It was a nice July. Rather than reading city and county staff reports about all the synergy and diversity public expenditures were sure to generate, I got to read some good titles by great brains. I got to read two books by John Hood just a few days before the governor actually signed some of his suggestions into law. I respect Hood’s empirical style and ability to draw reasonable conclusions by accepting limitations. In fact, the only thing I remember him being wrong about was his hypothesis that Republican legislators would spend less time in session. The folks at the John Locke Foundation appear to be having no small party to have seen reason vanquish its foe in high places for a change. (1, 2) Honestly, I can’t remember when anything but a random bill I thought was an improvement was signed into law.

(As an aside, I ran across about six articles from the Tax Foundation praising North Carolina’s reforms today. I would have gladly linked, but at the rate my poor old computer is going, it will be 3:00 a.m. before I cut and paste the links.)

I also studied up on causes of poverty, which has become an obsession. I enjoyed insights from Peter T. Bauer and was pleasantly surprised by a book by Johan Norberg. I always enjoy clever articulations of truths that resonate. Learning more about the plight of the politically-oppressed in Sub-Saharan Africa helped me make some midcourse corrections in the way I cope with Asheville’s poor. Sometimes the recipe was running away until I could figure out how to be more proactive. My mother shall be delighted to know that as a consequence I am shedding more of the programming I received in public schools that glorified the race to the bottom in the name of avoiding ethnocentrism. That’s important, because as a mere non-elected mortal, I remain the only person I can change.

It must be August because today I delved into a book that reads as if two guys were trying to do the publish-or-perish thing without exerting themselves. Mimicking their syntax, I scribbled the evil marginal note, “When blathering, there is always the prospect of being correct if using enough qualifiers.”