"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

Buy "The Case for Democracy"

View NASA picture

The Sticker

jk [at] threesources [dot] com
AlexC [at] threesources [dot] com
JohnGalt [at] threesources [dot] com

AlexC Bio
jk Bio
Johngalt Bio
LatteSipper Bio
Cyrano Bio
Ellis Wyatt Bio

Maybe the world is ThreeSources -- add a #3src hashtag to post your tweets

April 24, 2014

Oh Noes! Trouble for Sen Udall?

Alyssa Finley: Bad News for Colorado's Udall

Democrats are taking cold comfort in a New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll this week that finds Senate Democrats leading Republican challengers in pivotal southern states with double-digit spreads in Arkansas and Louisiana. Meantime, a couple of new polls suggest that Colorado Democrat Mark Udall could be in serious trouble.

First, a word on the Times poll: The survey does not reflect likely voting. Nearly a third of the respondents in Arkansas didn't vote in 2012. Nor did a quarter of those in Louisiana and 21% in North Carolina. Among those who reported voting, President Obama was favored 31-28 over Mitt Romney in Louisiana and 38-31 in North Carolina. The president lost Louisiana by 17 points and North Carolina by two. Democratic Senators are likely to lead the unpopular president, but probably not by the 41 points that the poll suggests in Louisiana.
A new PPP survey has Mr. Udall leading by a mere two points, while an internal survey for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows Republican Rep. Cory Gardner up by two among likely voters. According to the Chamber's survey, six in 10 voters oppose ObamaCare and 55% view President Obama unfavorably. Roll Call prognosticator Stu Rothenberg said on CNN's "State of the Union" this week that Mr. Gardner could pull off an upset.

Not surprisingly, Democrats' strategy to counteract ObamaCare liability is to wage a "war on women" campaign against Mr. Gardner. On Wednesday, the incumbent released its first TV ad, which denounces his Republican challenger for sponsoring a bill to make abortion a felony and undertaking a "quest to outlaw birth control."

Too bad.


Such promise:

And yet:

Oregon's health insurance exchange failed to launch in October as planned and no Oregon residents have been able to sign up for health insurance through the exchange site. As Reason's Peter Suderman explained in January, the exchange received $48 million thanks to one of the federal government's "early innovator grants" as well as $11.8 million in IT support.

And every web coder, and database dude, and the ladies script'n Java for client-side tools, and the back-end XML techs writing strongly typed XSDs in the Oregon Waaaaaay..

'Scuse me, but the complete toileting of $60 Million makes me burst into song.

Shameless Promotion of Others

Blog friend sc's current project gets a great review in BluesBytes. (Scroll halfway or search for "Annie Mack")

Annie and the band close out Baptized in the Blues with another Gospel-tinged tune, "Revolution." "Can I get an amen...or am I preaching to the choir...we need a revolution...truth start a righteous fire." I've enjoyed Annie's disc immensely and am glad that my Minnesota buddies -- Gary, Spike and John Hammer -- brought her to my attention. Sad that I missed seeing a live performance from Annie in Memphis, but I’m hoping to correct that later on this summer. Annies website is www.anniemackblues.com and I’d head over there and grab yourself a copy of Annie's disc. We need a revolution in Annie's case, and buying her CD is the best way to start a righteous fire!

Why Johnny Can't Recycle!

From the tortured metaphor to the triple-segue. Like the fine print says in the Mercedes commercial with the woman driving her $70K car in the demolition derby: caution is warranted.

But -- fruit juicy! -- three rockin' anti-enviro links in two days.

1) If you only look at one, enjoy this writing assignment and its handling.

A public high school junior in Littleton, Colorado, was assigned an in-class essay in AP English using prepackaged materials from the College Board. Students were to explain what "key issues" leaders “should consider when making policies that may affect global warming. The student argued that leaders should consider "how much money, time, and effort" can be spent on fighting global warming without compromising efforts to resolve other key issues.

Click through to see the essay and the teacher's response. No grammar, punctuation or style guidance was given, mind you, but the instructor shared some thoughts on the topic.

2) The most courageous man in the world!

A US economics professor has published the letter he wrote to his daughter's schoolteacher explaining why he doesn't want his girl indoctrinated in the green religion. Steven Landsburg, a professor at Rochester, NY, included it as part of a longer essay in which he calls environmentalism a "coercive ideology" targeted specifically at children.

