This remarkable new book shatters just about every myth surrounding American government, the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, and offers the clearest warning about the alarming rise of one-man rule in the age of Obama.
Most Americans believe that this country uniquely protects liberty, that it does so because of its Constitution, and that for this our thanks must go to the Founders, at their Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
F. H. Buckley’s book debunks all these myths. America isn’t the freest country around, according to the think tanks that study these things. And it’s not the Constitution that made it free, since parliamentary regimes are generally freer than presidential ones. Finally, what we think of as the Constitution, with its separation of powers, was not what the Founders had in mind. What they expected was a country in which Congress would dominate the government, and in which the president would play a much smaller role.
Sadly, that’s not the government we have today. What we have instead is what Buckley calls Crown government: the rule of an all-powerful president. The country began in a revolt against one king, and today we see the dawn of a new kind of monarchy. What we have is what Founder George Mason called an “elective monarchy,” which he thought would be worse than the real thing.
Much of this is irreversible. Constitutional amendments to redress the balance of power are extremely unlikely, and most Americans seem to have accepted, and even welcomed, Crown government. The way back lies through Congress, and Buckley suggests feasible reforms that it might adopt, to regain the authority and respect it has squandered.
It's not just Obama, of course. Rather, complaints about the Imperial Presidency date back at least to Richard Nixon and probably well before that, but the trand over the last 20 years definitely has been accelerating in the wrong direction under both Democrats and Republicans. All of which make's Frank's book a must read.
Glenn Reynolds thinks so:
Now, apparently, a writer's politics are the most important thing, and authors with the wrong politics are no longer acceptable, at least to a loud crowd that has apparently colonized much of the world of science fiction fandom.
The Hugo Awards are presented at the World Science Fiction Society's convention ("Worldcon") and nominees and awardees are chosen by attendees and supporters. The Hugo is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in science fiction, but in recent years critics have accused the award process — and much of science fiction fandom itself — of becoming politicized.
That's certainly been the experience of Larry Correia, who was nominated for a Hugo this year. Correia, the author of numerous highly successful science fiction books likeMonster Hunter Internationaland Hard Magic, is getting a lot of flak because he's a right-leaning libertarian. Makes you wonder if Robert Heinlein could get a Hugo Award today. (Answer: Probably not.) ...
The ins and outs of politics and science fiction fandom are inside baseball to most people, though lately they've been juicier than usual. But unfortunately, this sort of thing is symptomatic of what's going on in a lot of places these days. Purging the heretics, usually but not always from the left, has become a popular game in a lot of institutions. It just seems worse in science fiction because SF was traditionally open and optimistic about the future, two things that purging the heretics doesn't go with very well.
Frankly, SF fandom has always bored me, regardless of politics. Imagine a junior high school in which the nerds have become the top clique and you've got a good mental image of the SF conventions I've attended. But The Purge worries the hell out of me, so I'm saddened to see it come to SF.
You have a boss, and at the same time people report to you. In fact, at the company where you work, every employee reports to a single other person.
Actually, that’s the way it works in just about every company, notwithstanding a popular perception that the trend toward flatter organizations equates to a weakening of corporate America’s traditional hierarchical power structure. That popular perception is nonsense, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Indeed, the hierarchical structure has barely changed in hundreds of years and shows no signs of doing so now, Pfeffer says in this article published by the school. That’s because it inevitably creates solid benefits, for both the organization and its individual members.
That’s not what many Millennials want to hear, of course. Millennials — the generation of current workers born from about 1980 to the mid-1990s — tend to have “this belief that we are all living in some postmodernist, egalitarian, merit-based paradise and that everything is different in companies now,” Pfeffer says in the article. “But in reality, it’s not.” In fact, even companies started by Millennials ultimately wind up with the typical organizational structure around leadership and power, the article notes.
