April 30, 2008

Ron Paul's Book

Perhaps there is hope. CNN reports:


Ron Paul’s loyal supporters helped him set campaign fundraising records and capture more delegates during his presidential run than some of his high-profile Republican rivals...

Now they’ve taken his latest book to the top of the Amazon.com bestseller list.

“The Revolution: A Manifesto”, released earlier this month, is currently No. 1 on the Web site’s list of top sellers, besting even Oprah’s latest Book Club selection.


Regardless of how anyone feels out Ron Paul (and certainly ThreeSources has been a place of both praise and criticism), it is encouraging to see a libertarian message reach such a large audience.

Politics Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:27 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Let the record show that I agree wholeheartedly. You can count me among the ThreeSourcers who did not feel he was the right President at the right time, but his ideas on Constitutional purview and the power of liberty deserve a wide audience.

The delegate count is interesting as well. My life's work is to convince the GOP to embrace these ideas. Delegates are the coin of the realm.

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2008 10:05 AM

You Won't Sleep For Days

Don Luskin links to the most comprehensive collection of unflattering pictures of Senator Clinton ever assembled:

You'll laugh! You'll scream! You'll cry!

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 1:38 PM

McCain Care

The WSJ Ed Page gives high marks to Senator McCain's health care plan:

For a man whose heterodoxies have no doubt triggered GOP heartburn, John McCain delivered another speech yesterday on health care that offered a sophisticated set of policies that could lead to some of the most constructive changes to the system in decades.

It is good news for his candidacy if Mr. McCain is making space now for political creativity and policy risks. Last week he laid down an economic plan, even venturing to Democratic redoubts like Youngstown, Ohio, and New Orleans's Ninth Ward. Now he has returned to his health-care reform, based on market principles and increased consumer choice, which he first outlined during the primaries.

The Senator is also starting to enfold these ideas in a larger narrative that will be indispensable in the philosophical fight that is so clearly ordained for the general election between private and government health care.


I missed the speech. I did watch a commercial on the McCain website, and I did not get the sweeping narrative. I certainly hope they are right.

While you're trolling around Mister Murdoch’s free opinion page, read Karl Rove's guest editorial, Getting To Know John McCain. It contains even more heroics from his Hanoi Hilton days. (Hat-tip: Terri)

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM

A non-Classic Recession

No, I am not saying that the US economy is not and will not be in recession.

Like the old schoolmarm who still tries to teach the difference between who and whom and cautions her students to not, I mean not to split infinitives, I am standing up for a recession as a specific, measureable, binary thing. My main nemesis is the Associated Press wire service:

Economy grows by only 0.6 percent in 1st quarter of 2008

WASHINGTON - The bruised economy limped through the first quarter of this year at only 0.6 percent as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.

The country's economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The statistic did not meet what economists consider the classic definition of a recession, which is a retraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if modestly.


So, like New Coke® and Coke Classic®, we have a classic recession, where the economy suffers two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, and a "New" recession where a Republican is in the White House and growth is sub par. Got it.

UPDATE: Professor Mankiw notes that the probability of a recession in 2008 has fallen to 25 percent in the latest trade at intrade.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 9:49 AM

April 29, 2008

Obama and Corruption

The Los Angeles Times reports:


After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client -- a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for more than a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.

Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions. With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Blackwell's firms, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.


Read the whole thing. It only gets better from here.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:51 PM

Obama: Dumb

How stupid does he think 300 million Americans are?


Suddenly there's outrage?

Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he was outraged and appalled by the latest comments from his former pastor, who asserted that criticism of his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and the U.S. government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus.

The presidential candidate is seeking to tamp down the growing fury over Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his incendiary remarks that threaten to undermine his campaign.

"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday," Obama told reporters at a news conference.

After weeks of staying out of the public eye while critics lambasted his sermons, Wright made three public appearances in four days to defend himself. The former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been combative, providing colorful commentary and feeding the story Obama had hoped was dying down.


Where has Obama been for the past 20 years?

This was the pastor who married the Obamas, baptized their children and took donations from the Obama family.... We're all fairly certain that this is not new territory for the Pastor.

Senator Obama thinks we're too dumb to figure it all out, or he's too dumb to not have noticed it while sitting in the pews.

It's a damned shame the Democrats are looking to be stuck with him for the fall.

But jk thinks:

I think the superdelegates face some hard choices. Of course, they are super-delegates, so they should be up to it. I'm certain the Democrats all appreciate your concern, ac.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2008 7:40 PM
But HB thinks:

I shall not weep for the Democrats.

I would also like to point out that the media and the liberal politicians and pundits all ridiculed the GOP for criticizing McCain for not being "conservative enough." Newspapers (people still read those, right?) were ripe with stories of how the crazy right-wingers were highjacking the party, etc. Yet, here we are again. The Dems have once again (super delegates aside) chosen to nominate a far-left, liberal.

The Dems were poised to win in 2004 and yet they chose limousine liberal John Kerry. They are (were) poised to win in 2008 and yet they have chosen the son of a socialist, whose social and political connections are deplorable.

I hate to say it, but the last candidate the Dems nominated with any sense was Al Gore and he has since lost his mind (and, thankfully, the beard). When will the Dems learn that it is the moderates within their party that are the winners?

I haven't the slightest idea why Democrats continue to turn into European-style Social Democrats every election cycle. The easiest explanation is that they are arrogant and think that they know better than others (the victory of defeat -- we may have lost, but we nominated the best candidate). While this is tempting, I don't think that it summarizes the average Democratic voter. In fact, most Democrats I know are sensible people. Although I may disagree with some of their arguments, they are by no means represented by the current leadership of their party.

The pleasant pontificator (orgasmic orator? Someone help me out with an ample nickname...) has been given a free pass by those in his party and those in the media. However, in the words of Rev. Wright, the chickens are coming home to roost. It seems as though it is too late for Billary to make a comeback (barring some riot-inspiring swindle) and the Dems are now stuck with a poor candidate again.

Posted by: HB at April 29, 2008 9:33 PM
But jk thinks:

My fear, HB, is that the electorate is veering left to meet them. Call McGovern -> Mondale -> Dukakis -> Kerry -> Obama a straight line. McGovern won one state -- er Commonwealth, the folks in the middle were beaten soundly. But Senator Kerry almost won.

Has the electorate shifted far enough left to elect Obama? I fear so.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2008 12:03 PM
But jk thinks:

My fear, HB, is that the electorate is veering left to meet them. Call McGovern -> Mondale -> Dukakis -> Kerry -> Obama a straight line. McGovern won one state -- er Commonwealth, the folks in the middle were beaten soundly. But Senator Kerry almost won.

Has the electorate shifted far enough left to elect Obama? I fear so.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2008 12:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But more to AC's original point, I'm convinced the Wright revival cum Obama outrage routine was carefully orchestrated as an attempt to defuse the Wright issue before the general election.

They did the best they could in the situation but I agree with HB. When votin' day finally rolls around, 'Merica ain't gonna 'lect no 'Merica hater.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2008 3:58 PM

We've Got The Public to Protect!

The good people of Pennsylvania (I am not piling on, it just happens to be the location) will be protected from the ravages of cheap medication:

A 67-year-old law is preventing Pennsylvania residents from obtaining the full list of $4 prescription drugs sold at Wal-Mart.

Will it take that many years to decide if the 1941 law is doing more harm than good?

A bill that would allow the $4 prescriptions has lingered in the state Legislature for 13 months, with no debate and no action scheduled.

In late 2006, Wal-Mart began selling 331 medications for $4 for a 30-day supply.

The drugs are generics -- cheaper equivalents of brand name drugs.

The $4 offerings include medications for many common illnesses, including infections, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Because of the 1941 law, 56 of the drugs have to sell for $9 in Pennsylvania.


Club for Growth links to the story and wonders "So...if you're a liberal, what side of the argument do you support? Do you defend Wal-Mart (God forbid) and repeal the law so that people can get their much-needed drugs at "an everyday" low price? Or do you side with the mom-and-pop pharmacies that supposedly can't compete against the big, bad Wal-Mart?"

But AlexC thinks:

Nothing happens in the Square State (not to be confused with Wyoming)?

Hey... did you see South Park? ;)

Posted by: AlexC at April 29, 2008 7:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Colorado and Wyoming are good places to find a nice, calm dentist and get $4 perscriptions. Pennsylvania seems to be having better luck in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I'd be tempted to trade.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2008 7:36 PM

One For Obama?

I have to watch it, I am going to get a reputation around here.

But Professor Mankiw is -- sadly -- right. Of the three current Presidential candidates, Obama is the only one smart enough to oppose the summer gas tax holiday.

I don't know any prominent economist who favors this McCain-Clinton proposal. More common is the reaction of a friend of mine (a veteran of the Clinton administration) who calls the idea "ludicrous."

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 4:09 PM

Any Room Under the Obama Bus?

Is there any more room under the Obama Bus? Scoot over, Professor Goolsbee, scoot over Grandma, Rev. Wright will need some space by the driveshaft. WaPo:

"Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this," Obama said.

His treatment of people is between he and his clergyman -- oh wait, that's not gong to work.

But I think that one part of this has not been scrutinized. Senator Obama is proud of his consistent opposition to Iraq. He lifted himself up with its prescience when things looked bad and he is still enjoying the ride among antiwar voters. But was this principled opposition to war? How much was tempered by the anti-American sermons he heard for 20 years?

Was Iraq not worth the blood and treasure or were American values not worth spreading?

UPDATE: Instapundit has a superb roundup. Best news: the clarifications were good enough for Andrew Sullivan.

And today, we found that he can fight back, and take a stand, without calculation and in what is clearly a great amount of personal difficulty and political pain. It's what anyone should want in a president. It makes me want to see him succeed more than ever. It's why this country needs to see him succeed more than ever.

I feel better already.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM

Global Food Crisis

Not content with helping Senator Obama to a victory in Pennsylvania, Senator Casey turns to solving the global food crisis.

How?

Government.

