August 31, 2008
Have Liberals Lost Their Minds?
I spend far too much time enjoying Al Gore's invention. Perhaps I am not alone. The internet has exposed the left-wing kooks (I should note that these kooks are not confined to the left-wing, but the Bush presidency has sure brought the lefties out of the woodwork). Case-in-point: The Kos kids are claiming that Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's youngest son is, in fact, her grandson (see here and here, if you must). They have absolutely no facts to go on, as their "evidence" is centered around a picture of Palin's daughter that they claim was taken in March that supposedly shows her with "baby bump." However, I did a quick search for the picture that they reference and, according to the newspaper where the picture was published, the photo was actually taken in 2006! (You can verify that I am referencing the correct picture as I refuse to post it here.) While I am not an OBGYN, I can hazard a guess and say that it is unlikely that a girl who was pregnant in 2006 would give birth in April 2008. But then again, facts are not important to the Kos kids.
RNC2008: Looking Forward to Day 1
Tomorrow's convention activities have been scaled back as a result of the landing of Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf States.
Monday's convention meetings will only be a few hours long as a result. Tuesday through Thursday are being played by ear.
RNC2008: Opening Show
The Minneapolis Convention Center was the scene for a big hob-nob fest today, before the actual convention kicks off.
Here a few pictures...
White House model
RNC2008: Media Credentials
As luck would have it, I ran into a pawatercooler reader who promptly introduced me to KYW1060's Brad Segall, who briefly interviewed me about the blogger program at the RNC, as well as the Sarah Palin VP pick.
Maybe I'll be on.
August 30, 2008
"The one we've been waiting for"
That Obama guy's got some great lines. Now even Fred Barnes is stealing them to sub-head his column.
So Republicans were beginning to come together, but it was thanks largely to Democratic noisemaking. Republicans weren't on offense. Now, with Sarah Palin's elevation, they are. McCain couldn't mobilize the Republican base, but Palin can. Indeed, she already has. By 10 P.M. Friday, the day her selection was announced, the McCain campaign had raised $4 million online - more than six times its previous daily record.
Barnes also voices publicly what I was bold enough to share only with my brother - that Palin's youth coupled with the national prestige of a veep nomination position her as the GOP frontrunner in future presidential campaigns.
What if McCain and Palin win? As vice president, Palin would be next in line for the Republican presidential nomination after McCain. Assuming she didn't wander off the conservative reservation - an unlikely occurrence - she'd be hard to stop. And just to be clear about her conservatism: Palin is pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military, pro-Iraq war, pro-spending cuts, pro-tax cuts, pro-drilling for oil everywhere (including ANWR), pro-family, and pro-religion.
And, as I said below, if her Democrat opponent(s) criticize her for any of her pro-(fill in the blank) positions they are merely being misogynists (that means 'sexist,' for those of you who hung around after commenting on the Anne Price Mills contretemps.) Feel the power of identity politics my fellow pragmatic individualists!
Bush 43: History's First Review
Between convention fever and a certain candidate's brilliant choice of a capitalist running dog running mate, I don't want to let this slip away.
Gaddis talks about history's rehabilitating Presidential reputations even when they leave office in unpopularity. I've remained certain that President Bush is due for some better press in the history books than he got in the NY Times. And Gaddis may be a step toward the rehabilitation.
Presidential revisionism tends to begin with small surprises. How, for instance, could a Missouri politician like Truman who never went to college get along so well with a Yale-educated dandy like Acheson? How could Eisenhower, who spoke so poorly, write so well? How could Reagan, the prototypical hawk, want to abolish nuclear weapons? Answering such questions caused historians to challenge conventional wisdom about these Presidents, revealing the extent to which stereotypes had misled their contemporaries.
Excuse me? President Bush recommending books to a Yale History Professor? Don't let that one get out, man, you'll ruin his reputation.
The whole (magazine-length) article is superb. Does anybody recognize this magazine? Is it British? It looks pretty good. (UPDATE: No, not UK based. The masthead lists Francis Fukuyama, Walter Russell Mead & Josef Joffe and an eclectic list of contributors.)
Just Keeps Getting Better
Insty links to Mankiw: McCain veep pick is not a member...of the Pigou Club
Palin just signed a bill to suspend Alaska’s gasoline tax until Aug. 31, 2009, actually implementing in her state what John McCain advocated this year on the national scene....The bill, signed Aug. 25, also suspends taxes on marine fuel and aviation fuel for a year.
I think Senator McCain's summer-of-suspension was a gimmick. I like Palin's better because:
I have to steal my favorite line from Brother ac: "I didn't know they could stack awesome this high!"
UPDATE: Dr, Helen pens a great piece that captures my enthusiasm for the VP nominee:
But [gender] is not the reason I will be pulling for her and McCain come November. For me, Sarah Palin represents many right-leaning libertarian ideas that I personally support: low taxes, gun rights, and smaller government.
August 29, 2008
Second Best VP Pick EVER!
August 28, 2008
Obama's Acceptance Speech: Halloween in August
The Refugee had to look at the calendar while listening to Obama's acceptance speech; it was the scariest thing he's heard outside a haunted house.
The change that Obama proposes is naked socialism. He will insert government's heavy hand into every element of American society. He'll tell Detroit what cars to make; insurance companies what people to insure; students what jobs to take after school; parents how to educate their children; what energy producers can produce. And, he's going to pay for it with a tax cut. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
War Lost; Economy in Tatters; GDP Revised Up
I have taken some well deserved whacks at FOX News. But I must confess I could not watch the DNC without them. We had MSNBC on last night to hear Rep. Harold Ford, and as I was trying to switch away before I had to hear Keith Olberman, he said (I quote from memory but I do not exaggerate): "[President Clinton] will have to give a good speech to support Obama, because they have to live in this country too. She's thinking about 2012, but if we elect another Republican we may not make it to 2012."
Brit Hume, conversely, has been gently chiding the Democrats for their dire descriptions of the misery in Bush-McCain-Amerikka. Hume said the other night "You'd think we were living in Belarus." Apologies to Minsk and all, but if you've caught even the keynotes, wow -- who knew things were this bad?
Just as General Petraeus won the war while the primary Democrats were arguing about surrender options, one wonders if the Depression, Recession, Slowdown might not cooperate until November. The WSJ reports Economy Grew 3.3% in 2nd Quarter,
Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 3.3% annual rate April through June, the Commerce Department said Thursday in a new, revised estimate of second-quarter GDP.
This is a media post and not a politics post. If we had 9% growth, I don't think the NYTimes would drop its gloom-and-doomism until January. But if oil falls and housing stabilizes, will the Keith Olbermans of the world be able to make the bad times last until November?
August 27, 2008
Quote of the Day
Larry Kudlow says his sources say the McCain VP shortlist is now Gov. Pawlenty and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (way to call it, br!). I am pretty sick of McCain house jokes from Democrats, but I laughed at this:
Sources also tell me that Karl Rove and other Bush White House operatives continue to push hard for Romney. But one wag told me there’s a housing problem: Governor Romney has five; Sen. McCain and his wife have seven. That’s a lot of houses for one ticket. But putting sarcasm aside, Governor Romney is a fine person. He would make a very strong vice president.
Anne Price Mills, The Video
I was not stuck in an airport. Ergo, I was not watching CNN. But Brother ac does not lie, here's the clip:
Past Performance Predicts Future Reliability
In 2003, President Bush called for a new agency, internal to the Treasury, to oversee Freddie & Fannie. Rep. Barney Frank didn't see a problem:
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
He's right -- Fannie and Fred should provide a lot of affordable, repossessed housing. Way to stick it to the man, Barney!
Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw
Brother Johngalt and I had mournfully decided that skeptical opposition to DAWG was a lost cause. Both Presidential candidates and a huge majority in Congress either subscribe to the theory or feel they have to play along to mollify their constituents.
