best moment of the whole liturgical year.”

And speaking of our Protestant brethren, John Mark Reynolds (First Things‘ “Evangel”) asks: Is Reformation Day the new Kwanzaa? 😉

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One Response to Happy Halloween!

Chris Christie: A Sensitive Guy

Saturday, October 30, AD 2010

A lot of Republicans are going to be elected on Tuesday precisely because the Democrats have no clue in  regard to restraining government spending.  If the Republicans do not wish to find themselves in the same boat two years hence, they must embrace the hardnosed attitude of Chris Christie in taking an axe to spending.  Republican elected officials, look at what Chris Christie is doing in New Jersey, and go thou and do likewise.

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10 Responses to Chris Christie: A Sensitive Guy

  • I love it!

    Christie 2012!

  • But, but, but…
    Democrats are for the working people!

  • It actually is pretty simple. The federal government should only do what they are constitutionally required to do. Under our Constitution the federal government has very few responsibilities. Problem is politics get involved and when things aren’t perfect people look to the politicians and ask why not. Gutless politicians say next time Nanny government will make sure X won’t be a problem. Reality is, life involves problems. When citizens want government to solve all their problems they forget there is no such thing as government. Government is your neighbor. Next time someone say government ought to ______ they are really saying their neighbor ought to _______. Now read that again and think of yourself as the neighbor.

  • He is wonderful. I hope other politicians will look at Christie and realize that you can talk to us voters like we are reasoning grown-ups and you’ll not only survive, but thrive. You don’t have to lie and tell us if you are elected we will get every goody in the world without paying for it (courtesy of “the rich”). I mean, that would be nice, just like it would be nice if I won Powerball and lollipops dropped from the heavens, but no sensible adult banks on any of those things happening.

  • The clip cuts off Christie’s punch-line, where he tells the Democratic Senate leader that because of the criticism he is going to rescind the executive order and let them deal with it, and the leader says “hold on, Governor, let’s not overreact.”

  • “Christie 2012!”

    Whoa, slow down there folks, I understand why you like him so much (I do too) but for cryin’ out loud, he hasn’t even been governor for a year and already you’re talking about running him for POTUS? Nope, let him finish the job NJ residents elected him to do, then maybe ask that question again in 2016. Or 2020, if NJ decides to keep him for another term.

    “You don’t have to lie and tell us if you are elected we will get every goody in the world without paying for it (courtesy of “the rich”).”

    Neither do politicians have to lie and tell us that all our budget problems will be solved purely by getting rid of “waste and fraud,” with no cuts to services relied upon by anyone other than certain despised classes (i.e. Medicaid/welfare recipients, unionized government employees), and no impact on public infrastructure or facilities.

    I’m not arguing, at all, that budget cuts aren’t necessary or that getting rid of waste and fraud isn’t important. I am saying, however, that politicians should be honest about the fact that solving budget crises on cuts alone without tax increases will NOT be painless. Simply promising “no new taxes” is not enough. To his credit Christie seems to have been honest about that as well.

    “Republican elected officials, look at what Chris Christie is doing in New Jersey, and go thou and do likewise.”

    Here in Illinois, Bill Brady, who could be our governor-elect by this time next week if all goes well, has borrowed heavily from the Christie playbook, and Christie has made several campaign appearances in IL on Brady’s behalf.

    However, given the differences in the two men’s style, in their previous govermental experience (Christie is a former prosecutor; Brady is a state legislator and owner of a construction company) and in the constitutional powers they can or would be able to exercise, our mileage may vary.

  • The Democrats are NOT for the working people. They are for power and making people feel helpless. The whole idea of giving people money and foodstamps is on the surface kind but ultimately is NOT. It causes people to live a kind of subsistence life and never helps them get ahead. It says the person is not ABLE to succeed. A kinder method would be to help the person learn work skills and learn to support themselves. It sucks the pride out of people.

  • I am saying, however, that politicians should be honest about the fact that solving budget crises on cuts alone without tax increases will NOT be painless.

    I completely agree, Elaine. I think what is really infuriating is when pols ask ordinary people to sacrifice while making it clear that the political class itself will exempt itself from those sacrifices. Obamacare will not apply to Congress. Kerry votes in favor of taxes while dodging them himself. Al Gore calls on us peons to live a spartan lifestyle while he lives in mansions and flies around the world on a private jet. The obvious discrepancy between how the Ruling Class lives and how they expect the rest of us to live is behind the anger toward the “elites.”

  • I love Christie’s performances on camera like this. He is truly a master of Irish diplomacy, the art of telling someone to go to hell and making them look forward to the trip.

    Indeed, I hear from any number of people, red or blue, that have only disdain for the “my opponent is an agent of Satan” level of political discourse. Tell it to us straight! “Vote for me because my opponent is evil incarnate” so clearly stretches the truth (hey, both of you may be evil incarnate for all I know) as to give up all credibility for you as someone I’d want in office. Any office. “Oh, we can’t cut X. Anyone who’d cut X has no heart.” Yeah? We haven’t got the money anymore, if we ever did. Tell us how to balance the budget. “Waste and fraud” is Washington-ese for “we’re going to pretend.” It is totally meaningless and everybody in the system knows it. It really translates to “we can’t make ends meet politically or financially, so we’ll just borrow the difference.”

    ‘Character before policy’ may not make the political wonks very happy but sometimes I have to vote for someone I disagree with simply because the guy on my side is clueless. Don’t even get me started on people who say things like “I can’t be friends with him because he’s in the other political party.” Talk about Shites and Sunnis! Christie goes down so well because he isn’t into attack, that I see. He has the facts and the other guys have emotion. Remember how, when Reagan was attacked, he’d start with “Well, there you go again…..” and smile as he said it. Same deal.

    I love his line about “I’d love to be the guy going around giving out all kinds of good things. That isn’t when I got to be governor.”

A Chicken or Egg Question

Saturday, October 30, AD 2010

The question above has nothing to do with cooking.  Rather, it has to do with the ongoing debate over the role of government vs. the role of the family, churches, charities, and other voluntary private organizations in assisting vulnerable persons such as the poor, children, the handicapped and the elderly.

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19 Responses to A Chicken or Egg Question

  • Gov welfare policies do not work.

    They spent over $1 trillion in 1964 dollars on the Great Society and the number of poverty-stricken was the same after all that blown tax money. We the people have $13,000,000,000,000.00 in federal debt and nothing to show for it. Obama added $3 trillion in debt in less than two years and what do we have to show for it? Our children and grandchildren will suffer for it.

    1. Absolutely correct. Add to divorce, fornication and promiscuity generating children among people who can’t support themselves in the first place. Many of the poor (and probably 99% of liberals) are avid practitioners of the at least three or four of the seven deadly sins. CA food stamps/welfares checks routinely cashed in Las Vegas.

    2. In my family, all my wife’s gross salary pays taxes; net doesn’t come close to our variious tax bills.

    3. True.

    4. Too true!

    5. Obamacare will end that problem.

    ” . . . liberals argue that government should take the lead . . . ” because they must have expanding dependencies (the indigent, government employees, public employee unions, big labor unions, etc.) voting to keep in power.

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  • “Add to divorce, fornication and promiscuity generating children among people who can’t support themselves in the first place.”

    That would be included under “single parenthood.”

    “CA food stamps/welfare checks routinely cashed in Las Vegas”

    Actually, that sounds like an urban legend to me.

  • Excellent post, Elaine.

    I’ve been thinking quite a bit about education lately. The whole situation seems loony to me. Parents work themselves to the bone and spend nights tossing and turning worrying about college tuition bills, when the truth of the matter is that many kids who would be happy and useful being carpenters or plumbers or chefs end up miserably occupying a cubicle in, say,an HR Department. The present-day belief that a college education is a “right” everyone is entitled to has only led to the further debasing of the worth of a bachelor’s degree. Virtually every young college student I know believes he or she will have to go on to a post-grad school to land a really good job, because bachelor’s degrees are – well, I would say a dime a dozen, but with the tuition at private colleges running about $30,000 a year these days, and even state schools becoming increasingly expensive, it’s not dimes we’re talking about here.

    Bringing back societal respect for the dignity and worth of the trades and manual labor would help. I know middle class parents who would be very disappointed, even ashamed, if their child chose to be say, a plumber, rather than an IT specialist, but hey, you can’t outsource a plumber’s job to India, can you? Yet Obama talks of ensuring that even more young people go to college. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    (The whole higher education bubble is, I think, one reason – among many – why even Catholic couples end up using the Pill, condoms, etc. Putting even one child through college can be ruinously expensive these days. And, unfortunately, the days of working your way through college are long gone.)

  • “Bringing back societal respect for the dignity and worth of the trades and manual labor would help”

    True, but bear in mind that many of these trades are heavily unionized, which has its advantages but also distinct disadvantages.

    “Unfortunately the days of working your way through college are long gone”

    If you insist upon completing a full bachelor’s degree in 4 years or less of full-time attendance while living on campus, yes, it will be difficult if not impossible to earn your own way completely. But if you live at home while attending a community/junior college for the first 2-3 years, or take classes part time, or do a stint in the military first and take advantage of GI Bill benefits, it can be done.

    The notion that putting a child through college means sending them away from home and paying for 4 years of tuition, books, supplies, room and board completely on the parental dime, or having the child literally mortgage their future with student loan debt for decades to come, isn’t necessarily true.

  • I have to believe that the demise or at least the curtailment of statism would naturally lead to a renaissance of private initiative.

    The problem is that society would inevitably pass through a painful phase of readjustment, having been dependent for so long upon public largess.

    Individualism has made it such that everyone is expected to make their own way. People often think I now support individualism because I oppose statism, but the opposite is true; only voluntary collectivism can replace statism, which is really forced individualism.

