America


1
Dec 08

Belated post

  • Bet On America -
    The evidence for our nation’s downward spiral isn’t sufficient to rule out the very opposite possibility: that the United States will become, in purely geopolitical terms, even stronger in coming decades. The mistake we make is not so much overestimating our problems, but underestimating the problems of our potential rivals. We think we’re the only country with decline-and-fall issues.

    I’ll wager that many of the toughest challenges for Americans in the future won’t be associated with our geopolitical decline, weakness or decrepitude. No: Our challenges will be the unimagined consequences of our many successes.

  • A travelogue on East St Louis
  • Predictions from the year 1900 – a must read
  • ASP.net Chart Controls
  • The economics of Scientology

27
Feb 08

RIP Bill Buckley

He passed away while working at home at the age of 82, which I’m sure is the way he would have wanted it.

I saw him speak and started reading his books in my junior year of college. Now that I think about it, he gave a 90 minute speech with style, no notes and no missteps.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts about it later, but for now, Rest in Peace.


20
Sep 07

A civics quiz

I got this from Megan McArdle, it’s the Civic Literacy Quiz!

I scored 57 out of 60 correctly — 95.00 %!

How about y’all?


31
Aug 07

Adventures in profiling

The New York Times wins the saggy pants headline contest with “The Boxer Rebellion“. It’s about the current mini-craze to outlaw thug-style fashion in some cities. I have no idea why we would want to outlaw this fashion statement. How you dress says a lot about a person, and in this case it says “I’m a ridiculous person who’s wasting my time, and I’ll probably waste yours”. Isn’t it better to know that in the two seconds it takes to see a person instead of the five minutes it might take talking to him?

We should be encouraging this sort of behavior instead of outlawing it. This is America, and time is valuable.


28
Aug 07

A riduculous commentary on America

The most controversial Attourney General in years resigns and the main headline everywhere is an athlete’s admission of guilt. WTF?


16
Aug 07

Wisdom from the Agitator

From his post on America and Life Expectancy

The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates.

The other factor here is that thanks to our access to medical technology, we’re more likely to try to save premature deliveries that in other countries would result in stillbirths or miscarriages. So every time an infant dies in the U.S. that would never have been born alive (or counted as born alive) in other countries, it registers as a life that died at the age of “zero.” That’s a pretty significant downward-tug on the national life expectancy.


I’d actually like to see where we rank in average life expectancy from, say, the age of 30 or 35 onward. I couldn’t find any such data, but it seems to me that would factor out much of the homicide problem, would negate the problems with how we measure infant mortality, and would probably result in a better showing for the U.S.

All quite true.


15
Jul 07

Sunday rapid fire


6
Jul 07

A belated Fourth of July post

The Declaration of Independence
translated out of 18th century English and into 20th century American
by H.L.Mencken
from The Baltimore Evening Sun 7 November 1921

WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else. That any government that don’t give a man them rights ain’t worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don’t do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum’s rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don’t mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain’t got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn’t a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.’s would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain’t hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won’t carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them. This is the proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have got tired of it, and won’t stand it no more. The administration of the present King, George III, has been rotten from the start, and when anybody kicked about it he always tried to get away with it by strong-arm work. Here is some of the rough stuff he has pulled:


Read the whole thing.


18
Jun 07

An interesting article from Zakaria

It meanders a bit, but Fareed Zakaria makes a good case for optimism in this Newsweek article. One bit that caught my eye was

To recover its place in the world, America first needs to recover its confidence. For those who look at the future and see challenges, competition and threats, keep in mind that this new world has been forming over the last 20 years, and the United States has forged ahead amid all the turmoil. In 1980, the U.S. share of global GDP was 20 percent. Today it is 29 percent.

It’s a staggering thought. 20% is a huge chunk relative to population, and for that to increase is massive. It’s an interesting tidbit.

We should be more confident; America has never been strong because of political leadership, but the average person here has room to excel. 15 million illegal immigrants can’t be wrong!


29
May 07

A belated Memorial Day post.

There have been many, many others like it around the blogosphere today, so I’ll just second this one from Scott Kelby.

Thanks.