Can we pay them to leave us alone?

22 08 2011

In an insightful column at the National Review, Mark Steyn criticizes Obama’s lavish Martha’s Vineyard vacation and luxe travel habits, comparing his excesses to those of European royals. While our President flits about on the plush Air Force One, he notes, “Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands flies long haul on KLM.” Let’s hope she doesn’t have a peanut allergy.

Steyn’s broader point is that Obama’s behavior is more fitting of a monarch of old than the freely elected leader of a democratic republic. I don’t disagree–but I hardly believe this Obama’s problem. He wasn’t the first President to have access to Air Force One, a variety of opulent vacation destinations, or an attentive 24/7 staff. Yes, his timing and imaging is terrible. But he’s not doing anything that Congressmen, Senators, and past Presidents haven’t been doing for generations. Read the rest of this entry »


Hungarian Mushroom Soup

18 08 2011

I’m home alone for a few days, but I’ve never considered that a reason to get lazy cooking. In fact, since I’ve got a nice, clean, kitchen to myself, I tend to go nuts. Tonight I decided to keep it relatively simple and prepare one of my favorites: Hungarian Mushroom Soup. I know it’s not the most fancy recipe, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Try it some time, even if you’re away at college. It’s a lot cheaper (and more satisfying) than takeout, and far more impressive to boot.

Anyhow, onwards: Read the rest of this entry »

Live by the sword of the state…

18 08 2011

When ratings agency S&P downgraded America’s credit rating on August 5, they were merely confirming what was readily apparent: the U.S. is drowning in debt with no relief in sight.

Unsurprisingly, the emperor does not like to be told he is wearing no clothes. The Obama Administration lashed out at S&P for “incorrectly” issuing an unflattering opinion. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner threw a tantrum. And now, in completely unrelated news, S&P is under investigation for improperly assessing subprime mortgage risk during the housing bubble. Though it must be noted that this investigation was launched before the downgrade, S&P has just given the government an excellent reason to not simply look the other way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ground Control to Major Krugman

16 08 2011

The reductio ad absurdum is a time-tested mode of logical dissection wonderfully suited to exploding arguments that may, on the surface at least, seem compelling. One simply assumes a proposition is true, then takes that proposition to absurd (but logical) end. If I were to use this method to argue against Keynesian economic stimulus, for example, I might say something like this:

Assume for a moment that consumption drives economic growth, and that the unemployed can’t consume. Thus, when unemployment is high, the economy stagnates or contracts. Increasing employment is then of paramount importance, so by Keynesian logic, we can argue that militarization and its associated spending might provide a pathway to prosperity. Violence is undesirable, so we could prepare to battle some fictitious foe – say, for example, aliens. Remember, all that matters is that governments spend in order to get money into the hands of the previously unemployed.

Preparing for an alien invasion to get the economy juiced? Isn’t that a bit ridiculous?

Read the rest of this entry »

Ann Arbor’s idle busybodies

15 08 2011

Heard the one about Ann Arbor banning idling vehicles?

No, it’s not a bad joke – it’s a proposed ordinance that Ann Arbor’s city council has been developing since 2002. Catch up on its specifics at

The Ann Arbor mentality – a reliable proxy for the progressive mentality – seems perfectly calibrated to make the blood of anti-regulation crazies like myself boil. We simply fail to understand why a top-down command-and-control edict is necessary to address vehicle idling when individuals acting in their best interest could do a far more efficient job. Read the rest of this entry »

Whitefish and eggs over toast. Verdict: delicious

15 08 2011

I eat quite a bit of fish for breakfast. Salmon, sardines, kippered herring…it’s all good for a hearty start to the day. But whitefish? It’s always a treat, since it doesn’t come dirt cheap in an apocalypse-proof can. The whitefish is a freshwater bottom-feeder that may or may not possess a delicate flavor nicely complimented by a crisp white wine. I wouldn’t know; I like it freshly smoked and salted to hell and back.

Yesterday, I had the chance to pick up exactly 1.89 lbs. of smoked whitefish at the Upper Peninsula’s own Hog Island Country Store. If you’re going to buy whitefish, you’ve got to buy it whole so that you can imagine yourself having a conversation with the fish as you prepare your meal.

Fish aren't noted for their conversation skills, with "Hello sailor" being the most popular piscine opener

Anyway, I’ve got a few whitefish recipes I want to experiment with (be on the lookout) but this morning I decided to keep things simple with poached eggs over whitefish on toast. Read the rest of this entry »


12 08 2011

I’m not sure if I’ve earned the right to relax this summer–sure, I’ve been busy, but mostly busy pursuing my own personal goals and ends. I’ve met with some successes (the conferences I attended were catalytic experiences in many ways) and come up short in a few areas (the Packard isn’t going to be finished any time soon, and I haven’t yet written the next Great American Novel).

Still, as summer winds down, it’s never a bad idea to kick back for few days with friends. Which is precisely what I’m doing right now in Naubinway.

Does one relax at the beach or on the beach?

By the time I return to the Detroit area this Sunday I’ll be ready for action…whatever that might entail. I have developed some of my thoughts on the so-called Higher Education Bubble that I’ve had a hard time putting to paper. Generally, I’ve found that the more important and valuable something on my to-do list is, the more likely I am to put it off. By that standard, I’ve got some truly interesting things waiting in my personal queue.