It seemed sad that we lost the battle as the science was crumbling. If I were a lefty, I'd call it ironic. C'est le guerre (le guerre, la Guerra, al gore there's a joke in there somewhere).
Samizdat Brian Micklethwait not only sees the battle as won, he thinks the battle itself signals capitulation in a larger war:
One of the things that irritates me about propagandists on my side is that they are often reluctant to spot a great victory, even when they have just won one. Wilkinson's point is not just that climate chaos-ism is nonsense, a claim that I increasingly find myself agreeing with completely, not least because the now undependable notion of "global warming" has been replaced by the idiotic phrase "climate chaos", or, even more idiotically, "climate change". When was there ever a time when the climate did not change? What Wilkinson is also noting is that the hysteria whipped up around the changeability of the climate was whipped up because these lunatics came to realise that they had no other arguments against a more-or-less capitalist, more-or-less-free-market world economy. They have now conceded - not in so many words, rather by changing the subject - that capitalism works, and the only nasty thing they have left to say about it is that it works so well that it ruins the planet.
Perhaps he's right, but the enemies of free markets don't admit defeat very easily. Last night on Kudlow & Co., Secretary Robert Reich suggested that Kudlow and Stephen Moore were "the last two people on Earth who still believe in supply-side economics." I don't see anybody being more generous with climate science.
A Republican I will Not Support
The ThreeSources pragmatist will be cheering for one Republican to lose his Senate Seat.
I was sure he would lose his primary contest (I'm starting to wonder about Santa and the Easter Bunny as well...)
August 26, 2008
I'm at an airport, and I only caught the last little bit of Hillary!'s speech on CNN... but gosh.
Did anyone see Anne Price-Mills, a delegate for Hillary interviewed on CNN?
"that was a presidential speech, you know it, right there."
Then she was getting a little angry.
When asked if she would vote for Hillary she said she was elected as a Hillary delegate, and that's how she will vote.
... in the ballot box, she's not sure.
Obama has two months to win her over.
She's not going to vote McCain, but maybe Obama.
Sue Me, Obama '08!
Bring poor ThreeSources the publicity we have been tantrumming for for four years.
Seriously. I was looking all day to see this ad that everybody is talking about and that the Obama campaign is suppressing. Here, thanks to Michelle Malkin (HT: Insty), is the footage:
UPDATE; Awesome riff from Andy McCarthy at The Corner about Obama Calling on DOJ to Silence Ayers Criticism
The only two cents I'd add is that a real story — and one that should alarm people — is that this is what Obama thinks the Justice Department is for. Here is a guy who fought the Patriot Act, fought surveillance reform, has spoken admiringly of Ayer's radical views of the criminal justice system, and has a record as a Chicago legislator of being soft on violent crime. He is evidently ambivalent about going after terrorists and hardened criminals, but he wants to mobilize the Justice Department post haste to suppress political speech that he doesn't like.
Quote of the Day II
DB Light at the PA Water Cooler discusses Senator Obama's negative bounce, and finds a pretty good sobriquet for Senator Biden:
Some say it is those subversive Clintons wreaking their revenge for Obama’s choice of the Bloviator from Baja Pennsylvania as a running mate.
Quote of the Day
An anonymous reader asks Don Luskin:
John Edwards has been barred from making a speech at the Democratic Convention because he had an adulterous affair and lied about it.
Staring Down Dictators
I'm a partisan hack, but I laugh every time I hear about Senator Biden having "stared down dictators." I cannot imagine -- okay, find it hard to imagine -- a person I would less like to have representing the United States in a tough negotiation than Biden (D - MBNA).
Michael Rubin has a guest editorial in the Washington Post today. He questions the fearless comb-over as well:
In selecting Joseph Biden as his running mate, Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of foreign affairs to this year's election. His Web site trumpeted Biden as "an expert on foreign policy" and a man "who has stared down dictators."
August 25, 2008
I Ain't No Senator's Son!
Too bad it ain't me -- it doesn't seem like a bad gig:
During the years that Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. was helping the credit card industry win passage of a law making it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection, his son had a consulting agreement that lasted five years with one of the largest companies pushing for the changes, aides to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign acknowledged Sunday.
And there probably is nothing wrong here. But Ed Morrissey asks "Remember when Barack Obama wanted to change the manner business got conducted in Washington? If that seems a long time ago, it retreated further in the distance when Team Obama admitted yesterday that running mate Joe Biden had a son consulting MBNA, a credit company who had a lot to lose if a bankruptcy bill Obama opposed became law."
Obama Tire Gauges
The good folks at the McCain store sent five "Obama Energy Plan" tire gauges. Anybody who missed it and needs one, lemme no. j k [a t] t h r e e s o u r c e s [d o t] c o m
Free Trader John!
Professor Mankiw links to an interesting web application on the CATO site that rates each legislator -- based on his or her voting record -- on a two dimensional grid of opposition to trade barriers and opposition to subsidies. The corners are labeled "Isolationist, Interventionist, Internationalist, and Free Trader."
Zombie has the pictures.
They're begging for the fire hose.
August 24, 2008
I've been a little hard on Will on this blog for being too representative of Washington Conventional Wisdom. I must confess that the man has superior erudition, has been a good voice for free markets for many years -- and knows a lot about baseball.
He takes some good whacks at Senator Obama's energy policy today (more to like) in a column delightfully titled Little Rhetoric Riding Hood.
Obama has also promised that "we will get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years." What a tranquilizing verb "get" is. This senator, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, is going to get a huge, complex industry to produce, and is going to get a million consumers to buy, these cars. How? Almost certainly by federal financial incentives for both -- billions of dollars of tax subsidies for automakers and billions more to bribe customers to buy cars they otherwise would spurn.
Great stuff. I'll suggest the whole thing but excerpt the last paragraph in case your mouse hand is sore:
In 1996, Bob Dole, citing the Clinton campaign's scabrous fundraising, exclaimed: "Where's the outrage?" In this year's campaign, soggy with environmental messianism, deranged self-importance and delusional economics, the question is: Where is the derisive laughter?
Hat-Tip: Hugh Hewitt
There's No 'O' in Unity!
I shouldn't post this. But I gotta:
August 23, 2008
Why Aren't We Like China?
This might get lost in the excitement over Senator Joe Biden's joining the 2008 Democratic ticket (I know I'm finding it hard to concentrate!) but I hope the Republican Attack Machine® doesn’t allow it to get lost. I was reading about it yesterday, but it is much more potent on video:
Biden, 65, is a veteran of more than three decades in the Senate, and one of his party's leading experts on foreign policy, an area in which polls indicate Obama needs help in his race against Republican rival John McCain.
Do you think?
August 22, 2008
Quote of the Day
Tocqueville, quoted by Hayek -- how can you go wrong?
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to match over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labours, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all care of thinking and all the trouble of living? -- Alexis de Tocqueville, quoted in The Constitution of Liberty, by FA Hayek, page 251.
McCain: Tough on Aliens
The green kind, not the
When we asked you which presidential candidate could better handle an alien invasion, over 46,000 of you had an opinion. The race was close, but in the end, 58 percent of you wanted former POW McCain, not Barack Obama, in charge when the little green men show up.
President McCain would take no shit from them.
Unless of course they crossed the Rio Grande or overstayed their Visas. Then they'd be welcomed.
Random House Bows To Catholic Pressure, Pulls Novel
Had you there, didn't I? Actually it was a novel about the nine year old wife of the Prophet Mohammed, and author Sherry Jones is now looking for another publisher.
"Random House made the decision to cancel its US publication of the novel 'The Jewel of Medina' after much deliberation and with great reluctance," a statement from the publisher sent to AFP said.
Hat-tip: Eidelblog, where Perry wonders about a possible double standard.
It's strange. I'm trying to think of when Catholics "strongly advised" Dan Brown and Doubleday regarding "The Da Vinci Code," or when Protestants issued death threats against someone for mocking Jesus. You might remember, Catholics did protest against "The Golden Compass," but show me one person or structure that was ever threatened.
