Death By ..., Ledge of Ice, Bad For Bonds, Cut Cut Cut, Mr. 15%, Animal Instinct
If there is one thing that history teaches over and over and over again, it is that, justice is not blind.
So an important new book on the persistence of capital punishment in the United States, a practice thankfully abandoned in Canada in 1976, is best twinned with the insights of Truman Capote.
He absorbed the lives of most everyone in his book In Cold Blood and by showing the very very worst of men also opened the door to their secular redemption.
And articles about the perils of the US economy, the leaky bond market, fiscal repair, last night's Canadian federal by-elections, and why men prefer blonds and terrorists need more sex.
That peculiar institution.
New York Review of Books -- On the Death Sentence -- David Garland is a well-respected sociologist and legal scholar who taught courses on crime and punishment at the University of Edinburgh before relocating to the United States over a decade ago.
Robert Blake as Perry Smith.
In Cold Blood -- " "I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat."
Truman Capote on capital punishment.
George Plimpton's famous interview of Truman Capote.
New York Review of Books -- The Story Behind a Non-Fiction Novel -- In Cold Blood" is remarkable for its objectivity--nowhere, despite his involvement, does the author intrude. (ed's note -- a non-fiction novel that finishes with the hanging of two people and entitled In Cold Blood is hardly 'objective').
Quote worth quoting.
"I feel that capital crimes should all be handled by Federal Courts, and that those convicted should be imprisoned in a special Federal prison where, conceivably, a life-sentence could mean, as it does not in state courts, just that."
New York Times -- One Night on a Kansas Farm The plains of western Kansas are even lonelier than the sea.
Quote worth quoting.
"His book is also a grieving testament of faith in what used to be called the soul."
Death of a different sort, but soul destroying nevertheless.
Hussman Funds -- House on Ice -- On the surface, the U.S. economy is gradually recovering.
David Rosenberg's icy view of the US economy.
Newsweek's 16 pictures of life out of the fast lane.
Newsweek -- Life on the Economic Edge -- For many recession is still here, and it's even worse.
Newsweek -- The Triumphant Return of Hayek Last year the consensus opinion was that we are all Keynesians now.
So the retreat of the bond market since the start of QE2 is a function of what exactly? Hopes for stronger growth or ....
Merk Funds -- Currency Manipulation -- Two Sides to Every Coin -- Recently, currency manipulation has garnered headline attention.
No bonds please.
Business Insider -- The Bond Bubble Just Popped -- U.S investors have been pouring additional money into bond funds, each and every week, ever since December 2008. This historic streak for bond fund inflows has been an enduring sign of post-crisis sentiment, but last week it finally came to an end.
More bad bond news.
Market Watch -- Is the Tide Turning? -- Countless commentators (myself included) in recent months have concluded that it has, though in retrospect we’ve at best been premature — if not outright wrong.
On austerity the dangers of a new religion.
Financial Times -- Austerity Alone Will Not Solve Deficit Crises -- After a brief period of Keynesian stimulus in the early stages of the financial crisis, governments throughout the developed world are attempting a rapid return to budget balance, even in the face of high unemployment and depressed economic activity. “Austerity” is the watchword.
Other stupid and dangerous economic nostrums.
Zombie Economics -- Ideas are long-lived. They often outlive their originators, and, even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, they are very hard to kill.
Moving fast in London.
Financial Times -- Britain: Breakneck Coalition -- In opposition, David Cameron’s warnings were dire. Campaigning ahead of Britain’s May general election, the Conservative leader predicted that a hung parliament would plunge the country into a period of weak, indecisive government and economic paralysis.
Quote worth quoting.
"Ministers from both parties claim the overarching “liberal” theme of their synthesised programme is about fairness, social mobility and decentralising power."
How about capping state tax benefits?
Washington Post -- How To Cut Taxes Without Raising the Deficit -- There is a way to cut budget deficits without raising tax rates.
When John Turner lost to Brian Mulroney in the 1984 federal election many Liberals hoped that if he lost his own election in Vancouver then he would have no choice but to resign. I wonder if Liberals will look back at Winnipeg North in yesterday's vote the same way?
Not according to this view anyway.
Winnipeg Free Press -- Three New MPs, But No Deeper Truth -- When someone mentions the topic of federal by-elections, the word "obligatory" comes to mind. It's an election, and we in the media are obligated to cover it and then find some sort of greater meaning in the results. Well, what if there is no greater meaning?
John Ibbiston begs to differ. Michael Ignatieff, one for seven votes, Mr. 15%.
Globe and Mail -- Vaughan By-Election Loss Adds to Ignatieff's Woes -- Julian Fantino’s snatching of the Greater Toronto riding of Vaughan in Monday’s federal by-election will further cloud Michael Ignatieff’s troubled leadership and offer a glimpse of a possible Conservative majority government after the next election.
Michael Ignatieff's announcement.
"Today I am stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Because I did not win the leadership as a consequence of a democratic mandate of the members but instead by appointment that was only justified by the political crisis at the time and the promise that I would have a definitively positive impact on the fortunes of our Party.
The crisis is passed and I have not had that impact. One out of seven by-elections -- 15% -- doesn't cut it. I am sorry."
And in the happily politically incorrect department.
The Independent -- Inconvenient Truths about our Evolution? -- Why do beautiful people have more daughters? Because beauty is more important for a woman than a man, according to evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa.
Psychology Today -- Ten Politically Incorrect Truths about Human Nature -- Human nature is one of those things that everybody talks about but no one can define precisely. Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouse, get upset about the influx of immigrants into our country, or go to church, we are, in part, behaving as a human animal with our own unique evolved nature—human nature.
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©
Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.
The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.
When too few get too much everybody loses.
Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.
Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?
Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.
My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.
Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.
Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.
Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.
Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.
Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.
Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).
Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.
Political debate should not be fact free fighting.
Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.
Always favour empowerment over dependency.
The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.
Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.
It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.