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.

2008 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:03 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Kevin T. Keith thinks:

You open your comment with a stupid, sneering reference to a conservative lie about Al Gore, then complain about liberal speculation about Palin's odd (no matter how you slice it) pregnancy. Before you finish your first sentence you condemn your own opinion as worthless; whatever else you have to say is of no meaning.

Notice, though, that it's not just liberal Democrats who are pursuing the issue. Andrew Sullivan is hot on the case, as are various gossip magazines and Web sites. And of course the conservative blogs are outraged, just outraged, that anyone would make a political issue of someone's private life, and are doing more than anybody to broadcast the issue by piling on it.

I have already blogged that I think it is unfitting to make an issue of the matter. But to pretend that it is some uniquely liberal characteristic to trespass on other people's reproductive decisions and to harass and demean those people for the choices they make - and to do so when the person you are defending owes much of her political career to her insistence on criminalizing the choices other women make - is offensively dishonest and absurd.

Posted by: Kevin T. Keith at September 1, 2008 2:20 AM
But jk thinks:

Mr. Keith:

The reference to VP Gore's inventing the Internet is a common and harmless joke around here. I find it hard to draw equivalence between saying that and saying that a woman's baby is not hers.

I am not persuaded by the fact that Andrew Sullivan and some gossip magazines are pursuing the issue. Gossip magazines are pursuing the Bigfoot Baby from Mars story; as for Sullivan, I am President of his ex-Fans club. He is a brilliant writer but he departed the plane of earth reason four years ago.

All fair and fine for comment, and I welcome your opinions. I clicked over to your blog and was surprised that you see no valid reason for Senator McCain to pick Governor Palin. I would suggest that you read one more post around here and the comments. The authors and frequent commenters on this blog include some serious libertarians, a religious and social conservative, a couple of serious Ayn Rand devotees, and me, your humble right-leaning pragmatic GOP partisan hack.

We fight like cats and dogs around here on economics, immigration, abortion, and the Designated Hitter (American League morons!!!) But we have all come together to appreciate her pick. She has fought for smaller, cleaner government, she fights today for the extraction of resources required to preserve our prosperity, and her family life reassures the social conservatives.

If you can find absolutely no good reason to put her on the ticket, I'd suggest that you have not been looking hard enough.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2008 12:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Kevin, you're a damn fool.

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system." - Al Gore, interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, 3/9/1999
http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000/transcript.gore/

There you go, dimwit: chapter and verse. I presume you're intelligent enough to click links, but are you intelligent enough to see why Gore's claim is A SHEER LIE? Or are you so empty-headed to believe the Internet *wasn't* around prior to Gore's "service" in government? ARPA's 4-node network was already cranking a year before Gore arrived in Vietnam, let alone Washington D.C., and was already adding plenty of nodes long before Gore had his first inauguration.

I am continually astounded by how much you and your fellow liberals can remain so *ignorant* of facts, particularly those which are verifiable.

And by the way, global warming is a fact only insofar as it's been occurring for thousands of years since the last Ice Age. Also, paleontologists will tell you that the Earth was warmer than "even now" -- so if you want to stop global warming today, you're only impeding natural progress. Chew on that for a while.

"Before you finish your first sentence you condemn your own opinion as worthless; whatever else you have to say is of no meaning."

Take your own advice.

"Andrew Sullivan is hot on the case"

Wow, you say that as if that turkey were actually an important conservative.

"And of course the conservative blogs are outraged, just outraged, that anyone would make a political issue of someone's private life, and are doing more than anybody to broadcast the issue by piling on it."

No, conservatives are outraged, just outraged, that liberals are the ones making an issue out of it.

Since you are reality-impaired, let me fill you in: liberals are so deranged that Palin was accused of faking pregnancy to cover up for her daughter. *That* was the source of conservatives' justified outrage.

"I have already blogged that I think it is unfitting to make an issue of the matter."

Well good for you. And I'm sure your efforts have completely stopped those who are making it an issue, right? Yeah.

"But to pretend that it is some uniquely liberal characteristic to trespass on other people's reproductive decisions and to harass and demean those people for the choices they make - and to do so when the person you are defending owes much of her political career to her insistence on criminalizing the choices other women make - is offensively dishonest and absurd."

jk said no such thing. You can stop the tired old liberal trick of putting words into other people's mouths.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 2, 2008 4:04 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let me amend the last part to say "HB" instead of "jk." The rest stands.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 2, 2008 4:07 PM

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...

FDR's Limo

White House model

Oval Office


RNC2008: Media Credentials

Officially official.

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.

But Bill Shaw thinks:

Hey, you were telling me just Friday that you had a face made for radio!

Sweet buttons!

B.

Posted by: Bill Shaw at August 31, 2008 9:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Great work, Brother AC! Thanks for all the pix.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2008 11:39 AM

RNC2008: The Welcome Wagon


August 30, 2008

"The one we've been waiting for"

13-48_Sept-8_Cover_2x.JPG

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.

Republicans desperately need younger leaders. To paraphrase Democrats, the torch must be passed to a new generation. There are a number of impressive young leaders in Congress - Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, to name three in the House - but they've been leapfrogged: If McCain loses, Palin will be the hope of the future. If he wins, she'll actually be the future.

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!

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Very good points, jg. It highlights the fact that Obama's selection of Biden is the Democrats own version of the "bridge to nowhere."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 30, 2008 1:39 PM

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.

Yale Professor John Lewis Gaddis scored a Samizdata Quote of the Day. When I followed the link, I felt his entire article to be worthy of a full read.

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.

So what might shift contemporary impressions of President Bush? I can only speak for myself here, but something I did not expect was the discovery that he reads more history and talks with more historians than any of his predecessors since at least John F. Kennedy. The President has surprised me more than once with comments on my own books soon after they’ve appeared, and I’m hardly the only historian who has had this experience. I’ve found myself improvising excuses to him, in Oval Office seminars, as to why I hadn’t read the latest book on Lincoln, or on—as Bush refers to him—the “first George W.” I’ve even assigned books to Yale students on his recommendation, with excellent results.


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:
  • It lasts for a full year;

  • Alaska is in serious surplus from high oil prices, this seems a reasonable rebate mechanism

  • It's anti-pigouvian.


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.
[...]
Unlike many liberals, I believe that women are capable of surviving and prospering on their own -- and Palin is proof of that. And unlike some female politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Palin made it herself without the help of a career politician husband to give her an added advantage. Palin strikes me as someone who is fair to both men and women and who does not give women special rights and privileges just for the sake of being female.
[...]
And unlike Obama, who would treat fathers unfairly, with little forethought, or "chivalrous" Biden who wants to give women a free divorce lawyer, I think Palin would focus on helping Americans achieve their dreams by staying out of their way.

GOP2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The more The Refugee learns about Palin the more he likes her. The biggest threat to our freedom is our government. We need vigilance toward the cozy mutual back-scratching that characterizes Congress and gives the burden of regulation and cost to taxpayers. The Refugee will take four years of such vigilance over 36 years of back-scratching any day. She embodies the ideal that the Republican party so desparately needs.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 30, 2008 1:32 PM

August 29, 2008

Second Best VP Pick EVER!



mccain-Palin.jpg I have to credit Warren Gamaliel Harding for giving us Silent Cal. But right after that, I could not be more pleased than I am with Senator McCain's picking Governor Palin. Her appearances on Kudlow and Company -- plus her charming acceptance speech in Ohio -- show a woman of strength, smarts and grace.

