October 31, 2007

Milton Friedman vs. Phil Donahue

The doyen of daytime TV is left speechless by the master:



Hat-tip: Club for Growth

Posted by John Kranz at 6:44 PM

Clinton Stumbles at Debate

I thought of posting this earlier, but I guessed that the good folks at Dow Jones might post the Political Diary free today, in lieu of Best Of The Web.

It's very good from cover-to-cover today, but I have heard from several sources that Senator Clinton was not at the top of her game last night. John Fund gives a blow-by-blow that makes her sound a little less inevitable.

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 4:11 PM

Happy Halloween!

Or not!

Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute is not happy. He says the economics of all holidays are suspect, but that Halloween is just plain wrong:

Now if you know someone well, perhaps you can anticipate the type of gift they might like. But Halloween is no time for thoughtful, targeted gift-giving. At Halloween, each house on a typical American block picks out one type of candy, and they give that exact same candy willy-nilly to everyone who shows up at the door. It's an economic nightmare.

This is no laughing matter. The scale of the problem is immense. The National Confectioners Association estimates that 2005 Halloween sales were $2.1 billion, easily making Halloween the biggest candy season. This year, sales will certainly be higher.

What percentage of those sales end up providing candy that individuals don't really like? If my own careful scientific study of Halloween bags is any guide, perhaps about 75 percent.

It's not the dead that concern me about Halloween. And it is not the impact of all that sugar on the weight of our kids. No, it's the dead-weight loss, or pointless lost utility of the entire enterprise. That likely has a dollar value that exceeds $1.5 billion annually. American citizens squander more than a billion and a half dollars a year on an economically inefficient holiday.


I counter that it's worth the billions in education. Halloween is exciting to the very young. Free Candy! As they get older, they can question the quality of the goods provided and the value of their time collecting. I passed by Taco Bell yesterday and let the line scare me off - even I am growing up!

It's socialism kids -- enjoy your early perception, then come to expect its grim realities. Now if the Democratic presidential candidates would only learn.

Hat-tip: Greg Mankiw


Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Socialism on the back end, yes, but capitalism at its most ruthless on the front as wholesalers and retailers slash prices on slow moving inventory to get it off the books. And in the middle the guilt-ridden suburbanites look for the most cost effective way to assuage their unearned guilt - just as taxpayers resign themselves to brazen thievery of their wages to help "the children" and "the needy."

BOO!

More frightening than any black cat or creaky gate.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2007 3:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Most ruthless? Suburban guilt? I thought you had come to the ThreeSources party as a collectivist -- but the crack about the children and the needy was a peek under the mask.

Happy Halloween, jg.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2007 4:09 PM

October 30, 2007

Innovation II

Everyday Economist links to an outstanding column by Alvero Vargas Llosa. The column is well worth a read -- and I have to agree with Josh's commentary, namely "the fact that we still need to have this debate is somewhat silly."

It is a shame that more people do not read Schumpeter. If they did, they would understand why capitalism and economic growth actually benefit those at the bottom by providing them with goods and services that previously only the rich could afford. And perhaps more importantly, it does this without coercion, force, or central authority to direct it.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM

On Innovation

When Larry Kudlow asked Mayor Giuliani how he was going to get health insurance to the uninsured, Hizzoner gave my favorite political answer of all time: "How did we make cell phones cheap?"

That may be a non-sequitor to the collectivists, but I'm sure the ThreeSources faithful get it. Free Market competition and innovation brought what was once the archetypal luxury item to commodity pricing. We don't ask how we're going to get people cell phones -- every 12 year old has one or two.

That spirit of innovation may take a big step up. The Wall Street Journal (paid link) reports on a Google push into the wireless marketplace.

Within the next two weeks, Google is expected to announce advanced software and services that would allow handset makers to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of next year, people familiar with the situation say. In recent months Google has approached several U.S. and foreign handset manufacturers about the idea of building phones tailored to Google software, with Taiwan's HTC Corp. and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. mentioned in the industry as potential contenders. Google is also seeking partnerships with wireless operators. In the U.S., it has the most traction with Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA, while in Europe it is pursuing relationships with France Télécom's Orange SA and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.'s 3 U.K., people familiar with the matter say. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Google-powered phones are expected to wrap together several Google applications -- among them, its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail email -- that have already made their way onto some mobile devices. The most radical element of the plan, though, is Google's push to make the phones' software "open" right down to the operating system, the layer that controls applications and interacts with the hardware. That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features.


The details are a bit murky, but the world's largest corporation will certainly influence any area it finds strategic. I was selling technology to search engine purveyors a few years ago and they unanimously said that their investments would be in the mobile space.

I'm thinking that when Google joins Wal*Mart in focusing on profit potential in health care, the problems we stew about will all be solved.

UPDATE: A WSJ email alert alerts:

After opposing Google Inc.'s moves to dramatically reshape the wireless industry, Verizon Wireless is now in serious discussions with the Internet company over carrying phones tailored to a new Google operating system, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Looks like AT&T-Apple vs. Verizon-Google. I guess my beloved T-Mobile will get stuck with Microsoft®...

Google Posted by John Kranz at 3:15 PM

A Contrarian View of the Housing Slump

John E. Tamny provides a look at the housing slowdown that I had not considered. At first glance, it makes a lot of sense to me. One of the market's most important functions (you could call it the most important) is to direct capital to its best use. Tamny suggests that real estate is not the best use of capital and that a downturn might direct it to more productive purposes:

For one, it has to be remembered that one man's mortgage loan is another man's savings. There's no net consumption gain to speak of given the certainty that someone has to be foregoing consumption so that the borrower can borrow. Also forgotten is that heavy consumption at the expense of savings diminishes the capital base such that productive businesses of all stripes go wanting in their search for investment, or are forced to pay a higher rate of interest while competing for funds with prodigal homeowners.

If the owner of appreciated property sells the asset to a wiling buyer, the former is surely enriched by the sale, while the latter is that much poorer. Furthermore, as Adam Smith taught us, investments in property are "sinks of wealth" in that while a house may yield revenue to its owner, it cannot yield any to the public.


He also has a nice riff on tax policy: the liquid, and easily transportable investments lend themselves to competition in tax rates, whereas real estate is captive to its geography.

Superb.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM

For The Children




Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 11:37 AM | What do you think? [3]
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I damn near peed my pants!

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 30, 2007 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

That's what we're here for, mdmh -- smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2007 12:38 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

But, isn't that the American way? Self-sacrifice for the good of future generations! Dammit, that's how we got through WWII, why not now?

/snark!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at November 2, 2007 12:24 AM

October 29, 2007

Rudy! or Mitt!

Fred Barnes floated this idea on the Beltway Boys TV show this weekend. Now, he has a Weekly Standard column on it. Barnes claims it is a Two-Man Race

There are three things to keep in mind when evaluating the presidential race in 2008. First, national polls don't matter at all. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry polled at 13 percent or less nationally before the primaries, then locked up the Democratic nomination a few weeks later. State polls provide a better clue of what may happen. Second, the primaries are a dynamic process. Win in the early states and you have a far greater chance of capturing the later primaries--and the nomination. Third, money is more important than ever in 2008. If a long shot like McCain or Thompson or even Mike Huckabee wins in Iowa (January 3) or New Hampshire (January 8) or South Carolina (January 19), there won't be enough time for him to raise the funds needed to compete effectively in Florida on January 29 and the 20-plus primaries on February 5. Television ads are expensive, but necessary.

Barnes pushes the idea of "scenarios." The national polls are misleading. It is comparable to ignoring the electoral college system -- multiplied by the time line.

This won't cheer up a lot of Thompson supporters in ThreeSources Land. And, to be honest, it doesn't thrill me. Watching the national polls, I had lulled myself into believing in a Giuliani or Thompson outcome. I could easily support either of those candidates fulsomely. Barnes does establish a credible scenario for Governor Romney to prevail. This would not drive me to the Clinton Camp, but he is way down on my list.

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | What do you think? [3]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Well,..if there's an upside to this, it looks like the US is ready to look past (or ignore, if you will) Romney's Mormonism.

And the Dumb-o-crats are the ones always touting multi-culturalism!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 29, 2007 10:30 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm glad they're looking past his religion, tm, I just wish they wouldn't look past RomneyCare.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2007 10:55 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

My oldest friend from when I grew up in Utah is a libertarian Mormon. As he puts it, "I belong to the same church, but not the same religion."

Romney's religion is Big Government, nothing else. Many Mormons today (in Utah and elsewhere) are the same, eschewing the 19th century Mormon ideal of self sufficiency.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 30, 2007 11:01 AM

Give Me a D!

The D in DAWG stands, of course, for deleterious. Even if global warming is real and caused my man, are we certain it is so bad?

The Pollyannaish folks at the NYTimes Europe bureau have a piece on Greenland:

But now that the climate is warming, it is not just old trees that are growing. A Greenlandic supermarket is stocking locally grown cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage this year for the first time. Eight sheep farmers are growing potatoes commercially. Five more are experimenting with vegetables. And Kenneth Hoeg, the region’s chief agriculture adviser, says he does not see why southern Greenland cannot eventually be full of vegetable farms and viable forests.

“If it gets warmer, a large part of southern Greenland could be like this,” Mr. Hoeg said, walking through Qanasiassat, a boat ride from Narsarsuaq, a tiny southern community notable mostly for having an international airport. Two and a half acres near here of imported pines, spruces, larches and firs are plunked in the midst of the scrubby, rocky hillside next to the fjord, as startling as a mirage. “If it gets a little warmer, you could talk about a productive forest with enough wood for logs,” Mr. Hoeg said.


It seems four trees planted by the Dutch botanist Rosenvinge in 1893 are coming out of dormancy and springing green buds. I was not aware that we had global warming in 1893. I should get out more.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Whoops, hit Enter when putting in the password. Anyway, why shouldn't Greenland be like how it was before? A few years ago, there was a report on "global warming" that the MSM ignored, about tree rings dating back to AD 1200 showing a warmer Earth back then.

The Earth's cooler temperatures during Medieval times was no small reason why European populations suffered. It destroyed harvests of certain grains, which was well-known to Jefferson and some other intellectuals of his day. By the end of the 18th century, they were worried about new global cooling and a repeat of the near-famine conditions.

I just remembered Isaac Asimov writing in his "Book of Facts" in 1979 that it wouldn't take much to cause a new Ice Age, only a slightly cooler summer followed by a slightly cooler winter. That was the climate change hysteria back then.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 30, 2007 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You mean Greenland might actually be GREEN again? Say it ain't so!

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2007 2:44 PM

Rep. Tancredo to Quit House

I suppose he'd have to give up his seat when he's inaugurated.

I know that other ThreeSourcers are closer to Tancredo's views on immigration than I am, but I think we might all maybe sorta agree that his extremist positions do not do the GOP any good. (I still remember when he wanted to deport the class valedictorian). John Fund, in the Political Diary, hammers him for blocking comprehensive immigration reform:

The 61-year-old Congressman certainly had a rabble-rousing impact on his fellow Republicans. While the comprehensive immigration bill proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators earlier this year turned out to be hastily written and deeply flawed, Mr. Tancredo had no effective alternative in mind. He simply wanted to kill the bill, pouring cold water on efforts by members such as Rep. Mike Pence to craft a compromise that would deal in a practical way with aliens already in the country and businesses that desperately need a reliable guest-worker program.

Fund then speculates on his political future:
But while Mr. Tancredo is leaving Congress, don't think you've heard the last of him on his pet subject. He plans to continue speaking and writing and (for now) pursuing his presidential bid. Then there's the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Colorado, when Democratic Senator Ken Salazar, whom Mr. Tancredo sees as 180 degrees opposite him on immigration matters, will be running for re-election. The problem is, Mr. Tancredo thought long and hard about running for the same seat in 2004, only to discover that polls showed he would have trouble winning even the GOP nomination statewide.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, Congressman. (I may have promised no more nasty comments like that about Rep. Tancredo -- but this is a special occasion.)


Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 4:09 PM

Well Done, Sox

Seriously, they've assembled a great team. Like a lot of Rockies fans, I feel that they never had to face the team that swept the Phillies and Diamondbacks, but you could call it great pitching.

Before my magnanimity gets out of hand, let me make fun of the Boston fans one more time: AP/Yahoo:

BOSTON - Police in riot gear cleared several large crowds gathered around Fenway Park early Monday after the Red Sox won their second World Series title in four years.

Police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said 37 arrests were made in the city, mostly for disorderly conduct. No serious injuries were reported.

An unruly crowd flipped a pickup truck to its side near Fenway Park and at least one car fire was reported. Young people sprayed each other with beer and some climbed street signs or utility poles.

"Two World Series in four years is pure heaven," said Andrew Dumas, a Boston University student from West Boylston.


Those guys know how to party!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM

October 28, 2007

Imagine...

"Imagine if a two hundred and fifty year supply of energy were right here at home."

"Black hydrogen" never looked so good.

Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano.

But jk thinks:

I'm sold on coal.

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2007 5:16 PM

Global Warming Doomsday Called Off

An uncommon referral (my brother's been researching the latest objective criticism of Al Gore's Nobel Prize winning eco-thriller since the science teacher at his children's elite (expensive) private Boulder County school screened it in her classes) and an uncommon source (CBC is the state-sponsored television outlet in socialist Canada) "explodes the doom and gloom of global warming."

As the Nobel Peace Prize begins collecting dust on Al and Tipper's mantelpiece it is fair to reprise these "deniers" contradictions, originally aired in November 2005, of the IPCC orthodoxy upon which this granting of the once illustrious award was largely based.

