February 28, 2007
I'm warming up to Rudy, more and more, despite the DAWG stuff.
But here's another reason.
Taranto recounts the story of professor at a prestigious university telling him, at a party, back in 1993 that someone needed to "assassinate" Rudy Giuliani.
Indeed, I remember that. They hated him.
America Supports You
I've been meaning to link to this site for a while....
It's a great place to start if you're looking to help the troops out abroad.
Posted by AlexC at 4:27 PM
February 27, 2007
Who's he think he is -- Edwards?
John Fund, in OpinionJournal Politoical Diary:
Al Gore's Energy Policy: Less for You, More for Me
UPDATE: Wizbang compares it to that evil George W. Bush's home:
The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude
Anna Nicole Smith
You thought ThreeSources would not weigh in on the already weighty news matters of the time? Two thoughts:
1) How can lefties really worry about the impact of FOXNews? Trust me, they are always way too busy chasing after (Chandra Levy/Laci Petersen/Natalee Holloway/Anna Nicole Smith/&c) to really promote any kind of conservative political vision. There’s only 24 times seven in a week and some woman is always missing in a country of 300 million.
2) I was jarred out of complacency by this TCS story Douglas Kern also wonders "Who is this odd, dead, clownish blonde woman whose ghost has apparently taken the international mass media hostage?" But he follows it with a compelling point about free will.
But would Smith have wanted her life any other way? Suppose an angel had descended upon our heroine back in 1991, and said to her: "Look, your life can go in two directions here. If you walk away from this doddering old man now, you can spend your days working jobs that involve hairnets and nametags, bounce around in dreary relationships with an uninspiring array of greasy working-class schlubs, bear a few kids by a few dads, enjoy a few years of cut-rate Peyton Place drama for the six or seven years that your looks hold out, and then putter along doing nothing of relevance until Social Security kicks in, so you can watch daytime TV for hours on end in your battered old trailer until your heart gives out at age 93. Then again, if you go with the old guy, you'll achieve worldwide fame, huge amounts of money, and a marriage that will make you a billionaire in theory. Adolescent males around the globe will be ogling your naughty pictures on the Internet for years, perhaps centuries. You'll star in your own TV show, endorse products for nationwide advertisements, travel the world, have sex with the world's most eligible bachelors, take the best drugs, and live a life of hedonistic bliss punctuated only by occasional moments of family tragedy, until you die suddenly of acute celebrity-itis at age 39. Which will it be?"
You put it like that...
UPDATE: Spelling fixed Nichole/Nicole
Golden in CA
Michael McClellan has a a good piece in TCS Daily "Why Giuliani Is Golden."
He encounters California Republicans who, like me, value McCain's military service and respect his dedication to the war -- but, also like me, don't trust him and cannot completely forgive him for past actions. I think this point captures it:
Given their disparate ascents to the national stage, Giuliani's enduring image is more conservative than McCain's. At the risk of oversimplifying, it is perhaps fair to say that Giuliani's image is loudly conservative and quietly moderate, whereas McCain's image is loudly moderate and quietly conservative. These disparate images have taken hold among California Republicans, and Giuliani's image is blowing McCain's out of the water.
I still stay up late at night worrying about what the Clinton oppo-research machine has on the non-parsimonious pol. But I m settling more on his candidacy every day.
I've just discovered a very bad time sink at the exact wrong time in my life, but have y'all see TEDTalks?
I found this one on Classical Values (H/T Insty) and it is awesome. Here's the description:
Steven Levitt is an economics professor at the University of Chicago and the best-selling author of Freakonomics. In this talk, filmed at TED2004, he goes inside an inner-city gang to examine economic principles at work in the real world. (Recorded February 2004 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 22:00)
The series is sponsored by BMW, and I went a Googling (actually, I’m a Yahoo guy still) for TED and TEDTalks.
The editorial slant looks distinctly left of center, but they advertise a talk by Bjorn Lomborg that we're worrying about the wrong thing with Global Warming, and they have a couple talks by his VicePresidentness himself, Mr. Albert Gore, Jr.
I prefer blogs to podcasts and most video because I find it easy to read a column while I wait for a machine to reboot or a program to compile. Double-digit minutes of devoted attention are productivity sappers. But there are a pile of these TEDTalks I have to see.
I wanted to post about this one and not the series, because it speaks to something that was very important to me before 9/11. I took some of the same ideas Levitt takes from the research from the novel "Clockers" by Richard Price. The problem is the lure of money in illegal drug sales as recruitment for gang membership.
Levitt points out that it's "the worst job in the world" but also that the idea of rising in the organization to a senior level is pretty alluring against other inner city opportunities. The drug war is government intrusion into economics as surely as ethanol subsidies. Levitt points out how the economics changed with the introduction of crack cocaine.
Whether you agree with my libertarian view of the drug war or not, this is a fascinating, entertaining, and smart piece on application of economic principles. At the end, you even enjoy economic principles translated into gangspeak.
February 26, 2007
jk defends President Clinton
Mark the date, these planets may not align for another decade or two.
Extreme Mortman joins a chorus of folks who are overwhelmed by President Clinton's sizeable remuneration from speaking engagements. Mortman at least gets a great riff out of it:
Now whether or not you agree with the thrust of Gore’s global warming message, there’s some charm in internationally crusading for a cause you believe in.
I don't want Chairman Dingell to say that CEOs make too much money. And I am certainly not going to tell our 42nd President not to accept compensation offered without coercion.
I also remember Bill Clinton's causing a lot more trouble when he was receiving his modest government salary. A little industrious earning seems to have been good for him -- and us.
Thomas Sowell shows again today why he cannot ride on the same plane as Walter Williams. Dr. Sowell is not sold on the economic agenda of Senator Barack Obama.
Senator Obama is being hailed as the newest and freshest face on the American political scene. But he is advocating some of the oldest fallacies, just as if it was the 1960s again, or as if he has learned nothing and forgotten nothing since then.
Hat-tip: Gregory Mankiw
I Cannot Support This Guy
Unless Hizzoner Mayor Giuliani comes out this week for Nationalized Oil, he has my support all the way. His competitors for the GOP 2008 nomination have disqualified themselves.
McCain's tiresome California rant against the Bush Administration sent me packing last week. I was going to purchase the domain readytosettleformccain.com but I'm not -- hit GoDaddy, it's up for grabs if you want it,
I don't care if Governor Romney is Mormon, Rosicrucian or Zoroastrian. But his --let me be fair, here -- insane health care boondoggle portends poorly for his belief in markets and liberal economics.
Sally Pipes writes in the WSJ Ed Page today (paid link) that RomneyCare is more than 150% over budget, not meeting its goals, and premiums are 150% of estimations as well.
When then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, introduced a universal health-insurance plan in the Bay State early last year, it was widely acclaimed. But less than a year after passage, RomneyCare is in the intensive care unit, soon to be wheeled into hospice.
Yes, it's better than single-payer. But if we must have such government intrusion into health care, let's not put a Republican's name on it. Let's give libertarian-leaners a thread of reward for supporting the GOP.
They Don't Make Democrats Like This Anymore
Senator Lieberman, in a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal (free link)
But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake--assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
That's a responsible opposition position. He understands the gravity of the fight, the souring position held by the electorate. He doesn't line up and salute but he supports his own vote to confirm General Petraeus.
They Will Hold Their Manhood Cheap
...that they did not fight with Prince Harry on St. Crispen's Day.
I join Bret Stephens of the The Journal Editorial Report in applauding a particular UK troop deployment:
[Paul] Gigot: Next, on the heels of the British government announcing it will withdraw some troops from Iraq, comes news of a notable deployment. Bret?
February 25, 2007
Those are the words of WaPo staff writers, Jonathan Weisman and Lyndsey Layton, not me. They point out that the plan was to unite Democrats and divide Republicans. But...
But a botched launch by the plan's author, Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), has united Republicans and divided Democrats, sending the latter back to the drawing board just a week before scheduled legislative action, a score of House Democratic lawmakers said last week.
Sorry Rep. Murtha is having a bad day, but when you can't get the Washington Post on board for some antiwar and anti-administration politicking, you have a problem.
