On this day 103 years ago, American Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan was born in Tennessee. Known for decades for developing public choice theory, for which he won the 1986 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Buchanan’s work initiated research on how politicians’ and bureaucrats’ self-interest, utility maximization, and other non-wealth-maximizing considerations affect their decision-making. READ More…
In 1962, along with his friend Gordon Tullock, Buchanan published The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy, in which he first laid out public choice theory in full from everything he had learned from European economists in the post-WWII era.
Among the chief take-away from this seminal volume were explanations as to why political economy is much the same as the free market, quoting Adam Smith saying that the human “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” was shown to be exactly the same whether one is looking at public or private budgets, and therefore political economy should be studied the same way as other exchange theory, and not through romanticizing it as somehow beyond ordinary economic laws.
Buchanan held posts at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and George Mason University. He was a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and member of the Board of Advisors of The Independent Institute as well as of the Institute of Economic Affairs.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Thanksgiving Day was established for the fourth Thursday in November by President Lincoln (1863)
- The Shot Heard ‘Round the World, one of the greatest moments in baseball history, occurred when Bobby Thomson hit a ninth inning home run for the NY Giants to win the National League pennant for his team that had been down 14 games heading into the playoffs (1951)
- Frank Robinson, an MVP and Triple crown slugger as a player, was named Major League Baseball’s first black manager by the Cleveland Indians (1974)
- The members of Aerosmith bailed 30 fans out of jail after they were arrested for simply smoking pot during the band’s Indiana concert at Fort Wayne Coliseum (1978)
- East Germany ceased to exist when its territory became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and its citizens rejoined the European Community after 45 years of postwar division—now a public holiday in unified Germany (1990)
Happy 81st Birthday to Chubby Checker, the rock and roll singer and dance pioneer who showed the world how to do ‘The Twist’ with his 1960 hit. Billboard magazine declared the song the “biggest hit” of the 1960s. He also popularized another trademark dance with Limbo Rock.
American D.J. Clay Cole said, “Chubby Checker has never been properly acknowledged for one major contribution to pop culture—Chubby and the Twist got adults out and onto the dance floor for the first time. Before the Twist dance phenomenon, grownups did not dance to teenage music.”
Born Ernest Evans in Spring Gully, South Carolina, he had a single at #1 on Billboard’s dance chart in July 2008 with Knock Down the Walls. The single also made the top 30 on the Adult Contemporary chart. WATCH his appearance on American Bandstand… (1941)
And, 61 years ago today, The Dick Van Dyke Show premiered on the CBS TV network. With a total of 158 episodes spanning five seasons, the show catapulted Dick van Dyke to fame, with his unique brand of physical comic genius. It starred Van Dyke as comedy writer Rob Petrie who was married to an emotional wife named Laura, played brilliantly by Mary Tyler Moore (who wrote later that she almost skipped the audition). Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam portrayed Rob’s funny co-writers—and the creator–producer of the actual episodes, Carl Reiner, played their boss, a talk show host. The series won 15 Emmy Awards and has been ranked as one of the greatest TV shows of all time. WATCH the best montage of physical comedy EVER produced… (1961)
Happy 73rd Birthday to Lindsey Buckingham, the American singer-songwriter and musician best known as the former lead guitarist and vocalist in Fleetwood Mac. In addition to his 30-year tenure and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham has released six solo albums and three live albums. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him 100th on their list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Known for his unique fingerpicking guitar style, he was invited to join Fleetwood Mac in 1974. He accepted under one condition: his musical and romantic partner Stevie Nicks must also be included. After the couple’s stellar debut LP Buckingham Nicks (which included their composition Landslide), the pair became the face of Fleetwood Mac during its most commercially successful period, highlighted by the multi-platinum albums Fleetwood Mac, and Rumours (the latter selling over 40 million copies worldwide). Though highly successful, the group experienced almost-constant personal conflict, which led to Buckingham being forced out of the band in 2018, after which he resumed his solo career. (1949)
62 years ago today, The Andy Griffith Show premiered. Cue the whistling and grab your fishing pole: this sitcom evoked a nostalgic “time gone by” with its small town setting of Mayberry. Through eight seasons, the show starred a level-headed sheriff named Andy and his inept gaffe-prone deputy, Barney Fife, played by the hilarious Don Knotts. Because he is a widower, Andy’s Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) takes care of the house and the young son, Opie, played by a freckle-faced Ron Howard.
Logging 249 episodes, it finished its final season at number one—a ratings feat accomplished by only two other shows, I Love Lucy and Seinfeld. Though the show was nominated for an Emmy three times, Knotts and Bavier actually took home a statue—six altogether.
One of the town’s not-too-bright characters, Gomer Pyle, later got his own show about leaving Mayberry to join The Marines. Several legacies from the show remain today.
An annual festival called Mayberry Days, is held each year in Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina to celebrate the sitcom; the Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Indiana, features Aunt Bee’s Fried Chicken and a replica of Andy’s Ford Galaxy police car; and the country band Rascal Flatts wrote a song Mayberry with many lyrics paying tribute to the show. WATCH a video to learn where in Los Angeles they filmed the opening sequence, and SEE some show highlights… (1960)
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