A month or so ago, I joined many Republicans in bellyaching about a lackluster campaign. I think they have been all the way live ever since. The TV spots are good, the responses are crisp, and they have miraculously managed to drive the news cycle in a media that lives to cover Senator Obama (I understand he bought some snacks the other day). Yet the day after the Barackopolis speech, everybody is talking about McCain-Palin.

UPDATE: I had misspelled "Gamaliel," sorry. Tryin' to show off, tryin' too hard...

UPDATE II: Added the graphic.

UPDATE III: Playing well with Clinton Supporters

But johngalt thinks:

Well jk, our friends in AK will just have to get by with Palin's liutenant governor. I trust she chose well...

"Gotta go boys, I've got a political party to save."

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2008 6:23 PM
But jk thinks:

I s'pose you're right. Like Dagny, I've been reenergized. There have been two days this year that I have been proud to call myself a Republican -- when Obama picked Biden and when McCain picked Palin.

On a serious note, it's great to see how well the pick has gone over with different ThreeSourcers representing different wings of the party. What was the last thing we all agreed on? (I got email from HB, he's in).

She is easily the most "libertarian" of the four, her devotion to young Trig shows – in deeds not words -- her devotion to life and human dignity. And this Prosperitarian likes to hear "drill, drill, drill!"

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2008 6:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Just think of Alaska as the New Jersey of the west - with money and scenary.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 29, 2008 9:44 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

NOW (pun intended)what will Obama do?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at August 29, 2008 11:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If the Obama camp opposes Palin because she hunts, she fishes, she's a lifetime member of the NRA, she worked in the oil industry, she's anti-abortion, anti-tax, anti-welfare, anti-global-warmist, anti-pant-suit, she's a hockey mom and by vitue of the fact she's even younger than Barack Obama - she has legs... are they still misogynists?

A caller to Boulder's AM 760 "progressive talk" last night said, "That Sarah lady is frickin' scary."

Works for me!

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2008 10:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder if Palin qualifies as one of the "EFFIN REPUBLICANS" that Go Obama! Go Democrats! wants to get out of office. Wasn't that her basic campaign platform too in the AK governor's race?

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2008 12:42 PM

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.

Presidential Race 2008 Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:14 PM | What do you think? [4]
But AlexC thinks:

I was underwhelmed!!! Really... nothing new... and he ended with Bush's 2004 theme song! "Only in America"

I don't get the hype.

Posted by: AlexC at August 28, 2008 11:57 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

For the first time in my adult life, I am in fear of my country, not just by government -- for what an Obamanation will do to me.

Don't miss my subbing today for Ott Scerb. I'm not sure who he is, but he parodies the liberal tool Scott Erb in comments at Q&O. He hadn't jumped in yet, so I took the liberty.
http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=9182

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 29, 2008 9:58 AM
But jk thinks:

I have to drive in for a meeting today, so I will miss the McCain Veep watch and commentary on "The Speech."

br caught my feelings pretty succinctly. He said "Government can't solve all our problems," and then he proceeded to tell us how government was going to solve all our problems.

It didn't soar, ac, it did not soar. The set design was done by the folks who do Britney Spears's sets -- I could not stop wishing they hired the guys from Spinal Tap.

Besides "naked" socialism, I was most disturbed by his willingness to twist McCain's words and deeds. It wasn't new politics to trot out the $5 million line; that politics would have seemed old to Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

To boil it down to one riff, his line that the ownership society means "you on your own" captures it. That's his regard for individual empowerment and responsibility. The very idea that the Government may allow you to "risk" part of your Government pension is unthinkable to the Senator.

I'm plenty afraid, don't worry about that.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2008 10:15 AM
But dagny thinks:

I have to disagree with some of the analysis here. I agree with BR that what Obama proposes is collectivism. That is what Democrats have been proposing for decades and those of us who recognize that will continue to vote Republican. However, that is not what he SAID. Think about that speech from the perspective of the "undecided" voter and as BR says, "be very, very afraid."ť

He is going to curb Russian aggression and finish the job in Afghanistan. Sounds like a hawk.
He is going to go through the budget and eliminate programs that don't work (somehow I don't think Social Security will make his list). He is going to lower taxes for 95% of Americans. Sounds fiscally conservative. He SAYS he can pay for all this.

He says we are all Americans and we all need to unite. He says no one thought I could get this far but look at me now, maybe YOU should take a chance on me too and we can really take change to Washington. He sounds like the Redeem Team in the Olympics. It was practically enough to overcome MY cynicism with government. I practically wanted to vote for the guy and I KNOW BETTER.

I'm afraid, JK, that it did soar, Brittany Spears set and all. And therefore as noted, I am very afraid.

On the other hand, regarding his repeated line that GOP is telling you, "You are on your own." I wanted to say, "Thank you very much and get out of my way!"

Posted by: dagny at August 29, 2008 4:59 PM

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,
Much Higher Than Initial Reading

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.

Originally, the government had estimated second-quarter 2008 GDP climbed 1.9%. First-quarter GDP increased 0.9%.


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?

DNC2008 Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Thanks for the hat tip, jk. The Refugee thinks that she is the perfect choice more than ever . The Dem convention has demonstrated that a lot of moderate, professional women are not sold on the Obama ticket. McCain could perhaps pull a significant number over to his side with KBH.

Speaking of vice presidents, it was fun to watch Biden last night and compare/contrast with Hillary. While The Refugee is no Clinton supporter, he will confess that she hit out of the park on Tuesday night. When you compare Biden to Billy C or even Hillary, he is obviously second-string material. The Refugee thought that he came off like an angry white male. This has got to cause many Dems, especially women, to have buyer's remorse. Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" could not have scripted it any better.

That said, Biden will be the attack dog of the ticket. Republicans must resist attacking the easy-to-attack Biden and focus on Obama.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 28, 2008 12:20 PM

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:


DNC2008 Posted by John Kranz at 4:50 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

What a goddamn fool.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 28, 2008 9:19 AM

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


Sanguininity

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.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Similar to my comment one minute ago, Reich has *always* been a fool, without fail.

The incredible (and I use that in the original sense of "unbelievable") thing about liberal economists is how they completely deny facts, particularly history.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 28, 2008 9:22 AM
But jk thinks:

I find Mister Secretary to be pretty tiring. Jonah Goldberg really beat him up in his book as a dishonest interlocutor in the past and I see it on his Kudlow appearances. He filibusters, distorts, and presents the view of the UC Berkeley faculty lounge as gospel.

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2008 10:33 AM

A Republican I will Not Support

The ThreeSources pragmatist will be cheering for one Republican to lose his Senate Seat.

Reason:

The corrupt and contemptible Republican senator from Alaska, Ted Stevens, who first burst onto the political scene shortly after the land bridge between North America and Asia disappeared, is in fine form after winning his GOP primary.


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

Anne Price-Mills

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?

Crying.

Despair.

Angst.

"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.

Unbelievable.

But Tori thinks:

I think Anne Price Mills is the biggest idiot that I ever layed eyes on. She is a disgrace to the African American race. All of her family and friends should have been embarrassed to even be associated with such a nut case. Everyone I know agrees that she is a useless slob.

