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August 24, 2016

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Angel Eyes

The Kurt O sessions, sadly, come to a close today. Though there is speculation for another... Stay tuned.
Matt Dennis, lyrics by Earl Brent ©1946

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


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August 23, 2016

All Hail Harsanyi

There are, no doubt, many good reasons a person might have for not wanting children. But, certainly, it's tragic that some gullible Americans who have the means and emotional bandwidth -- and perhaps a genuine desire -- to be parents avoid having kids because of a quasi-religious belief in apocalyptic climate change and overpopulation.

Then again, maybe this is just Darwinism working its magic. -- David Harsanyi


My chart

Quiet around here: summertime blues? Tired of the battle between HRC's measured mendaciousness or DJT's boisterous blundering (or bellicosity, depending on the day)?

Anyway, here's my chart for FB someday soon (as a followup to my roasting of Amm. 69), based somewhat on recent events.

Socialism.PNG

comments? glaring omissions?

But jk thinks:

August is a slow news month, Brother jg is gallivanting all across the EU and enjoying the benefits of socialism up close and personal. I wiped my computer and lost several bookmarks and utilities that facilitate blogging. And, oh yes, that Trump fellow.

And yet, there is an inexorable shift toward social media. I'm spending a lot less time on other blogs and have no doubt that our small but mighty readership feels the same. Interesting. The opening paragraph might be "whistling past the graveyard."

If I've a critique of your chart, it is the premise of binary choice. I get that Tesla is more private that GM because of bailouts and public equity ownership. But if subsidies went away today, GM would barely change direction, while Tesla would close its doors.

Norman Borlaug is a hero of highest proportion, but not as a serial entrepreneur. He worked with foreign governments and no doubt public research. Is he a creature of free-market capitalism?

Obvious omission is Uber/Lyft vs. municipal taxicab cartels. And, perhaps my favorite piece of all time Emissions vs. Oil Changes.

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2016 10:45 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

That's a fair cop, JK; my list could use refinement (Haiti ain't Venezuela, nor is the DR = Switzerland), or a wholesale title change. I'll think on it, or just pull Tesla :-)

Borlaug was a microbiologist for DuPont, and his big splash with hybridized wheat was funded mostly by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. I especially liked the juxtaposition with Lysenko... and imagine the few millennials pondering "...who?"

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2016 12:32 AM

August 21, 2016

Review Corner

Hayek set out to clarify the character of that "most valuable friendship" using Mill's words and those of Harriet Taylor Mill. Two points require emphasis. First, as noted above and as the essays below attest, the task of locating the letters, let alone the additional requirement of organizing the words to tell a coherent story, was simply unprecedented. Second, Hayek's deliberate tactic of letting Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill speak almost exclusively in their own words, was an extraordinary--perhaps unique--choice at the time, one that puts Hayek at the forefront of literary criticism, a field in which he has yet to receive due recognition.
Don't know about y'all, but when I think of romance, one name floats to the top: Friedrich August Hayek. Yet in his Hayek On Mill: The Mill-Taylor Friendship and Related Writings -- while ostensibly about Harriet Taylor's intellectual influence on John Stuart Mill -- the Austrian monetarist was, as editor Sandra J. Peart notes, not immune to the personal story.
Sometimes in the attempt to pin down influence, credit, and blame, the overwhelming power of the story becomes obscured. Despite his interest in the economic and social thought of Mill and Taylor, Hayek was apparently also deeply taken by the love story; certainly the collection here attests to how he deliberately conveyed the drama and heartbreak associated with the romances.
JS Mill is introduced to young Harriet Taylor at a social gathering. This mirrors A.S. Byatt's Possession [Review Corner]. While there is an ocean of differences in plot and character, it is quite easy to believe that this collection influenced if not inspired Byatt.

Young Miss Taylor is married to an older, wealthy merchant and the ensuing attachment between Mill & Taylor is not well accepted in Victorian society. Taylor is an intellectual powerhouse and is quickly drawn to Mill, whose infatuation lasts a lifetime. Mill read Classics in Greek and Latin at age six and remains a favorite of moderns who try to assess IQs of historical figures. It is quite defensible to claim Mill as "the smartest man who ever lived." In his Autobiography, he maudlinly ascribes all significant influence to Taylor. As if Einstein said "oh, all those ideas on Physics really belonged to my girlfriend.."

Hayek's charge is to evaluate this claim and -- being Hayek -- question the extent of her influence in Mill's dabbling in socialism.

As noted above, d'Eichthal continued to try to answer all criticism, informing Mill about Saint-Simonian views as well as the organization of the Saint-Simonians. Yet, whatever affection Mill felt towards d'Eichthal or attraction towards the Saint-Simonian program, we learn from Hayek that Mill stopped short of endorsing Saint-Simonianism wholesale or recommending Saint¬Simonian arrangements as a policy prescription. He did so on the grounds that such sectarianism was incompatible with individual liberty.