Humans stand accused of having set off a global climate catastrophe by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The prophecy of doom is clear and media pass on the message uncritically.

Now serious criticism has arisen from a number of heavyweight independent scientists. They argue that most of the climatic change we have seen is due to natural variations.

They also state that if CO 2 is to play a role at all -it will be minuscule and not catastrophic!

This story presents a series of unbiased scientists as our witnesses.
We will hear their eloquent criticism of the IPCC conclusions illustrated by coverage of their research work.

The documentary is posted on YouTube here. It's 43 minutes long but I suggest the following excerpts:

5:30 to 8:30 - Ice core samples in Greenland show average temperature 1 degree higher now than 100 years ago, but 1 degree lower than 1000 years ago and 2 degrees below previous millenia. Corroborated by measurements elsewhere in North America, China and North Africa. "In 1875 we have the lowest temperatures in the last 8000 years and that matches exactly the time when meteorological observations started."

8:30 to 11:00 - Computer models, using probability theory, replace the "old" Little Ice-Age Theory with the infamous "hockey stick" graph of global temperatures over the last 10,000 years. Hockey stick theory developed by Dr. Michael Mann of U of Virginia, adopted by IPCC, of which Mann is a committee member. Hmmm. "It makes you believe, that in particular, the [IPCC] climate view is held by many. In fact it's really held by few."

I haven't watched the rest yet. Feel free to post your own highlights below.

But jk thinks:

Very cool. I'm intrigued with the 20th Century graph around 17:47. It shows a little dip through the 1960s, meaning that all the boomers remember it being a lot colder in my childhood. Boomers, of course, extrapolate their personal anecdotes into a worldview. Show -- or refute -- real data all you want, but a baby boomer will easily believe in DAWG from personal experience.

Also note John Christy, highlighted in a previous post.

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2007 5:14 PM

October 27, 2007

Senator Edwards Doesn't Want You to See This

Which is, sadly, good enough for me:





James Edward Dillard (the young man with only slightly less hair than the Senator) describes the contretemps on his blog:

Apparently, once Carla and Carolina Week put the piece up on YouTube, the Edwards camp asked them not so nicely to take it down. Like any good bright-eyed journalists, they refused. The Edwards camp then "intimated" (whatever that means) that this would jeopardize the campaigns' relationship with the University. Keep in mind that Edwards is both an alumni and a former employee of our nation's leading public university. Bizarre.

Pretty inconsequential criticism if you ask me, but if it bothers the populist Senator, I'm happy to link.

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 3:04 PM

October 26, 2007

Subprime Mortgages Explained

Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Terri thinks:

This gave me tears from laughing so hard!

Posted by: Terri at October 27, 2007 10:07 AM

Bastiat Weeps

The Everyday Economist instructs (I guess that’s what he does naturally) on Bastiat's Broken Window Fallacy in the context of the California Wildfires

Posted by John Kranz at 12:37 PM

Nordlinger on Bush

Jay Nordlinger makes a good point on one of our President's virtues:

Conservatives are down on President Bush, often unreasonably, I believe. I also think they’re a little ungrateful — ungrateful, spoiled, and smug. They will miss him sorely when he’s gone, I feel sure. This is true whether a Republican or a Democrat succeeds him.

One thing they will miss, I predict, is his truth-telling. I don’t believe they realize how rare it is to have a man in the highest office who over and over again tells the truth — boldly and unapologetically. I thought of this, not for the first time, when reading the speech Bush gave about Cuba yesterday. I hope you will want to read it all (here). But let me offer a couple of snippets:

Cuba’s rulers promised individual liberty. Instead they denied their citizens basic rights that the free world takes for granted. In Cuba it is illegal to change jobs, to change houses, to travel abroad, and to read books or magazines without the express approval of the state. It is against the law for more than three Cubans to meet without permission. Neighborhood Watch programs do not look out for criminals. Instead, they monitor their fellow citizens — keeping track of neighbors’ comings and goings, who visits them, and what radio stations they listen to. The sense of community and the simple trust between human beings is gone.

[...]
To say once more: The president has told the truth. He has said things about Cuba that you will never hear from the major university faculties, or the major newspapers, or the major movie studios. And I, for one, will not forget it.

Yes, he spent too much in his first term; yes, he had steel tariffs in place for about two seconds; yes, the prescription-drug benefit is sketchy; yes, there have been mistakes on the war; yes, Harriet Miers — etc., etc. But do you realize how rare this president is? If you don’t now — I have a feeling you will later.


I see some truth tellers in the GOP field. Mayor Giuliani and Senator Thompson seem well qualified to continue truth telling (my leftist friends all call it arrogance). I'm not so sure about Governor Romney.

The President does indeed deserve more points for this than he gets. From Conservatives or Libertarians..

President Bush Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM

October 25, 2007

Worth 1,000,000 words

Too funny:
commongood.jpg


Hat-tip: Althouse via Insty

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:28 PM | What do you think? [1]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Will cross-post this weekend!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 25, 2007 10:27 PM

Beauchamp Rapprochement?

I will still spew a few angry words at the cowardice of Franklin Foer and the mendacity of the once proud "The New Republic."

But this Michael Yon piece on Private Beauchamp has silenced me forever on his score. Read the whole thing -- and send him $50 -- but the short version is that his commander gave him the chance to go or stay. And he chose, another time, to stay in Iraq and continue a difficult mission in our nation's uniform:

Lapses of judgment are bound to happen, and accountability is critical, but that’s not the same thing as pulling out the hanging rope every time a soldier makes a mistake.

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.


You shut up one blogger, soldier. Thank you for your service.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 2:14 PM

An Annoyed Nobel Laureate

WSJ's Notable and Quotable shares a snippet of an interview between John Christy of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and CNN anchor Miles O'Brien:

O'BRIEN: I assume you're not happy about sharing this award with Al Gore. You going to renounce it in some way?

CHRISTY: Well, as a scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, I always thought that -- I may sound like the Grinch who stole Christmas here -- that prizes were given for performance, and not for promotional activities.

And, when I look at the world, I see that the carbon dioxide rate is increasing, and energy demand, of course, is increasing. And that's because, without energy, life is brutal and short. So, I don't see very much effect in trying to scare people into not using energy, when it is the very basis of how we can live in our society.

O'BRIEN: So, what about the movie ["An Inconvenient Truth"]; do you take issue with, then, Dr. Christy?

CHRISTY: Well, there's any number of things.

I suppose, fundamentally, it's the fact that someone is speaking about a science that I have been very heavily involved with and have labored so hard in, and been humiliated by, in the sense that the climate is so difficult to understand, Mother Nature is so complex, and so the uncertainties are great, and then to hear someone speak with such certainty and such confidence about what the climate is going to do is -- well, I suppose I could be kind and say, it's annoying to me.

O'BRIEN: But you just got through saying that the carbon dioxide levels are up. Temperatures are going up. There is a certain degree of certainty that goes along with that, right?

CHRISTY: Well, the carbon dioxide is going up. And remember that carbon dioxide is plant food in the fundamental sense. All of life depends on the fact carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. So, we're fortunate it's not a toxic gas. But, on the other hand, what is the climate doing. And when we build -- and I'm one of the few people in the world that actually builds these climate data sets -- we don't see the catastrophic changes that are being promoted all over the place.

For example, I suppose CNN did not announce two weeks ago when the Antarctic sea ice extent reached its all-time maximum, even though, in the Arctic in the North Pole, it reached its all-time minimum.


Senator Santorum Gets a Life

Not mentioning whether he misses the World's Most Deliberative Body, Opinion Journal Political Diary turns to John Fund to answer "Whatever happened to Rick Santorum?"

The former two-term senator from Pennsylvania is proving that defeated officials can mine a wealth of opportunities beyond politics. Yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer announced that he will become a columnist for the largest newspaper in the Keystone State. His column will be called "The Elephant in the Room" and focus on cultural and foreign policy issues rather than politics.

Mr. Santorum is busy in other areas. He is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington think tank. When I caught up with him at a recent Becket Society dinner, he told me most of his work there revolved around warning about the threat of Islamic terrorism. He may even go to Hollywood to get his message out. He has talked with Steve McEveety, who produced the Mel Gibson megahits "Braveheart" and "The Passion of the Christ," about a movie idea.

His film would center around three Iranian brothers who pursue different life paths. One eventually comes to the U.S. as a terrorist. While the film would be an action-packed thriller, Mr. Santorum told me he thought it could also be used to carry an educational message.


I've conceded that Santorum was not my favorite Republican, but a lot of people around this blog devoted much blood and treasure to his re-election, and the country would have been far better off had they succeeded.

UPDATE: DB Light from PA Water Cooler links to Don Surber's advice for the Senator.

First, don’t tell anyone but this is the easiest gig in the world. You get paid to piss people off. Not much, but it beats pissing people off for free.

Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Glad to see Tierney's finally getting on the RIGHT track here. I guess the only way to make a major paper profitable again is to start telling both sides of a story for a change. And you're right, he might not be everyone's cup of tea, but he beats the hell out of a Democrat any day in my book!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 25, 2007 10:29 PM

October 24, 2007

GO ROCKIES!

Galley Slave Jonathan V. Last links to Kissing Suzy Kolber blog, with this video and many other rude, mean-spirited, personal attacks on Boston Red Sox fans.


(Not safe for work or really anywhere)

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | What do you think? [5]
But AlexC thinks:

did you guys forget how to play?

Posted by: AlexC at October 25, 2007 12:40 AM
But jk thinks:

Ow! Remind me never to take eight days off work.

It's a long series, I'm still in.

Posted by: jk at October 25, 2007 10:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Rockies in five!

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2007 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Love the optimism. Rockies in seven.

Posted by: jk at October 25, 2007 3:48 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

The air was too thick for the Rockies.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at October 25, 2007 6:12 PM

It's True! I Read It In TNR!

Drudge says he's got the goods on TNR's latest fabulist.

I love this story. I'll never tire of it.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 2:15 PM

How About That First Amendment Thingy?

Senator Clinton is racking in the donations from Chinatown dishwashers, Senator Obama and Governor Romney are drawing four-digit checks from "the children." The Washington Post notes the trend:

Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.
[...]
A supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), Susan Henken of Dover, Mass., wrote her own $2,300 check, and her 13-year-old son, Samuel, and 15-year-old daughter, Julia, each wrote $2,300 checks, for example. Samuel used money from his bar mitzvah and money he earned "dog sitting," and Julia used babysitting money to make the contributions, their mother said. "My children like to donate to a lot of causes. That's just how it is in my house," Henken said.


It's time to cut and run from the quagmire of campaign finance reform. All of it. It lives in opposition to transparency, which would be good. It contributes to establishment candidates and the much-decried dynastic Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton trend.

Here's my campaign finance laws: Everybody can give all they want to anybody they want. Candidates who do not provide a good public accounting of the support they receive should not be voted for. Understandable, enforceable, and Constitutional.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Good Republicans or not, I'm calling Bull***t on the Dover kids: $2300 from dog sitting? For a primary? I'm thinking not.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2007 12:54 PM

Mr. Luskin

Nice clip from Kudlow & Company. Don Luskin and Jeremy Siegal hold class on index investing:


Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 PM

October 23, 2007

Unhappy Anniversary

The markets have recovered spectacularly from their losses twenty years ago. But the Supreme Court of the United States has not been so fortunate. Gary McDowell recaps this historical outrage and puts it into perspective. (free link)

Twenty years ago today the United States Senate voted to reject President Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. The senators may have had every reason to believe that was the end of the story. However ugly it had been, however much time it had taken, Mr. Bork's defeat was only one more routine sacrifice to partisan politics. But time would prove wrong anyone who actually thought that. The battle over Mr. Bork was politically transformative, its constitutional lessons enduring.

My favorite piece of trivia from Justice Clarence Thomas's book was that Judge Bork and his wife joined him for a dinner to celebrate Thomas's confirmation. Bork had set the stage for the Thomas fight. Thomas had the advantage of knowing how brutal the opposition would be, and less of a paper trail.

Post Bork (think about the world if Bork had been confirmed instead of Anthony Kennedy) we have inured to these confirmation battles and adapted: Bush's picks of Alito and Roberts are stellar. But the pain and trials documented in Thomas's memoir are gut-wrenching.

Chief Justice Taney was not conformed because of his work as President Jackson's AG in opposition to National Banking. Advice and consent is not new. Nor I suspect is bitter partisan rancor. But the intrusion of direct politics seems new and unwelcome:

The price paid has proved high, indeed. The defeat heralded a fundamental transformation in the process surrounding judicial appointments and thereby radically politicized the public's view of the nature and extent of judicial power under the Constitution. Confirmation battles from Mr. Bork to Clarence Thomas to Samuel Alito have taken on the trappings of ordinary political campaigns, from instant polling to rallies and protests and attack ads. Sadly, the courts are no longer above the fray.

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg answered no questions and her leanings and philosophies were well known. Yet she was approved 96-3, based on her intellect and integrity. It is a crime that the same offer was not extended to Judge Bork.

UPDATE: I guess it is a good day to bring this up. I have had a copy of this paper on my hard drive for some time. "Sex, Lies and Jurisprudence: Robert Bork, Griswold, and the Philosophy of Original Understanding" by none other than blogging deity Glenn Reynolds (moment of silence as the prophet's name is invoked...).