    Because we are not unified or in communion in any meaningful sense through the state. The Leviathan is an artificial creation, a machine with cogs and gears, not an organic development that passes through trial and error, shedding what fails and retaining what works. The Leviathan is an aggregate of individuals who gravitate towards it as iron shavings to a magnet. If the magnet loses its pull, the individual shavings collapse in a disorganized heap.

    But it is not a part of our natural condition to remain in such a way. We have a social instinct, which the Leviathan smothers but cannot kill. The first generation after Leviathan’s collapse may suffer greatly, but subsequent generations would reform themselves on natural principles and reason (both of which are God-given, woven into the fabric of our being). This is the significance of Locke, and why I stridently reject the notion that he was a “Hobbesian.”

    Leviathan is ultimate the product of philosophers and the home of bureaucrats. Nature is the home of the rest of the human race, and organic civilization is its product.

    Philosophers in their own minds soar above the rest of humanity, while bureaucrats are terrified of it. Regular human beings simply organize spontaneously on rational principles. MJAndrew and I had quite a debate on all this, and I’ll say there that from Aquinas to Locke there a gradual need developed to redefine what was evident and rational from nature as a positive, God-granted right that needed to be defended against the likes of Hobbes or Louis XIV. And that need is still with us today, which is why I think Locke’s argument still matters, for Catholics and for everyone. And that in turn is the significance of Rerum Novarum.

    I’ll be putting that in more succinct form for an upcoming Inside Catholic article very soon. The bottom line is that we must still defend ourselves against Leviathan, and as Catholics we can actually do this better with natural rights arguments than we can with most “traditional” arguments, though we ultimately need both since we see how arguments from rights can be savagely abused.

  • Right on the money, Elaine.

    Except for #3 ( the NZ economy is still dependant on our agricultural economy) our system has become “cradle to grave” dependency. It was out hope that with the election of the present National govt. back in 2008 that much of the socialisation that has happened under successive ‘socialist’ style govts over the past few decades would have been eleimated.
    However, much to many of us on the right-of-centre political leaning, our present masters seem to have – once the snout was in the trough – have continued along the same hand-out-mentality path.

    The next hope is for the upcoming election next year for them to consolidate their position and then get rid of the ‘dependency syndrome’.

    Am I holding my breath? 🙁

  • “While I am no fan of an intrusive nanny state, I have to say that simply shutting off the government spigot won’t necessarily yield the results these people expect, at least not in the short term.+”

    Though that is a strawman. I don’t believe there are many conservatives who argue about eliminating govt. programs completely. I believe there are many who are arguing enough is enough and that further expansion of our, very generous, current welfare system is harmful to economic and social conditions and thus to the common good.

  • Another question to ask is, which came first? the feminist movement of the ’60s and ’70s or the economy requiring a two-income household?

    And how about this? the feminist movement or the obesity epidemic, especially among children?

    And how about this one? the feminist movement or the break-up of the family unit?

    And–, the feminist movement or the sexual revolution, with the resulting 50 million abortions?

    And–, the feminist movement, or the reliance of women on government handouts and programs such as daycare?

    How about–, the feminist movement or the disintegration of the young male psyche who was despised because he wasn’t a girl?

    Or, the feminist movement, or the fact that more men are losing their jobs today than women?

    Nobody in the media dares to approach any of these questions. They would rather blame MacDonald’s for their fat kids instead of the woman who is too tired at the end of the day to prepare a meal with real food. My heavens! most young women today don’t even know what real food is, let alone how to make a meal of it.

  • Louise, all that may be true, but notice that my #2 point is not ONLY about working women.

    BOTH men and women work farther away from home for more hours than they used to, leading to more reliance on fast food, at the same time they also spend more hours sitting down at computers, in cars and at home. Result: obesity.

    Another big reason kids are fat: they don’t play outdoors as much as they used to… partly because they may prefer to watch video games or play on the computer, it’s true, but also because fear of crime and lack of acquaintance with neighbors (see #3) prompt parents to keep their kids indoors more.

  • Another point: I don’t think the sexual revolution was entirely a female invention. Alfred Kinsey and Hugh Hefner did just as much or more to promote it as, say, Gloria Steinem or Helen Gurley Brown. Go even farther back and you have figures such as Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw promoting what was then called “free love.” And Margaret Sanger didn’t act entirely alone when it came to promoting Planned Parenthood — she had a lot of help from the (predominantly male) eugenics movement.

  • “I don’t think the sexual revolution was entirely a female invention.”

    You can put a few exclamation points after that Elaine! The sexual revolution has been a dream come true for predatory males, and women, kids and decent men have been the victims.

  • Great article, Elaine.

    Two other things that strike me are that:

    – A rapidly industrializing society offered people in a more traditional society (whether that be 1700s England or late 20th century India) the chance to make far more money, but only if they moved away from family and village support structures. This probably helped create the vacuum that statism fills.

    – I don’t think we really would have got to this spot if it weren’t for the fact that people often prefer, on a pragmatic basis, relying on government to relying on family, for the simple reason that relying on government is more sure: It’s less likely to go bankrupt (though as Greece has seen, when the finances go south everyone is in trouble) and you don’t have to go through the work of maintaining a relationship with it the way you do with crotchety relations who nonetheless might have the money to help if you get into trouble some day.

  • Elaine, thank you for your response. Did you come of age in the ’60s or ’70s? –or later? If so, you did not experience the difference in women’s lives first hand after Steinem, Kinsey, and the woman (forget her name) who pretended to be a frustrated, unfulfilled haus frau, but who, it turns out, was an active member of the Communist party, seeking what we called “the industrialization of women.” The plan to separate women from their children, their husbands, and their homes, and to incorporate them into the workforce. it was a difference as between night and day. I am 77. I lived through it all as an adult with the experience of a different kind of life.. It was not pleasant and too long to describe, but I saw many younger women’s lives torn apart and their families as well by buying into the feminist lie. Yes, it goes back to the ’20s and before, but they really had no active role in the ’60s, except perhaps in the minds of the instigators.
    There was a commercial on TV about five years ago that showed a group of women, in their 40s, dancing in the sunshine, saying, “What a wonderful age this is.”. I used to think, “How nice for you. Do you know that you made your parents’ lives pure hell when they were your age? It was not a wonderful age for them. You all but destroyed them.”

    When you reach adulthood living in a war zone, you really can’t appreciate the devastation that was wrought on what it was before.

  • I used to think, “How nice for you. Do you know that you made your parents’ lives pure hell when they were your age? It was not a wonderful age for them. You all but destroyed them.”

    When you reach adulthood living in a war zone, you really can’t appreciate the devastation that was wrought on what it was before.

    God bless you Louise and thank you for articulating that.

  • “Did you come of age in the ’60s or ’70s or later”

    I was born in 1964; you do the math.

    “I saw many younger women’s lives torn apart… by buying into the feminist lie”

    Could you be more specific about what parts of feminism you consider to be a “lie”? A lot of different things, both good and bad, get lumped under the heading of feminism and a blanket condemnation of feminism tends to come off as a condemnation of those aspects which nearly everyone, including devout, traditional, pro-life and family Catholics, would consider good.

    In my opinion, the bad parts of feminism were:

    the promotion of abortion and sexual freedom/promiscuity (made possible, of course, by contraception);

    a hostile attitude toward men in general and toward male authority figures in particular;

    the notion that children do not need both a mother and a father and that those roles are interchangeable at will;

    the idea that all differences between men and women are purely cultural and can be changed with enough social conditioning;

    the loss of respect for stay at home wives and mothers (who as I pointed out above, often cared for older or disabled relatives as well as children); and

    the idea that women could “have it all” in the sense of being able to devote themselves entirely to career advancement without consideration for its effect on their family lives. (Of course men also need to consider this too — “workaholic” men who are never there for their wives or children have a detrimental effect on family life also.)

    Now, what were the “good” parts of feminism, if feminism is even the right word to describe it? I would say they were:

    the promotion of equal pay for equal work and of women’s right to enter any profession or occupation for which they are qualified;

    the belief that education for women should be taken as seriously as that of men;

    eliminating the attitude that women did not need education or career training because they could just rely on their future husbands to take care of them (this attitude did still exist even in my parent’s and grandparent’s generation, even though women can always lose even the most devoted husbands and fathers to death or disability, and he could always lose his job, requiring her to step in as breadwinner);

    the end of legal principles and employment practices that treated women, especially married women, as if they were perpetual minors; and

    getting rid of the presumption that women were at fault when they suffered domestic violence, rape or sexual abuse. Of course, some feminists go overboard in the other direction nowadays and act as if all men are potential rapists, or as if ONLY men are ever violent or abusive. Women can commit these crimes too. However, it was not that long ago when women who were raped or abused by male partners or relatives were routinely treated by the police and courts as if they must be lying or must have “asked for it. ”

    So, not all social changes affecting the role of women in the post-World War II era have been bad or destructive of family life. Nor was there necessarily some kind of overarching “plan” or plot to destroy marriage and the family involved. However, many social movements and changes that start out good or have good aspects can end up having unintended and ultimately destructive consequences. The trick is to weed out the good from the bad.

  • Dear Elaine,
    Sorry I didn’t answer you last night. I was exhausted after an afternoon of clearing the fence line of 10-foot wild roses and briars and 6-foot golden rod, and lopping dozens of saplings and brush. Not as young as I used to be.
    The lie of feminism. You said it yourself: it’s the lie that women can have it all; that women are entitled to it all and deserve it all; that they can have it all with no consequences to anyone, least of all themselves; that they are and always have been victims of male oppression; that, as soon as they cast off the chains of male oppression, they will live happy, fulfilled, satisfied lives (“we have nothing to lose but our chains”), etc. etc. etc. Women are the oppressed. Patriarchy is the oppressive system, and it must be thrown off. Sounds like a political philosophy to me. (BTW, Bella Abzug was the name I had forgotten–a real sweetheart.)