This is a dangerous slope. And another reminder of the unseriousness of the civil libertarians. I get goose bumps when I think of the ACLU defending the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois (man I hate Illinois Nazis!) but that was a long time ago.
August 21, 2008
The best Starbucks® The Way I See It I have yet to encounter. #112:
If you've got a dollar and you spend twenty-nine cents on a loaf of bread, you’ve got seventy-one cents left. But if you've got seventeen grand and you spend twenty-nine cents on a loaf of bread, you’ve still got seventeen grand. That's a math lesson for you. -- Steve Martin Comedian and actor
Thank You Mister Stossel!
I wince at quite a few things that Democrats say. But a bipartisan wince-inducer is the call for "energy independence." John Stossel points out "how ideas with no merit become popular merely because they sound good."
To be for "energy independence" is to be against trade. But trade makes us as safe. Crop destruction from this summer's floods in the Midwest should remind us of the folly of depending only on ourselves. Achieving "energy independence" would expose us to unnecessary risks -- such as storms that knock out oil refineries or droughts that create corn -- and ethanol -- shortages.
I ask people who champion this whether they are "food independent." "What if King Soopers decides to stop selling you food tomorrow? Your family will starve!!!" (I don't seem to get invited to as many parties as I used to...)
Stossel rips this one out of the park
Don't Obama and Pickens realize that we get something useful for that money? It's not a "transfer"; it's a win-win transaction, like all voluntary trade. Who cares if the sellers live in a foreign country? When two parties trade, each is better off -- or the exchange would never have been made. We want the oil more than the money. They want the money more than the oil. They need us as much as we need them.
Whole. Read, Thing. The. Hat-tip: Instapundit
The Company You Keep
August 20, 2008
Vote Charlie for Hot Blogger!
ThreeSources friend Charlie "Tecumseh" on the PA turnpike has been nominated for the HotBloggerCalendar.
Vote for him if you can -- I could not figure out the site (perhaps voting is not open yet?) We'll keep you informed...
Tip to Allahpundit who wonders why Jindal speaks AFTER the VP nominee.
Quote of the Day
Andrew Sullivan argues that McCain was not a war hero and has never been to Vietnam, because a McCain campaign ad shows the cross drawn in the dirt with a stick, but McCain has said the guard drew the cross with his sandal.
Ann Althouse, destroys Sully, and gets in a pretty fine bon mot:
It can't help Obama to show that McCain ad over and over again for the purpose of arguing about a stick and a sandal. I think ordinary people — who aren't dumb enough to think we're looking at the original footage (or stickage, if you will) — would regard it as weirdly disproportionate to obsess over the detail of sticks and sandals.
August 19, 2008
Obama's Alternate Universe
The Refugee couldn't believe his ears. He was listening to Fox News on satellite radio and heard E.D. Hill inteviewing an Obama spokesperson about tax issues (Laura somebody-or-other; The Refugee was not quick enough on the uptake to get her last name while driving). E.D. asked about Obama's plans to increase taxes, and the spokesperson indicated that Obama was going to actually cut taxes. The conversation went something like this:
E.D.: "But won't Obama increase the capital gains tax?"
WOW!! So, if the rate is lower than at any point in history, it's a cut. The Refugee perhaps should not be so shocked, as this is from the same party that calls a 3% budget increase a spending cut (because it was less than 5%). Even so, what alternative universe is Obama in? That's like a doctor telling a patient that he's really lucky to have lung cancer - because he doesn't also have brain and liver cancer.
Actually, this rationale speaks less to Obama's economic acumen than it does to his regard for the body politic. Apparently, he thinks we're all a bunch of frickin' idiots if he thinks we're going buy this dog food.
Plague of Locusts
I don't link to Taranto too much because the ThreeSourcers I know live and die by BOTW. But I have to use a hometown/personal angle on this one. The second I heard that the Obama Ego was too big to be contained by the Pepsi Center and that the Senator would give his acceptance speech at Invesco, I thought of torrential downpours. It's not likely in late August, but nothing is impossible in Colorado. I guess I was right:
Denver's Rocky Mountain News reports on other possible disruptions:
I had also heard that Focus on the Family was jeered for suggesting that visitors to its website pray for rain. Folks, I am not a praying man and I know we've got all stripes around here. But a plague of locusts to darken the sun -- that's worth a little prayer.
Pretty sweet setup for bloggers (like yours truly) traveling to the conventions.
Not only will bloggers have Internet access, workspaces and couches for napping in the "Big Tent" headquarters, they will be provided food and beverages, Google-sponsored massages, smoothies and a candy buffet. On the final night of the convention, Google is co-sponsoring a bash with Vanity Fair magazine for convention-goers and journalists that has become one of the hottest party invites.
Change I Can Believe In
Of all the bad things in our political system, one of the worst has got to be "walking around money" for traditional machine politics for use on bribes, or gas, or phone calls, or bribes or food for volunteers, or even bribes. Ed Morrissey in HotAir:
Last April, I complimented Barack Obama for his principled stand against the corrupt practice of providing “street money” to political organizers in Philadelphia. He insisted that his new kind of politics didn’t allow for the cash-on-demand tradition in Philadelphia, and that his organization would remain voluntary. Even with ward bosses playing the race card against him in response — claiming that Obama spent his money at “white” television stations instead of on black volunteers through street money — Obama held firm.
"Obama held firm." Until it looked like there might be consequences. Sheeesh!
jk Turns Hawkish on Inflation
I have been the inflation dove around ThreeSources. I still consider a core CPI in the low "twos" to be manageable, but I think we are getting beyond that and am willing to concede that long term headline inflation cannot be ignored.
Brian Wesbury has an excellent guest editorial in the WSJ today. The First Trust Advisors Chief Economist and frequent Kudlow guest is a smart guy and a cool head. He's pretty slow to call for falling skies, but he has some serious 1970s-ish concerns about where we are now.
One would think that the odds of a repeat [of 1970s inflation] were low, and for 20 years, after Ronald Reagan and his Fed Chairman Paul Volcker had the courage to get inflation under control with tight money and tax cuts, this was true. Unfortunately, the lessons seem to be fading. Today, the U.S. (and through it the world) faces its greatest threat from inflation in 30 years. And as in the past, this threat is being met with denial and political expediency.
Though I am still not calling for Bernanke's head on a pike, any fair observer would have to suggest that he is no Volcker. And I've seen the guys running for President -- neither is Ronald Reagan.
A good economist should be smart and lucky, and Wesbury may be both. The day his column runs, the WSJ news pages report a 27-year record rise in the PPI last month.
I think the FOMC's taking back 25 bps and suggesting another before year end would send a strong signal and leave us with what no sane person would call "tight money."
I'd suggest the Wesbury piece to even ThreeSourcers who do not get animated about monetary policy (odd eggs that you are). It's very readable and accessible.
August 18, 2008
Reading Racism Between the Lines
In a year when it is racist to call Senator Obama "skinny," Paul Waldman, writing at The American Prospect, has realized that the Obama Energy Plan Tire Gauge -- much beloved by some ThreeSourcers -- is actually a, um, I think I'll let him say it:
The message couldn't be plainer: See that itty-bitty, little tire gauge? If you vote for Obama, that's how big your penis is. If you vote for McCain, on the other hand, your penis is as big as this [working oil] rig, thrusting its gigantic shaft in and out of the ground! Real men think keeping your tires inflated is for weenies.
Wow. I missed the PoMo, feminist collegiate experience by: a) being old, b) studying math and hard science, and c) dropping out. But I have encountered it because I read a lot of literary criticism of Buffy and Angel (sometimes a sword is just a sword, Doctor).
If every candidate is going to have to justify the double indirection parsing of his or her words, we're going to get even farther away from a serious philosophical election.