Professor Reynolds links to it again today as he links to McDowell's piece and says "I also think that Bork was an unsuitable nominee who deserved to be rejected. And I say this as someone who is, in fact, more of an originalist than Bork, whose originalism was of a rather dubious and frequently uninformed nature."

I'm a big Bork fan. While there's every possibility I am just not bright enough to grab the subtleties, a couple readings of this (lengthy but very accessible) paper leave me wondering if Reynolds and I read the same book. I do not see the points in "Tempting" that Reynolds refutes.

If the Perfesser is "more originalist" than Bork, that's swell. I see Bork as more originalist than any of the current members save Thomas and possibly Roberts and Alito. The "Borking" gave us Justice Kennedy and likely frightened off several originalist nominees and the Presidents who would choose them. I cannot see how anybody who seeks original intent or text would not agree that the cause was not served when Bork was defeated.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Think on this: with Bork on the court, the Kelo ruling would have been on the side of freedom.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 23, 2007 4:11 PM
But jk thinks:

It's difficult (and depressing) too imagine all that would have been different had we been ruled by the American Constitution for the last 20 years.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2007 5:37 PM

October 22, 2007

Careful With Your Brand

An interesting piece in TCSDaily today looks at company employees who might have an incentive to alienate customers and clients. One of his examples is one that has bitten me:

My new Amazon card wasn't really with Amazon. Rather it was a Chase Bank "affinity card" sponsored by Amazon. Apparently, Amazon has an arrangement with Chase to offer this card. In return it receives some small percentage of each charge.

The bank has many such affinity cards. The person receiving complaints about charges has incentives to collect all payments, late charges, penalties, etc. He has no interest in customers' feelings toward Amazon or any other company. It is likely his performance is measured by the charges he collects.

In this case, Amazon's CFO no doubt saw an opportunity to add a small percentage to each sale by establishing an affinity card operated by Chase Bank. There is no system to note and correct sorry treatment to customers.


I'm more forgiving of his example of the K-Mart security guard who came down heavy on a woman and child who had an $8 price switch in an $800 order.

I got an Amazon Card as well and set it up as my default for Amazon purchases. I didn't pay an $8.00 bill one month (there's that number again. Eight dollars...clearly Bush caused 9/11) Anyway, the $8 was late, so I got a twenty-something dollar charge, and all my Amazon purchases bounced. That was when I figured out that Amazon does not know or care anything about this card. When that and my good family name were cleared up, that card expired. Amazon didn't know and it was difficult to add the new card.

I didn't swear off Amazon, but it seems a real missed opportunity. Their customers buy things with a credit card, Amazon is in a unique position to integrate its signature card into its process. The firm is so well integrated with Target as a partner, you use your Amazon account to buy from Target.com. Yet no effort was put into facilitating the Amazon Card and the Amazon store.

I have now switched my account to use another card. I'm living happily ever after but Amazon and Chase are missing out.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:13 PM

I Was Right

On immigration, the FDA, every choice of candidate -- it's a long list.

But today, I want to ask if everybody is still enthused about Coach Shanahan’s trick of calling time a half second before the snap of a field goal. Last night we got a close up of the (opposing) Coach standing with the referee, and the announcers speculating on whether he would call time out or not.

I was misconstrued -- I do not want to outlaw icing the kicker with a timeout to "think about it." But I think that the team should be allowed to make the play on the field. I'll let the rules committee draft the legislation, but this is rapidly spinning outer-of-hand.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM

Mark Steyn on SCHIP

Terri @ I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err links to a great Mark Steyn column. It's about SCHIP, like Buffy is about vampires. Steyn (and Kim Strassel, and I) see the expansion of SCHIP as a step into further socialism. Steyn says if you want to do something for the children, then "try not to make the same mistake as most of the rest of the Western world and avoid bequeathing the next generation a system of unsustainable entitlements that turns the entire nation into a giant Ponzi scheme."

He then, in a short column, compares "Live Free or Die" General Stark to "get your head blown off for the President's amusement" Rep. Pete Stark, Speaker Pelosi's children's Congress, Greece's 25% pension outlays, and an incredibly comprehensive recap of the Frosts:

A couple of weeks ago, the Democrats put up a 12-year-old SCHIP beneficiary from Baltimore, Graeme Frost, to deliver their official response to the President's Saturday-morning radio address. And immediately afterwards Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and I jumped the sick kid in a dark alley and beat him to a pulp. Or so you'd have thought from the press coverage: The Washington Post called us "meanies." Well, no doubt it's true we hard-hearted conservatives can't muster the civilized level of discourse of Pete Stark. But we were trying to make a point – not about the kid, but about the family, and their relevance as a poster child for expanded government health care. Mr. and Mrs. Frost say their income's about $45,000 a year – she works "part-time" as a medical receptionist, and he works "intermittently" as a self-employed woodworker. They have a 3,000-square-foot home plus a second commercial property with a combined value of over $400,000, and three vehicles – a new Chevy Suburban, a Volvo SUV, and a Ford F-250 pickup.

How they make that arithmetic add up is between them and their accountant. But here's the point: The Frosts are not emblematic of the health care needs of America so much as they are of the delusion of the broader Western world. They expect to be able to work "part-time" and "intermittently" but own two properties and three premium vehicles and have the state pick up health care costs. Who do you stick with the bill? Four-car owners? Much of France already lives that way: A healthy, wealthy, well-educated populace works a mandatory maximum 35-hour week with six weeks of paid vacation and retirement at 55 and with the government funding all the core responsibilities of adult life.


Superb.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM

October 21, 2007

Another Day, Another Debate

Another day, another debate.

But it had this nugget, which NRO's Jim Geraghty calls "the best line of the campaign so far."

"Hillary tried to get a million dollars for the Woodstock museum. I understand it was a major cultural and pharmaceutical event. I couldn't attend. I was tied up at the time."

It gets a standing ovation.


F*ck yeah, that's a good line.

But jk thinks:

I TiVoed the debate so I could flip between the ALCS game seven and the Broncos-Steelers. My recorder has two tuners, and this is the first time in the history of TV that there have been three good things on at once.

It is a great line and Senator McCain's appearance of FOXNews Sunday in the empty debate hall was very good as well.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2007 11:45 AM

Bobby!

I was happy to see that Bobby Jindal had won the Louisiana governorship. Patrick Ruffini captures it:

"They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go." -- Governor-elect Bobby Jindal (R), on Louisiana's corrupt establishment

I don't care who your candidate for President is. Tonight, Bobby Jindal is our leader.

Jindal's 54% first-round victory is an historic mandate for change against the most corrupt political culture in America. For decades, Louisiana has lived in the shadow of the easy populism of Huey Long, its politicians feasting on revenues from the state's natural resources. If you want to get a taste of a sense of entitlement and venality normally seen in the Saudi royals, except right here in America, just visit Louisiana. From Blundering Blanco to Freezer Cash Jefferson, the political class was a parody of itself.


Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

One of the articles I read this Am said that Blanco did not run for gov again because of the beating she took over Katrina response.

Really? Because I thought it was Bush's fault. ... and that didn't stop Mayor Chocolate City from being re-elected.

Posted by: AlexC at October 21, 2007 1:05 PM

October 20, 2007

Review Corner

Short: Clarence Thomas's My Grandfather's Son: five stars.

Slightly longer: This book is, firstly, a distinctly American biography. Justice Thomas comes into the world with zero advantages and rises to great heights on his own intellect, integrity, and work ethic. Thomas's journey is America's. If we had an editor around here, such clichés would be stricken, but in this instance that would be a mistake.

A side interest of mine is how closely removed we are from a Willa Cather existence: both of my grandmothers were born into it, and at the end of the 20th Century two Justices sat on the Supreme Court who had grown up without indoor plumbing. Thomas's youth is about as hard as can be imagined without actual chattel slavery.

It is also a political tale. Thomas leaves the Catholic church and avoids the Republican party over tacit acceptance of racism and segregation. He and his family later look on in horror as the party of JFK becomes the bigots at his "high tech lynching." Thomas is consistently hurt by the people and polity who are there to help him, and when he speaks out, he's cast aside by white liberals for being uppity.

It is also a tale of incredible strength and courage. Hats off to this great man for his forbearance and strength. I read Bork's "Tempting of America" last year. One realizes that we are chasing out any decent people from government service. No wonder only he crazies seem to be left -- how many decent people would or could put up with this?

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Thomas. He's far and away my favorite justice (Nino blew it on Raich) but this book would appeal to anybody. Five stars -- easy!

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 6:56 PM

Well spoken anti-Pragmatism

Samizdata's Quote of the day

"We all have to compromise," says Walt Chalmers (played by Robert Vaughn)

"Bullshit," replies Frank Bullitt, (Steve McQueen).

From Bullitt.


Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM

I Can Almost Smell Camden...

tasty.jpg Blog brother AlexC is not only a superior writer and thinker, he is a gentleman of the highest order. Prompt payment of our wager arrived yesterday afternoon.

What Tastykake may lack in spelling, it has in flavor and regional charm. The packaging is attractive, and the references to Philadelphia are great. I cannot think of anything like it out here.

Thanks, ac -- other Colorado bloggers better hurry over to get some before we eat them all -- did I mention they are really good?

Go Rockies! See ya next year, Phils!


Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [4]
But AlexC thinks:

I trust that had had the Phils triumphed, my Colorado sourced bull balls would have come in a collectible tin!

Tip #1 - Consume with a glass of whole milk.

Tip #2 - For easy peeling of the wrapper on the kakes which have a iced topping, flip over and rub the iced side (wrapper still on) on a table. It just works.

Posted by: AlexC at October 20, 2007 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. I was going to go easy on you and offer Rocky Mountain Chocolates as an alternative. Thanks for the tips.

Posted by: jk at October 20, 2007 2:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Reelecting Nagin was a major disappointment, but I wonder if the State is now seeing exactly what and where the corrupt government has brought them. Senator Landrieu is in trouble as well.

(I'm not calling Landrieu corrupt, but she is a part of the Democratic machine politics that has provided every opportunity for corruption.)

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2007 5:18 PM
But Charlie on the PA Turnpike thinks:

Apropos of pretty much nothing, and n spite of knowing I am about to subject myself to flames, I wanted to point out the following:

I grew up in NYC eating Tastykake; they used to have a large plant on Flushing Bay in Queens. This was well known to me, as it sat several hundred yards from Shea Stadium (in Corona).

So while The Mets deserve all the flames for entering this years record books (bass-ackwards), there was a time these delectable treats were baked in NY.

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Turnpike at October 22, 2007 7:53 AM

October 19, 2007

I'm Gonna Get In Trouble For This

Attila at Pillage Idiot has Rep Ron Paul explaining The Executive to a Cocker Spaniel.

"Doctor Paul": This President reads way too much into Article II. He thinks that when it says, "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America," it gives him all sorts of warmaking powers.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Doctor Paul": That's plain wrong. All you have to do is read the Constitution!

Cocker Spaniel:


2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM

Dirty Hippie

dirty_hippie.jpg Knowing the cover up is always more damaging than the crime, I realize it is time I came out of the closet. As a couple readers know, I was indeed a dirty hippie in my younger days. A college buddy sent this along to me. Yipes!

The location is Socorro, NM, and James Earl Carter was president -- that's all I'm saying at this time.

Dirty Hippies Posted by John Kranz at 2:05 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

I would have turned the fire hoses on you my friend.

Posted by: AlexC at October 19, 2007 7:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But he's such a happy looking fellow! None of that black armband anarchy bulls**t. Not that I'd have picked him up hitchhiking or anything...

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2007 2:42 PM

Dirty Hippies Lose One!

A Sen. Clinton contributor is denied in an attempt to get 1 million of federal jack to erect a Woodstock Museum. Stephen Moore has the good news in OpinionJournal's PoliticalDiary:

Well, what do you know? For the first time in modern history, the United States Senate yesterday eliminated an earmark. After scores of votes forced by Pork-buster Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Senator finally prevailed 52-44 on a roll call vote to extinguish funding for a $1 million museum to memorialize the 1969 Woodstock Concert. Far out!

The museum came under additional scrutiny this week when it was revealed that after the earmark was inserted into a spending bill back in June, the owner of the property, Alan Gerry, almost immediately sent a maximum $4,600 contribution to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Senator Clinton was a chief sponsor of the earmark. Gerry's wife also gave $4,600 to the Clinton campaign and Gerry wrote a $20,000 check to the Democratic Senatorial Committee. When this information surfaced and Republicans threatened an ethics investigation, it was the beginning of the end for the flower-power museum.

The Coburn amendment, co-sponored by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, also put Senate Democrats in a tight spot because the $1 million of savings were to be directed to children's health. "I'm part of the Woodstock generation," says Mr. Coburn. "But I'm also a member of the baby boom generation that is about to leave trillions of dollars of debt for our children."

Messrs. Coburn and Kyl have won their first small battle in the war against $10 billion per year in earmark pork. There are still at least 11,000 more projects that deserve the same fate. But the normally grumpy Mr. Coburn was overjoyed by yesterday's vote and declared hopefully that "maybe this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius for taxpayers."


Would they sell fake, bad, brown acid in the gift shop?

110th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM

Happy Anniversary

I'm not sure everyone remembers where they were 20 years ago today, when the market fell 22%, but I was doing PR for an investment banking firm. I've never been in battle, but I saw true fear that day in the eyes of the company principals and several of its top brokers.

Don Luskin says he caused it and offers a front row seat.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM

October 18, 2007

On Masonomics

I can't really excerpt it, though Everyday Economist did a good job.