Posted by: Tori at August 27, 2008 6:29 PM
But Tori thinks:

Anne Price Mills is the dumbest idiot in captivity!

Posted by: Tori at August 27, 2008 6:37 PM
But Tracy thinks:

She pissed me off, too. NO matter how much she likes Hillary, it was time to UNITE the party weeks ago or more.

That was just an embarassment.

I would LOVE a woman president, being a woman, myself. But Hillary has just a 'few too many skeletons in her closet'. Had she been the nominee, she would have been ripped apart between the convention and the election. Between travelgate, and the Rose Law Firm and Vince Foster and there are further accusations, unproven, but would have been dragged up (one website links the deaths of 32 people to her- bodyguards and staff, mainly and likely more than could ever be proven), but it ALL would have been gone over again.

She lost for a lot of reasons, the main reason was NOT because she is female.

This delegate should be ashamed for not holding her tongue during the DNC. It only goves the McCain people fodder.

Posted by: Tracy at August 28, 2008 12:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes Tracy, you are right - because Obama is as pure and clean as the wind-driven snow. He won't face a BIT of criticism for anything in HIS past. (Does he have a past? Oh yes, William Ayers.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2008 1:01 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JG, you mentioned snow. Snow is white.

YOU RACIST!!!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 28, 2008 4:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perry, you are correct. I do favor a particular race - the HUMAN race.

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2008 12:29 PM

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:





Shield the children's eyes! Don’t let any impressionable people see it!

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.

I regard that as more than a little disconcerting from a guy who wants to be president, pick the next attorney-general, and make U.S. law enforcement policy. The McCain campaign may not be too anxious to mix it up on this one given McCain's own history of suppressing political speech. But that doesn't make it any less a story.



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.
In his place, Bill Clinton will be speaking.

What am I missing?


But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Not new. John Batchelor actually asked that a few Sundays ago, and others may have preceded him.

"John Edwards won't be speaking because he had sex and lied about it. So in his place, Bill Clinton will make a speech."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 27, 2008 9:19 AM

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."

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is well versed in policy debates and carefully choreographed trips. But his record on the Islamic Republic of Iran -- perhaps the chief national security threat facing the next president -- suggests a persistent and dangerous judgment deficit. Biden's unyielding pursuit of "engagement" with Iran for more than a decade has made it easier for Tehran to pursue its nuclear program, while his partisan obsession with thwarting the Bush administration has led him to oppose tough sanctions against hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.


2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Not only are we looking at Jimmy Carter II, it'll apply to the vice presidency as well.

God help us. Never mind Castro and Chavez. When Hamas openly says they like a particular candidate, can't Americans realize that's the guy you don't want in office?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 27, 2008 9:22 AM

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.

Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, received consulting fees from the MBNA Corporation from 2001 to 2005 for work on online banking issues. Aides to Mr. Obama, who chose Mr. Biden as his vice-presidential running mate on Saturday, would not say how much the younger Mr. Biden, who works as both a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, had received, though a company official had once described him as having a $100,000 a year retainer. But Obama aides said he had never lobbied for MBNA and that there was nothing improper about the payments.


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."
Hat-tip: Instapundit

But Wayne thinks:

I have linked to your post, and a number of other posts from Biden Blogscan

Posted by: Wayne at August 25, 2008 10:14 PM

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

Posted by John Kranz at 3:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

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."

Check out Senator McCain, Senator Biden and Senator Obama.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

Denver Hippies

Zombie has the pictures.

They're begging for the fire hose.

DNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Begging indeed, ac, but I doubt that the Democratic Mayor and Governor are going to oblige. (Now if we had Bill Owens...)

Those pictures are painful to see: "Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism" (Yeah, that usually works), "Anti-Imperialist Solidarity (with Moqtada al Sadr)" Wow, too moonbatty for the Democrats, this is a special show.

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2008 1:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did somebody claim that the mayor's friends did everything they could to get the homeless off the streets? This proves they didn't!

(They must be distributing sign making supplies in the local shelters.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2008 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't take the brown acid!!!!

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2008 3:35 PM

August 24, 2008

George Will

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

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 6:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

There's No 'O' in Unity!

I shouldn't post this. But I gotta:





Hat-tip: JammieWearingFool

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:11 AM | What do you think? [0]

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:





Hat-tip: Riehl World View, which also provides a voice over for the GOP ad.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

It's Biden

Barring massive juke.

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.

The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.


Do you think?

2008 Posted by AlexC at 1:08 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Wow! You keep people waiting for 36 hours and you give them Senator Biden!

I think this is a great day to be a Republican. Biden is a walking, talking, talking, gaffe machine ("I'm more intelligent than you!") who does not posess Senator Obama's cool charisma.

Biden is also about as conventional Washington traditional Democrat as they come. If Senator Joe is hope and change, I'm a finalist on Dancing with the Stars!

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2008 12:14 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Biden's high water mark in the Democratic primary was 4%. If he can't get his own party juiced, how well will he do with the rest? Some pundits speculated about various "Hail Mary" VP choice. Well, to stick with the football metaphors, this one is "three yards and a cloud of dust."

The Dems have been running against an "old wrinkly white guy." So who does Obama pick for VP to give the ticket credibility? An old wrinkly white guy.

The goods news with Biden is that The Refugee and Friends will hear lots of outstanding speeches from him - even if they aren't his own.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 25, 2008 11:45 AM

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.

Hat-tip: Samizdata

Posted by John Kranz at 2:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

McCain: Tough on Aliens

The green kind, not the illegal undocumented kind.

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.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

It's been way too peaceful around here. If the Martians prove to be as beneficial to our economy as other immigrants, perhaps a little tolerance is in order. Let us not judge a being by the greenish tint of its skin but the content of its character and all.

I had no idea we had such Earthists around here...

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2008 12:42 PM

Random House Bows To Catholic Pressure, Pulls Novel

KIDDING!

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.

"The decision was based on advice from scholars of Islam, among several creditable sources, that publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community and could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."


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.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This means that the terrorists have achieved some of their objectives. That is, change the behavior of non-Muslims to "respect" Islam. It emboldens further fear and intimidation. More precisely, the double standard that PE notes subjugates all other religions to Islam. We must not allow ourselves to be intimiated.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 22, 2008 11:58 AM
But AlexC thinks:

It's the militant arm of the Salvation Army we should be worried about.

Sheesh... there are literally tens of thousands of people (some may be your neighbors) who are trained to use those bells as truncheons.

Let's not even discuss those buckets. This is a family blog.

Posted by: AlexC at August 22, 2008 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

(The Knights have those swords, ac!)

Br, your tense betrays you -- as you point out, we have already allowed ourselves to be intimidated. Game over.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2008 12:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

We have certainly lost a few battles, but The Refugee doesn't think the war/game is over yet. Americans have a history of being pushed just so far. This Refugee is not ready to break out the prayer rugs just yet.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 22, 2008 4:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I suspect you're right. It just seems that publishing is now lost to freedom. First it was academia, then media, now to see Random House afraid to publish a book after we saw booksellers capitulate on Salman Rushdie in the 90s.

Disheartening.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2008 6:09 PM

August 21, 2008

Martinomics

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.