Hat-tip: Attila (who else?), reminding that I have been remiss in not linking to "When CPA Means 'Jew'," even though I have laughed about it every day since I read it. Riffing off the "skinny" contretemps, Attila recalls the 2000 Lieberman-Cheney debate:
. . . and it's really quite obvious that Cheney's reference to CPAs is a not-so-veiled allusion to Lieberman's Jewish background. What Cheney said was, "You have to be a CPA to understand what he just said." A CPA. Get it? He could just as easily have said, "You have to be a Jew to understand what that Jew just said." And then Cheney went on to say, "The fact of the matter is the plan is so complex that the ordinary American is never going to ever figure out what they even qualify for." The "ordinary American," as opposed to the Jew. That's not very subtle, either, painting the Jew as the Other.
McCain: The Cheater
... and Obama: The Liar (again).
It'd be nice for the Obama campaign to get their act together.
John Fund's Political Diary:
For its part, the Obama campaign officially says it now assumes both candidates were equally unaware of the questions and isn't interested in pursuing the matter. Interestingly enough, Mr. McCain's campaign is and has written a letter to NBC News citing Ms. Mitchell's ruminations as evidence of bias in its campaign coverage. "Instead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points," wrote campaign manager Rick Davis. "This is irresponsible journalism and sadly indicative of the level of objectivity we have witnessed at NBC News this election cycle."
So it turns out that Pastor Rick Warren, in an effort to increase the candidates’ comfort level with his pioneering format, gave each of them a heads-up on several of the hardest questions he asked Saturday night during his “the Saddleback Civil Forum on the presidency.”
It does take the air out of the McCain grand slam performance, but makes the Messiah look even more like a tool. So it's still a net win for McCain. Woo!
Your New Friends, Governor.
We need to switch to renewable energy, but we can't build anything. Environmentalists don't want to build the transmission lines to connect T. Boone Pickens's wind farms with consumers.
Even smaller scale projects are getting axed.
WSJ Ed Page:
Go ahead, say "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior" in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice -- I'll wait.
My buddies on the Ed Page have discovered the real agenda:
In other words, the liberal push for alternatives has the look of a huge bait-and-switch. Washington responds to the climate change panic with multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidies for supposedly clean tech. But then when those incentives start to have an effect in the real world, the same greens who favor the subsidies say build the turbines or towers somewhere else. The only energy sources they seem to like are the ones we don't have.
Let the bastards freeze in the dark!
Obama did such a shitty job at the Saddleback Church that McCain must have cheated.
How else to explain it?
The debates are going to be fabulous.
Things aren't going our way.... waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!
Search for Missing Students a Lost Cause
The Refugee apologizes for the misleading headling, but is certain the reader will see the point in a moment. In a guest editorial in in yesterday's Sunday Denver Post, Susan Barnes-Gelt questions the benefits of a proposed $434 million bond issue being proposed by Denver Public Schools. Barnes-Gelt claims to be an "unrepentant urban liberal," but The Refugee is sure her credentials have been revoked by now; she presents a very coherent and skeptical questioning of the benefits that the DPS will gain from the additional money.
While The Refugee applauds a rare critical eye by a liberal toward educational funding, he was nonetheless unsurprised by the tenor of the argument. It actually followed traditional liberal orthodoxy in the school funding debate. That is, not once - not even once - did Barnes-Gelt mention the impact on students, either good or bad, from the bond issue.
And, that's the crux of the problem in our school funding debate. Even when benefits of lower class sizes and better facilities are touted, it's really about teacher convenience, not student achievement. A smaller class requires less work and who doesn't want new, modern facilities and tools? If students benefit, it's a happy coincidence.
The Refugee would like the legislature to enact a law requiring school districts to make one declarative statement when requesting funding: "If the schools receive the requested funds, test scores will increase x% and graduation rates will increase y% within z timeframe." Now that's real accountability. Which is why the teacher's union would never stand for it and liberals would oppose it. But, it's a question taxpayers should pose and demand an answer.
The Thomas-Obama Smackdown!!!
Maybe it was a gaffe: the WSJ Ed page piles on:
And no wonder Mr. Obama's advisers have refused invitations for more such open forums, preferring to keep him in front of a teleprompter, where he won't let slip what he really believes.
Thus endeth the editorial that says by all means, let's compare Clarence Thomas's record with Senator Obama's:
So let's see. By the time he was nominated, Clarence Thomas had worked in the Missouri Attorney General's office, served as an Assistant Secretary of Education, run the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sat for a year on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation's second most prominent court. Since his "elevation" to the High Court in 1991, he has also shown himself to be a principled and scholarly jurist.
Majority Leader Reid went down this road and was unable to offer any backing for his contentions that Justice Thomas's opinions were not well crafted. I hope future debate panelists and journalists will push this one against Obama as well.
August 17, 2008
An Awesome (Non) Debate
I was incredibly impressed with the "Saddleback Church Civil Forum." Saddleback is a humongous mega-church (not one of the small mega-churches) in Orange County, California. And its Pastor, Rick Warren, sat down with each candidate separately and asked the same set of questions.
Warren called for civility in political discourse both to begin and close the event. The pastor practiced what he preaches [I don’t care who you are, that’s a good line] giving each candidate a friendly, non-confrontational platform and a lot of latitude to set the pace and tone of his segment.
Senator Obama went first, by coin toss (I wondered if McCain won, but wanted to sit in the green chair, but I cannot get an answer) and McCain was offstage in a "cone of silence" (Warren's joke) so that he would not hear the questions.
Senator Obama was awesome in every way. As a McCain supporter, I have been lulled into the he-can't-speak-without-a-telepromter meme. You guys can put that away, now. Senator O was engaging and charming, showing off equal charisma and intellect. His answers were long and discursive. If my lefty brother were watching, he'd be thrilled at the nuance. There were no 57 state gaffes. A member of a FOXNews panel thought that a super-nuanced answer on abortion was a gaffe. I didn't see it that way.
As he left the stage, I thought "if this man shows up at the debates, he'll win 40 states."
Then Senator McCain came out and bested him. Where Obama was thoughtful and discursive, McCain was pointed and principled -- not brusqueness but moral clarity. Even on issues I disagree with Senator Mac, I had to appreciate his clarity. He hit several questions out of the park, and was gaffe free as well. And -- as well - a FOXNews pundit said that he had gaffed with an answer to "what defines rich?" McCain refused to answer, saying that "I'm not going to tax the rich, so I don't need to define them." Fine with me, Senator. Then he laughed and said "$5 million/year" -- quickly pointing out after that the point will be taken out of context and used against him. Home run, clear the bases. Four RBIs.
As McCain left the stage I said "If that man shows up at the debates, he'll win 40 states."
Lastly, I would like to see more of this type of forum. I was queasy to see a big-church big-money pastor leading this, but Warren did a great job and the venue was ideal. The crowd leaned a little right but was very supportive of both.
Why not follow this with the same deal at the NYSE? An economic focus, with a panel of CEOs and financial journalists. Race relations at the MLK memorial? It provided more insight than any of the debates I've seen. It was a little aggravating that there were no follow ups or attempts to stop misdirection, but at the same time, viewers can and will judge the candidates by their evasions as well as their answers.
If you missed this and get another chance, run this one down; it was on all the cable networks and I imagine it will be rerun.
Buy American, Vore Obama
I blog on the shoulders of giants today:
August 16, 2008
Kobe Bryant is interviewed by NBC's Chris Collinsworth;
Collinsworth: Tell the story when you first got your USA uniform.
Cool with me, too Mister Bryant. Ms.Underestimated has the video. Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit via Insty
Vlad, You've Got Mail
Kathleen Parker writes a hilarious column, suggesting letters to Vladimir Putin from President Bush, Senator Obama, and Senator McCain.
Hat-tip: I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err
August 15, 2008
Kudlow on Obamanomics
If, like me, you find yourself suffering from Kudlow withdrawal (sorry, the Olympics does not hold up to a good K&C), you can get a little relief on his blog. Today, Kudlow posts a long and thoughtful response to the Furman/Goolsbee tax plan posted in the WSJ this week.