3) The Masters speak (well, one of them anyway...) Hat-tip: Yaron Brook

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The lovely bride queued up Atlas Shrugged Part 1 on the TiVo. I will admit is not "Citizen Kane," but I find the first Hank and Dagny quite endearing.

The WSJ abruptly thrusts the Part III tagline: "Now Non-fiction" into view with an editorial on President Obama's "Pay As You Earn" program.

We've warned for years about the risks of this program as Mr. Obama has worked to expand the number of eligible borrowers and sweeten its terms.

Pay As You Earn allows students under certain circumstances to borrow an unlimited amount and then cap monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income. If they choose productive work in the private economy, the loans are forgiven after 20 years. But if they choose to work in government or for a nonprofit, Uncle Sugar forgives their loans after 10 years.

For aspiring community organizers who go to college and then grad school before moving into a job that the government defines as public service, the forgiven debt can be $150,000 or more, courtesy of the taxpayer. And unlike with some other federal programs, when the government forgives the debt of one of the exalted class of nonprofit or government workers, the do-gooder doesn't have to report it as income to the IRS. Who wouldn't want to pick up $150,000 tax-free?

I have a friend who rails on Facebook at any mention of the makers/takers distinction -- he becomes quite animated at the suggestion that any of the poor or dependent are in any way culpable for their situations. Yet each of these programs are bricks with largess mortar that wall the two groups.

[Kids, don't try these advanced metaphors at home -- these are trained and highly-caffeinated bloggers...]

April 23, 2014


Maybe there is hope:

Hat-tip: Hot-Air

Air pressure denier!

But . . . the science is settled!

QUT Senior Lecturer in Physics, Dr Stephen Hughes, sparked controversy over how a humble siphon worked when he noticed an incorrect definition in the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary.

In 2010, eagle-eyed Dr Hughes spotted the mistake, which went unnoticed for 99 years, which incorrectly described atmospheric pressure, rather than gravity, as the operating force in a siphon.

Dr Hughes demonstrated the science of siphons in a paper published yesterday in Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports.

Neil de Grasse Tyson could not be reached for comment.

Quote of the Day

"This is once again politics at its worst, In another gutless move, the Administration is delaying a finding on whether the [Keystone XL] pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process--and which has nothing to with the national interest. They waited until Good Friday, believing no one would be paying attention. The only surprise is they didn't wait to do it in the dark of night." -- FOX News Commen, er -- Republican Strateg, er -- Laborers' International Union chief Terry O'Sullivan

A Smart Piece on McCutcheon

The infamous Facebook friends do have value in their reminding me that other views to mine are extant.

Many of my friends posted a meme from smaterterest-man-in-the-world, Jon Stewart, railing against the eeevil decision in McCutcheon v. FEC All our elections will be bought now. I posted, where it might be heard, that I remain far more worried about incumbent power than the influence of money. And, perhaps, a few sarcastic references to Presidents Perot, Forbes and Romney who bought their way into office.

But, for ThreeSourcers, this piece in the American.com by Michael M. Rosen will resonate. The difference, sez Rosen, is that the Left is protecting a collective, pragmatic right to use speech to affect policy. The right, conversely, protects an individual right of speech qua speech.

Thus, says Justice Breyer, the problem with political corruption is it "derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie" and "cuts the link between political thought and political action."

As law professor and Volokh Conspirator David Bernstein notes, Justice Breyer's worldview enjoys a distinguished liberal pedigree, dating to the turn-of-the-century progressive project of converting the freedom of speech from an individual to a civil liberty. Bernstein writes that Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis embodied this approach, "defend[ing] freedom of speech primarily on the instrumental ground that it promoted free and rational public discussion, essential for the American people to govern themselves."

Justice Breyer himself traced this historical trajectory, citing Brandeis's opinion in Whitney v. California (1927) that free speech is "essential to effective democracy" and a later justice’s emphasis of the importance of the "maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people." His dissent concludes by asserting that "the justification for aggregate contribution restrictions is strongly rooted in the need to assure political integrity and ultimately in the First Amendment itself."

This view, unsurprisingly, reflects the mindset of the contemporary legal and political Left, which values political free speech only insofar as it leads to collective action. Its rejection by five justices also explains the venom emitted at the McCutcheon ruling by the leading lights of the mainstream media: editorial pages, law blogs, and activists alike.

Thing the whole got read to.

April 22, 2014

Review Corner is On!

Azuza Pacific University has postponed Charles Murray's address so as to not harm students of color.

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead," and was looking forward to it. But it has been "postponed." Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said "Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray's scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday's conversation." This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of "hurting our faculty and students of color."