Trade also saves us money. "We import energy for a reason," says the Cato Institute's energy expert, Jerry Taylor, "It's cheaper than producing it here at home. A governmental war on energy imports will, by definition, raise energy prices".


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



ayers_flag.jpg A McCain Campaign Press Release from Rich Lowry:

“Barack Obama’s ad is ridiculous. Because of John McCain, corruption was exposed and people like Jack Abramoff went to jail.

“However, if Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched. Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group responsible for countless bombings against targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and numerous police stations, courthouses and banks. In recent years, Mr. Ayers has stated, ‘I don’t regret setting bombs … I feel we didn’t do enough.’
“The question now is, will Barack Obama immediately call on the University of Illinois to release all of the records they are currently withholding to shed further light on Senator Obama’s relationship with this unrepentant terrorist?” —McCain spokesman Brian Rogers

William Ayers LATimes Blog

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Just 'cause he is standing on the flag, don't question his patriotism!

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2008 3:11 PM

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...


Convention Speakers

CBSnews

Monday 9/1:
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.
Vice President Dick Cheney

Monday primetime (10-11pm Eastern Time)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.
President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush

Tuesday 9/2:
Fmr. Gov. Tom Ridge, R-Pa.
Former CA Secretary of State Rosario Marin
Fmr. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.
Gov. Linda Lingle, R-Hawaii
Fmr. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, R-Md.

Tuesday primetime (10-11pm Eastern Time)
Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska
Fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.
Fmr. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, R-New York City ***KEYNOTER***

Wednesday 9/3:
Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.
Meg Whitman, Ebay CEO
Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO
Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.

Wednesday primetime (10-11pm Eastern Time)
Cindy McCain
Vice Presidential nominee
Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., will speak after the VP nominee

Thursday 9/4:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.
Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla

Thursday primetime (10-11pm Eastern Time)
Sen. John McCain (video before his speech)


Tip to Allahpundit who wonders why Jindal speaks AFTER the VP nominee.

But jk thinks:

Awesome lineup. Jindal "apres-veep" veeeery convenient, non?

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2008 3:53 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

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?"

Spokesperson: "No. Obama has proposed a capital gains tax rate of 20%, which is lower than the rate in the 1990's. Therefore, it's actually an overall economic tax cut."

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:

Planners of Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination at Invesco Field may want to keep a weather-eye out for history of a different kind.
Think: grasshopper swarms blotting out the sun and lightening [sic] strikes, marble-size hail and 53 mph winds.
All these have occurred in the Denver area on Aug. 28 through recorded history, according to National Weather Service. . . .
Records show Aug. 28, 1875 was smack in the midst of a 12-day swarm of grasshoppers that "almost darkened the sun," blanketed streets, "devastated" Denverites' gardens and devoured ripening grain crops in the countryside..


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.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Let me know if you hear of talk about boils, water turning red threats to anyones' first-born. Where's Moses when you need him?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 19, 2008 7:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

We're talking Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Or if you want to go to Revelation 9: "And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power."

Note that the locusts and other tribulations precede the coming of the Beast.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 20, 2008 10:09 AM
But jk thinks:

Gimme that old time religion.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2008 10:31 AM

Google Amenities

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.

Google will offer similar amenities for bloggers and new-media reporters who attend the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., company officials say. It will demo a variety of new political tools next week, including a search function on YouTube that will offer almost real-time keyword searches of convention speech videos.

At the Republican convention, about 200 bloggers have been credentialed to attend and work from the press filing center. They will have the same access as reporters. That is up from about a dozen bloggers who were credentialed in 2004, according to Joanna Burgos, a convention spokeswoman.


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.

That was then. This, unfortunately, is now.


"Obama held firm." Until it looked like there might be consequences. Sheeesh!

Hat-tip: PAH2O

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Today's problems began seven years ago in 2001, when the Federal Reserve overreacted to the deflationary mistake it made in the late 1990s. The Fed vigorously pumped money into the economy in order to drive interest rates down rapidly.


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.

But Everyday Economist thinks:

Finally!

Posted by: Everyday Economist at August 19, 2008 3:46 PM

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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

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."

The Playbook @ the Politico

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.”

A source close to Warren tells Playbook that the candidates knew in advance they would be asked their own greatest moral failure, America’s greatest moral failure, and the three wisest people in their lives.

The source said Obama also knew he would be asked if he’d be willing to commit to an emergency plan for orphans, like President Bush has for AIDS. GIVE OBAMA CREDIT FOR ANSWERING CANDIDLY: “I cheated a little bit. I actually looked at this idea ahead of time, and I think it is a great idea.”


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!

2008 Posted by AlexC at 2:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

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:

In California, hundreds turned out at the end of July to protest a connection between the solar and geothermal fields of the Imperial Valley to Los Angeles and Orange County. The environmental class is likewise lobbying state commissioners to kill a 150-mile link between San Diego and solar panels because it would entail a 20-mile jaunt through Anza-Borrego state park. "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior," Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently. "They say that we want renewable energy, but we don't want you to put it anywhere."


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!

But johngalt thinks:

Exactly right. They don't want "alternative energy sources;" they want "alternatives to energy sources." The only energy they'll endorse is naturally harvested sunlight and the only commercial product they won't oppose is hemp.

Unlike Charlie Brown, Americans will eventually recognize that the greens keep pulling the football away. I'm seriously hoping that a majority do so before November 4th.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2008 3:06 PM

McCain Cheated

Awesome-tacular.

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!!!

2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:32 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Wayne thinks:

Placed the audio HERE ... McCain's answers were more mature, I have no idea why Obama was not completely on his game.

Posted by: Wayne at August 18, 2008 5:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One word: Teleprompter. (Or lack thereof.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2008 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno, jg, I fear a false sense of security in the "no-teleprompter" camp. McCain happened to be extraordinary last Saturday, Obama was superb. No teleprompter, no problem.

Posted by: jk at August 19, 2008 5:02 PM

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.

Education Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Meanwhile, as he bids to be America's Commander in Chief, Mr. Obama isn't yet four years out of the Illinois state Senate, has never held a hearing of note of his U.S. Senate subcommittee, and had an unremarkable record as both a "community organizer" and law school lecturer. Justice Thomas's judicial credentials compare favorably to Mr. Obama's Presidential résumé by any measure. And when it comes to rising from difficult circumstances, Justice Thomas's rural Georgian upbringing makes Mr. Obama's story look like easy street.

Even more troubling is what the Illinois Democrat's answer betrays about his political habits of mind. Asked a question he didn't expect at a rare unscripted event, the rookie candidate didn't merely say he disagreed with Justice Thomas. Instead, he instinctively reverted to the leftwing cliché that the Court's black conservative isn't up to the job while his white conservative colleagues are.


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.

Dem2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 4:56 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

I disagree... his "super nuanced" abortion line was a gaffe.

If you can't run on your experience, you have to sell us your judgement.... and his judgment on that was to not answer honestly.

His position on abortion & start of life is well defined by his somewhat limited voting record.

Posted by: AlexC at August 17, 2008 5:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Hope you're right. My response would be that nobody who is staunchly pro-life will be voting for him anyway. I don't think he scared away any of the squishes by saying "that's above my pay grade."