    As an economic policy, consider this. My husband’s first salary as a chemist was $500/month, $6,000/year. Our small family could could live without effort on that salary. (As a Lieutenant, J.G., before discharge, it was just short of that.) I don’t remember the tax structure, but, for our purposes, let’s say, 10%, we paid $600 in federal income tax. Now, if I could have been persuaded to go to work for, say, $400/month or $4800/year, our combined income would be $10,800, and our taxes, now in a higher income bracket of say, 13%, would be $1,404. ($6000 + $4800 x .13) That’s more than double the taxes due on my husband’s single income And then there is the increased revenue from gasoline taxes (two cars needed now), and probably smaller families (fewer child tax deductions and fewer children to educate, with the additional bonus of having children for longer hours to indoctrinate), less volunteerism justifying federal programs to fill the gap in addition to redistribution of wealth. You don’t think that leftist mouthes were salivating over this? Think of all the federal programs that could be maintained, and, after all, we didn’t NEED that much, and others certainly deserved it more. Sounds like a political philosophy to me and a good basis on which to build a political structure. I think that there was a plan.

    The fact that children were made to bear the brunt of this revolution by having to become the parent and the emotional support of the now-victimized mother, by being forced, as small children, to live according to an adult schedule–out of bed at 6 am (bad night? no sleep? too bad, mother’s got to go to work. See you at 6-pm–that is is of little concern to anyone, except perhaps the mother with a tender conscience.

    Education as “the fall back” insurance? How helpful is a 20-year old degree in anthropology in getting back in the workforce at an advanced level? A late career is more likely to be behind the counter or the cash register. If you want to advance in a career, you’d better stick with it after graduating. BTW, a stack of pay stubs is pretty cold comfort at the end of one’s life, and the mother who abandoned her children to day care, will probably be abandoned to a nursing home in her old age when she can no longer play golf with her friends in the retirement home.

    Lower income? As an employer why should I pay a woman as much as I pay a man if, after a year’s training, she is likely to decide that her biological clock is winding down and she wants to quit her job and raise a family, or she falls asleep in a department meeting (I”ve seen it happen) because she was up all night with a feverish child, or she takes maternity leave and leaves her work burden to fall on all of the single women in the department, whose work load is already overburdened because the economy is bad and the company isn’t hiring.

    And the boys. (Another big lie: that boys got all the recognition in class and girls were ignored. I don’t know how that got past the giggle test. Girls were the favored sex in every class I was in in grade or high school). The boys really suffered, especially during adolescence, when they are already feeling the ground shift under their feet, they are told to go to the back of the bus and shut up. It was the “girls’ turn.” I had a son who suffered that indignity (born in 1971, BTW. His nearest sibling was born in 1961). These days, every professional program in college enrolls more women than me. When I began a career in publishing after attending college in my 50s, every male acquisitions editor was replaced with a female when he left the company. Every Catholic church that allowed girls at the altar, now have almost no boys. (One parish in our vicinity has 27 extraordinary ministers on a Sunday. About 4 of them are men.)

    There is lots more to say, but that’s enough for now, except to say that the worst lie of all is the one that says that this life can be perfect if I can just manipulate and control all the people and circumstances in my life. It’s not perfect. Never was; never will be. Some sacrifices are worth it.

  • When I speak of women’s education being taken less serioiusly in the past, I am thinking primarily of higher education — the notion that women didn’t “need” or had no use for education beyond high school.

    In grade and high school, yes, girls are and always have been “favored” in the sense that teachers tend to like them better and because they are better able to sit through classes and obey the rules than most boys can. Young boys, of course, would rather be up and about doing something other than sitting at a desk, and tend to have shorter attention spans. As a result, they are far more likely to be labeled as being “hyperactive” or having ADD or some variation thereof than girls are. (Yet another manifestation of the feminist notion that all sex differences are purely cultural and can be programmed out of a child if you try hard enough)

    Although I never got to experience it myself (I attended a Catholic high school that had been all-boys but had gone co-ed a few years earlier) I personally believe single-sex education at the junior high and high school level would be a great thing — it would enable boys to learn to be men and girls to learn to be women in an environment where they don’t have to worry about how they are going to look in front of the opposite sex, PLUS they would have teachers who don’t have to deal with both sexes at once also. Now before anyone asks “But how are they going to learn how to get along with the opposite sex,” well, they have all their off hours, weekends, and summer vacations to do that, right?

    The decline of single-sex education is, I agree, one of the saddest casualties of the feminist movement.

    As for the preponderance of women among extraordinary ministers and the like… well, women are and always have tended to be more “churchy” and religiously observant than men in our culture, and in past generations (like my father’s and grandfather’s, and if you are Catholic, I am sure you remember this also) usually husbands were more likely to lapse from the faith and leave their wives and kids to go to Mass by themselves every Sunday, than the other way around. This was the case long before Vatican II.

    That, I think, is more a result of men abdicating THEIR responsibility to show spiritual leadership and leaving it to women to fill the void, than of women consciously attempting to take over.

    C.S. Lewis wrote that the “crown” of headship than the husband wears as head of the home is a “crown of thorns” that, too often, he shoves off on his wife and forces HER to carry, rather than grasping too eagerly for it himself. But, I digress. That could be a topic for another day.

  • Thanks, Elaine. Re: the church with the 27 E.M.s a week, 4 of them men (BTW, the bulletin of that parish reports a collection of only 250 envelopes or so each week. We left that parish after a couple of years.) Our present parish has only altar boys, a group of about 40 boys and young men–no girls allowed, the Faith is taught uncompromisingly and without apology, and, coincidentally, I have been observing of late the number of men in the congregation. Except for the widows and young unmarried women (the young, unmarried men are serving at the altar), just about every family on a Sunday comes equipped with a husband/father, and there are a number of widowers also. It’s true that, in many instances, women are only filling a leadership void in the family, but, do you know, it took a long for my husband to find out that I didn’t buy the woman’s lib. stuff, and, thinking that I did, he backed off his leadership so that I wouldn’t feel “oppressed.” Men read the newspapers and watch TV, too.

    My husband gave me a birthday card once with the message: “Happy Birthday from the one who rules the roost to the one who rules the rooster.” I loved it.

    There has never been “man’s work” and woman’s work” in our home. I have always shoveled as much snow as he in the winter–at least timewise, my shovelfuls were a little smaller. He dries the dishes, and he has done the cooking since I went to work and he was working from the home. I drive the John Deere, mowing all the pastures, even the long, steep front hill; he uses the electric mower to get where the tractor can’t go. I clean house and do laundry. He helps hang clothes on the line if he’s handy. He fixes plumbing and electrical connections. He plasters, I sand, paint, and varnish. He puts up wall paper. I trim sheep’s hooves while he keeps the sheep amused or sometimes holds them still on their backs in his lap on the ground. He saws downed trees and branches. I pack up the brush in the wagon and drive it to the brush pile. We both throw it up and over. I pick up the fork to get the olives out of the jar. He picks up the spoon. He has taught me, by example, to be kind; I have taught him that a huge job can be tackled one step at a time, that he doesn’t need to be overwhelmed by any job, no matter how large. He keeps me grounded; I help him fly a little. We cut each other a lot of slack because both of our physical stamina and our memories are slowing down. It was his impetus to convert to the Catholic Church. I followed along. Am I blessed, or what?

Chester

Saturday, October 30, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  Chester by William Billings.  During the American Revolution, this was the unofficial national anthem for the new United States.  As we participate in elections it is good to recall the struggles throughout our history that bequeathed to us the freedoms we enjoy today.  We stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us, and we should never forget that.

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One Response to Chester

5 Responses to Crist's Cross

Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

Friday, October 29, AD 2010

With all the talk about the upcoming Congressional midterms, local races are getting overlooked.  This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons.  First of all, despite a century plus of actions and efforts to the contrary, federalism is still alive, and state governments still matter.  Second, these races have an impact upon national elections because states will be redrawing their districts in the wake of the 2010 census.

It would be a massive undertaking beyond my abilities and time to look at each state’s legislative elections, though most projections I have heard have the Republicans gaining a massive amount of seats in state legislatures.  Republicans are projected to switch majority control in about five or six states at a minimum.  Here I will be taking a look at each of the gubernatorial elections.

On a side note, it may seem odd to label these elections as pickups and holds.  After all, it’s not as though governors gather en masse and vote, so having a “majority” of governorships seems not to be that big of a deal.  But for the aforementioned reasons, it is important to win as many of these races as possible.  Currently there are 26 Democratic governors and 24 Republican.  Republicans will certainly have a majority after Tuesday.  As is the case with the House, the only question is how big of a majority.

And now, to the races we go:

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14 Responses to Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

  • “While the south started voting for Republicans on the presidential level around the time of Barry Goldwater …”

    It was Eisenhower that first got the South voting for Republicans for President. In 1952, Ike won Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida (and, if you count “border states”, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Maryland); in 1956, he won those same states, except for Missouri, and added West Virginia and Kentucky.

    Goldwater was able to crack the deep South, but not for reasons I’d be particularly proud of.

  • The importance of the governerships is that this is the year for reapportionment, and the governor may have a role, depending on the state’s law.

  • I’ll give Maryland one thing. It’s been easier to register my historic sports car with heavily modified and highly illegal V8 engine in Maryland than in DC, my other address of record. DC is more blue than Maryland.

  • Paul, this is the best analysis of the gubernatorial races I’ve read. My only disagreements are in Colorado where I think crazed Tom Tancredo will win, and Minnesota where I think crazy, and certifiable, Mark Dayton will win. Our bottom line totals are precisely the same.

  • Thank you, Donald. I thought it would be helpful to have them all in one place.

    And now tomorrow, all 435 House races.

    Errrr, maybe not.

  • Great observations about New England. All of the states but Maine have elected Republican governors in recent years. I can’t wait for this red state / blue state myth to disappear.