I'm thinking some "Don't blame me, I supported Irey" T-Shirts might be good right about now...
A little personal item on the weekend if I may...
For 24 years, my wife and I celebrated the "anniversary of our first date" on February 25. Today, the 25th anniversary, I realized that what I really celebrate is my last date. Twenty-five years ago, I realized very quickly that I had found her and I never went out with another woman. If there is one thing I don't miss, it would be dating.
We married a year and half later and have done the for-richer-for-poorer, as well as the sickness-and-in-health bits.
February 24, 2007
Fiscal HAWK Mark Sanford...
- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has yet to offer an endorsement in the 2008 Republican presidential contest, said today that he would not completely rule out accepting the number two spot on the ticket.
February 23, 2007
A World Without America
UPDATE: If, like jk, your browser barfs on YouTube's schockwave player, here's a link.
Ten Largest Databases
There are currently organizations around the world in the business of amassing collections of things, and their collections number into and above the trillions. In many cases these collections, or databases, consist of items we use every day.
Hat-tip: Club for growth
There is another casualty of the partisanship that has turned the Iraqi liberation into "Bush's War" and formed a solid line of Democrats in opposition. We're missing the political twists and turns as a new nation is birthed in the fecund Mesopotamian crescent.
The Wall Street Journal (news pages) reports today that Ahmed Chalabi has a new position in the government.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In his latest remarkable political reincarnation, onetime U.S. favorite Ahmed Chalabi has secured a position inside the Iraqi government that could help determine whether the Bush administration's new push to secure Baghdad succeeds.
I don't blame partisan wrangling, the insurgency has been very adept at impeding the birth of civil society. I think the opponents have played into their hands.
Put me in those polls where a majority of Americans still see and demand success. Give General Petraeus a chance. Then, instead of sniping at the administration from the sidelines, watch an inchoate nation unfold, real time.
February 22, 2007
The Trekmedic is polling.
Squeaker of the Mouse Nancy Pelosi has spoken effusively about her children and grandchildren and how they've shaped her management style. Yet, she is the de facto head of the Democratic Party, which supports abortion on-demand and every level of government involvement.
Make a difference.
Sirius/XM Merger Powerpoint
Power Corrupts. Power Point corrupts absolutely.
I hate to advise sitting through a power point you don’t have to, but brother ac sends a link to the Sirius / XM merger presentation. I found it very interesting.
McCain Chooses DAWG, jk chooses Giuliani
Blog brother AlexC was disappointed with Mayor Giuliani’s acceptance of global warming.
I looked for a brick to throw at the TV last night, when Senator McCain was waltzing around the Golden State bashing the President. The LATimes sez McCain slams Bush on global warming, Iraq policy
"I would assess this administration's record on global warming as terrible," McCain said, recalling that he got "no cooperation from the administration" at Senate hearings on the subject. He pronounced himself "very happy to see the president mention global warming and a renewed commitment from the administration to this issue." But he added tartly: "It's long overdue."
Overdue Senator, is my endorsement of your opponent in the GOP primaries.
He can believe what he wants, and he can certainly criticize an unpopular president in the geographic locus of his unpopularity. But the grandstanding, self-righteous McCain was on display yesterday -- and I really don't like that guy. I will, of course, support Senator McCain should he win the GOP nomination, but I will not support him in the primaries.
Liberalism from Liberals
It's always a shock, but sometimes the "progressives" can surprise you with a little liberalism.
But I think my fellow liberals, partaking in some hypocrisy of their own, have failed to grasp the true toll of this inquisition. We're supposed to be champions of the First Amendment and foes of overzealous prosecutors. For most of the postwar era, we were the ones who demanded greater exposure of government secrets, sharper skepticism about blanket claims of "national security," and stronger support for reporters against the assaults of the organized right. In keeping with those convictions, we should have protested this overwrought case from the start. In fact, applauding it actually benefits the Bush administration--and future regimes of its ilk--by further sanctifying secrecy and demonizing the press.
Greenberg also offers up the irony of his side's sudden antipathy for mainstream press and the Fourth Estate. I'll applaud his forward look at ideals over quotidian politics. He knows it might just come around.
I don't think liberals have totally forsaken their values. In cases like the wiretapping story, they've summoned their time-honored revulsion at government attempts to squelch information. But, regarding Libby, the left has acted differently. It has succumbed to an antipathy toward an unsavory White House operative and a few unloved journalists and has cheered on a crusading prosecutor's misguided tribunals. Everyone should have a moment to gloat. But we all would do well to recall that, if today it is Dick Cheney's henchman who stands in the dock, tomorrow it may be someone else's--John Edwards's, Hillary Clinton's, or Barack Obama's.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM
February 21, 2007
The Tax Bite
This is an interesting calculation.
Taxes take a bigger bite out of the Big Apple than any other urban area in the nation, according to an analysis released Wednesday.
I disappointed my Dad, too.
Ian at Benevolent Misanthropy posts this sad story, noting that it is neither surprising nor unique.
A father killed his wife and four daughters in their sleep because he could not bear them adopting a more westernised lifestyle, an inquest heard yesterday.
Their lives are not yours to take, Sir. That is the fundamental bankruptcy of that belief system.
Sorry for the flippant headline. My father was indeed devastated when I left school to pursue a musical career. But he knew the wise words of the Lebanese poet Kalil Gibran, "Your children are not your children."
Sarb, Ox & Spitz
Jonathan Pearce at Samizdata.net:
Last year, more than 350 companies went public in Europe, selling $86 billion of stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the U.S., 235 companies raised $48 billion in IPOs. In 1999, 507 companies went public in the U.S., selling a combined $63.93 billion of stock. Not one of the 10 largest stock issues of 2006 was listed in New York.
Pearce thanks Messrs Sarbanes, Oxley and Spitzer.
The Power of Arbitrary
Greg Mankiw gets off a good one at the expense of former Clinton Labhor Secretary and weekly Kudlow Guest, Robert Reich.
Robert Reich says that, as a requirement for free trade deals, we should tell developing countries to "set a minimum wage that's half their median wage." The proposal raises two questions in my mind:
"Half the median" has a nice academic ring to it, but it is yet another example of an arbitrary number that can be pulled out of one's ass. The Reich constant: under which it is moral to refuse to trade with members of another nation. No word on how people from sub-Reichconstantian nations will raise their incomes without access to trade.
A current ballot initiative in my hometown questions whether land (pretty close to my house) will be annexed into the city to house open space and a Lowe's store. Opponents have a lawn sign" "No on A: Enough is Enough."
I see those signs and ask "who put you in charge of enough?" Business developers will invest their own capital, believing enough is not yet enough.
In case you were wondering what our effective tax rate is.
In a study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Boston University economists Laurence J. Kotlikoff and David Rapson have found that our all-in marginal tax rate is 40%, give or take a bit. Yes, you read that right: 40%.
(tip to Club for Growth)
Arnold Kling has an excellent piece today in TCS. The man who brought us the superb coinage "Folk Marxism" now chooses to be called a "Civil Societarian" rather than a libertarian.
To excerpt the article too heavily is to risk reducing it to a few of its parts. I encourage people to read the whole thing.
A recurring theme is the "religiosity" of progressivism.
As far as I can tell, there is no way to draw the line between church and state in public schools. To me, the only way to separate church and state in schooling is to have private schools. Getting government out of the schooling business would return schooling to the realm of civil society, where values and ethics may be taught without inhibition.
There's more in there, including what I think is a reasonable claim about our propensity to tie our beliefs into a larger picture.
We need to love something larger than ourselves. Many people love God. Perhaps civil societarians can love our ideal of a civil society. I am happy to love the flag and the republic for which it stands. Just not in public schools.
I suggested last month that an XM-Sirius merger would not be approved by a Democratic 110th Congress and I am not giving up on that speculation.
Against prescience points, however, I am hoping for the deal to succeed. I don't think either firm is strong enough to compete and innovate by itself. A strong satellite provider could bring new offerings to the market. (Maybe I'll even get my beloved Luna back.)
The real issue is whether our beloved Federal government will continue to meddle in business, based on ghosts of Theodore Roosevelt and robber barons. The WSJ Ed Page joins me (paid link, sorry) in realizing that the market is too complex for regulators to understand.
