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John R. Smith "Mr. Smith Goes to New Hampshire" RSS Feed (NH)
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Implosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?
Implosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Edition: Hardcover
136 used & new from $0.01

106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential argument for our tumultuous times, June 12, 2012
First, let me say that, for an explanation of the modern political economy, I defer to another recent book in Morse's Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It. While Rosenberg offers a good summary of the conflicting viewpoints, he does not dig very deeply into the mechanics of the implosion, which Morse does par excellence.

With that being said, IMPLOSION still provides an essential argument for our tumultuous times. Not only does Rosenberg give us an excellent (if frightening) survey of our problems, made up mostly of quotes from public figures predicting how precarious our system is and how there is no real way of turning it around. He gives us what most books on this subject do not include--the spiritual perspective.

Rosenberg's key addition is what he calls the third lens, or viewing our times of trouble through Scripture. In the section titled `Sign of the Times,' Rosenberg looks at a list of all the signs that are to predict the coming of the end times including betrayal, lawlessness, a spiritual awakening in Israel, and an increase in mockery of Biblical prophecy. He then goes on to show that this list is almost all but complete.

Without quite making the prediction, Rosenberg then goes on to show exactly what it would mean for us if we were approaching the end times, giving us astute examinations of four likely paths: financial implosion, war and terrorism, natural disaster, and rapture.

Rosenberg gives us more questions than answers, but the exercise is not fruitless. Rosenberg shows us exactly what it would take for people to withstand the disasters that would befall if indeed we are approaching them. The point is for America to avoid being part of the problem, dragging the world into self-destruction, and rather become the "shining city on the hill." And here is where Rosenberg is at his most inspirational. It is here that he shows that despite all the troubles and difficulties, we are still the "last best hope" and can overcome. With a dedicated audience, I tend to think that he's right.


Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
by Daron Acemoglu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.81
104 used & new from $10.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Connection to Juggernaut?, March 20, 2012
There is a current in modern political economy that says countries succeed because of their natural resources and their control over others. Countries fail because they lack natural resources and are controlled by others. This current is best characterized by Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse.

WHY NATIONS FAIL is in large part a contra to this current, and reintroduces the theme that institutions matter more than the natural resources and land, and so it should be institutions that are most important when we look at why countries succeed or fail (and how to improve the latter). The primary reason the authors claim that the old current is wrong is that it can be seen in the past--there have been many countries with plenty of resources that have failed. Likewise, there have been plenty of countries with minimal resources that have succeeded. The answer must come elsewhere.

Obviously, it helps to have natural resources, but it is much more important what the people do with those resources. The authors of this book show that countries with "inclusive" political institutions--institutions which are pluralistic and democratic in nature--are capable of providing incentives for the people to be industrious and thus prosperous. Meanwhile, countries with "exclusive" political institutions--institutions which are extractive and exploitative in nature--are incapable of providing such incentives and thus fail to become industrious and prosperous.

The thesis is very reminiscent of another book on this topic, Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It, which also has as its central thesis this very notion. I would recommend it if you want to get a more concrete explanation of how exactly the mechanics of open economies work--from independence to private property to industry and free trade.

If there was a single gripe I would have with WHY NATIONS FAIL, it is that the authors don't spend enough time investigating how we, the United States, and other western nations, are actually taking on some of the characteristics that make other nations fail, why we are doing this, and how to correct it. They are content to focus on the failures of other countries--which makes complete sense. But it is necessary to keep this in mind as we, ourselves, are proving this theory correct--and not in a good way.

Ultimately, the book is crucial in this political climate, and key to anyone's understanding of how a successful country comes about.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2012 4:44 AM PDT


Valeo Foam Roller, 18 x 6-Inch
Valeo Foam Roller, 18 x 6-Inch
Offered by ZogoSportz
Price: $15.82
27 used & new from $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good, firm, and helpful, January 22, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Valeo Foam Roller (Sports)
This foam roller is a good product as foam rollers go. Unfortunately, I realized half-way into my therapy that it didn't really help my condition (it was my IT band, but it was only aggravated by what is called runner's hip). So, I changed up my therapy routine to more stretches and less roller. This might be beneficial for those who need to stretch the IT band, but probably won't help those with runner's hip. Good luck, and happy running!


