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In his latest coup, blogger John Hawkins interviews Milton Friedman. The whole thing is a must read, but as we’re on the topic of the Euro, try this:

“John Hawkins: Europe has been moving towards a single currency. Do you think that’s a wise move for all the states, some of them, or none of them? Why so?

Milton Friedman: We’re in the midst of wonderful natural experiment. You have a really different arrangement with the Euro than we’ve ever had historically. We’ve had many cases in which a number of countries have used the same currency. That’s when they’ve used gold or silver as money. But each individual country has been able to control the content of its own money. So while they were using the same commodity as currency, they were always in a position to determine what the terms of exchange were between their own currency and the other currencies.

But the Euro is a very different arrangement. For the first time in history, we have essentially an independent central bank for a considerable number of distinct political entities. I, in advance, was very negative about it and have been very negative & pessimistic about it. We’ll see how the Europe plan does on the one hand and on the other, how the other countries of the world, the UK, the United States, Japan, which are linked together by flexible exchange rates, we’ll see how they do.

So we’ll have a really nice, natural experiment just as before the Soviet Union dissolved, we had a natural experiment comparing socialism and capitalism.”


Getting in Touch With The Voters


The next EU drama will be the draft ‘constitution’ slated for discussion by the heads of government later this year. The approved text is then due to be submitted for approval by voters in Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Holland (and perhaps France and Italy). But not the UK: Blair’s not asking his voters what they think. If the Danes are any indication, who can blame him? Only 18 percent of them are in favor of a ‘constitution’ that was, readers may remember, supposedly meant to make the EU more democratic.

Ha ha ha.


Not Berlusconi


More stories from Chirac’s Paris.

Web Briefing: November 24, 2014



The EU establishment is in an entertaining state of disarray in the aftermath of Sweden’s rejection of the euro. The mandarins have learned nothing from the experience. The Guardian


Our Man in Iraq


NR readers will recall that Karl Zinsmeister contributed several fine articles to our enterprise as an embedded reporter in Iraq. Boots on the Ground–his book on spending a month with the 82nd Airborne–is now available. Here’s the description from the jacket: “This is a riveting account of the war in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division as it convoys north from Kuwait to Iraq’s Tallil Air Base en route to night-and-day battles within the city of Samawah, and its bridges across the Euphrates. Boots on the Ground becomes an action-filled microcosm of the ultramodern war fighting showcased in the overall battle for Iraq. What exactly does it feel like to travel with a spirited body of fighting men? To come under fire? To cope with the battlefield stresses of sleep deprivation and field rations for weeks on end? Zinsmeister, a frontline reporter embedded with the 82nd, brilliantly conveys the careful planning and technical wizardry that go into today’s warfare, even local firefights, and he brings to life the constant air-ground interactions that are the great innovation of modern precision combat. This racing story reveals the humor that bubbles up amidst intense fighting. It captures the pathos of a badly wounded boy. Ultimately, Boots on the Ground is a human story: a moving portrayal of the powerful bonds of affection, trust, fear, and dedication that bind real soldiers involved in battle. This is a true-life tale of superbly trained men in extraordinary circumstances, packed with concrete detail, often surpassing fiction for sheer drama.”



I’ve mentioned Sen. Lamar Alexander’s speech on the Oath of Allegiance in a couple of places recently. Here’s the link. This issue is picking up a little bit of steam–I sense growing support in Congress to make the actual words of the oath a part of federal law, as Alexander has proposed.



Ramesh, it’s interesting to speculate whether Codrescu would have described Andrei Sakharov in the same way. He was, after all, the ‘father’ of the Soviet h-bomb.

Who Are You Going to Believe, Us or Our Website?


NRO readers know that the Center for Equal Opportunity and American Civil Rights Institute have been contacting universities that have racially exclusive programs (internships, summer seminars, financial aid, etc.) and threatening to file complaints against them if the programs aren’t opened up to all students regardless of skin color. Most schools we’ve contacted have already agreed to change the programs—the Supreme Court’s decisions on affirmative action this summer doesn’t change the law for these programs, since they go way beyond mere “preferences”—but frequently officials will assert that the programs really weren’t racially exclusive anyway: They were just described that way on a website that needs to be updated. The latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education contains a letter to the editor from Shippensburg University that likewise draws a distinction between what a university policy (involving speech codes) really was and how it just happened to be described on a “Web site that had not been updated.”

Is it just me, or is this a ridiculous dodge? If a business has a sign posted out front that says, “Irish need not apply,” wouldn’t everyone laugh if the company said, “Oh, we really don’t have an anti-Irish policy; we just forget to take down the sign”? Is it that hard to keep a website updated?

