The change they were waiting for

In which America is surprised to learn that minorities behave just a little bit differently when they find themselves in charge:

A 20-year-old woman who was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield was also maimed by her attacker, police said. Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard tells Channel 4 Action News that the victim was robbed at knifepoint on Wednesday night outside of a Citizens Bank near Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street just before 9 p.m.

Richard said the robber took $60 from the woman, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim’s car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter “B” into her face, Richard said.

That’s bad news. But the really bad news is that Michelle Obama just hired the guy to lead Obama’s post-election outreach campaign.

The foolishness of fear

Andy McCarthy reminds us that this is the mostest importantest election EVAR… again:

As anyone who follows the Corner and cares about such things knows, I have never been a McCain fan. I worry a great deal about McCain reaching across the aisle for the next four years “to get things done” (which I imagine, to detour for a moment on the judicial-appointees issue Ramesh and Peter debated yesterday, would involve throwing congressional Dems a lot of judicial slots on the lower courts, and — as Ramesh and I have discussed before — I am not as confident as some that McCain’s Supreme Court picks would be very satisfying). I also fret about Republicans in Congress rolling over for McCain when they’d be inclined to fight Obama. For a long time, I struggled with the question whether it would be better — especially on the matter of conservative reform discussed here yesterday — if we just resigned ourselves to rebuilding and becoming a coherent opposition to an Obama administration.

I abandoned that idea because, while I disagree with McCain on many things, I am frightened by Obama. He would try to change the United States in very fundamental ways.

This post is unfortunately yet another in the countless repetitions of “vote the lesser evil because this is the mostest importantest election EVAR”. We see this every four years from Republicans and all it does is to ensure is that both the greater and lesser evils are further to the left four years later. Abandoning reason for emotion – you state outright that you’re “frightened” – is hardly the way to ensure long-term success.

Political pragmatism dug this hole. Abandoning principle one more time won’t help America or the Republican Party get out of it.

McCain will be very bad. Obama will be even worse. No conservative, libertarian, or republican of principle should vote for either man.

Neither capitalist nor free market

Ron Paul explains the obvious to the clueless:

In the midst of highly unpopular bailouts of Wall Street, many justifications have been given about why Washington feels the need to act. Some claim that capitalism and the free market are to blame, but we have not had capitalism. If you compare our financial capital to our aggregate debt, this would be obvious. In the same way, we have not had a truly free market. The monetary manipulations of the Federal Reserve, a complex tax code, the many “oversight” agencies and their mountains of regulations show that we are far removed from a free market economy.

Read. Learn. Think. There is no such thing as “too big to fail”. And the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

The history of currency

This very useful site may help provide a perspective on a concept that for some reason appears to be very difficult for most people to understand: a monetary unit is, on average, a short-lived thing:

The median age for a live currency is 37 years and at least one, the Zimbabwe dollar, is in the throes of hyperinflation. Excluding the early paper currencies of China up until the 15th century and the majority of paper currencies that existed in China until 1935, there are 609 currencies no longer in circulation. Of these, at least 153 were destroyed as a result of hyperinflation caused by over-issuance. The remainder were revalued, destroyed by military occupation/liberation, renamed for political reasons, or were converted to another currency. The median age for these currencies is only seventeen years.

This list, of course, is by no means perfect. For example, the present dollar is by no means identical to the 1792 dollar, which was defined by the Coinage Act of that year and specified a dollar to be 371.25 grains (24.75 grams) of silver. At today’s silver price, that 1792 dollar is worth 8.18 in current dollars.

Regardless, it’s a near-certainty that most of us will live to see the U.S. dollar replaced by another currency. On the other hand, keep in mind that nothing ever goes straight to zero and the dollar may well continue to strengthen against other paper currencies in light of the current deflation.