He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Robbers

I'm Celebrating The 70s While It Lasts

I just realized that if Romney wins the Presidential race, we'll lose the Carter-like feeling of the last four years. I have time to celebrate the 70s while it's still appropriate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Mary

The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted on this day in 1970.

Thanks for the reruns.

Google Never Met A Tyrant It Couldn't Appease

I was reading this article about the actress in the notoriously inflammatory "Innocence of Muslims" film who's suing YouTube (owned by Google) to remove the trailer from its site. What's most interesting about this particular article was Google's bedding with tyrants:

YouTube said it is reviewing the complaint and its lawyers will be in court on Thursday. The site is owned by search giant Google and has blocked users in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt from viewing the "Innocence of Muslims" trailer. It has also blocked the video from being viewed in Indonesia and India because it violates laws in those countries.

Why Is This Newsworthy?

This is the second article I've seen that addresses Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's simultaneous campaign for re-election to the House. He's hedging his bets in a tight race, and he's too valuable to be out of a government job.

Here's the text of the ad:

Questioner: "What can be done to create good jobs?"

Paul Ryan: "First, we need to end the growing government-control over the economy and when we put higher tax rates on American job creators than our foreign competitors do, we push jobs overseas. We need to fix that and make our tax code fair, simple, and more competitive. We should balance the budget and eliminate ridiculous regulations that cost you money. With the right solutions, we can get this economy growing. I'm Paul Ryan and I approve this message."

Ronmey's 47%

John at Ad Orientem threw a hissy fit over Mitt Romney's much publicized 47% remark. His posting elicited some good comments, and I'd invite this blog's readers to wander over to peruse.

I'll re-post my comment here:

John, maybe you're never been invited anywhere, but when I've attended closed-door fundraisers, I've accepted a more casual mode of address. I've cut speakers more slack than when they're making a public address because of the more impromptu ambiance.

Up to this point, I was supporting Paul Ryan and accepted Romney as an unavoidable byproduct. After Romney's "gaffe", however, I'm beginning to like the man more.

Was the 47% quantitatively correct? The funny thing is that no one knows, especially the Tax Policy Center and its media lickspittles. All of these empirical studies are full of shit to some extent, filled with estimates, fudges, averages, and proxies. The point that Romney was making was that parasites vote for politicians who deliver the bacon. The current President has been ladling cheese to his supplicant voting bloc as fast as the Salvation Army ladles soup. I'm glad that Romney brought it up.

I'm further amused by the aversion to Romney's Mormonism because it isn't "Christian". Heck, my beliefs say that no heterodox are Christian. As far as I'm concerned, all of the major Presidential candidates and their running mates aren't Christian. That doesn't make them bad people. In fact, I don't think that it's an issue at all.

You know, we could always examine the Christianity of his opponent who sold his chosen spiritual advisor of twenty-something years down the river to get elected. I'm not even going to address that advisor's venom, but the fact that the relationship was long-standing suggests some underlying resonance, even if expediently disowned.

Let's assume for a moment that one of the candidates magically converted to Orthodoxy, and thereby became a Christian. Would an Orthodox Christian politician automatically possess superior "core values"? Maybe Blagojevich, Dukakis, Collins, Sarbanes, and Snow could answer that question, but somehow I don't think that being Orthodox exempts one from sleaze. From what I've seen, Romney displays Mormon core values in his personal life--attending church, helping others, evangelizing, producing children, and making money. Not bad. Pretty consistent.

What are Romney's problems? He isn't likable or magnetic. He's no intellectual. His oratory lacks the woolly loftiness of the professor who's used to addressing ass-kissing law students. Nah, Romney's strength was his effectiveness at producing results for his constituents, including ass-kicking stockholders, athletes, and Bostonians. He's a CEO, and really now, whose boss is likable? I happen to like my boss personally (although, as a boss, he's about 50% moron), but my fellow underlings unanimously think that he's an asshole.

Romney's MA health care program was a response to his constituents' concerns, but unfortunately, no focused consensus existed with respect to the funding mechanism. The Commonwealth still lacks that funding consensus.

Do you want to know the thing of which I'm most suspicious? Not Republican “fascist control freaks”, but Trojan horses, like tricky Dick Nixon. My reading of postwar history tells me that this nominal capitalist conservative ushered in a whole host of Keynesian evils with which America is still dealing. I don't see any trickiness in Romney. His latest “gaffe” consisted in his trusting the confidentiality of his closed-door meetings, unlike the “always on” phoniness of the professional huckster.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Russians In Japan

Tokyo, September 17, Interfax - Dozens of Russian expatriates accorded a warm welcome to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who visited the Russian Orthodox Church's embassy parish in Tokyo on Sunday.

After conducting a service at the Church of St. Alexander of the Neva, Patriarch Kirill said that, 'a parishioner's last will has been fulfilled and an Orthodox church was dedicated in Tokyo four years ago after 40 years of incessant work.'

Jeffrey Tucker On Western Usury

The next and final step in the liberalization of interest was taken by Thomas De Vio, Cardinal Cajetan (1468-1534). He was the leading Catholic theologian of his day, a favorite of the Pope, and a defender of Catholicism against Martin Luther. His writings represented the most sophisticated of his time as regards economics. He completely endorsed Summenhart’s teaching and took it a step further to say that any loan contract was legitimate if both the borrower and the lender agreed to it in anticipation of some economic benefit. He carefully took apart St. Thomas’s own writings on the topic and demonstrated that it was perfectly just for the lender who is giving up use of his property to charge a service fee in exchange.

Since those times, there has been no real debate in the Church on this question. Yes, usury continues to be warned against, though no one makes the attempt any more to distinguish between interest and usury. They were once considered synonymous; today they are distinguished as a reflection of a continuing bias against lenders who would seem to display more avarice than charity in their work. But in practice, there is no clear difference. What’s more, even seemingly usurious loan rates serve a social function: the higher the rate of interest, the more saving is encouraged and borrowing discouraged.

Wilson On Liberty

The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.

Woodrow Wilson, Address to New York Press Club, September 9, 1912

Whistling Mules, "Sentimental Guy"

Mark Jungers, "Price of Progess"

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Governance Involves Tradeoffs

Yana Amelina, head of the sector for Caucasus studies at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, has suggested outlawing radical Islamists in response to the assassination of the Muslim spiritual leader in Dagestan Sheikh Said Atsayev.

"What happened in Dagestan clearly prompts the conclusion that effective resistance to radical Islam in all its manifestations is impossible without temporarily restricting certain constitutional rights and liberties through introducing a state of emergency or a counterterrorist operation (for only a certain time and in regions of the greatest Islamist threat, of course,)" she said to a correspondent of

She said that a situation in which extremists do not recognize the legitimacy of the Russian state but actively benefit from its constitutional freedom of speech and assembly for their own purposes "is unacceptable and leads to the loss of the side that plays according to rules, in this case Russia."

Releasing Tax Returns

"Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself," says Senator Harry Reid of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney has agreed to release two years' of tax returns, which certainly isn't sufficient for those who attach much importance to this kind of financial gossip.

"Modern American history" began in 1952, when Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon challenged his Democratic opponents to release their tax information.

Social Security's 174,000 Bullets

This is a nice article explaining why the Social Security Administration ordered 174,000 handgun rounds for its criminal investigation force. The round count averages to just below 590 rounds per investigator, which implies a monthly qualification regimen. I'm interested also in their use of .357 magnum revolvers, which implies a less militarized set of opponents than more active law enforcement agencies.