Trump’s Kardashian Invite Speaks More About Our Culture Than It Does Trump

 

This week, Kim Kardashian met with President Donald Trump in the White House to discuss prison reform. If time machines existed and one was able to transport this post back several years in time, that first sentence would make you think this a spoof column; but no, it’s a thing that happens in 2018.

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I nearly spilled my coffee on the rug while watching the Stanley Cup Final last night.  Ricochet’s own Pat Sajak was wearing a Washington Capitals polo and announcing the starting lineups. So sad.   Imagine if you were watching Seinfeld on TV and you see Rob Long in the credits as a show-runner?  Or perhaps listening […]

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Okay, we’ve got “ape” and “c–t” ; we just need one more “unsayable” epithet before we can reinstitute the old game. As I recall, it was a version of drawing straws: picking the loser.  But here’s the problem: there’s really no gender-specific equivalent of the C word. “Dick” doesn’t have anywhere near the same punch. […]

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We seem to be in the midst of a spontaneous, global, cause celebre, namely, the evil of the plastic bag. I really don’t have an opinion either way on the virtues and vices of the ubiquitous plastic bag. My intrigue springs solely from the phenomenon that seems to be afoot, where seemingly spontaneously, all the […]

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My wife and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this month.    We’ve decided to spend 3 days in Minneapolis (near the Mall of America) and 3 days in Chicago (not sure where yet exactly). I was wondering if anyone familiar with these areas had suggestions for things to do.   I’m sure we will be able […]

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How to Build a Computer, Part 1 of N: Silicon

 

As the illustrious @JohnWalker no longer treads these halls, I figured there was an opportunity to thrust my metaphorical booties into his clodhoppers. I’ve been kicking the idea of this series around for a long time. Broadly speaking it covers everything you need to know to build a computer. Everything. Today, we’re going to learn how to make silicon wafers.

He’s Gone Silicon

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Matthew Chapman provides on Twitter the best take I’ve yet seen on the lunatic, counterproductive tariffs introduced recently by our grotesquely, staggeringly, eye-wateringly ignorant president, who knows as much about economics as he does about Proca’s equations of the massive vector boson field. Here’s the essence of Chapman’s take: The one thing that you need to […]

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I am an armchair physicist, meaning that when inertia and a good group of books about new physics material take over me, inertia captures my body, while science captures my mind. Now there are worries that the constant clamor for equations to explain such modern physics dilemmas as string theory or the “multi verse” are […]

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There’s an odd argument cropping up more and more these days that goes something like this: Capitalism rewards merit, so smart, creative people naturally rise to the top in a Capitalist system. These people are adept at lobbying government for special favors, thereby corrupting Capitalism into Crony Capitalism. While this argument is plausible, it requires […]

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Quote of the Day: Peale on Happiness

 

“Happiness will never come if it’s a goal in itself; happiness is a by-product of a commitment to worthy causes.” — Rev. Norman Vincent Peale

Is everybody happy? If not, dedicate yourself to a worthy cause. Go make a family. Get involved in a church. Quit your moping and move your feet.

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On June 10, the Swiss will vote on, in the words of today’s WSJ article, “fundamental questions rooted in the crisis: What is money? Who creates it? How safe is it?” The “crisis” is, of course, the banking and credit crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which led to the Great Recession of […]

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Edward Conard on Innovation, Income Inequality, and High-Skilled Immigration

 

Edward Conard is a former Managing Director of Bain Capital and bestselling author. In this Conversation, Conard shares his perspective on why innovation is the key to America’s long-term economic vitality and how we can go about fostering it. To address what he describes as a shortage of properly-trained talent and risk-bearing capital, Conard calls for increasing high-skilled immigration and other public policies that match talent with opportunities. Conard and Kristol also reflect on the inequalities that are inherent in a technology-driven economy and consider what can be done now to benefit lower-skilled workers in the years to come.

