Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

November 22, 2006

Art Prices Soaring

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:42 pm

This is really strange:

Record art prices astonish New York dealers

By Deborah Brewster in New York

Published: November 19 2006 17:27 | Last updated: November 19 2006 17:27

More than $1.3bn in works of art have been sold in the past two weeks during a record New York auction season that has pushed art prices to an all-time high.

Experienced dealers and collectors were astonished by some of the prices paid at auctions held by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, which pulled in twice the sum they did last year. The worldwide collecting boom shows no sign of slowing, with Russian, Asian and Middle Eastern collectors, along with hedge fund managers, providing a fresh pool of buyers.

Prices are now clearly above the level of the last market peak in 1990. The Mei/Moses index [of art prices] rose 22 per cent in the 12 months to June and is expected to rise sharply further once the latest sales are included.

November 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Interstate Highway System!

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:53 am

Ralph Bennett writes:

As you prepare to head out to join with family and friends for that Thanksgiving turkey, give thanks right now for one of the most magnificent engineering feats of all time.

The Interstate.

Or, as it is more formally known, The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways.

It’s 50 years old this year. And it was in this very month, November, 1956, that the first eight-mile stretch of what would eventually be more than 42,000 miles of limited access highway lacing the states together was opened in Topeka, Kansas.

Give thanks because the Interstate is going to make your holiday trip, this week, and at Christmas, immeasurably faster and easier than it used to be. Only those who drove or rode as children in automobiles in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s can fully appreciate how much faster and how much easier.

November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman, Z”L

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:36 pm

Milton Friedman, the world’s greatest exponent of economics, has passed away.

Reuters reports:

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Milton Friedman, the free market economist and winner of a 1976 Nobel Prize, died on Thursday morning of heart failure, a spokeswoman for his family said. He was 94.

Friedman’s ideas played a pivotal role in forming the governing philosophies of world leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

He preached free enterprise in the face of government regulation and advocated a monetary policy that called for steady growth in money supplies.

The influential economist died in a hospital in the San Francisco area, the spokeswoman said.

More extensive obituaries — no doubt written years in advance — are available from several different sources, and no doubt more are coming.

November 13, 2006

The Web is Old Enough to Drive

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:21 pm

In most (U.S.) states, anyway.

The World Wide Web is 16 years old today.

November 6, 2006

“Dancing on Streets of Baghdad”

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:15 am

Saddam has been sentenced to hang, and Iraqis are dancing on the streets of Baghdad. This according to the London Telegraph — not exactly a bastion of neo-conservatism.

Yet, there are still UN officials American Democratic politicians who think that the Iraqis were better off under Saddam than they are now.

Some U.S. senator better go tell them they were better off under Saddam; they’re too busy celebrating Saddam’s downfall to realize it!

November 2, 2006

The Troops’ Response to Kerry

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:24 am

I posted this as an update below, but I think it deserves a separate post.

Matt Drudge has this picture posted on his web site. I think this tells us what the troops think of all this:

The guys in the picture above are from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division (1/34th BCT), a unit of the Minnesota Army National Guard.

For the truth about how well-educated our troops are, see my previous post.

Heard on the radio: Kerry’s apology was, “I’m sorry all you people are too stupid to understand what I really meant.”

November 1, 2006

Democratic Candidate Arrested

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:52 pm

Well, that’s not the original headline of this story, but it could have been.

BOSTON (Reuters) – A Maine attorney who released information in 2000 about President George W. Bush’s drunken driving conviction was arrested on Tuesday after he dressed up as al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and waved a fake gun at traffic.

Police in South Portland, Maine, arrested Thomas Connolly, 49, of Scarborough, Maine, and charged him with criminal threatening. He was released on bail, local officials said.

Connolly, a Democrat, ran for governor in Maine in 1998.

The line about Connolly being a Democratic candidate was the second-to-last sentence in the story (the last giving the location of South Portland, Maine, relative to Boston).

I suppose it is an indication of the media’s bias (er, point of view) that much earlier in the article, they took the opportunity of the Democratic candidate’s arrest yesterday for criminal threatening to re-hash Bush’s arrest 30 years ago:

The Bush campaign said Democratic “dirty tricks” were behind the disclosure that at age 30 Bush had been arrested for drunken driving in Kennebunkport, Maine, pleaded guilty, paid a fine and had his license suspended for 30 days.

We’ll see if this guy gets any punishment at all for dressing up as a terrorist and running around waving (what looked like) a gun at random people. I wonder if he was drunk at the time. Or was he just an idiot? Here’s how he explained his actions:

In a phone interview, Connolly said he’d been trying to protest a planned change in local tax rules.

“I didn’t expect to be arrested,” he said. “Obviously I touched a post-9/11 nerve.”

Right. Protest tax laws by dressing up as a terrorist and running around waving a gun. By John Kerry’s standard, he ought to be sentenced to getting “stuck in Iraq.”

Why isn’t Kerry “stuck in Iraq”?

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:57 am

In case you’ve haven’t heard the news for the last 24 hours, John Kerry’s been at it again. Campaigning at Pasadena City College for the Phil Angelides, Democratic candidate for Governor of California, John Kerry said:

“You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

The clear implication of this is that if your in the military, it’s because you were too lazy or stupid to “do well.”

Kerry is “defending” himself in classic Kerry style, saying, “I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks.” It’s a despicable attack on Kerry indeed, to quote Kerry’s own words. Kerry is also defending himself on the grounds that he was not referring to the troops, but to President Bush — as claiming that Bush is stuck in Iraq because he didn’t study hard is some sort of a reasonable argument against the war.

It’s especially disingenuous because Kerry arguably didn’t study as hard as Bush — as this blog documented, Kerry and Bush both went to college at Yale, and Kerry’s Yale grades were worse than Bush’s.

The real scandal is that Kerry — perhaps like many liberals — thinks is a reasonable thing to say that “study[ing] hard, do[ing] your homework, … be[ing] smart” is somehow the opposite of being in the military. It’s as if the joining military is a punishment for doing poorly in school.

If that was ever true, it isn’t now. The military rejects people who don’t do well in school. It’s virtually impossible to enlist without a high school diploma, or with bad grades, or if you’ve gotten into trouble with the law. It’s hard to get promted to the senior enlisted ranks without a college degree — and the military will send you to college to get one. You can’t become an officer without a college degree, and you almost can’t get promoted beyond major without a master’s desgree, and you certainly can’t get promoted to General or Admiral without a master’s degree. Most Generals/Admirals have two masters degrees, and a substantial percentage have a doctorate.

I teach economics to senior military officers. They are studying for a master’s degree. For some it is their second. Not one of them is a “classroom dud” — they do all the readings, they work hard, they show up to class with good questions, they write well, and they are clearly interested in learning, even if at the beginning of the term they weren’t sure what economics had to do with their jobs. (They know now!) One of my fellow instructors is an Army Colonel with a master’s degree in management and Ph.D. in operations research (that’s a field of math, for you Kerry people!). I know a Marine Lieutenant General with an Ed.D and four (!) master’s degrees. I was once in a training session with a Marine Lieutenant Colonel who was a lawyer — he not only had a J.D. (the regular law degree), but an L.L.M., indicating a level of education higher than probably 90% of lawyers.

Study hard, John Kerry. You aren’t good enough to get “stuck in Iraq.”

UPDATE: (11/1/06 4:00pm) Matt Drudge has this picture posted on his web site. I think this tells us what the troops think of all this:

UPDATE: (11/2/06 2:05am) The guys in the picture above are from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division (1/34th BCT), a unit of the Minnesota Army National Guard.

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