Saturday, May 30

Here's a little round up of the Obama administration's performance on various transparency in government initiatives. The bad includes lots of failing to meet the “Sunlight Before Signing” promise. The good includes the data sharing sites data.gov and recovery.gov.

Also, competing with recovery.gov, and so far out pacing it in providing user accessible details, is recovery.org, a free independently run site, that isn't underfunded.

I heartily welcome the growth of independently built apps that will grow in number and utility as the gov (hopefully) continues to make raw data about it/us more available to the public.

Monday, May 25

Contrary to popular belief, freedom IS free.

Friday, May 22

"Do you believe in God? Stop. Answer paid. 50 words." Einstein used only about half his allotted number of words. It became the most famous version of an answer he gave often: "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

Wednesday, May 13

Overleveraging - too much borrowing - was a core cause of the recent financial crisis, or crises. It's one of the few "common sense" economic ideas that has weight: borrowing should not get out of line.
Megan McArdle looks at the plans for borrowing coming out of Washington, and raises some concern.
What's a trillion dollars again? Oh, it's a dollar a second for 310 centuries.

Tuesday, May 12

Wednesday, May 6

Witness, with the discussions about prosecuting Bush II administration members who promoted torture, the Republicans abandon their love of the rule of law, something the GOP pursued with zeal back when it was president Clinton coming under allegations of unsanctioned presidential hanky-panky.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, witness the Democrats, some of whom attacked Bush II for his ever expanding interpretation of executive power and disrespect for the rule of law, ignore said principles now that their man practices his own disregard for legal constraint on his own power.

Tuesday, May 5

Let me return, however, to the main point, which is the characteristic complacency of the conservative toward the action of established authority and his prime concern that this authority be not weakened rather than that its power be kept within bounds. This is difficult to reconcile with the preservation of liberty. In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule - not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them. Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.

From "Why I am not a Conservative", by F. A. Hayek, who’d be 110 years old today.

Monday, May 4

One of the scariest and most brazen abuses of power under Bush II were the administrations brazen rejection of any oversight or challenge to its policies. The very court cases petitioning the government were claimed to be dangerous national security risks. Over at salon.com, Glenn Greenwald has been looking for any change of substance in this area under the new administration. Results are not encouraging.