  • Seems to me, Paul, that, quite the contrary, federalism is on the decline as the rights of states have been eroded by a tide of tyranny from the halls of Congress and the White house. Arizona is the latest in a long line of victims.

  • You won’t get much disagreement from me, Joe. SCOTUS has turned the 10th Amendment into a mere “truism,” and the trend has certainly been towards more power in the hands of the federal government. But federalism isn’t completely dead yet, and state government still retain a great deal of autonomy. Hopefully we can reverse the trend in the coming years.

  • There were a couple of polls that had Palladino within striking distance, but then he opened his mouth.

    That is ‘Paladino’. Much of the embarassment surrounding his campaign can be attributed to the behavior of the Republican establishment, who have abandoned him. The New York Republican Party is a cliquish institution, and those chaps react very badly to characters they view as unclubbable. That would enclude Messrs. Paladino and Hoffman, whose potential as candidates was stunted by the behavior of other elected officials and party hacks.

    What is interesting is that some engaging candidates are running for Congressional seats this year, but they did not seem to be able to recruit anyone of note for the state-wide contests. The state party chairman attempted to recruit a Democratic politico from Long Island to run for Governor (for whatever reason). The clubmen on the state committee were not buying and nominated the amiable Mr. Lazio. Mr. Paladino petitioned for a primary and dispatched the clubmen’s choice so thoroughly that it revealed a chasm between them and their voting public (about which I would wager they give not a damn).

    Some time decades hence there may be in New York an authentic political party organized in opposition to the rule of public employee unions and fixers. Right now what there is is a rancid fund raising and patronage mill thoroughly dominated by mediocrities.

  • Yes, here in Illinois, our governors make the license plates, literally.

    In my area of downstate Illinois, it seems like what’s been going on at the national level has filtered down to every other level. At every level, we’ve had Democrats in charge for a while, and they’ve gotten arrogant, wasteful, and sloppy about covering their tracks. Whether it’s Congressman Phil “I don’t worry about the Constitution” Hare putting his foot in his mouth again, or our mayor and top city officials taking an afternoon off for a celebratory golf outing after maintaining their majority in the last election, or our sheriff driving his work vehicle all over the place on personal time; the story is pretty much the same: people who think we can’t live without them, so they can do whatever they want.

  • “the near certainty of a jail sentence upon the completion of one’s term (as Illinois governor)”

    That is particularly true if said governor is a Democrat.

    The last elected Democratic governor to avoid criminal conviction or imprisonment was Adlai Stevenson — yes, THE Adlai Stevenson who ran against Ike twice. EVERY other Democrat elected in the last 60 years — Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and Rod Blagojevich — ended up being convicted of some crime, although in Walker’s case, the offense for which he went to prison (some kind of S & L loan fraud) occurred long after he had left office and become a private citizen.

    Republican governors have a much better (though not perfect) track record of staying out of jail. In the last 60 years, one (George Ryan) ended up in jail; one (William Stratton) was acquitted of tax evasion charges; and three (Richard Ogilvie, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar) have clean records. I’d say that bodes better for Brady.

    I think Brady will win in Illinois, though it won’t be a blowout. Democrats can, of course, take Chicago and Cook County for granted, but the suburbs or “collar counties” outside Chicago are still on the fence.

    The esteemed Illinois political blogger Rich Miller of Capitol Fax foresees disaster of Biblical proportions for Democrats downstate. No Democrat, whether running for General Assembly, Congress, or statewide office, is safe south of I-80.

  • “The esteemed Illinois political blogger Rich Miller of Capitol Fax foresees disaster of Biblical proportions for Democrats downstate. No Democrat, whether running for General Assembly, Congress, or statewide office, is safe south of I-80.”

    Music to my Downstate heart Elaine!

  • Don, it should be noted here that if Quinn loses on Tuesday, the 60-plus-year streak of ELECTED Democratic Illinois governors ending up as felons will remain unbroken for at least four more years, since Quinn was not originally elected governor but succeeded Blago after the latter’s impeachment.

    The only other exception to this Democratic-governors-becoming-felons rule was Sam Shapiro — the Democratic lieutenant governor who succeeded Otto Kerner when the latter was appointed a federal judge. Shapiro served only 8 months in 1968-69 and ran for election in his own right but lost. Unfortunate, since he was by all accounts a smart and honest guy.

  • California please vote for Meg Whitman! If Brown wins, this state will become a gay marriage state, there will be extensive embryonic stem cell research, and cap and trade will be implemented, causing more business to leave the state. Schwarzenegger’s troubles in leadership are hurting Meg. If a republican state house is voted in you will see major changes in the state with Meg. Don’t be turned off by her ability to pay her own way. She is a successful, courageous woman ready to serve the people of the state, not labor unions, not extreme environmentalist, not the liberal agenda hurting our schools.

Voting, the Pope and What Really Matters

Friday, October 29, AD 2010

Hattip to Rich Leonardi at his blog Ten Reasons, a blog I read every day.  Pope Benedict in his current visit to Brazil gives all the Faithful in the US food for thought as we go to the polls next Tuesday:

“First, the duty of direct action to ensure a just ordering of society falls to the lay faithful who, as free and responsible citizens, strive to contribute to the just configuration of social life, while respecting legitimate autonomy and natural moral law”, the Holy Father explained. “Your duty as bishops, together with your clergy, is indirect because you must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes”.

“When forming these judgements, pastors must bear in mind the absolute value of those … precepts which make it morally unacceptable to chose a particular action which is intrinsically evil and incompatible with human dignity. This decision cannot be justified by the merit of some specific goal, intention, consequence or circumstance, Thus it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenceless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state?”

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8 Responses to Voting, the Pope and What Really Matters

Abolish The Corporate Income Tax and Tax The Rich

Thursday, October 28, AD 2010

Atlantic columnist Megan McArdle makes the case for why abolishing the corporate income tax (and then taxing capital gains and dividends at the same rate as other income) is a proposal that both liberals and conservatives should be able to agree on:

The incidence of “corporate” taxes is not necessarily progressive. The “employer half” of the payroll tax, for example, is thought by most economists to fall pretty much entirely on the worker; corporations compensate for the extra cost by lowering the wages they offer. Taxes on corporate profits are exactly the same for middle class families who have some shares in a 401(k), and multi-millionaire heiresses.

If we get rid of the corporate income tax, we could eliminate the special treatment for dividends and capital gains.

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28 Responses to Abolish The Corporate Income Tax and Tax The Rich

  • Taxing individuals is messier than taxing corporations and I don’t like using cap gains and dividends as a proxy for high income but I guess it’s better than nothing. I’d still prefer a VAT to replace them all though.

  • My guess is that the U.S.’s corporate tax rate is on the downward slope of the Laffer curve, so you could raise more revenue by decreasing the tax rate.

    The corporate tax is basically a very inefficient disguised VAT, so of course ideally a VAT would be preferable. Politically, though, I don’t see it happening.

  • Only a person who has no understanding of subchapter c would claim that taxing individuals is messier than taxing corporations. The corporate income tax is a set of exceedingly complex rules. McArdle is right that its economic incidence falls on consumers, employees and shareholders in essentially arbitrary but constantly shifting proportions depending of a variety of economic forces. Eliminating the tax does indeed make some economic sense, but the problem is deferral. Unless corporations were required to distribute earnings every year in the form of taxable dividends, then shareholders will expect corporations to defer dividends and therefore defer tax, and corporations will quite sensibly cooperate. The holy grail is called “integration,” whereunder all income would be taxed currently (i.e., as it is earned or realized) one time either at the corporate or shareholder level, but never both levels. Many tax law professors have offered various proposals to do this, but all are fairly complicated — more complicated than subchapter K or S which do something similar with smaller businesses formed as partnerships or s corporations. And anyone who thinks those subchapters are easy to understand is very mistaken.

    In my view, we should impose two types of levies. First, fees designed to pass on concrete social costs to those responsible for creating those costs, such as gas taxes for road maintenance. Corporations should not be immune from such levies. Taxes designed to pay for general governmental services should be imposed only on individuals, and the best approach IMO would be a broad-based consumption tax like that proposed by Harvard’s Wm Andrews and former Senator Sam Nunn. Basically, the idea would be to simply adjust our current income tax to allow for deductions for all additions to savings and tax all subtractions from savings. We essentially do this already with 401(k) plans and IRAs, so it would mainly be a matter of merging and expanding those plans so that there were no limits on contributions or withdrawals. Such a tax would continue to allow for graduated rates. Assuming gifts and bequests are treated as consumption, all lifetime income would be taxed as it is consumed. Economists favor such a tax since it is neutral as between savings and consumption, whereas an income tax favors consumption.
    While one can make the case that our corporate income tax is indeed a very inefficient VAT, a case can also be made that a VAT is a very inefficient broad-based consumption tax.
    Finally, taxing capital gains at ordinary rates may be workable when the top ordinary rate is 28%, as it was immediately after the 1986 Act. But current rates are almost certainly too high to sustain this. Investors will simply refrain from selling investments in order to avoid gain recognition. This so-called “lock-in effect” is well-understood and documented. Aside from the ensuing revenue problem, this behavior causes a misallocation of resources since investors will not move into more appropriate investments because the toll charge is too great. In addition to this practical lock-in problem, there are policy difficulties in that capital gains usually contain a phantom inflation component, which theoretically should not be taxed. The magnitude of this component depends on the magnitude of inflation that exists during the holding period. This risk must be weighed against the fact that capital investments benefit by deferral since it is usually not possible to impose a tax until an investor volunatily decides to sell and thereby cause a recognition event.
    The bottom line is this. This is a healthy discussion to have, and it is good to see a non-conservative such as McArdle try to tackle it intelligently; and it is tricky and complex stuff. People who think that there is some magical easy tax that is simple and fair are naive. But important improvements can be made.

  • Dissent. If a commercial enterprise wishes to have the benefits of limited liability, they can pay for it.

    No one here has suggested that an index be applied to the purchase price of a capital asset in the course of computing tax liability.