Arnold Kling writes a good sized piece on TCSDaily about Masonomics. I have noticed how frequently that I have seen good, solid, free market thought which somehow bears the imprimatur of George Mason University's School of Economics (as if Walter Williams were not singular proof). Kling says it's ongoing.

Years from now, perhaps people will be saying that something big got started recently at the George Mason University department of economics. Maybe if you become a Masonomist now, you will be getting in early on a trend that will soon catch on much more widely

Then he breaks it down in ways I think will be popular around here. The intrinsic danger of shared sacrifice (lose the "we") and the primacy of markets even when markets fail.

Read the whole thing. Just this once. For me.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 4:09 PM

SCHIP: Fighting Back (against poor childern)

A guest editorial (paid link) in the Wall Street Journal today offers a good, pragmatic response to the SCIHP imbroglio. This point has been made but not emphasized: we know the mean ol' Republicans hate poor kids and want to see them starved and denied health care and all that, but Grace-Marie Turner asks "Will this expansion help or hurt the poorer children the program was designed to serve?"

The answer isn't encouraging.

Already, two-thirds of children who do not have health insurance are eligible for federal help through either Schip or Medicaid. Congress's first priority should be to make sure these poorer, uninsured children are taken care of. Yet states have struggled to get these children enrolled, which means that if there is a stampede to add higher-income kids to Schip, the poorer kids will likely continue to get left behind.

This is why the administration wants states to first enroll 95% of the children now eligible (those in families living on wages that are under 200% of poverty) before they open the program to higher-income kids.

The bill Congress passed, and the president vetoed, overturns that requirement -- an implicit acknowledgment that higher-income children will be the focus of the expansion. Consider that the bill would allow New York to cover kids in families who make up to $83,000 a year, something that would pull federal dollars away from less affluent states so that New York could provide taxpayer-funded health insurance to children in middle-income families.


I suggest this as a good time to fly the pragmatism flag. Earlier Turner says "[T]his debate is not over whether to give poor kids health care, or even over whether this program should continue. Everyone agrees that it should." and I thought "she doesn't read ThreeSources."

Yet, I think the hard-liners are going to get their ideological asses kicked, if they are seen to deny health care to poor kids. Arguments about crowding our private insurance are compelling to me but it's a tough sell. The fact that President Bush wants to cover the poor kids before considering expansion up the income ladder is a good -- and salient -- point, when one is badly needed.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

JK champions pragmatism as the best strategy to stop government health care for the masses but misses the facts that a) we're already there to large degree and b) it's pragmatism that's made it possible.

"First enroll 95% of children now eligble instead of the 66% already enrolled." And then, I suppose, there's no objection to raising the eligiblity bar still higher?

And to be eligible now you need not be in poverty. Your family can have the resources of TWO impoverished families all to itself and still get the free ride. Not to mention the express escalator that the "Federal Poverty Level" has been on since the '70s.

Pragmatically, it won't be long before Jenna and Barbara Bush are "poor kids."

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2007 3:13 PM
But jk thinks:

I had a hunch that you might not be on board, jg.

Probably not worth rehashing every argument over the last few years around here, but I am seeing that:
-- The collectivists have the perfect demagoguery vehicle here.
-- It is up for renewal, presenting a perfect time to try and expand it.
-- You have zero, nada, zip chance of not renewing it with a small expansion.

Again, I am prepared to fight at the margins, knowing that it means conceding the ground already lost. Overriding the veto or giving today's Democratic party a filibuster proof majority would not help the cause of freedom. An attempt to scale this back will lead to one or both of those unfavorable outcomes.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2007 4:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

After the Rockies won both games of a home double header versus the Dodgers on September 18th dagny asked me, "Do you think the Rockies will make the playoffs?" I said, "No. Their chances are slim squared."

That's not quite as bad as "zero, nada, zip chance" but they were still long odds that paid out. I've learned not to say "never."

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2007 2:48 PM

October 17, 2007

Congress vs the Nazis

Inevitably the comparisons had to be made.

Even after all the political posturing, it came as a surprise to the Democratic Congress that their approval rating of 11% is just half of the favorable rating received by Nazis in a German poll. The approval rate for Democrats was 11% - It was 25% for Nazis when asked if there was anything good to their control of Germany.

President Bush's ratings are within the margin of error.
Congressional insiders are formulating plans to gain more popularity than Nazis. Said one insider, "We never figured that calling President Bush a no good Nazi really meant that he had a higher level of populariity. But there it is."

Congress Posted by AlexC at 9:08 PM

The Most Important Issue


Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

2008 Race Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Heh. Good thing we discuss important b******t around here!

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2007 11:48 AM

Bring Back The Lobotomy!

Too funny. Everyone compares VP Gore's Nobel Prize to Arafat's, but Dr, Henry Miller has a better choice on TCSDaily:

Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz received the 1949 Nobel Prize in medicine for "his discovery of the therapeutic value of [prefrontal lobotomy] in certain psychoses," including depression and schizophrenia. The prefrontal lobotomy operation, in which the nerve fibers connecting the frontal lobe with other parts of the brain were cut, and which often made patients zombie-like, would be repudiated by the medical community within a decade.

Al Gore, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a similarly poor choice, one likely not to stand the test of time.


Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM

Undertakers Hardest Hit

James Taranto has a semi-regular feature on Best of the Web that goes something like "X happens, Y hardest hit."

In the vein, here is an actual headline.

"As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch"

At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

That's terrible!

Iraq Posted by AlexC at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Bush's fault!

Posted by: jk at October 17, 2007 12:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Well done, ac, you out-Tarantoed Taranto. He did the same headline, or as he would say "Life imitates ThreeSources."

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2007 11:44 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Homer nods.

Posted by: AlexC at October 19, 2007 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Kerfuffle!

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2007 12:11 PM

October 16, 2007

Mike!

He spouts off the best one-liners (though Governor Romney's concern that Jennifer Granholm was going to tax the debate was up there). But Governor Huckabee drops further on my list every week. The Club for Growth and WSJ Ed Page have hammered him for tax increases during his tenure as Arkansas Governor. He waffled -- badly -- of trade in the last debate. Now John Fund tells us he's joined the cappers-and-traders:

Mike Huckabee continues to demonstrate his populist, anti-free market bent. Fresh from a debate in Michigan where he showed skepticism about free trade and President Bush's veto of a budget-busting health care bill, the former Arkansas governor has now embraced a mandatory cap on global-warming emissions.

"It goes to the moral issue,'' he told a climate-change conference over the weekend in New Hampshire. "We have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, to conserve energy, to find alternative forms of energy that are renewable and sustainable and environmentally friendly.''

Most disturbingly, Mr. Huckabee says he backs a discredited "cap-and-trade" approach that would apply to the entire U.S. economy. Used in Europe with completely ineffective results, the scheme would create an artificial market for buying and selling permits to emit carbon dioxide. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan used his new book "The Age of Turbulence" to throw cold water on the idea. "I have grave doubts that international agreements imposing a globalized so-called cap-and-trade system on CO2 emissions will prove feasible," Mr. Greenspan wrote. "There is no effective way to meaningfully reduce emissions without negatively impacting a large part of an economy. Jobs will be lost and real incomes of workers constrained."

But environmentalists in Mr. Huckabee's audience swooned. "I was impressed," said Larry Schweiger, head of the National Wildlife Federation, which supports cap-and-trade. "He's only the second Republican candidate [after John McCain] to say he supports cap-and-trade, which we believe is the real critical part of any effort to stop global warming.''

Many analysts believe Mr. Huckabee has a chance to sew up the support of social conservatives given the perceived liberalism of frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. His admirers note that Mr. Huckabee has been moving up in polls lately in both Iowa and New Hampshire. That may be so, but he clearly is taking positions that leave economic conservatives scratching their heads and wondering just which party's nomination this new man from Hope, Arkansas thinks he's running for.


2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM

The Non-Gore Nobel Laureates

I have not paid a great deal of attention to the Nobel prizes awarded in economics. The blurbs I have seen all have the same line: Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science for their work showing where markets work and where they don't. It was unlikely I was going to convincingly refute the Laureates' work, but I did not like synopsis. It plays into the old mixed economy idea that you can't trust the market everywhere. It implies that you have to trust Sens. Trent Lott and Ted Kennedy on important things.

A guest editorial in the WSJ Ed page today provides a much more free market view. George Mason Professor Peter Boettke says "Strangely, some have used this occasion to disparage free-market economics. But the truth is the deserving recipients owe a direct debt to free-market thinkers who came before them."

Mechanism design theory was established to try to address the main challenge posed by Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek. It all starts with Mr. Hurwicz's response to Hayek's famous paper, "The Use of Knowledge in Society." In the 1930s and '40s, Hayek was embroiled in the "socialist calculation debate." Mises, Hayek's mentor in Vienna, had raised the challenge in his book "Socialism," and before that in an article, that without having the means of production in private hands, the economic system will not create the incentives or the information to properly decide between the alternative uses of scarce resources. Without the production process of the market economy, socially desirable outcomes will be impossible to achieve.

In the mid-1930s, Hayek published Mises's essay in English in his book, "Collectivist Economic Planning." From there the discussion moved to the U.K. and the U.S. Hayek summarized the fundamental challenge that advocates of socialism needed to come to grips with. Hayek's argument, a refinement of Mises, basically stated that the economic problem society faced was not how to allocate given resources, but rather how to mobilize and utilize the knowledge dispersed throughout the economy.

Hayek argued that mathematical modeling, which relied on a set of given assumptions, had obscured the fundamental problem. These questions were not being probed since they were assumed away in the mathematical models of market socialism presented by Oskar Lange and, later, Abba Lerner. Milton Friedman, when he reviewed Lerner's "Economics of Control," stated that it was as if economic analysis of policy was being conducted in a vacuum. Lange actually argued that questions of bureaucratic incentives did not belong in economics and were best left to other disciplines such as psychology and sociology.


It is a great column. I have given a paid link, but let me know if you'd like me to mail the article.

UPDATE: The Everyday Econmist has more links.

UPDATE II: And Mankiw links to a short overview online at Reason.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM

Civical Literacy

88.3%

Posted by AlexC at 1:15 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

95.0 (And I want to contest Question 58)

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2007 10:41 AM

October 15, 2007

The NEXT Nobel Prize

Reuters

Obesity could be as big a crisis as climate change unless the nation starts to lose weight soon, Health Secretary Alan Johnson warned on Sunday.

He said tackling obesity was a long-term central plank of government policy but all parts of society must play their part.

Johnson has asked the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to look at the use of trans fats and its contribution to increased cholesterol and the subsequent risk of coronary heart disease.


It's about the UK, but we also have a problem with weight in this country.

Wouldn't it be awesome if Richard Simmons won next year's Nobel Peace Prize?

simmons.jpg

(tip to BOTW)

Posted by AlexC at 7:52 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Lima Oscar Lima!

Posted by: jk at October 15, 2007 8:24 PM
But PR1ME thinks:

Eureka! Thank you for helping me make the connection.

More people are getting fatter. And the earth is getting warmer.

That's because LARGE BODIES RETAIN HEAT!

Here's what we do about it: tell that thunder-thighed cellulite-mama that she needs to fit into a size 9 bikini by next summer.

Stick to your guns.

Do it for the earth.

Posted by: PR1ME at October 20, 2007 2:19 AM

Supply Side Under Siege

Greg Mankiw takes a whack at my heroes today. After I recovered from high dudgeon, I wonder if he has a point. He compares supply-siders to global warming extremists:

They both noticed something that many serious scholars had been working on (human carbon emissions are causing the planet to overheat, high tax rates are causing the economy to underperform.)

They both overstated the scientific consensus (if we do nothing, temperatures will rise so quickly that sea levels will increase twenty feet; if we cut tax rates, the economy will grow so quickly that tax revenues will rise rather than fall).


I'm a supply sider and a Laffer acolyte through and through, but I'd be willing to concede that he is on to something. Perhaps the supply-siders can be too ebullient and too optimistic.

Taking the suggestions at face value however, if you divide the supply spiders by ten you still see a benefit to cutting taxes, even if it is less than promised. Cutting the global warming alarmism by ten, and you see water levels rising at 1.8"/century. It destroys the case to damage global growth. Yet I'll still take 10% of the promised benefits of tax cuts.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM

Rudy!

Some amateur video from a New Hampshire event:





What's not to like?

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 12:37 PM

Mazel Tov!

ThreeSources friend Perry Eidlebus proposes in the Philippine sunset, and is accepted.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM

Obamanonics

There was a lot of enthusiasm when Austin Goolsbee was announced as a key economic advisor to Senator Barak Obama's Presidential campaign. But as I mentioned, I have been disappointed. He's always keen to talk about "fairness" and "inequality" but, like the rest of the Democratic field, "growth" is not in the vocabulary.

The WSJ Ed page today compares him (paid link) unfavorably with Democratic lion John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy said 'The tax on capital gains directly affects investment decisions, the mobility and flow of risk capital . . . the ease or difficulty experienced by new ventures in obtaining capital, and thereby the strength and potential for growth in the economy."

When it comes to taxes, Barack Obama is no Jack Kennedy. The Illinois Senator recently announced that he wants to raise the capital gains tax to restore "fairness" to the tax code.

That makes it a three-peat: All of the leading Democratic contenders for President have endorsed higher taxes on stock ownership. Hillary Clinton is the "moderate" in that so far she'd merely raise the tax to 20% from the current 15% -- a 33% increase. John Edwards and Mr. Obama want to nearly double it, to 28%.

