What’s next for Cuba?

December 21, 2016
Independent Institute
by Alvaro Vargas Llosa   Alvaro Vargas Llosa

"At the age of 85, Raul will not be around to make decisions much longer. But anyone who thinks this is the beginning of a meaningful political transition is sorely mistaken. Fidel's brother believes in combining limited market reforms with one-party rule -- the 'Vietnamization' of the Cuban model. He may not be Fidel, but he commands enough authority to make sure nothing funny happens under his watch. What is much less clear is what will happen after Raul Castro is gone. No apparatchik wields enough power to ensure the perpetuity of the system." (12/19/16)


Our warped understanding of “leadership” and the Middle East

December 21, 2016
The American Conservative
by Daniel Larison   Daniel Larison

"We often hear from hawks that the U.S. is in 'retreat' and that it is not as involved in this region as the people there want it to be, but as far as public opinion is concerned there is no truth to this. No matter the country of origin, almost no respondents cited 'too little U.S. leadership' as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the region, and hardly any cited it as the second greatest obstacle. In most of the countries surveyed, 'too much U.S. interference' is viewed as the first or second greatest obstacle. There is simply no evidence that there is popular dissatisfaction with a lack of U.S. 'leadership,' nor is there proof of broad support in any of these countries for greater U.S. involvement in the region." (12/20/16)


How to choose the right Bitcoin wallet for your needs

December 21, 2016
by Kevin Helms  

"Knowing how to best safeguard your bitcoins can be tricky since many different solutions exist for various needs such as privacy, simplicity, and long term storage." (12/20/16)


Once again more than a little misleading from Shelter

December 21, 2016
Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall   Tim Worstall

"Shelter tells us that all those nasty building companies are just buying land to sit on it. To watch it rise in value without their having to do any actual building of houses. Landbanking that is .... There is a basic logic problem with the initial allegation of course, which is that a company needs income and income is gained here by actually building a house that someone then buys. There won't be any profits or dividends unless something is actually sold." (12/20/16)


Why our coercive system of schooling should topple

December 21, 2016
Everything Voluntary
by Peter Gray   Everything Voluntary

"Decades ago, schools were tolerable primarily because they didn't take too much of young people's time. Children and teens had much time after school, on weekends, and all summer long for self-directed pursuits. But over the years, the school system has intruded increasingly, and ever more disruptively, into children's and families' lives. The length of the school year has increased (it now averages 5 weeks longer than in the 1950s). The number of years of required attendance has increased. The amount of homework has increased immensely, especially in elementary schools. Recesses have been reduced, or even been eliminated. ... Children now often spend more time at school and at homework than their parents spend at their full-time jobs, and the work of schooling is often more burdensome and stress-inducing than that of a typical adult job. A century ago we came to the conclusion that full-time child labor was child abuse, so we outlawed it; but now school is the equivalent of full-time child labor." (12/20/16)


Did monetary offset cause the Great Recession?

December 20, 2016
by Scott Sumner   Scott Sumner

"In the past, I've argued that tight money caused the Great Recession. But what caused the tight money? One answer is too much weight placed on inflation targeting, combined with a backward-looking approach to inflation. Consumer price inflation was quite high during the first half of 2008, due to rising oil prices and a weak dollar." (12/20/16)


Jordan: Policemen reported killed fighting gunmen near Karak

December 20, 2016

"Four Jordanian policemen were killed in clashes with Islamist militants near the southern city of Karak on Tuesday as the authorities hunted militants who killed 10 people on Sunday, security officials said. Two days earlier police tackled gunmen holed up inside a Crusader castle in Karak. Among the casualties was a Canadian tourist. Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the violence. Security forces then launched a wide manhunt to track down the militants' support network. Government spokesperson Mohamad Momani told reporters that security forces were surrounding a house in a neighborhood in Karak where gunmen linked to the four militants who staged Sunday's attack were taking cover and exchanging gunfire with security forces." (12/20/16)


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