Saturday, March 9, 2019
Tim Harford roots for 2% inflation. Hard to argue with his logic, especially since a deflationary economy is way more scary to those of us who have all our assets in real estate. A wee excerpt:
Hyperinflation does not strike at random, and it does not happen because central banks briefly slumber. It must be manufactured by the relentless printing of money, generally as the last resort in the face of political dysfunction alongside a severe fiscal crisis. Perhaps it is rash to say so, but I think we can set aside fears of hyperinflation in an advanced economy today. If it ever does happen, it will be only one element in a far more comprehensive economic disaster.
............................but not forgotten. It was good sports writing that first got me hooked on reading. In the 1960s, nobody was writing better than Dan Jenkins.
One of this blog's favorite labels is "Life Its Ownself." In case you ever wondered where it came from, here it is:
.............will know that I have been reading, and excerpting from, Martin Gurri's Revolt of the Public. Noah Smith offers this comment from his generally favorable review:
So the Revolt of the Public might not be such a new thing under the sun. Instead, it might be a recent manifestation of a recurring phenomenon – a periodic eruption of popular discontent. Such a cycle might be driven by improvements in information technology – the printing press, telephones, radio, blogs, and now social media. Each time information technology improves, it might lead to an explosion of chaos and rage while elites and institutions struggle to adapt. But each time in the past, the slow-moving engines of government, business, and media have eventually figured out how to put the lid back on public rage. It may turn out similarly this time.
......................Choices people, choices. Try something radical, like moving to Ohio where housing is affordable and jobs are aplenty. Just saying.
Friday, March 8, 2019
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.
We're living "Envy in the Time of Tedious Petty Outrage." John Brennan and Adam Schiff are symbols of our time, not Botticelli or Lorenzo de Medici.
-Roger Simon, cut-and-pasted from this blog post looking over Machiavelli's shoulder
“We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
"I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me."
My favorite Kroger carries a decent selection of Cabernet wine. Recently I started buying the Newman's Own brand. Reasonably priced, easy to drink. Sort of a win-win. Just passing on information here.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
. . . use the Two-Minute rule, which states, "When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do."
You'll find that nearly any habit can be scaled down into a two-minute version:
-"Read before bed each night" becomes "Read one page."
-"Do 30 minutes of yoga" becomes "Take out my yoga mat."
-"Study for class" becomes "open my notes."
-"Fold the laundry" becomes "Fold one pair of socks."
-Run three miles" becomes "Tie my running shoes."
The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start. . . .
People often think its weird to get hyped about reading one page, or meditating for one minute or making one sales call. But the point is not to do the one thing. The point is to master the habit of showing up. The truth is, a habit must be established before it can be improved. IF you can't learn the basic skill of showing up, then you have little hope of mastering the finer details. Instead of trying to engineer a perfect habit from the start, do the easy thing on a more consistent basis. You have to standardize before you can optimize.
-James Clear, Atomic Habits
When we look for answers to the questions we have been discussing, we find, curiously enough, that every answer seems to somehow impoverish the problem. Every answer sells us short; it does not do justice to the depth of the question but transforms it from a dynamic human concern into a simplistic, lifeless, inert line of words. Hence, Denis de Rougement says, at the end of his Love in the Western World, that there "probably aren't any answers."
The only way of resolving—in contrast to solving—the questions is to transform them by means of deeper and wider dimensions of consciousness. The problems must be embraced in their full meaning, the antinomies resolved even with their contradictions. They must be build upon; and out of this will arise a new level of consciousness. This is as close as we shall ever get to a resolution; and it is all we need to get. In psychotherapy, for example, we do not seek answers as such, or cut-and-dry solutions to the question—which would leave the patient worse off than he originally was in his struggling. But we seek to help him take in, encompass, embrace, and integrate the problem. With insight, Carl Jung once remarked that the serious problems of life are never solved, and if it seems that they have been solved, something important has been lost.
-Rollo May, Love And Will
Monday, March 4, 2019
I graduated 45 years ago with a B. A. in History from a prestigious Midwestern four-year liberal arts college. My professors were scholars and, for the most part, interesting lecturers. Yet, I continue to be astonished at the great gaps in my knowledge of American History. This book, following on the heels of Robert Merry's President McKinley, helped to close some of those gaps. I recommend Edmund Morris to you. Now, who's on deck?
Bryan was gracious, even self-mocking, after his third failed run for the White House. He said he identified with the legendary Texan drunk who tried to get into a bar, and was escorted out. Trying again, he was hustled out; trying yet again, he was thrown out. "I guess," said the drunk, brushing dust from his clothes, "they don't want me in there."
-Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex
Interestingly, William Jennings Bryan ran unsuccessfully against William McKinley in 1896 and 1900. He then ran against Roosevelt's hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft in 1908.
It was that from the very start, and most disturbingly since October's panic, Roosevelt had never shown much respect for wealth. As he said himself, "I find I can work best with those people in whom money sense is not too highly developed."
-Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex
“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
"Here is the thing you must bear in mind," Roosevelt said, clearly irritated. "I do not represent public opinion: I represent the public. There is a world of difference between the two, between the real interests of the public, and the public's opinion of these interests. I must represent not the existed opinion of the West, but the real interests of the whole people."
-Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex
Sunday, March 3, 2019
"If we use up our energies panicking about phantom hobgoblins, we might have none left for the real scares . . ."
-Matt Ridley, taken out of context from this blog post
"The wars waged by the Federal government against social conditions have ended with the enemy standing more or less where he was before hostilities began."
"From obesity to climate change, nothing is so personal or so cosmic that it can't be reckoned a failure of government. If political power has become the guarantor of happiness, then politicians must take the blame for the tragic dimension of human life. Democracy, as a system, must be held accountable for every imperfection and anxiety afflicting the electorate. Political intervention, though a gesture of appeasement to the public, has compounded the distrust it aimed to nullify."
"Modern governments have many achievements to their credit. They have built superhighways and helped eradicate smallpox and polio. But they have promised many more things—nothing less than the good life—and they have asked for increasing control over wealth and power to get there. Failure has been a function of extravagant promises and great expectations. At some point around the turn of the new millennium, elites lost control of information, and power arrangements began to flip. Assured of the public's wrath, elected governments have acted, or failed to act, motivated by a terror of consequences, Legitimacy was equated with the deflection of blame, and the aim of governing became to exhibit a lack of culpability."
-Martin Gurri, in a few more wee excerpts from Revolt of the Public
36. In the universe Asia and Europe are but two small corners, all ocean's waters a drop, Athos a puny lump of earth, the vastness of time a pin's point in eternity. All is petty, inconstant, and perishable. All proceeds from the one source, springing either directly or derivatively from the universal sovereign Reason. Even the lion's open jaws, the deadly poison, and all other things that do hurt, down to the bramble-bush and the slough, are by-products of something else that is itself noble and beautiful. Do not think of them, then, as alien to That which you reverence, but remember the one origin that is common to them all.
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Six
Unfortunately, today's conservatives—self-made men like Elkins and Aldrich, both of them railroad board members—believed with complete sincerity in the stand-pat values embodied by President McKinley and Mark Hanna. Roosevelt understood that a "profound reconstitution [had] taken place in modern industrial society." and that change was in the direction of economic redress.
He also believed something else with complete sincerity, too: that unless capital consented to some redistribution of profits, piling up beyond reason now that times were stable and competition was turning to complicity, "the radical elements in society" would resort to violence.
-Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex