Saturday, December 4, 2010


A round-up of news items, columns, and blog posts that caught our eye this week.

The Democrats' diversity problem: The Voting Rights Act rules that govern redistricting is hurting congressional blacks' state and nation-wide appeal.

Recall the Justice Department's meddling down in Kinston, North Carolina, where they ruled that black voters needed to know who the Democratic candidates were... for city office.

Time to take another look at this well-intended but very possibly out-dated law?

From Cafe' Hayek and explaining the behavior of economists particularly in recessionary times:

There is truth in both of those arguments but I think it is useful to add some public choice as well with economists as rent seekers–if you want to be a player, you have to be willing to play. So those economists who argue for the virtues of intervention get a chance to play. Those who oppose intervention remove themselves from any chance of riding the government gravy train.

It’s a bootlegger and baptist argument–economists favored discretion and ad hoc intervention to save the economy knowing it is good for their own income and power. There’s also some groupthink involved. When everyone is touting the virtues of job creation via fiscal policy, you feel a little lonely suggesting it’s a sham. Finally, there is some risk aversion. Once you have some input into the policy process, better to do something than do nothing. Did Ben Bernanke really want to preside over the next real Great Depression while doing nothing? Better to do something, even if it’s flawed. The fact that you gain enormous power along the way would help any mortal man come to the view that doing something is better than doing nothing.

So, economists are becoming the new faith-based global-warming zealots? Terrific.

You may have heard the city of Cleveland threw itself a pity party on Thursday evening as LeBron James and his Miami Heat came to town to endure taunts, boos and signage that will not make anyone take pity upon Cleveland.

Oh, in case you were curious, the Heat thumped the Cavs 118-90.

Got gas? You may. Fracking goes global as Scrappy American companies are exporting their controversial drilling techniques to Asia and Europe, where "fracking" could face less regulation.

Michael Gerson on shellackings, messaging problems and assigning blame to conspiracies:

It is very bad political advice. It also indicates a movement losing contact with political reality. When an ideology stumbles, its adherents can always turn to alcohol - or to conspiracy theories. It is easier to recover from alcohol. Conspiracy thinking is not only addictive, it is tiresome. It precludes the possibility of interesting policy debate or genuine disagreement - how can you argue with a plot?

You know where we stand on this matter. Coping mechanisms in both '06 and '08 where also we knew exactly why the Republicans got trounced and it had zero to do with messaging or conspiracies.

Seriously. Given the alternative, conspiracy theories are so lame.

Suckers... Mickey Kaus breaks down the General Motors IPO and the ten warning signs GM ignored.

When you lose Paul Krugman:

After the Democratic “shellacking” in the midterm elections, everyone wondered how President Obama would respond. Would he show what he was made of? Would he stand firm for the values he believes in, even in the face of political adversity?

Perhaps, Krugman could share what he believes are those "values" that President Obama believes in because after 3+ years of being on the national/global stage, we sure as hell don't know what his values are.

And we were told it was Sarah Palin who was not properly vetted. Suckers.

At a season-ending banquet in Ann Arbor:
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez fought back tears, talking about the toll his job has taken on his family, and used passages from the Bible and a Josh Groban song during an emotional address that closed the team's banquet.

"I truly want to be a Michigan man," he said Thursday.

Rodriguez might not get that chance next season.

He didn't have to deal with the awkwardness of having Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh in the same ballroom, getting honored with the Wolverines who were honored 25 years after finishing the season ranked second, but the tension he feels about his job security was apparent.

A couple of things here. Michigan football officially recognizes 2nd place finishes?

Also, the conventional wisdom was that RichRod needed to win one of his last two games (Wisconsin and Ohio State) to save his job. They got drubbed in both finishing a bowl-eligible 7-5. We bought into this logic until early this past week. We think RichRod stays and here is what we wrote about his hire 3 years ago:

Let’s face it… Michigan is the CBS of college football. They are the embodiment of the stodgy, gray-flannel suit establishment of college ball. And like CBS, Michigan’s presumed dominance has been taking some hits of late – the program was showing its age and subsequently the ratings… and rankings were beginning to slip.

They took a huge gamble on Rodriguez and his very un-Michigan-like spread-option offense. If the Tiffany Network of college football whacks Rodriquez now, after only 3 years, it will appear that they are flailing and directionless... and perhaps as worse, admitting that they completely screwed up in the hiring decision. Rodriguez, who does have that offense dialed-in, gets another year to go at least 9-3. The now-rare occurrence of beating Ohio State would greatly help matters as well.

As for that song that got the head ball coach all misty...

Upon hearing this news, Groban tweeted:

"Coach Rodriguez, I'm very flattered but crying to You Raise Me Up is SO five years ago."

Getting punked by Josh Groban? Maybe RichRod is getting whacked, after all.

Folks, that's all for now. Will check back in later in the day, perhaps.

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