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Reynolds' Law

Reynolds' Law:
“Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.”

From The Professor himself:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.
Emphasis mine.

This is what "progressives" do not understand. Wealth does not cause social conditions. Wealth is an effect of social conditions.

Don't believe me?

Dump a million dollars on Egypt, and dump a million dollars on Utah, and see what each culture does with the money. Are you seriously willing to argue that in ten years Egypt will have turned that million dollars into a larger pile of wealth than Utah? Really?

How much foreign aid have we squandered on various totalitarian hell-holes around the world? What have we gotten for that "investment?" How much money have we spent on the "war on poverty?" Is there less or more poverty than there was when we started? (Hint: more. Go look it up.)

It's not the money. It's how you get it that differentiates "good money" from "bad money." Bad money is generally obtained by pointing a gun at someone else. This is how dictators and much of the current Democrat leadership believe money is obtained. They believe in the "zero sum game." They believe in "getting a bigger piece of the pie." They might give lip service to "making the pie bigger" but deep in their hearts, they really don't believe it--if they do believe it, they sure don't act like they do.

Good money is created (or "earned") by providing somebody else with some good or service that somebody else wants at a price that somebody else is willing to pay. This is the "classical liberal" belief, and it fueled the greatest expansion of wealth to the greatest number of people the world has ever seen.

Yes, Virginia, it really is that simple.

But, despite this dazzling success of the classical liberal economics of Ricardo and Smith and von Mises and Hayek and Friedman, we today face once more what seems to be the fundamental conflict of mankind's nature: the tension between those who believe wealth can only be obtained by force, and those who believe wealth must be earned by mutually beneficial trade.

This conflict has been clearly illustrated by the recent unpleasantness in Madison, Wisconsin.

So, which side are you on?

The fist, the club, and the gun, or the handshake, the contract, and the trade? The time for choosing is very, very near.

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Rooster Sauce!

Forget the NCAA tournament! Forget the Japanese nuclear reactors melting down!

Rooster Sauce! It's what's for dinner!

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Sage Advice

From The Other McCain, in case you're really really horribly concerned about the multiple meltdowns happening (or not?) to Japanese nuclear power plants in the wake of the recent earthquake disaster:
My advice: Get some sleep. And when you wake up Sunday morning, go to Denny’s and have their Grand Slam breakfast while reading the local newspaper. Then go back home and drink a couple brews while watching a basketball game on TV. At that point, you can then safely log back onto the Internet and try to figure out what actually happened Saturday.
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"Just send a few threatening messages, and you'll win"

Free people should never, ever cave in to threats of violence if demands to sacrifice their freedoms are not met.

Volokh Conspiracy: Thugs Win Again:
This time they are pro-Israel thugs as opposed to extremist Muslim thugs (and various other thugs), but thugs are thugs. Here’s what happened; I quote Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign v. King County (W.D. Wash, decided last Friday): The county Department of Transportation in Seattle sells advertising on buses; the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign bought space for an anti-Israel ads: “The proposed ad read ‘Israeli War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars at Work,’ and featured a picture of children next to a bomb-damaged building.” When this hit the news, the Department got lots of objections, including “four [messages that] suggest[ed] an intention to disrupt or vandalize buses, four [that] communicate[d] violent intentions, [and] approximately twenty [that] express[ed] concern for rider safety.”
. . .

The Department then canceled the ad contract, partly based on these messages. And the federal District Court held that the action was likely constitutional, because the ad violated city policy that excluded ads that are “so objectionable under contemporary community standards as to be reasonably foreseeable that it will result in harm to, disruption of, or interference with the transportation system” or that are “directed at a person or group” and are “so insulting, degrading or offensive as to be reasonably foreseeable that [they] will incite or produce imminent lawless action in the form of retaliation, vandalism or other breach of public safety, peace and order.” This policy, the court said, was viewpoint-neutral and reasonable, when applied to this ad, because “The threats of violence and disruption from members of the public ... led bus drivers and law-enforcement officials to express safety concerns.”

Now on the one hand I sympathize with the Department’s safety concerns, and its desire to protect passengers. But on the other hand, behavior that gets rewarded — here, the making of threats — gets repeated.

