- The first Liberty Law Talk of 2013 is with Nicholas Eberstadt of AEI on his compact but powerfully argued book, A Nation of Takers.
- Paul Hollander reviews in our Books section this week Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution. Authored by Robert Service, communist historian extraordinaire, Hollander notes that the book underscores an important observation
Two major misconceptions entertained by the opposing parties of the period are laid to rest. One was held by the Soviet leaders, the other by Western politicians. On the Soviet side there was the strongly held and ideologically conditioned belief, or rather, delusion, that the October Revolution will be followed by similar uprisings in Western European countries inspired by the Soviet example and that these more advanced countries (especially Germany) will provide much needed economic assistance and moral support to the young Soviet state. More than that, the Soviet revolutionary leaders “believed that their revolution would expire if it stayed in one country alone…”
On the Western side, prominent politicians and military men could not bring themselves to believe that the seemingly disorganized and poverty-ridden Soviet state could survive. As Service wrote “no realistic calculus of military power in Europe favored the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution… When the communists…took power in Petrograd, they could not be certain that their government would last more than a few days.”  Arguably the implicit thesis of the book is that neither the birth nor the survival of the Soviet system was predetermined.
- California Doom! Not so fast, my friend. David Henderson at Econ Log urges caution in his commentary on Steven Greenhut’s 10 pessimistic predictions for California’s future.
- Hester Peirce writes at Point of Law on the federal government’s continued entanglement with credit rating agencies via Dodd-Frank, which, apparently, urges the SEC to create a new government credit rating bureaucracy. Can’t wait. But there is more to come from Dodd-Frank (the gift that keeps giving) and Peirce provides @Real Clear Policy a list of the top 10 Dodd-Frank rules to watch for in 2013.
- Can I speak now? The Center for Competitive Politics previews The Real Truth About Abortion v. Federal Election Commission, a case the Court is hearing a petition on today and that could determine the extent to which federal law can require advocacy groups to register themselves before engaging in political speech.