This would repeal not only the Bush capital gains tax cut of 2003 but also the 1997 bipartisan tax cut signed by Bill Clinton, which cut the rate to 20% from 28%. In explaining his proposal, Mr. Obama ignores JFK's arguments about economic growth and instead plays the envy card: "For decades, we've seen successful strategies to ride antitax sentiment in this country toward tax cuts that favor wealth, not work."


The line I keep hearing is that the Democrats want to put the tax rate back where it was when Bill Clinton was president and the nation was prosperous. I think it is telling and worrisome that they are not only ignoring his dedication to free trade but that they are going to roll back his "tax cuts on the wealthy."

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM

October 14, 2007

The Numbers Aren't In...

...and we have a winner!

I really wanted to post a copy of the cartoon here too but elected not to since the linked image includes an instant online poll. When I clicked on "like it" the numbers went from 42 like - 58 don't like to 50-50. When all seven Threesources readers weigh in it should be 90-10!

Hat tip: Dad, who saw the print version in the Denver Post. He said the caricature made her look "like a witch." You mean, like this dad?

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Sixty Four. You presume all seven will like it?

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2007 2:38 PM

October 13, 2007

Blood For Oil, Really This Time

"Progressives" just love her.

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton advocated talks to settle differences with Iran but said Saturday that Tehran would invite U.S. action if it were to disrupt oil supplies.

"I will make it very clear to the Iranians that there are very serious consequences attached to their actions," Clinton said. The presidential candidate spoke at a town hall meeting with 300 people at a high school in a Democratic stronghold in early voting South Carolina.

The New York senator, responding to a question, said blocking oil shipments "would be devastating to the world economy."


Refreshing to hear some honesty from Democrats... it's not about freedom or democracy or any of those silly abstractions.

Tip to DRJ @ Patterico's who writes:

I’m glad Hillary said this and I hope she means it, but I expect anyone who wrongly criticized Bush about oil or unilateral action to hold Hillary to the same standard.

Um, yeah. They'll get right on that.

Posted by AlexC at 4:22 PM

Some who did not win

The Wall Street Journal catalogs (free link) some of the people and the groups who were not selected for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In Olso yesterday, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded to the Burmese monks whose defiance against, and brutalization at the hands of, the country's military junta in recent weeks captured the attention of the Free World.

The prize was also not awarded to Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and in some cases beaten by police earlier this year while protesting peacefully against dictator Robert Mugabe.

Or to Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison for helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406.

Or to Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyyouni, co-founders of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia, who are waging a modest struggle with grand ambitions to secure basic rights for women in that Muslim country.

[...]


I still like the line from "Night Court" Hyper-ambitious attorney Dan Fielding says: "A Nobel Piece Prize -- I'd kill for one of those!" I didn't realize how true that was.

Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Posted by John Kranz at 4:18 PM

An MSM Moment

Kind of like a "Senior Moment," I suppose -- I had an MSM moment this morning.

My recording of the Rockies game ended with two outs and two strikes on the last batter in the bottom of the 11th. I first ensured that our incredible team prevailed and they did.

Then I saw the lead Yahoo head: Ex-general: 'No end in sight' in Iraq Wesley Clark? No, General Sanchez.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency — such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled.

I certainly respect the General and his service but this was a disappointing attack on the administration. Or was it? Terri @ I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err links to two stories which say the General attacked first-- and most vocally -- the press. Funny how that gets left out. Powerline:
The Washington Post's headline was typical: "Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush."

Actually, I don't believe Sanchez ever mentioned Bush by name, although, as I say, he was critical of just about everybody. But it would be hard to tell from press accounts of Sanchez's speech that he was mostly critical of...the press.


John Hinderacker provides much of the text of the speech, and General Sanchez did start on the press.

It is still a disappointment to read this story when General Petraeus’s efforts seem to be bearing fruit. McClellan - Grant?

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM

October 12, 2007

Two Personal Attacks

Don Luskin says "Conservatism is Doomed."

...when even reliable warhorses like columnist George Will start swallowing the Left's lies about economics. First it was Will's puff-piece adulating Austin Goolsbee, Barack Obama's economic hatchet man. Will's column was too crowded with charming lifestyle details about Goolsbee to bother to mention his 2005 "paper" claiming that any benefits of the Bush administration's Social Security reform proposal would be consumed in fees earned by the investment industry -- when, in fact, the administration's proposal specifically ruled out precisely the high-fee investment vehicles that Goolsbee used in his "study."

Conservatism may well be doomed, but Mister Will is not a reliable indicator. Will is "conservative" on some level, but he is "Washington establishment" far more than ideological. Will's whacks at President George Herbert Walker Bush gave us President Clinton as much as Ross Perot. I trust Will on Baseball, but not on politics.

While I am handing out disapprobation. I fell for the early reviews on Austin Goolsbee. He was associated with the University of Chicago (moment of reverence) and was recommended by a lot of libertarian bloggers. He has been a regular guest on Kudlow and Company, and while he is no doubt a bright guy, he truly is a party hack. He doesn't attempt an academic distance from politics, he proudly parrots the Obama/Democratic line.

Let's see, who else is on my list here: the impressionist who sings "Take me out to the ball game" on TBS every 17 seconds...

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM

Somebody's Happy

To be fair, a lot of people are happy that VP Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize (though I have enjoyed much blog commentary today from those who do not).

But I was surprised to see Professor Gregory Mankiw celebrate. As VP Gore is a member of his beloved Pigou Club, however, Mankiw is pleased.

That is the problem with the Pigou Club. Mankiw is right that that is probably the best way to cut emissions but he glosses over the necessity (or lack thereof) for cutting emissions. He says (I paraphrase) that it is a public good to cut emissions, so irrespective of DAWG, why not do it?

French fries are bad too. Trans fats. Too much sugar. Let's raise revenue with taxes, trying to do the least damage possible to innovation and investment -- let's not use the tax code to achieve dubious "social good." That argument is far more worthy of Gore than Mankiw.

But Everyday Economist thinks:

Mankiw's Pigou Club is nonsense. Why should we raise the tax on gasoline? Even if we admit that we should reduce pollution through taxation, we should tax the emissions of pollutants and not the consumption of gasoline.

Posted by: Everyday Economist at October 12, 2007 7:47 PM

This Calls For a Pointless Gesture!

AlexC rightly ridiculed the importance of a "Sense of the Senate" resolution, and over-reaction to it from left-of-center bloggers. Our legislators must be "Animal House" fans -- they seem to always have time for pointless gestures.

Speaker Pelosi, however, gets a prize. As political payback for Armenian constituents, she will thumb her nose at an important ally to redress, for the third time, a 92 year old event. John Fund writes in the Opinion Journal Political Diary:

More Turks have died in Iraq than any other foreign nationality, because it's Turkish truck drivers and logistical workers who bring in so much of the material used by U.S. troops there. The U.S. Air Base at Incirlik in Turkey channels 70% of all air cargo going into Iraq and one-third of the fuel U.S. troops use in Iraq comes through the Turkish port of Adana.

All this makes it all the more inexplicable why the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27 to 21 this week for a controversial resolution condemning the 1915 Armenian genocide, in which Ottoman Turkey -- then an ally of Imperial Germany -- was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians as it expelled them from the country. The measure now goes to the House floor for a vote that will take place by mid-November.

Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO and is a key U.S. ally, can't understand why the resolution is being brought up now at a most sensitive time in Turkish politics, when the country's secular democracy is under pressure from Islamic radicalism. Many in Turkey still bitterly dispute the nature of the 1915 internal upheaval in their country, claiming many Muslim Turks died alongside Christian Armenians in inter-ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the resolution yesterday, chiding critics for presumably believing "it's never a good time" to commemorate the mass killings of Armenians. Many of the descendents of the victims now live in the U.S., where they form a potent political lobby. In what the Fresno Bee at the time called "a vivid case of targeted ethnic politicking," just before the 2006 midterm election that cleared her path to the speakership, Ms. Pelosi herself gave a prominent Armenian newspaper publisher a written statement promising her support for a genocide resolution.

But the House passed a similar resolution against the Armenian atrocities in the 1970s and another in the 1980s. Bluntly put, why is another necessary now? Congress is undermining relations with a key U.S. ally largely to satisfy domestic political concerns. It's too much to expect that politics should stop at the water's edge these days, but Congress ought to be responsible enough to set aside another vote on the resolution until a time when U.S. troops aren't so dependent on Turkey's key support for their mission in Iraq.


The gavel of speaker really is in the hands of America's children.

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 12:46 PM

It's official:

The Nobel Peace Prize is officially a joke. Al Gore, U.N. Climate Panel
Win 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. Gore will have a platform to raise the profile of the issue later today, when he gives a press conference. In his own statement after the prize was announced, he said: "We face a true planetary emergency…The climate crisis is not a political issue ...''

If it is not a political issue then why was he granted a political prize for his "advocacy of the future of the earth?"

Even Yasser Arafat must consider his own prize tarnished by this.

But jk thinks:

Those Burmese monks were certainly undeserving. Glad to see it went to real peace advocates: VP Gore and the U.N.

Posted by: jk at October 12, 2007 11:07 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm with Czech president Vaclav Klaus:
"The relationship between his activities and world peace is unclear and indistinct," the statement said. "It rather seems that Gore's doubting of basic cornerstones of the current civilization does not contribute to peace."

You don't have to be a DAWG denier to agree.

Posted by: AlexC at October 12, 2007 11:17 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Same Algore who looked the other way (along with Blow-Job Bill) while Islamofascists took shots at us, until they found a weakness in our defenses.

Yeah, sounds like a man of peace to me!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 13, 2007 11:59 AM

October 11, 2007

Heh.

Larry Kudlow points us to the Hillary Clinton Spend-O-Meter

Posted by John Kranz at 5:03 PM

Five 200,000s or three 333,333s?

Gotta credit this Pittsburgh counterfeiter for high hopes:

The likeness of Grover Cleveland is on this fake $1 million bill. Cleveland's portrait is on the genuine $1,000 bill, which has been out of circulation since 1969.
If you're going to spend counterfeit money, it might help to use a denomination that actually exists.

An unidentified man who asked a Giant Eagle cashier to make change for his $1 million bill learned that lesson the hard way, Pittsburgh police said Monday.


Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

Everyone knows grocery stores can't break a million. A hundred-thou, probably.

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 4:36 PM

Time to go Short?

I saw the heading ECONOMISTS TURNED more optimistic, seeing lower chances of a recession and stronger job growth, according the latest WSJ.com survey in the Wall Street Journal and I was going to write a tongue-in-cheek "uh-oh, time to short" post.

But as I read a little, I think a real atta-boy for Charmin Bernanke is in order. So do the surveyed economists:

The economists overwhelmingly approved of the Fed's decision on Sept. 18 to cut the target for the federal-funds rate by a larger-than-expected half percentage point. Seventy-six percent said the move was appropriate, compared with just 22% who thought it was too aggressive. Just one economist felt that the cut wasn't aggressive enough. That contrasts with a recent, but unscientific, WSJ.com reader poll in which 60% of respondents said the Fed action too aggressive.

"Some of the uncertainties have faded, partly due to the fact that the Fed moved more aggressively," said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP. "The Fed's willingness to pull out all the stops played a role in bolstering the economy."


I recently read Bernanke's textbook (thanks to a tip from The Everyday Economist, who did not approve of the rate cut) and I think that the 50 basis point cut is completely in keeping with Bernanke's theories.

I agreed with the suggestions in the book, and even in his suggestion that we codify inflation targeting goals in the US Fed. I have one difference. Bernanke admits that the CPI understates inflation between 0.5 and 2.0% He says the mean is "about 1%" (is that the kind of math they do at the FOMC?") and he adds a percentage point to ensure no deflation.

If you call the mean 1.25% and let 2.25% be the target, I am on board. In reality, I think the CPI underestimates closer to the top of the spectrum, but I'll take two and a quarter. With that target, core inflation is still in target and the Fed was correct to look at bond yields and follow the markets.

Atta boy, Ben!

UPDATE: The DJIA has lost 200 points since I suggested shorting. (Past performance is not an indicator, yadda, yadda)

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM

You live long enough...

You see everything!

Mickey Kaus lectures National Review for not being tough enough on Senator McCain vis-à-vis immigration:

I think they're cheap dates. McCain obviously still believes his semi-amnesty is the essence of "real immigration reform." Is he saying it will have to wait until the border are actually secured? No. He only requires "trust" that the borders "will" be secured, trust that will be accomplished by any number of government confidence-building measures (success in Iraq, cutting spending, better FEMA disaster response) that have nothing to do with actually securing the border. ... I don't trust his definition of "trust," and he seems willfully oblivious to the difficulties facing any successful enforcement attempt--including a half-decade of lawsuits from many of McCain's pro-comprehensive allies. ..

Yeah! And the cut-and-run crowd at The Weekly Standard is just not committed to the war! How about those right-wing capitalist kooks at The Nation?...

I'm going back to bed.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 1:32 PM

Select a Candidate

Easy peasy select a candidate quiz.

My "most alike" are Thompson, Hunter at 53 pts and McCain at 51.

Most unalike? Hillary and Obama at 5 pts.

(Tip to Blonde Sagacity)

But johngalt thinks:

Counting only candidates with a chance:

McCain 46
Thompson 41
Romney 40
Giuliani 35
Clinton and Obama tied at 17
Edwards 14

I declare this survey specious, however, since not one of the 11 questions addressed the Second Amendment. That would have pushed Thompson to the top of my list.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2007 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

And trade would have cleared Rep. Hunter off of mine. And a First Amendment question would have dropped Senator McCain for both of us.

