Quick Hits

QUICK HITS….Some quick hits for New Year’s Eve:

  • Tyler Cowen’s list of “policy areas where my views are uncertain.” There are areas where I’d disagree in some ways — I think national healthcare is a necessary first step to containing healthcare costs, charter schools are a better bet than vouchers, and there’s plenty of scope for getting started on global warming at only a modest cost — but overall, it’s surprising how closely I agree with him. It just goes to show that real-world evidence that’s inconclusive to a libertarian can be equally inconconclusive to a liberal, even if our temperaments and ideologies point us in different policy directions anyway.

  • And speaking of uncertainty, Borzou Daragahi has a good piece in the LA Times today about who really rules in Iran. The answer: it’s not nearly as clear as a lot of people would like you to think. Daragahi’s piece is a worthwhile corrective to a lot of the bloviating you read about Iran from neocon pundits and their fellow travelers.

  • And finally, aside from the sheer inanity of the New York Times picking a jingoistic hawk like Bill Kristol as its “conservative” columnist, what’s really disappointing is how conventional the choice is. Kristol is well known, appears on TV a lot, and goes to the right parties, so now he’s a Times columnist. Would it really have killed them to choose someone a little more interesting and little more heterodox? Will we even have to bother reading past the first paragraph of Kristol’s columns to know what he’s going to say? How about Chris Caldwell or Bruce Bartlett or Tyler Cowen or Clive Crook or Matt Continetti or Ross Douthat or Irwin Stelzer or David Kuo or — well, just about anybody besides the safest of safe choices? I don’t agree with any of these other guys either, but at least they might occasionally write something that I didn’t expect.

And with that, a Happy New Year to all! Except for Pinch Sulzberger.