  • I find it odd to see a VAT considered favorably here. They may be a somewhat efficient means for the government to fill the coffers by concealing the true cost from the consumer (which is something I oppose), but they are quite regressive (something I oppose even more).

  • RL, the idea that a VAT conceals the true cost from the consumer is simply not true. It only conceals it if you don’t know what it is. That can be remedied simply by requiring that it be printed on all receipts.

    A VAT can be just as regressive or progressive as the current income tax.

  • Mike Petrik, “a VAT is a very inefficient broad-based consumption tax.”

    How so? The difference between a VAT and Nunn’s USA tax is that the latter collects from individuals rather than businesses and it would tax consumption of used goods.

    IMO, the most efficient tax would be a VAT system that gives everyone a tax credit card.

  • restrained,
    How would you make a VAT progressive?

    Art,
    Limited liability is a privilege afforded by state law, not federal. Consequently, any quid pro could only justify a state level corporate income tax; and most states do impose such taxes. Also, conceptually if limited liability carry substantial social costs, consumers would favor doing business with proprietorships. There is no evidence of this. It must be remembered that the limited liability only extends to investor/shareholders, not the corporation itself or those that act on its behalf such as officers. I have never found the limited liability explanation for the corporate income tax remotely convincing. It is an after-the-fact rationalization, and in my opinion not a good one.

  • VATs are inefficient from an administrability standpoint because administration must occur in each link of every business chain.

    Collecting from individuals is good. Citizens should know what their tax burden is.

    Also, a tax levied on individuals also allows for rate graduation based on ability to pay as measured by consumption level.

    VATs also create fraud opportunities in cross-border transactions.

    Finally, the idea that mechanisms can be established so that individuals are aware of their tax burden may sound good in theory, but it is doubtful that most people really would understand.

  • My preferred method of a progressive VAT would give everyone a tax credit card that’s used at the POS, sort of like a shopper’s card, that instantly discounts the item. Alternatively, we can do as some countries do and give everyone a card but make them pay full price then mail the rebate later. Yet another method is to mail a check to everyone regardless of level of consumption like the FairTax. Finally, we continue income reporting then mail rebates based on income.

    VATs are collected from individuals. They’re just collected by businesses instead of your employer or directly by the IRS.

    Making people aware of the VAT burden would be no more difficult than making people aware of the sales tax burden. Just print it on the receipt. You’ll see it every time you make a purchase.

  • Great Discussion! May I inject a bit of irrationality first, then something of a real problem?

    Restrainedradical: I can just see the more suspicious in our population railing against having to carry and use a government card in order to make a legal purchase. Recall the noise made about a Federal ID card some years ago.

    At least some believe a mandatory card for making purchases would be an equivalent to the “mark of the beast.” While not necessarily a rational stance, it could cause a lot of trouble.

    An unforeseen but real consequence of such a card would be the collection of an individuals purchasing history. The promise of protection of such information, given the private information that is regularly compromised from presumed secure repositories, rings hollow.

    Finally, with regard to the VAT itself: a perceived high tax rate on purchased goods also opens up incentives for black market activity. It is customary in the United States, unlike Europe, to list an item’s price pre-tax, and add the tax at the register. Also, localities, States and the Federal Government have the power to levy tax.

    Assuming that the pricing custom remains, the consumer will see the aggregate of the sales taxes as a single rate and will change behavior accordingly.

  • Death and taxes . . . the power to tax is the power to destroy – that’s why the Federal government cannot tax state, county or municipal governments (e.g., tax-free bond interest).

    The US Internal Revenue Code is about 40,000-plus pages: enough said . . .

    Taxes, nanny-state regulations, and national crushing debt ($13,000,000,000,000.00 and NOTHING to show for it): we the people live and breathe at the government’s discretion.

  • Dissent. If a commercial enterprise wishes to have the benefits of limited liability, they can pay for it.

    They do pay for the benefit of limited liability, just not through taxes. They are required to maintain adequate capital to meet the needs of the business (including lawsuits), and if they fail to do so, the limited liability is discarded.

  • Limited liability corporations pay by not having access to the capital that an unlimited liability business would.

    Dminor, a VAT card would raise privacy concerns. If that’s the route we take, it would have to be voluntary. There would have to be a more onerous alternative like annual reporting of income and savings.

    As for awareness, we can make sellers advertise the full price including tax (unless it’s a multi-jurisdiction ad in which case it would include only the taxes that cover all jurisdictions plus a disclosure like “plus state and local tax”). We can require that receipts print a break down of the taxes. We can mail annual receipts telling every household how much they’ve paid in taxes. Point is, there are lots of ways to get around this problem.

  • “They do pay for the benefit of limited liability, just not through taxes. They are required to maintain adequate capital to meet the needs of the business (including lawsuits), and if they fail to do so, the limited liability is discarded.”

    That is not the case in Illinois. Shell corporations go belly up all the time here and that, by itself, is insufficient under Illinois law to pierce the corporate veil, although it can be a factor in piercing the veil if there are other factors, no observance of corporate formalities, comingling of corporate and private funds, etc, which are also present. Judges have a fair amount of discretion in piercing the veil in Illinois, and in my experience most of them are reluctant to do it, unless the facts of corporate malfeasance are pretty extreme.

  • Limited liability is a privilege afforded by state law, not federal. Consequently, any quid pro could only justify a state level corporate income tax; and most states do impose such taxes.

    I do not see that that follows. They have been granted the status of legal person. I cannot see that the treatment of them as a person needs be confined to the tax collectors of the chartering government.

    I have never found the limited liability explanation for the corporate income tax remotely convincing.

    That is because you are not a proper Poujadiste.

    For a given level of public expenditure, you have to collect the revenue one way or another. Property taxes promote environmental damage and can be subject to caprice in their administration, general sales taxes are regressive, payroll taxes discourage hiring, and taxes on phantom capital gains discourage investment and distort patterns of investment. Given how sclerotic the political system is concerning reform of our wretched tax system, seems you would have other priorities than eliminating corporate taxes.

  • I’m not sure what a Poujadiste is, but I suspect your are right.

    The case for corporate taxation is best made once you decide that you don’t care about horizontal or vertical equity. Few tax scholars are willing to do this (none come to mind). To be sure I don’t view elimination of the corporate income tax as a “priority” at all, but I do think that the policy justifications for the tax are generally pretty weak.

    While sales taxes are generally regressive, a broad based personal expenditure tax as described above would accomodate graduated rates and progressivity. It would also be neutral as between saving and consumption, something universally favored by economists (and how often can one say that!). The key to its success IMO rests in the treatment of testamentary bequests. IMO assets held at death should be regarded as deemed consumed and subject to tax (no need for a separate estate tax). All lifetime income would be subject to tax as it is spent. This is economically desirable and practically feasible.

  • restrained,
    There are, as you say, lots of ways to get around this problem. Pray tell, are there any that aren’t guaranteed beaureaucratic nightmares or invitations to fraud?

  • Mike Petrik writes Thursday, October 28, 2010
    “Finally, the idea that mechanisms can be established so that individuals are aware of their tax burden may sound good in theory, but it is doubtful that most people really would understand”.

    “Most people” = thee, but not me.

    As Richard Feynman said “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t”.

  • While running a small corporation, I thought about such expenses as rent, electricity, and wondered why taxes were not levies on the same basis. The landlord, the utility companies are not our partners; why should the government be? Why not a Gross Receipts tax? This way we would know the cost.
    My accountant complained: “Are you trying to put me out of business?”.

  • I’m not sure what a Poujadiste is, but I suspect your are right.

    Well, you gotta get with the program.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdvoqt_pierre-poujade-contre-mendes-france_news

  • Gabriel,
    The State of Washington does have a gross receipts tax. It applies whether or not you have a profit (that is what “gross” means), and is almost universally despised by the business community. It is also not simple. The only simple tax would be a head tax. All other taxes are compromises between competing objectives — administrability, understandability, revenue objectives, and fairness. And the fly in the ointment is fairness. Fairness is the enemy of simple even if lay folks think otherwise. Most people know no more about taxes than they do about quantum physics, but they seldom let that impair strong opinions.

  • Thanks, Art. I’m afraid that is yet another program that I’ll have to avoid.

  • Fairness is the enemy of simple even if lay folks think otherwise

    Non ci credo. You are beginning to sound like Barber Conable.

  • I would rather expect that, and thank you my friend.

  • It’d never work.
    Firstly, it would greatly increase the taxation of the rich, which is suicide in every developed economy. An exodus of wealthy people giving away the passport would be the consequence, foreign investments in the US would be greatly discouraged.

    Secondly, the lobbying effort would then be directed to lowering the income tax, and rightly so. It is not that corporations owners would accept paying more taxes just because there’s “income tax” written over it.

    The way is reduction of public spending and state invasiveness and reduction of taxation, not increased taxation.

    The rich are those who provide the jobs and create a country’s wealth. Punish them, and you’ll kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Encourage them to risk and invest and the whole country will prosper.

    M
    (not rich, in case you ask).

Where They Stand: Senate

Thursday, October 28, AD 2010

With five days until election day, I decided to take a close look at each of the Senate races, and to offer some prognostications about how I think each will end up.

First, the lock-solid holds for each party:

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19 Responses to Where They Stand: Senate

  • Paul,
    I have been following the Senate races fairly carefully, and I agree 100% with your predictions and caveats.

  • Good analysis Paul. I differ from you in regard to California and Washington. I think the huge anti-Democrat tide will carry Fiorina to victory in the formerly Golden State, and Rossi to victory beyond the margin of fraud often used by Washington Democrats to steal state wide elections in that state. I recall in 2006 that the Democrats won all the close Senate races and I expect the Republicans to do the same this year. However, I suspect that even I underestimate the true power of the anti-Democrat tide running in this country right now, which is something unprecedented in living memory.

