Happiness Index & misc.

  1. Happiness Index
  2. Forgetting our story
  3. Actual Fake News
  4. Sen. Blumenthal tells a whopper
  5. ICE chills immigrant rights


Be it remembered that greater wealth does not assure greater happiness in a nation. I don’t even know that we’re the wealthiest nation any more — it probably depends how you measure that — but by one set of measures, we’re only 14th in the world in happiness.

“The country is mired in a roiling social crisis that is getting worse,” he wrote in a chapter dedicated to America’s flagging happiness. “Yet the dominant political discourse is all about raising the rate of economic growth.”

(Jeffrey D. Sachs)


We have a lot of crises in this country, but maybe the foundational one is the Telos Crisis, a crisis of purpose. Many people don’t know what this country is here for, and what we are here for. If you don’t know what your goal is, then every setback sends you into cynicism and selfishness.

(David Brooks) Brooks thinks we once knew, but have forgotten. The problem I see is that our story according to Brooks (Exodus) is at best a metaphor, but we’re a literal-minded people, prone to self-aggrandizement. That could make a pretty toxic cocktail.


Trump wants to defund PBS. ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades.” That’s the headline of a Washington Post Arts & Entertainment story by Avi Selk. It implies revenge, does it not?

But buried right below a video link is this:

We know of nothing to suggest any link between these skits and Trump’s budget proposal. He is not the first president to desire the elimination of public broadcasting funds. And because the show now airs on HBO, Trump’s plan is unlikely to destroy Sesame Street, as Grump tried so hard to do.

This truly is “fake news” or manufactured news.

Sometimes even a blind pig finds a truffle, though I don’t know that Donald Grump has found this one yet.


At Monday’s opening day of Senate hearings, Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal told Judge Gorsuch that while the committee might ordinarily respect a nominee’s reticence on cases, ordinary rules don’t apply for President Trump’s nominee. “If you fail to be explicit and forthcoming,” he said, the committee would have to assume his views were in line with Mr. Trump’s.

(Wall Street Journal) So Trump isn’t the only guy in Washington spinning whoppers. See the linked story for the long run of Senatorial precedent to the contrary.


California’s Chief Justice has written a “please stay the hell out of California courthouses” broadside aimed at Federal Immigration authorities. My reflex was to say “Courthouses are public spaces. ICE agents are entitled to go there.”

But then I realized the corollary: if ICE agents roam the halls of public courthouses, looking for brown-skinned litigants, illegal immigrants from down Mexico way will become prey to every bloody-minded bastard who figures out that they dare not seek justice.

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.