He opens that it represents a "flip-flop" toward supply side thinking. That is a common -- but I think overly generous -- view. Many on the right seem surprised that he might leave some money in private pockets. Over the course of the post, however, he knocks down much of the premises:
Nonetheless, it appears the Obama people acknowledge at least some effects from supply-side incentives. And perhaps they are implicitly recognizing the likelihood that higher tax rates on cap-gains and dividends will generate lower revenues and a higher budget deficit.
Read the whole thing (in between Men's basket weaving and tiddly-winks).
VP Gore in Town?
It's freezing for Colorado in mid-August. 51F at Atlantis Farm.
Anecdotal, I know, but brrr.
The oil and gas lease auction for Colorado's gas-rich Roan Plateau was held yesterday and generated $114 million, just 1/20th of what some had predicted. Those who have followed the Roan process and debate know that Gov. Ritter and the Democrat legislature have been working diligently to raise taxes on energy producers, including proposed referendums and radio ads demagoging these producers. Senator Salazar has been working in Congress to increase the already-byzantine permitting process to make it simply not worth the effort. The significantly lower lease bids demonstrates that producers factored higher taxes, increased administrative costs and greater uncertainty and thus discounted their bids accordingly. Perfectly rational.
Do you suppose that Ritter, Salazar (the senator who would said he would not support expanded domestic drilling at $10 a gallon) and the Dems learned a lesson in basic economics? Do you further suppose that they now understand that companies are tax collectors, not tax payers? Maybe they concluded that raising taxes leads to lower revenue? Of course not. Who did they blame? President Bush, of course. The Refugee hopes that Ritter is merely playing politics not just plain stupid.
The Refugee, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, has been pleasantly surprised by previous Democratic governors (ie., Dick Lamm and to a lesser extent Roy Romer.) However, The Refugee had low expectations of Ritter, expectations that Ritter continues to fail to achieve. This guy is terrible, and Colorado's tax coffers are suffering as a result.
Goolsbee Vs. Heraclitus
Professor Austan Goolsbee keeps telling anybody who will listen that Senator Obama's tax cuts won't hurt because he will be raising them to near or below the rates of the 1990s (fish jump; cotton high). If he won't listen to Milton Friedman or Art Laffer, I'd suggest he might give a little weight to Heraclitus. Heraclitus said "you don't step into the same river twice."
Since President Clinton presidented over prosperity, the rest of the world listened to Friedman and Laffer and lowered their tax rates. James Pethokoukis points out that the direction of rate change and the state of the economy is as important as rates. The Wall Street Journal Editorial page (I sense Stephen Moore's hand in this) points out that the relative rates of world countries is important:
August 14, 2008
The Game Show Problem
How about a little Math, Scarecrow?
The best ones look simple but are counter-intuitive. And I will admit, I didn't get this. Even after reading this good explanation (ain't the Internet grand?) I reluctantly came around.
I saw this in the movie "21," a decent (3.675 starts) if imperfect flick. They gave it enough time that I felt they must have had good backing, but I couldn't get it. It's "The Game Show Problem" and our beloved protagonist, Ben Campbell, solves it correctly to ingratiate himself with his professor at MIT (played by Kevin Spacey) and eventually secure his spot on the school's unofficial intermural blackjack squad.
Here it is, identical to its appearance in 21:
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors. Behind one door is a car, behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say #1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say #3, which has a goat. He says to you, "Do you want to pick door #2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice of doors?
I watched the movie twice and gave the screen the angled-head-quizzical-dog look both times. I majored in Math (probability was not my thing, and I left school to pursue a music career) but it seems like third grade rules apply, that once the door is opened, you have a 50-50 shot with either door. I err in good company; many of the PhD commenters make the same claim.
Writing a little java program to test it empirically, it becomes obvious. Sticking with Door #1, you will win only if it is in there (33%). The host will not show you the car, so switching gives you the known best choice of the other two.
Counterintuitive. Clever. I would not have made the Blackjack team.
UPDATE: I just ran the computer program 1,000,000 times (boy, my finger is tired!) and sticking with door 1 wins 33.3134%, switching 66.6866%
Our Man In St. Paul
Our shared resource, AlexC, has been credentialed as a blogger at the RNC convention in St. Paul. He's officially representing PA Water Cooler but told me that he plans to post at both sites. (I'm sure any one of us would help you put stuff up it gets easier to email, brother ac.)
He was wondering about ad schwag -- any suggestions? ThreeSources.com: Home of chocolate bunnies and NATALEE HOLLOWAY pictures t-shirts? Not sure we have the budget for embroidered bomber jackets. Key Chains? Buttons ("Another Stunning Exegesis!")? Pens? flash drives?
Any suggestions? I'd toss a little money at it.
I Kinda Liked Him Better Under the Bus
When Senator Obama selected Professor Austan Goolsbee for his economic team, the news was well received. Even some supply siders recognized Goolsbee as a serious economist, and many were comforted by the University of Chicago. Though never mistaken as one of the "Chicago Boyz," guys like me thought that Milton Friedman's water fountain had magic powers.
As I've complained here before, Goolsbee quickly found hidden talents as a partisan hack. His appearances on Kudlow & Company produced far more talking points than economic commentary. Today, Goolsbee and Obama Economic Policy Director, Jason Furman, pen a guest editorial in the WSJ. The piece purports to calm the business community about the Senator's economic proposals. But it's surprisingly defensive and unsurprisingly (look who's talking) full of partisan hackery. Check the lede:
Even as Barack Obama proposes fiscally responsible tax reform to strengthen our economy and restore the balance that has been lost in recent years, we hear the familiar protests and distortions from the guardians of the broken status quo.
Jeez, you can't argue with these guys. They propose a massive restructuring in the tax code and substantial hikes in marginal rates and in revenues off capital. When people rightfully question that, they get called names.
The rest of the article declares the Obama tax plan as being not as bad as what you have heard or suspected, and the familiar comparison to tax rates in the 90s, when fish jumped and cotton grew high. They provide a few specifics, but when it becomes time to compare their plan to Senator McCain's we get back to name-calling. McCain == Bush:
"The McCain plan represents Bush economics on steroids...Sen. McCain has put forward the most fiscally reckless presidential platform in modern memory. The likely results of his Bush-plus policies are clear...America cannot afford another eight years like these."
The familiar protests and distortions from the guardians of the broken status quo, signing out!
UPDATE: Jimmy P thinks it more significant: With Polls Close, Obama Blinks on Taxes. I'd say that they had never really released details and are now drawing the lines to look more reasonable on taxes. Mister Pethokoukis thinks it a big change in position -- and does a great job fielding the line about how good the economy was in the 1990s with these rates:
Look, it is not just the level of tax rates, it's the direction. Second, the Clinton tax hikes happened after the economy had built up a tremendous head of steam. When Clinton signed his big tax increase bill in August 1993, the economy had been expanding for nine consecutive quarters—more than two years—and was able to power through the negative economic impact of the hikes.
Denver Hippies to Mini-Gitmo
Hard to top Allahpundit's opener regarding the prison conditions awaiting DNC protesters.
“Very bare bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp,” says one Code Pink member after viewing the footage; subtract the crematoria, starvation, back-breaking labor, and any real possibility of being locked up for longer than a few hours and you’ll see the harrowing truth in her words.
August 13, 2008
Libertarians for Obama!
When I suggested that Atlantic's Megan McArdle fit into that narrow intersection in the great Venn Diagram of politics, it was suggested that that was something of an oxymoron (or perhaps somebody called me a moron, I forget).
I replied that the good people at Reason Magazine -- though they have many good reasons to question Senator McCain’s bona fides -- seem too easy on Senator Obama, whom I consider a greater threat to liberty. I offer yet another example. The always worth watching Drew Carey project on Reason.tv:
There is another fellah running for President from a major party. The name escapes me at the moment, but he advocates a complete government takeover of the energy industry, has been a consistent supporter of ethanol subsidies, and voted for the farm bill.