Rest assured, ThreeSourcers, that Sunday's Review Corner is on. Review Corner does not back down.

But johngalt thinks:

In addition to Education, file this under Politics and Dirty Hippies.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2014 1:48 PM

Mike Rowe -- Call Your Office!

Welders earn $150-200K and the owner of Pioneer Pipe in Ohio "has had to turn down orders because he can't find enough skilled welders." Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel says it's time to bring back shop classes.

The Ohio School Board Association recently heard a similar message--from the actor John Ratzenberger, whom you might remember as Cliff Clavin, the mailman from the 1980s sitcom "Cheers." Mr. Ratzenberger these days is devoting considerable charitable time and dollars toward raising the profile of America's skilled laborers as role models for young people.

He began this effort in 2004 with a TV show called "Made in America," focusing attention on the rewarding labor of blue-collar workers making everything from Steinway pianos and Wonder Bread to Caterpillar equipment and Chris Craft yachts. Now he's crisscrossing the country urging schools to invest in vocational education.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But johngalt thinks:

In attendance at an Eagles playoff game last night [Colorado, ECHL, not Philadelphia, NFL] I chatted with a woman about the education and incomes of her son and daughter. - You know where this is going, of course, since women are universally paid a fraction of what men get because ours is a racist, homophobic, misogynistic patriarchal society since the Republican Party is even allowed to exist. - Son, after 10 months of vocational welder training, earns daughter's annual salary in 3 months. This despite daughter, a school teacher, having a masters degree.

Thus explaining why welded stuff is so expensive. Not enough women welders to exploit.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2014 1:45 PM


That Jenny with her anti-vaccination, hysterical, junk-science bullpuckey!

Nope -- I mean Tailgunner Joe, the Senator from Wisconsin. If Helen launched a thousand ships, Senator Mac launched a thousand preening Hollywood films.

Jesse Walker lists Four Great Myths of the McCarthy Era. And it is very good.

It may be tempting to put all the madness of the early Cold War on the shoulders of one Wisconsin senator, and then to cheer as Joseph Welch ritually exorcises him on the floor of the Senate and the TV screens of America. The truth, alas, is much messier and uglier than that. When it comes to the Red Scare, there's plenty of shame to go around.

Underappreciated in the discussion is the perfidy of the 17th Amendment (oh, man, here he goes...). In "Master of the Senate," Robert A. Caro details Sen. McCarty's fundraising prowess. He and Johnson pioneered the habit of raising prodigious amounts of money to fund the campaigns of those who would play along. To hear Caro tell it, there were quite a few members of that august body who tired of McCarthy's tactics, but incumbency always comes first, and the difference between his financing your campaign or your competitors -- or his besmirching your name in campaign materials -- kept those in line who may have normally calmed him down a bit.

Quote of the Day

Language about "appropriation" suggests that we live in an endowment economy, as does the claim that post-World War I wealth inequality fell "so low that nearly half the population were able to acquire some measure of wealth" (350). Endogeneity, anyone? -- Ryan Decker
Hat-tip: Blog friend tg in the comments below. The entire piece is a superb and serious answer to Thomas Piketty's new book, "Capital in the 21st Century."

ObamaCare: Kids Have to all Move Home

I was going to save this for a Review Corner anecdote. But it's too good. And, well, YOLO.

Do we have to carry our 24-year-old daughter on our health insurance policy? She is employed and has two degrees. We informed her that we would be dropping her at the end of the year because it's costing us a fortune, and she told us today that we are required by law to cover her. We do not claim her on our taxes.

You have to Mom! The President says so! And I get a car!

Well, no, the WaPo's Dear-Abby-for-the-ACA points out that the insurer must accept princess, but until the President scribbles it into the margins of the bill, the parents need not provide.

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty who says "Kids, one of your goals in life should be to never prompt either of your parents' writing in to an advice columnist over you." I'd add "Legislators, one of your goals in life should be to never prompt the Washington Post to create an advice columnist over your bills' ambiguities..."

But jk thinks:

Or, as the WaPo should have responded:

Dear Mrs. Fluke...

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2014 12:51 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I consider myself generous, possibly to the point of over-indulgence, with my children. I can't imagine ever denying them, even as adults, if they're stuck in a situation where they actually need help, particularly with something as important as health care. That said, I'll consider myself a failure as a parent if, at 24, either of them demands that I continue paying for their health insurance and implicitly threatens me with legal repercussions.

