July 31, 2009

A1, below the fold

The Kentucky Cup vaulting competition I've been following for the past 2 days was covered in the Lexington, Kentucky newspaper this morning on Page A1.

That's Sampson below the fold, next to our President quaffing a cold one with friends.


But jk thinks:

Very cool. But the President may not appreciate his photograph appearing so close to a known partisan.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 6:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nice! Hey, I'd forgotten we were harboring a Bushite.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2009 7:02 PM

A Little Pragmatism

My Yahoo/AP Headlines this afternoon at 2:34 MDT:


We'd all like to rise above partisan hackery, but I think that some "pure" libertarians have to witness what happens when you give the Democratic Party both houses and the Presidency. Any of those initiatives would be in serious jeopardy were any of the three under GOP control.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Yes, Bush's greatest victory was stopping the Democrats from wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on "stimulus," and the Republicans were so fiscally responsible when they controlled both houses of Congress.

Oh, wait...

Your "pragmatism" at best means "Not quite as bad but still bad." We were still on the road to hell under Bush, just at half the speed we are now, but still in the same direction.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 4:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've gotta agree with Perry - maybe they'd be in some but not serious jeopardy with GOPers like them that just lost the reins. Don't you take solace in the growing popular backlash against the full-speed gallop toward hell that mister "we won the election" has been spurring? [Got horses on the brain for some reason.] That wouldn't be happening under President McCain. The public would still be sleeping like they did when Bush was prez. Look where that got us.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2009 6:31 PM
But jk thinks:

President Bush vetoed the Schip expansion; President Oabam signed it. The 109th Congress was a sad affair that I cannot defend -- but things did not get any better when the gavels were handed over.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 6:33 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That reminds me -- Bush also pushed for Part D and NCLB. Thanks trillions, George.

Oh, and the restrictions on Wall Street pay will be affecting my employer, even though we aren't a bank and sure as hell didn't get federal money.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 1, 2009 1:44 PM


This cannot be interpreted as heathly:


Hat-tip: Jimmy P:

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The only question is: when will Atlas shrug?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 4:46 PM

Reason TV Interviews Instapundit

I enjoyed this clip and recommend it if you've got nine minutes to spare.

Reynolds is as close to my pragmatism as any figure I can name and makes good points about the Republican Party (hope Mr. Gillespie was listening) and the libertarian versus social conservative contretemps we enjoy around here.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | What do you think? [0]

A Cancer Patient that Doesn't Want Free Health Care

A friend of ThreeSources sends me a link to a WSJ guest editorial on health care. She's right, it is superb:

I have been battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, an incurable blood cancer, for the past nine years. Last year, I was also diagnosed with uterine cancer.

I didn’t run to Canada for treatment. Medicare took care of my needs right here in New York City. To endure, I just need the freedom to choose my insurance, my doctors, and get the diagnostic scans and care I need. And one more thing: I need hope that a treatment will be developed that can control my diseases the way insulin controls diabetes.

Every cancer patient needs these things, especially hope. But the government's plan to reform the health-care system in this country threatens all of this—particularly the development of new treatments.

Whole thing gotta.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [4]
But HB thinks:

Am I the only one who noticed that she wrote, "Medicare took care of my needs right here in New York City." (Emphasis added.)

Posted by: HB at July 31, 2009 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ulrik writes, "But are we really expected to forgo new medical technology and return to the cancer care of the 1970s?"

Why not?

We're being asked to forego the most modern electrical generation technology in exchange for windmills and solar cells first popularized in the 1970's.

We're being asked to forego comfortable, powerful and safe autos and return to updated econo-boxes of the 1970's.

Our government is attempting to solve well-understood economic problems with the same policies that failed in the 1970's, albeit on a grander scale.

But why should anyone be surprised by any of this? The most substantive difference between the current congress and White House in comparison to those of the Carter era is that George McGovern thinks THIS crop is taking things too far.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2009 2:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said. Arnold Kling in Crisis of Abundance points out that we can easily afford 1970s health care for everybody. If it was on the Dr. Welby show, you can have it!