President Bush had previously requested $350 million for the year. Durbin and Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) held a press conference Monday calling for an additional $200 million in food aid to be added to the upcoming war supplemental bill.

“This global food crisis now risks creating a series of failed states, as anger at inadequate food stocks spur riots and political instability,” said Casey. The Democrats said the additional $200 million would go primarily to the U.N.’s World Food Program, which provides emergency food aid for up to 78 million people annually.

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Dana Perino said the administration is monitoring the situation closely; the administration recently announced it was releasing an additional $200 million in wheat reserves to be sent to developing countries.


Oh, and let's give it to the UN, of all people. A model of efficiency.

The President doesn't escape blame, but is anyone in government willing to look at the real cause of the global food crises?

Government.

... specifically the US and EU mandates for Ethanol production and consumption.

When it pays better to burn food for fuel than it does to sell it for food, is anyone, outside of Democrats and liberal do-gooders, really surprised?


April 28, 2008

More Bitter Pennsylvanians

Blog brother AlexC thought he could keep this story between he and his Keystone state friends by posting it on PA Water Cooler. But I think the residents of an important, swing state have national implications:

PITTSBURGH - A couple brawled with one another, then members of another wedding party, hours after they repeated their vows and were headed to a room at a suburban Pittsburgh hotel.

Police say the fight between dentist David W. Wielechowski, 32, of Shaler, and his bride, Christa Vattimo, 25, began as the couple were about to enter their seventh-floor room at the Holiday Inn in Ross Township just north of the city on Saturday night.

The dentist "used a karate-style kick with his leg to kick Christa, knocking her to the floor," the criminal complaint said.

Two guests of another wedding heard the bride's screams and rushed over to help her. But when they restrained Wielechowski, his bride began attacking her rescuers, police said.


It's not that we don't have such people in Colorado, but not our Dentists! Damn!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:45 PM

A Prize Worth Having

Venezuelan Student Movement Leader Awarded $500,000 Milton Friedman Liberty Prize

Washington, D.C. –The Cato Institute has announced that Yon Goicoechea, leader of the pro-democracy student movement in Venezuela that successfully prevented President Hugo Chávez’s regime from seizing broad dictatorial powers in December 2007, has been awarded the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.

A 23-year-old law student, Mr. Goicoechea plays a pivotal role in organizing and voicing opposition to the erosion of human and civil rights in his country. In his commitment to a modern Venezuela, Goicoechea emphasizes tolerance and the human right to seek prosperity.

Venezuela’s student movement emerged in May of 2007 in response to a government-ordered shutdown of the nation’s oldest private television station, RCTV. In the face of ongoing death threats and continual intimidation due to his prominent and vocal leadership, Mr. Goicoechea has been indispensible in organizing massive, peaceful student protest marches that have captured the world’s attention.


Well done, Yon! Hat-tip: Rick Sincrere

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 4:03 PM

Good Timing

Sure I bought real estate during the crash and sold after. But at least I selected a mortgage before "we're from the government and we're here to help" makes all mortgages prohibitively expensive. The NYTimes Business Section carries a bylined piece today, Loan Industry Fighting Rules on Mortgages. I don't think the Times ever met a regulation it didn't like, but even they are sympathetic to the poor slobs who are going to try to buy a house after the Federal folks fix it.

As the Federal Reserve completes work on rules to root out abuses by lenders, its plan has run into a buzz saw of criticism from bankers, mortgage brokers and other parts of the housing industry. One common industry criticism is that at a time of tight credit, tighter rules could make many mortgages more expensive by creating more paperwork and potentially exposing lenders to more lawsuits.

To the chagrin of consumer groups that have complained that the proposed rules are not strong enough, the industry’s criticism has already prompted the Fed to consider narrowing the scope of the plan so it applies to fewer loans.


"Predatory Lending" is the greatest thing that ever happened to the poor in this country. It allowed them to reach out and purchase property and to access the equity in property they own. Sorry that bad choices were made, the good that was done certainly overwhelms the bad.

But Terri thinks:

Amen.

Posted by: Terri at April 28, 2008 11:01 AM

April 27, 2008

Political Virtuoso

It's over. Turn out the lights. Shut down the McCain web sites, send the Clintons home. Senator Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

I just watched his interview on FOX News Sunday and I do not think I have ever seen a better political performance.

Chris Wallace was never hostile or pushy, but every question was difficult. He didn't even throw up a couple of softballs in the beginning. He kept his promise to ask some questions that have not been asked. But Senator Obama parried every question flawlessly. He was engaging and likeable and reasonable. He made Bill Clinton look like Nixon.

He opened the interview with some likable persiflage about the "Obama Watch Clock," suggesting there had been a leap year and perhaps it was only 771 days since he said he would come on the show.

Wallace then asked about exit polls and demographics. Obama assured him that Democrats would pull together in November, and that he doesn't apologize for any electoral successes of the "popular Clinton brand."

About race, he said that while we're not beyond racism in society, we are ready to elect an African American President: "If I lose, it won’t be because of race. It will be because, you know, I made mistakes on the campaign trail, I wasn’t communicating effectively my plans in terms of helping them in their everyday lives."

On Reverend Wright he found a perfect line and held it throughout. He never threw Wright under the bus, but he effectively aligned himself with him as a pastor, all the while taking a strong stance against his politics. He summed up with generational differences, and said "The problem — and I pointed this out in my speech in Philadelphia — was where oftentimes he would err, I think, is in only cataloguing the bad of America and not doing enough to lift up the good. And that’s probably where he and I have the biggest difference..."

Then Obama brings up the flag pin kerfuffle -- on FOX News -- and hits it out of the park:

I don’t think - let me just use another example. On flag pins, I have worn flag pins in the past. I will wear flag pins in the future. The fact that I said that some politicians use the flag pin and then aren’t acting in a particularly patriotic way, for that to someone be translated into me being anti-patriotic or anti-flag, I think that is a distraction.

I think that that is not reflective of me or the love that I have for this country. Keep in mind, I think (INAUDIBLE) the scene nationally at the Democratic convention, giving what I would say was about as patriotic a speech about what America means to me and what this country’s about as any speech that we’ve heard in a long time.


He took every question and accepted every question as fair. He may not have answered every question, but I have not seen a Sunday show where a pol did for a long time. The panel was a lot less impressed than I was. Brit Hume thought he had dodged the issue of Clinton's vote lead on White 29-50 year olds with blue Toyotas who like hot dogs, but I don't see the electorate drawn to inside baseball. Bill Kristol pointed out that it wasn't wonkish, that "36 minutes of Senator Clinton" would have yielded specific proposals and legislation, but I think the interview was more ethereal. Wallace pressed for a little specifics on taxes, but Obama matched Wallace for style.

Wallace asked him how he calls himself post-partisan when he votes with the Democrats. Obama suggested that Republicans sometimes do have better ideas. When pressed on what, he suggested that top-down regulation has been more onerous and less effective than systems that involve business and market forces, such as cap-and-trade on pollution. Brilliant! The Democrats hear "we can continue regulating if we do it right" and the Republicans here "this guy knows the harsh effects of over-regulation."

How does he support General Plateaus but not his Surge? He would direct Petraeus to come up with a plan that would demand Iraqi responsibility but did not blindly support the Iraqi government. This guy is good.

My only negative -- besides the fact that he's wrong about absolutely everything -- is that he is no smoother at extemporaneous speech than our current President. Harsh words for a Democrat, I know, but he stammers and pauses and says the wrong word then corrects it, all the stuff that has filled the "Bushism" books. Yet people remember his soaring, scripted rhetoric and forget his flubs. (I swear he mangled two words once and said "Shit" but that did not make the transcript, he quickly corrected to the phrase he meant.)

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey disagrees.

But AlexC thinks:

If we've lost JK, we've lost America!

Posted by: AlexC at April 27, 2008 6:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

See also Dean Barnett

Posted by: AlexC at April 27, 2008 6:18 PM

Saved

Hillary and Obama were in a boat going down the river.

The river was extremely rough.

The boat capsized.

Who got saved?

CLICK 'CONTINUE READING' FOR THE ANSWER

AMERICA!


Hat Tip: Blog brother Cyrano

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 1:51 PM

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

JK recently wrote "There is no serious opposition to global warming left in the free world." This is sad and defeatist, but true.

Now the intelligent, thoughtful and once-principled Speaker of the "Contract with America" House has teamed up with the current 3rd-in-line for the presidency to film a "We can solve it.org" propaganda ad.

The ad paints them in complete agreement, though this liberal blog laments that Gingrich's heart isn't really in it for the good:

Despite sitting side-by-side on the couch, Pelosi and Gingrich don't share identical views on climate change. Pelosi is backing a mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions, while Gingrich would rather use tax credits and other incentives to get industry to switch to low-carbon technologies.

But Newt has surrendered the point of the DAWG spear nonetheless. As JK said, no serious opposition left anywhere in the free world.

But jk thinks:

Et tu, Newto?

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2008 5:12 PM

Welcome To The Blogroll

MACRO AND OTHER MARKET MUSINGS

The work of David Beckworth, assistant professor of economics at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

Hat-tip: Everyday Economist

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM

I Love This Country!

People don't understand how wealthy we are. You hear these Paul Krugman wannabes on TV, cherry-picking dates to point to anemic growth in real median income. You can point out the flaws in their statistics, or better yet, direct them to read Alan Reynolds.

But I'd suggest you show them this article. It seems that people are getting Lasik surgery to correct their vision, and then going out to buy designer eyeglasses with no prescription as a fashion accessory.

The LensCrafters chain, once known for dowdy ads touting discounts and quick service, now uses supermodels like Heidi Klum to hawk its wares in fashion magazines like Vogue. It has redecorated stores with chandeliers, flowers and leather benches to make shopping for glasses seem less medical. Another addition: full-length mirrors to let customers check out their complete look.

Ads in magazines ranging from GQ to New York are no longer limited to designer sunglasses. Prada and Gucci are among the brands featuring models posed wearing retro-looking rectangular frames (think Buddy Holly). High-end eyewear brand Oliver Peoples now releases four collections a year, up from two two years ago, hoping customers will want to change frames as often as they, perhaps, switch handbags.