Beltway critics of the deal see a media monopolist around every corner, scheming to limit the public's access to content. And it's true that the merger would create a lone satellite radio company. But a pure monopoly is one that exists in a market where there are no close substitutes. By contrast, a combined Sirius-XM would have to compete not only with free broadcast radio but also with MP3 players, online radio and even music channels offered by cable providers.
If the shareholders wish to merge, let them. The idea that a global entertainment market is so segmented as to allow a monopoly is laughable.
February 20, 2007
Among many great reasons to be depressed, it's hard to top the polls showing that Americans do not believe they can win in Iraq, do not feel we can win in Iraq, and do not care whether we win in Iraq.
I suspect it has been finely inculcated, yet still stand silenced (not my normal state) when I hear my countrymen are willing to allow another Vietnam outcome. I risk cherry-picking a poll, but Larry Kudlow references an Investor Business Daily Poll that tells a different story.
Speaking of Investors Business Daily, they posted tremendous polling data last Friday on Iraq that you won’t read about in the mainstream media.
I am very hopeful and believe it is critical to win.
Victory or Blow?
Headline: Court blow for Guantánamo prisoners
Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay cannot challenge their imprisonment at the US detention facility, a US appeals court said on Tuesday, delivering a significant legal victory to the White House.
Victory against terrorists or blow for prisoners. You be the judge.
Sticking It To the Man
I wonder if liberals and Democrats who look for tax deductions while demanding higher taxes are hypocrites.
In any case, CNN Money lists 10 ways you can save some cash come April 15th.
February 19, 2007
Let's hear it for fat dudes
Arthur C. Brooks has written a book examining trends in charitable giving. I read a review over the weekend, and today he has a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal called "Worth the Weight."
As we all know, happiness tends to be reflected in the way we treat others. Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, overweight people are more likely to behave charitably than people in the normal BMI range. This is particularly true for men. For example, while 68% of men in the overweight category gave money to charities in 2001, only 62% of men in the normal range gave (although giving falls back considerably when we move into obesity). Overweight men were also the most likely to volunteer their time for various causes and charities.
I'm a gentlemanly 6' 2"` 211. Nice to be recognized as an important demographic.
Somehow I think this idea is going nowhere.
If Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the presidency, some top Democrats would like to see her husband, former President Bill Clinton, appointed to serve out Hillary’s unexpired Senate term.
February 18, 2007
McCain vs Roe vs Wade
Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.
It'd be nice to have Senators who strictly interpret the Constitution too. But we're talking about Campaign Finance Reform. Constitution be damned.
February 17, 2007
The Senate failed to pass a non-binding chicken sh*t resolution on not supporting the surge in Iraq.
The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.
Filibustered. Darn. That's really a shame.
In unrelated news, there's a non-binding cease fire in place in Iraq.
A coalition of major terror groups operating in Iraq today announced a symbolic, non-binding ceasefire in response to House Democrats’ passage of a non-binding resolution rejecting President George Bush’s troop surge plan.
February 16, 2007
Redrawing the Red-Blue Map
I referenced this in a comment. This is an interesting speculation from Brian Carney in the OpinionJournal Political Diary today:
The prospect of a 2008 presidential contest between New York Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani would, if it came to pass, have some interesting implications for national politics next year. In particular, Mr. Giuliani is currently outpolling Mrs. Clinton head-to-head in New York and New Jersey, putting into play two states that have anchored the map of "Blue America" since the 2000 election. Pennsylvania, which voted for the Democrat in the past two election cycles, also polls narrowly in favor of Hizzoner.
UPDATE: Noemie Emery at The Weekly Standard has a longer article on this topic: The Rise of The Metro Republicans
The War Vote
I got an email today from my Congressman Jim Gerlach where he writes...
Saying that it undermines the country’s support of troops fighting the War on Terror, Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-06) announced today that he will vote against a controversial resolution introduced by the House Democrat Majority that criticized the President’s call for a surge in U.S. military involvement in Iraq.
Here's the blow by blow.
I think the Democrats are going to pay for this non-binding resolution... The leftists are going to demand their pound of flesh, and a non-binder isn't enough. The Democrats in the House and Senate were hoping to take a position without having to really have it count.
The Republicans should have amended this thing to make it binding.
Rudy & Global Warming
The other day at Pa Watercooler, blogger Dale Light pointed out that Rudy Giuliani had jumped on to the global warming bandwagon.
The former New York mayor has been banking a whopping $100,000 per speech to corporations, trade groups, and university audiences, according to his standard appearance contract. The document, a copy of which you'll find below, notes that Giuliani, 62, requires private air transportation to his gigs. But, the contract states, any old plane won't do: "Please note that the private aircraft MUST BE a Gulfstream IV or bigger." Such a jet sells for about $30 million, in case you're wondering.
That's funny. I can't imagine a Gulfstream is all that fuel economical.
I think now, I'm still holding out hope for Sanford and Gingrich.
WaPo staff writer Paul Kane writes a by-lined news piece (I think this is a news article, not an opinion piece, who can tell anymore?) on the Republican Reps likely to support the Democratic non-binding resolution.
Broad Swath of GOP Defecting on Iraq Vote
The article (and the email subhead) then points out that not all of these are from safe seats.
There are 202 GOP seats. A dozen is less than six percent. If a few of those are from safe seats, does this really constitute a broad swath? One hundred percent of the Democrats vote against victory, six percent of Republicans join them. I don't see it as bipartisan.
Senator Lindsey Graham has not been my favorite Senator, but he scored some points today with his assertion that "I will do everything in my power to ensure the House resolution dies an inglorious death in the Senate."
February 15, 2007
El Camino del Serfdom
CARACAS, Venezuela - Meat cuts vanished from Venezuelan supermarkets this week, leaving only unsavory bits like chicken feet, while costly artificial sweeteners have increasingly replaced sugar, and many staples sell far above government-fixed prices.
Commentary is left as an exercise to the reader.
Hat-tip: Everyday Economist
If I may recount: TNR comes out boldly for the Iraq war, then turns tail and attacks the mission when it gets difficult, piling on to support antiwar candidates and help pull the President’s party out of power.
Now, its editors are crying into their 1945 Château l'effete that It's becoming obvious: No one is going to save Darfur
Precisely because neither of these [UN] options ever seemed likely to work, we have argued over the past year that nato intervention is the best way to end the genocide. We still favor that approach, but we have no illusions that the Bush administration will ever undertake it. Last week, speaking at a panel in Washington, D.C., John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group urged Western governments at least to weigh the possibility of military action against Sudan--but then conceded, "It's a laughable concept as we sit here today." True enough. At this point, we would be happy to see the West take any action that has even the remotest chance of stopping the genocide. Some efforts, such as a no-fly zone over Darfur or a naval blockade of Port Sudan, could, at least in theory, be undertaken unilaterally or by a small group of countries. Other proposals, such as travel bans that target government leaders or sanctions against Sudanese oil, would require broad consent from the international community to be effective.
Afghanistan, a good TNR journalist would say, is reverting to lawless Talibanism, and Iraq is a Quagmire and a mistake of the current administration.
The UN is powerless and disinterested, and TNR wants the administration to organize a coalition of the willing. Let's nuke China and free Tibet while we're over there.
Former TNR Editor Peter Beinart's book is subtitled "Why liberals, and only liberals, can win the war on terror and make America great again." I respect Beinart (and Martin Peretz) but his old magazine disproves his thesis almost once a week.
Nationalize The Media!
I guess the fairness doctrine has come to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page.
A guest editorial by Steven Rattner, former NYTimes journalist and current managing principal at Quadrangle Group, LLC, issues the usual dire outlook on Newspaper readership:
We should also bear in mind that for that sliver of America that seeks quality news, it is arguably more available today than ever before: There is this newspaper, now published six days a week; the national edition of the New York Times home-delivered across the country; the Economist (with its U.S. circulation of 600,000); the NewsHour, the BBC and Charlie Rose on public television; and for the true junkies, C-Span. Not to mention the more rarefied Internet precincts.
Holy Cow -- he forgot Al-jazeera!