  • I hope you’re right Don, but my gut says Boxer hangs on. The problem is Fiorina doesn’t seem to be getting any help from the top of the ticket. And even in wave elections like this one, there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table, and I have a feeling this will be one. As for Rossi, he’s starting to seem like one of those perpetual candidates who always just loses. (Well, the first time around he arguably didn’t really lose, but that’s a topic for another time.)

  • An interesting look at the polls in the Rossi-Murray race.

    http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/19875/Murray-Rossi:-Why-the-polls-are-a-coin-flip/

    I think most pollsters are understating Republican strength at the polls by around 3% this year, because they are dealing with an unprecedented situation as to the anti-Democrat wave, the enthusiasm gap between the parties and the fact that independents around the country are breaking hard for the Republicans. We will soon find out, and the accuracy of the polls will be a subject I will be intensely interested in post-election. Watch many polls this weekend showing a mini-surge to the Republicans in the Senate races as pollsters hedge their bets.

  • Great analysis and predictions Paul!

    There may even be a surprise in Delaware ( I realize it is unlikely though) – http://weaselzippers.us/2010/10/27/dnc-at-defcon-1-is-christine-o%E2%80%99donnell-now-leading-in-dem-internal-polls/

  • “… there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table …”

    Not in 2006. Every close Senate race broke to the Dems(see, e.g, Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island, Virginia).

  • On the ground here in WA… Murray holding on to her seat is the likely scenario from my perspective. First and foremost, we are a blue state. King, Snohomish and Pierce counties make it so. The corruption in King County (think Seattle) elections makes it even more so (as you alluded to the gubernatorial race of 2004).

    What’s more, there are two different feelings among tea party folks around here. One, which is more aligned to the GOP is that we must defeat Murray at all costs. You heard this all over local talk radio after the primary when Clint Didier withheld his endorsement of Rossi (based on a lack of support for some key GOP platform issues).

    The second element in the tea party is the more libertarian leaning group, one that strongly identifies with the ideas put forth by Ron Paul (and strongly behind Didier). They feel rather disgruntled about the primary, where Rossi was a late comer, and ran something of a non-campaign saving his war chest for the general.

    We’ll see… will the third time (for a state-wide election) be the charm for Rossi? If he loses, blame will be placed squarely on the Didier die-hards for with holding their vote. One thing is for sure, if Rossi loses, it will be one more tick mark in a long string of losses by moderate Republicans in state-wide elections. This begs the question… should the WSRP court more conservative candidates?

  • I’d love to see Her Royal Senator Highness overthrown, but CA is one of those states where getting rid of an incumbent liberal is akin to Hell freezing over.

    If you wish to disagree with that assessment, fine, but don’t call me sir or RL. Call me Beloved General Field Marshall of the L homestead; I worked hard for that.

  • The just released Rasmussen poll on the Washington Senate race has Rossi up by one 48-47. Murray still being under 50% this close to election day is trouble for her.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/washington/election_2010_washington_senate

  • A sign of the public mood:

    “According to pollster Doug Schoen, whose new poll shows vast support for the Tea Party movement among voters, the president is still liked by about half the nation. In fact, more like him personally than like his policies. Some 48 percent think he’s a nice guy, while just 42 percent approve of his job performance.
    But that personal favorability doesn’t translate into re-election support when voters are asked if Obama deserves a second term. Says Schoen: “Despite voters feelings toward Obama personally, 56 percent say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while 38 percent say he does deserve to be re-elected president.” Worse, Schoen adds, “43 percent say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48 percent say Bush was a better president than Obama has been.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/28/shocker-bush-beats-obama-4843-in-poll/

  • In Wisconsin, I wouldn’t count Feingold out. While Johnson has been ahead in most polls, the gap’s been closing in recent weeks and Johnson hasn’t fared well in the debates. Feingold, with three terms under his belt and being a smooth debater, is still pretty popular in a purple state. Johnson may still win, but his lead is shrinking.

  • New York is a sad case. Less than a year old it looked like both Gillibrand’s seat and the governorship would easily go to Republicans. Unfortunately for Republicans, Paterson decided not to run and the GOP basically conceded the senate seat without a fight.

  • Joe, you probably have a better sense of what’s going on in Wisconsin than I do, but the polls seem to have flattened out over the past week. Feingold certainly can make it interesting, but with Johnson now consistently polling in the low 50s, I’d be surprised if he lost.

    As for 2006, there was one race the Dems lost that was considered something of a toss-up. It was the TN Senate race that Harold Ford (call me) lost to Corker by about 3 points. That said, I can’t really think of any other close race over the past 2 cycles that the Dems have lost.

  • RR –

    New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP. Rudy Giuliani could certainly have won any of the statewide races had he decided to run, but evidently he is under the delusion that he could still be President one day. And as bad as Pataki is, he certainly could have been competitive with Gillebrand. The same is true for Lazio if he had set his sights on the Senate instead of the Governor’s Mansion.

  • “whatever the party breakdown is after Tuesday is the way it will remain for the 112th Congress”

    Maybe, maybe not. If the Republicans get to 50, they’ll be throwing every deal they can think of at the most nervous-looking Democratic senator they can find. If Sestak loses badly, that could be Bob Casey.

  • New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP

    The candidate for Comptroller and the candidate for Attorney-General have both shivved the Gubernatorial candidate, refusing to endorse him and (in the latter case) even to appear at public events with him. The Onondaga County executive endorsed Andrew Cuomo. The state party chairman (Richard Nixon’s corporate lawyer son-in-law) has been a pillar of Jell-O. I keep telling you: these people lose and lose and lose because of their irredeemable inadequacies.

  • Re Kirk vs. Giannoulias in IL: I voted early a couple of weeks ago. If either candidate had been ahead by a comfortable margin (meaning my vote would probably not make any difference), or if either party were pretty much assured of taking (or keeping) control of the Senate, I would have skipped this race and not voted for either candidate.

    Kirk is about as RINO as one can be — pro-abort, pro-ESCR, voted for cap and trade before he was against it, etc. However, I went ahead and voted for him, very reluctantly, ONLY because the race is so close AND because control of the Senate may hinge on the outcome. I am not going to sit back and allow a liberal Democrat to win under those circumstances.

  • On a side note: there are some prognosticators who believe that if Harry Reid loses his seat but the Dems hold on to the Senate, the next Majority Leader will be none other than Illinois’ other (ahem) esteemed Senator, Dick Durbin, who comes up for reelection in 2014. Now THAT is a race I am looking forward to. Hopefully the GOP will come up with a much better candidate than they have had the last three Senate election cycles. Lord knows they can’t do much worse.

  • Paul, I wouldn’t disagree that Johnson looks like the winner by a nose. Interestingly, more TV spots have been run in Wisconsin than any other state. Spending at $10.8 million in the Badger state, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks federal races.

Of Politics, Bigotry and Stupidity

Thursday, October 28, AD 2010

A week before the Presidential election in 1884, the Reverend Samuel D. Burchard, a Presbyterian minister, at a Republican gathering denounced the Democrats as the party of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion”.  James G. Blaine, the Republican candidate, denounced the anti-Catholic remarks three days later, but it was too late and Blaine lost the election.  The memorable phrase helped cement most Catholics as Democrats for a century.

Now the Minnesota Democrat Farmer Labor Party (Minnesota Democrats) are doing their best to help drive Catholics into the arms of the Republican Party with this piece of tripe:

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20 Responses to Of Politics, Bigotry and Stupidity

  • It’s an asinine ad, but I would tend to doubt that the progenitor had Catholic priests in mind. Minnesota is chock-a-block with Lutherans:

    http://www.lutheranzephyr.com/main/2008/07/clerical-collar-etiquette.html

  • I doubt Art if even in Minnesota the first thing that people think of when they view that ad is a Lutheran minister.

  • Lutherans are a small minority in the country at large but abnormally concentrated in the upper Midwest. Spelunking about I found a datum that fully a third of the population of Minnesota identify themselves as Lutherans. Another quarter identify themselves as Catholics. There is likely a small population of Anglicans and Orthodox in Minnesota as well. That would mean roughly 60% of the population of Minnesota identifies themselves with a denomination where the clergy wear collars, or likely around two-thirds of those who would offer the pollster a denomination if asked. That being the case, the generic image of the clergyman in Minnesota would likely be a man with a collar, and in Minnesota it is Lutherans (not Catholics) who are the mode.

    Still, that’s Hendrick Hertzberg’s image of the clergy. Not too sweet.

  • The story says they claim the ad was “taken out of context”!!! The ultimate lamo excuse – that just makes it worse!!! So what is the context that somehow makes it better (context never provided)?

  • Hmm…now that I read the alleged context (Disputations has it), I am still not completely convinced that some animosity toward religion (and Catholics in particular) didn’t play a part, but it is possible that gross stupidity and really really really bad judgment had a bigger role.

  • Perhaps it is more a reference to Lutherans. Perhaps, even as the linked AOL story at Disputations notes, it qualifies its message and thus is not anti-Catholic but rather pokes at an implied hypocrisy of a Pentacostal minister.

    I do find the second more difficult. Certainly Pentacostals and probably Lutherans do not have neo-gothic altars with St. Anthony front and center.

    Perhaps they’re clumsily drawing attention to the faith of Hall. Though in the second photo I suspect they are clearly using Catholic imagery. Is that anti-Catholic? Let’s ask NPR 🙂

  • Ah, the good old day, when the Dems were the party of rum, romanism, and rebellion… three praiseworthy things!

  • To me it looks like the ads are intended to point out that Dan Hall is a hypocrite. I don’t find them anti-Catholic. I think the ads against Dan Webster which criticize him for quoting scripture and the ridiculing of Christine O’Donnell for stating Church teaching are anti-Christian/Catholic.

  • Thank God for these comments. I thought I was the only one thinking this.