I am starting to think (reading punditry) that he might have gaffed by saying that Judge Clarence Thomas lacked the exper -- I mean jurisprudential skills -- to be on the Supreme Court. Some might feel that Senator Obama lacks the exper -- I mean the temperament -- to be President.

Brother ac has the tape.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2008 7:04 PM

Buy American, Vore Obama

I blog on the shoulders of giants today:
The new Obama logo (the seal wasn't stupid enough??????)
buy_american.jpg


Courtesy of Riehl World View

George Carlin:

Courtesy of Tigerhawk.


August 16, 2008

Kobe!

Kobe Bryant is interviewed by NBC's Chris Collinsworth;

Collinsworth: Tell the story when you first got your USA uniform.

Kobe: Well I had goosebumps and I actually just looked at it for awhile. I just held it there and I laid it across my bed and I just stared at it for a few minutes; just because as a kid growing up this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball.

Collinsworth: Where does the patriotism come from inside of you? Historically, what is it?

Kobe: Well, you know it’s just our country, it’s... we believe is the greatest country in the world. It has given us so many great opportunities, and it’s just a sense of pride that you have; that you say "You know what? Our country is the best!"

Collinsworth: Is that a ‘cool’ thing to say, in this day and age? That you love your country, and that you’re fighting for the red, white and blue? It seems sort of like a day gone by(?)

Kobe: No, it’s a cool thing for me to say. I feel great about it, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I mean, this is a tremendous honor.


Cool with me, too Mister Bryant. Ms.Underestimated has the video. Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit via Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

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

Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

It also seems clear that the Obama tax plan is not a growth policy, but a social policy that uses tax fairness as a means of redistributing income. There’s a long history of failed redistributionism, and this is where the Obama plan falls apart.


Read the whole thing (in between Men's basket weaving and tiddly-winks).

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 6:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

VP Gore in Town?

It's freezing for Colorado in mid-August. 51F at Atlantis Farm.

Anecdotal, I know, but brrr.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Roan Blown

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.

Oil and Energy Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Great post; I had missed that entirely. All these same Democrats will prohibit companies from exploring and drilling -- and will then ask "why companies are not using the leases they have now?"

Our state is lost, and I see little hope in the Colorado GOP or new voters' having the capacity or wisdom to resist it. I'm usually pretty upbeat. But I think brother jg is right: the state coffers are a golden goose to be fleeced by those who oppose the policies that created the gold.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2008 2:48 PM

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:


corptaxrates.gif


Back to Heraclitus, you can't step into that 1998 river in 2008. You're going to increase the uncompetitive differential of locating business in the United States.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Liberal idiots who keep parroting Paul Krugman's 1995 line, "And remember President Clinton's tax hike ushered in an economic boom" need to be taken out and clubbed to death, just like we used to do to seals.

There were three main reasons the 1990s were prosperous. Only two was within the powers of the federal government, and they sure as hell weren't tax hikes:

1. NAFTA. To his credit, Bubba bucked his own party in pushing for this.

2. The cut in capital gains taxes, which didn't occur until toward the end of Clinton's presidency. This only because a Republican Congress pushed for it.

3. The massive growth in technological globalization, not just the Internet, but the fiberoptic lines allowing cheap, large-volume communication lines around the world. This wouldn't have happened to the same extent had it not been for the second reason. Putting aside the stock market bubble (which the Fed created), the massive investment in new technology wouldn't have happened if investors didn't have the incentive of lower taxes on their investment.

Paul Krugman and Robert Rubin claim that tax hikes created the "economic boom" this way: by reducing budget deficits, interest rates

There are two reasons why this is horse manure. First, "crowding out" is a myth insofar as federal borrowing and interest rates. It would be true if the U.S. economy were a closed box, but the federal government borrows so much from international sources. And think about it: the federal government borrows from China, which got the money from American consumers in the first place.

Second, even were this true, the economic growth began before the budget deficit supposedly started shrinking. Bubba's tax hikes never balanced the federal budget, anyway. Even in the late 1990s, the "surplus" was a lie: the Social Security surplus is always used to mask the true deficit. Oh, and the increase in economic growth produced higher tax revenues, but for the reasons stated above and NOT tax increases. The higher tax revenues included...Social Security payroll taxes! So what really happened with the "incredible shrinking deficit" wasn't because of tax hikes or sudden spending restraints, but because of increased tax revenues from increased prosperity.

The CBO data (http://www.cbo.gov/budget/data/historical.shtml) proves it. Year-on-year growth in federal spending was 2.2%, 3.4% and 5.8% in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Bubba gets elected, and suddenly spending grows (again year-on-year) at 9% in 1994, 7.4% in 1995, 7.5% in 1996, 8.7% in 1997, 9% in 1999, and TEN POINT EIGHT PERCENT in 2000.

A lot of conservatives claim that the "gridlock" of Clinton and the GOP Congress helped check federal spending, but the numbers just don't show that. It was the *budget* that went down, but federal spending went up astronomically.

Another thing the budget numbers show is that the initial 1993 tax hike admittedly *did* increase federal revenues...for just a couple of years. There was 3.7% year-on-year growth in 1994 and 1995 federal tax revenues. But once people started noticing the taxes hitting them, federal tax revenues started increasing at a slower pace: only 2.9% and 2.6% growth in 1996 and 1997. In other words, people didn't want to produce as much. But then in 1998, back to 3.2% growth -- now was it really a coincidence it happened just as cap gains taxes were cut?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 15, 2008 1:03 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, actually I'll have to correct some of those budget numbers later on. I was a bit rushed in making the spreadsheet.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 15, 2008 1:49 PM

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%

Posted by John Kranz at 6:42 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This really is fascinating. The Refugee likes to dabble in statistics and probability (albeit from a mundane marketing perspective). At a macro level, it demonstrates how human intervention changes probability. As one of the teachers commented, I'm not sure how one would write a formula for this - and that's the point. The Refugee needs to ponder the related implications for a while.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 15, 2008 1:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I refused to believe it until I was writing the code to test it. There are only two outcomes, that is 100% of the time, you win or you lose. If you choose #1 and stick, you win 33% of the time. Ergo, if you switch (the only other choice), you win (100-33)%

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2008 2:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Here's another way to look at it: when picking the first door, you and 1/3 chance of being a winner and therefore a 2/3 chance of being a loser. After being allowed to change sides, you now have 2/3 chance of winning. Odd - counter-intuitive - but real.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 15, 2008 3:40 PM

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.

In 2009, the United States might be just emerging from a nasty downturn, only to get hit by a tax increase. Also, recent research shows that tax hikes may be less harmful if accompanied by spending cuts. Yet Obama is planning huge and specific spending increases matched by often vague spending reductions. Clintonomics was all about balancing the budget. This is not a priority for Obama.


2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, I need to see if they have any part-time guard positions. Maybe take a week off work and do a little Abu-Ghraibing in my old hometown!

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2008 10:58 AM

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's Senator Mac, first and foremost among the Ethanol jockeys. Because he enumerated the energy sources he thinks should be investigated, and mentioned corn-based ethanol at the end of the list. In fact, he was courageous, opposing ethanol subsidies during the Iowa primaries. He has been a foe to the subsidies, fought against and voted against the farm bill. I think Carey confuses support for ethanol, which is okay with support for ethanol subsidies, which he and I would oppose.