He doesn't recognize bias, and he's not so hot on Schumpeterian Gales:
But for newspapers, the challenges are mounting, including advertisers fleeing not only to follow lost readers but also because they believe that newer forms of media can be both more cost-effective and just plain more effective. For example, classified ads, which can represent a third of a typical newspaper's revenue, can be delivered online faster (instantaneous), more conveniently (searchable) and cheaper (sometimes free via Craigslist). Not much imagination or boldness is required to predict that classifieds could completely disappear from newspapers.
So, a clever publisher could try to compete, or they could change their content to attract more readership. Or, we could just forget the market and have public financing of journalism:
Not-for-profit status might be one possibility. Instead of having billionaire moguls as proprietors, we could try to turn them into philanthropists who found nonprofit organizations to buy and operate their local papers. At least one such example exists: the St. Petersburg Times, owned by the Poynter Foundation as a result of a bequest by Nelson Poynter.
This is on the editorial page of the most market-friendly editorial page in the nation. And also, on the page of the one publisher that has successfully brought its product profitably online.
Proves they’re fair.
UPDATE: Free link
How Many Republican Defeatists?
I guess that's the last remaining question in the House. I'm relearning what a friend the "cooling saucer of the Senate" is to a minority party. Even with all our squishes and RINOs, the Senate GOP stalled the defeat resolution under Sen. McConnell’s bold leadership.
But, as they say, you can pass a Ham Sandwich in the house (if the majority party is not hallah or kosher) and we will soon see a bill "supporting the troops" but denigrating their mission and attempting to withhold the tools for victory. How many House GOP members will join the pusillanimity club? The WSJ Ed Page issues a warning: (free link)
All of this is something that House Republicans should keep in mind as they consider whether to follow this retreat. The GOP leadership has been stalwart, even eloquent, this week in opposing the resolution. But some Republicans figure they can use this vote to distance themselves from Mr. Bush and the war while not doing any real harm. They should understand that the Democratic willingness to follow the Murtha "slow-bleed" strategy will depend in part on how many Republicans follow them in this vote. The Democrats are themselves divided on how to proceed, and they want a big GOP vote to give them political cover. However "non-binding," this is a vote that Republican partisans will long remember.
Cause and Effect
Over at the Friends of Science Website, they have a very good primer on climate change (video).
February 14, 2007
The idea of "man-made global warming" has to be defended scientifically, like any other claim about the physical world. It must meet the canons of induction, for example.
The argument for "man-made global warming" is complex, of course, backed by many sub-arguments, a wide variety of data, a wide variety of research and experiments.
But let's look at one canon of induction they use: Method of Difference. (This is one of Mill's Methods. See A System of Logic by John Stuart Mill for the original presentation of the methods. See also a text book on logic such as Practical Logic (Prentice-Hall, 1950) by Monroe C. Beardsley.) This is a critical component of their argument.
Beardsley outlines the Method of Difference as follows (p. 455):
Given: (1) Two cases, one positive and one negative;
So (1) man pumped CO2 into the atmosphere, and the earth warmed; man did not pump CO2 into the atmosphere decades ago, and the earth was cooler. (2) the only difference was the CO2 levels put in the atmosphere by man. Wal-la!! Man is responsible for burning the earth!!
That is fine as is...but it is missing something: context.
As Max Black points out in his Critical Thinking (p. 301, Prentice-Hall, 1952):
Nevertheless, the method, in spite of its great usefulness, is subject to grave dangers. Suppose a person watching a conjuring performance were to argue in this way: 'The magician has just said "Abracadabra," whereupon a live rabbit appeared. A minute ago he had not uttered the magic formula, and there was no rabbit to be seen. Since nothing has changed except that the spell was pronounced, the appearance of the rabbit must have been due to the utterance of the word Abracadabra.' This is a mistaken use of the method of difference. And the mistake is obviously due to the assumption expressed by the words 'nothing else has changed.'
That "nothing else has changed" in terms of climate is false. There are a myriad of factors which have not been researched or evaluated: the sun's irradiation of the earth, cosmic rays, the earth's magnetic field, the affect of clouds.
Then what about another big part of their argument for "man-made global warming:" "Computers say so."
On his website, a scientist by the name of Art De Vany points out, in a post on climate change, that:
The computer models of the climate simulate the weather for centuries. How close do you think they come to the real thing? Not very close at all. It is not possible. Period. None of these models is to be trusted
The models have no credibility -- they do not conform to reality. What's more, statisticians have attacked Michael Mann's methods and results, showing the "hockey stick" is invalid.
The only point of using a computer in physics, is to do complex calculations to see if your theory fits reality. When it fails at that, your theory is invalid.
Reality is the standard of truth, computer outputs are not.
Saying man caused global warming is like saying Abracadabra caused a rabbit to appear. It is merely a conjuring trick.
Goyim Continue to Run ThreeSources
Attila at Pillage Idiot suggests that "Maybe we DO control the media," looking at this headline in the Washington Times:
"Joo named chairman of Times; McDevitt to become president"
Posted by John Kranz at 5:20 PM
Better Living Through Chemistry
Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM
As congress debates whether or not to surrender the nascent Iraqi state to Islamist militants, the mere suggestion of a more muscular approach has apparently dislodged one of the largest such cockroaches:
Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fled Iraq for Iran ahead of a security crackdown in Baghdad and the arrival of 21,500 U.S. soldiers sent by President Bush to quell sectarian violence, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
But there's not much time to waste for Democrats, for whom any discernable success of the muscular approach would be anathema:
The long-awaited floor debate on Iraq is the first since Democrats took control of Congress in the November midterm elections. It also comes as the war approaches the four-year mark with more than 3,100 U.S. troops dead.
UPDATE: Terri at Ithinkthereforeierr has more reports of Islamist's bad news.
Happy Valentine's Day
Perry at Eidelblog has a nice riff on why we buy $100 roses.
Even outside of sitcom absurdity, we guys will spend much more for the most prized flowers on Valentine's Day than we would any other day of the year. Those who understand free market processes know there's nothing wrong with that. As I've explained previously, when prices are left free to adjust, then markets will eventually clear, given time. It's dependent on the quality of participants' information, of course, but as the quality approaches perfection, then markets will clear perfectly. In reality, information is not perfect, and because information has a cost, both buyers and sellers will settle on prices where, they judge, the cost of improving information won't exceed the benefit. A common example in the real world is advertising something for sale in additional venues, which certainly improves information for potential buyers, but in the end it may not yield an increased profit as great as the cost of the additional advertising.
Explain that to your date over a nice dinner tonight and feel the romance. Ultimately, market flaws tend to be self correcting, and command-and-control flaws tend to be self perpetuating.
Happy Valentine's Day.
February 13, 2007
The good folks in Niger may soon have exports beside yellowcake Uranium, if they will continue to empower their farmers to practice good stewardship of the land. Virginia Postrel writes about a NYTimes article. Postrel says "Given the inaccurate photo caption about planting trees, I expected to read about a foreign-aid program that provided seedlings. Instead, it turns out that the farmers figured out what to do the old-fashioned way--by using their powers of observation and what they had on hand."
I think, however, that she may have "buried the lede" a bit:
Another change was the way trees were regarded by law. From colonial times, all trees in Niger had been regarded as the property of the state, which gave farmers little incentive to protect them. Trees were chopped for firewood or construction without regard to the environmental costs. Government foresters were supposed to make sure the trees were properly managed, but there were not enough of them to police a country nearly twice the size of Texas.
I'm sorry, Bono, this is what Africa needs more than Billandmelinda Gates' money. [Grammar note: Gates', like Moses' and Jesus', does not require an s after the apostrophe for the singular possessive. I forget whom I stole that from, but it's official ThreeSources Style now.]
When a candidate can tell you something you don't want to hear, it could be good or bad.
It's a good test case for the kind of crap we'd have to endure during a Giuliani campaign/administration. I can take it.
UPDATE: The commenters on Pajamas Media are not so forgiving as I. This could be an unfortunate litmus test in 2008.
Religion vs. Self-Interest
How long will the President's opponents deny the Laffer Curve (religion) at the expense of having more money to spend on their programs and power aggrandizement (self-interest)?
