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January 17, 2018


James Geraghty suggests something I hadn't thought: "What If Oprah-Mania Is Really Just a Media Phenomenon?"

That is to say, is there a condemnation of media I hadn't considered? Could they be actually more deleterious to a free and functioning republic than I had considered?

Well, yes. I would not watch an awards show on a bet, but my Twitter feed lit up the night Oprah spoke at the Golden Globes. I went to bed thinking it inevitable that she would be inaugurated in 2021.

Hey, remember last week when it seemed like there was this overwhelming appetite for a presidential campaign by Oprah Winfrey? It turns out that only a small percentage of folks thought that was such a good idea.

It turns out Democrats prefer Sen Bernie Sanders (Moonbat, VT) or VP Biden (Creepy, DE), though she gets a small edge over less known candidates like Sens Gillibrand (Lightweight, NY) or Harris (Fascist, CA).

Gerghty extrapolates that political reporting does not reflect a lazy, celebrity obsessed culture -- it creates it. Because, well, political reporters are lazy and celebrity obsessed. The Three-Sources Fact-O-Meter rates this as "LIKELY TRUE."

January 16, 2018

Call Me 'Jan'

Call me 'Jan.' Because I'm going to sell brother jg a 2018 Toyota Camry.

Set the Way Back Machine to 1937 Sherman, And let Mr. Rockefeller choose between the Dusenburg Phaeton and the 2018 Camry:


The GPS may not work too well, but you see those vents? Warm or cool air comes out of those.

But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I anticipated this, but I thought you were going to push the 2018 car of the year, Honda Accord. The folks at Motor Trend say that Jan will have a hard sell on her hands.

Upon entering each car, we notice the Camry’s doors (on all trims) close with a hollow, tinny whumma not unlike a wobbly metal shed. The Accord’s close with the sturdy, reassuring thud of a luxury car. This as a shopper’s first tactile impression of the Camry will not help the Toyota salesforce.
Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2018 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Research for our previous volleys have convinced Google and Facebook that I yearn for a Camry. These pictures now fill my feed. (Duesenberg's social media marketing is woefully inadequate.)

I am a Toyota guy, I suppose. I've owned an '87 and an '04 MR2 and a '93 Tercel. Not quite "Mopar or no car" but a subtle, innate preference.

I plan to be buried in my MR2. I'm looking to restore it.

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2018 1:17 PM
But jk thinks:

[On the Camry:] "The black plastic around the cupholders looks and feels cheap"

Anybody get a cupholder count on the Phaeton? Asking for a friend...

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2018 1:46 PM

January 15, 2018

Did somebody say "Shithole?"

Perhaps it was a reference to "The Golden State" aka The Poverty Capitol of America.

Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor.


California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation's welfare recipients.

One in three. So in the forty nine other states the total number of welfare recipients is a mere two times the number in Cali.

It is obvious, and more so by the day, that Detroit (and other American inner cities) is not the only place that consistent Democratic control has transformed from prosperity, whether the "Renaissance City" of Detroit or the aforementioned "Golden State", into something resembling a third-world "shithole."

Worth mentioning: Among immigrants to California, more than half of them - fifty five percent - receive means tested benefits. This compares to thirty percent of native Californians.

H/T: PJ Media's What's the Matter with California?

But Keith Arnold thinks:

You have to drive in Los Angeles for yourself to believe it. Every freeway overpass shelters its own tent city of vagrants; broad swaths of the city are clogged with villages of tents and their occupants. There are neighborhoods where the sidewalks are literally unnavigable. And to add insult to injury, last election they ran -- and passed -- an increase to the local sales tax, ostensibly to fund a new "program," none of which will actually benefit these vagrants. They pulled the wool over the eyes of the voters by swamping them the week before the election with flyers depicting wounded American servicemen with amputations and PSTD, even though the percentage of these derelicts who were in the service amounts to single digits. The funds reaped from this tax increase will, of course, fund a bureaucracy and some study groups, chosen from their supporters and sponsors.

