Smart Picks 09 October 2014

Germany’s ruinous road. 

Telegraph -- German model is ruinous for Germany, and deadly for Europe

France may look like the sick man of Europe, but Germany’s woes run deeper, rooted in mercantilist dogma

What I’m listening to. Beethoven -- Symphony No. 6 'Pastoral' 

France in the passing lane, going backwards slower. Thanks to David of London. 

Telegraph -- France cautions Germany not to push Europe too far on austerity

France's Manuel Valls also warned David Cameron that Europe is "not ready for an upheaval of its institutions", offering no concessions on EU treaty terms.

Human contact retailers thriving in digital world. The rise of the Tattoo Parlour.  

Guardian -- How the rise of tattoo parlours shows changing face of Britain’s high streets

Convenience stores and gyms have also surged as travel agents and video shops vanish from increasingly social shopping areas.

That great sucking sound. 

New York Times -- Will Syria Be Obama’s Vietnam?

FIFTY years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized a strategic bombing campaign against targets in North Vietnam, an escalation of the conflict in Southeast Asia that was swiftly followed by the deployment of American ground troops.

I am a Muslim, I am a Christian, I am a Jew, I am a Buddhist, I am Canadian, I am a Nazi, ...

New York Times -- Bill Maher Isn’t the Only One Who Misunderstands Religion

BILL MAHER’s recent rant against Islam has set off a fierce debate about the problem of religious violence, particularly when it comes to Islam.


National Post -- B.C. ‘pastafarian’ fights for a driver’s license, and religious freedom, with a spaghetti colander on his head

Here in one of the most religiously diverse communities in Canada, it is possible to obtain a driver’s license wearing a kipa, hijab, habit, turban or Amish cap — really, any piece of religious headgear that does not obscure the face.

Editor’s note: Are some identities better than others?

Where’s Waldo? 

Washington Post -- If Kim Jong Un doesn’t show up Friday, get ready for some even crazier rumors

Have you heard? Kim Jong Un is missing.

The art of public relations. 

Financial Times -- Lord Bell’s textbook for old school public relations

 “Everyone’s entitled to put their point of view across,” says Lord Bell, reclining at his desk near London’s Sloane Square, with three buttons of a white shirt undone and a dozen cigarette butts in the ashtray beside him.

Progressive legislation in the US, one step forwards, two backwards? 

New Yorker -- The Roberts Court’s Brief Progressive Moment

It’s hard enough to know what the Justices of the Supreme Court are talking about when they write opinions, which tend to be dense, convoluted, and laden with coded references that are decipherable only to a few.

And. -- Home Front

Women’s words of war.



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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.