Strangely, few are lining up for that plan. Except in countries that took over health care when the kindly Robert Young character was on.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 2:58 PM


Call me a partisan hack, but I don't remember stories like this when that feller from Texas was living in the White House:

Recession eases; GDP dip smaller than expected

WASHINGTON – The economy sank at a pace of just 1 percent in the second quarter of the year, a new government report shows. It was a better-than-expected showing that provided the strongest signal yet that the longest recession since World War II is finally winding down.

Happy Days are freakin' here again, eh?

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Yup, you may recall that I've been pointing out that Aversa and Crutsinger are the AP's perma-bears...but only if a Republican is president. While Bush was in office, the AP's editors would whitewash stories that originally weren't pessimistic.

If this were a year ago, and especially during an election year, the story would have been:

No end in sight to recession
U.S. GDP declined by less than expected in the second quarter, marking just the latest quarter of the longest recession in seven decades...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 12:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen -- plus some casualty figures from Iraq.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 3:15 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That reminds me -- the military, I was reading somewhere, has a new policy of not reporting Afghani enemy deaths?

Some days you just can't win, even if you really are.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 4:48 PM

July 30, 2009

Dear Senator Udall

Senator Udall:

First, thank you for the invitation to the "telephone town hall" on health care last night. I regret that I was unable to stay on the line but I appreciate that forum.

I contact you today because I have Multiple Sclerosis and am deeply concerned about current health care bills, both in detail and direction.

I am participating in my second clinical trial of experimental treatment and it is extremely clear that government is poorly situated, structured, and incentivized to take over the innovation and development provided by the free market.

I would like to point you toward Megan McArdle's post on the Atlantic website http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/07/a_long_long_post_about_my_reas.php I believe Ms. McArdle supported President Obama in the election and tends to vote Democratic. Yet she sees the opportunity to retard innovation with an augmented Federal presence.

Thank you for your time and attention,

John Kranz
Erie, CO

I sure hope he likes it better than Perry...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:41 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure it matters what Udall thinks of the McArdle post. According to Maxine Waters, Rahm only told the "conservative" Blue Dogs amongst the new senators that "they could vote the way they wanted to." That freedom might not extend to rabidly progressive new members such as Mark Udall.

Your effort to elicit representation is nonetheless laudable.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2009 2:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I have given up on my Rep (Polis, CO-2). He has a gerrymandered district and his constituents clearly want communism, as soon as possible. I sent a modified version of this to both Senators though. If you're too far left, you'll get pressure in Colorado (Hart and Wirth did okay). I'm just reminding.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2009 2:49 PM

Huge Win! Huge Win!

The headline for today's Denver Post trumpets, "Dems pare health bill's tab." According to the story, the "parties rebellious rank-and-file conservatives" drove a hard bargain and trimmed the cost of the healthcare bill from $1 trillion to a mere $900 billion. Whew! What a victory for fiscal sanity! But wait, it turns out to be an accounting trick because they simply deleted the $245 billion per year increase to Medicare line item (the $100 billion "savings" is over 10 years). Moreover, the party liberals are not happy with these "cuts" and may not support the current bill.

With Blue Dogs like these, who needs Yellow Dogs? They'd better get a package done soon, because The Refugee is about to be sick...

Government Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

The actual "huge win" part of this story is "the party liberals ... may not support the current bill."

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2009 2:13 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Ahem, who was pointing out last November that the Blue Dog is a mythical creature?

""Conservative Democrats" only pretended to be so, in order to win more conservative districts/states. Now they won't have to camouflage their true colors. Their party has the White House with solid control of Congress, a strong position they haven't seen since 1976. On top of that, the American people have been softened up over the last 16 years to the idea that government should and can take of them. We're going to see an attempt to expand the welfare state that's greater than GWB, Nixon and LBJ ever did."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 30, 2009 10:25 PM

Kentucky Vaulting Cup

It's vaulting! For the uninitiated, vaulting is the original equestrian sport. Dagny is a coach and longeur and has two horses and two vaulters at this international competition in Lexington, Kentucky. It started today and runs through Sunday. But the very best part (for those of us who didn't make the trip) is this live video feed!

[Note: When live competition is not proceeding a promotional video for WEG loops instead.]

> Single-click on "livestream" in the upper-right corner to launch a dedicated viewer. :)
> Or, click the I/O icon in the lower-left to stop streaming. :(
> Click the "ON-DEMAND" button to find a list of completed classes available for reviewing.