Most of these vagrants are the chronically dependent, many being illegal aliens relocating from their shithole of origin to disappear into the burgeoning anonymity of the shithole that Los Angeles has become. Why shouldn't they come? The climate is nicer here, and there are multiple layers of government cheese-dispensers ready to redistribute the hard-earned dollars of those who still work for a living to the golden horde of the thousands who will not. It's better than the shithole from which they came.

You're looking at the proverbial moochers and looters, writ large.

Coincidentally -- or not -- there's a recruiting drive going on right now in California for volunteers to count vagrants, and Los Angeles and Orange Counties are full of them. Got to ensure that California doesn't lose Congressional seats or Electoral votes, donchaknow.

Seems to me the Dems want to drive up the count of vagrants, just as they do illegals, to support the influence of this failed state over the rest of the country.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 15, 2018 10:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lose Congressional seats or Electoral votes because, while vagrants stream in taxpayers stream out? What is the term for reverse gentrification? Shitification?

Even the "enlightened" folk of the DPRB (Democratic People's Republic of Boulder) howled for relief when vagrants blocked access to their trendy shops and bistros. It's bad for business when customers have to clambor across malodorous layabouts to reach the front door. Are those pressures in play in Cali? Or is there a program to "correct" for that too?

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2018 11:41 AM

January 12, 2018


I mean no disrespect to the President when I say that he is lucky in his enemies. Minority Leader Pelosi is a gift that keeps on giving. Her Marin County constituents (and the metaphorical Marin County across this land) enjoy hearing her proclamations of "Armageddon!" at every GOP proposal.

And yet, President Trump's followers draw just as much nourishment. Who's to ever change?

In my position of absolute fairness, I link to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt Newsletter Armageddon Part Five.. Safe to say Geraghty's not a reflexive supporter, yet his list of direct beneficiaries of the tax cut is overwhelming.

January 11, 2018


So so glad I did not follow through with unfollowing SciBabe.


"Did I miss a meeting?"

Eisenhower Republicanism

I've always been interested in "Eisenhower Republicanism." (That's why I get invited to all the cool parties and appear in the society page so frequently.)

A reliably-left Facebook friend posted this

I'm not going to go too deep with the poster (a kind ex-coworker whom I'm very unlikely to convert), but I wondered to what extent the party had changed and to what extent the meme-crafter was misrepresenting the platform.

The post includes a link, and the answer is "both." I encourage you to at least take a cursory look through the platform, it is interesting. In the shadow of the New Deal, I think ThreeSourcers would assent to:

We hold that the major world issue today is whether Government shall be the servant or the master of men. We hold that the Bill of Rights is the sacred foundation of personal liberty. That men are created equal needs no affirmation, but they must have equality of opportunity and protection of their civil rights under the law.

We hold that the strict division of powers and the primary responsibility of State and local governments must be maintained, and that the centralization of powers in the national Government leads to expansion of the mastery of our lives,

We hold that the protection of the freedom of men requires that budgets be balanced, waste in government eliminated, and taxes reduced.

In these and all other areas of proper Government concern, we pledge our best thought and whole energy to a continuation of our prized peace, prosperity and progress.

You tell 'em Republicans! G-O-P, G-O-P! Four More Years! We Like Ike!

The meme misrepresents, but does not lie. New Deal programs were popular and they could not oppose them:

The record of performance of the Republican Administration on behalf of our working men and women goes still further. The Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen's compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.

It's a bit of a mixed bag, but all-in-all I could support it.

January 10, 2018

Boo Hoo #MeToo

Catherine Deneuve is among the first group of women to publicly express that #MeToo might not be what women really want.

Iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve is among 100 women who have signed a public letter blaming the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for creating a "totalitarian" climate that unfairly punishes men for flirting "insistently or clumsily," infantilizes women and undermines sexual freedom.