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I love when the “writer” describes wind and solar as being more profitable than coal and nuclear. And says Trump’s action would be an “unprecedented” intrusion into the energy market. What are all the subsidies for wind and solar? What about the TVA? Bonneville? Hoover Dam? Disgusting. Preview Open

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Jobs Are Booming, and Democrats Are Puzzled

 

Is it overstating things to say the US economy is, well, booming? After all, the May jobs report was pretty impressive, including a) 223,000 new jobs, b) an uptick in average hourly earnings growth to 2.7% from a year ago, c) a downtick in the jobless rate to 3.8% —  at 3.755% unrounded, the lowest since 1969 — and d) a two-tenths decline in the U6 underemployment to 7.6% — its lowest level since 2001. JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli titled his Jobs Friday report this way (while alluding to President Trump’s controversial pre-report tweet): “The secret’s out: job growth is booming.” And some economists think a jobless rate with a two-handle is hardly out of the question.

True, overall economic growth is still stuck in Two Percentland. That’s the other, less-encouraging two-handle. But maybe not for much longer. GDP estimates for the second quarter are rising across Wall Street, and this report may boost that momentum. “Nearly all aspects of this report were positive and consistent with solid growth of wage-and-salary income in the second quarter,” notes the IHS Markit econ team. “The details in this report added one-tenth to our forecast of Q2 GDP growth, which now stands at 4.1%.”

Now superfast growth isn’t sustainable — deficit-financed fiscal stimulus will fade — unless we eventually see higher productivity growth, and that doesn’t seem to be happening yet. (Though there is AI-driven reason for optimism on that front.) The 1990s boom was particularly notable in that it was driven by massive productivity gains. But other than productivity growth — and I don’t mean to skip past it — how else would a boom skeptic quibble with the US economy right now? Probably like this analysis from left-learning Center for American Progress:

Mueller Seeks Death Penalty for Trump

 

I was walking toward my 2018 International Mensa Convocation meeting in the Washington Hilton yesterday with my longtime friend and attorney, E. Hobart Calhoun, when a horde of stampeding media types swept us into an immense ballroom just in time to hear Special Counsel Robert “Ferriss” Mueller announce he will seek the death penalty for President Trump for his collusion with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 US presidential election.

I was in DC on other business, sporting my “No IQ Below 75” lapel button, to testify before the Mensa Board of Directors to vehemently oppose a proposed amendment to our by-laws to lower Mensa standards to allow Senators and Congressmen to qualify for membership.

Are Families of Those Guilty of Thought Crimes Fair Game?

 

There’s a disturbing new beat of journalism emerging: technology reporters using their time and resources to expose the identities of those who choose to use the Internet anonymously.

It started with CNN deciding to find the creator of a GIF the President tweeted out. While CNN decided against publishing the man’s real name, it did say it “reserves the right to publish his identity” if he makes offensive posts in future. That sounds an awful lot like blackmail, leading to the creation of a viral hashtag #CNNBlackmail.

Say No to Hereditary Titles of Nobility

 

Rumors abound throughout the news media that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is poised to appoint Cindy McCain to fill the remainder of John McCain’s senate term in the event he expires prior to the 2023 expiration of his term. Paul Mirengoff has a piece at Powerline arguing that Mrs. McCain is a qualified successor to her husband, although perhaps not conservative enough to be a good choice for the seat. With respect to Mr. Mirengoff, I suggest the issue at hand is not her qualification for the job, the issue is our nation’s longstanding rejection of hereditary titles of nobility.

It is one thing for a family member to run and be elected in his or her own right to succeed a close relative. While it happens often enough it is still something most Americans seem at least uneasy with. Running for office with the benefit of a beloved family name can be helpful to a candidate but it is also a turnoff for many voters and the genesis of much low hanging fruit for political attacks. But in the end, at least there is merit in being elected to one’s own term rather than being appointed to succeed a relative.

Frank Murkowski served in the United States Senate for two decades before he was elected governor of Alaska. Upon taking office Governor Murkowski promptly appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, to finish out his Senate term. This blatant act of nepotism so enraged Alaskans that the law was changed by referendum in 2004 to require a special election to fill a Senate vacancy and was a major factor in Governor Murkowski losing his re-election primary to one Sarah Palin.