The Kentucky Vaulting Cup is a test event for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held at the same venue in 2010.

UPDATE: Audio now defaults to muted on refresh.

UPDATE II: I (jk) have moved the player to the "Continue Reading.." page.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You go, Dagny!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 30, 2009 12:01 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at July 30, 2009 12:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't know the back story yet but I just watched dagny's biggest horse, Sampson, carry one of the California vaulting teams. As far as I know he was NOT scheduled to do so. There might have been a problem with the team's own horse requiring a last minute substitution - a common occurrence in competition. Sam went great and so did the team! Yaay! As Drudge would say, "Developing."

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2009 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have more details on yesterday's developing story. The team's horse showed signs of lameness during their warmup round. For fear that it might get worse they decided to switch horses and chose Sampson. All of Sampson's tack (and dagny's showing clothes) had been put away for the day and couldn't be recovered in time for the scheduled go, just minutes away. Other vaulting clubs contributed everything from bridle and bit to boots and clothes for dagny to wear. This sort of cameraderie is also very common at vaulting competitions.

Under FEI rules all competitors must use the same horse for the entire competition. This means that Sampson will be carrying the A-team (internationally they call it CVI** - say "CVI two star") freestyle today at 3:40 pm Eastern and tomorrow as well. Try to catch it if you can! It will be one of the premier events of the entire competition. If anything will impress you with vaulting it will be high level team performances.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2009 10:16 AM

July 29, 2009

Otequay of the ayday

I still contend that brother jk is missin' out by not having cable. FNC's 'America's Newsroom' regularly features US congressmen or senators commenting on affairs of the day and they tend to say the darnedest things. Just yesterday a congressman said, in essence, "these people who have gold plated health care coverage don't have the right to force everyone else to subsidize their coverage and that's why we should tax them." I wanted to give the verbatim quote with attribution but didn't think to record him. I didn't make that mistake today.

Representative Steven Lynch (D-MA) is chairman of the Postal Service Oversight Subcommittee. Commenting on the GAO report downgrading the USPS' credit worthiness in the wake of $2.8 B lost last year and $7 B projected to be lost this year he was asked by FNC's Bill Hemmer, "Fed-Ex is profitable. UPS is profitable. Is it time to start taking a serious look at making this government service private?"

"Well look, if Fed-Ex did what the post office did and if UPS did what the post office did they would not be profitable."

I'll leave the obvious conclusion to the reader, but there's more. In the very next breath he seemed to be channeling Jon Caldera on healthcare reform, but in reverse, and without even realizing it.

"They provide universal coverage six days a week to every business and home in America for forty-four cents, basically, for a letter. If you don't want that service then you could probably reduce the postal service's costs as well."

He even called it "universal coverage!"

But jk thinks:

We'll see how long I hold out. My lovely wife gets the eeeevil FOXNews on her phone. Curiously, my local-channels-only-in-analog cheapskate service includes CSPAN and much of the basic cable.

I hate to champion tax increases, but I think taxing gold plated coverage is an important step toward tax neutrality for individuals and corporations.

The Post Office quotes are awesome!

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2009 1:34 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"these people who have gold plated health care coverage don't have the right to force everyone else to subsidize their coverage and that's why we should tax them."

____ him and the horse he rode in on. This coming from someone in the one group whose health coverage is the very best in the world, whose health coverage by definition is paid for by others' labor.

I by stark contrast have an excellent health insurance policy, and I don't ask anyone to "subsidize" it in any way.

"You do what you want with your own scalp, and not be tellin' us what to do with ours!"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 29, 2009 1:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not defending the quote, Perry. But it is true that your employer gets tax treatment on your coverage that is not available to the individual of the self employed.

I want to break the cursed (please pronounce as two syllables) relationship between employers and health care -- I don't lose my car insurance if I change jobs.

The solution is to provide tax breaks for the individual, but also to -- sorry -- tax the employer until they are equal.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2009 1:46 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I know you're not defending the quote. I'm just pointing out the utter hypocrisy of the SOB who said it.