    I don;t see these ads as Anti Catholic. I think in a sense they are quite clever in making trying to make a Catholic Social Justice argument. Now people might disagree with that argument of the application of that argument but it needs to replied to with a Social Justice argument. NOT shrill cries of anti Catholicism.

    THere is plenty of anti Catholicism around that is for sure. But I don’t see it here

  • The image in the 2d flyer is distinctly Catholic.

    It would not surprise me, however, to discover that the progenitors of this mess could not recognize the difference between a Catholic church and a Quaker meeting house. Using a statue of St. Anthony to make a snide point against a minister of the Assemblies of God seems … confused.

  • “I think in a sense they are quite clever in making trying to make a Catholic Social Justice argument.”

    Only if we redefine clever as mindboggingly stupid jh.

  • Yes, it is clever – progressively clever.

  • ““I think in a sense they are quite clever in making trying to make a Catholic Social Justice argument.”

    Only if we redefine clever as mindboggingly stupid jh.”

    Well I don’t see it as stupid. Everyone knopws Catholic Priests and the Church don’t hate the poor. Everyone knows the famous scripture verse is Blessed be the Poor.

    It seems to have worked because everyone is talking about it and the best it appears we can do is shout anti Catholicism without responding back with arguments. Sort of like it is the new racist.

    So I find it effective so far, I hate that but so far the response to this has not been that clever to me

  • Well I don’t see it as stupid. Everyone knopws Catholic Priests and the Church don’t hate the poor.

    Really? Are you forgetting about all the rhetoric from the left during Obamcare debate? There were lot of accusations about Catholics hating the poor. Silly, ignorant, crazy even, but it is definitely there.

  • “It seems to have worked because everyone is talking about it”

    Yes, as an example of raw bigotry. The Democrat opposing Dan Hall has disowned it. If this ad is “working” jh, it is working for the Republicans.

  • Here is another example of anti-Catholic prejudice this election season:

    http://www.therealedmartin.com/

  • If this were done to Muslims, someone would have been decapitated or blown to bits already, and others would be without jobs, and the whole media would be ablaze with fresh convictions that we are a racist and bigoted country.

    It really is the last acceptable form of bigotry. That’s why I can, only with the greatest of effort, muster anything beyond the level of disgust and contempt to interact with one of these blind hypocrites.

  • this is clearly targeted at Catholics since the recent DVD promoting the campaign against gay marriage. An odd position for an eveangelical, but anti-Catholic still sells well in MN

  • I was sort of on the fence when it was just the collar; the follow-up ad pretty much sealed it.

    They’re either invoking Christianity is Catholic (a dumb move) or they’re attacking the Church. (a REALLY dumb move)

    On a side note: a lot of folks who self-identify as Catholic can’t stand the traditional Catholic stuff like a guy in black with a Roman collar or the shiny, elaborate alcove with the statue. They also tend to be rather liberal… take as you will.

  • “Certainly Pentacostals and probably Lutherans do not have neo-gothic altars with St. Anthony front and center”

    I have seen pictures of at least one Lutheran church in Central Illinois that does appear to have a sort of “neo gothic” altar or reredos up front (this was a wedding picture of the bride and groom posing in front of the altar, for what it’s worth). I didn’t see any statues, though, and I highly doubt that any Lutheran church would have statues.

    Nevertheless, I am sometimes startled by the liturgical similarities between Catholics and (some) Lutherans… their Sunday services often follow the same cycle of readings that ours do, and I once attended a Lutheran funeral whose order of service was strikingly similar to the Liturgy of the Word/Eucharist that we have.

    Even so, the second ad is definitely anti-Catholic. The first ad probably is also although there are Protestant clergy who wear Roman collars.

31 Responses to The Truth Hurts

  • Funny how they call it the Humanities. Based on much of the output over the last century or more it should be called the Inhumanities. 😉

  • I’ve joked with my wife for years about returning to school for a Phd in an obscure humanities specialty. She has found it progressively less amusing with the birth of each child.

  • I had a friend who owned a chain of McDonalds. He told me he always preferred Philosophy Phds for assistant managers and managers of his stores.

  • And I thought the legal business was bad. I suppose a law degree/PhD in humanities would be the double whammy!

  • Good thing I knew all that without having to ask my profs., which is exactly why I didn’t pursue a PhD. You can just observe it in their lives….

    More people will read this blog than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

  • More people will read this blog today than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

  • I should have posted this video as well:

  • More people will read this blog today than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

    While I realize this is maybe slight exaggeration (people skim the journals in their own field to an extent in order to send in snippy little notes and put downs about each other’s articles, or see if their own work was cited) I have to wonder how we got to this point. Is it just the bloating of academia as compared to 100+ years ago? There’s limited space in truly selective and widely read journals, so second string journals spring up to publish those who can’t get published in the big ones?

    Did the concept of publish or perish originate back when it was a matter of writing for actual readers among the general, educated public, and then slowly depart from reality as the process became self sustaining and self justifying?

  • I have to disagree that no one reads journals. I was reading journal articles all the time in grad school, sometimes in depth. True, a lot of that reading is spent on the “influential” articles of the past, but presumably someone had to comb through them to decide which ones were good. Besides, it’s not just the influential ones that get read — in one’s particular field of research, how is it possible not to read (or at least scan) everything? You’d risk plagiarism otherwise. I had professors telling me all the time about recent articles they’d read pertaining to a subject…

  • I have to disagree that no one reads journals. I was reading journal articles all the time in grad school, sometimes in depth. True, a lot of that reading is spent on the “influential” articles of the past, but presumably someone had to comb through them to decide which ones were good. Besides, it’s not just the influential ones that get read — in one’s particular field of research, how is it possible not to read (or at least scan) everything? You’d risk plagiarism otherwise.

    Well, there were journals where I went to law school whose subscribers numbered under three digits (their articles were available electronically through Lexis or Westlaw, although they were not frequently viewed even there).

    It’s true that there are a number of articles in every field and sub-specialty that are (by academic standards) widely read. But that is a very small percentage of the total output. As a field develops, most of the new ideas inevitably deal with more and more specialized topics that are of interest to fewer and fewer people. Some journals are still widely read, as are some articles. But most journals and most articles are read by very few people.

  • More people will read this blog today than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

    Hmmm. So instead of trying to publish my dissertation I would be better off releasing it piecemeal here. Interesting.

  • “I have to disagree that no one reads journals.”

    With who? No one said it. Pointing out that grad students and professors read journals is like pointing out that lonely teenage girls read horribly written fan fiction.

  • Ha. It depends on your goal, Paul. Professionally, of course, it’s still better to publish it in a journal. But if your goal is to maximize readership, it is quite possible there would be more readers piecemeal here. Of course, I’m making what is likely a false assumption – that your dissertation will not prove to be one of the groundbreaking works that all subsequent scholars need to cite.

  • As a field develops, most of the new ideas inevitably deal with more and more specialized topics that are of interest to fewer and fewer people. Some journals are still widely read, as are some articles. But most journals and most articles are read by very few people.

    This seems right to me. The purpose of an academic journal is not to publish material aimed at a general readership. Rather, the purpose is to publish short, highly specialized work aimed at a readership composed of specialists trained in a given field. That readership is relatively small (a few thousand for top journals). One typically cannot get published in a good academic journal unless one shows a strong familiarity with the up-to-date literature, so most people outside this readership presumably would not be equipped to understand the bulk of what’s in these journals. Academic books, while still largely specialized, tend to be aimed a larger readership, many of which reach a lot of non-specialists (e.g., Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene).

    More people will read this blog today than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

    That’s too broad a claim. In my field (philosophy) alone, the top journals are read by thousands as they fall off the presses. A blog post at TAC? Read completely by a maybe a hundred to two, if you’re lucky. Now, there simply are too many journals out there, just as there are too many Ph.D. programs in virtually every field in the humanities. It’s very difficult to get published in a top journal, since the the demand for quality work is very high. Publishing at a blog…?

    Good thing I knew all that without having to ask my profs., which is exactly why I didn’t pursue a PhD. You can just observe it in their lives….

    More people will read this blog than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

    If publishing journal articles were all one does with a Ph.D., then few would consider it worthwhile. But that’s only a small part of it. The teaching component, I think, makes it incredibly worthwhile. If you go to a decent Ph.D. program, you end up instructing tens of thousands of students across your career in person. I have met very few academics who are unsatisfied with their career choice (in fact, I am sure career satisfaction is much higher overall in academia than in fields like law or business). I am very happy (so far) with my decision to work toward a Ph.D.

  • Professionally, of course, it’s still better to publish it in a journal. But if your goal is to maximize readership, it is quite possible there would be more readers piecemeal here. Of course, I’m making what is likely a false assumption – that your dissertation will not prove to be one of the groundbreaking works that all subsequent scholars need to cite.

    I don’t think one would maximize readership by posting at TAC, especially if the work is from a dissertation. Your target audience (academics) won’t read it and I doubt the typical reader at TAC would be interested in a specialized, academic piece (dissertations are supposed to make original contributions to a given field).

  • that your dissertation will not prove to be one of the groundbreaking works that all subsequent scholars need to cite.

    Oh, I am deeply hurt. Clearly my work will completely revolutionize the way we view Thomas Jefferson, and in turn the way we view American political thought, leading to a paradigm shift in American politics.

    That is if I even look at the thing again.

  • More people will read this blog today than ever will the journals a professor gets published in.

    That’s too broad a claim. In my field (philosophy) alone, the top journals are read by thousands as they fall off the presses. A blog post at TAC? Read completely by a maybe a hundred to two, if you’re lucky.

    It was intended to be a humorous exaggeration, so I freely concede it was overbroad. Although, this blog will be viewed by around two thousand people today – and on a good day around 8,000, so it wasn’t that much of an exaggeration. Notice I said the blog, not an individual post.

