127 thoughts on “Open Thread XVI”

  1. Piseansindy, welcome to the discussion!

    The real banking reform we need is a way (once this crisis is over) to maintain liquidity while minimizing the number of banks that are “too big to fail.”

  2. Chinese governors are judged on year-over-year GDP growth, and given
    pretty sweeping powers to accomplish it.

    If you want something really depressing, go to the Petition Office in Beijing [1,2,3,4]. The Chinese Constitution guarantees a right of petition, and so people (mostly peasants) from all over the country go to the one office in Beijing where the petitions can be filed. Police from every province also mill around outside, trying to prevent their locals from ratting on them to the
    central government.

    Re: the Coming Anarchy piece, I have my own thoughts on peak oil [5]

    [1] http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-09-06-139686765_x.htm
    [2] http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20041107_1.htm
    [3] http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2006/07/a-petitioners-village-in-beijing/
    [4] http://levitator.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-rob-visit-this-is-photo-essay.html
    [5] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/12/08/about-peak-oil.html

  3. Interesting article. Flatulence contains some methane, but the preponderance of farm animal methane comes from cows and sheep – they essentially burp it. I would guess that wild ruminant (deer, elk, moose,caribou, etc.) methane emissions dwarf other farm animal emissions.

    Basically, it the cows – big polluters.

  4. Eddie,

    Interesting link!

    I’ve mentioend before that I view climate change as a useful lie [1]. Even Secretary-designate (and Nobel winner) Chu’s presentation is more talking points than substance [2,3].

    I’m all for marginalization of the Clevelands of the world (Russia, Venezuela, etc.) [4], and a lot of clean energy policy helps us achieve that.


    I love steak 🙂


    I typically open up new open threads when the old ones have disppeared from the Recent Comments sidebar — so by commenting on the long wait, you prolonged the wait. 🙂

    If you want to speed it up, may I suggest commenting on any of the 3000+ posts in the archives? 🙂

    Re: Iceland and other microstates, the smaller size allows for more radical policies [5]. Thus, the best and worst economic policies in the world should both come from small states. [5]

    The writer clearly does not like Gordon Brown!

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/09/in-europe-at-least-global-warming.html
    [2] http://gas2.org/2008/12/14/steven-coal-is-my-worst-nightmare-chu-obamas-energy-secretary/
    [3] http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/12/11/steven-chu-coal-is-my-worst-nightmare/
    [4] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/12/12/the-clevelands-of-the-world.html
    [5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_No._10

  5. Indeed. We could have a Christmas open thread right. Right away a healthy debate of best Christmas song and movie could erupt.

    Well I think there will be a very short honeymoon period whereas the Euros do things we don’t expect them to do. You point to the only instance of the Euros agreeing to something like this, a year and a half ago. We need them to do it a lot more, unless Obama will be open to SECDEF Gates’ sensible suggestion that we can integrate the innocent into our own society.

    Are you aware of his plan for a major policy address in a Muslim capital in his first 100 days? Do you think Jakarta would be a good choice? I would think there or India (given that India, next to Indonesia, has more Muslims than anywhere else) would be a great choice over the MENA cesspool contenders.

  6. We could have a Christmas open thread right. Right away a healthy debate of best Christmas song and movie could erupt.

    I think that would be quite fun – song/performance-version.

  7. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122945959903711541.html

    A pair of new surveys suggest buyers aren’t completely unwilling to buy a car from an auto maker in bankruptcy court, as long as the federal government is willing to play a role in helping the company restructure.

    This contradicts the conventional view of Detroit auto makers that suggests consumers would shun a bankrupt auto maker over fears related to the resale value of a car, the warranty and the ability to secure service and replacement parts.

    Merrill Lynch & Co. recently completed a study showing 90% of car buyers would consider purchasing a vehicle from a car company in bankruptcy court.

  8. Eddie,

    Depressing news from Louisiana — perhaps I am just not seeing it, but Jindall’s accomplishments as governor aren’t what I expected from his resume.


    I got back from playing mah jongg and snow tubing last night [1] — that’s timewasting enough! 🙂

    PS: The best way to get a new open thread by Christmas is to comment on posts in the archives, pushing this thread below the most recently commented ones! 🙂

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/12/20/snow-tubing.html

  9. Dan,

    It is Louisiana though…

    How about Gov. Mitch Daniels in Indiana? I have heard good things about him, especially how he dealt with that state’s budget deficit in the past.

  10. FYI:

    “Liberalism, Conservatism, and Families”
    Fran Porretto, 12/12/08


    Obliquely-related–perhaps to be non-related at all, but presented as a kind of “thought experiment,” so to speak:


    Now for something “cute”:


    Yeah, ’tis a “Filipino” thing, but anyone should be able to get it.
    (And I agree that the Best Gift is Money…. [works for me! (At least on the receiving end, anyway…])

  11. Tom Cruise’s “Valkyrie” will be opening soon.
    Whether or not any of you see this movie, I thought you folks might find this alternate-history essay by John Reilly (written back in 1997) to be interesting:

    “If the July 20 Plot Had Succeeded…..”

    (IIRC, the historian John Lukacs has reached similar conclusions in one of his books….)

  12. Edgewise,

    The two most interesting parts of the article on the July 20 plot you link to:

    The problem with this analysis is that Germany still had a lot to bargain with after the British summer offensive in 1918, too, yet their army and government collapsed as soon as it became known their diplomats were treating for an armistice. No one wants to be the last soldier killed in a war, especially a soldier on the side that is clearly losing. The provisional government (the uninspiring General Ludwig Beck was to lead it) would have been unlikely to be able to control the situation. The Germans armies in the west would probably have simply melted away, rather than wait for an armistice. The government would not have been able to gain control in the homeland: Nazi Germany was a party state, one where the official civil service could do nothing without party cooperation. It would be possible to overcome the party only with the army, but the Home Army was barely sufficient to occupy Berlin. Whatever the Germany armies did in the east, they would have been unlikely to follow orders from Beck’s government in Berlin. Many more of the eastern units were SS after all, and even the regular army types were often committed Nazis. One suspects that they would have diverted whatever forces they could in order to take Berlin and reestablish a Nazi government. That government would then have tried to recoup matters in the west.


    My guess is that the end result of von Stauffenberg’s bomb would have been to bring Himmler to power. It is not impossible to imagine him negotiating peace with either east or west. Of course, it is also not impossible to imagine him using nerve gas on the eastern front. For that matter, it is not impossible to imagine him making human sacrifices to Odin under the Brandenberg Gate. Perhaps the oddest fact about the very odd history of Nazi Germany is that Hitler was a moderate Nazi. Far more than Goebbels or Roehm, say, he was content to let civil society be, so long as his primary goals of expansion in the east and the extermination of the Jews were carried forward. Himmler, in contrast, may have been the most radical Nazi of them all. The regime he might have created would not have lasted long, but it would have been uniquely extreme.

    I think it’s important to separate Hitler’s ‘moderate’ National-Socialism from the possibly meth-fueled madness of the last few years. Whatever coherent policy and strategy the fully-functioning Hitler had once been able to execute collapsed in 1944-1945.

    Perhaps an analogy to the July 20 plot is the odd circumstances surrounding the death of Lin Biao [1]. The theory that one of the Leftist leaders of the Cultural Revolution and designated successor to Mao Zedong was conspiring with the Soviet Union to KMT to unite both China and the Communist world under a Breshnevian regime may not be true — but it proves that weird things can happen in the politics of personalities.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lin_Biao

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