I hate to read too much into a "goofy online poll", but I do like the format of this. You could double the questions and make it close.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2007 3:16 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I would have liked to see the importance interlocked... so you can't pick "very important" for every one.

Most were "important" or "Very"

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 4:37 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

McCain: 32
Paul: 31
Tancredo: 25
Rudy: 25
Thompson: 24
Romney: 15
Hillary/Obama: 3

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at October 11, 2007 10:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'm a little jealous of your Hillary/Obama 3; my lowest was a Kucinich 7.

Posted by: jk at October 12, 2007 11:16 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Seven?!

Isn't the "dirty hippie" threshold 6?

Posted by: AlexC at October 12, 2007 8:10 PM

Preserve the Old Ideas

Larry Kudlow has been asking Republicans "Where's the Beef?" He wants specific proposals for cutting taxes. I don't break with Mr. Kudlow too easily, but I like Don Luskin's idea: "We don't need new ideas, we need to preserve the old idea of keeping regulations low and keeping taxes low. That's what we heard over and over again and that is why I am so bullish."




Here's the spirited post-debate debate that Kudlow hosted. Luskin is on a roll all the way, though I will question his attack on Governor Richardson at the end.

And I will humbly have to add that that is where my candidate, Mayor Giuliani, did well. Lower regulations, lower taxes, and lower spending. That's a full Atkins® meal for me, Larry!

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

I'm with Luskin too. But let's hear about cuts.

Cut things.

Cut things.

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 12:37 PM
But jk thinks:

But if you are dedicated to cutting everything (I like Giuliani’s idea of not replacing half the attrition of government workers) you do not attract the dedicated opposition of declaring: "I will dismantle the Department of Education!"

Cut everything seems like a good answer to me.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2007 1:48 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I had not heard of the half attrition cut.

That's a pretty good idea.

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 4:34 PM

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Iran

John Morgan, liberal progressive blogger is bent out of shape that Bobby Casey voted to ... well let him explain...

Senator Robert P. Casey is trying to explain his vote on the Lieberman/Kyl Amendment granting George W. Bush the authority to begin military combat operations against Iran. He sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton meaning our most esteemed representatives in Washington are completely susceptible to brainwashing and are utterly incapable of reading an actual text before voting.

The overwhelming majority of blogospheric traffic about this is on the left, and it's generally dripping with hysterics.

Meaning it's likely a mountain out of a molehill.

Indeed, despite doing a good job of posting the scary text of the bill, he does so without a) providing a link b) providing a few more paragraphs of context... probably because it would blow the outrage right out the door.

The words he (along with the rest of the liberal bloggers) neglected to post: "It is the sense of the Senate".

Sense of the Senate (or House) aren't very "toothy" declarations of anything!

But don't believe me. Believe C-SPAN.

SENSE OF THE SENATE is legislative language which offers the opinion of the Senate, but does not make law.

Bed wetting is so tacky once you're older than two or three.

But John Morgan thinks:

The text of the entire Amendment and a link are contained in an earlier article about the vote which my regular readers are familiar with.

Posted by: John Morgan at October 11, 2007 12:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

You linked, but did you read?

Surely you would have noticed the Sense of the Senate text?

Isn't that rather important to the imminence of the invasion?

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 12:35 PM

October 10, 2007

Now, That's Pragmatism!

Megan McArdle (talk about a blogger made good -- I once laughed at Atlantic for picking up Andrew Sullivan and Wonkette. Consider this august publication redeemed).

Before the parenthetical detour, I was saying McArdle has some good questions on SCHIP

That said, even if Graeme Frost is basically middle-class-ish, that wouldn't be a stunning indictment of S-Chip. No system is without error; all will let through some people who don't deserve benefits, and miss some people who do. That there has been one error, in either direction, is not necessarily an indictment of the system, but merely an indication that we live in an imperfect world. Moreover, in the case of children, I'm perfectly content to bias the system towards including too many undeserving children, rather than take the chance of missing too many deserving ones. I find S-Chip's practice of covering adults problematic, but frankly, the prospect that Graeme Frost might have gotten some undeserved healthcare ranks, on my list of things to worry about, somewhere between pandemic toe fungus, and finalizing the guest list for my Chicago Cubs World Series Victory Party.

Reading the comments on this, I have to ask conservatives and libertarians: is this really the hill you think we should die on? I do understand your objections to the program, but an informal survey of swing voters, in their current incarnation as my mother, indicates that this is killing you with the moderates. Save it for national health care next year, is what I'm saying. This debate is framing the issue in a way that is going to make things harder, not easier, when Hilarycare is on the table again.


I think she makes some large errors. The discussion is NOT about selling assets to qualify for a place on the Federal teat, it is about asking me to pay for the health care of a person who is clearly better off than I am.

But I must salute her donation to pragmatism. I have held, like Kimberly Strassel, that this is the place to draw the line, because the collectivist medical crowd can gradually move more onto public rolls. What Strassel calls "HillaryCare on the installment plan."

On the other hand Mr. Truman, perhaps the dozens of chicken GOP House members have a point. Maybe you cannot win this one, and if you want your seat to play another day, you can't come out directly against "poor children." This pragmatist is willing to die on this hill, but if McArdle is not on the team, how can we expect less involved and intelligent people to see the issue?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 2:50 PM

Rep. Ron Paul

I know Rep. Paul has some supporters around here, and I have no trouble finding parts of his platform to applaud. Yet, I think he exudes the "crazy-aunt-in-the-attic" vibe a little more every time he is out. His supporters have a fair gripe that he was not given a lot of time and attention at the CNBC debate last night -- but I surely did not find myself missing the additional hectoring about isolationism and mettalism.

John Fund thinks he might well be shaping up for a third party run -- and he has an interesting take on how it would affect the race:

Could Ron Paul be considering a third-party run for the White House after the GOP primaries are over? After all, in 1988 he left the GOP to run as the Libertarian Party candidate. He is just ornery enough to do it again.

A hint of his dissatisfaction came last night during the CNBC debate when Chris Matthews asked him if he would promise "to support the nominee of the Republican Party next year." Mr. Paul's answer was a flat no. "Not unless they're willing to end the war and bring our troops home. And not unless they are willing to look at the excess in spending. No, I'm not going to support them if they continue down the path that has taken our party down the tubes."

When I saw Mr. Paul last Friday after a speech he gave to Americans for Prosperity in Washington, he was clearly feeling his oats on the public reaction to his stand opposing the Iraq war. He rejected my comment that his anti-war emphasis was crowding out his free-market message "Everything is tied to the war. It threatens our financial security as well," he told me. I left our brief encounter with the clear impression he wanted to continue to talk about his message well into the future beyond the GOP primary race.

Despite his libertarian views, a Paul third-party run might hurt the Democrats more than Republicans. If he emphasized his support for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq immediately, he would trump Hillary Clinton on the left. If he talked about his support for drug decriminalization, he would clearly appeal to a constituency ignored by both major parties.

The logistics of a Paul run are also there. The Libertarian Party national convention doesn't meet until late May in Denver, and becoming its nominee guarantees a spot on 26 state ballots immediately. Another 20 state ballot lines are fairly easy to obtain.

Mr. Paul could, of course, retire from the House if he ran for president. But Texas law also allows him to both run for president and seek re-election to the House, thanks to a statute rammed through by Lyndon Johnson. The GOP primary in which Mr. Paul is being challenged for his seat is held in early March, well before he would have to publicly announce any third-party intentions. Nothing prevents him from running as, say, a Libertarian for president and a Republican for the House at the same time.

It's also likely that Mr. Paul might be the rare third-party candidate who could actually raise his own money. He took in over $5 million in the last quarter, exceeding the fundraising totals of candidates such as John McCain and Mike Huckabee. A chunk of his money comes from liberals such as singer Barry Manilow, and he might find himself the recipient of some support in a general election from anti-Hillary Democrats who deplore the grip of the Clinton clan on their party.


Ron Paul and Barry Manilow -- that mightn't be a bad ticket...

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 2:19 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

I have been known to praise Dr. Paul. However, I actually think that the lack of time that he was granted benefitted him in yesterday's debate because he was being excessively negative. I know that he is generally negative on the war, but many of his other talking points started to sound very pessimistic.

I was looking forward to Dr. Paul challenging fellow Republicans on what departments and agencies they would eliminate, what taxes they would reduce or eliminate, etc. However, he missed a golden opportunity to shine as the true candidate of limited government.

Other thoughts:

-- Fred was terrible. He had some good one-liners in regards to his personal life and others on stage, but very little was learned as to what President Fred would be like.

-- Mitt Romney had the great one-liner about Jennifer Granholm and taxes, but his health care program in Mass. has disqualified him from receiving my support and the nomination.

-- Giuliani was also not very impressive. Other than his remark about Canadians not having anywhere to go to get health care in HIllary were elected, he did not impress. Like Paul, this should have been Giuliani's time to shine because most Republican voters will identify with him solely on economic issues and the war. Unfortunately, he didn't produce.

-- As a Rudy fan, jk may laugh, but McCain was the star of the debate. He is the only candidate with a realistic outlook on immigration. He is always strong on defense. However, most importantly, in a debate that was to focus largely on economic issues, he was the only one speaking cognitively about trade and our ridiculous subsidies.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at October 10, 2007 3:23 PM
But jk thinks:

jk's not laughing. (Well, my normal sunny optimism and cheerful worldview...) I agree on McCain. I had to keep reminding myself why I left McCain.

Giuliani did not shine last night but I thought he was allright: "Don't overtax, don't over-regulate" that was pretty strong. I mentioned here, that I have been disappointed by Hizzoner's switch on Immigration.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2007 3:32 PM

Electromechanical Spying

When hippies get together you can bet your bong there are going to be drugs on hand.

Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

"I heard someone say, 'Oh my god, look at those,' " the college senior from New York recalled. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects."

Robotic fliers have been used by the military since World War II, but in the past decade their numbers and level of sophistication have increased enormously.

"I'd never seen anything like it in my life," the Washington lawyer said. "They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?' "


When you believe that a neo-con cabal stole an election; plotted the destruction of four planes, three buildings and three thousand of it's own citizens; lied through their teeth to go to war for corporate profits and petroleum products, you too can believe that there is an agency in the US Government that sent flying bugs to spy on you and your birkenstocked hairy legs.

Frankly, I'm shocked I read that in the Washington Post.

But jk thinks:

I love this myth of repression. The antiwar protestors want to think themselves brave because the government is cracking down so hard on them. That one professor's luggage was delayed by the evil neocon cabal, but has it occurred to anybody that there are no other incidents of dissent stifling?

And doesn't everybody know that a good, solid tinfoil hat is the best repellant for government spy bugs. Geeesh.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2007 2:15 PM

October 9, 2007

GOP Debate #235

Best round up. Ever?

But jk thinks:

Probably so.

Man, I am as Republican as the next guy, but that one was a little too long. Two hours of debate and two hours of recap. Even with TiVo power-watching®, that was painful.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2007 10:57 AM

The Frost Contretemps

I am really enjoying this story. It's not quite as good as Dan Rather's forged documents, but it s at least as good a blog story as Beauchamp's Bogus TNR pieces.

The Frosts are the folks who put their 12-year old child up to deliver the Democratic response to the President. First word came out that the parents might be well off: their house is twice the size of mine in a more affluent neighborhood, and the lad’s siblings attend a $20,000/yr private school. Yet I have to pay for his health care.

The rebound blogwave was an attack from lefty bloggers at mean righty bloggers who would have no compassion for a young accident victim or a family that was struggling. Michelle Malkin cruised by the house and admitted that $400,000 "seemed high" as an appraisal of the family abode. The left called her a stalker, et cetera, et cetera...

The rebound backlash is the best. Riehl World View digs a little deeper, and finds a typical liberal family. He went to Princeton, has a classic '56 T-bird, has a nice home that he has allowed to run down, and chooses to run a woodworking shop rather than more lucrative, but less pleasing work that his Princeton degree might provide.

Yes, the Frost children are victims, but not of conservatives. They look more like victims of a couple of mostly spoiled brats who became parents and never felt compelled to take responsibility for themselves when it came to the bottom line on that. There are poor people in America who need help, particularly as regards Health care. The point is, the family above shouldn't be and simply aren't among them. Call Dad next time you want some bucks FH. And kindly leave the rest of America's collective wallet the hell alone.

Or, hey, get a second job with benefits. I've done that more than once in my life when I needed the cash. And do it before you let Graeme tell the media how much you struggle to take care of him, because there are enough people in America who really do struggle with these issues. And when they take a look at your lot in life they are left far from impressed and unmoved to cough up one thin dime so you can enjoy afternoons playing with your lathe, or whatever the hell else it is you do in your factory.


This is a better story than being rich. Either way, it makes no sense why I should have to pay for this guy's family's health care.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Mike thinks:

You may want to clarify. Many of the facts from Riehl your hitting are actually about the Grandfather, not the father. Overall point remains, but people will hit you for the inaccuracy. Looks like Senior was $ucce$$ful, so Junior rejected that material wealth only to find out that material wealth is pretty nice to have when you have a family.

Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2007 7:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Point taken -- I thought that Dad had the T-bird, not Grandpa. I still think they didn't choose the best spokeskid. If they looked really hard, some Democrat might know a 12-year old who's folks did not have every advantage (maybe the pool boy, or one of the servants...)