On the other hand, it's refreshing to see a young adult expecting mommy and daddy to pay her bills rather than getting Uncle Sugar to force me to.

Posted by: AndyN at April 23, 2014 8:32 PM

April 21, 2014


Talmey-Drake Research and Strategy Inc. said in a written report to the county [Boulder, CO] that focus groups have shown that "support for alternative transportation efforts is driven not by what would get a person out of their own car, but by the hope those programs get others out of their cars so the roads are less congested for them as they continue to drive."

Wow, who saw that coming? Certainly not the people who wrote this:

By investing in such programs as those that support cycling, walking, car pooling and public transportation, "Boulder County strives to make it easier for people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, while conserving natural resources and living an active, healthy lifestyle," the county said in a report detailing its sustainability programs.

But what if people don't want those things?

Here's my prediction: Boulder County residents will get the least popular "alternative-transportation program:" Making personal transportation advisers available to advise residents and businesses on how to shorten commutes and reduce car use. That'll get their heads right.

Piketty is Back

Jane Goodall studied gorillas. She contributed much to academic research and also brought interesting facts and riveting footage to lay people.

Thomas Piketty studies income inequality; he seeks it with the same intensity as Ms. Goodall -- mutatis mutandis. Wikipedia points out "Piketty has close connections with the French socialist party, and took part in the economic commission of that party from 1995 to 1997." His 2004 paper with Emanuel Saez is probably the most frequently cited academic work on inequality. Alan Reynolds's "Income and Wealth" is generally a book length refutation.

While he has strong views, he is a serious academic and those views are worthy of scrutiny. His new book, Capital in the 21st Century" has received rave reviews from the left and I exchanged some messages with a good friend of this blog who regretted that most of the opposition was political and polemical. I liked Christopher Demuth's QOTD-achieving WSJ editorial.

While it is not an economic refutation, Clive Crook's piece in Bloomberg View is a good read and inspired my "Inequalities in the Mist" comparison. Piketty, sez Crook, does superb research -- but then takes imaginative leaps from the data to reach conclusions.

Piketty's terror at rising inequality is an important data point for the reader. It has perhaps influenced his judgment and his tendentious reading of his own evidence. It could also explain why the book has been greeted with such erotic intensity: It meets the need for a work of deep research and scholarly respectability which affirms that inequality, as Cassidy remarked, is "a defining issue of our era."

Maybe. But nobody should think it's the only issue. For Piketty, it is. Aside from its other flaws, "Capital in the 21st Century" invites readers to believe not just that inequality is important but that nothing else matters.

This book wants you to worry about low growth in the coming decades not because that would mean a slower rise in living standards, but because it might cause the ratio of capital to output to rise, which would worsen inequality. In the frame of this book, the two world wars struck blows for social justice because they interrupted the aggrandizement of capital. We can't expect to be so lucky again. The capitalist who squanders his fortune is a better friend to labor than the one who lives modestly and reinvests his surplus. In Piketty's view of the world, where inequality is all that counts, capital accumulation is almost a sin in its own right.

If that is not sufficiently conclusive for you, keep in mind Paul Krugman likes it.

Hat-tip: @yipeedog

But johngalt thinks:

"Nothing else matters" beside income inequality? Not even Catastrophic human-caused climate change?

Last week's 'Moyers and Company' featured Bill Moyers and Paul Krugman discussing 'Capital in the 21st Century' for the entire show. (What could go wrong?) I DVRed it but haven't watched yet. You see, I still have episodes of NCIS and The Mentalist from last year that are yet to be seen. Perhaps the reader will at least give me an A for good intentions.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2014 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly we need to have a big ThreeSources watching party. I'll bring chips & dip...

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 1:24 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I thought this review was a good one too.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 22, 2014 5:53 AM

April 20, 2014

Review Corner

Things at Thasos thus turned out just the contrary to what the oligarchical conspirators at Athens expected; and the same in my opinion was the case in many of the other dependencies; as the cities no sooner got a moderate government and liberty of action, than they went on to absolute freedom without being at all seduced by the show of reform offered by the Athenians.
Thus spake Thucydides in the nineteenth year of the war in which Thucydides was the historian. The first person acknowledgment is unusual from the Athenian General and author of The Peloponnesian War.

Much scholarship has been devoted to Thucydides; while I rarely lack self-esteem, it is not my intention to add to it. I will tell instead of what happens when a regular Joe--er John lands in its pages and how it speaks to politics today, for it is a deeply political book.