Same Npr Genius Said This:


“The Rapture, and I quote, `is the immediate departure from this Earth of over four million people in less than a fifth of a second,’ unquote. This happily-volatilized mass of the saved were born again in Jesus Christ. Everybody left behind will basically go to Hell, but not before experiencing Armageddon, which is a really bad end of the world. If you find yourself in this situation, there isn’t much you can do except one, starve yourself, and two, get your head cut off. This loving Christmas message coming as it did amid the jingle of the mall Santa and the twinkling manger at the corner of Canal and the Ramparts made it clear that the Rapture is indeed necessary. The evaporation of four million people who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place.”
– New Orleans-based National Public Radio commentator Andrei Codrescu, December 19, 1995 All Things Considered.

Small Favors: Response to Ramesh’S “Evil Geniuses, Evil Fools” Posting


Well, Ramesh, at least they weren’t talking about Johnny Cash and John Ritter.

Is It Surprising


That the ACLU lawyer just thanked Laurence Tribe for his help in this recall-trashing campaign on CNN just now?

But Who’S Counting?


A quick look at the Ninth Circuit’s decision in the California recall case is enough to make one worry about its objectivity and care. Its full summary of Proposition 54 is that it “would prevent the State from collecting or retaining racial and ethnic data about health care, hate crimes, racial profiling, public education, and public safety.” And there are two part II’s in the opinion.

Evil Geniuses, Evil Fools


Here’s a lead-in that NPR listeners heard last week: “Two evil geniuses of the twentieth century died nearly the same time, after surviving the century they helped shape. Commentator Andre Codrescu on two other deaths we marked this week.”

Some excerpts from the NPR commentator’s remarks: “The thing that accounts for Teller and Riefenstahl’s longevity is the same thing that accounts for ours. That is to say, if Teller’s hydrogen bomb had ever been used, none of us would have been around long enough to survive the twentieth century. And, if Riefenstahl’s Hitler had had his way, the same would be true. Happily they both failed and here we are, wondering what it’s all about. . . .

“From the intentional standpoint, there is no equivalency between them. Edward Teller’s H-bomb was created as a deterrent to evil such as Hitler, though his name happened to be Stalin. . . . On the other hand, the H-bomb still has the potential to annihilate us, as do neo-Nazis just waiting to be unleashed by the right movie. The passing of Teller and Riefenstahl marks the true end of the twentieth century. My guess is that Edward and Leni are together in the next world. They have eternity to work out the implications of their work.”

Listen to the whole thing, if you’d like.

Lehane Vs. Shrum


A wire story says Lehane left because he was losing to Bob Shrum, who had Kerry staying “above the fray” rather than taking on the president. I totally missed the “presidential” Kerry when he was blasting Bush.

The Opinion, Btw


State of The Recall


We should never be surprised at the Ninth Circuit’s depredations. It has been a rogue court for more than 20 years. We shall have to await a close reading of the decision by our legal friends, but one question that comes to mind is whether the holding of this court is that punch card ballots are ipso facto unconsitutional, based on the Supreme Court’s holding in Bush v. Gore in 2000.

There were some of our legal scholars (like Mike McConnell) who worried in December 2000 that the Supreme Court’s use of the equal protection argument as it applied to the counting of punch card ballots in Bush v. Gore would come back to bite conservatives. Setting aside the constitutional wisdom of the California recall, this appears to be the specter that McConnell worried about. It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court handles the appeal, i.e., whether it modifies Bush v. Gore and repudiates the Ninth Circuit once again, or whether it punts entirely, not wishing to be drawn into another political mess. If the Supreme Court overrules the Ninth Circuit, it will add fuel to the fire of the left that there is a giant GOP conspiracy to steal elections (even though this is nonsense).

Meanwhile, my absentee ballot arrived today. It is hilarious seeing 134 names on one very large page. Some candidates I have missed include: Democrat Edward Kennedy; David Laughing Horse Robinson (occupation described as “Tribal Chairman); Randall D. Sprague, a Republican whose occupation is “Discrimination Complaint Investigator”; Kurt “Tachikaze” Rightmyer, “Middleweight Sumo Wrestler”; Bruce Margolin, “Marijuana Legalization Attorney”; Ronald Jason Palmieri, “Gay Rights Attorney.” It goes on.

Kerry On The Way Out?


Chris Lehane (former Gore man) has quit his campaign.

I’m No Lawyer


But since when U.S. courts make decisions based on how they will look to the Iraqi people?

“In addition to the public interest factors we have discussed,
we would be remiss if we did not observe that this is a critical time in our
nation’s history when we are attempting to persuade the people of other
nations of the value of free and open elections. Thus, we are especially
mindful of the need to demonstrate our commitment to elections held fairly,
free of chaos, with each citizen assured that his or her vote will be
counted, and with each vote entitled to equal weight. A short postponement
of the election will accomplish those aims and reinforce our national
commitment to democracy.

Ninth Nomination On Hold


One wonders how Carolyn Kuhl might have ruled on the recall.

Recall Recalled: Mark Levin Saw This Coming



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