Virginia Postrel, call your office.

This is the greatest economic story ever. Having the choice to do this, whether you do or not is a sign of our affluence, right up there with good Thai food, free cell phone weekends, and $500 laptops. What a country.

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 11:54 AM

Quote of the Day

A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening ear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I’d mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn. -- Rowan Atkinson
Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM

April 26, 2008

Misters Case and Shiller, Call Your Office!

I am a proud contrarian, but even I was a little concerned with my latest venture into the real estate market. The day after I buy a condo, the WSJ has a cover story about gluts and prices spiraling down.

Then, of course, I get to sell my house when every day features a dark headline about housing.

But let the record show that Don Luskin and Larry Kudlow are right. The housing bears are focused on the East Coast and other markets that have boomed: Las Vegas, Florida, San Diego. The bulk of the country, including Lafayette Colorado, has not cratered. I accepted an offer this morning, selling my house nine days after it was listed at better than 95% of the asking price.

And I plan to spend my government stimulus check on candy.

UPDATE: I'd just like to confer a "stand-up guy" award to Don Luskin. I sent this to him and received a nice note back -- on Saturday evening. It occurred to me that he has responded to every email I've ever sent him. He certainly doesn't know me, nor has he any financial gain from our association (ThreeSources friend Perry knows him). Yet he has always taken the time to acknowledge every email. That's a rare trait these days. ("Dear Sir, Thank you, I have no need for 'C@nad!an discu0nt C!@lIs' at this time, thank you for your inquiry...")

Economics and Markets Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM

April 25, 2008

Ethanol

A friend of this blog sends a link to the NY Sun:

“I don’t think anybody knows precisely how much ethanol contributes to the run-up in food prices, but the contribution is clearly substantial,” a professor of applied economics and law at the University of Minnesota, C. Ford Runge, said. A study by a Washington think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, indicated that between a quarter and a third of the recent hike in commodities prices is attributable to biofuels.

Last year, Mr. Runge and a colleague, Benjamin Senauer, wrote an article in Foreign Affairs, “How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.”


Ethanol subsidies are great.

They are great because they present a perfect example of what is wrong with government interference. This story has it all -- I dearly hope our grandchildren will ridicule us for this, when they read of this idiocy in their textbooks.

I'll concede that it is conceived to deal with a real problem and promote a public good: heart full of good intentions. It would be better to produce more energy domestically, to ship less oil around the world in big ugly tankers. And less pollution would be an advantage.

But the decision to take it out of market forces is where it all goes wrong. In the market, millions of customers, suppliers, marketing people and product engineers decide what best fills the need. People would try many different things, creating winners and losers. In the land of Ethanol, however, the decision is made by two powerful politicians.

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin may not be philosophical soulmates, but they both represent the great State of Iowa. They both have seniority and the power it confers. And they both receive a lot of funding from "Big Ag." I'm not saying that either of them did anything wrong, illegal, immoral or even untoward. It sounded like a good idea, it would help their state, it was desired by their donors -- what's not to like?

In the years since, the bloom has fallen off the cornstalk. It turns out that Ethanol is inefficient, produces more CO2 than gasoline, and that the subsidies have distorted the food markets. Any kind of market mechanism would have trimmed the capital going into this until these issues were better resolved. But government doesn't care so much about results (cf. education) so the project continues.

The waste of money is not the worst thing -- the worst thing is all the real solutions and development that is crowded out. Every week I read about a breakthrough in solar, or biomass, fusion, geothermal. But all these technologies must compete with subsidized corn-based ethanol production.

So many government decisions are loaded with emotional baggage. Abortion, health care, education and the environment arouse powerful feelings, and many people let their emotions take over when discussing them. But -- other than Senator Grassley -- nobody gets too choked up about Ethanol. Non-Senators can discuss the benefits and pitfalls of subsidies rationally.

It represents a good opportunity to educate people on the dangers of state intrusion into free markets.

UPDATE: Insty links to the Sun article and has a lot more on the connection with VP Gore which interested my original emailer.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:30 PM

What Else Am I Guaranteed?

Senator Wyden has a new website: Stand Tall for America

Every American should be guaranteed health care that can never be taken away. Not by your boss, not by the government, not by an insurance company.

And Senator Ron Wyden's Healthy Americans Act will do just that.

Join the grassroots movement for universal health care.


The front page has a clever video about all the people staying in bad jobs for their health care -- kind of Monster-dot-com-ish but pretty clever by U. S. Senate standards.

I need not preach to the ThreeSources choir that health care coming from your employer comes from a surfeit of gub'mint intrusion, not paucity. Postwar price controls got us into this mess, yet Senator Wyden and "12 senators from both parties" think only government can get us out.

What else should Government guarantee me? I think I should have car insurance, whether I pay the premium, or drive drunk. I'M AN AMERICAN DAMMIT! And I don't think anybody should have to drink cheap beer. How 'bout it Ron, will you stand tall for us?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM

April 24, 2008

Headline of the Week

Who else but Extreme Mortman:

Clinton Dominates Beaver and Hooker While Obama Prevails in Intercourse and Blue Ball

But AlexC thinks:

He must be a crack up in person.

Posted by: AlexC at April 24, 2008 5:43 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Obviously, neither was a hit in Virginville! :)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 25, 2008 9:57 PM

Good Blog Tags

SFcitizen.com

Tags: heel, High, miniskirt, San Francisco, scooter, Yamaha


Heel, check; High, check; miniskirt, check; scooter, check; Yamaha, I can't tell.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:39 PM

April 23, 2008

Bring It On

I refer, of course, to CATT: Cooling Abiotic Terrestrial Temperatures.

Phil Chapman loses the trademark Australian calmness under pressure.

THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is www.spaceweather.com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.

What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.
[...]
This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.


He is actually scared. And he is probably right. Cold kills.

As a freedom lover, I have to say "bring it on!" There is no serious opposition to global warming left in the free world. The EU nations have completely bought in, and all three current Presidential contenders are DAWG disciples. Nobody is predicting less than Democratic pickups in the house and Senate. PM Rudd in Australia is in (maybe Berlusconi in Italy is not? I don't know).

I think HUGE disruptions to freedom and economic growth are a fait accompli -- if not a Fiat X-9. A dramatic continuation of cooling trends might be the only way to shut some of the worst ideas down. And with growth and innovation, we will be best able to deal with cold. Or heat of course, but try to tell "them" that.

Hat-tip: Instapundit


Some Endorsement

Terri at I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err notes a possible inconsistency at the NYTimes Ed Page:

After winning an important swing state by 10 points,….
After having been out spent in the swing state and still winning by 10 points,….
After having earned the primary in the key purple states,….
After having endorsed Hillary Clinton,….

The NYTimes calls for Hillary to step out of the race.


As Taranto would say, hope you don't ever end up in a foxhole with them.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM

April 22, 2008

Working the Polls

For those of you who don't know, I'm a Judge of Elections in my precinct in Central Montgomery County...

Basically it entails :
a) get up at crack of dawn for donut run
b) start the machines
c) do paper work
d) crash course the high school kids helping out
e) spend most of the day calling voter services checking registrations & BSing with neighbors & friends that vote.
f) curse those that I know didn't vote
g) count the votes
h) lot more paperwork
i) haul the fate of our Republic to a regional voter station

All while living in radio silence.

We ended with 840-ish voters.

Despite a 46/36 registration advantage, it was all Democrat extravaganza today.

Hillary 319 - 50.8 %
Obama 308 - 49.2 %

I don't know what that means. Demographically, we're upper middle classish.

On the other hand, I can say that I managed to snag 120 votes of my own for county committee... 100% of the vote. :)

2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Congrats, ac, that puts you right up there with Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro!

Seriously, good job on judging and committeeing. I was signed up and trained to be an election judge but in 2004 the county GOP asked if I'd be a poll-watcher instead. Now I don't think I could handle it. It's hard for me to stand for any length of time.

I salute you and Sugarchuck for your involvement with local governance -- I sleep better knowing there are at least two of you out there.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2008 10:30 AM

Scandanavian View

Now that we're covering pro wresling, I might as well forward a joke from my brother:

"We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election.

On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.

On the other side, you have a true war hero married to a woman with a huge chest who owns a beer distributorship.

Is there a contest here?"

Posted by John Kranz at 7:40 PM | What do you think? [1]
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Oh ... MAN! Now it all makes sense as to my attraction to McCain! I WANT TO BE HIM!

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at April 22, 2008 10:23 PM

Pro Wrestling

Doesn't seem to be a ThreeSources category for WWE...

Getting the oil changed -- and getting out of the house for showing -- I got trapped in front of RAW! KING OF THE RING!! last night. I'm really not converted, but they did mention that the candidates for President would deliver themed addresses, so I was tempted to w -- nah, not really. But my brave sire, Jonathan V. Last did:

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain all appeared on USA Network's WWE Raw tonight. That's wrestling, for you snooty, literary types.

And
After the video tributes, and back in live action, Bill and Hillary Clinton look-a-likes come to the ring to the strains of "I am a real American." It's an inspired bit of comedy, actually, and the crowd isn't as hostile as you might expect. There's only a smattering of boos. The real boos come when an Obama look-a-like comes out. The faux candidates then stage a wrestling match. It's less dignified than it sounds.

Read the whole thing. It seems Senator McCain did very well.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:02 PM

Swapping Stickers

I've regaled you with stories about my political family members [Yawn, is he done yet?] Here's a manifestation.

I own only the nanocar. I love it and it meets all my needs save one: no room for Husband, Wife, and Loyal Family Pet. That's frequently a drag, but in my current situation of showing a house for sale, it is intolerable.

My lovable but Communist sister-in-law has been perhaps the most generous helper as we prepared the house for sale. Words cannot describe her input: inside, outside, and emotionally. Struck by my plight, she has offered to trade cars with me for the month. I hope she enjoys the convertible in the awesome convertible month of May.