  • It was intended to be a humorous exaggeration, so I freely concede it was overbroad. Although, this blog will be viewed by around two thousand people today – and on a good day around 8,000, so it wasn’t that much of an exaggeration. Notice I said the blog, not an individual post.

    You did say blog, sorry.

  • All kidding aside, there’s sort of some truth behind the exaggeration, but Michael’s right in that the actual number of people who are probably reading the entirety of these academic sort of posts is much smaller than our average total readership.

  • If it makes you feel better, more people will read a humanities journal piece than they will a student-written article in a law review.

  • Let me just take this opportunity to plug my best-selling academic work, An Overview of Past Proposals for Military Retirement Reform
    .

    Download it today for free – all royalties go to me!

  • “and I doubt the typical reader at TAC would be interested in a specialized, academic piece (dissertations are supposed to make original contributions to a given field).”

    Depends. I’ve been surprised by how many hits some of the more technical legal posts I have done have gotten.

    Paul, as an experiment you should post a small section of your dissertation here and on Almost Chosen People and see how many hits you get.

    I have a friend who is a professor of history at a Big Ten School, and he also writes popular military history under a pen name, some of which have sold quite well. He has told me that the research for his academic work and his popular military histories is completely the same. He merely wrings out the academic jargon from the work that he publishes for profit and writes in a clear style, something he said which is frowned on when attempting to publish a piece in an academic journal.

  • He merely wrings out the academic jargon from the work that he publishes for profit and writes in a clear style, something he said which is frowned on when attempting to publish a piece in an academic journal.

    I wish more academics did this. They are the experts in their respective fields, yet so few will distill their best work so that a general readership will benefit.

  • “Hmm. So instead of trying to publishing my dissertaion I would be better off releasing it piecemeal here.”

    Perhaps. But would we be better off? 🙂

  • My guess is that for most academics writing in jargon is a matter of necessity rather than choice. It’s not that they wouldn’t like to write profitable popular treatments of their subject in a clear style; it’s that they either can’t write clearly (which is very difficult to do, truth be told), and/or their area of expertise is not one the general public would be interested in.

  • (in fact, I am sure career satisfaction is much higher overall in academia than in fields like law or business).

    FWIW (coming from someone who’s a bit of an outlier in his set in having gone into business rather than academia), my impression is that this is true for those who manage to land tenure track positions, but much less so for those who get trapped long term in post-doc or adjunct land, and finally end up having to look for a substitute career in the mid to late 30s. For those folks, their run at academia has already landed them deep in debt, disrupted their personal lives and left them with the same earning potential in the business world as a BA right out of college. I think a lot of the bitterness expressed about academia comes from those folks rather than the ones who make it into tenure track positions.

  • I think a lot of the bitterness expressed about academia comes from those folks rather than the ones who make it into tenure track positions.

    You’re right; I was sloppy in speaking so generally about career satisfaction in academia. Those who land tenure-track positions or hold relatively stable renewable positions do seem to me, on the whole, to be very happy where they’re at.

  • …Which is to Darwin’s earlier point, that the publish-or-perish system for tenure departs from reality. There are probably many young academics who would prefer to have a stable career based mainly on teaching, not research, but the system doesn’t reward that. Personally, what deterred me from the academic rat race was the prospect of having to rely on my cleverness* (or lack thereof) to put food on the table.

    * If you read economics or public policy journals, you know what I mean. It’s those cute, clever twists on a tired, old subject that get you published. “Hey, look! I found an instrumental variable! Let’s do a pointless empirical paper on something nobody cares about!”

  • I may also have an especially jaded view being from a particularly overcrowded discipline (Classics) and having a couple good friends, smarter than me, who tried to do the academic thing and are just now at thirty hitting the point of realizing they’re never going to get tenure track.

  • Based on the article that David Jones linked to today about the conference assembling to understand the great mystery of the day, the Tea Party Movement, it seems there should be plenty of demand for humanities postgrads. For the sake of the civilized world this nut must be cracked! Who else can do it but the brightest and most learned? I would refer your alienated humanities friends to these orgs. Apparently they could use some good help.

    From the article:
    Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, the Sociology Department, the Gender and Women’s Studies Department, the Haas Diversity Research Center, the Townsend Center for Humanities, the Center for Race and Gender, the Center for the Study of Social Change, the American Cultures Center, and the Berkeley Undergraduate Political Science Association.

  • Wow, I didn’t know Pete Townsend had his own center for humanities!?!

Political Miscellania 10\27\10

Wednesday, October 27, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news less than a week before the election.

1.  Debbie Does Delusion-  Reason TV Porker of the Month is one of my favorite internet monthly videos.  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz , Congresswoman for Florida 20, is one of the more telegenic of the Democrat members of Congress, and one of the most eager to appear on television.  It is said that one of the most dangerous places to be in DC is between her and a tv camera.  Somehow though, I doubt if she will appreciate her Reason TV feature.  Her pro-life opponent Karen Harrington has been waging an aggressive uphill campaign.  It is an overwhelmingly blue district, but if it is a night for political miracles next Tuesday, I hope that Karen Harrington can free Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for a full time TV career.

2.  To Dream the Impossible Dream-Speaking of uphill fights, John Dennis, a libertarian Republican, has been going full bore against Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and fondly designated by me as The Lying Worthless Political Hack.  California 8 in San Francisco is the blue heart of liberalism in this country, and therefore it would take a political earthquake of biblical proportions for Dennis to win, but that hasn’t stopped him from campaigning with endless energy and humor:

If a candidate deserves to win simply due to energy, style and sheer brio, it is John Dennis.  May Saint Jude be paying attention to this race.

3.  How Low Can He Go?- Harris interactive poll had the President at 37% approval yesterday, a new low mark for him.  Coincidentally, on Monday our post-partisan President said that Republicans were welcome to work with him as long as they sit in the back of the bus.  “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”  It’s a generous offer Mr. President, but after next Tuesday I think the Republicans will be sitting up front with you.

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22 Responses to Prayer Request

TAC NFL Rankings: Week 7

Tuesday, October 26, AD 2010

With Romo and Favre injured, we’re a Big Ben injury in the Superdome away from knocking out the axis of ESPN evil of NFL quarterbacks.

The NFC continues to be a mystery. The Saints dropped an ugly one to the Browns, yet still can make an argument to be the best team in the conference. I think the NFC will be decided by who gets hot at the end-and that’s anybody’s guess.

The AFC looks pretty stout, though the injuries to Clark and Collie that killed my previously beautiful fantasy team give the Colts something extra to worry about.

Again, Tito is honeymooning so no rankings from him. However, if you want crazy, I’m still ranking the Saints, so enjoy.

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6 Responses to TAC NFL Rankings: Week 7

  • I don’t get the love for the Giants as the best team in the NFC. They were a bounce on an onsides kick away from losing to the Cowboys. They had 4 turnovers in that game? The bizarre decision to be throwing the ball with an 18 point lead? I just don’t get why people are putting them in the Super Bowl. I can see the Falcons, but for the rest of the NFC there’s no reason to put anyone anywhere yet (except the Panthers as out of the playoffs-that’s pretty safe).

  • Michael,

    I’m 40-years-old, and I’ve loved and watched the Saints all that time. However, I just cant’ get behind the idea that the Saints “still can make an argument to be the best team in the conference.”

    Granted, the NFC is tremendously weak this year, but there are too many problems with the Saints. Brees is off; Thomas is out; Bush may or may not be ready to come back; the defense is like Swiss Cheese and can’t get the turnovers that saved their behinds last year.

    There is no “Best” team in the NFC.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the NFC will be won by the team that gets hot in the last 3-4 games going into the playoffs.

    As for the AFC: their teams are much better, but still no clear cut “Best” team. But, I like Pittsburgh’s chances the most.

  • the defense is like Swiss Cheese and can’t get the turnovers that saved their behinds last year.

    I don’t think that’s the case. Given the fact that our offense hasn’t been holding on to the ball as much, our defense has managed to keep the points to about 20. That’s not swiss cheese.

    As far the argument, I think the teams in the NFC that are good are: Saints, Falcons, Bucs, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins. I don’t buy anyone from the West, and the Packers are too weak in the North. Out of those 6, considering the Saints should have beaten two of them (Bucs & falcons, darn it Hartley), I think a case can be made. It’s not a great case, but there’s one. If the Saints can shock Pittsburgh, it’ll be a great case.

  • They were a bounce on an onsides kick away from losing to the Cowboys.

    I think they would have still required the Cowboys to actually score before just awarding them the win with a recovered onsides kick.

    Kidding aside, though the Giants did seem to do everything in their power to give the Boys the game at the end, the fact of the matter is that they rolled 500 yards and 41 points on the road against a good defensive team that was in a must-win situation. Right now the Giants offense is clicking on all cylinders with the best 3-receive tandem in the NFL, Bradshaw going crazy, and even a revitalized Jacobs. Oh, and they’re defense ain’t so bad either – just ask the 4 qbs they’ve knocked out.

    I’m not necessarily arguing that they’re ticket is punched for Dallas, especially after what happened just 2 years ago, but as of right now there is no team in the NFC playing as well on both sides of the ball. Atlanta has a good offense and a good defense, but the G-men have a better offense and a better defense.

    Just cut down on the turnovers.

  • Michael,

    I agree that if the Saints beat Pittsburgh, that will speak volumes about their ability to stay in the hunt the rest of the season. I have faith in Payton’s decision-making, and that Brees will improve.

    Also, I’ll have to retract what I said about our defense. They aren’t swiss cheese: I checked out the NFL stats page (to bolster my argument) and found out exactly the opposite of what I said.

    In fact, New Orleans is third in the league in total defense (even better than Pittsburgh!)

  • That was a very good performance by the Saints last night. It gives me great hope for the rest of the season.

    The defense was NOT swiss-cheese. They were formidable.

    Brees looked like he’s getting back on track.

    They’ll healthy the second half of the season.

    Things are looking good.

    Now, if only the Tigers can beat ‘Bama.