Larry Kudlow passes along some information from Michael Darda that Larry calls "A Revenue Gusher."
Treasury data for January released yesterday afternoon showed that tax receipts continue to roll in at a rapid rate, which has reduced the fiscal deficit to $191.9 billion or 1.4% of GDP, well below the 2.3% average since 1970. At the current pace, the budget could move back into balance as early as May 2008.
One has to suspect that the economically literate members of the Congressional Democrats (Rep. Frank and a few buddies) may start to soft-peddle rolling back the Bush tax-cuts. Look for flowery oratory but, I hope, no serious proposals to kill the golden goose while they have a lease on its output.
Good News From Colorado
Good news from Colorado has been fairly scant of late for a Republican voter. We got our asses kicked in 2004 and 2006, and the legislation is changing. But John Fund, in OpinionJournal's Political Diary, has some good news about our new Democratic Governor, Bill Ritter:
"The unions just leaned on him too much and the business community was for once united in opposition," is how Jon Caldera of Colorado's Independence Institute explains the startling decision of Democratic Governor Bill Ritter to veto a bill that would have made it easier to force Colorado workers to pay union fees.
Well done, Governor Ritter. I don't want to fawn, but that is a profile in courage action on his part, bucking Big Labor.
It's Like Blogging on Steroids!
What is it? Well, blogging on steroids.
I am getting a five-day IV dose. I suppose if I win a blogging award, you'll have to put an asterisk by my name.
Last time I did this (~three years ago) they made me talkative -- will this round make me blogative? Sadly, the only place they could start an IV this morning -- in a grueling jackbaueurian torture session -- was in my main typing wrist. I dunno, maybe I'll podcast.
February 12, 2007
Really. I had it so wrong. AlexC emails a link to Cuba: making poverty history that celebrates the economic achievements as well as the unparalleled freedom, human rights and self-direction available the island nation.
The only thing resembling a gulag in Cuba is in the US’s illegally-held enclave at Guantanamo Bay where the Bush administration has built its notorious concentration camp.
I was packing my bags to emmigrate, but then I saw this:
What a dupe I have been.
jk Goes Green
I must buy this car. The fate of the planet depends on it.
Well Toyota plans to sell the FT-HS somewhere in the mid 30k range which, if correct, has me sold as I type this down. The goal of the rear wheel drive(thank god!) hybrid powertrain is to produce 400 horsepower and achieve 0-60 mph in around 4 seconds. This is accomplished with by combining a 3.5-liter V6 and an electric motor in a similar manner to the Lexus GS450h.
Let It Snow
The Philadelphia area (in fact the whole northeast) is bracing for it's first big snowfall of the year. While not the scale of our square-state friends, it's still a big deal for the news.
As of this morning, the weather service saw this set of scenarios for Philadelphia:
Is that a relief? I'm flying on Wednesday morning.
"From a forecaster's perspective, it's frustrating," Mike Gorse, a Weather Service meteorologist in Mount Holly, said yesterday. "The computer models just aren't agreeing."
In related news, the computers all agree, that anthropogenic climate change will destroy the earth, unless we stop the engines of progress.
WSJ Ed Page on "The Carbon Prize"
True, the judges for Mr. Branson's challenge hail from the Apocalypse Now crowd; Al Gore joined Sir Richard for Friday's announcement. But the billionaire Briton is plunking down his own money for the prize, rather than asking middle-class taxpayers to pony up, à la the Kyoto Protocol and other top-down schemes favored by environmentalists and European politicians.
February 11, 2007
Two Americas, Two McCains
The WaPo takes a whack at Senator McCain today in a prominent, bylined story: McCain Taps Cash He Sought To Limit.
John Solomon reports on the Senator's decision to eschew public financing limits, then delivers a sequence of McCain the reformer vs. McCain the candidate comparisons.
McCain the reformer relentlessly argued that six- and seven-figure "soft money" checks that corporations, wealthy individuals and unions were giving to political parties to influence elections were corrupting American politics. "The voices of average Americans have been drowned out by the deafening racket of campaign cash," he warned just a few years ago.
Ouch. But it is not undeserved. It makes him look hypocritical to those who don't know him, and reminds those of us who do that his signature issue was to restrict free speech.
The buzz this weekend is all about HIzzoner the Mayor of America. I think I may be ready for the Rudy bandwagon. Good on the war, good on economics. He might be able to sell this "I am moderate on social issues but will pick good SCOTUS justices" to the conservative side of the party.
I am fearful of what the Clinton opposition machine will turn up on the not always cautious or parsimonious pol, but this weekend finds me in the Rudy camp. He's the hawkish-libertarian's candidate.
February 10, 2007
A Global Warming Plan jk Can DIg
If they treated it like this, I'd be in.
LONDON, Feb. 9 -- British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, with former vice president Al Gore at his side, offered a $25 million prize Friday to anyone who can come up with a way to blunt global climate change by removing at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the Earth's atmosphere.
Insty linked to this the other day and compared it favorably to what he called "hair-shirt environmentalism."
A solution like this would contribute to, rather than subtract from, economic growth. It could be used to create empirical climate studies to determine the extent of DAWG's existence and severity. I think it could actually inject some science into the debate.
In less positive news, a friend of the blog emails an unfortunately accurate assessment of VP Gore's upcoming Carbon summit:
I've been down with the flu, so you've probably seen this by now but I just caught it. It looks like Gore will assemble the worlds most equallest pigs ever in one of humanities greatest all time carbon producing bashes. I guess the only way to keep things carbon neutral is to stop all the rest of us little equallest pigs from driving the vehicles of our choice, etc.
That's the usual solution offered. Sir Branson's is new and market-friendly.
Glenn Reynolds gets off a good one.- His post links to an LATimes piece on how TV morning news shows are losing their coveted female 25-35 demographic. The mom in the piece compares these shows to reading People Magazine at the dentist office. Glenn sez:
Those shows' producers may be the first ever to go broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Also, the tv news folks have been going beyond their usual negativity and sensationalism by playing up the bad news even more to make Bush look bad, but judging from this story by doing that they're also chasing away their audience, which now finds their programs too depressing. Oops.
The market is self correcting. When it appears, as in network news, that a problem is intractable, time and competition should iron it out.
February 9, 2007
And How Are Collections Going?
Perry at Eidelblog thinks that government may not be cautious with taxpayer money. Government's motto: "When it's not your money, why try to be careful?"
In the neighborhood President Bush visited right after Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. government gave $84.5 million to more than 10,000 households. But Census figures show fewer than 8,000 homes existed there at the time.
They’re going to try and get $300 million back. Yeah, that's gonna work.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:22 PM
Geno's Still on Meat Hook
The highly charged dispute over the speak-English sign at Geno's Steaks is about to heat up.
Heaven forbid Joey Vento cater to his choice of customers.
I suppose that soon the "no shoes, no shirt, no service" signs will be coming down. They're discriminatory to leg amputees.
Shoe stores, you've officially been warned.
One of the Boston Globe's crazed liberal columnists.
By every measure, the U N 's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. The fact of global warming is "unequivocal." The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. Which is about as certain as scientists ever get.
I thought it was called climate change. Who's denying what?
February 8, 2007
Smart Piece on Global Warming
Russell Roberts has a superb and smart column on global warming posted at Cafe Hayek.
He recognizes the right-to-left movement through DAWG:
It's one thing to convince people that the earth is getting warmer. It's another thing to convince people that human actions are the cause of global warming. But it's a much harder thing still to convince people that the results of global warming will be something other than a more pleasant winter in Minnesota and a less pleasant summer in Arizona. You've got to convince people that we're making the earth less hospitable for human and other life forms. We all know that the earth goes through big climate swings. So how likely is it that we're actually going to destroy the earth? On top of all that, you've got to convince people we can actually do something about the problem. As Robert Samuelson points out, there's not that much we can do.