The letter says that #MeToo, the hashtag that emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, has led to a campaign of public denunciation and summary justice. The victims have been "men who are sanctioned in their work, pushed to resign, etc., when their only wrongdoing was to touch a knee, try to steal a kiss, speak about intimate things during a professional dinner or send messages that are sexually loaded to a woman who wasn't attracted to them," the letter says.

The backlash has been swift, if not smart.

The letter was published Tuesday in French newspaper Le Monde. It sparked its own backlash from readers, including from Asia Argento, one of the women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault and helped bring down the Hollywood mogul. "Deneuve and other women tell the world how their interiorized misogyny has lobotomized them to the point of no return," Argento tweeted.

But I would like to ask MS. Argento, "If you forbid men you aren't attracted to from making advances, what are the men who you are attracted to to do?" But then, that question is irrelevant if the answer to "what men are you attracted to" is "none."

RELATED: Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner's Legacy, Trump's Masculinity and Feminism's Sex Phobia

The entire article is fascinating, particularly the parts about Trump, but here's a germane snippet:

And American women don't know what they want any longer. In general, French women - the educated, middle-class French women, I mean - seem to have a feminine composure, a distinct sense of themselves as women, which I think women in America have gradually lost as they have won job equality in our high-pressure career system.

Trump Immigration Revolution?

File under "Huh, what?" The WSJ Ed Page sees opportunity on the I-word and credits the President.

Mr. Trump, of all unlikely people given his campaign rhetoric, may have created the grounds for compromise last fall when he declined to extend Mr. Obama's DACA order beyond this spring. His decision rightly said that Mr. Obamas diktat had exceeded his executive authority and was thus illegal. And it has had the added benefit of reshuffling political incentives.

Democrats have an urgent incentive to help 800,000 people they claim to care about rather than use them as political bludgeons. Mr. Trump also has a chance to fulfill some of his immigration reform promises and become a President who can solve problems that eluded Mr. Obama and George W. Bush.

But johngalt thinks:

I thought of you when I heard this news yesterday. "How do you like me [Trump] now!" I wanted to ask.

I listened to Mark Levine talking about it last night. He thinks the President is "surrendering to amnesty" and told a caller who defended the bipartisan strategy that he needed to "grow some principles." Tell that to the Senate, Mark. And to the voters in 2018 or, more importantly, 2020. Another name for dogmatic government adherence to "principles" is authoritarianism.

A minor riot is underway amongst immigration opponents over whether Trump endorsed "clean" DACA now or just DACA, along with security on the border, ending the lottery and ending chain migration. PLEASE! The president will not write the bill. Congress will, and there is no chance that "clean DACA" passes the House OR the Senate. And I don't interpret what I heard from the president as an endorsement of that. I heard a man promoting compromise, Trump style - a "deal" for both parties.

Personally I think it's a sweetheart deal for Republicans. Which is why I'm very skeptical the Democrats will stick with it to the end. I think they are posturing as willing compromisers now while they search for every possible way to get DACA without any reductions in the ways for needy immigrants, the more needy the better, to enter the country.

Ways like this.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2018 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

If Ann Coulter and Mark Levin are this upset, how can I be anything but delirious?

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2018 3:44 PM

January 9, 2018


I have become increasingly frustrated with some of my capital-S-Science folks. While we share an aversion to what SciBabe calls "Woo," they have a myopic acceptance of expert opinion and a concomitant bias to the prevailing leftism of academia. Net-neutrality: good, Global Warming: certain.

It makes sense and there's an underlying consistency. But yesterday, I almost unfollowed SciBabe for sharing a tweet wondering how "that swollen prick (that, umm, would be the President) still golfs" when there is a shortage of IV bags and saline thanks to a Puerto Rican factory's being offline after the hurricane. Huh? What?

I'm glad I hung on. There's a potential rift between the ScienceMarchers™ and their lefty friends smitten with Winfrey-Warren 2020. Oprah's years of Woo might come back to haunt:


UPDATE: That's a funky suspicious link here's a similar-thesised piece from Robert Tracinski.



Fly Me to the Moon (Tenor Guitar Version)

Bart Howard ©1954

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


January 6, 2018

Mister Hoover's Dream

Back when Duesenberg was releasing the Model J, Herbert Hoover's Presidential campaign promised "a chicken in every pot." My father -- who would have been in high school at the time -- later tried to impress on his children the luxury of that claim. Chicken was a delicacy for special occasions and the idea of everyone in America having meat to eat was utopian.

No thanks to President Hoover's top-down, centralized economic solutions, we are well past the dream. The chicken in question has already been rotisseried and is waiting for you at the grocer's in a variety of succulent flavors.

Americans bought 625 million rotisserie chickens at supermarkets in 2017, according to market-research firm Nielsen and Costco Wholesale Corp. [COST -0.71%], a few millions more than the year before. Costco sold 87 million in its 2017 fiscal year, compared with 51 million in fiscal 2010.

Six hundred twenty five million is actually two chickens in every pot.It is available to about everyone in this country at about any time. Thanks, Capitalism!

But johngalt thinks:

Lincoln was the first Republican President and Hoover was the worst. I'm ashamed to acknowledge that he was trained as an engineer. There must have been some other formative influences upon him than these two specific ones. Che Guevara's love child?

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2018 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Nixon gives him a run.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2018 4:35 PM

January 4, 2018


This one is closer to a mouthful, from Harvard's "Crimson" of all places.

For many students, casually endorsing communism is a cool, edgy way to gripe about the world.

The young but not blinkered woman cites the Black Book of Communism and goes on:
Roughly 100 million people died at the hands of the ideology my parents escaped. They cannot tell their story. We owe it to them to recognize that this ideology is not a fad, and their deaths are not a joke. In every country that communism was tried, it resulted in massacres, starvation, and terror. Communism cannot be separated from oppression; in fact, it depends upon it. Human beings are simply cogs in a machine tasked with producing utopia; they have no value of their own.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:03 PM | What do you think? [0 comments]

January 3, 2018



Misty (Tenor Guitar Version)

Errol Garner ©1954

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


Quote of the Day

The aggregate effect of competitive capitalism is indistinguishable from magic, but we are so used to its bounty that we never stop to notice that no king of old ever enjoyed quarters so comfortable as those found in a Holiday Inn Express, that Andrew Carnegie never had a car as good as a Honda Civic, that Akhenaten never enjoyed such wealth as is found in a Walmart Supercenter. The irony is that capitalism has achieved through choice and cooperation what the old reds thought they were going to do with bayonets and gulags: It has recruited the most powerful and significant parts of the world's capital structure into the service of ordinary people. And it would do so to an even greater degree if self-interested politicians in places such as India and China (and New York and California and D.C.) would get out of the way. -- Kevin Williamson
But johngalt thinks:

Ol' Kevin takes that Honda Civic thing a bit too far, but YEAH!

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2018 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Uh oh. I always use the Toyota Camry and John D. Rockefeller -- am I in trouble?

I also like to compare it to a '72 Ford Pinto for the Krugmanites who think we have stagnated because they compare the 19" CRT color television to a 52" flat screen and the Pinto to the Camry.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2018 4:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mea culpa. Carnegie passed in 1919, before the truly great cars appeared on the scene. I was thinking of a Duesenberg Phaeton which wasn't built until the '30s. Rockefeller, on the other hand, lived until '37!

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2018 3:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry, man, I'm not buying it.

The Dusenburg is beautiful and I've no doubt a great joy to drive or ride in. As long as the weather is nice. Not too hot, or I'd miss air conditioning. No precipitation please on those non-radial tires (was "bias-ply" extant?). I'm not worried about ice because that baby won't start if it's cold. Hope you don't get lost without GPS, and that your passengers can sing well, because there's no Spotify. The interior looks fab, but in 90 minutes I'd be aching for the Camry's seat.

It might beat the Camry in a 1/4 mile (I would not bet the farm: 265HP in that tank) but the Camry would cream it in any race with a turn.

And . . . I hope you don't crash. Pretty car, but I'll take the Camry.

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2018 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair comparisons, and I anticipated most of them. Modern cars are clearly superior to their forbears in most respects. And obviously Williamson chose "Honda Civic" (and you chose "Toyota Camry") as affordable mass-market offerings that almost anyone can own.


Cars have a personality. What you drive says something about you."

I have never been a fan of the "compact car." When I bought one, it was to replace one already owned by my fiancée (a, no kidding, Honda Civic) with one made in Germany (an Audi 80.) To me, Japanese compact cars have always been the worst of the worst. Not only compact, but also dull, lifeless, and, due to their unfortunate popularity, ubiquitously impersonal. Maybe it's because they lost the imperialist war they provoked with the free world, but the Japanese compact car says "I want to be invisible." One particular brand - Subaru - goes even further. It says, "I hate the very idea of the private automobile, and resent that practicality forces me to own one."

I'm sure that owners of these cars have a different perspective, but that's mine. And that's why these are the last cars on earth I would own - even behind a 1937 Duesenberg without Spotify.

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2018 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair play compels me to mention that "different perspective" on Honda automobiles I alluded to above. Forbes quotes an official Honda spokesman thusly:

"Honda buyers buy primarily for the trust and dependability they find in our vehicles," says Honda spokesman Chris Naughton. "Typically, highly functional vehicles deliver less image because customers didn't purchase for image."

Cough cough! Fabulous spinmeistery, Chris! I would replace "primarily" with "exclusively" and add "perceived" before trust and dependability. But the real mastery is in the conclusion. Replacing "basic transportation" with the more flattering "highly functional" is barely perceptible, but "didn't purchase for image" is a rationalization for "don't give a crap what it looks/runs/sounds/drives like."

This is just my general attitude. Buy me a couple of beers and I'll tell you what I REALLY think! ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2018 2:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Let me throw a little high-octane on that fire.

The Accord V6 Coupe Is the Last Real American Muscle Car

Well, I don't claim to know what the first American muscle car was, but I can absolutely tell you what the last one currently for sale is. It's the 2017 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 with the six-speed manual transmission. Save your angry letters and Facebook comments until the end, particularly if you don't know how to spell each and every one of the words you're planning to use, because I'm going to convince you beyond the shadow of a doubt on this topic.

There might be a rare middle ground between us. I'll concede the importance of style. (Did you ever read that Virginia Postrel book? "The Substance of Style" You'd dig it.) But I don't think a style differential undoes Williams's thesis.

Even on my morning coffee, I must go on about my favorite moment in "Top Gear." The lads come to the States. Jeremy whines about his Cadillac's flaws, May the same for some poor PR person's make and model. Hammond gets a V8 Challenger and waxes poetic about how any American with a job could get this car. It's not a Veyron (or a "Duse") but it is a powerful and fun car any construction worker could own. Not only not true in 1936, but not in the UK today.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2018 11:20 AM
But jk thinks:

Yaay Capitalism!

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2018 11:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

I'm with jk here. This is my style for a high-octane, fancy mode of transportation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jna-YRfauRQ but the Civic (although not as stylish) was invaluable. And look who's talking about style now, Mr. "I used to be cool but now I drive a minivan."

Posted by: dagny at January 8, 2018 8:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alas, I've been "outed." I have inverse "cut the cord" and purchased the PHEV minivan. [third comment] What does this say about me?

"Minivans say that you need nurturance and escape;"

"custom vans mean a need for uniqueness;" (I'm searching for ways to customize, starting with my very own "Importato da Detroit" window sticker.)

"hybrids show off character, doing the right thing as well as having the fear of judgment."

Well, maybe I bought it in SPITE of that last one.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2018 2:20 PM

December 31, 2017

Review Corner

Behavioral economics, as this flourishing movement is called, has in its own turn generated new policies and new critics. It purports to come closer to adding the human dimension to economic models, but as we will show, although it has made some advances, it does nothing of the kind. The human beings it imagines behave just as mechanically, only less efficiently (judged by the same criteria as traditional economists use). They are still abstract monads shaped by no particular culture. You still don't need stories to understand them. In short, they bear as much resemblance to real people as stick figures do to the heroines of George Eliot or Leo Tolstoy.
Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn from the Humanities is an ambitious book. Nortwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Slavic languages and literatures Prof. Gary Saul Morson bridge the divide between economics and humanities. What can economics learn from the humanities' depth and story-telling? What can the humanities pick up from economics' rigor? [Bojack Horseman fans will say "Let's find out!"]

The model for "Cents & Sensibility" is the dichotomy between Adam Smith's "Theory of Moral Sentoments" and "Wealth of Nations." I'm more skeptical of the gulf between the two works than most, but it's a fair backdrop for the task at hand.

Human lives do not just unfold in a purely predictable fashion the way Mars orbits the sun . Contingency, idiosyncrasy, and choices -- all of which allow for alternatives \-- play an indispensable role. That is why, as the great novelists recognized, personhood and sociality demand biography and history. Novels are a distinct way of knowing; and the very shape of the stories they tell -- what sorts of events are represented as plausible, effective, or important -- conveys vital, if elusive, information.

Shapiro is not an economist in the libertarian, lassiez-faire mold. He represents the discipline well, but I would have enjoyed more push-back on the morality of individualism and freedom. He does get points for dropping St. Deirdre:
The third area -- ethics -- has attracted the attention of a number of interesting recent thinkers. We are particularly impressed with ideas long promoted by Deirdre McCloskey, who argues for an ethics based on the virtues, a way of thinking newly important among philosophers.

And a bit of Karl Popper and William Easterly lurking in the shadows. It is the "expert" pointy-headed economist dictating lives and behaviours which attract the authors' scorn.
For a proposition to be meaningful, let alone scientific, it must in principle allow for circumstances in which it could be tested and so proven false. But if it is true by definition, it can't be tested. Those who argue this way literally play fast and loose --- a phrase in which the word "fast" is used in its older sense of "close" or "tight," as in the expression "hold fast." When they want to make a prediction, they use a tight definition so they can make one prediction rather than another; but when the wolf is at the door, they switch to a loose one so they cannot be wrong. These objections did not convince the social scientists.

Not to pile on Shapiro, but here's where I'd like to see the Hayekian wing promoted, as it makes more room for the human nuances they seek in literature.
Plato represents the archetypal hedgehog, Aristotle the perfect fox . As Plato looked to the world of mathematics, Aristotle was fascinated by the amazing variety and complexity of biological organisms. Plato composed the first utopia, Aristotle surveyed existing constitutions and examined how they fared in practice. Dante, Leibniz, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Bentham, Einstein, and Skinner exemplify hedgehogism; for foxiness we turn to Montaigne, Erasmus, Shakespeare, Hume, Darwin, George Eliot, William ( and Henry ) James, and Wittgenstein. The hedgehogs sound like Leibniz: "God does nothing which is not orderly, and that it is not even possible to conceive of events which are not regular." 19 Wittgenstein speaks for the foxes: Don't say something must be the case but "look and see." 20

A few quibblles about a thoughtful and engaging book which I would heartily recommend. Four stars. For better or worse, it finally forced me to read "War & Peace." As I struggle to complete 2017 Review Corners, Tolstoy is next.

But jk thinks:

Fred Smith @ FEE reviews this same book today.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2018 4:10 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)