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2007 7:52 PM

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Via Drudge

2008 Race Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:39 PM

Democrats Cut and Run!

Congressional Democrats rode anti-war sentiment to victory last fall — but they are staking their success in the final months of this year’s calendar on more traditional domestic issues amid concern that the war may not be the potent political issue it once was by Election Day 2008.
Martin Kady II writes in Politico that defeat may not be a path to victory after all.

Hat-tip: Insty, who links it with this awesome comparison to 1864.

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM

The End of the Wal*Mart Era?

ThreeSources friend Everyday Economist had a great post yesterday about Schumpeterian "Gales of creative destruction" and a WSJ-called "end of the Wal*Mart era."

It is easy in hindsight to see that a particular large company’s influence was not as burdensome as perceived. Perhaps the animosity toward powerful companies is an example of what Bryan Caplan calls pessimistic bias given the fact that uncertainty lies in the future. In any case, I find it disturbing (yet not surprising) that attention is often focused much more on the destruction rather than on the creativity.

Wal*Mart and Microsoft stock prices have flatlined for years. Yesterday, Google shares broke through $600/share and the company's market capitalization exceeded Wal*Mart’s.

Mr. Schumpeter, your ideas are alive and well.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM

Inconvient Truths

*snicker*

Environment Posted by AlexC at 10:17 AM

October 8, 2007

Happy Trails

Blog friend Perry Eidlebus is headed to the Philippines. He posts from Hong Kong:

It was a miserable flight. We were having mechanical difficulties with an engine at JFK, delaying our departure for almost four hours. Because Cathay Pacific's rules prohibit a crew working more than 20 hours straight, we couldn't go straight to Hong Kong as planned. We had to go to Beijing, where we stopped for a few hours to refuel, have the engine checked again, and take on a fresh flight crew. The reason Beijing was closer is because we flew over the top of the world, literally, going over the North Pole. I took several pictures of the Moon and what I think is Venus, sitting beautifully over the sunrise; we'll see how those turn out.

Twenty hours! Nine from Denver to London used to kill me, I started changing planes in Newark just for the break. Magandang araw, Perry! Have some pancit and some halo-halo for me!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM

None Dare Call it Demagoguery III

This is unbelievable! Mark Steyn tells of a Freeper who does the Googling that American Journalists won't do. Remember that 12 year old who delivered the Democratic response to the President the weekend before last? The poor young lad was in an accident and needs the Federal Government to pay his health insurance.

If it ever occurred to Matthew Hay Brown, the Sun's "reporter", to look into just what kind of "woodworking" Mr Frost did, he managed to suppress the urge.

"icwhatudo" at Free Republic, however, showed rather more curiosity than the professional reporter paid to investigate the story and did a bit of Googling. Mr Frost, the "woodworker", owns his own design company and the commercial property it operates from, part of which space he also rents out; they have a 3,000-sq-ft home on a street where a 2,000-sq-ft home recently sold for half a million dollars; he was able to afford to send two children simultaneously to a $20,000-a-year private school; his father and grandfather were successful New York designers and architects; etc. This is apparently the new definition of "working families":


A bit more Googling found a health plan in that tony zip code for $482/month.

Standard disclaimer II: I'm sorry the lad was in an accident. I cannot say that the parents do not have financial problems, and I don't know if they were eligible for the $482 policy. But I do not see why I have to buy their insurance.

Hat-tip: Insty, who also links to a story on this by Don Surber.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM

Happy Columbus Day

I know nobody in ThreeSources Land has to work today on the big holiday, so take some time to enjoy Jules Crittenden's celebration of "the most unPC holiday of the year."

That’s why I intend to celebrate it doing the most unPC thing I can think of. Working for a living.

Columbus Day celebrates the arrival of Europeans in the New World, which critics note marked the onset of a lot of death, power shifts, slavery and domination of the continent by new ethnic groups. Essentially, a continuation of history as usual as far as the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia were concerned, all of which had practiced those things repeatedly. Only in the Americas, an acceleration of history, something different.

From this complex, sometimes disturbing history of boldness, vision, determination, misery, blood and hope in the cauldron of New World, emerged the greatest nation history has seen, founded on noble ideas, some of which we are still finetuning. An example to the rest of the world, which is still having trouble with a lot of the basics. Happy Columbus Day.


I finally scared off my last leftist friend a while back. He stayed with me through my support of the War in Iraq, free markets and all. But in our last email exchange, I pointed out that there was scant evidence of human rights in the 1000 years before the Europeans arrived. He directed me toward the Iroquois Constitution. I must admit, that was more sophisticated than this "great white hunter" (my new nickname with this particular interlocutor) had known.

Yet it is basically a defense pact, open only to those who spoke a particular language. There was a stab at self government, but I still see nothing of individual rights or freedom. That came on boats.

Standard disclaimer: the abrogation of treaties with indigenous Americans is one of our great shames and is completely indefensible. A nation of laws should have done better. But we (we, kimosabe?) came and established a free enough society that Samuel Colt could prosper and invent interchangeable parts, economically manufacturing firearms. The settlers did not have guns because they won the lottery.

And that's your racist, ThreeSources hate for the day -- have a great Columbus Day! Hit all the sales!

But johngalt thinks:

So what you're leftist ex-friend is saying is it's only OK to forcefully defend yourself from others if you're part of a group, and then only if that group is non-European.

While the nativists protest parades in Columbus' honor, I'd like to protest his federal holiday. How many tax dollars go to pay people not to work in the name of this "genocidal racist?" (1/365th of what it costs to get them not to work year round in their government jobs, I suppose.)

Were someone to press this issue, however, they'd just change the name of the darned thing like they did with Presidents Day. Something like, "Continental Discoverers and Exploiters Day."

Posted by: johngalt at October 8, 2007 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen on the holiday. We lack for sufficient days to honor those who truly had a part in making this nation great. Having Washington and Lincoln share "President's Day," whatever. At least I like it better than Labor Day.

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2007 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I thought said leftist friend had stopped speaking to me, but now I remember: it was he who sent the "six black lab puppies Internet mail hoax." I guess we are friends after all.

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2007 3:37 PM

October 7, 2007

Swept

Ugh.

At least the third game was close.

Addresses please gentlemen.

Sports Posted by AlexC at 1:33 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

That was a great game. Humidor or not, I am still not used to seeing a pitchers' battle at Coors Field.

I feel sheepish accepting payment when the full details of the wager were never settled. However, I am now intrigued by Tastykakes. I suggest that JG and I can share, we need a good excuse to get together.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2007 2:10 PM
But dagny thinks:

Close game it was. However, jg noted that the Rockies scored exactly twice as many points as the Phillies in each game.

Posted by: dagny at October 7, 2007 3:25 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Urrghhh,..how well does Yuengling travel??

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 8, 2007 11:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, anything can be shipped if it's packed carefully enough!

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2007 2:55 PM

Tastykakes!

The Colorado Rockies nascent postseason dream rolls on. AlexC voiced the Phillies' sentiment that they'd rather have faced the Padres than the Rockies. I'm confident the Diamondbacks would rather be facing the Padres too, or even the Phillies. After all, the Rox beat Arizona 10 games to 8 during the season including 2 of 3 to close it out. Had the Snakes managed to win just one of those final two games they'd have saved the Padres their early disappointment... and the Phillies theirs... and, just maybe, their own.

No I'm not counting chickens, at least not yet, but it's hard to imagine the D-backs not having some doubts. They watched Rockies pitching shut down the highest scoring team in the National League. And they did it with a pitching staff comprised of rookies, cast-offs and a second-year staff ace, none of whom anyone east of Limon has ever heard of. Then consider that Helton's Heroes led the National League in team batting average this season while Snakes batters were dead last. (Only the lowly Chicago White Sox were worse in all of MLB.) In fact, Arizona won the NL West title while allowing more runs than they scored, a feat comparable to George Bush's 2000 electoral performance over Albert Gore Jr: Both are still being studied for clues to explain how they were even possible.

A careful, objective series preview for Rox vs. Snakes isn't what this post is all about, although they stack up against each other pretty well. The point right here, right now, is that sometimes in sports "magic" happens. It isn't really magic of course, that's just what it feels like. Clint Hurdle's not a rah rah guy and rarely shows emotion on the bench, but he does know how to fire up players and inspire their best performances. He's used the same line all season: "Respect everything. Be in awe of nothing." There's a tremendous amount of power to motivate hard work and confidence in those few words. Now, on the eve of the pennant series, there's more to add: "They've [Diamondbacks] had more success than us in the past and that was always a little rock in our shoe that we've had to wear, so now the opportunity to play them in the N.L.C.S. is going to be special."

The charmed season continues.

Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 12:38 PM

None Dare Call it Demagoguery II


bushveto.jpgFred Barnes ridiculed the Democrats for having a 12-year old deliver the rebuttal to the President's radio address last week. As Barnes said, they go mad when a Republican tries to use the flag or a soldier to promote policy, but they think nothing of using children as props.

Shame on this child's parents (living in Boulder County, I know hundreds who would stoop this low). Are there no honest interlocutors left in the Democratic Party?

Photo credit: AP

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 PM

October 6, 2007

Six Black Lab Puppies

A friend of a friend needs your help:

Scott rescued 6 black lab (mix) puppies out of the middle of the road on Saturday. PLEASE help me find them homes - otherwise, it's Animal Control - which means they only have 5 days. We've bathed them, sprayed them for fleas and wormed them....but we can't keep them. They are currently in a kennel in my basement since I don't have a fence. I've lost count of the number of rescue groups that I've contacted, only to be turned down due to no room. Please check with every dog person you know to see if they need a puppy.

UPDATE: COMPLETELY, TOTALLY HAD! I searched Snopes for "six black lab puppies" but a search for "lab puppies" yields this. It seems it was real a year ago, but homes were all found.

My wife raised additional concerns, right before I read jg's comment. The Boulder Humane Society has an almost-if-not zero euthanasia policy. You wouldn't have had to make a lot of calls around here to find more than five days for six puppies.

All my posts about global warming and the FDA, however, remain completely and totally factual.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Do we have the same friend of friends or is this a chain letter hoax? Dagny received this email verbatim from a co-worker last week. When we offered to take one we were told, "They've all found homes." Hmmmmmm.

Posted by: johngalt at October 6, 2007 8:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I'm glad all the little guys are safe.

Perhaps I have been had. I don't see anything on Snopes. I have asked the two people I know whether they know this brave canine rescuer personally.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2007 12:03 PM

That Scottish Play

It has been a while since I have had a solid rental recommendation for Review Corner but this one is worth the wait.

IMDB dates Macbeth as 2006, but it has just come to Redbox last week. The website synopsis reads:

The Melbourne underworld, present time.

Macbeth, a loyal henchman to his crime boss Duncan, is told by teenage witches that he will one day assume great power. Driven by their prophecy, he plots with his wife to kill Duncan, and takes the leadership of the gang for himself.

Maintaining his power will require more murders and violence, finally driving his surviving enemies to unite and destroy him.


The look is contemporary: hot cars, cell phones and automatic weapons. There are steamy sex scenes, cocaine use, puking, and a body count that would put Stephen Seagal to shame. Yet the dialog is all blank verse. I am not a scholar but I think I caught a couple deviances from the original.

All and all, I think the bard would approve. jk gives a solid four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM

October 5, 2007

Quote to Remember

"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers. In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I am readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."

~Robert E. Lee, 1863

Posted by John Kranz at 7:34 PM | What do you think? [1]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

To be cross-posted at my blog later,....

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 8, 2007 11:44 PM

Unlikeliest Headline Ever?

Democrats Rally to Defend Electoral College System

Not out of profound sense of history or respect toward the framers, of course.

A change might screw them.

Republican activists in California, the most populous state in the country, have set in motion a proposal to change the law to end the winner-takes-all electoral college system.

The change, if it went through, would effectively hand the next election to the Republicans.

California has gone Democratic in every election since 1992, providing a bloc of 55 electoral votes, about one fifth of the 270 needed to win the presidency.

The Republicans are proposing that instead of all the electoral votes going to the winner, the 55 votes be allocated on a Congressional district basis, which would give the Republicans around 20, almost certainly enough to secure the White House.


Snicker.

2008 Race Posted by AlexC at 1:18 PM

October 4, 2007

Rockies Up Two Games to Zero

When the first two batters hit home runs, it's hard to get your hopes up.

But they were close, until they blew it.

Sports Posted by AlexC at 8:09 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Kaz...

Posted by: jk at October 4, 2007 8:54 PM
But dagny thinks:

jg has me mostly converted to a baseball fan these days. The cool thing about the Rockies is that the hero is different each time. Noone expected Kaz.

Posted by: dagny at October 5, 2007 9:53 AM

None Dare Call It Demagoguery

Just kidding, everybody knows it's demagoguery, but when "the children" are at stake, the Democrats cannot stop. They're like moths demagoging to a flame. Joseph Rago writes in OpinionJournal's Political Diary:

The crocodile outrage flowed fast and deep yesterday after President Bush's promised veto of the Schip bill that would have vastly expanded a federal subsidy for children's health care.

Ted Kennedy called it "the most inexplicable veto in the history of the country." Barack Obama decried a "callousness of priorities." Nancy Pelosi flirted with the edges of self-parody, saying: "President Bush used his cruel veto pen to say 'I forbid 10 million children from getting the health benefits they deserve.'"