"This we cannot have unless we have a more moderate form of government, and put the offices into fewer hands, and so gain the King's confidence, and forthwith restore Alcibiades, who is the only man living that can bring this about. The safety of the state, not the form of its government, is for the moment the most pressing question, as we can always change afterwards whatever we do not like."

The people were at first highly irritated at the mention of an oligarchy, but upon understanding clearly from Pisander that this was the only resource left, they took counsel of their fears , and promised themselves some day to change the government again, and gave way. They accordingly voted that Pisander should sail with ten others and make the best arrangement that they could with Tissaphernes and Alcibiades.

It seems Democracies struggled long before ObamaCare, but the primary takeaway for me is the brutality of life. As Hemmingway would offer two thousand years later "Que Puta es la Guerra" but to your basic Fifth Century BC hoplite, Thomas Hobbes's subjects' life would seen neither nasty, brutish nor short.

This underscores to your humble reviewer the impracticality of anarcho-capitalism. Pass around the Deepak Lal books, lads; your plunder-free libertarian utopia will be invaded by a neighboring power or undermined by your grandchildren's love of bread and circuses. The Founders were well versed in the Classics, and that "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men" must have been obvious. Scores of independent city states are less than pawns in the struggle between Sparta and Athens.

But enough of that -- let's talk about me. I applaud blog friend tg for his suggestion of The Landmark Edition. True to Professor Adler, I eschewed its explanations, maps, and the perspicuity of its commentary for a naked run through the Richard Crawley translation completed in 1874. Then, less true to Adler, I turned immediately to the Landmark Edition to fill the substantial lacunae in my comprehension.

I was not cut out for a scholar. I think we can say it aloud. But a few weeks were very enjoyable. The text is eminently readable. Even if you lose track of where you are, when it is, and who is whom, it is full of keen insights. And the plot moves along by way of 141 orations. (Real) scholars question his sources of these exact quoted orations in pre-Google Greece, but they are a masterful literary device to relate the beliefs and goals of different factions.

The great blunder of Athens was the invasion of Sicily. They pulled defeat from the jaws of victory by overextending into a different theatre. Young commanders desiring glory speak to an easy campaign where they will be greeted as liberators. Nicias thinks this foolhardy. But to avoid sounding cowardly or unpatriotic delivers a speech instead reciting the great requirements for success. Instead of dissuading the assembled, they become enraptured in glory. Yes, you're right Nicias -- we should raise a huge army and navy and fill ships with food and supplies. This is going to be awesome!

[Spoiler Alert] The entrenched Syracusians dismantle the navy which has outdistanced supply lines and no Sicilian towns are keen on joining an outside alliance and providing harbor. When news reaches home that this massive force has been crushed, culpability is assessed, democracy-style:

When the conviction was forced upon them, they were angry with the orators who had joined in promoting the expedition, just as if they had not themselves voted it, and were enraged also with the reciters of oracles and soothsayers, and all other omen-mongers of the time who had encouraged them to hope that they should conquer Sicily.

For 20+ years of strategy, bravado, tactics, skullduggery and politics. It is finally settled (post Thucydides) more by Persian capital -- after they enjoyed their two largest rivals beating the crap out of each other. There might be a lesson in there as well, if you're looking.

No sir, I am no scholar, but both Virgil's Works and The Peloponnesian War were enjoyable and add to inner pedantry (the word "laconic" comes from the inhabitants of Laconia who were spartan in speech and Spartan in politics. The names of the musical modes "Ionian," "Dorian," "Phrygian," &c. all come from areas in the book. "Eponymous" refers to the one archon after whom the assembly was named (think "The Roberts Court.")

It seems untoward to award stars. It is a treasure.

But dagny thinks:

The idea that jk, "was not cut out for a scholar," is laughable. If jk's review corners don't qualify as scholarly, then you better send me back to kindergarten for Green Eggs and Ham.

Posted by: dagny at April 21, 2014 11:54 AM
But jk thinks:

I thank my blog sister for her kind words. And though I am by no means above posting a self-deprecating comment in an attempt to fish for compliments, that was not my intent this time.

I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge and do take pride in the reading I have done since Nassim Taleb challenged me, in "The Black Swan," to read more books and consume less news and political magazines.

I thought Mortimer Adler's call might be the same; he calls me out almost by name: the-guy-who-thinks-he's-so-smart-because-he-reads-a-lot-but-it's-neitehr-deep-not-important-enough...

But the scholar enjoys digging a little deeper into the data -- let's look up that word in the original Greek and see if he meant to say "sad" or "forlorn..."