She can choose to remove my magnetic "Support the Troops" ribbon in Red, White and Blue if she chooses -- I'm not sure if she will. I have no options on the "Department of Peace" bumper sticker on my new Camry (they're keeping the hybrid).

C'est la guerre!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:39 PM

I Might Vote GOP This Year

Clear choices, <johnmccainvoice>my friends,</johnmccainvoice> clear choices:

McCain to hit hard on free trade in hard-hit town

Youngstown, Ohio, is a struggling steel town where jobs have been lost and free-trade deals are unpopular.

McCain, however, is prepared to argue the overall benefits of unfettered trade, aides said. "Protectionism devastates the economy," said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to McCain.

In an economic speech last week, McCain said: "When new trading partners can sell in our market, and American companies can sell in theirs, the gains are great and they are lasting."


Hat-tip: Insty

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 4:14 PM

April 21, 2008

Best Blogger Ever

It really may be Jeff Goldstein. He explains his site and ties it into my favorite novel:

If you’ve ever read, say, Gravity’s Rainbow or Foucault’s Pendulum, you’ll note that the first fifty or so pages are incredibly slow going and, from a purely passive reading level, difficult to get through. The reason is, I think, that both Pynchon and Eco are actually taking that opportunity not only to provide narrative exposition, but instead are interested in teaching you how to read the text: they are introducing you to the peculiar grammar of the work — the way it operates linguistically, the way connections are made in that narrative universe, the way temporality will be approached and approximated, the way movement in point of view will be signaled, etc.
[...]
I try to attract those readers willing to take the leap or invest the time.

And of course, I in turn reward your loyalty and determination by disappearing for months at a time.


Hat-tip: Instapundit (who's not too bad either).

But Ardsgaine thinks:

Well... I'm at his site enough to qualify as a stalker, but as Gomer once said, "I like him. I don't love him, but I like him."

Posted by: Ardsgaine at April 21, 2008 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Still no "thrills up my leg," Ardsgaine, but I have really enjoyed his stuff over the years, and the Gravity's Rainbow riff is well done.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2008 3:42 PM

Quote of the Day

And yet she keeps chugging along. One can admire Hillary’s determination to be president, but does it have to be of this country? -- Julia Gorin
Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 AM | What do you think? [1]
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I wonder if she would be content with, say, South America (sans Peru and Colombia).

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at April 21, 2008 11:12 AM

April 20, 2008

I Told You So

It's the mark of a small, petty, man of limited integrity to engage in "I told You Sos." Ergo:

While I found much to like about the candidacy of Senator Fred Thompson, and still picked him over Senator McCain, I was extremely concerned that he would be painted as offering "a third Bush term." To ThreeSourcers, that was ridiculous: there remain clear differences. But I knew the Democrats would try, and that it would be hard to beat Soros-funded 527s in defining a Southern, plainspoken politician as being any different.

In my small-minded, petty, limited integrity case -- let me point out how hard the Democrats are trying to use this against Senator McCain. On FOX News Sunday, "Bush-McCain" was Senator Schumer's label for anything to the right of Henry Wallace. Here's Mister Audacity himself in ThreeSources's spiritual backyard:

[T]he change this country needs will not come from a third George W. Bush term. And what is exactly what his campaign is offering. John McCain is offering four more years of a war with no exit strategy, a war with no end in sight, a war that is sending our troops on their third, fourth and fifth tours of duty." Four good measure, Obama repeated the disputable claim that McCain saw "great progress" from seven and a half years of George W. Bush's" economic program.

They are trying, and they know they succeeded in 1996 with a Union funded "Dole-Gingrich" campaign. I have no idea whether it will work. It seems laughable to any Republican: Misters Hatfield and McCoy are drinking buddies in comparison. But the Democrats will say it every day between now and November, and the media will be unlikely to question them. Sadly, McCain will be criticized for all the President’s good ideas which he supports.

At the end of the day, there will be clear differences and some media members will recount bad blood in the 2000 primaries. And it will help that McCain does not have a southern drawl. It doesn't make me proud of this country, Michelle, but I think would have been insurmountable for Fred!

GOP2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 3:35 PM

Obama Worship

An old adage says "Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line." Last week, I got in an email thread among some Republican bloggers and was surprised at some of the hostility toward Senator McCain. I suppose most of us have already "fallen in line" 'round these parts.

The other day, I realized the creepiest thing about the adulation for Senator Obama. Among many choices, I have to go with the short hop from candidate-worship to government-worship. My feelings for Senator McCain parallel my feelings about government: "I guess we have to have somebody, and he's one of the least worst." I don't faint when he speaks and I don't feel thrills running up my leg like Chris Matthews. But I don't look for him to solve all my problems, nor do I expect him to heal our nations' divisions. I expect him to adequately and faithfully execute to responsibilities of the office.

Not very poetic, huh?

Obama supporters -- and the bumper stickers are springing up like blue daffodils around Boulder County -- really believe he will bring great health care to everybody, make Americans loved in the deepest corners of the world, and that black, white and brown Americans will live together as brothers. The flaw is not that they are looking to Senator Obama for that, the flaw is that they are looking to government to do that.

GOP2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM

April 19, 2008

Outgassing

Insty links to a topic near and dear to my heart: where does oil come from? We all learned in school that it's rotten dinosaurs, everybody knows that.

When everybody knows something, look out. When I was in college, I was in a band with a PhD candidate in Physics (who was a pretty good guitar player as well). He had me over for dinner one night with the former President of the school, Dr. Sterling Colgate. Colgate has forgotten the cube of the physics I'll ever learn and was a fascinating personality.

This was in the late 70s when world oil supplies were a concern, and Dr. Colgate was adamant that the Earth, like most every other celestial body its size, was kicking out more hydrocarbons than we puny humans could ever be expected to burn. I was young and took the word of my intellectual betters. For better or worse, I have believed this ever since. The core of the planet "outgasses" small hydrocarbons and the pressures in the crust produce larger molecule versions.

I never hear this discussed at any level. Until today:

What does Gold have to do with the recent Brazil oil find? In 1999, Gold published "The Deep Hot Biosphere," a paper that postulated that coal and oil are produced not by the decomposition of organic materials, but in fact are "abiogenic" -- the product of tectonic forces; i.e., deeply embedded hydrocarbons being brought up and through the earth's mantle and transformed into their present states by bacteria living in the earth's crust.

The majority of the world’s scientists scoff at Gold's theory, and "fossil fuel" remains the accepted descriptor of oil. Yet in recent years Russia has quietly become the world's top producer of oil, in part by drilling wells as deep as 40,000 feet -- far below the graveyards of T-Rex and his Mesozoic buddies.

Is it possible that Thomas Gold was right again, and that the earth is actually still producing oil? It's tantalizing to think so. Meantime, whether or not Brazil's recent find adds support to Gold's theory, for sure it's good news for Brazilians: Government-run Petrobras is one of the world's leaders in ultra-deep offshore oil extraction, and Sugarloaf Mountain alone could transform Brazil into another Venezuela or Saudi Arabia.


I feel like a 9/11 truther or something, but I find this theory a lot more believable than the dead dinosaurs.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But pquist thinks:

I recall reading Gold's theory in the late 70s or early 80s in the WSJ. Like you, I have never been able to totally discount the idea. The view that oil derives from fossils is dominant, but I do not believe that it can be proven.

Posted by: pquist at April 20, 2008 4:02 PM

April 18, 2008

jk Defends Senator Obama

The LA Times Blog watches this video and sees Senator Obama flipping the bird at his Democratic opponent:




Get a life, people. I will happily list 100 reasons to not vote for Obama, but this won't make the list. Actually I find him here at his most endearing. Were Karl Rove advising him, I would suspect him of ginning up controversy so this video got wider coverage.

But AlexC thinks:

JK, but there was that pause, and the grin, and the "vibe" that went through the audience.

I was like "no way" at first, but now put me in the definately "maybe column."

Posted by: AlexC at April 18, 2008 8:43 PM

Doubting The W in DAWG

A guest Editorial in the WSJ today questions the accuracy of temperature data showing global warming. It's a pretty comprehensive look at the means of collecting data and revisions that have been made to the dataset. Reading it makes a thinking person question the accuracy of historical temperature data. All the shifts in temperature seem like they may be within the margin of error.

I enjoyed this look at "Warming Island" in Greenland. Like Love Canal, it turns out Vice President Gore may not have discovered it:

The fear of a sudden loss of ice from Greenland also makes a lot of news. A year ago, radio and television were ablaze with the discovery of "Warming Island," a piece of land thought to be part of Greenland. But when the ice receded in the last few years, it turned out that there was open water. Hence Warming Island, which some said hadn't been uncovered for thousands of years. CNN, ABC and the BBC made field trips to the island.

But every climatologist must know that Greenland's last decade was no warmer than several decades in the early and mid-20th century. In fact, the period from 1970-1995 was the coldest one since the late 19th century, meaning that Greenland's ice anomalously expanded right about the time climate change scientists decided to look at it.

Warming Island has a very distinctive shape, and it lies off of Carlsbad Fjord, in eastern Greenland. My colleague Chip Knappenberger found an inconvenient book, "Arctic Riviera," published in 1957 (near the end of the previous warm period) by aerial photographer Ernst Hofer. Hofer did reconnaissance for expeditions and was surprised by how pleasant the summers had become. There's a map in his book: It shows Warming Island.

The mechanism for the Greenland disaster is that summer warming creates rivers, called moulins, that descend into the ice cap, lubricating a rapid collapse and raising sea levels by 20 feet in the next 90 years. In Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth," there's a wonderful picture of a moulin on page 193, with the text stating "These photographs from Greenland illustrate some of the dramatic changes now happening on the ice there."

Really? There's a photograph in the journal "Arctic," published in 1953 by R.H. Katz, captioned "River disappearing in 40-foot deep gorge," on Greenland's Adolf Hoels Glacier. It's all there in the open literature, but apparently that's too inconvenient to bring up. Greenland didn't shed its ice then. There was no acceleration of the rise in sea level.