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.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 7:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

The art work, titled "Complex S(expletive..)", is the size of a house. The wind carried it 200 metres (yards) from the Paul Klee Centre in Berne before it fell back to Earth in the grounds of a children's home, said museum director Juri Steiner.

The inflatable turd broke the window at the children's home when it blew away on the night of July 31, Steiner said. The art work has a safety system which normally makes it deflate when there is a storm, but this did not work when it blew away.

Steiner said McCarthy had not yet been contacted and the museum was not sure if the piece would be put back on display.


UPDATE: Didn't make BOTW. Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Taranto didn't include this? He's so full of dog ****.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 14, 2008 9:36 AM

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,
and are investing considerable resources in developing nonfood bioenergy such as algae, switchgrass, jatropha and camelina—all of which have minimal impact on food production and the environment. The U.S. would be wise to follow Texas's lead.

The EPA needs to stop using bureaucratic definitions of what constitutes "severe economic harm" and take a look at reality. American families are struggling to put food on the table because of rising food prices. Without a doubt, the destruction of the Texas livestock industry—the nation's largest beef producer—constitutes severe harm to our country's economy. Forcing Texas ranchers to close their doors because they can no longer afford to feed their
livestock takes food off the table for millions of Americans. If that's not "severe economic damage," what is?

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 4:56 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Rick Perry? The same one who issued a "governor's order" overriding the state legislature, to compel young girls in public schools to get vaccinated against HPV? A vaccine that's conveniently made by Merck, one of his campaign contributors.

**** him. Damn him to hell, where he belongs.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 13, 2008 2:15 PM

Pelosi blinking

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.

But if Congress can't agree to a continuing resolution before Oct. 1, the government shuts down.

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.


SPECIAL BLOG BONUS!!!

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! :)

But Wayne thinks:

Great news ... updated Jeremiah Films' House Recess Really? post and added link to your post

Posted by: Wayne at August 13, 2008 2:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks Wayne! I particularly enjoyed this Human Events article also linked from your site.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2008 3:14 PM

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:


Obama_Tax.jpg


That's right, kids, if you're a one-eyed Venusion working part-time on odd Tuesdays in the service sector, have between two and three children and rent your home, the Senator is going to cut your taxes! Everybody else? Well, we all want to be fair don't we?

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.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:50 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That's an incredibly insightful article, and it doesn't even get into the fact that Obama wants to lift the ~$100K cap on Social Security payroll taxes. So right at the point when a professional thinks he's starting to do well, bang, that's another 6.2%, plus reduced/lost raises and bonuses in the future, because the employer must somehow recoup its own "contribution" of 6.2%.

I don't know if your "one-eyed Venusion" example was based on Star Trek, but it got me thinking: Obama's tax plan is just like the absurdly complicated card game "fizzbin"! There may be certain points at which you'll want to give back not a card, but part of your salary back to your employer: if you make $y, you want to drop below $x, because below $x you can qualify for a tax credit that's greater than (y-x). And this really isn't far-fetched. It really doesn't take a lot nowadays for a couple to find themselves above $100K in household income, at which point .

My own personal example: I got a pretty nice bonus last year, significantly more than at the end of 2006. Well, 40% was withheld immediately, and though the remainder was still sizeable, I didn't get to keep a goddamn dime of it. That bonus and a raise for 2007, plus increased side employment, unexpected pushed me up into a higher tax bracket. I wound up owing more in taxes than I expected, which turned out to be just a little more than what was left of my main job's bonus! Had I known, it just wasn't worth giving up all that time -- that *marginal* time -- out of my life.

Liberals would say I should have planned better. My response is, "**** you, it's my money and I shouldn't have to spend a second to plan."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 11, 2008 2:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I think most progressive-liberals would say not that you should have planned better but that you should think yourself lucky to have those income opportunities. Your response works equally well with either argument.

My favorite example to combat this nonsense remains Thomas Sowell's hard working taxi driver who works a double shift to earn more money. Okay, Dr. Sowell says, I see why we might tax his double wages at twice what he would earn working one shift, but why do we ask him to pay a higher rate?

Perry in '12 I guess (though I wonder how you will finance the war I wish to declare on Russia).

And actually, no, while I remember your Trek trivia on Eidelblog, I was never much of a Trekkie. The allusion there is a David Bromberg song with the line "I'd let my sister marry a one-eyed Venusian before I'd..."

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2008 3:18 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It's about time PE starting paying his "fair share." When you consider all of the government programs that it can fund, 100% isn't too much to ask, now is it?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 11, 2008 3:48 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Tariffs and bonds were enough to finance the War of 1812, and poll taxes helped fund the Mexican-American War. And Don Luskin pointed out a while ago that lotteries were used for additional federal revenue.

What limited revenue does is prevent a government from going to war lightly. It also prevents it from using the central bank to create money to pay for wars, which has been happening for several centuries (ever since European powers discovered the power of fiat money). Now that's not happening today to the extent Ron Paul says, because our federal government borrows a lot from China that the Chinese received by selling products to American consumers.

Russia is doing what China could try against Taiwan in 15-20 years: retaking land it believes is part of the mother country, with the promise of so much blood that the U.S. won't have the stomach to intervene. Putin isn't really a Leninist, but make no mistake, he's this century's Stalin. With nuclear weapons. He's just the kind of man who will use them, damn any consequences.

What could work, if Americans want to help Georgia, is what my friend Billy Beck suggested: a brigade of volunteers. Or as I'll call them, mercenaries.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 12, 2008 9:57 AM
But jk thinks:

Tough choices in Georgia. Arms and mercenaries would be a good start. I don't know. Were the West (read US of A) to intervene, it would not be done on the cheap. I really don't care for any of the present options.

JG referenced our ongoing China debate. I always worried about China taking Taiwan until recently. I don't think it's 20 years out -- I think the idea is 20 years old. China would not risk the economic damage to her integrated economy.

Let's blame VP Gore. We had a chance to integrate Russia into the world economy but President Clinton -- and his special envoy, VP Gore -- squandered the opportunity.

I don't normally go back and blame Presidents but if today's left is going to blame hurricanes on President Bush, I'll point out that Gore allowed corruption and state influence to poison the 1990s well of economic freedom in the former USSR.

Posted by: jk at August 12, 2008 10:39 AM

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.)

Maybe Obama is saying that the forces of competition are absent in the oil market and that the deliberate decision by oil companies to keep capacity below competitive levels is the reason for today's high prices. That would be a logically coherent story, but not an empirically plausible one. It is not lack of competition that is keeping oil prices high but, rather, the basic forces of supply and demand. Even if you blame OPEC for noncompetitive behavior, that fact would hardly provide a rationale for taxing domestic oil producers, as Senator Obama is proposing.


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.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

August 10, 2008

It's Good to be the President...

He said he was going to Beijing to support the athletes:


w_walsh.jpg


AP Photo, hat-tip: Insty

But johngalt thinks:

Hoo-rah, time for some Olympics blogging!

I've been very proud every time I've seen the Prez serving as "fan in chief" at the Beijing Olympics. I completely disagree with Byron York (Fox News Sunday, 8/10/08) and others who suggest Bush would have made a stronger statement against Chinese totalitarianism by staying home.

