Smart Links 23 December 2012

Commentary on John Boehner’s GOP fracture, the Economist’s 9 charts, a burst of cartooning creativity, final book in Manchester’s Churchill trilogy, why city dwellers overestimate the amount of time it takes to walk somewhere, the end of the two state solution, Mayor Bloomberg on managing guns, and a fiscal cliff bump for Canada.

“B” didn’t stand for brilliant but ‘busted’.

Washington Post -- How Boehner’s Plan B for the ‘fiscal cliff’ began and fell apart
John A. Boehner’s week on the brink ended in a painfully familiar place.

9 charts that help tell the story of 2012.

Economist -- The long road to recovery.

Other sources for cartooning.

Economist -- Triumph of the nerds
The internet has unleashed a burst of cartooning creativity.

If I had to pick my favorite biography it would be William Manchester’s first two books on Winston Churchill. The third as come out co-authoured as Manchester died before he could finish. While highly competent it’s like listening to somebody else than Sinatra singing My Way. This reviewer anyway agrees.

New York Times -- ‘We Shall Go On to the End’
The second volume of William Manchester’s best-selling life of Winston Churchill, published in 1988, left the newly appointed British prime minister in May 1940 standing on the verge of his “finest hour.”


London Blitz Map 

Just too much stuff to look at on the way …

The Atlantic -- Do Places Seem Farther Away When You Have to Walk to Get There?
Think, for a second: How long would it take you to walk to the coffee shop closest to your home? Less than five minutes? More like 10, 20, 30?

No room for two.

New York Times -- The Fading Mideast Peace Dream
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s aggressive new push to expand settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem further isolates Israel while diminishing fading hopes for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Managing guns. Thanks to David of Victoria.

Charlie Rose -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Just a bump.

Calgary Herald -- Why Canada stands a good chance of surviving scary fiscal cliff ride
America going over the fiscal cliff in January will likely be more of a bumpy toboggan slide for Canadians.


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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.