I'm sure you agree that, once again, it's the state and its convoluted tax policies that skew markets and push us toward inefficiencies. But the only resolution should come from not taxing what people pay for private insurance, not by taxing businesses on insurance benefits they provide. Just because some rapes are more vicious than others doesn't mean we must "equalize" the victims by requiring all to be beaten to the worst extent.

Also, I don't expect that your car insurance pays for regular maintenance, or even failed parts outside of an accident (unless you have an extended warranty policy, a form of insurance). That's true insurance: you hope you never need it, but it's there "just in case" something unfortunate happens. No small problem with American health care is that too many people think health insurance is the way to pay for routine checkups, eye exams and dentist visits that they ought to be paying for out of pocket. An American family will consume, say, $10,000 worth of health care resources in a year, after paying $8000 in premiums, and then complain that their premiums are going up.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 30, 2009 12:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet, despite the obviousness of what PE says there is little hope this congress will do anything to fix those real problems, and achieve actual cost savings in the process.

Senator Udall, ARE YOU LISTENING?!!!!!

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2009 2:39 PM

Megan McArdle Demolishes National Health Care

I love preaching-to-the-choir stuff and the wild rumpus technical, internecine philosophical arguments we get into around here make life worth living.

But I am always on the lookout for an article that might convince somebody "on the other side." And I think Megan McArdle's health care piece is awesome on stilts in platform shoes. It is a great, first principles, takedown that I think can be shared with anybody. Tell them she supported Obama. This is not some FOXNews piece that they can instantly discard.

I broke a longstanding rule and put this on Facebook today. I do my politics here and appreciate people's kids' pictures over there. But I hope for a lot of my left leaning friends to read this. I will be mailing it out as well.

Nope, not gonna excerpt. Read it. Send it to somebody.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [9]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Mmmm, I dunno, Perry. I'll concede the purity and basic truth of your argument and I'll accept your assessment of McArdle since I have not followed her. But as an argument that can be understood by and potentially sway Joe Public, this is pretty darn good - the best I've seen in that category.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 29, 2009 3:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"who would not read, understand, or be suaded by Monsieur Bastiat."

Bastiat's arguments are as clear and incontestible today as when he first published his works. If people do not listen to him, it's their folly. If they listen to the likes of McArdle pseudo-libertarianism, that's even more to their folly.

My friend Billy Beck is right. People must be persuaded on the basis of principles, and that means arguing on the side of freedom. This utilitarianism crap doesn't cut it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 29, 2009 3:57 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let me put it more bluntly: if someone cannot understand an argument based on freedom, then that person doesn't deserve it. That person deserves to remain a slave to the state.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 29, 2009 3:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm with you on this PE but until the constitutional shackles are put back on our government we are, as Red Green says, "all in this together."

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2009 4:05 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

To come to jk's defense-

Bastiat is a hard read. I would not call his arguments clear- they are lengthy, theoretical, and written some 150 years past. Much like the words of James Madison or James Wilson, they are brilliant, but they are not an easy read.

Mcardle provides a piece that is understandable to those not familiar with intricacies of economic theory, accessible to every average Joe who picks up the Atlantic, short enough to read on the subway home from work, and directly relevant to the lives of every American today.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 29, 2009 8:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

T, are you serious? Bastiat is some of the easiest economic reading I've ever encountered, and his insights transcend time. Well, a lot of people didn't and still don't fully understand Jesus' parables either.

Maybe it's a bad translation you've read. The Foundation for Economic Education has sponsored some excellent translations of "The Law" and "What Is Seen," which are enough to give anyone a firm grounding on liberty and government intervention. Bastiat's other works like "Economic Harmonies" are a bit more theoretical but still understandable, if you started with his two most famous works.

I've been a heavy critic of McCardle and won't stop. Like Larry Kudlow, she's watering down what we need to be arguing: liberty. Throwing in politico-economic phrases like "public choice" weaken her arguments, not strengthen them.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 30, 2009 10:38 PM

Shatner Does the Palin Speech

Whose side are you on jk? If you don't think this is funny...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:01 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Finally saw it.

Everyone hearts Bill Shatner, especially now.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 12:53 PM
But jk thinks:

He really does have something. I'll TiVo back to watch Priceline commercials multiple times.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 1:15 PM

July 28, 2009

ObamaCare II

Whew! I was afraid it was going to be complicated.

Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

Can't Believe I Missed It

Denver Post:

Capitol rallygoers rail against 'Obamacare'
A few hundred people rallied outside the state Capitol today against what they dubbed socialist "Obamacare" — monster-size government change that they say would make America's health system worse.

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

UPDATE: Mo' Better Photos at Slapstick Politics

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM | What do you think? [0]


Hat-tip: @joncaldara

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:03 PM | What do you think? [0]


The Grand Old Party has taken some well deserved whacks on this blog. All have looked for ways to return the Republicans' devotion to limited government.

But I watch the Democrats on Sunday shows and I simply cannot see the Democratic party as a serious option for those who value liberty. I always want to ask those who voted for so-called Blue Dogs "how's that working out for you?" Well, Merrill Matthews does it for me in a guest editorial in today's WSJ. He examines the caucus’s votes on four big spending bills and finds few that bucked Speaker Pelosi and leadership.

Republicans have long called themselves fiscal conservatives. But after their spending spree in the first six years of the Bush administration, they are widely perceived to have tarnished their brand.

Are the Blue Dogs tarnishing their brand, too? If 80% of them voted for the stimulus bill and nearly 75% voted for the 2010 federal budget, can the group rightfully claim to be fiscally conservative?

The health-care bill will be the final test. The House legislation will cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years, including around $550 billion to $600 billion in new taxes. That doesn’t count the employer mandate that will force employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 27, 2009

Deng XioLaffer

Thousand Word Picture:

James Pethokoukis celebrates the Sino-American econo-summit today with a look back:

Chinese and American officials meet today in the latest edition of the “strategic dialogue” between the two nations. Here is an interesting 1998 take from Alvin Rabushka of the Hoover Institution about the role of tax policy in China’s economic ascent.

Let me get this straight. Cut tax rates, get more growth and revenue. You guys ever heard of that?

But GK thinks:

It's working here with the tax credit for new homes and the increase in new home purchases.

Posted by: GK at July 27, 2009 6:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What I wouldn't give for a government that spends a LOWER share of GDP year over year. Who is the communist party candidate in 2012 anyway?

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2009 1:52 AM

Quote of the Day III

Damn that CBO! They keep killing all these great ideas with, like, analysis and numbers and all that stuff. Everything would work out just fine if only they would close their eyes, click their heels together three times, and say, "There is no policy like reform...there is no policy like reform...." -- N. Greg Mankiw
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day II

Obama's stupidly uninformed comments on the arrest of his Harvard professor friend distracted us from his other ridiculous gaffe: the accusation that doctors are taking out kids' tonsils for no good reason. -- Jennifer Rubin
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

I have outsourced it to the WSJ Ed Page today. This is their "Notable & Quotable" (rather a cheap imitation of the 3SrcQOTD):

Myth #1 Health Care Costs Are Soaring:

No, they are not. The amount we spend on health care has indeed risen, in absolute terms, after inflation, and as a percentage of our incomes and GDP. That does not mean costs are soaring.

You cannot judge the “cost” of something by simply what you spend. You must also judge what you get. I’m reasonably certain the cost of 1950s level health care has dropped in real terms over the last 60 years (and you can probably have a barber from the year 1500 bleed you for almost nothing nowadays). Of course, with 1950s health care, lots of things will kill you that 2009 health care would prevent. Also, your quality of life, in many instances, would be far worse, but you will have a little bit more change in your pocket as the price will be lower. Want to take the deal? In fact, nobody in the US really wants 1950s health care (or even 1990s health care). They just want to pay 1950 prices for 2009 health care. They want the latest pills, techniques, therapies, general genius discoveries, and highly skilled labor that would make today’s health care seem like science fiction a few years ago. But alas, successful science fiction is expensive. . . .

Health care today is a combination of stuff that has existed for a while and a set of entirely new things that look like (and really are) miracles from the lens of even a few years ago. We spend more on health care because it’s better. Say it with me again, slowly—this is a good thing, not a bad thing. . . .

In summary, if one more person cites soaring health care costs as an indictment of the free market, when it is in fact a staggering achievement of the free market, I’m going to rupture their appendix and send them to a queue in the U.K. to get it fixed. Last we’ll see of them. -- