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July 31, 2014

The Denver Post?

I hope to defeat the "60th Vote for ObamaCare" in November and will fulsomely support Rep. Cory Gardner (R - Personhood, Kinda, Sorta).

But I am shocked that the left-leaning Denver Post could not find a more flattering picture of Sen. Udall (D - Daddy's Boy) for this story:

udall_uglypic.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

And in related news, CIA Director Brennan called for the resignation of Colorado Senator Mark Udall for continuing to support new EPA rules that constitute a de facto carbon tax on Coloradoans at the same time that Australia has just axed its misguided, economy killing, carbon tax.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 1:53 AM
But Jk thinks:

Of course it was fine when they spied on the hoi polloi. But when they started spying on Senators . . . Holy cow! My Daddy was a Senator, my brother is a Senator, I am a Senator, a bunch of my friends are Senators -- this has to stop!

Posted by: Jk at August 1, 2014 8:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Yeah, uhhh, what are the tea baggers always screaming about... ummm, SEPARATION OF POWERS!!"

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And did you say hoi polloi? Y'alls soundin' like Lois Lerner, Senator Udall.

I was going to take the train to windsor Castle, but stuff closes early in winter so it wasn't going to work. Instead, went [to] Hempstead –an Edwardian English village, full of beautiful, huge houses – which have been ruined by letting the hoi paloi [sic] live there! These people have ruined everything with their equality push!'

Is y'all an elitist too, senator? You Democrats are always tellin' us that you're for the little folk. Not sure I believe you any more.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:31 PM

Project Ideas...

One for the ThreeSources DIY/Recycling session. I'm a big fan of Eliza Dushku (as noted).

But, this latest brainstorm advocated on her Facebook feed strikes me as a bit "uneconomic."

t_shirt_shopping_bag.jpg

Now, she probably has some more attractive t-shirts than my acronym-laden collection, and I suspect she discards hers at a higher utility part of fabric lifestyle than I.

But the shopping bag fascination strikes me as the most futile bit of environmental hokum extant. They love to quote (not Ms. Dushku, but the ubiquitous "they") that 13 million bags head to the landfill every year! Substitute some number n for 13. That is their idea of an argument.

I hear: 6 million people (n / 2.5, round up * 1000000) were able to use inexpensive, durable, lightweight and sanitary packaging to bring their food home safely and conveniently. Many found additional uses for the bags before discarding, but when they were done, they were able to dispose of them cheaply as well. What a wonder these bags be. What a miracle to be so affluent.

But that's just me. Maybe other ThreeSourcers want to fire up the Singer and manufacture a pile of Trade Show, Losing Senatorial Candidate, and Operating System totes. Have at it! (But don't forget to wash them frequently in hot water and phosphate detergent.)

But johngalt thinks:

I wonder how the t-shirt shopping bag works for another little task that do-gooder nannyists have made the subject of criminal law - picking up your dog's doo?

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:35 PM

Wow!

Little jealous of Brother Keith that he has the opportunity to vote for this guy. I won't be so jealous in November when "Governor Moonbeam" beats him by 20 points...

Seriously, this is a VERY good video. Mark off ten minutes and watch it.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yeah, well...

Since you all have done me the courtesy of sharing the joys of Colorado politics -- and that's not sarcasm, I enjoy all the Hickenlooper/Udall/Tancredo discussions, and I still support your 11-county secession movement* -- I'll return the favor and share the inside baseball on California's politics of late.

Without a doubt, Neel Kashkari would be a vast improvement over the space cadet in our governor's office right now. Of course, a toasted cheese sandwich with a side order of cat food would be a vast improvement over Governor Moonbeam, so that ain't sayin' much. I'm sure Mr. Kashkari is a good guy, probably kind to his mother, and all that, but I didn't vote for him in the primary, and I know a lot of people who didn't. There were two major candidates on the Republican side, and I voted for the other one.

For a little background, let me point out that Neel Kashkari voted for Barack Obama. Twice. He also managed a little Bush program that you may remember called the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He is a guy who believes that government is the solution for our problems, and is seen by many as a big-government guy and an establishment moderate, or as I like to call 'em, a "RINO squish." Karl Rove, whose record since Bush left office has been spotty at best, supports him. Pete Wilson supports him. Hugh Hewitt -- and don't get me wrong, I love Hugh Hewitt like a brother, but damn, he can be a cheerleader for establishment Republicans -- wouldn't shut up about him.

In the other corner, there was the guy I supported, Tim Donnelly. To put it in mathematical terms, Neel Kashkari is to Tim Donnelly as John Boehner is to Ted Cruz. Donnelly is a small-government Republican, both a fiscal-con and a social-con. Donnelly is something of an outspoken firebrand at times, and has drawn criticism for saying that the state is going to hell, but when it's an inarguable fact that the state is going to hell and the skids are greased, I don't care how impolitic it is to say the truth loudly.

Donnelly was the TEA Party favorite and Kashkari was the establishment Republican favorite. Will I vote for Kashkari come November? The alternative is Moonbeam -- hell yes, I'll vote for Kashkari.

Understand this: I bristle when I hear a Republican elite whine about "electability." There's the frank admission that Donnelly is right, but doggone it, he's a loose cannon and you need to soften it for the sake of "electability." But they're all but conceding that Moonbrain is going to win this one in a runaway, so how is Kashkari electable if he's mathematically out of it? If you're going to go down anyway, you may as well stand on principles in the process rather than compromise just to die anyway. Amirite?

Bear in mind when Gray Davis got thrown out, California chose the star power of Arnold Schwartzenegger, who talked the talk for his first two years and then turned into a squish at his first midterms. The only thing he did right was reformed to our Workers' Comp system, and he caved on everything else. They say that when you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, after all, and he did marry a Kennedy. I supported the other major Republican, Tom McClintock. He's a real good guy, and you can Google him.

So, Kashkari has campaigned to the right since winning the primary, hopefully to energize the conservative wing of what's left of the GOP in this state. Let me remind you, Obama twice and TARP. The man's not exactly a doctrinaire conservative. Of course, also bear in mind that I'm no longer a registered Republican, so I don't speak for the party.

Wow, that's a rant. I hope he really means what he's proposing on the link you posted. Explanatory linky goodness here:

http://bit.ly/WQ8ddf

I'll just leave you with this nugget of wisdom:

Cthulhu 2016
Why vote for the lesser evil?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2014 5:59 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, in the time it took me to compose that epic, JK had time to post not one but two new offerings, and I didn't even get to the footnote that the asterisk was supposed to lead to, so here it is:

* California has its own idea brewing, and I'm vastly in favor of it. It's called "Six Californias," not to be confused with Six Flags California. More linkage:

http://www.sixcalifornias.com/

Now that I have this out of my system, I do believe I saw a reference to Eliza Dushku. Love her, hate her politics (half of that applies to Udall, too), so I seem to have some reading to do...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2014 6:10 PM
But jk thinks:

We had our moment in the 51st State sun, but the "State of Jefferson" is the most awesomest separationist movement out there. General Eisenhower said if a problem seems intractable -- expand it. Perhaps a shattering has some potential a clean split does not.

Curiously, ours was killed (no proponent but me will admit this) by some 100 year floods. They devastated our dry state such that some clouds over the last week have triggered PTSD -- at least ion the media.

Anyone on the margin saw the State step in to do rescue and disaster relief. That just left the crazies -- and there are some wackos in the movement. Even I have switched to preferring "The Phillips Plan." Proposed by un-populous Phillips County, the suggestion is to structure the Colorado State Senate with one vote per county.

This requires amending the State Constitution which guarantees proportional representation. But the rhyme to our Federal systems is unmistakable -- as is its ability to really solve the problem of a rural minority that generates more wealth than voters.

I may have been a Donnelly guy; I'll concede that two Obama votes is a serious indictment. I just know Kashkari from his PIMCO days and his Kudlow appearances -- he has a good dose of the free market in him.

I found the documentary compelling in the spirit of another hero of mine who is also dismissed as establishment: the Late Jack Kemp (QB - Bills). What-his-nose Democrat in Wisconsin tries a week on minimum wage and runs out of baloney -- One-percenter bond executive doing a homeless week in Fresno is -- have I used "awesome" too much in one comment? -- cool as hell.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2014 6:58 PM
But jk thinks:

From your link:

In addition, Donnelly has raised only about $475,000, less than half what Kashkari has raised.

He misspelled "spent on lunch..."

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2014 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I read some parallels between CA's Donnelly/Kashkari primary and CO's Tancredo/Beauprez contest. Did the RGA come in and urinate all over Donnelly in a few key counties like it apparently did to Tancredo?

I've no lost love to Tommy T and I tend to agree with the GOP power brokers who probably calculated that his "loose cannon"ness would hurt not only his chances, but those of down ticket Republicans. (Damn it hurts to have to agree with GOP power brokers!)

But at least Beauprez has a snowball's chance against the wounded Hickenlooper, so we've got that going for us.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"24% of Californians live in poverty. The highest in the nation."

Wow.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We are all Starnesvillians now.

Will he get opportunities to debate Governor Brown? How can Brown defend the obvious failures of the regulatory state? Neel can focus on those failures without having to defend his flank from the favored charges of "racist" or "war on women."

Millions of Californians have good paying jobs in California, it is true, but millions more can't reach the first rung of the ladder that government has forced to be raised way, too, high.

The barrier to entry for American jobs? American governments.

I've said it has to get worse before it can get better. It seems to me it is now bad enough. Time to turn around, lemmings.

You're right, jk: Moving.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 3:08 PM

July 30, 2014

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

Eric Maschwitz and Manning Sherwin ©1939

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink


Three Cheers for Redmond!

Microsoft is fighting for full Fourth Amendment protection of your email in the cloud. General counsel and executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs, Brad Smith, has a guest editorial in the WSJ today describing the principles and tactics:

Microsoft believes you own emails stored in the cloud, and that they have the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail. This means, in our view, that the U.S. government can obtain emails only subject to the full legal protections of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. It means, in this case, that the U.S. government must have a warrant. But under well-established case law, a search warrant cannot reach beyond U.S. shores.

The government seeks to sidestep these rules, asserting that emails you store in the cloud cease to belong exclusively to you. In court filings, it argues that your emails become the business records of a cloud provider. Because business records have a lower level of legal protection, the government claims that it can use its broader authority to reach emails stored anywhere in the world.


July 29, 2014

"Windy" the Wind Imaging Laser System

This amazing device was developed by some friends of mine. Check it out and please share it widely.


July 28, 2014

2,000 Words

White House SPAM on Inversions:

wh_inversion.gif

CATO on Inversions:

cato_inversions.jpg

But jk thinks:

Top-hatted, bearded gents with cigars -- ruining our great nation with their filthy greed!

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh was brilliant on this today. "Did you hear Obama over the weekend say he is ready to get serious about enforcing border security? Yeah, he's ready to militarize it to keep US corporations from getting OUT."

Now it's my turn:

"Mister Obama, Tear. Down. This. Wall."

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:50 AM

Un-Hail Insty

Or . . . oh, hail no!

insty140728b.gif

Good thing the good perfesser teaches law and not economics, I grimace at his Mickey Kaus-esque immigration posts, but this is really disappointing. His link goes to Ann Althouse. I appreciate wanting Gov. Walker to win -- really I do. He has taken brave stands on education and public sector unions and he has been subjected to far far worse and far less true attacks than these.

But are we going to stand for anything?


All Hail Insty!

insty140728.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [2 comments]
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I know.

But it should be repeated at least annually.

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2014 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

This is a favorite of Reynolds's; he posts it more than once a year. Every week would be fine with me -- it is the whole world and everything in it.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 7:00 PM

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Cohn, ObamaCare's cheerleader at the New Republic, quoted Mr. Gruber on Friday as saying his remark "was just a mistake" and he didn't recall why he made it. We can think of a reason: It was the truth. Liberals feared some states wouldn't set up exchanges, so they deliberately wrote incentives into the law so the states would do so. This was the conventional liberal wisdom until this year when it suddenly became legally and politically inconvenient for the Administration to admit it. -- WSJ Ed Page
UPDATE: The WSJ's "Notable & Quotable" today is my "All Hail Harsanyi" from last week. Saved you $240. You're welcome.

July 27, 2014

Just Three Pages of Econ . . .

UPDATE: Now I had not seen (nor heard of) Kristen Bell's until this came out. I made a point of finding hers and watching it first.

In a bit of reflection, this struck me as a microcosm of the left-right debate. We have facts, reason, and a guy who looks like Remy. They have total sophistry, but put it into a clever package. Ms. Bell is distractingly attractive, even primped up as Mary Poppins.

We're doomed I tell you. Doomed.

UPDATE: Ari Armstrong weighs in.

But johngalt thinks:

Yep. It doesn't even matter that the hot chick's stated premise is that employers should pay more because GOVERNMENT takes so much.

(Or that "just a three dollar increase" is a 41% raise.)

But really, mostly, because "Snap! Federal and state income tax, Medicare and Social Security? Why, you're living below the poverty line!"

Ummm, "we're from the government and we're here to help - by making your employer give government more money when, instead, we could simply take less from you."

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2014 3:48 PM
But jk thinks:

But then, how would they enforce the minimum wage laws?

Really, man, I don't think you thought this through.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 7:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

How 'bout this:

Kristin Bell in Walt Disney's 'Mary Poppins is Taxed Enough Already.'
Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 12:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Let it go.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2014 9:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Can't hold it back anymore.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We are all The Tea Party now.

Even the beautiful people.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I'm not the only one. Ari - Spoonful of Coercion

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

UpUpDateDate:

Funny or Die Accidentally Proves Why Big Federal Government Programs Suck While Making the Case for a Minimum ... http://t.co/PRZy2BKnrw

— Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) July 31, 2014
Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:57 AM

Review Corner

[Milton] Friedman titled his column "Steady as You Go," giving due credit to [George] Shultz, and explained that Nixon had begun to reverse the harmful interventionist policy of the Johnson administration, which Friedman called "fine-tuning with a sledge hammer!" He was looking forward to a more stable and prosperous decade. But that decade didn't come to pass, because Nixon soon gave up on "steady as you go" for political reasons before it could yield positive results.
[...]
In practice , the wage and price controls brought interventionism beyond what anyone could have imagined when they thought about the idea in principle . To administer the freeze, government bureaucrats had to consider the intricate details of production and product definition. At a meeting on August 17, 1971, in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House, Nixons advisers were debating such things as whether chicken broilers were a raw agricultural product and thereby exempt from the price freeze, or a processed product and thereby subject to the freeze.
Yes, I think Madison mentioned in Federalist #10 something about an energetic executive's classifying goods for price controls. Or maybe that was #69, I get them mixed up.

John Taylor believes in predictable and consistent rules for both fiscal and monetary policy. his eponymous rule could replace the Fed with a twenty year old HP Calculator and we'd all be better off. In First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity, Taylor correlates periods of predictable principled policy with economic growth and dynamism. He also shows how the interventionism of the 1930s, 1970s and present relate to extended periods of negative or slow growth.

As these principles developed over the years, we can see periods when careful attention was paid to them and alternating periods when they were neglected. And we can draw clear conclusions from this history: When policymakers stuck to the principles, economic performance was good. When they ignored or compromised on the principles, economic performance deteriorated.

The 30s have been better plowed of late and Taylor gives props to Amity Shlaes's The Forgotten Man [Review Corner]. Taylor looks at it more econometrically. Taylor gives equal treatment to the 70s, in which we saw interventionist fiscal policy and mad monetary policy after President Nixon pulled us out of Bretton Woods. George Shultz, Milton Friedman, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford retrospectively seemed an unlikely group to unleash a bold era of interventionism, but we know how the story ends. As it happens, I was there in a powder blue leisure suit.
There went the principles. The 1975 decision represented a compromise in which some principles were sacrificed in exchange for others, such as holding down the growth of spending as Greenspan recommended in his memo. Despite his own misgivings about such interventions, Greenspan compromised, thinking that no bill (or a worse bill) would be more harmful to the economy than the bill with the rebate. Moreover, with both the House and the Senate controlled by the opposition party, the veto would likely be overridden anyway.

Then President Carter rode in to save the day, and ... no, wait ...
It's difficult to recall now the seriousness of the U.S. economic slump by the end of the 1970s. Economic growth was weakening, unemployment was rising, and the dollar was sinking. Confidence in U.S. economic leadership was plunging at home and abroad. Sound familiar? But then the winds of economic freedom started blowing again, starting with very strong gusts at the start of the incoming Reagan administration. No more short-term actions and interventions. Temporary was out. Permanent was in. Reagan proposed and the Congress passed long-term reforms such as the tax rate reductions, which reduced income tax rates by 25 percent across the board.

Out with temporary, in with permanent. While we have many improvements over the 1970s -- beyond the leisure suit -- in predictability and consistency, it is much worse. "Temporary" tax cuts, fiscal cliff legislation, and phased tax expenditures seem part of every piece of legislation lately.
After being largely out of use and out of favor for over two decades , Keynesian activism arose from the dead in the 2000s. It started in the George W. Bush administration and reached unprecedented heights in the Barack Obama administration. In retrospect, it started with a whimper rather than a bang when a temporary stimulus was added, as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, to the permanent reduction in personal income tax rates that President Bush proposed during the 2000 campaign.

Monetary policy has also become interventionist. He relates a great story in which Ben Bernanke published a paper using the Taylor Rule ["the Fed should set the interest rate equal to 1 ½ times the inflation rate, plus ½ times the percentage amount by which the GDP differs from its long-run growth path, plus 1"]. Taylor thought things would be okay until he got a call from Milton Friedman: "John, this is exactly what I mean. In this paper you see a policymaker with an activist bent making use of your curve to justify that activism." Again, we know how the story ends.
The annual meeting of the world's financial leaders in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, each August illustrates how radically things had changed since Volcker wrestled monetary policy back from the brink in the early 1980s. I attended the first monetary policy symposium in August 1982 and was there for the thirtieth meeting in August 2011. The Tetons were still there, but virtually everything else was different. Volcker attended the meeting in 1982; Bernanke, in 2011.

Taylor is no fan of Dodd-Frank or the PPACA. "While the Dodd-Frank bill neglects many of the principles of economic freedom, the 2010 health care law recklessly ignores and violates them all." The heart of Taylorism is rules: rule by law not by men -- monetary policy by function and not be discretion.
Government regulation should rely more on the rule of law and less on the rule of men. Any plan to restore American prosperity must remove the regulatory drag on the economy and the crony capitalism and regulatory capture that magnify it. Consistent with principles of economic freedom and proposals in the two previous chapters, which would roll back recent excesses in fiscal and monetary policy, the 2010 financial legislation and the 2010 health care legislation should be scaled back or amended and replaced with legislation based on market incentives and the rule of law, not on the discretion of government bureaucracies.

Much needs doing, but Taylor remains optimistic that a return to principles will return us to prosperity. I think he does well to examine long periods of prosperity and stagnation. Too many political economists try to relate a recession in a congressional or presidential term; there is too much latency and too many exogenous events to make sense. But Taylor looks at extended periods of prosperity under sound principles in the 80s and 90s against extended problems in the 30's, 70s and the present malaise.

It's a great book that any ThreeSourcer would enjoy -- enough detail to present a substantive argument, but not enough to bog down the reader and cloud the message. Five stars.


July 26, 2014

Meta

Not as in Mick Jagger's singing "Meta gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis." Meta as in:

I have a probably very non-political Review Corner coming up someday for Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray. I am about halfway in and it is very good.

Biology was never my strong suit. The highlight of sophomore bio was when I was chosen to go to the board and draw the cell from a cheek swab. I had not completed the assignment and borrowed the lab book of my lab partner Bobbi (as in Roberta...) I boldly drew the XX chromosomes to the raucous laughter of a class that assumed "class clown" was in on the joke.

Let's say I have some catching up to do. Bray describes the inner workings of cells and single-cell organisms with analogies to microchips and electronic circuits. Very interesting stuff.

While the review will be non-political -- unless he turns to the phenyl-alkaloid proof of Socialism in Chapter Eight -- I had a political thought while reading. I was reading about the electro-chemical processes in nerve cells, placing them into the author's thesis of circuitry -- all the while reading the book which I had downloaded onto my Kindle.

Had I succumbed to legal Centennial State weed, this would have been a moment for an extended "Woooooah!" and possibly a break for a snack. But I do not do that. I instead enjoyed the meta moment of the author's transferring his synaptic activity to mine via the Amazon Cloud.

And my thoughts turned to anti-Saganism. Carl Sagan's trademark was telling humans that they were insignificant based on their infinitesimal size on galactic and universal scales. My (predominantly lefty) friends love to post Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes that highlight this. A favorite is a picture from Voyager: the small speck that is Earth is pointed out and we are invited to think of our insignificance. I always reply" "Jeepers, we sent a spaceship all the way out there, had it take a picture, send it home, and you posted it to the Internet. We're actually pretty f-ing awesome critters!

So I boldly proclaim arrogance, not for myself, but for my species, for our self awareness. Bray does not claim for his entire branch of science a comprehensive understanding of even a lowly amoeba. But they're working on it. And he wrote a book. And I bought it and downloaded it onto a small computer based on the circuitry he compares to brain cells. So, suck it, Carl.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [0 comments]

Quote of the Day

Jonah Goldberg [subscribe] on l'Affaire Jonathan Gruber;

In case you're not up to speed, let's recap. It's really a wonderful, feel-good story for the whole family. In the Halbig decision this week, the court ruled that according to a plain reading of the law, only state exchanges are eligible for premium subsidies under Obamacare. As a political and policy matter, this would be the equivalent of throwing a very large mackerel on a house of cards. It wouldn't necessarily destroy Obamacare, but that would be the way to bet.

UPDATE: The best concise version of the story from Shikha Dalmia


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