This does not come as a surprise. Back in the 1990s, I reached the same conclusion in Privately Ordered Participatory Management: An Organizational Failures Analysis (September 1997). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=38600:
Abstract: American industrial enterprises long organized their production processes in rigid hierarchies in which production-level employees had little discretion or decision making authority. Recently, however, many firms have adopted participatory management programs purporting to give workers a substantially greater degree of input into corporate decisions. Quality circles, self-directed work teams, and employee representation on the board of directors are probably the best-known examples of this phenomenon.
David Skeel has posted a review of Christopher Bruner's new book Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power:
The newest addition to the spate of recent theories of comparative corporate governance is Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power, an important new book by Christopher Bruner. Focusing on the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, Bruner argues that the robustness of the country’s social welfare system is the key determinant of the extent to which its corporate governance is shareholder-centered. This explains why corporate governance is so shareholder-oriented in the United Kingdom, which has universal healthcare and generous unemployment benefits, while shareholders’ powers are more attenuated in the United States, with its much weaker social welfare protections. Canada and Australia fall in between but closer to the U.K.
After describing Bruner’s theory and evidence in the first part of this Essay, I poke at it from several angles in the three parts that follow. In Part II, I consider whether there is a mechanism that adequately explains the connection between social welfare and shareholder orientation; interestingly, despite the book’s title, Bruner does not suggest that the common law plays any particular role. In Part III, I consider whether shareholders in the United States may have more power than their limited formal rights suggest, and in Part IV I ask whether the United States (rather than the United Kingdom, as is conventionally assumed) may simply be an outlier, due to federalism and other factors and as reflected in the U.S.’s weak social welfare system.
Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case—Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby— that has arisen as society tries to reconcile corporate rights with religious liberty.
Since the Hobby Lobby’s founding, the Green family has managed their company in accordance with their Christian principles. Among the religious tenets guiding them is their moral opposition to contraceptives. However, within the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) thousands of pages is a requirement that corporations with more than 50 employees must provide coverage in their group health plans for certain medical services (contraceptives being one) or face severe penalties, which forces the Greens to chose between their religious principles or their business. The Greens sued to protect the right to exercise their religion, and now the case will be heard, front and center, in the Supreme Court.
In this specially created ebook, Eugene Volokh, one of the nation’s foremost First Amendment scholars and founder of the renowned Volokh Conspiracy, has merged previously published work with new content and analysis to offer an exceptionally clear, understandable, and compelling work that provides readers with a comprehensive primer on religious accommodation in the in the context of the ACA’s contraceptive mandate. In addition, the ebook begins with a comprehensive foreword by Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, which maps out the historical, legal, and current policy framework of the case.
Are you ready for another edition of io9's March Madness? In previous years, we've crowned the best movie, the worst movie, and the best TV show. But this year, we're going bigger. The most famous series in science fiction and fantasy will battle it out, to see which genre reigns supreme! ... As for the bracket itself, you can click on it to expand, or click here to zoom in on a really big version.
For your amusement and edification, I attach my choices for the entire tournament. To be clear, these are not the series I think will win but the ones I think should win.
Most of the choices were pretty easy. The most painful one was Terry Pratchett's Discworld series' early exit at the hands of Tolkien's/Jackson's Lord of the Rings. If Discworld had been in either the Magic and Monsters or Dystopia brackets (albeit not a good fit for the latter), it would have cruised into the Final Four.
There are some curious omissions, which are probably due to io9's preference for "orks that have proven their staying power either by developing into a huge series or by being adapted into other media." Even so, I would have opted for Heinlein's Future History series instead of Starship Troopers (I fear that decision was tainted by the execrable Paul Verhoeven film and its evil progeny). How about John Scalzi's Old Man Universe, which probably is today's hottest SF series? Or Charles Stross' wonderful Laundery Files? Or oldies but goodies like Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series or Gordon Dickson's Dorsai books? Any of them likely would have made my Sweet Sixteen or even Elite Eight.