April 17, 2008

Not Really a Supply-Sider

When ABC moderator Charlie Gibson -- mirabile freakin' dictu -- confronts Senator Obama with the news that lowering the capital gains rate increased revenues in the Clinton and Bush administrations, Senator Obama says "Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness."

This comes via Don Luskin, who adds:

In other words, even if it costs the US Treasury money in lost revenues, Obama would raise the capgains tax to punish people who make too much money, or make it the wrong way. Obama claimed in the same debate, "how we're going to be able to deliver on middle-class tax relief is to change how business is done in Washington." How does reducing revenue in the name of Obama's personal notion of "fairness" achieve middle-class tax relief? And how is using the tax-code to reward and punish particular constituencies changing how business is done in Washington?

UPDATE: The WSJ Ed Page piles on:

Time and again, the rookie Senator has said he would not raise taxes on middle-class earners, whom he describes as people with annual income lower than between $200,000 and $250,000. On Wednesday night, he repeated the vow. "I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes," said the Senator, "I've been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes."

But Mr. Obama has also said he's open to raising – indeed, nearly doubling to 28% – the current top capital gains tax rate of 15%, which would in fact be a tax hike on some 100 million Americans who own stock, including millions of people who fit Mr. Obama's definition of middle class.

Mr. Gibson dared to point out this inconsistency, which regularly goes unmentioned in Mr. Obama's fawning press coverage. But Mr. Gibson also probed a little deeper, asking the candidate why he wants to increase the capital gains tax when history shows that a higher rate brings in less revenue.


The whole piece is great.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM

Don't Let The Door

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out Ambassador! From a Press Release by his campaign:

Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has chosen April 15 to make a major announcement of his intentions, following indications he has broken with the GOP. A life-long Republican who has increasingly cited the party's failure to match conservative rhetoric with actual performance in the political arena, Keyes said he will reveal his reasons for departing the GOP at a press conference scheduled for 8:30 pm ET, at the Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton, PA.

Live streaming video on his website. America will be riveted to her screens I'm certain.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

GOP2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 5:45 PM

April 16, 2008

The Hamas Endorsement

I didn't know they stacked awesome this high.

While Sen. Barack Obama sought to improve his relationship with the Jewish community today by meeting with leaders Philadelphia, comments by a Hamas political adviser this weekend could potentially hurt the Democratic presidential candidate.

During an interview on WABC radio Sunday, top Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef said the terrorist group supports Obama’s foreign policy vision.

“We don’t mind–actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance,”

Dem2008 Primary Posted by AlexC at 9:31 PM

Headline of the Week

Clinton, Obama won't vow to put loser on ticket as VP

UPDATE: I sent this to Taranto who uses it today, with the subhead "No Wonder Losers Are So Bitter"

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 8:41 PM

Life Would Suck Without Regulators

Prof. Reynolds links to a cool car on the Amazon Car Lust blog, the Toyota Sera.

It's worth a click if you like cars, but what caught my eye was this little government intrusion gem:

The United States allows non-U.S.-certified automobiles to be imported once they are 25 years past production date. This has allowed a few enterprising souls to import older cars like the Chrysler Valiant Charger, but it will be some time before the exotic Kei cars will be eligible for import. The situation is somewhat different in Canada, however; our northern neighbors require only a 15-year wait, meaning some of the interesting Japanese-market cars from the early 1990s are now fair game. There are quite a few dealerships in Vancouver, B.C., that do a strong business in such formerly forbidden fruit.

I'm thinking of brave Americans who dare to make Canadian bootlegging runs to import high- volume, non-Senator Albert A Gore approved, toilet tanks.

How much richer our lives and our bank accounts would be if we didn't have a Federal government protecting us from small 16 year old Japanese automobiles and four gallon toilets.


April 15, 2008

Not Questioning Their Patriotism

Lileks does a nice riff on "bitter-gate:"

I’ve been trying to find the right words for a certain theory, and I can’t quite do it yet. It has to do with how a candidate feels about America – they have to be fundamentally, dispositionally comfortable with it. Not in a way that glosses over or excuses its flaws, but comfortable in the way a long-term married couple is comfortable. That includes not delighting in its flaws, or crowing them at every opportunity as proof of your love. I mean a simple quiet sense of awe and pride, its challenges and flaws and uniqueness and tragedies considered. You don’t win the office by being angry we’re not something else; you win by being enthused we can be something better. You can fake the latter. But people sense the former.

Nice words, but I think the sage from Minneapolis might be pulling his punches a bit. My brother (the mad lefty one) had an interesting coda in a recent email discussion (riff, coda, got something going here...) He said he was upset because "the flag is now a Republican symbol" and a moderate relative agreed.

I didn't respond to that point but I have been thinking about it for quite a while. It is not that my lefty friends lack patriotism per se, but the ones I know are completely uncomfortable with the idea of American exceptionalism. They have ceded the flag as a symbol to those who do believe.

I tell a good friend "we liberated tens of millions from Communism," and he says "yeah, but what about propping up Somoza and Pinochet and Marcos?" I think of the Ken Burns documentary on WWII. I love the guy's work, but he juxtaposes the Bataan Death March with Jim Crow laws and restricted liberties for black soldiers. Yeah, Ken, I guess we're both bad. Another friend loves to bring up Japanese Internment camps. And don't ever ever ever get a liberal started on Indians, Native Americans Indigenous Americans.

They think I'm a jingoist, but I am comfortable appreciating this country's achievements "warts and all." Senator Obama famously refused to wear a flag pin. I don't say that he -- or his Marin County listeners -- don't love this country, but it's not questioning anybody's patriotism to point out how uncomfortable most of them are with displays of patriotism.

Gotta go now, Team America World Police is on cable...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Terri thinks:

The flag is only a Republican symbol because Democrats have allowed it to be.
How hard is it to put up a flag? But Dems won't do it because God forbid, someone might think them a rightie.

If a few more flew it, it would no longer be a Republican symbol.

Posted by: Terri at April 15, 2008 1:55 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Terri, to the leftist mind, the US flag is the ultimate symbol of world oppression.

On a side note, as someone who straddles the Pennsylvania line between the State of Philadelphia and the central PA "T," I can tell you from my encounters that Obama has lost the central portion of the state, not to Shrillary, but to McCain.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 15, 2008 10:25 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Obama was wearing a flag on his lapel today!

Phoney!

Posted by: AlexC at April 16, 2008 12:13 AM

This Fight is Getting Nasty

No, not the Democrats, Fed Chairmen. Ben Bernanke's Blog:

Paul's very bitter because the president who appointed him (Jimmy Carter) couldn't farm his own peanut, much less expand his legal authority. If there's one thing President Bush taught me (and there is only one thing he taught me), it's that a federal executive has the authority to expand his own authority. My charter was clearly to save the economy through any means necessary.

I hereby declare Paul Volcker an enemy combatant to the economy of the United States of America and issue a warrant for his arrest. We're in the process of building our first Federal Reserve Prison. He will be tried, and if necessary executed, in private so as not to cause any disruptions to the markets.


Hat-tip: Mankiw. He suggests the Bernanke Blog to be "ersatz" but it looks pretty official to me.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM

Ambassador Bolton

I have great respect for Ambassador John Bolton and consider it a Senate crime that he was not confirmed -- imagine, an American ambassador pursuing American interests at the UN!

All the same, his bellyaching about the President's North Korea policy is becoming tiresome. He has another guest editorial in the WSJ today (I think this is the 491st -- and he has appeared on their FOX News show as well). I have no substantive disagreement with his call for a hard line -- were I President, we'd have invaded last Thursday.

But I don't understand who or what is served by his impolitic tone:

President George W. Bush is fond of comparing himself to Ronald Reagan. But as he meets with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Washington this week, his policy regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons program looks more like something out of Bill Clinton's or Jimmy Carter's playbook.

Tearing down President Bush might advance Bolton's popularity, but I don't see it advancing his interest or position. I don't think President Obama is going to be significantly tougher, yet his constant harping damages the Republican brand and makes it more likely that we'll elect someone who will have Kim Jong Il in for a State Dinner.

Of course Republicans can criticize President Bush. We may have done that once or twice here. But the Bolton attacks are constant, relentless, and fail to account for other concerns: Iraq, Iran, the opposition party in Congress. Nor do they seem to include the decorum and respect I think he owes a man who nominated him to the U.N.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM

April 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

Stolen, the old fashioned way, from Samizdata:

Sir Karl Popper is not really a participant in the contemporary professional philosophical dialogue; quite the contrary, he has ruined that dialogue. If he is on the right track, then the majority of professional philosophers the world over have wasted or are wasting their intellectual careers. The gulf between Popper's way of doing philosophy and that of the bulk of contemporary professional philosophers is as great as that between astronomy and astrology.

- W. W. Bartley, Philosophia (September–December 1976)


I would add that Popperian epistemology ruins global warming "science" in much the same way.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:24 PM

Obama Discovers Source of Pa's Bitterness

100 Calorie Tastykakes.

What's the point?

It's not a Tastykake if it's not 2,450 calories and 27 grams of fat.

Might just be me, but I bet he can't imagine the proletariat eating those things.

But jk thinks:

Mmm Tastykakes -- I'm holding out for an Avs-Flyers Cup final so I can get another box.

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2008 6:30 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Bring back the days of the waxed paper wrappers. These plastic wrappers are for the birds. The icing sticks to everything but the &*@&@^@%@ cake.

BTW - Help stop pediatric cancer, buy the Alex's Lemonade Stand Lemon TastyKakes!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 15, 2008 10:27 PM

Wear it with Pride!

bitter.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | What do you think? [1]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Cross-posting it now, while LMAO!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 15, 2008 10:31 PM

Putting ThreeSources' Weight Behind Instapundit


Yon_book.jpg With a straight face, I add my nano-influence to Professor Reynolds.

I ordered a copy of Michael Yon's book. Yon has done much to promote the idea of liberty and victory in Iraq, has provided an awesome example of blog quality and influence, and has given us some spectacular reads.