Duracell Rechargeable StayCharged AA Batteries, 2450 mah 4 Count
Duracell Rechargeable StayCharged AA Batteries, 2450 mah 4 Count
Offered by recession prices
Price: $14.49
18 used & new from $8.87

5.0 out of 5 stars High quality renewable battery power, January 22, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently purchased two products that require AA batteries to run, an iMac with Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and a DSLR camera. Facing the prospect that I would need new batteries every few weeks, I knew this would be a good investment. The Duracell brand is one of the best and the quality of the product has lived up to the name. The batteries remain charged for a month or more, and can be fully charged while this charger is plugged in the wall for no more than a few hours. Buy a package of four more batteries to have a constant supply on hand and everyone is happy.


Duracell value Charger with 4 AA StayCharged Batteries 1 Kit (CEF14)
Duracell value Charger with 4 AA StayCharged Batteries 1 Kit (CEF14)
Offered by Park Slope Outlet
Price: $21.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to minimize the number of batteries, January 22, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently purchased two products that require AA batteries to run, an iMac with Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and a DSLR camera. Facing the prospect that I would need new batteries every few weeks, I knew this would be a good investment. The Duracell brand is one of the best and the quality of the product has lived up to the name. The batteries remain charged for a month or more, and can be fully charged while this charger is plugged in the wall for no more than a few hours. Buy a package of four more batteries to have a constant supply on hand and everyone is happy.


Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America
Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America
by Mark R. Levin
Edition: Hardcover
231 used & new from $0.01

670 of 808 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reaffirmation of liberty, inalienable rights, civil society, and constitutional republicanism, January 17, 2012
If there is one statement that defines Mark R. Levin's work, it is that America's success is based in liberty and that we must not allow ourselves to fall into tyranny. Of course, no one supports tyranny blatantly and so defending liberty is thought to be easy. But the people who support tyranny don't always do so blatantly. In this book, Levin shows how people throughout the ages have supported tyranny through an ideology called utopianism, and thus ushered in tyranny through "intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty."

In the first part of AMERITOPIA, Levin examines the work of four historical figures, Plato, Thomas More, Hobbes, and Marx. In this treatment, Levin shows how each one promoted what was considered an ideal society and how each one of these ideals is no more than tyranny. In each case, the ideal society contains a highly centralized government which controls the masses through various means--persuasion, deceit, coercion, eugenics, euthanasia--and therefore tears apart the family, community, and faith.

In the second part, Levin counters this with a survey of three thinkers that helped introduce liberty to the Western mindset and establish what he calls Americanism--John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Levin shows how each one viewed human beings as autonomous individuals with God-given abilities and rights. With lawyerly precision, Levin details the many examples of how both Locke and Montesquieu influenced the founders of the United States and how Tocqueville spread Americanism to the European culture of the 19th century.

Finally, Levin explains how the America built upon Locke, Montesquieu, and Tocqueville is at risk of being taken over by the utopian ideology in the 21st century, showing how the various modern movements of liberalism and modern socialism disseminate their intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty.

The argument is bound to cause a stir, and Levin's penetrating commentary is grounded well by quotes from the original texts. If there is a major flaw in the work, it is in the unforgiving denunciation of the utopian literary genre. While it is clear that most of the works technically classed utopia did include tyrannical elements, the genre is not aimed at building political systems. It is aimed at exploring new possibilities. And while I cannot deny that some pro-liberty works refute the idea of utopianism, Levin cannot deny the fact that some elements of pro-liberty and American texts include visions of the perfect society. Everyone has a vision of what would be ideal--some are made of tyranny, and others can be seen as the "shining city on the hill" and are made of freedom. This says to me that it is not utopia that is at fault, but rather tyranny. Indeed, if utopias are promotions of the ideal society, then it must be said that all active minds engage in the exercise.