He cites the politicalization as a reason that not much will happen:
But the biggest reason nothing is going to happen is that Al Gore Oscar nomination. Imagine ten years from now that the United States starts getting more protectionist. We start limiting imports and refusing to honor trade agreements. In response, George W. Bush does a brilliant documentary on the virtues of free trade. I don't care how brilliant and accurate and persuasive the documentary turns out. At least 40% of the American people (and maybe it will be a lot more than 40%) will decide that because it comes from George Bush, the whole thing must be garbage with a hidden political agenda. Well about 40% of the American people (and maybe a lot more than 40%) think that Al Gore has a political agenda and can't be trusted.
Then a risk/reward ratio for joining the consensus:
A final thought: the experts on global warming bear little cost for making overly pessimistic predictions about the world in 2100. So they have an incentive to make overly pessimistic predictions.
Hat-tip: Everyday Economist
I don't know if anybody caught the "Supreme Court" documentary on PBS. They ran two hours last week and two hours this week. It was -- so typically of public broadcast fare-- very well done, entertaining, informative. And, of course, maddeningly biased!
The program was truly fascinating, but as they got to the 20th Century, it became more apparent that the entire team of layers, law professors, journalists and clerks that they had to provide color and opinion were all supportive of liberal judicial activism. Their definition of "strict constructionist" was one who "wants to follow the Constitution, but would allow the Police to do anything."
The Warren Court is held up as the gold standard, forcing liberties that a recalcitrant congress and executive branch would not provide. There's some truth in that, and I still celebrate Brown v Board and, on a very good day, even Miranda v Arizona. But they belittle Frankfurter for supporting a stricter reading of the text and they celebrate Douglas's famous "Emanations and penumbra" majority in Griswold v Connecticut.
After each segment, we hear from some liberal law professor or journalist for a closing anecdote or opinion. The main text of the documentary was well balanced, yet they could not find one conservative or constructionist scholar to balance the show. That made it very representative of PBS and NPR: quality programming with a solid attempt at comprehensive coverage, but with a flaw of bias.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:46 PM
February 7, 2007
Africa's Very Own Nixon
Greg Mankiw (not gonna use the P word, don't worry) looks at hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. Everybody’s favorite little tin pot dictator turns to out 37th President for a monetary solution.
Mr. Mugabe, who blames a Western plot against him for Zimbabwe’s problems, has rejected all calls for economic reform....The central bank’s latest response to these problems, announced this week, was to declare inflation illegal. From March 1 to June 30, anyone who raises prices or wages will be arrested and punished. Only a “firm social contract” to end corruption and restructure the economy will bring an end to the crisis, said the reserve bank governor, Gideon Gono.
One more reminder that people are poor because they have bad government.
jk agrees with Hugh
It happens. We have a common, internecine, enemy. Both Hugh Hewitt and I have read NRO Corner's disparagement of Mayor Giuliani with a mixture of bemusement and fear.
Hugh invites Human Events' Terry Jeffrey onto his program to pin him down. You don't like Hizzoner Rudy, whom would you support? Jeffrey waffles a little and suggests Rep. Tom Tancredo. I have sworn off Tancredo jokes, for the time being, but must agree with Hugh that Rep. Tancredo is not a serious candidate, and that the splintering of the Right this soon is not a good sign.
This answer is an ominous one for the GOP. Tancredo is not a serious candidate, but Jeffrey is a serious opinion-leader on the right. Jeffrey's willingness to publicly bless a protest candidate signals that many on the right would rather fight doomed battles than get to the business of electing a nominee who can be elected president. The irony is that in our conversation Jeffrey points to the importance of the Supreme Court's likely vacancies in his critique of Rudy, but then in effect endorses the sort of fecklessness in politics that almost guarantees that Hillary gets the SCOTUS appointments from January, 2009 to October, 2012.
Mr. Hewitt and I disagree on many things but I think we are united as pragmatists. I'll be giving The Mayor of America a good long look, myself. He is absolute in his support of the war, and his squishier social views may attract moderates. I wish he were more solid on the Second Amendment but it is hardly the issue of our time.
UPDATE Commenter "Enlightenment" in not a big fan of the mayor and left a long comment questioning the conventional storyline of 9/11. I cut it from the comments to save space, but you can click "Continue reading" for the umm, errr, enlightenment.
Ah, Rudy Giuliani. Here's a great campaign slogan for him: "Giuliani for president, because on 9/11 I put on a N.Y. Fire Dept. baseball cap and walked around". Speaking of 9/11...
One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch, with someone who was there when he was attempting to fly a small airplane saying that Hanjour was so clumsy that he was unsure if he had driven a car before. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name ("Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham"), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that doesn't look like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.
Funding Health Care
Hope springs eternal. Get out your Pollyanna hats. I think we may be on the way to an improvement in health care finance.
I just finished Arnold Kling's "Crisis of Abundance" last weekend and recommend it highly. It is a quick read that asks all the right questions and proposes a few good answers. It's also small and cheap to mail -- holler if you’d like to borrow it (Alan Reynolds’s $55 masterpiece is up for grabs as well, as is PJ O'Rourke's On On The Wealth of Nations).
Kling sets up the triumvirate of spending, access to care, and insulation from price and insinuates that we can have any two if we'll give up on the third. Kling suggests his preference is removing the insulation from price that most of us have with the current plan. Kling trusts markets.
Somebody way smarter than me pointed out that the areas of health care showing improvement in value are those with market choice and competition. Laser eye surgery is generally not covered by insurance plans and prices have been dropping and now include innovations like 20/20- warranties. Maternity care is less price-sensitive but competition for customers has introduced many improvements and innovations. The newest hospital in Boulder has delivery as a specialty and is known as "The Marriot" because of its upscale decor.
Today, Holman Jenkins takes to the WSJ Ed Page to say that the biggest secret in health care is no secret. Changing the tax code is the key to fixing problems in access and affordability.
Bill Clinton himself said: "There has to be some sort of personal responsibility in this health-care system we set up."
By forcing the health care issue, our new Democratic Overlords in the 110th Congress will force debate. And the Republicans --- might, possibly -- take a free market stance. President Bush started the discussion in his State of the Union address, and there is no shortage of wonkery out there, like Kling's book, that could be used to stake out a free market position.
Unlike many free market positions, this one is pretty easily defended. GOP candidates could appeal to principle and could frame it to poll well. Even if some compassionate conservative sausage comes out of the 110th, it might have seeds of better incentives sown in it.
First they came for your cigarettes... then they came for your trans-fat.
Now they're coming for your iPod.
Another Liberal Idea
that could lead to famine.
Tens of thousands of people have marched through Mexico City in a protest against the rising price of tortillas.
You're kidding overhyped subsidized demand for a dubious product raising it's demand? You learn something new everyday.
February 6, 2007
When Is Pgovian Not Pigovian?
The Pigovians claimed Milton Friedman, and now Dr. Mankiw is trying to claim the President. In George Bush is almost a Pigovian, Mankiw states that a portion of new Bush policy might get him a temporary membership in the club.
In a surprise that could foreshadow how Mr. Bush might reach out to Democrats -- and disappoint conservatives -- for the rest of his term, the centerpiece of the traffic plan involves an initiative that some critics say amounts to a tax, a plan depicted by administration officials as "congestion pricing." The administration will award $130 million in grants starting this spring to help cities and states build electronic toll systems that would charge drivers fees for traveling in and out of big cities during peak traffic times.
Time out! I don't see usage fees as Pigovian. Greens' fees at the city golf course are not a Pigovian tax to prevent excessive golfing, they are a mechanism to allocate, fairly, the costs of a service to those who use it.
I came out for HOT lanes in 2003. Roads are provided by government, and any fair way to allocate their cost to usage is not punitive.
Unlike the Augusta Golf Club, you have to be careful what you say or you will be accepted as a full member in The Pigou Club. Groucho Marx would be appalled.
February 5, 2007
The Debate Is Over
So Samizdata suggests let the trials begin
Following enlightened historical precedence (see Galileo), I humbly suggest that the UN create an office to be known as the Permanent Tribunal of Universal Inquiry to investigate into the views of scientists on climate change. Those who publicly repent from their errors would be given leniency, but those who maintain their heretical positions should be handed over to civil authorities for proper punishment. In times past the penalty for the crime of heresy was burning at the stake but, regretfully, this would release too many greenhouse gases, so another form of punishment must be found.
