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« Are Videodiscs Going Extinct? | Main | Gals, Guys, Gifts »

December 02, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Deborah Foreman, the adorable and funny star of the '80s teen-hits "Valley Girl" and "My Chauffeur," now works as a professional yoga teacher. L.A. residents can line up private coaching with her.

* Did dogs really descend from wolves? (Link thanks to Steve Sailer.)

* Kara Hopkins describes the many tangles that the illegal-immigration issue is catching the Democrats up in. The question, in a word, is: Who to stand up for -- working-stiff Real America (white and black), or appealingly-exotic new arrivals?

* That scream you heard in that movie you just watched ... Why did it sound so famliar?

* Part of what was overlooked during the fuss over Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was that Lomborg is himself an eco-fan. To the dismay of some on the Right, he isn't anti-eco; to the dismay of many of the party faithful, he's let's-get-our- priorities-straight eco. Here's a new interview with Lomborg from TCS.

* Is neoclassical economics objective or value-addled? (Link thanks to ALD.)

* Does the triumph of big-box shopping deserve to be celebrated by free-market fans? Are the festivities qualified at all by the fact that many of these outfits have received millions in government aid? I just learned that 84 of Wal-Mart's 91 distribution centers have received government subsidies, some in excess of $10 million.

* Perhaps economics doesn't have to be autistic after all. Here's a fun profile of Ulrike Malmendier, a sensible-sounding young star of the behavioral-economics school.



posted by Michael at December 2, 2006


Deborah Foreman seems to be a prime example of an actress who couldn't make the transition to adult roles once she became too old to play teens. She's fortunate that she was able to find an alternative career.

That movie-scream link is broken.

Posted by: Peter on December 2, 2006 9:37 PM

"The question, in a word, is: Who to stand up for -- working stiff Real Americans (white and black), or appealingly-exotic new arrivals?"

No contest. The Dems have been standing on working stiff Americans for two generations.

Sadly, there's no home for them with the 'Pubbies, either.

A working stiff friendly third party might not win many elections, but it would, one hopes, shock the two biggies into coming to their senses.

Posted by: ricpic on December 3, 2006 10:08 AM

The objection to Lomborg is that by applying reasoning to green issues, he risks the possibility that they might all eventually prove bogus. Better to stick to the quasi-religious attitude.

Posted by: dearieme on December 3, 2006 11:15 AM

Part of Wal-Mart's growth in the 80's was fueled by cheap capital funding provided by the Arkansas Teachers' Union retirement fund, courtesy of William Jefferson Clinton; it is, of course, a matter of record that Hilary served on Wal-Mart's board and that her company, the Rose Law Firm, did work for them. Wal-Mart seemed to pull back from its dedicated relationship with the Democratic Party in the 90s, spreading its money between both parties. My guess is that they (along with Microsoft) would discover that the concerted national media campaigns against them would begin to dissolve if they resumed paying their protection money to the Democrats.

The media horror of the "big box" stores is rooted in the complete lack of understanding that they have of small-town and rural America, where Wal-Mart began. The wistful talk of "Mom & Pops" flourishing before Wal-Mart came in is unmitigated BS to anyone who lived there. By the 50s and 60s, retail was drying up in most small towns; in medium towns, downtowns were abandoned as suburban and near-rural flight began. Chains such as Pamida started colonizing places that the big chains did not want to serve; Wal-Mart simply was the most successful of these. My guess is that the presence of Wal-Mart, Pamida, and some of the other chains effectively slowed the depopulation of large swathes of rural America.

The local stores can still flourish in the face of Wal-Mart, but they need to be different. Many people (I'm in this group) hate shopping at Wal-Mart because of the crowded aisles, clothes thrown everywhere, and the fact that they never have even 25% of the checkout lanes open. It is not unusual to spend 30+ minutes in line, which effectively destroys any savings. One of our local groceries emphasizes cleanliness and fast checkout times, along with stores located in lower-traffic, more convenient locations: they are doing fine.

Posted by: prof on December 4, 2006 10:48 AM

It's easy to be pro-eco -- just be old enough to remember Los Angeles in the early 1970s, before catalytic converters started cleaning up the air.

What people forget is that what solved that problem was, yes, using technology to solve the problems of technology. They also forget that in those bad old days L.A. had about half as many cars as it does now. So being pro-eco hardly has to mean being anti-economic growth et al.

Posted by: Erich Schwarz on December 4, 2006 10:36 PM

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