Altogether, the point of this book is absolutely correct. America's success is based on liberty and allowing ourselves to fall into tyranny would be catastrophic for humanity. Everyone who is interested in this very important theme and is compelled to do something about it should also consider an excellent book which offers a grand summary of modern economics, how we got to where we are, and what to do about it--Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It by Eric Robert Morse.
Comment Comments (44) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2012 8:23 AM PST


The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom
The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom
by Ronald Reagan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.01
69 used & new from $0.02

72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect collection, May 10, 2011
This book is perfect for anyone in three distinct markets. The first consists of those who are interested in Reagan the politician and president, who, by many accounts presided over one of the greatest and most significant periods in American history (the revival of free market capitalism and the fall of the Soviet Union). The Notes offers a glimpse into the mind of one of the great figures in that period and underscores the spirit of the late 20th century in a way akin to Pascal's Pensées.

The second market consists of those who are interested in public speaking. It would not be a stretch to claim that Reagan was the best orator of the 20th century and rivals the great orators of the American founding. Looking at the notes is like taking a seminar on how to capture an audience's attention, connect with them, convince them, and then make them feel thankful for having received such wisdom. One recalls Buckley's Speaking in Public and Adler's How to Speak How to Listen.

Third, this book is for anyone interested in how to subdue what has become a fierce culture divide by means of eloquence and wit. The divide is not just a symptom of the problem, but the problem itself. And Reagan, of all people, understood the paradoxes of modern times wholly and could relate them if only by identifying them. While current politicians possess similar charisma and speaking abilities, they are incapable of connecting with such a wide span of Americans and foreigners.

For anyone in these markets and for lovers of communication in general, this book of Ronald Reagan's "keepers" is a keeper in itself.


No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid assortment, April 30, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First off, this Prepared Pantry collection is packaged expertly and came in perfect condition after being shipped. The instructions and portions were all arranged neatly so that preparation was easy. Most importantly, of course, the breads tasted delicious. My favorite was the cranberry nut concoction, which is absolutely brilliant. The others are solid, but the cranberry bread takes the cake.

If you're interested in a tasty use of it, slice it up and make some cranberry brie grilled cheese sandwiches. You'll thank me later.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2012 3:52 AM PDT


Planters Mixed Nuts, Lightly Salted, 11.5-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)
Planters Mixed Nuts, Lightly Salted, 11.5-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mixed nuts, April 30, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The main reason I bought these was that my grocery store doesn't carry lightly salted mixed nuts. This product is inexpensive and convenient (4 cans at 11.5 oz. each). With free shipping (on a larger purchase), this product actually is less expensive than the high-salt ones at the store. I found it to be the way to go.


Gods of Ruin: A Political Thriller
Gods of Ruin: A Political Thriller
Price: $4.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great agitator of a book, April 30, 2011
It takes a great agitator to elicit such strong sentiments from both sides of the political debate. When half the people are clamoring about how great the book is and the other half are talking about how awful it is, that means it strikes a nerve. And GODS OF RUIN does exactly that.

I try to see things from both sides of the debate, so I wouldn't place myself squarely in favor of the author's ideologies. But I think it's intellectually shabby and immature to vote down a book just because you disagree with its main tenants. The fact is JSB Morse has produced a fun, quick-paced novel that explores the great ideas of our political-economic situation. That's not easy to come by these days. Anyone who is willing to think about those great ideas and evaluate their own ideology should find this book worth while. Everyone else will feel agitated and even intimidated by it. But that only goes to show how good it is at its central aim--to make the reader think.

Bravo Mr. Morse. I look forward to more from you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2011 3:10 PM PST


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