October 31, 2007
Milton Friedman vs. Phil Donahue
The doyen of daytime TV is left speechless by the master:
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.
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.
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
October 30, 2007
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.
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 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®...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Those guys know how to party!
Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM
October 28, 2007
"Imagine if a two hundred and fifty year supply of energy were right here at home."
Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano.
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 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.
October 27, 2007
Senator Edwards Doesn't Want You to See This
Which is, sadly, good enough for me:
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.
October 26, 2007
Subprime Mortgages Explained
Hat-tip: Don Luskin
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.
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..
October 25, 2007
Worth 1,000,000 words
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.
You shut up one blogger, soldier. Thank you for your service.
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?
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.
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.
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.
October 24, 2007
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.
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.).
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.
Nice clip from Kudlow & Company. Don Luskin and Jeremy Siegal hold class on index investing:
October 23, 2007
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.
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.
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.
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."
F*ck yeah, that's a good line.
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
October 20, 2007
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!
Well spoken anti-Pragmatism
Samizdata's Quote of the day
"We all have to compromise," says Walt Chalmers (played by Robert Vaughn)
Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM
I Can Almost Smell Camden...
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.
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!
Would they sell fake, bad, brown acid in the gift shop?
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.
October 18, 2007
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.
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.
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.
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."
The Most Important Issue
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.
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.
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.
October 16, 2007
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.
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.
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.
October 15, 2007
The NEXT Nobel Prize
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.
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?
(tip to BOTW)
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.)
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.
Some amateur video from a New Hampshire event:
ThreeSources friend Perry Eidlebus proposes in the Philippine sunset, and is accepted.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM
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.
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."
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?
October 13, 2007
Blood For Oil, Really This Time
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.
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.
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."
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?
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...
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.
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.
The gavel of speaker really is in the hands of America's children.
The Nobel Peace Prize is officially a joke. Al Gore, U.N. Climate Panel
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.
October 11, 2007
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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."
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!
Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Iran
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.
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.
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?
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.
Ron Paul and Barry Manilow -- that mightn't be a bad ticket...
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.
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.
October 9, 2007
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 8, 2007
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.
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.
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.
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!
October 7, 2007
At least the third game was close.
Addresses please gentlemen.
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.
None Dare Call it Demagoguery II
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.
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.
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.
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."
Unlikeliest Headline Ever?
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.
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.
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.
October 3, 2007
General Pace's Speech
This was posted on Hugh Hewitt's site:
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.
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"
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.
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."
October 2, 2007
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
Loved Your Book
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?
Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM
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!
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.
Dang. if Dobson and Tancredo bolted, I'd be pretty proud to call myself a Republican again. Jay Cray out, pragmatism will return shortly...
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:
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.
Memphis, however, is a quagmire.