Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kay Hymowitz in the WSJ: Where in the World is OctoDad?

Friday, February 20, 2009

"The more irresponsibly you behave, the more government works for you."

I have to agree with David Harsanyi who said this in his column today in the Denver Post. He also makes some other good points:

Who knew that playing by the rules comes with a government warranty? After all, I may play by the rules and engage in bizarrely self-destructive behavior. You may not. You may have played by the rules — invested in the stock market, a home, a business, a career — and found yourself stuck with a financial dud.

As every 2-year-old knows, consequences are the incentive to avoid risky behavior. So why are we rewarding failure and abolishing consequences? Many of the homeowners who government is bailing out took unnecessarily chancy loans that helped fuel the financial jam we're in.

My question is, what do we tell our kids about how to get ahead in this new economy? I don't think telling our kids to scrimp, save and work hard only to turn their earnings over to others is prudent at this point. We have to teach our kids how to make it in the new system of rewards for failure and penalties for success. Or maybe just explain that success is failure now, that up is down, that wrong is right. That seems to be the prevailing "wisdom" with our new government overlords.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

"The spending bill he just passed is just progressing the Democratic agenda rather than addressing the economic issues in the country."

Just when I was starting to think the youth of this country were pretty much brainwashed by the media, I read this article (via Drudge) on the Dobson high school advanced placement students who listened to Obama speak at their school and realized that there is hope:

The students in the class were hopeful things will work out but questioned whether Obama's plan would actually work to dig the country out of its economic woes. They also expected a longer speech.

Senior Syna Daudfar took some notes during the speech and was among the most vocally opposed to Obama's words.

At one point, when he talked about the costs of his stimulus plan, senior Maaike Albach and Daudfar looked at each other and said, "uh-oh."

"Overall I think it's a good idea, but he's not addressing the issues of the economic crisis," said Daudfar, a John McCain supporter who added he leans more toward being a moderate conservative. "The spending bill he just passed is just progressing the Democratic agenda rather than addressing the economic issues in the country."

Daudfar thinks Obama's plan is backward and deals with the "less important stuff" first. "Bailing out businesses" and "providing better regulatory systems for giving out money to businesses" should have been first, he said.

"If businesses can't afford to hire people, then people won't be able to work and pay off their mortgages," he said. "It's kind of like putting money into a funnel."

Albach, who is also a Republican, said Obama's plan sounds good but questioned how Obama can want to rely on "people's responsibility" when that is "what got us in this economic crisis in the first place."

"This puts us more into debt," said Albach, 18. "It's a horrible situation we're in."

Senior Brandon Miller wore a shirt with the words, "Hitler gave great speeches, too" above a picture of Obama.

The advanced placement students may be smarter than average but it does show that many young people in this country can see through Obama's rhetoric.

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Climbing the ladder and then pulling it up

John Hawkins interviews economics Professor Walter Williams on his new book, Liberty versus the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays. One point of Williams I found poignant:

...There is so much demagoguery against the rich and in that column I was asking the reader: Bill Gates, the richest person on the face of the earth -- what can Bill Gates make you do? That is, during the 70s and 80s, the era of busing, could he have made you send your kid to a school that you did not want him to go to? Can Bill Gates deny you the right to dig holes on your property or put up a little shed on your property? He cannot do any of those things, but a lowly town clerk can...destroy your life just by denying you a permit to add an addition to your house. Bill Gates can't stop you from doing that. I think that politicians and those that want to control our lives get us to focus away from the power that government has over our lives and cast our attention to rich people.

It seems to me that Bill Gates has played right into the hand of the politicians dissing rich people. He has publicly criticized the very capitalism that helped him get where he is now so that others may not benefit, like he did. He climbed the ladder and now wants to pull it up behind him. Have you noticed how many people who become billionaires do that?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PJTV: Your Reader Emails

Amy Alkon and I answer your reader emails in our segment today for PJTV. Questions include: what do you do if a woman tries to "scam" you for money?, advice on overreacting if an ex-husband hangs around your girlfriend, and how can men express themselves without sounding like a wimp?

You can watch here (free with no registration).


"Conversation is second only to sex, a lot less hassle, and it really matters."

So says author Catherine Blyth in her new book, The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure. I spent the morning reading this cute little book and came away with some interesting information about why modern life is bad for conversation. Despite saying she doesn't hate technology, the author doesn't seem happy with it, stating:

Compared to face-to-face, Internet communication is two dimensional....As distractions multiply, fewer receive our full attention, and nuances are neglected. We don't look at the man selling us coffee, never mind shoot the breeze; we're too busy fiddling with our iPod. I've witnessed wedding guests with more qualifications than they have chromosomes text-messaging during the vows.

Developments, yes, but progress? ...The nuances are no less valuable to us than they were to our forefathers, nor are the joys. Abandon them, and we miss out.

In some ways, I agree--that to miss out on intimate conversations with actual people is not a good thing and can lead to feelings of isolation and despair for some. But small talk is not for everyone and sometimes it can lead an introvert to feel uneasy, bored or just alienated. However, Blyth says it's important to overcome shyness and gives tips such "the more engaged we are, the less nervous we feel" to those of us with little aptitude for small talk.

Overall, the book is quite good at teaching how to engage in good conversation--from a romantic talk with a partner (in a chapter on pillow talk) to how to wage a word war with those who insult you. It's a good read.


Monday, February 16, 2009

"A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies."

Bradley R. Schiller, author of The Economy Today has an interesting piece in the WSJ entitled, "Obama's Rhetoric is the Real 'Catastrophe.'" Mr. Schiller compares this recession with the Great Depression and finds that our economic woes don't come close to the 1930s. He states:

Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fearmongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies.

But would better policies pay off the supporters who voted for him?

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