Anyway, on to my choices:
Got my copies today of Insider Trading Law and Policy. From the book description:
This compact text (260 pp) is for use in law school classes on insider trading, securities regulation, or business associations. It offers a clear and direct exposition of the law and policy concerns raised by this important and high-profile area of the law. The author provides sufficient detail for a complete understanding of the subject without getting bogged down in minutiae. Faculty interested in teaching a short course on insider trading or making insider trading a major part of a course in securities or corporate law will find the text highly teachable, while students taking such a course using other materials will find it a useful study aid.
In doing some research on director versus shareholder primacy (what else?) in New Zealand law, I came across a very nice plug for my work in Jean Jacques du Plessis et al., Principles of Contemporary Corporate Governance 9 (2d ed. 2011):
Until very recently, the ‘shareholder primacy model’ and ‘stakeholder primacy model’ of corporate governance have been the most prominent models, but Stephen Bainbridge, in his excellent work, The New Corporate Governance in Theory and Practice, analyses these theories and provides some exciting new perspectives on corporate governance models by expanding on the ‘director primacy model’ that he developed recently.
A review in today's WSJ prompted me to order The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America's Most Progressive Era by Douglas R. Egerton. I have long thought that the North's failure to pursue a more radical policy of land and political reform, protection of the newly freed slaves from terrorism by white supremacists, and generally to eliminate the political and economic power of the defeated Confederate traitors and rebels was perhaps the greatest missed opportunity in our history. Based on the Journal review, I suspect my belief will be confirmed by Egerton's book:
The history of that era has rarely if ever been as well told as it is in Douglas R. Egerton's forcefully argued and crisply written "The Wars of Reconstruction." Mr. Egerton presents a sometimes inspiring but more often deeply shocking story that reveals the nation at its best and worst, when newly freed slaves and idealists, both black and white, struggled heroically against pitiless white terrorism to preserve the rights that Union armies had won on the battlefield and that Republican members of Congress affirmed in the years after the war.
Mr. Egerton, a history professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., and the author of "Year of Meteors," a first-rate account of the 1860 election, asks us to see Reconstruction not as bad policy further doomed by corruption and incompetence but as a profoundly forward-looking program that was subverted by organized violence. ...
Although defenders of the old South will doubtless disagree, Mr. Egerton makes a compelling case that American society as a whole would have benefited mightily had Reconstruction been permitted to fulfill its early promise. In particular, it would have saved the U.S. from the long Jim Crow agony of racial repression and the distortion of national politics by the South's determination to protect segregation at any price. ...
The author remedies a particularly glaring deficit in our memory. He shows that black officeholders in the early Reconstruction era—demeaned by many pro-Southern historians and portrayed as lascivious buffoons by fictionalizers such as Thomas Dixon Jr., whose novels became the basis for "Birth of a Nation"—were substantial citizens well-prepared to govern. They had often risen from a middle class of ministers and businessmen that existed in antebellum America beyond the view of racist whites. By the turn of the 20th century, however, once-effective biracial coalitions across the South had been destroyed and black voters almost completely disenfranchised through physical intimidation and electoral trickery. White supremacists took control in all the former Confederate states.
The failure of Reconstruction remains a stain on our national soul. It is well to remember that hard fact.
Dr Paul Fryer reviews the Research Handbook on Insider Trading edited by yours truly in 2014 Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation 64-65:
This handbook, edited by Stephen M. Bainbridge, Professor of Law at the University of Californi, is designed to provide a broad overview of research focusing on insider trading, predominantly in the United States but also offer global perspectives from Asia, Australasia, and Europe. It also seeks to provide an additional dimension by critically examining some of more challenging and under-explored aspects of financial crime. ...
This research handbook is, in parts, highly innovative with chapters that focus on areas not generally associated with insider trading activities, such as gender and the impact of social media activities. However, the vast majority of chapters focus on "nuts and bolts" issues that academics and practitioners in this field with be familiar with. Stephen Bainbridge and his contributors have produced a valuable reference source for scholars and practitioners of corporate law who wish to gain a greater understanding of insider trading.
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