First on trial: The heretics at the Wall Street Journal, who claim that the IPCC is itself back-pedaling on predictions.
Take rising sea levels. In its 2001 report, the U.N.'s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. Lord Monckton notes that the upcoming report's high-end best estimate is 17 inches, or half the previous prediction. Similarly, the new report shows that the 2001 assessment had overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.
ThreeSources will no doubt be made an example of. In my humble defense, I can only say "Eppur si muove."
Another Movie You Won't See
Ian at Benevolent Misanthropy brings bad news. Joss Whedon and Silver pictures have split up on the "Wonder Woman" project.
It had been a long time since I heard anything on this project and I assumed no news was bad news. In my mind this picture still exists, Charisma Carpenter has the lead, Frank Vignola does the soundtrack, and it won several Oscars...
Posted by John Kranz at 3:46 PM
The Junior Senator from New York has been recognized by the good folks at Merriam-Webster. But listen carefully to the pronunciation of her name. Listen
Hat-tip: Club for Growth
Peretz and Soros
There remain reasonable people who support the Democratic Party. Sometimes I am not sure how, but they are out there.
Martin Peretz issues a smackdown of lefty financier George Soros in TNR: How George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, forgot who Hitler was. In Davos, George Soros called for "de-Nazification" of the United States. Peretz takes umbrage and wonders why other do not.
The analogy between Bush's America and Hitler's Germany is not fleshed out, and one is left wondering how far he would take it. Is Bush like Hitler? If it is "de-Nazification" that we need, then in some sense Bush must be like Hitler. Was the invasion of Iraq like the invasion of Poland? Perhaps. The more one lingers over Soros's word, the more one's eyes pop from one's head. In the old days, the Amerika view of America was propagated by angry kids on their painful way to adulthood; now, it is propagated by the Maecenas of the Democratic Party.
Peretz prints a transcript of a 1998 "60 Minutes" interview that makes his charges all the more disturbing:
[CBS Reporter Steve] Kroft: "You're a Hungarian Jew ..."
Clearly, the President has some things to apologize for.
Super Bowl Commercials
I didn't get too excited over the game yesterday. Usually I find one team I like or dislike, but yesterday I just basked in the warm glow of racial harmony that swept this great nation as we finally had two African-American head coaches in the Super Bowl. Congrats Colts. Tony Dungy is truly a great guy, and I will generally take the AFC team.
Now, on to the important stuff -- what were the best commercials? I don't think it was a banner year by any stretch, but I liked a few:
D'I miss one?
Extra bonus: The halftime show with Prince was good. I was never a fan, and almost fainted when he came out with the Aunt Jemima babushka on, but by the time he got to "Purple Rain" in the rain, even this grouchy old jazz guy was dialed in. Praise NED, there was no "costume malfunction."
UPDATE: Perfesser Reynolds likes and links to the Emerald Nuts "Robert Goulet " spot. That was top notch as well.
UPDATE II: Sacha Zimmerman writes fior TNR, so she is clearly too intelligent to enjoy any commercial. She pans them all, but adds this observaion:
You'll find that in order to re-watch some of your favorite ads from last night on YouTube, you'll have to first sit through a 15-second pre-commercial. The ad before the ad. It's so meta, I can't stand it.
UPDATE III: Dave Barry beat me to the "wardrobe malfunction" joke. You will not be surprised that he did it better.
Got the sue me, sue you blues
The famously litigious Beatles have finally settled the trademark lawsuit between Apple Corps and Apple, Inc. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Under a new deal that replaces one reached in 1991, Apple will own all of the trademarks related to "Apple" and license some of those back to Apple Corps Ltd., the Beatles' record label. The trademark lawsuit between the companies will be withdrawn. Terms of the settlement are confidential.
My favorite part of Eric Idle's "The Rutles" satire was when Stig spends most of his typical day filing and responding to lawsuits. Of course, the Beatles sued over that.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM
February 4, 2007
Pigou Jumps Shark
L Gregory Mankiw pleads the Pigovian case in cartoon form today. I am even less impressed.
The first takes a whack at his old boss, choosing the good press of Ethanol subsidies over the efficacious gas tax. The second claims that the gas tax is the way to erase the deficit, except stupid Americans will not accept it. The third makes hippie protesters the butt of the joke. You'd think I'd like it but in fairness to dirty hippies everywhere, few of them would strenuously oppose gas taxes.
You see, foolish people, Gas taxes will provide peace on earth, clear skies and water, Brittney Spears will find marital bliss, everything. Only you are too stupid to accept it! There are some reasonable arguments for gas taxes (I have dissented from even those). But every couple of days I see another unserious argument. A commenter provides: "Prof.Pigou was one of the handsomest economists in the history of economic thought."
jk Falls Into MySpace
I hate to make fun of somebody who has strong beliefs and cares for animals. But I am betting that that is all I have in common with "Tab." Tab has a MySpace page that plays music at you and tells you that "One by One, We Can start to make poverty history." (Funny, I believe that too, but I suspect she does not mean it as embracing the economics of F.A. Hayek.)
The topic is THE polar bear picture. Poor sad, cute, fuzzy bear, stuck on an ice floe because Americans shop at big box stores -- you've seen it. Althouse points out that the cute little fuzzy bear is just looking for a cuter, littler, baby harp seal to kill and devour.
To the rest of the world, that picture is conclusive proof of Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe (DAWG). The poor thing is stranded (never mind they can swim 15 miles like you can walk around the block).
But the picture works. It engenders such powerful sympathy and compassion in Tab that she wants everybody to die:
this picture makes me want to cry...what have we done? fuck it's so overwhelming at times...sometimes i think it would be easier if there was an Armageddon, rather than watching us slowly destroy life....thank God for people who are paying attention and trying to make a difference...Thank you for looking outside yourself and working for the good of all creatures big and small.
I don’t troll MySpace or make comments. These people want to express personal feelings and are not looking for a philosophical or political argument. I just hit the back button on my browser until I am back in the political blogosphere. But my voyeurism leaves me disquieted, both by the ease with which these people can be manipulated and their millenarian, anti-modernity agenda.
February 3, 2007
I Want To Take Those Profits
The Junior Senator from New York says she can spend oil company profits better that the companies can.
Hooray! Alternative fuels come to Philly!
The Shell gas station at 12th and Vine Streets now offers ethanol and biodiesel fuels.
Would I brag about driving 25 miles out of my way to get some biodiesel?
Think of the CO2 emitted. He's killing polar bears and contributing to
No, I wouldn't brag about it unless it's less than used to drive for a biodiesel fix.
“I'll drive this car from this gas station on biodiesel to Miami, which is 1,200 miles away, without refueling. I'll average over 60 mph per gallon,” said Waterloo.
Saving the environment or feeling better about yourself? You be the judge.
Someone get this guy a Pious.
A Resolution I Can Support
Fellow Colorado blogger Terri at I think ^(link) therefore I err has written an alternate non-binding resolution, and one I could most certainly support:
1) Continue to let the troops know they have my full support and not in a William Arkin sort of way.
Scroll up to the Global Warming resolution as well.
UPDATE: And Welcome to the blogroll. A good excuse to add a Colorado section.
February 2, 2007
Here's a story that's hard to believe...
City officials were shocked by the discovery.
No!! Not as shocked as the poor f*cker is going to be who's been cashing those checks....
The audit also found outside vendors have been overpaid more than $17 million. In one case the district forked over $953,000 for copy equipment even though the purchase order was for only $55,000.
So who got the $900K?
This is criminal.
A lot of people need to be hauled into a courtroom. Outrageous.
A new Galt
Mrs. Galt and I have been busy the past two days. (Well, mostly Mrs. Galt.)
"Danica Charlotte" was born February 1. 7 pounds 3.1 ounces, 20 inches and full of joy.
That Won't Hurt the Economy Enough!
A good friend of this blog sent me two links the other day that deserve reading and comment. The first was some Canadians nominating VP Albert Gore, Jr. for a Nobel Peace Prize. [Insert your own Taranto joke here.]
That disturbed me so deeply, I couldn't face it until today. The second link is probably worse.
Reuters reports that the NFL's voluntary tree planting to offset carbon emissions related to Super Bowl XLEIEIO is not good enough for the enviros.