Fuhgettaboutit! I'd rather read something else. I appreciate rigor and mastery and salute the scholarship of VDH and the other Hosses who contribute commentary to the Landmark Edition. Folks who look up the Greek so I don't have to.

I don't play guitar as well as Joe Pass but I feel I am attempting the same things. My six weeks' fumbling through classics is not similarly comparable to VDH's life work.

We are privileged to have some real scholars around here. I think of two to whom I'd be very uncomfortable comparing myself. One is too aw shucks to be named, but for another, I invite you to compare a typical "Review Corner" to a random one by blog friend tgreer who claims -- far less convincingly -- that "He is not a scholar."

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 1:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And now back to the subject at hand - human political economy.

I was never much impressed by anarcho-capitalism as the optimum of human social order. It's analogous to a middle-school without a paddle-wielding assistant principal. Even if I get to have whatever weapons I want and nobody gets to make a claim on my property, it still promises to be nasty, brutish and, for some, short.

A constitutional republic enshrining individual liberty and properly restraining democratic impulses remains the ideal. But a prerequisite will always be, in addition to ever growing prosperity with each generation, ever growing education.

Today's generation is taught a fraction of what my public school curriculum entailed in the seventies, and I was awestruck to learn that my father's coursework included Latin, once again, in public school. Heck, he may even have studied Virgil and Thucydides. I'll leave aside whether the dumbing down is intentional or an unintended consequence of do-gooderism. Either way, American citizens are learning less and being told they know more. Unless things change, this can't end well.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2014 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I'll turn the Internet Segue Machine™ up to 11 and suggest this is a substantive portion of income inequality.

I don't think the dumbing down is more nefarious than the Unions wanting to protect inferior teachers and the warm-hearted if soft-headed desire to eschew rigor so that everybody gets a trophy.

But it is unmistakable -- my elder brothers attended the same schools I did but received far more rigorous education. (I call mine "post-deconstruction Catholic schooling.") My favorite education anecdote is from David McCullough's biography of John Adams. John Quincy Adams (#6) at 15 knew his Thucydides quite well as he had read it in Greek and Vigil in Latin. In addition, he spoke French and Russian fluently. He wrote Dad (#2), presumably in his native English, to tell of his disappointment at his not being accepted into Harvard. How many are graduated from Harvard today with that level of erudition?

As scholarship of any sort becomes more optional, that sets up a chasm between those who graduate today with good grades and those who force themselves to acquire those skills their contemporaries don't know they're missing.

All of which places into next Sunday's Review Corner: Charles Murray's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life.

Now you have something to look forward to.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 3:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear via email that I have just sold a copy of Mr. Murray's latest.

I didn't say it was going to be a good review...

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 6:14 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Incidentally, Hobbes was the first guy to ever translate Thucydides into English. His dim political views reflected this, I am sure.

I do try and go for that scholarly thing every once and a while. But I insist on using the Landmark edition regardless of how smart I think I am. It is too helpful to do without.

Good review.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 22, 2014 5:48 AM

April 18, 2014

Everybody thinks he's Nate Silver

Michael Medved has a guest editorial in the WSJ today. He claims -- music to ThreeSourcers -- that "The War on Women" was not successful in 2012

A closer look at the numbers reveals that Mr. Obama's success with the ladies actually stemmed from his well-known appeal to minority voters. In 2012, 72% of all women voters identified themselves as "white." This subset preferred Mitt Romney by a crushing 14-point advantage, 56% to 42%. Though Democrats ratcheted up the women's rhetoric in the run-up to Election Day, the party did poorly among the white women it sought to influence: The Republican advantage in this crucial segment of the electorate doubled to 14 points in 2012 from seven points in 2008. In the race against Mr. Romney, Obama carried the overall female vote--and with it the election--based solely on his success with the 28% of women voters who identified as nonwhite. He carried 76% of Latina women and a startling 96% of black women.

I'm not going to ask the lovely bride to bring me my slippers so we can pop the champagne corks just yet. I think Medved is abusing statistics. The differential among female voters is interesting but not conclusive. You don't have to be "Pajama Boy" to be repelled by a perception of "troglodytery;" I wince at #WaronWomen because I see its being effective among my Facebook friends -- and I could even see its working on me were I not both connected and deeply committed to other issues.

I don't wince at the stupid, over the top attack ads: just the ones that look like they'd work. But to measure efficacy only by the female vote seems short-sided.

Don't click this. Comments (2)