Brother JK and I have debated a few times whether the China glass is half full or half empty. I think we agree though that it becomes fuller when we engage with them than if we don't.

And how about W's reacton when the USA national anthem was bungled during the first of many gold medal ceremonies for Michael Phelps? It's cut short (ironically) in this YouTube video but you can see that he laughed it off, although when I saw it live he seemed to be thinking "what's so hard about playing a recorded audio track from beginning to end? (I thought the same thing but I wasn't laughing.) Not only was it cut short but the first two lines were repeated, perhaps to make up for leaving off "Oh say can you..." when it first began!

I saw much of the opening ceremony on Friday and agree that it was spectacular. But when something as simple as this is botched... what a shame.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2008 5:27 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee is having trouble believing it was an accident that they cut the recording just as it came to the phrase, "O'er the land of the free..." If it was an accident, then it was one of Freudian proportions.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 11, 2008 3:54 PM

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:

Garfield minus Garfield

Hat-tip: Galley Slave Jonatahn V Last.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

There actually were 17 Americas

ABC.com:

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!"

obama_salute.bmp or "Oh my!":
"You interlace your hands in a circle, the interlacing being a symbol of different types of people coming together and the circle a symbol of unity," he says. Their design, unlike Fairey's, is free, and Husong is urging people to download it and print it on posters and T-shirts. "We want to see it everywhere, but more importantly we want this sign to take the world by storm."
I did the "W" salute in 2004 when I saw another car with a Bush bumper sticker. I'd like to believe this is as good natured as that. I'd like to believe that it's not at all creepy. But those rays in the illustration...

Hat-tip: Insty who is all over this.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:59 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Does the "O" not look like a mouth crying out in pain?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 13, 2008 12:50 PM

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.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 8:12 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, Colorado, Georgia, Delaware, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Texas—states with consistently strong records of promoting economic freedom—had an average per capita GDP that was more than $4,300 above the U.S. average. Their total growth from 1981 to 2005 was nearly 20 percentage points higher than the U.S. average.


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.


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

"Owens was dedicated to freedom and low taxes.*"

* Until, that is, he decided to support the $10B tax increase known as "Referendum C" in the same election that CO voters chose that Democrat governor to replace him.

Colorado Democrats recognize the state's economy as a fairly unmolested 'golden goose.' Now they're in a position to gore that goose to their hearts' content.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2008 4:41 PM

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.

2. The government already uses the SPR to manipulate prices. The government has stopped filling the SPR, which reduces oil demand each day. Also, it uses the SPR when it believes that oil is priced above its fundamental value each time there is a natural disaster that creates supply disruptions and even did so during Desert Storm.

3. I do not believe the oil price reflects fundamentals. This is not to say that I know the correct price (although if you ask Vince Farrell he will tell you that oil typically trades at marginal cost, which is currently around $75). As you know from reading my blog, I do not believe in market failure -- at least as it is defined by mainstream economists. Markets are efficient so long as voluntary transactions are taking place as this signals that each individual is better off. However, we are not talking about free markets here. A large number of oil producers are countries rather than companies. In addition, the world remains awash in liquidity and the Fed is holding interest rates at artificially low levels.

4. A temporary increase in the supply of oil would lead to a decline in the price -- even if individuals know that the increase is likely temporary.

5. The Drill! Drill! Drill! plan will not be successful if real interest rates remain low. If the expectations of future prices are rising anywhere above zero at the moment, it is in one's best interest to keep the oil in the ground. One of my biggest pet peeves is that people fail to mention this on Kudlow's show when the Democratic talking points about unused permits gets thrown around. We need a three step process: (1) release some of the SPR, (2) Begin raising interest rates, and (3) start drilling. The problem is that there are too many players involved to believe that any combination of the three will take place. Instead, we will get promises of windfall profit taxes, rebate checks, "accountability", etc.


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...

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I fear this macroeconomics discussion is far above the heads of most of our readers. I know that some of it is over my head. I'll trust JK to ensure it's not mere obfuscation.

I will go out on a limb and challenge EEs assertion that nobody is incentivized to extract oil during this period of expensive (I figured about double the typical market price) oil merely because "real interest rates remain low." I can't say much about the effect of interest rates but if I had reserves in the ground I'd be trying to get them to market right now.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2008 3:40 PM

McCain vs Obama on Taxes

The clearest example of why voting for McCain is the smart thing to do.

(tip to MyMcCainBlog)

2008 Posted by AlexC at 9:55 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The reason Perry Eidelbus is your best choice in 2012:

All federal income tax rates: 0%.

Now if we're going to have anything more than 0%, then it goes from 0% at the top to 25% at the lowest tax bracket. Yes, my second choice of a tax system is intentionally *regressive*. "The poor" receive the bulk of government spending, so let them pay for it! Why should a working person like me be taxed to hell to pay for the lifestyle of lazy people?

Capital gains/dividends tax: 0%. Why should saving be penalized?

Child tax credit: $0. Why should people be penalized (meaning having to share a heavier tax burden) because they don't want or can't have children? I want to have a couple, myself, but I see no reason that I, currently childless, should have to pay a higher tax burden than my neighbor with half a dozen rugrats.

Marriage penalty: moot with a 0% tax rate.

AMT rate: 0%. Repeal the goddamn thing.

Self-employment rate: 0%. See above for why. Oh, this also includes abolishing Social Security and Medicare.

Corporate tax rate: 0%. Businesses don't pay taxes; they only collect them from customers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 7, 2008 1:31 PM

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.

Figures released by the Conservatives show that 70% of NHS Trusts brought in pest controllers at least 50 times between January 2006 and March 2008.


Hat-tip: Samizdata

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 6:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

So you might say drill, drill, drill along with reduced energy demands is lending a big helping hand to the Fed’s inflation worry.


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?


Semper Fi!

cpl_jones.jpg
LA Times:

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.

Awesome!

Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt

Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Problems like these are the reality of "alternative" energy, and they explain why every "energy independence" plan has faltered since the 1970s. But just because Mr. Obama's plan is wildly unrealistic doesn't mean that a program of vast new taxes, subsidies and mandates wouldn't be destructive. The U.S. has a great deal invested in fossil fuels not because of a political conspiracy or because anyone worships carbon but because other sources of energy are, right now, inferior.


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.

Obama's energy plan is lame for other reasons. At best, it mandates and subsidized things the market is already doing on its own. At worst, it will become yet another pork vehicle that crowds out true innovation. The best thing the government can do is remove barriers to permitting nukes (and maybe also to selling retrofit kits for older vehicles so they can become PHEVs) and otherwise get out of the way. Clever, greedy people will take care of the rest. Obama can then villify and tax them.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

August 5, 2008

Not Sure She's 35

Other than that, we could do worse:


See more funny videos at Funny or Die

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Overlooking her gratuitous use of the words "hot" and "bitches" her energy policy isn't half bad. It's more practical and enlightened than Barack's "just say no to oil" energy policy.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2008 1:55 AM
But jk thinks:

I forgot the hat-tip, but that's exactly what Professor Reynolds said "'Perhaps the reality is that Paris has a more substantive energy plan than Barack Obama.' Well, unlike Obama she's worked in the private sector for years . . . ."

Today, Instapundit is having a Paris-palooza. She outpolls Senator Obama, and Ann Althouse calls it a pro-McCain ad. I agree.