The National Football League is hoping to tackle the game's heat-trapping gas emissions by planting 3,000 mangroves and other trees native to Florida, but the plan could be more of an incomplete pass than a touchdown when it comes to global warming, experts said.
The fifth letter of DAWG would have to be something that recognizes DAWG as an engineering and not an economics problem. Mirrors in space, iron in the ocean to support seaweed, and the creation of more plant life on land could all mitigate CO2 and provide animal life with more oxygen.
Philip Duffy, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is not impressed. "If you plant a tree (CO2 reductions are) only temporary for the life of the tree," he said. "If you don't emit in the first place, then that permanently reduces CO2."
So, a tree (or 3,000 trees) is too temporal for Doctor Duffy. But not taking a trip to the mall on Saturday is permanent.
The real problem is that they don't want to cut emissions -- they want to disrupt modernity and innovation. If you could prove that planning 3,000 mangrove trees would hurt the economy, I'd bet they'd be in.
VP Gore with an Oscar and a Nobel Prize. These are dark times indeed.
The Wrong DIrection for the FDA
I am frequently and consistently disappointed by Republicans. They forget their principles routinely. When their hearts and mind are in the right place, they seem ineffective and pusillanimous compared to the folks across the aisle.
Yet I can never credibly threaten to abandon them (though I stand by my pledge) because the Democrats are effective, just at moving the wrong way. Yes, the Democrats won the 110th fair and square. Yes, I knew there would be legislative consequences. Yes I knew my beloved pharmaceutical sector would be severely threatened.
But right out of the chute, I see Senator Kennedy on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in Drug Industry Faces Bitter Pill. (Paid link, sorry!) Keep in mind that this is the fairly liberal news division, not my right wing wackos on the Editorial Page.
Congress is kicking off efforts to pass big reforms of the Food and Drug Administration, and that could produce some bitter pills for the pharmaceutical industry: potentially, tougher safety rules and provisions to reduce the cost of medicines.
Proposals to beef up regulation have stalled before, often due to skepticism from Republican allies of the industry. This year is likely to be different. Democrats aren't reluctant to give expanded authority to federal regulators and see the drug industry as a tempting target because of its tenuous popularity with consumers and its traditional ties to Republicans. And they're getting support from some Republicans upset by a series of high-profile drug-safety problems, including the 2004 withdrawal of the painkiller Vioxx.
"Pretty clear we have a safety problem is Rep. Dingell-speak for "It's pretty clear my committee needs to take over this sector of the economy."
So we will cut their profits with price controls, scare off their investors with endless Congressional hearings, then regulate the crap out of what's left. But we're going to raise subsidies for stem-cell research, as long as the researcher can categorically prove that it will disturb the President.
The Blizzard of '13
SugarChuck and I like to talk about the old days, when we were kids in Denver. Sometimes we'll tell the youngsters about the Blizzard of 1913.
Jason at HMS Lydia has some cool pix.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:16 PM
Does NHS pay?
Twiglet, a 12-year-old grey tabby (yes, "grey" she lives in old Blighty) has become the first cat in Britain on Prozac
A ginger tom had chased her and even jumped through the cat flap to attack her in her own kitchen.
Happy endings ensue -- better living through chemistry. My 12-year old pooch has been on Rimadyl for a few years. Her boyfriend across the street may go on Vicodin (any "House" fans?).
Seriously, after the FDA shuts down all research in the US (paid link, sorry), maybe research for pet medications will be modified for use with homo sapiens.
Hat-tip: Mickey Kaus who also wonders why Senator Clinton has not gotten "nearly enough grief for declaring, of the Iraq War: 'The President has said this is going to be left to his successor. I think it's the height of irresponsibility, and I really resent it'" Good point.
Gettin' By on $47/hour
A new study of public school teacher compensation has been published this week, and its authors publish a summary in the Wall Street Journal (free link).
Who, on average, is better paid--public school teachers or architects? How about teachers or economists? You might be surprised to learn that public school teachers are better paid than these and many other professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public school teachers earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, 36% more than the hourly wage of the average white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty or technical worker.
Yes, it would be nice if legislation were based on real data instead of public sentiment. Who believes that is going to happen?
Is the ex-VP in town?
I see it is 20 below at Atlantis Farm and understand a new record low for the day was set at DIA. Usually we don't get temps like that unless Vice President Gore is in town for a global warming summit, or I've accidentally woken up in Minnesota or something.
We lost power for three hours last night and lived the Willa Cather existence. Well, imagine a Willa Cather character with a new 80GB video iPod. I wrapped myself in some blankets and watched my favorite Firefly episode ("Objects in Space") and a Norah Jones concert from House of Blues in New Orleans.
Put that in the Reynolds file. Imagine showing a video iPod to a 1970s high school student. I bought it to replace one of the original 40GB (you know, the ones that ran on diesel with a crank starter). I thought I'd never use the video feature that much but it was great to have last night.
February 1, 2007
A perfect example of "dirty hippies".
Here are the two knuckleheads that shut down Boston.
Advised not to speak to the media about their "ad campaign." They held a press conference outside of the courthouse.
How much bong water did these guys drink? I'm almost rooting for them to go to jail.
BLOCK THAT METAPHOR!
One thing I miss from reading Andrew Sullivan is his "Block that Metaphor!" feature. I'll play today.
Eve Fairbanks pens a piece in TNR called Fifty ways to leave your occupied country about the plethora (yes, I think you could call it a plethora) of Democratic House bills to end the Iraq war.
The column is pretty good.
It's a brutally competitive world out there for Democratic representatives with ideas on Iraq. Even though the leadership has decided to let the Senate make the first move (which will be a nonbinding resolution condemning Bush's plans), Iraq is a hot and fertile topic, and bills are sprouting in the House like mushrooms. Many of them seem, at first glance, strangely redundant: H.R. 508 calls for a full redeployment (within six months)--as do H.R. 455 (by December 31), H.J. Res. 18 ("at the earliest practicable date"), and H.R. 413 ("in a safe and orderly manner"). But the market is not yet saturated. Several other representatives, including Steve Israel of New York and James McGovern of Massachusetts, are considering putting out their own. "There's gonna be more," says a Democratic aide with a sigh.
But this sentence red-lined the metaphor gauge:
[Susan] Sarandon was there to promo the Iraq bill put out by Woolsey, Waters, and Barbara Lee: As competing bills struggle to survive, these representatives were hoping that Sarandon would give legs to their bill so it would crawl out of the muck and walk in the sunlight.
Umm, yeah. Something like that.
Sen Hagel for Shoe Czar!
Deputy Editor Mark Lasswell, of the Wall Street Journal has a little fun with Senator Chuck Hagel's recent soundbite-of-the-week, lambasting his fellow Senators "If you want a safe job -- sell shoes!"
Lasswell finds the comparison quizzical. Checking police statistics, selling shoes has a nonzero robbery rate. Schumpeterian gales and consolidation make the career choice not completely safe for job security. Lasswell points out, deftly, what I suspect we all thought when we saw it. There cannot possibly be a cushier job than U.S. Senator.
But then as now, senators will find a way to make their views known. One of Sen. Hagel's neighbors from out West, for instance, Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, voted for the resolution on Iraq in 2002 and doesn't need to be dared to express his support for the president's war policy in 2007. The senator simply posts it on his Web site: "President Bush is making strategy adjustments in order to improve stability. We're not talking about just Iraq here. We are trying to prevent a catastrophic blowup that would not only be traumatic for the Middle East, but would send reverberations throughout the world." As it happens, before Sen. Enzi got started in politics, he was a small-business owner with stores in Wyoming and eventually one over in Sen. Hagel's home state. What sort of business? Selling shoes.
Dagny is rolling her eyes by now, but I just have to post a banner showing the local weather conditions at... Atlantis Farm.
On Monday I received my new weather station, assembled it and installed the batteries. Tuesday evening I mounted the sensor suite on a post in the yard. Tonight I installed the software and connected the console to the PC. Then I configured it to upload data to Weather Underground every 5 minutes, from whence this banner originates.
Dagny thinks it's cool, but not as cool as I do.