Of course, the veto will not actually deprive any current enrollees (10% of whom are adults) of medical care. President Bush made sure of that when he signed a continuing resolution funding the program until an accommodation is reached. Count on this fact remaining little noticed amid the current political circus.

Democrats believe they have a strong shot at overriding the veto, but will wait a week or two to continue milking the controversy and to solidify a campaign issue for 2008. Of the eight House Democrats who opposed the expansion and three others who didn't vote, the leadership has already rolled five of them. That means at least 14 Republicans need to turn over as well, out of 151 in the opposition.

To that end, lobbying groups including Families USA, MoveOn.org, AARP, SEIU and AFSCME, as well as the Democratic Party, are mounting an advertising campaign targeting vulnerable Republicans, mainly in swing districts. No doubt we'll see more of the same end-of-days hysteria.

Harry Reid in particular has been trying to shame Republicans by name, singling out Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, the only member of his delegation to vote nay. In response, Mr. Bartlett thanked Mr. Reid "for recognizing that I cast the only correct vote about Schip in the state of Maryland.... Democrats are demanding that Schip be expanded to have government-controlled, taxpayer-paid health care for millions of children who already have private health coverage."

In a soundbite, Mr. Bartlett has exactly described what the battle is all about.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:43 PM

October 3, 2007

General Pace's Speech

This was posted on Hugh Hewitt's site:



Thanks to all who serve.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 5:03 PM

Mission Accomplished

Instapundit links to an essay titled Mission Accomplished, with a very optimistic look at the future of coalition involvement in Iraq.

The great question in deciding whether to keep fighting in Iraq is not about the morality and self-interest of supporting a struggling democracy that is also one of the most important countries in the world. The question is whether the war is winnable and whether we can help the winning of it. The answer is made much easier by the fact that three and a half years after the start of the insurgency, most of the big questions in Iraq have been resolved. Moreover, they have been resolved in ways that are mostly towards the positive end of the range of outcomes imagined at the start of the project. The country is whole. It has embraced the ballot box. It has created a fair and popular constitution. It has avoided all-out civil war. It has not been taken over by Iran. It has put an end to Kurdish and marsh Arab genocide, and anti-Shia apartheid. It has rejected mass revenge against the Sunnis. As shown in the great national votes of 2005 and the noisy celebrations of the Iraq football team's success in July, Iraq survived the Saddam Hussein era with a sense of national unity; even the Kurds—whose reluctant commitment to autonomy rather than full independence is in no danger of changing—celebrated. Iraq's condition has not caused a sectarian apocalypse across the region. The country has ceased to be a threat to the world or its region. The only neighbours threatened by its status today are the leaders in Damascus, Riyadh and Tehran.

Weekly Standard? National Review? Nope, across the pond.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM

Former President Raises Voice

President James Earl Carter has a reputation as a pacifist, but the Wall Street Journal reports that he shouted during an "Elders" publicity stunt and feel good patrol diplomatic visit to Darfur.

KABKABIYA, Sudan -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter got in a shouting match Wednesday with Sudanese security services who blocked him from a town in Darfur where he was trying to meet representatives of ethnic African refugees from the ongoing conflict.
[...]
U.N. officials told Mr. Carter's entourage that the Sudanese state police could bar his way. "Let's go, or somebody is going to get shot," said one U.N. official, as an increasingly tense crowd gathered. Billionaire businessman Richard Branson and Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, tried to ease Mr. Carter's frustration as his U.S. secret service security urged him to climb into a car and leave. "I'll tell President Bashir about this," Mr. Carter said, referring to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

A friend of ThreeSources sends a free link to a Yahoo/AP story on this, and suggests "The obvious lesson is that Carter and symbolism, along with .50, might get you a cup of coffee. Marines will get you results."

But mdmhvonpa thinks:

This is an evil thought, but ExPres Carter could have done A LOT for the oppressed people of Darfur by getting shot.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 3, 2007 11:53 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Similarly, I was thinking "Too bad it didn't happen to him."

Benefits: we won't have Jimmy Carter to listen to anymore, and it'll give us an excuse to go in and kick Sudanese Muslim ass.

Cons: can anyone think of any? We won't have Jimmy Carter to kick around anymore, but he's getting awfully tiring.

Evil thoughts? Damn right.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 3, 2007 1:42 PM

October 2, 2007

Kevlar Underpants

Dilbertblog on the study of economics, cognitive dissidence and Kevlar underpants..

Why would I excerpt that? From that title, you will either click on over to read it, and nothing I could say would stop you, or you will run from the computer screaming and nothing I could say would entice you.

Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 8:46 PM

Loved Your Book

Mister Luskin links to a New Yorker interview between authors O.J. Simpson and Alan Greenspan.

Simpson: I also thought your book was fascinating, not just for what you said but for what you chose not to say. For example, when you were chairman of the Federal Reserve, didn’t you get a lot of tail?

Greenspan: I’m a happily married man.

Simpson: (laughing) I’ll take that as a yes! Seriously, though, N.F.L. players get buckets of ass, but being able to cut the lending rate—that must make the ladies horny as hell.

Greenspan: (laughing) As I used to say when I was at the Fed, it is my policy not to comment on rumors.

Simpson: Touché.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM

"Holy Cow."

Breaking news from the Guardian UK: In the immortal words of Harry Caray, "Rockies Win! Rockies Win!"

After watching patiently for 12 and a half innings and being crushed by the two-run homer given up by a hapless Jorge Julio I announced to my parents that I'd listen to the rest of the game on the drive home. Decorated in the Troy Tulowitzki jersey I had worn to the office I loaded the sleeping kids into the car and started off on the somber drive that would witness the playing out of the end of a season to remember for the 'never-say-die' Colorado Rockies. I parted with the words, "Yeah, but we've hit him hard before" when dad grimly observed that the Padres closer is something of a legend. I was tough on the outside but in my heart I was beginning the grieving process. I was ready to say "Die well my brothers."

Fortunately, for the Rockies, for Denver, for me, I wasn't at the plate to start the bottom of the 13th against the "Hall of Fame lock" the "best closer of all time" Trevor Hoffman. Kazuo Matsui was. On a 2-2 pitch Kaz doubled to right-center. "The tying run is at the plate" says Rockies play-by-play man Jeff Kingery. I thought to myself how Jeff always puts the best spin on the situation, and what a pleasure it was to listen to his account rather than the dunderheads from Atlanta calling the game for TBS. The next batter, Troy Tulowitzki, the steeley rookie shortstop with the maturity of a mere one season under his belt, worked the dominating owner of 524 career saves into a 3-2 count before hammering the ball into the gap in left-center to score his fellow middle infielder and then legging it into a double. Still with no outs the MVP candidate Matt Holiday came to the plate. "Pinch me" I thought. Tying run in scoring position and nobody out! Matt drove a first pitch fastball into right field sending the ball and the Padres Brian Giles careening off the wall in quick succession. By the time Giles got up and got the ball back in Tulowitzki had tied the game and the winning run slid into third in the person of Matt Holliday. Nobody out. I struggled to contain my cheers lest I wake the dear little ones in the back seat. The unavoidable conclusion didn't wait long to arrive. Bud Black intentionally walked the left-handed Todd Helton to face the utility infielder who had replaced the power-hitting Garrett Atkins as a pinch runner in the seventh. On Hoffman's first pitch Jamey Carroll flew out to medium right field and Holliday tagged up. Sliding in head first, after a pregnant pause, "He's in there!! Barrett dropped the ball! The Rockies have won the game!" There's only one word to describe a win like this one - "Epic."

On an interesting side note, and something I didn't notice throughout the entire game until watching DVR'd replays after the fact, the mechanical out-of-town scoreboard that Brian Giles bounced off of in right field was replete with game scores. But there weren't any other games today. Hey, those are yesterday's scores. Why would the Coors Field staff leave yesterday's scores plastered all over the right field wall? Was everyone occupied hanging the bunting for this 'not quite postseason, not quite regular season' winner take all crap shoot? Or, perhaps, they wanted to remind the Padres what happened to them yesterday in Milwaukee, losing 11-6 at the hands of the Brewers. I don't know what to say, except thank you Brewers. Thank you Ned Yost.

Next stop: The city of brotherly love and the Phillies. See you Wednesday!

Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 AM | What do you think? [7]
But AlexC thinks:

I would have rather faced the Padres in post-season, but I'll take an exhausted Rockies over golf in October.

... and Holliday never touched the bag!

A case of Tastykakes to you guys if the Rockies win the series.

-alex

Posted by: AlexC at October 2, 2007 11:44 AM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking of Rocky Mountain Oysters if the Phils prevail...

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2007 11:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, yeah, you can take up that "he missed the plate" stuff with these guys. The Rox lost games to the Brewers and the Giants when two other home run calls were blown by the ump so to have a third one in the last game of the season is ironic. Fix any ONE of those three umpiring errors and this game is either won or never played.

Personally I'm glad the game ended on a controversial play so fans around the country have something to gripe about besides "Coors Field sucks and should be torn down and replaced by a pressurized dome!" Whatever. Last I checked, both teams pitched from the same mound and hit for the same fences. It's different. Live with it.

Rocky Mountain Oysters, JK? Heck, WE should have to eat those if the Phillies win. How about some Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter? mmmmmmm!

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2007 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

You've a point, jg, but then again, I've never had TastyKakes. I was trying to think of something good, but every one I thought of was beer as well. I don't think our soi disant free country would allow its citizens to ship a whole case across state lines. You know, commerce clause and all. Wickard v Filburn.

Not to mention the implicit refutation of whether a bag was touched...

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2007 4:14 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

A case of Yuengling Lager! Since all that ever came outta Colorado was Coors, you might like to try some real beer! :)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 2, 2007 10:14 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I elected to go with Tastykakes because of that whole "shipping bottles" problem.

Besides, Tastykakes are full of fat and sugar and goodness.

But you guys better start thinkin' about what to git me.

Posted by: AlexC at October 3, 2007 1:59 PM

October 1, 2007

Please Oh Please Oh Please!

This is Jay Cray, blogging with jk's account. The ThreeSources pragmatist has not read and does not endorse this message. But John Fund writes in OpinionJournal PoliticalDiary that James Dobson is looking to field a third party candidate if the GOP nominates Hizzoner. Though he says he won't , their best candidate might be Rep Tom Tancredo (R. Populismiasma)

A group of attendees at the Council for National Policy -- a supersecret quarterly gathering of prominent social conservatives -- broke off from the main meeting in Salt Lake City this weekend to pass a resolution warning that they might back a third-party candidate should Rudy Giuliani win the GOP nomination.

The resolution reads in part: "If the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate, we will consider running a third-party candidate." Supporters included Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and Morton Blackwell, head of the Leadership Institute.

"The signal is out there that you nominate him and we walk," Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation, told Politico.com. Mr. Weyrich didn't attend the meeting that voted on the resolution, but was in broad sympathy with it.

Of course, threatening a third-party campaign is easier said than done. The task of securing a place on numerous state ballots would be very difficult after February, the earliest date when the identity of the GOP nominee would actually be known. In addition, a suitable alternative candidate would have to be found. One of the most promising, GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, has strong disagreements with Mr. Giuliani on both abortion and immigration. But he made clear to me last Friday he was having nothing to do with talk that he might bolt the GOP and run against a Rudy Giuliani ticket.

Mr. Tancredo admitted he had talked over the matter with Bay Buchanan, his campaign manager, who herself played a major role in convincing her brother Pat to leave the GOP and run against George W. Bush in 2000 as the candidate of Ross Perot's Reform Party. But Mr. Tancredo told me he had scotched the idea: "No, the obstacles are too great. I have no interest in it." Asked if that was a Shermanesque statement -- named after the Civil War general William Sherman who told supporters: "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve" -- Mr. Tancredo told me, "Yes."

Anger from the social conservative wing of the Republican Party at the prospect of a Giuliani nomination is real enough, and it certainly could cost him in terms of voter enthusiasm among the party's base. But the chances look remote of finding a major social conservative to carry a third-party banner against him.


Dang. if Dobson and Tancredo bolted, I'd be pretty proud to call myself a Republican again. Jay Cray out, pragmatism will return shortly...

2008 Race Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM

I did it because he deserves it

Instapundit links to this story from a Phoenix-San Antonio flight:

Shortly before takeoff, he overheard a flight attendant tell a young uniformed soldier sitting in front of him:

"A lady in first-class wants to switch seats with you."

The soldier accepted the offer and walked up to the first-class section.

"When the lady came back to our area, I had a tear in my eye," Anderson said when he phoned this column soon after his plane landed. "I gave her a little round of applause.

"Then, by golly, everybody in that area started applauding," he said in a voice tinged with emotion. "It was a very moving moment."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:28 PM

Good News Leads the AP

I chide them when they bury it, I have to give props when they do it right. The top Yahoo/AP Headline as I post is: US, Iraqi Civilian Deaths Fall Sharply.

BAGHDAD - Deaths among American forces and Iraqi civilians fell dramatically last month to their lowest levels in more than a year, according to figures compiled by the U.S. military, the Iraqi government and The Associated Press.

The decline signaled a U.S. success in bringing down violence in Baghdad and surrounding regions since Washington completed its infusion of 30,000 more troops on June 15.

A total of 64 American forces died in September — the lowest monthly toll since July 2006.

The decline in Iraqi civilian deaths was even more dramatic, falling from 1,975 in August to 922 last month, a decline of 53.3 percent. The breakdown in September was 844 civilians and 78 police and Iraqi soldiers, according to Iraq's ministries of Health, Interior and Defense.


Memphis, however, is a quagmire.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM

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