Yet the good folks at Reason seem awfully reluctant to portray this other guy in a negative light. As a subscriber to Reason, I of course have a conspiracy theory: the Libertarian game this year is to steal votes from McCain. This will "prove" that Libertarians matter, and they will parade their spoilerhood for four years, until they get trounced again in 2012 (I'm guessing Ted Stevens will get the nomination).
UPDATE: I attributed this to Drew Carey as it is listed under the Drew Carey Project on the Reason.TV website although he does not appear. I'll leave it to other Reason readers to come up with a conspiracy theory for that.
Energy Freedom Day
Sign the petition created by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) calling on Congress to let the drilling bans expire on October 1, 2008.
The related blog page can be accessed here.
Hat Tip: Human Events via Wayne at jeremiahfilms.com
Dave Berry, Call Your Office!
Who will save us from the flying inflatable dog turds? I think I will mail this to James Taranto for his "everything is spinning out of control" section. Blog friend Perry Eidlebus brings us the art news from Switzerland
GENEVA (AFP) — A giant inflatable dog turd by American artist Paul McCarthy blew away from an exhibition in the garden of a Swiss museum, bringing down a power line and breaking a greenhouse window before it landed again, the museum said Monday.
UPDATE: Didn't make BOTW. Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control...
August 12, 2008
Rick Perry for VP?
Just a thought -- I haven't heard his name come up. Texas fatigue?
He has a nice guest ed in the WSJ today blasting ethanol:
Texas is leading the nation in this movement. We are a top contributor to the nation's domestic fuel supply, and a leader in wind, biofuel and solar energy production. We harness the benefits of clean and efficient nuclear power,
A week or so after telling democrats in competitive races it's OK to blame her for congress' inaction on energy legislation she now tells Larry King she's willing to allow a vote.
Pelosi, speaking Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live," said "We can do that. We can have a vote on (oil drilling)."
Why the sudden change of heart? Republicans are threatening to shut down the government.
In a letter from DeMint to Reid, DeMint indicates the GOP has the votes to sustain any veto of a continuing resolution that might get 60 votes.
What do you call it when Republicans force a vote on lifting the drilling ban AND shut down the government in the process? I call it eating one's cake and having it too - killing two birds with one stone - bre'r rabbit getting thrown into that thar briar patch. Let's do it!
Unfortunately, Pelosi wants her precious government purse badly enough that she'll cave on the energy vote. She certainly also has known for some time what is now being reported: That the offshore and shale oil drilling bans will automatically expire on October 1 unless renewed by an affirmative act of congress. Sounds to me like a vote might be required in there somewhere.
I report - you decide - The fifth paragraph of the Fox News article I cited reads as follows:
This is setting the stage for a showdown in September with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and most other Demorats who oppose this drilling.
I'm not making this up - that's how they spelled Democrats. Is it in their spell check dictionary that way or did they just click "ignore?" Either way, I smell a rat! :)
August 11, 2008
The Obama Tax Cut
Senator Obama deflects every criticism of his projected tax hikes with the claim that he is going to cut taxes on the middle class. On FOX News Sunday, Rick Davis was confronted with a non-partisan study that claimed Obama's plan would cut taxes for workers making $45,000 far more than Senator McCain's plan.
A graphic from a superb, must read in full, AEI article in the American Magazine gives a visual look at the Obama tax cut:
Governor George W Bush ran in 2000 against these wacky vertical lines in marginal tax rates. He called them "toll booths to the middle class." And he was right. The poor fool who qualifies for an Obama Tax Cut had better hope that he never gets a raise or that her spouse doesn't find a job -- they could be wiped out!
Although Obama is offering a new series of tax breaks, they undermine rather than improve economic incentives. First, whether or not you get those breaks will depend on your income. In Washington, taking away tax breaks as families work harder to make more money is called a “phase-out.” Economists have a different name for it—we call it a tax. Reducing a person’s tax credit as his income goes up also reduces his incentive to earn more income.
The supply-side mantra is to cut marginal rates. I cannot believe Professor Austan Goolsbee drank from the same water fountain as Milton Friedman and then signed off on this monstrosity.
Mankiw: I Was Wrong!
No, not about the Pigou Club, dang it. But the good Professor suggests -- nicely -- that some of his earlier praise of Senator Obama "for having a good grasp of economic principles" might have been a tad too generous.
Obama is right about the amorality (not immorality) of oil companies. But he seems to suggest that oil markets are fundamentally different than others. In fact, in all markets, reduced production capacity would increase prices and, sometimes, would increase profits as well. That is why farmers can benefit from policies that induce them to leave land fallow. (I can't say about widgets--empirical studies of that market are hard to come by.)
Senator Obama is married to his windfall-profits-from-oil-compainies-to-finance-a-$1000-rebate idea. It makes a nice TV commercial (I guess) but in a debate or a serious Sunday interview, it is difficult to explain why you can tax an industry based on its unpopularity.
August 10, 2008
It's Good to be the President...
August 8, 2008
The Best Thing Ever on the Internet
And it is safe for work.
Step aside Beckett. Stand down, Sartre, we now have:
Hat-tip: Galley Slave Jonatahn V Last.
There actually were 17 Americas
John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extramarital affair with a novice filmmaker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News today.
I like the first eight words: "John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign..."
As in "OH CRAP!"
The Trouble with Government Infrastructure
Last Wednesday, Larry Kudlow had Mike Maiello of Forbes magazine as a guest on his TV show, Maiello was a bright and earnest young man with more hair than the rest of the guests (and host) combined. In an ocean of supply-siders, Maiello took the task of explaining the great boon that the Obama Presidency would be to the economy.
Maiello (who also supports a surfeit of vowels) was pressed on how raising taxes on capital was going to create jobs for the poor. While other guests chortled or rolled their eyes, Maiello explained that Obama would rebuild the nation's infrastructure, and he cited (honest to NED) President Roosevelt's WPA as proof of what a great idea this is.
I don't think the ThreeSources faithful need a sermon on the folly of this, but it strikes me that we might start hearing a lot about it. I think it could well appeal to moderate voters: "Golly, we sure need to fix our roads and bridges" and "the electrical grid needs modernizing to power his million hybrids" -- you get the idea. It's a government thing already, so it sounds very reasonable.
Right after watching Larry, I switched the old TiVo over to watch a special I had recorded on FOXNews last Sunday. Porked: Earmarks for Profit. Anybody see it? They offered a DVD after the show. At the very least keep an eye out if they re-run it.
Chris Wallace hosted, and the show bashed/humiliated/massacred two Republicans (one sitting) and one Democrat (33% fair and balanced). In an expose that would make Wallace's dad proud, they detailed these lawmakers' not just lining their campaign coffers but actually lining their own pockets. Speaker Hastert pushed through a huge earmark to build a road that went from nowhere to nowhere, but passed right next to some property he had just purchased. The sitting California Congressmen lobbied for a transportation hub that was close to seven properties he owned. The Democrat set his nephew up with $9 million of largesse and a venture that went bust quickly.
The segue -- you guys are ahead of me, aren’t you? -- is that Senator Obama's call to restart the WPA/CCC and supercharge government investment in infrastructure projects is a call to do 435 of these every year.
Well, 434. Jeff Flake was interviewed at the end and joined in ridicule of GOP leadership that will not give him decent committee assignments. He's the one honest man in Washington that Diogenes was seeking. I got all excited: "Jeff Flake for VP!" It's perfect. Alas, he and McCain are from the same state, so it is Constitutionally prohibited.
August 7, 2008
Dude, Where's My Recession?
(1,000,000 thanks to James Pethokoukis for that line! Sadly, those are 2001 thanks, equivalent to about 920,000 thanks today...)
Don Luskin is at Disneyland:
THANK GOD THERE'S A GLOBAL RECESSION GOING ON Otherwise Disneyland would be really crowded! This photo was taken this morning at the front gate an hour before the park opens to the public -- this is just the "magic morning" people staying at the park's various hotels, who get admission one hour early. They've lined up like this at 7:00 am.
I'll admit you can go too far with this anecdotal stuff. But every time I sit and wait in the Starbucks drive-through in the middle of a weekday afternoon, I bore my wife with the same observation.
Not to say things are perfect, but a lot of people still line up at Disneyland and to buy $4 coffee on Thursday afternoon.
Nostalgia for 2005
Stop the presses! Federalism works. Lower taxes increase prosperity -- as does reduced regulation.
In an article in American Magazine called The Path to Prosperity, (Do they have to pay Larry Kudlow to say that?) Amela Karabegovic and Alan W. Dowd summarize a report to which each contributed.
Common sense tells us that low taxes, limited government, and flexible labor markets will help to spur economic growth. The Fraser Institute’s 2008 Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA) report offers a striking, yet unsurprising, picture of the benefits that flow from such policies.
The report attempts to rank the 50 states and 10 provinces in freedom and economic activity as Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index has done for countries.
What struck me as a resident of a highly ranked state was fear that the most recent data came from 2005. Colorado elected a Democratic Senate and reelected a Democratic house in 2004. Democrat Bill Ritter was elected governor in 2006 to replace Republican Bill Owens. Owens was dedicated to freedom and low taxes.
The new regime will not be so friendly to the taxpayer or employer. No doubt the state will fall in the growth rankings as well.
Drill, Drill, Drill and King Dollar
I guess it is safe to say, sadly, that I am more like Larry Kudlow than Paris Hilton after all.
My comment on the Everyday Economist referenced in my Paris Hilton post engendered a thoughtful response from the EE. With his permission, here it is:
1. I mostly agree with your centrist position.
We're not way apart, and he his dead on most of his points and his conclusions. I don't hold out much hope for higher interest rates and disagree that drill-drill-drill by itself is not a great step.
It is my understanding that oil fields vary widely and wildly in their marginal cost; the $75/bbl figure he offers would be an average. By opening more fields, I expect they will find some that are more than 75 -- and probably some more than 150. But won't they also locate some more fields that are less than 75? Then they could pump the cheaper ones now at a profit at today's cost. They could leave the more expensive oil in the ground, discounted at his negative interest rate, against future rate increases and expectation of better future extraction technology.
Though I think it would be specious, I suggested it might be good politics to open the SPR and tie additional drilling to refilling. This would silence the "won't help for 750 years" crowd, prop up the Obama campaign, and provide instant additional supply without compromising future protections of the SPR. Drain it and refill it with new production. The feds could even hold futures to fill it as part of the bill.
Me, Larry, and Paris...
McCain vs Obama on Taxes
The clearest example of why voting for McCain is the smart thing to do.
(tip to MyMcCainBlog)
August 6, 2008
Michael Moore, call your Office!
Gimme that old time socialized medicine. BBC:
The cleanliness of most NHS hospitals in England is threatened by frequent invasions of rats, fleas, bedbugs, flies and cockroaches, a report claims.
I'm Just Like Paris Hilton
Like Ms. Hilton, I have found a centrist position between two schools of thought on energy.
School of thought #1 is well represented by blog friend The Everyday Economist. In an interesting post, Hendrickson links to "an advanced copy of Paul Davidson’s article on oil speculation prior to its publication in the July/August issue of CHALLENGE." I recommend the entire post and linked article, but the EE gives us a synopsis:
As I have previously expressed, the rise in oil prices cannot be fully attributed to supply and demand because interest rates are at historically low levels (short-term real interest rates are negative). Thus there is little incentive to extract oil from the ground when the rate of interest is below the rate of growth in the price of oil.
Davidson's article recommends the use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to break speculators, who have bid up the price beyond what Davidson says is supported by supply and demand.
I left a long comment on the EE site, but the short version is that I trust a vibrant international commodities market above government manipulation of supply with the SPR, and believe that a large and continuing addition to supply through drilling would have more impact on futures.
School of thought #2 is represented by one Lawrence Kudlow. Drill, drill, drill!
The drill, drill, drill political scenario coming out of Washington and spreading throughout the country is really helping Fed policy right now. Since President Bush launched his offensive to roll back the drilling moratorium, the oil price has dropped more than $30 from near $150 to below $120. The barrel price is actually down again today to around $118. In connection with the big oil drop, gold has fallen and the dollar has appreciated. Gas prices at the pump have come off about 25 cents. Presumably, headline inflation will moderate a bit next month.
Like Paris, I don't find these positions mutually exclusive. Let's open drilling both on the Outer Continental Shelf and in ANWR. Then, let's use the SPR to speed this new production to market, releasing a significant amount with the understanding that it will be refilled from new supply sources.
I'm pretty hot myself, huh bitches?
U.S. Marine Cpl. Garrett Jones was deployed to Afghanistan just a year after losing his left leg to a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq as an infantry fighter. In previous wars, Jones would have received a medical discharge and returned to civilian life. But in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the Pentagon has made it possible for some amputees to return to duty.
Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt
The Obama Energy Plan
Not the tire gauges, the kinda-sorta real one.
I was disappointed to see Glenn Reynolds and a good part of the right-of-center blogosphere spin down a road of practicality. Senator Obama decrees a million plug-in hybrids by 2015, and all the geeks ask "could the grid handle this?" and "what will the power requirements be?"
Those questions are interesting, and well worth exploring when the head of General Motors, or T. Boone Pickens calls for a million hybrids. When a major candidate for POTUS calls for a million hybrids, the more correct question is "Who the hell do you think you are?"
This is not yet the Soviet Union, and even with a House, Senate and Executive sweep it will be a few years before the Federal government is explicitly charged with production planning of automobiles (how many red convertibles, President O?) It is an affront to anybody who believes remotely in liberty that the President would proclaim a date, quantity, and style of vehicle.
This fits right in with Reynolds's attraction to the Zubrin mandate of flex-fuel vehicles and L. Gregory Mankiw's devotion to the Pigou Club. I agree with both the good professors 88.47% of the time, but am disturbed by their ability to drop first principles when a clever technical idea catches hold of their imagination.
The WSJ Ed Page comes a little closer, but still becomes too mired in details:
And yet there's more miracle work to do. Mr. Obama promises to put at least one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. That's fine if consumers want to buy them. But even if technical battery problems are overcome, this would only lead to "fuel switching" -- if cars don't use gasoline, the energy still has to come from somewhere. And the cap-and-trade program also favored by Mr. Obama would effectively bar new coal plants, while new nuclear plants are only now being planned after a 30-year hiatus thanks to punishing regulations and lawsuits.
I'm rarely the one around here calling for full frontal philosophy, but spending too much time describing why Senator Obama's plan cannot be done plays into his hand. He can call for a Manhattan project to fix the grid, financed by windfall profits from the oil companies.
Has anyone ever challenged the Senator on the propriety of government involvement? Senator McCain is not the ideal man for the task, but I think it would be a winner to occasionally suggest that there are actually some areas where government involvement is not a good idea.
UPDATE: To be fair, I missed an update. An Instapundit reader did a great job shooting this down:
1MM pluggable hybrids is nothing. It is less than 10% of cars sold per year. It should happen in a few years naturally without government intervention. As you note, the grid can easily absorb it. In fact, plugging hybrids (and their large batteries) into the grid might actually help stablize our creaky old grid if the charging is managed by the utility. It is likely that pluggables will largely replace 'spinning reserves' in that they can put power back when needed. I know of at least one startup that is marketing this capability. Network enabled energy storage elements will make the grid way better than it is now.
August 5, 2008
Not Sure She's 35
Other than that, we could do worse:
See more funny videos at Funny or Die
Thanks a Million, Oprah
Professor Mankiw links to a paper that examines the value of celebrity endorsements and suggests that Ms. Winfrey's support of Senator Obama brought him an additional 1,000,000 votes.