Hearts and confessions: I cherry picked that quote to help square my appreciation for Mill with the extent of his appreciation for Continental thought and Socialism. Can we blame this on Taylor? To some extent.

To the consternation of society, their relationship continues, though likely platonically, for several years. His effusive dedication to her in the first printing of Principles of Political Economy upset her husband and all their friends and was pulled from subsequent printings. Eventually John Taylor dies a grisly drawn-out death during which Harriet does not leave his side. Her dutiful nursing is both out of character and endearing. After his death, Mill and Taylor wed. Some say their marriage was as platonic as their friendship, but it was not as lengthy. Both died of consumption, Harriet Mill decades before her second husband.

As the introductory quote suggests, the story is entirely told through the correspondence. Hayek provides expository information and historical context, but no commentary or opinion. He is a superb research assistant, but his contribution is as a research assistant, not a Nobel Laureate Economist or thought leader.

It's an incredibly entertaining read. It costs $55 on Kindle; thankfully my niece the librarian found me a copy in a transfer from the University library at Auraria. I purport that I am the first to crack this particular volume. But perhaps they wore out the old copy and I was the first to open the replacement volume.

And yet, be wary of learning too much about your heroes. Mill is one of the root nodes on individual liberty and Taylor a foundation of women's rights. With that disclaimer out of the way, I must relate that neither are especially endearing. The volume is no doubt enlightening to the scholars who study each (again, reflecting "Possession"). But to one less acquainted with their biographical details, it is a more scholarly read.

It grieves me but I give my hero, Hayek, only 3.5 stars on this.


August 10, 2016

Children Dying to Cover Asses?

I've already posted [1] [2] [3] links about the FDA's insane decision to withhold approval for a promising treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

My fourth link suggests an even more nefarious agenda:

Here is one reason an FDA staffer would file a complaint against eteplirsen: To protect his job after a contentious proceeding noticed by patients, the press and several U.S. Senators. The agency manual says that "all initiators of disputes are protected from any retaliation by their supervisors, peers, leadership and others, related to initiating or engaging in this process."

This could be an insurance policy against getting fired for "scientifically questionable comparisons" and "errors." That's how more than 35 Duchenne experts described one of FDA's eteplirsen review documents in a February letter to neurology division director Billy Dunn.


Researching the links to the previous posts, one cannot help notice jg's prescient comment to the first:
How can this be excused as "for the children?"

It's more like, "for the bureaucracy."


Trump's Allies in the Media.

Huh?

I just wonder how many #nevertrumpers will be driven back into the fold by the unfair treatment the GOP Nominee receives.

On a day 44 previously unreleased emails have been found and a stunning-even-for-Clintons "Pay for Play" has been exposed, all non-NYPost outlets are leading full-time with Trump's soi-disant threat. Really? In fairness -- and this is jk -- this is at worst inartful. It's "binders full of women" again.

Donald Trump deserves -- no we all deserve -- better than this.


August 9, 2016

All Hail... VDH

The good professor believes that the Democratic alternative - Hillary and the record of President Obama - is so bad that "almost any Republican could take at least 45 percent of the vote, regardless of the shortcomings of the candidate or campaign." But, he says, Donald may be the "almost."

So is character really fate? Or is there any chance that the outer Trump's business savvy and heralded self-interest might half tame his inner Trump to avoid subterranean mines, to keep him on message, and to relax and ride the wave of the disastrous daily news fare to the White House?

If there is, it will be largely because in summer 2016 enough voters see the current reality of polished lying and corruption in the White House and at the head of the Democratic ticket as more dangerous than the potential of a crude counterpart on the 2017 horizon.

I suppose some may dismiss his perspective since he doesn't even bother to mention that "there are other candidates in the race." Perhaps that's because, for every practical purpose, there aren't.


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August 8, 2016

Quote of the Day

The Hill reports that "before [Mrs.] Clinton’s appearance, conference staffers went around the room reminding people that it's inappropriate for journalists to give politicians standing ovations." -- James Taranto, "Times is on her Side, Yes it Is."
Yeah, I used to hate that at President Bush's news conferences. They take up so much time. Siddown, Cokie!

Not as Bad But Still Dangerous

What a splendid year for a free trader.

While Trump's belligerent mercantilism gathers support among voters and elected Republicans, it's easy for committed free traders to find themselves in support of Hillary Clinton. To be sure, Clinton has offered her own condemnations of trade and globalization, but beside Trump's near-total ignorance of the economics and institutions of trade, her stances seem more like typical campaign rhetoric. For fans of free trade and globalization, Clinton is a much more appealing candidate simply by not being horrible.-- -- Bill Watson @ Reason

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | What do you think? [0 comments]

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