I gave him a little money a while back. But I think buying the book helps him, demonstrates support for a pro-troop viewpoint -- and I bet it will be a helluva read.


Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 1:51 PM

Hell Yes I'm Bitter

Three years ago, I was a Vice President! Now I'm slogging along as a Senior Software Developer. The good jobs are gone and they're never coming back. Thank goodness my dear, departed Mother is not around to see the slide.

I just renewed my NRA membership and I am thinking about Methodism...

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM

April 13, 2008

MSM on l'Affaire Obama

The WaPo gets to it in paragraph six of a bylined story:

After losing the Ohio primary to Clinton (N.Y.) last month, in part because of the difficulty he had connecting with Rust Belt voters worried about their jobs, Obama (Ill.) has been talking in greater detail about what he would do to repair the economy and contrasting that with McCain's proposals. But this has sometimes come at the expense of Obama's more abstract and inspiring message about rising above partisan pettiness to unite the country, the central call of his campaign.

At the same time, McCain and Clinton have begun a combined assault on Obama's working-class outreach, pouncing on his remarks at a recent San Francisco fundraiser -- about how many small-town Americans have grown "bitter" about their economic situation -- as evidence of elitism and lack of empathy for average Americans.


Mean old Clinton and McCain.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM

Those Wacky Pennsylvanias, II

Cuffy Meigs at Perfunction suggests this video now represents a "convenient list" of all the towns Senator Obama is gong to lose:





Credit where due: that's a very well done video. Clearly if he's the nominee, he will enjoy a surfeit of great YouTube videos better than the GOP high-budget professional commercials.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

Heh. Some clever Obama partisans.

Change! Catch the fever!

For a less political version (and perhaps the original), see here... http://youtube.com/watch?v=SRy95dlaWvE

Also includes the lyrics...

Posted by: AlexC at April 13, 2008 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

I just don't think you can pull this off in a State that doesn't have a Shickshinny...

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2008 8:18 PM

The Ides of April

That Internet thingy might really take off; there is a lot of interesting stuff on it. Fools who assume the Ides of a month are always on the 15th (like me) can quickly learn from this page.

March, July, October, May
The Nones are on the seventh day

And the Ides are eight days after the Nones.

Got it? Happy Ides!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 AM

April 12, 2008

Those Wacky Pennsylvanians

We are privileged to call several Keystone State residents "brother" on this blog. I never realized how backwards y'all were until Senator Obama filled me in (c/o Jules Crittenden):

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.


Thankfully, you have Senator Clinton:




I know you're feeling better after that.

The Blogosphere is on DefCon 5 over this (causing even me to mix jargon) but I think the man who talked himself out of the Rev. Wright imbroglio can beat this rap. But it will weigh down the campaign. Mark Steyn compares his arrogance -- unfavorably -- to Senator Kerry's:

I had a ton of fun covering Kerry's awkwardness with Americans but, in fairness, it was essentially a consumerist snobbery: he preferred the Newburgh Yacht Club for lunch over the local Wendy's, he'd rather be windsurfing off Nantucket than rednecking at Nascar, etc. Obama's snobbery seems more culturally profound, and unlike Kerry he can't plead the crippling disadvantage of a privileged childhood. Rather, Barack's condescension reveals a man out of touch with the rhythms of American life to a degree that's hard to fathom.

All the while, Hugh Hewitt wonders why Keystone Staters are so bitter? I didn't even know y'all were until today.

John Lewandowski at PA Water Cooler has a suggested "Snoboma" campaign poster.

UPDATE: I never said DefCon 5 wasn't fun! Terrestrial Musings interviews a man from West Deer Township:

"And it wasn't just the beer. Some of them actually went out in the woods in the fall, and shot animals. And kilt 'em. With real guns!

"I was shocked, of course. For all their diversity, none of my gay friends would have ever thought of doing anything like that. But with my job loss, and lack of money for pedicures and pommade, they didn't want to hang with me any more. So I borried a twelve gauge over'n'under, and went out with my new beer-drinking animal-killing friends in the woods. And I'll tell you what, when I shot down that eight-pointer, I felt a sense of power over the helpless in a way that I hadn't since I'd been looking down on the rednecks when I had that good job in Pittsburgh, driving around town in my 528i.


But AlexC thinks:

i'm just glad the Pa Legislature didn't move the primary to Feb 5th... think of all the dick-stepping sound bites the past few weeks have generated!

Posted by: AlexC at April 12, 2008 7:19 PM
But Charlie on the PA Tpk thinks:

I think I heard James Carville and Hardball describe the commonwealth as a big-T: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the sides, and in the middle and branching out at the top there's more deer than people, and more guns than deer.

Gee, how did he know what I keep in my closet??

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Tpk at April 12, 2008 10:34 PM
But jk thinks:

I just wish you guys weren't so bitter...

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2008 11:41 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Those pittsburgher's have no excuse. They've had the Steelers and the Penguins and the Pirates.

We haven't had a championship team since 1980!!!

GRR!

Posted by: AlexC at April 13, 2008 1:48 PM

April 11, 2008

Sunny Optimism

The WaPo highlights "A Weekend to Start Fixing the World"

Financial markets are tumbling. The world economy is starting to sputter. Food prices have shot up so far, so fast, that there are riots in the streets of many poor nations.

It's a hard time to be one of the masters of the global economy.

Those leaders -- finance ministers from all over the world -- are gathering in Washington this weekend to sort out their reactions to the most profound global economic crises in at least a decade. The situation could reveal the limitations that international economic institutions face in dealing with the risks inherent to global capitalism.


Don't buy any green bananas, kids, this old world is not gonna be around much longer.

Sadly, the real threat is that our 535 world fixers in Washington (before the guests arrive) will read the WaPo and feel compelled to do more fixing. Starbucks has capitulated to Lassez Faire, lets think about calming down and giving markets a chance to work.

Media and Blogging Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM

April 10, 2008

On Senator McCain

Jeff Moyer at the PA Water Cooler links to a great story about Senator McCain.

Every few weeks, McCain drives over to pay his respects. These days the trip is a ceremony, like going to church, only less pleasant. Udall is seldom conscious, and even then he shows no sign of recognition. McCain brings with him a stack of newspaper clips on Udall's favorite subjects: local politics in Arizona, environmental legislation, Native American land disputes,
[...]
A nurse entered and seemed surprised to find anyone there, and it wasn’t long before I found out why: Almost no one visits anymore. In his time, which was not very long ago, Mo Udall was one of the most-sought-after men in the Democratic Party. Yet as he dies in a veterans hospital a few miles from the Capitol, he is visited regularly only by a single old political friend, John McCain. “He’s not going to wake up this time,” McCain said.

GOP2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 6:19 PM

Quote of the Day

"I never cease to be amazed by the misogynistic attitudes of some people in this country," said John, wearing a spangled black evening coat over a vermilion silk shirt. "I say to hell with them. ... I love you, Hillary, I'll always be there for you." -- Newsday.com
Hat-tip: Taranto
Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 4:04 PM

That Was a Close One!

I'm the last guy to resort to a boycott, but I was substantively bummed when I read that David Boaz had been rejected when requesting a personalized Starbucks card emblazoned "Laissez Faire."

Jonathan Adler says that the ban, if it ever really existed, has been lifted.

Whew.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:46 PM

April 9, 2008

Sont Les Mots Qui Vont Tres Bien Enseble

And a very Tres Bien Ensemble do Senator Obama and his lovely wife Michelle make. She balances his extreme left wing beliefs with further-extreme-left beliefs.

Michelle Obama Visits Harrisburg, reads the headline in the Charlotte Observer. Mother, wife and lawyer. Reads to kids, yadda yadda, calls hug time and potty breaks...I'm falling asleep here...I would have bailed, except Professor Reynolds told me what was at the bottom of the story:

Should she become first lady, she said she'd focus on family issues.

"If we don't wake up as a nation with a new kind of leadership...for how we want this country to work, then we won't get universal health care," she said.

"The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more."


I guess Austen Goolsbee has been completely thrown under the bus for having the temerity to support some foreign trade. Will the last serious economist leaving the Democratic Party please turn out the lights? If you believe in this zero-sum nonsense, all the other Democratic proposals make sense.

But don't let your offense at pie cutting make you miss the paragraphs above it:

After law school, she and Barack were beset by loans they'd still be paying had her husband not written two best-sellers, "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams From My Father."

Those debts early in their marriage, she said, equips her husband to better understand the problems many Americans face.


Can I get a boo-freakin'-hoo? The Princeton Lawyer and the Harvard lawyer are so oppressed by their school debts that they really learn how to relate to the average American -- you know the average Joe who doesn't have a gangster buddy to buy him a $2 Million mansion.

She'll have your pie, and yours, and yours -- and yours, thank you very much.

UPDATE: Tom Maguire is not much of a Michelle fan. He sees my pie and whining, and raises me a "move-that-asian-girl-to-the-back-row-to-include-more-white-people-in-the-photo." Awesome.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 1:22 PM

April 8, 2008

Broken Windiow Fallacy

Fred Krupp, "president of Environmental Defense Fund and co-author of 'Earth: The Sequel – The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming' (W.W. Norton, 2008)" has a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today. Goody-goody, lawd almighty, we all gonna get rich solving global warming!

Global warming skeptics notwithstanding, fixing global warming won't be a drain on the economy. On the contrary, it will unleash one of the greatest floods of new wealth in history. When Congress finally acts, America's entrepreneurs and inventors will find the capital they need to solve global warming – and a lot of people will make a killing.

Senator Obama preaches a similar message: "millions of green-collar jobs."

And I agree, up to a point. I think innovation is headed toward us in energy and that some investors will get very rich and many will find good employment. Where I differ with Krupp and Obama, is that I want to reward innovators and they want to reward rent-seekers. Krupp's article (and I pulled the worst quote out) says that the market is just waiting for government to "set the rules." When cap-and-trade is introduced, everything will take off.