Craig Garthwaite and Tim Moore of the University of Maryland Economics department admit that there are substantial hurdles to accurately measuring the effect of any endorsement, but they do some reasonable extrapolation of Oprah's clout in book sales and other items featured on her show. Interstin'...
Requiescat in Pace
A blog that takes its name from Natan Sharansky would be remiss to not spend a few words on the passing of his great compatriot and fellow dissident, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I'll offer links to better writers:
James Lileks (HT Insty):
Naturally, I was in the perfect mood to read the entire Gulag Archipelago. I got all three volumes from the drugstore – which should have told me something about the land in which I lived, that one could buy this work from a creaky wire rack at the drugstore – and it taught me much about the Soviet Union and the era of Stalin. After that I could never quite understand the people who viewed the US and the USSR as moral equals, or regarded our history as not only indelibly stained but uniquely so. Reading Solzhenitsyn makes it difficult to take seriously the people in this culture who insist that Dissent has been squelched. Brother, you have no idea.
Solzhenitsyn speaking at Harvard in 1978:
Some people sincerely wanted all wars to stop just as soon as possible; others believed that there should be room for national, or communist, self-determination in Vietnam, or in Cambodia, as we see today with particular clarity. But members of the U.S. antiwar movement wound up being involved in the betrayal of Far Eastern nations, in a genocide and in the suffering today imposed on 30 million people there. Do those convinced pacifists hear the moans coming from there? Do they understand their responsibility today? Or do they prefer not to hear?
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page:
Solzhenitsyn warned of "an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses," and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil . . . evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature." His own prison-camp experience after World War II told him evil was all too real and had to be confronted.
I read a funny article a few weeks ago about how Hollywood releases a new McCarthyism movie about every year to great fanfare, yet never a movie about the depredation of Communism. I wish they'd skip next years telling of the blacklist and trade it in for a heroic movie about this world hero.
I received this via email:
Shhh. We Won.
Don't tell the NYTimes, or Senator Obama. But the war in Iraq is over and we won.
Bret Stephens claims this in his Global View column on the WSJ Ed Page. And I wholeheartedly agree. Stephens won a $100 bet from Francis Fukuyama "that Iraq would be a mess five years after the invasion." Stephens collected on the basis of troop casualties but takes the time to enumerate what has been accomplished.
Here's a partial list: Saddam is dead. Had he remained in power, we would likely still believe he had WMD. He would have been sitting on an oil bonanza priced at $140 a barrel. He would almost certainly have broken free from an already crumbling sanctions regime. The U.S. would be faced with not one, but two, major adversaries in the Persian Gulf. Iraqis would be living under a regime that, in an average year, was at least as murderous as the sectarian violence that followed its collapse. And the U.S. would have seemed powerless to shape events.
After "Mission Accomplished," supporters are too chicken to use the W word. But I ain't: we won the war. Much work remains in Iraq, and the wider war continues, but Iraq has been won.
August 4, 2008
Ag Subsidies: Advantage McCain
It is clear, however, that the most damaging distortions in agricultural markets originate in rich countries. There's little doubt that the present spiral in grain prices is closely linked to U.S. and EU policies enacted to boost production of biofuels. The American and European governments subsidize the production of biofuels, limit their import and mandate their use. The exact extent to which these policies have impacted food prices is still a matter of contention, but not even the most enthusiastic proponents of ethanol can deny that by inducing a greater allocation of agricultural resources toward biofuel production, the amount of grain available for food has been reduced.
Mankiw then reminds us to "Remember where the two presidential candidates stand on ethanol and the farm bill."
Charlie Gasparino on Obamanomics
Don Luskin links to a great NY Post editorial by former WSJ reporter and frequent TV guest Charlie Gasparino. Gasparino is not a favorite of Luskin's and I have had my differences with him, but we both give him props for this superb piece.
Wall Street traders are a gloomy lot these days given all the writedowns, losses and layoffs, but Obama makes them especially queasy. Many traders I speak to think the markets have yet to fully digest the impact of Obama's economic plan on stock prices. The guess is that it will hit after Labor Day, when the campaigning picks up and traders stop taking Fridays off to hit the Hamptons.
Worth a read in full. In case you don't make it, let me highlight one other line. Gasparino addresses the fact that Warren Buffett and a pile of other industry titans are supporting the tax raiser. Altruism? Nope:
I'm sure there's some noblesse oblige involved in all these CEOs' backing one of our most liberal pols for the White House. But I suspect the real reason the Wall Street elites like Obama so much is that it really doesn't cost them anything: They've already made their fortunes.
While we're handing out kudos, Gasparino was also the perfect pick for a CNBC feature on Wall Street types who box over their lunch hour for stress relief. Big Charlie was the perfect pick. Maybe he'll get a pugnacious, pugilist Pulitzer...
Good McCain Slogan
I've been wrong before, but I kind of like:
"John McCain -- he looks a lot like those other presidents on those dollar bills!"
Obama Energy Plan
Y'know, I almost hate to beat up on the venerable Washington Post. They have provided more honest coverage of post-surge Iraq and the Obama campaign than most other media outlets.
But today, a Rasmussen Poll shows Senator McCain with his first lead, and my WaPo email leads with the headline: Obama Leads, Pessimism Reigns Among Key Group. It seems -- can I get a "mirabile dictu?" -- that the überliberal, collectivist Senator has a lot of support from "low wage" workers.
Obama's advantage is attributable largely to overwhelming support from two traditional Democratic constituencies: African Americans and Hispanics. But even among white workers -- a group of voters that has been targeted by both parties as a key to victory in November -- Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 47 percent to 37 percent, and has the advantage as the more empathetic candidate.
There wouldn't be, I don't know, the slightest chance that a lot of these people are on
The new poll included interviews with 1,350 randomly selected workers 18 to 64 years old who put in at least 30 hours a week but earned $27,000 or less last year. As a group, they are somewhat less likely to be Republicans than all adults under age 65 and are also less likely to be registered to vote. As many call themselves conservatives as liberal, and nearly four in 10 said their views on most political matters are "moderate."
Quite a scoop, WaPo, quite a scoop!
August 3, 2008
This Bud's For Me!
Mark the date: August 2, 2008. The day my beer snob license was revoked.
I went in to try a new place in my new home town yesterday (Old Town Erie has been a treasure trove of cool places to eat). I asked the waitress "what do you have on tap that's dark?" and she set me up with Bare Knuckle. I had never heard of it, but it was a creamy, grainy, nicety hopped stout.
"Who makes this?" inquires I. She has to return to the bar for an answer.
"Budweiser," replies she. At which point I am sure this woman is yanking my chain (These new town folk'll believe anything!) but a little Internet search backs her up. The good folks at Anheuser-Busch have been making this since 2004. It's a much lighter stout than Guinness -- earning howls of real beer snob derision at ratebeer.com. But it has its charms. I'll give it four stars, providing you don't follow their recipe for an "Irish American" and mix it 50-50 with Bud.
August 1, 2008
Pretty Cool Stunt!
House Republicans have not given me a lot to cheer about of late, but this is pretty cool:
Michigan Republican Mike Rogers returned to the House floor in shorts and sandals to take his turn at the podium, as the Republican talkathon continues on the House floor, hours after the chamber formally recessed for the week.
Speaker Pelosi's stunt to shut down the House rather than lose a vote on drilling has been countered with a much more consumer-friendly stunt. Well, done lads!
As the WSJ Ed Page admitted, it is usually better to have Congress out of session, but energy prices have created a valid exception. As Larry Kudlow would say: "Drill! Drill! Drill!"
UPDATE: Instapundit brings this video. Here's my own lilustrious Senator showing gifted leadership:
UPDATE II: Terri at I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err wonders where's the media coverage?
Friday calf blogging lives on, with an attractive new model, Dale, born last Sunday,