Christopher Hitchens, one of the New Atheists and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, has died.  He learned last year that he had esophageal cancer.  He died earlier this month.  He was 62.

His brother, Peter Hitchens, author of The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith, has written a first eulogy for his brother.

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Occupy protesters are motivated not so much by policy goals as by a need for community and a desire for personal validation, according to new research by the Frontier Lab.   Read the rest of this entry »

National Review has an editorial on the subject.

Spending Ceiling

December 18, 2011

Here’s an idea for structural reform (though not structural in the same sense as, say, repealing the Seventeenth Amendment), prompted by the discussion generated by a past post: a spending ceiling.

The idea is simple:  Congress would enact a limit on the annual federal budget, similar to the total limit on national debt (the “debt ceiling”).  Any time Congress wants to spend more money than it did the previous year (or rather, more than the existing statutory limit), it has to pass a law (duly agreed by both houses and signed by the president) raising the spending limit.   Read the rest of this entry »

This just in:  In a spending-bill deal finally worked out last night between congressional Republicans and Democrats, the light-bulb ban will still not be repealed (yet), but the government will be prohibited from using any money to enforce it.  See news story from Bloomberg (longer), Newsmax, or the Chicago Tribune (shorter).   Read the rest of this entry »

Supply and Demand

December 15, 2011

Glenn Beck this morning: “All I want for Christmas: Edison’s light bulb.”

It’s true, it will be illegal to sell 100-watt incandescent bulbs in the United States starting in 2012—i.e., two weeks from now.  You will be able to get them only at great expense, if at all.  (Hoard them while you can, if you like.)

I suppose the coming blackout is fitting accompaniment to the coming of the new dark ages.


December 9, 2011

I just heard a radio ad use the term “holiday elves”.  People have been arguing for years about whether it’s OK reflexively to substitute “happy holidays” for “merry Christmas” everywhere out of some concern for “political correctness”, but when retailers or other big companies do that, at least I think I can understand where they’re coming from.  If they go further and say “holiday elves”, it almost seems to me like unthinking self-parody at that point—what other holiday has any tradition of elves, or what elves are associated with “holidays” generically, outside of the Christmas traditions?   Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Tracinski explains a structural problem with (and leading to) Obamacare, and the welfare state generally:

. . . when the government bestows its largess, we tend [to] see only the benefits coming down from above: there are press releases and newspaper articles and a lady writes an op-ed in the LA Times. What we don’t see is where that money came from and who it came from, and what else we might have done with that money.   Read the rest of this entry »

National Interest

December 5, 2011

As usual, Mark Steyn is must-read material.

From an actual unsolicited e-mail solicitation:


I’ve had the privilege of meeting thousands of you in your diners, town halls, and homes as I travel from state to state. I wish there were more hours in the day to spend more time with each and every one of you.

That’s why I wanted to grab a bite with a supporter like you to hear your questions and thoughts on how to fix this country.   Read the rest of this entry »

Far-flung Fancies is talking about something I had never heard of until recently: “Hauser’s Law”.

As Mr. Hauser explains,

Over the past six decades, tax revenues as a percentage of GDP have averaged just under 19% regardless of the top marginal personal income tax rate. The top marginal rate has been as high as 92% (1952-53) and as low as 28% (1988-90). . . .

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