I must correct my brother jg, however. Her energy policy is indeed half-bad; it's just that Obama's is all-bad (and McCain's 11/32).

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2008 12:39 PM

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'...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

However dourly Russian his warnings often were, Solzhenitsyn fortified the West with the truth and will to triumph in the Cold War. The great, inspiring irony of "Ivan Denisovich" is that it ends with Shukhov concluding that, even amid his icy prison, the day was "almost a happy one."


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.


Change

I received this via email:

Obama.jpeg

2008 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:08 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Clearly, the use of a white woman was a direct racial ploy by the Republican Attack Machine. I'm astonished to see a well respected site like ThreeSources lowering itself.

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2008 2:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"In many ways, Barack Obama is a typical Marxist-Leninist man. Without even knowing it he will subonsciously cross the street rather than walk past a young child's lemonade stand and face the uncomfortable choice whether to drop a quarter in her coffee can or merely expropriate a cup."

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2008 1:09 AM

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.

Instead, we now have a government that does not threaten its neighbors, does not sponsor terrorism, and is unlikely to again seek WMD. We have a democratic government, a first for the Arab world, and one that is increasingly capable of defending its people and asserting its interests.

We have a defeat for al Qaeda. Critics carp that had there been no invasion, there never would have been al Qaeda in Iraq. Maybe. As it is, thousands of jihadists are dead, al Qaeda has been defeated on its self-declared "central battlefield," and the movement is largely discredited on the Arab street and even within Islamist circles.

We also have -- if still only prospectively -- an Arab bulwark against Iran's encroachments in the region. But that depends on whether we simply withdraw from Iraq, or join it in a lasting security partnership.


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

Professor Mankiw links to Ernesto Zedillo's article in Forbes. Zedillo is concerned that people are blaming globalization for food shortages, and says "Blame Policies, Not Markets."

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."

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

In others words, the markets could fall further from their already beaten-down levels once the street begins to focus on an Obama presidency.

Wait, you say: Wall Street's woes don't necessarily translate into Main Street problems. The markets can go down, but people still go to work.

Sorry, those days are over. Never before have Wall Street and Main Street been so intertwined: Nearly every American has a 401-k plan to save for retirement. Here in New York, city and state budgets rely on Wall Street bonuses for tax revenues like never before - just ask Gov. Patterson, who last week warned of budget disaster, largely thanks to the Wall Street slowdown.

One trader recently reminded me of another president who raised taxes and clamped down on free trade, as Obama seems set to do - just after the stock-market crash of 1929: His name was Herbert Hoover. And you know what happened next.


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.

At bottom, Obama is about taxing wealth creation - not the piles of cash these guys have already accumulated.


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...

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

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!"

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Obama Energy Plan

tiregauge_donation.jpg Perhaps the McCain campaign is finding its stride. I just answered this amusing call. If you donate $25 or more, you will be gifted with this handsome "Obama Energy Plan" tire gauge.

Pretty funny stuff:
Contribute


2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm sure someone's said this before, but it's just like any other Democrat's energy plan: a lot of money to spend for empty air of zero value.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 4, 2008 1:52 PM
But Terri thinks:

I of course want to have this latest and greatest energy plan, but the link isn't solid. Politico doesn't have a good link either. Is this direct from McCain?

Posted by: Terri at August 4, 2008 3:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Part of my daily spam from McCain. Try this.

Posted by: jk at August 4, 2008 4:17 PM

WaPo Headline

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 government teat programs and might have a fiduciary interest in some of Senator Obama's proposals?
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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

No, I'm not convinced. You guys are both still beer snobs. Budweiser is a good, light American lager - even without the commercials. And original Coors is still true to it's German pils heritage. After a long day of hard work on a hot farm I'll take either of those over anything else in my fridge.

Once the cool night air has settled in, that's when the heavier brews twist off.

Cheers!

Beer snob: Won't drink anything with a twist off cap.

Beer connoisseur: Will try anything once.

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2008 3:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Trust the Ukrainians: Enjoy beer -- and life will be good.

I'm not too good for twist offs; I'm too large. Beer is an occasional treat, so I save it for the good stuff. (Meet you at the Colorado Coal Company some night and you can try the Bare Knuckle?)

Cheers back!

Posted by: jk at August 4, 2008 4:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah yes, the carbohydrates do tend to fill in the empty calories in one's organism.

CCC? Yes!

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2008 11:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Wow, I've never before been accused of being a beer snob! Heavier beers aren't even my preference, and twist-offs don't matter to me. I like a lighter, clean-tasting beer like San Miguel, or if I can't get it, Heineken and St. Pauli Girl. Domestic "pilsens" and "lagers" just don't have the flavor or clean aftertaste.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 5, 2008 12:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Beer snob" was really directed mostly at JK but you got swept into the generalization because you said "anything" Budweiser makes is crap. Most of their attempts at brewing innovation have fallen short of the original Budweiser lager that keeps them in business. And it is of unending shame to me that American beer consumers keep Bud Light in production. I'm as libertarian as they come but there really ought to be a law against calling that "beer." (I know - first amendment rights. blah blah)

Heineken is a good beer but St. Pauli Girl's appeal to me is lost once you get beyond the label. For light German beers I prefer Warsteiner or Konigsbrau. My favorite in the category is the original Pils: Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic.

Posted by: johngalt at August 5, 2008 3:11 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

What I actually said was, "Hmm, Budweiser making anything that isn't crap? Might be worth a look."

I wasn't dismissing the possibility of a Budweiser product being good, only expressing surprise.

Laws are much less necessary than most people think. You don't need a specific law to punish force or fraud, and the latter includes misrepresenting a product so people will buy it. In this case, is it fraud to call Bud Light "beer"? That would be an interesting case, but the foregone conclusion is that most Americans' palates aren't sophisticated enough to say "yes."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 6, 2008 11:56 AM

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.

Looking like he was ready for the links in a pair of cargo shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, Rogers said he was preparing to drive back to Michigan when he pulled a U-turn and headed back into town.

"I had gotten in my car to drive home and I realized I didn't have enough money to pay for the first tank of gas," said Rogers.

Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah was also spotted on the House floor in shorts and sandals.

Rep. Kevin Brady returned to thunderous applause when it was announced he had gotten off of a plane right before takeoff in order to deliver a speech. He said the day had turned things completely upside down.

"Normally they clap when I am leaving here with my bags packed," he said with a laugh. "Not the other way around."

As of 3:30, the speeches continued, with no sign of letting up.


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?

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

A friend remarked, "He's a total jackass. Self-serving spineless wimp." He lives in Bishop's district and has run against him, and he reminded me of something Bishop said: "Congress granted that power to the president." That was when the War Powers Act of 1973 came up during a debate. Bishop actually believes that one branch can "grant" power to another! How can we trust someone to uphold his oath to preserving and protecting the Constitution when he hasn't the foggiest notion of what's in it?

When the likes of Rob Bishop does this, it's merely a political stunt so he can be in lockstep with the GOP, just like when Democrats pretend to be concerned about "liberty" when it's merely a matter of taking the opposite side.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 3, 2008 11:16 PM

A Moo-Born

Friday calf blogging lives on, with an attractive new model, Dale, born last Sunday,

Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

Don't click this. Comments (2)