The message is clear: If you want to stop speech that you dislike, just send a few threatening messages and you’ll win. You don’t actually need to act violently, and risk punishment for that. You could send the threats anonymously, in a way that makes it quite unlikely that you’ll be punished.

This is a travesty.

This is, if you think of it, exactly what the union people are doing in Madison to the citizens of Wisconsin--threatening them.

It is an extremely dangerous road to keep going down. We should probably stop. Before the threats begin turning into something much, much worse. I really, really do not want to live through a civil war.

People who threaten violence in order to advance their goals are outlaws, and should be treated as such. They should not be defended by the very laws they threaten to violate.
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I have another new hero

Two heros, actually.
The Honey Badger.

And Randall, the professional nature film narrator.

Not safe for work.

Via Ace of Spades HQ. Because Honey Badger don't care.
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I have a new hero

Man "forecloses" on Wells Fargo, wins judgment, attention of Wells Fargo managment.

Especially amusing is the poster (at the link) announcing the sherriff's sale of the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage office, in order to pay the guy's judgment award.

Definitely a "man bites dog" story.
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The best argument against public employee unions

Is exactly, precisely the spectacle we have been presented with in Madison, Wisconsin the past week or so.

A special interest pressure group that is firmly convinced of the total moral virtue of its position, demands that the much larger general public bow to its demands--no matter what those demands might be.

A while ago, there was a movie entitled Wag The Dog.

In Madison, Wisconsin, we see the tail of public employee unions attempting to not only wag the dog of the Wisconsin people, but decide which road down which that dog (or badger, as the case may be) will walk.

Further evidence of the moral bankruptcy of the position of the public employee unions is that even Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn't think that they were a good idea. The guy who implemented the New Deal--who thought that Social Security was a good idea--didn't think that collective bargaining for government workers was a good idea.

Let that sink in for a minute, before you continue Sharpie-ing the Hitler moustache onto Wisconsin Governor Walker's picture.

The fact is, the fundamental fact of live of organized labor is an adversarial relationship between the union, purporting to represent "the workers," and on the other side of the table, "the management."

But in a working republic based on democratic principles, the ultimate management of the government is the people themselves.

Therefore, a public employee union is by definition in an adversarial relationship with the people--or, in other words, acting in opposition to the public interest. THAT is why public employee unions should never be allowed to exist, and where they currently exist, they should be immediately disbanded.

There is a place for organized labor. There are private companies that do attempt to unfairly exploit workers. But, it must be recognized that public employee unions will always--ALWAYS develop to the point where they attempt to unfairly exploit their employers--the public. This has happened in Wisconsin, and has happened all throughout this country.

Public employee unions today are not the exploited. They are the exploiters.
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Oh, dear God . . .

"The economy is in a much stronger position to handle” rising oil prices, Tim Geithner said today during a Bloomberg Breakfast in Washington. “Central banks have a lot of experience in managing these things."

From Bloomberg via Zero Hedge.

We Are So Screwed.

Recall, if you will, Timothy Geithner is the guy who was unable to comprehend the nuances of TurboTax.

Pardon me if my confidence in central bankers and central planners to competently manage the entire world's economy--despite centuries of evidence that central planning inevitably results in disaster--pardon me if my confidence in these modern mandarins is somewhat lacking.
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Want to earn more? Go out to a bar and raise a pint!

Op-ed: Raise your glass to some good news on alcohol.
Holding everything else equal, we found that someone who drinks earns 10 percent more on average than someone who does not. We also found that men who reported going to a bar at least once in the last month earn an additional 7 percent. That's 17 percent more money than people who don't go out or drink.

There are some people, like my Snookums, who can easily slide into social interactions with strangers without requiring the "social lubricant" of alcohol. And then there are the rest of us.
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St. Helena to get airstrip

Snookums and I loved St. Helena--supposedly the most remote island on Earth, whose only connection to the rest of the world was the once-monthly British Mail ship, the St. Helena.

According to this article, St. Helena is getting an airstrip.
Jamestown, St. Helena
On the one hand, bully for them! On the other hand, I hope it doesn't ruin the beautiful, simple charm that the village of Jamestown had when we visited it a couple of years ago. The Saints--residents of St. Helena--will be delighted, though. They really, really, really resented the decision of the previous British Government to cancel plans to build the airport.

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