I'd suggest the rules have been set already. Petroleum products provide a certain number of KCalories per Mole, and the cost to extract, refine, and transport it is pretty well known. I think Einstein laid down "the rules" for mass and energy -- no need to wait to implement Broussard fusion. Develop away!

Sadly, the rules people are waiting for will come from Senator Grassley "how many dollars of subsidies do I get for developing?" and these rules will stifle real innovation and real wealth creation.

UPDATE: Even Paul Krugman has come out against Ethanol, but Michael Goldfarb catches him misrepresenting Senator McCain, who has it right:

Yes, I oppose subsidies. Not just ethanol subsidies. Subsidies. And not just in Iowa either. I oppose them in my own state of Arizona. ... [I]t also means no rifle-shot tax breaks for big oil. It means no line items for hydrogen, no mandates for other renewable fuels, and no big-government debacles like the Dakotas Synfuels plant. It means ethanol entrepreneurs get a level playing field to make their case -- and earn their profits.

But Everyday Economist thinks:

An advanced copy of this book has been sitting on my desk for months, but I just cannot seem to find the drive to delve in. After reading the op-ed, I am glad that the book is collecting dust.

Posted by: Everyday Economist at April 9, 2008 11:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

McCain is a better man than I. I could not have resisted including "... or not" at the end of that final sentence.

If "alternative" energy economies made sense economically there'd be no reason to "wait for government." This, by the way, reminds me of the old quip, "If you're waiting for me you're backing up!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2008 12:32 PM

April 7, 2008

Kudos to CBS News!

I am serious as a heart attack. This is a superb bit of reporting:





Ow! It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

I'm always good for a segue, this made me think of Arnold Kling's awesome piece on Inequality and Excess (of political power).

Can you name the members of the County Council in Montgomery County, Maryland? I can't name very many of them, and I live there. Still, getting elected to the County Council in Montgomery County, which is pretty far down the ladder in terms of political power in the United States, enables you to control more annual spending than the wealth of Donald Trump or Steven Jobs.

At the Federal level, the Budget is $3 trillion. If you divide that by 535 (the number of Senators and Congressmen), then on average each legislator controls over $5 billion in spending per year. That is more than even the world's richest person could spend annually.


Kling starts with the Clinton's $109 Million income between 2000-2007. This generates a lot of ink, but the CBS story -- and would I ever doubt a CBS story? -- says Rep. Murtha brought $159.1M to PA-13 in earmarks in one year.

Those Clinton speeches start to look like good value. Hat-tip: Greyhawk via Insty

But johngalt thinks:

Grand larceny in broad daylight - and all we can do about it is run 3-minute news segments and blog like madmen.

The founders rolled over in their collective graves upon passage of the 16th Amendment. How much longer until Americans roll over on Congress?

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2008 12:41 PM

Leno-nomics

Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek wishes that Jay Leno would correct his guest on economics:

I wish Jay Leno had pointed out that the cut in hours was the result of passing the minimum wage--that it was as inevitable as gravity. I wish he'd said that the story showed how the minimum wage is a false promise of prosperity. I wish he'd pointed out that fighting isn't enough, caring isn't enough, that prosperity can't be legislated any more than self-interest can be made illegal. I wish Jay Leno had said that when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

I'm not holding my breath, but I would still recommend this clip. Senator Clinton does pretty well. I'm not sure she joked her way out of Tuszlagate, but she comes across as very likable and intelligent. I howl at her economic failings and her ability to blame President Bush every time someone's dry cleaning is late. But if I were her Chief Strategist I would call this one a win.

But I am not her chief strategist (though I hear there's an opening), so I will point out my least favorite line: "We borrow money from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis, which is not exactly a smart strategy."

Hat-tip: Greg Mankiw

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM

Mark Penn in '08!

The NYTimes reports that Clinton strategist (I want a strategist) Mark Penn has been forced to take a reduced role because his business interests conflict with the Senator's positions:

Mr. Penn met with the Colombians in his role as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations firm. He has refused to sever his ties to the company, which also represented Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, and through a subsidiary represented Blackwater Worldwide, the military contractor blamed for numerous civilian deaths in Iraq.

Sadly, all of Penn's positions seem to be the correct ones -- perhaps Senator Clinton should take a greatly diminished role.

UPDATE: Larry Kudlow points out that Dems + Free Trade = Death Penalty

My pal Jerry Bowyer e-mailed me this morning with the following thought on Clinton bigwig Mark Penn: Free trade among Democrats is so completely dead in the water that any Democratic advisor favoring free trade is subject to the death penalty.

Just take a look at this morning’s New York Sun. Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa is still unhappy with Penn’s demotion, because the Clinton camp still has Penn on the payroll. In other words, Hoffa’s position — which is big labor’s position — is to take the free-trade Mark Penn back behind the barn and shoot him.


Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM

April 6, 2008

Rethinking "The Daily Show"

Every time I try to watch "The Daily Show," I am quickly turned off or enraged by Jon Stewart's pomposity and smugness. But I frequently see some extremely funny clips on the Internet. "Hillary's 3AM Call of Duty" Video Game with "John McCain's Virtual Fireplace" was hilarious. This takedown of Code Pink is perfect.

Hat-tip: Terri

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM

Quote of the Day

Every four years, we are assured that "this will be the dirtiest campaign ever" when history is always full of more acrimony and more biting invective. We get Scarlett O'Hara-esque vapors if McCain is called a warmonger, or Senator Clinton is accused of "misspeaking" or if we claim that perhaps, Senator Obama might not actually walk on water.

Too bad they did not have blogs in 1856 -- this should have received more currency:

"No greater service could be rendered to the cause of truth than by putting Greeley where he ought to be. He is a liar and the truth is not in him. He is a mush toad spotted traitor to the Constitution. And he is a knave beyond the lowest reach of any comparison I can make. Shall this political turkey buzzard be permitted to vomit the filthy contents of his stomach on every decent man in the country without having his neck twisted?" -- Judge Jeremiah S. Black of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court defending his friend and Democratic nominee, James Buchannan from attacks by Horace Greeley.

From J.S. Black to J. Reynolds, June 9, 1856, Black MSS, Library of Congress. Quoted in Carl B. Swisher's "Roger B. Taney" Macmillan Company, 1935.

But johngalt thinks:

Nice!

Reminds me of one of my favorite insults:

"No one can have a greater opinion of him than I, and I think he's a filthy little beast."

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2008 2:22 PM

Death of a President

Charlton Heston was a president; he was MY President. As figurehead of the NRA he said what members of America's gun culture wanted to say to those who blamed them for the crimes of others:

“Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”

Last night this American icon passed away. Rest in peace, and give my best to John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. May there be new cowboys born today to replace you.

But AlexC thinks:

Amen.

I joined the NRA when Mr Heston was elected, and just recently did I finish the last installment of my life-membership.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

Posted by: AlexC at April 6, 2008 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

"Oh Captain, my Captain!" Heston his supporters should take great comfort in the advancement of rights during his tenure.

Gun control forces have been in political retreat for a decade, and with a good decision in Heller, might make huge advancements before President Obama tries to dismantle them.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2008 12:43 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

And Clinton never took his guns from his cold, dead hands.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 8, 2008 8:14 PM

April 4, 2008

7:00 PM Friday, time for Clinton news!

Remember the 90s? The Clintons would put out press releases on Friday night of embarrassing material. Then on Monday, they'd say "that's old news."

Senator Clinton released tax returns at 7PM EDT Friday the Fourth -- and this partisan hack thought "what's she hiding?"

Well, they're rich. That might be a political liability in some Democratic circles, but she and President Clinton have done well since moving out of 1600 Pennsylvania

Hillary Clinton had $10.5 million in book income over the period from her book "Living History." She donated earnings from her other book, "It Takes a Village," to charity.

Clinton's tax returns show that of the remaining presidential candidates, she is the one most able to access large amounts of personal money. She lent her campaign $5 million in late February and could contribute more if she finds herself falling far behind Obama's proficient fundraising.

McCain's wife is heiress to her father's stake in Hensley & Co. of Phoenix, one of the largest beer distributorships in the country and her worth could exceed $100 million. But the couple has a prenuptial agreement that has kept most assets in her name. In his financial disclosures, McCain lists his major sources of income as his Senate salary of $169,300 and a Navy pension of about $56,000.


I don't know that I'd have guessed her as the richest of the three. Other than President Clinton's success, "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 and more than $109 million since 2000" I didn't see a good reason to resuscitate the Friday night press releases. Of course, some intrepid blogger will find the dirt over the weekend and post it on Monday. But then it will be old news.

As a partisan hack, I question whether some of the huge speaking fees or book advances come awfully close to what we call "a bribe." Ten-point-five-mil for "Living History?" How many copies sold? No doubt President Clinton is beloved and a valued speaker, but it is a pretty convenient way to funnel money to a US Senator. I have no proof, it's just a little unsettling.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 7:48 PM

Brrrr

Gateway Pundit has a wrapup of weather/climate news. If you go to this post, all the following are links

Brrrr... Antarctica Records Record High Ice Cap Growth
Brrrr... South America Has Coldest Winter in a 90 Years
Brrrr... Iraqis See First Snow in 100 Years As Sign of Peace
Brrrr... Worst Snowstorms in a Decade in China Cause Rioting
Brrrr... Jerusalem Grinds to a Halt As Rare Snowstorm Blasts City
Brrrr... Worst Snowstorms in 50 Years Continue to Cripple China
Brrrr... China Suffers Coldest Winter in 100 Years
Brrrr... Pakistan Suffers Lowest Temps in 70 Years-- 260 Dead
Brrrr... Record Cold Hits Central Asia-- 654 Dead in Afghanistan
Brrrr... Severe Weather Kills Dozens in Kashmir
Brrrr... Tajikistan Crisis!! Coldest Winter in 25 Years!
Brrrr... Record Cold Wave Blasts Mumbai, India
Brrrr... Snow and Ice in San Diego?
Brrrr... Wisconsin Snowfall Record Shattered
Brrrr... The Disappearing Arctic Ice Is Back And It's Thick
Brrrr... Turkey's snowiest winter continues.
Brrrr... Record Cold & Snow Blankets Acropolis in Greece (Video)
Brrrr... Longest Ever Cold Spell Kills Cattle & Rice in Vietnam
Brrrr... Most Snow Cover Over North America Since 1966
Brrrr... Australia Suffers Through Coldest Summer in 50 Years
Brrrr... Record Snowfall Slams Ohio River Valley
Brrrr... New Data Gives Global Warming the Cold Shoulder

The post discusses "snow rage:"
A record snowfall in eastern Canada this winter has inspired some, crushed others, led to a rash of snow-blower thefts and incited at least two armed clashes, authorities said Wednesday.
[and]
An elderly Quebec City man pulled a 12-gauge shotgun on a female snowplow operator on Sunday for blowing snow onto his property, after warning her.

Cranky, cold, Quebecois -- it's not a pretty sight.

But mdmhvonpa thinks:

We could prevent this 'Global Cooling' disaster if we put AlGore on a no-fly list.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at April 7, 2008 11:03 AM

April 3, 2008

That's One Unscientific American

Don Luskin links to a Scientific American story that, well, let me steal Luskin's summation:

"Economics as a whole is invalid because, as I define economics, it doesn't yield the politically correct alarmist interpretation of global warming."

As Dave Berry might say, he is not making this up.
Unfortunately, it is clear that neoclassical economics has also become outdated. The theory is based on unscientific assumptions that are hindering the implementation of viable economic solutions for global warming and other menacing environmental problems.

I'm starting to understand how Galileo felt. Our scientific community has been replaced by a ruling class of religious wackos who care more about Orthodoxy than truth.

Eppur si muove, Dr, Nadeau, Eppur si muove.

But HB thinks:

1. Doesn't he have to be an economist to make such statements? Such seems to be the policy with respect to critiques of the 'science' of global warming.

2. The Austrian school of economics rejects neoclassical theory on similar grounds and yet most, if not all, Austrians view intervention with respect to global warming as unwarranted as well. In fact, many Austrian justify opposition to intervention through the failure of the neoclassical theory of intervention.

Posted by: HB at April 4, 2008 9:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A mention of Crichton's 'State of Fear' is appropriate here.

I'm just starting to read it so I can't cite any analogies.

But let me get this straight: The man (Robert Nadeau) who says there is a worldwide "environmental crisis" - a view principally supported by extensive mathematical modeling - claims that neoclassical economic theory is "outdated" because its mathematical theories are predicated on certain "unscientific assumptions." Can this guy pull rabbits from hats or what!

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2008 3:40 PM

Now Is The Time

...for all good men to come to the aid of the party. A good friend -- and honest lefty interlocutor -- sends this graphic:

Increases.jpg


And asks: "What is the real benefit of maintaining a HUGE national debt?"

I respond:

1) I treasure my position as your favorite Republican, but I cannot defend the GOP on spending. They have lost their way. I can’t really handle the loony Libertarians, but if I had a choice for a tight-fisted party, I would take it. I am happy that Senator McCain, my third choice in the primaries, is known for being tough on spending. Senator Lott is retiring and Senator Stevens will soon be in jail – the party might find its small government roots after all. Current Democratic candidates are pursuing far more spending than Presidents Clinton or Carter.

2) To answer your question, there is no benefit to debt, the benefit is the thing you bought with the money. I owe $xxxxxxx on my house and don’t claim my mortgage as my favorite thing in life. But I am pretty happy to have a house and it has been good for me emotionally and financially, well worth carrying manageable debt. (Personal segue, we are giving up on stairs and are moving to a one-floor condo.)

3) President Reagan increased the debt in a Faustian bargain with a Democratic Congress, He told Leader Wright that they could continue with domestic spending if they would fund his war on Communism. The debt shot up, but the Berlin Wall fell ten years later. That is pretty good ROI. President Bush “spent the money” on tax cuts, which are an unalloyed good, and defense, covered in point four.

4) As a general rule, I would suggest that the Republican administrations’ spending tended to be on defense, which enjoys a clear Constitutional purview. I oppose many Democratic programs not for their cost as much as their expansion of the scope and size of government. Again, I cede point #1, President Bush has been no angel. I could have left No Child Left Behind behind and am pretty soft on Medicare Part D.

5) Your graphic is instructive, but I would like to see it with two changes: One, index for inflation -- real debt or better still, showing debt as a percentage of GDP would be more instructive. Bringing back the mortgage analogy, my payments have doubled since I bought my first house but my income has quadrupled; graphing my indebtedness would look worse than your graph but wood not capture significant data. Second, I would color it with sweet gridlock in a pretty mauve, and one-party rule as diarrhea brown. W’s reign has expanded government because he lacked an opposition party. He who governs least governs best in my world.


Anybody else care to take the bait?

Spirit of '94 Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Bill Clinton raised taxes, the national debt went down. George W Bush cut taxes, the national debt went up. Where's the big mystery?

Meanwhile, Ma and Pa American get to keep more of the money they earned, while their government spends like it knows there will be a Democrat president again someday.

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2008 7:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Et tu, jg? President Bush raised record revenues by cutting taxes (not sure how many 'round these parts want to celebrate that, but it is factual). President Clinton raised taxes early, but cut cap gains taxes later on with a little GOP help. I reject your implication that raising taxes is the key to lowering debt.

But I appreciate your reminder that We the People get to keep the money. I have two lefties on the email thread and that matters nothing to them. Nor does Constitutional purview.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2008 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I clearly oversimplified, but who wants to read a witty quip that goes into excruciating detail. My point was meant to be that "the National Debt" is not the proper metric for a successful presidency since it only really indicates how flush the government bureaucracy's bank book is. This is typically in inverse proportion to that of America's taxpayers (of all income levels) who actually CREATE the wealth in the first place.

I look at the reflection of this graph in a glassy lake to see the effect that matters to me.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2008 10:00 AM
But jk thinks:

And I’d say you scored with "the reflection of this graph in a glassy lake."

Perhaps it is time for me to admit that the Laffer Curve is a political loser. I believe it, but it is counter-intuitive and easily demagogued. First principles might be a better move.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2008 4:24 PM

April 1, 2008

Punishment

Emperor of Hope Barrack Obama recently stated that he didn't want his children to be punished with a child at 16. Personally, I liked this response:


My apologies Mr. Obama but a child, whether born or unborn, is not a punishment. You may view it as a consequence of engaging in sexual activity, but in no way should a child ever be referred to as a punishment. Perhaps those values and morals that you teach your daughters should be that Pro-Choice can mean something more than the free ability to dispose of a life; it can also be the choice not to engage in an activity that has specific and predictable biological consequences.

I don't want to get into a discussion regarding abortion, but I think that this statement will get a lot of air time when the general election rolls around. McCain will need to rally the base and this will surely motivate social conservatives.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

HB is looking to rally the Social Conservatives -- and I thought I was the pragmatist. You go, Brother!

I think this plays into the Malthusian worldview of the left. Every child is a mouth to feed, not the one who will cure cancer.

Posted by: jk at April 2, 2008 12:21 PM

Islamic Tolerance

Assemble your own segue:

Jonah Goldberg reacts to Fitna and compares it to "Darwin Fish." (HT-Terri at I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err [Happy Blogiversary!])

It's fine for Muslim moderates to say they aren't part of the cancer; and that some have, in response to the film, is a positive sign. But more often, diagnosing or even observing this cancer -- in film, book or cartoon -- is dubbed "intolerant" while calls for violence, censorship and even murder are treated as understandable, if regrettable, expressions of well-deserved anger.

Blog Brother Cyrano sends a link to The Child and the Invader It's on MEMRI TV I cannot embed, but watch a couple of these. These cartoons get their plotlines from Itchy and Scratchy, but cast adorable blue-eyed Persian children as the mice and a cartoonishly evil soldier as the poor cat. The Invader has a Star of David (subtlety is not a family value!)

These cartoons made Brother Cyrano angry, but they kind of scared me. The plotlines are transparently stupid but the production values are very good. The animation itself is clever and professional. Pretty dang good propaganda.

The issue is always always always that good Christians are expected to pony up taxes to support "Piss Christ" while so many of our Islamic friends riot at cartoons. Goldberg is correct in pointing out a middle offense of moderates' tacit approval. Free speech is the freedom to offend, as long as it's not an incumbent Senator within 60 days of an election. Everybody else needs to learn to live with it.


Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at 3:01 PM

Shakespeare Joke

From my brother:

A woman was out shopping one day with her son. The boy spotted a man who was bowlegged.

The boy pulled on Mom's hand and said, "Momma, look at the bowlegged man!"

Mom was mortified and told her son that it was not polite to point to a person and make that sort of comment.

For punishment, the boy had to read a play by Shakespeare. He couldn't go shopping again until he finished reading the play.

Finally he finished and his mom took him once again to the mall.

Again he spied a bowlegged man, but remembered what happened the last time.

So he pulled on his mother's hand and said, "Lo, what manner of men are these, who wear their balls in parentheses?"


Posted by John Kranz at 10:58 AM

Thanks Dems

Our Democratic Congress decided to say "no thanks" to an anti-pork measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a former member of the pork-dispensing Appropriations Committee, strongly opposed the moratorium, as did all but a handful of Democrats.

House Democrats such as John Murtha, D-Johnstown, a longtime Pelosi ally who got the "porker of the year" award from Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based watchdog group, weighed in as well. If the Senate won't give up its pork, they argued, why should the House?

Earmarks for road and bridge projects, contracts for local defense companies, and grants to local governments and nonprofits can mean jobs back home. Then there's the political boost that lawmakers running for re-election reap from earmarks, especially endangered freshmen such as Nancy Boyda, D-Kan.


Can we at least pretend they're not trying to bribe us for their jobs?

Or is that too much to ask?

But jk thinks:

If the GOP didn't have Sens. Stevens, Cochran, &c, they could take this up as a defining issue. The rallying cry of "we don't suck quite as bad as them!" lacks energy.

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2008 11:10 AM

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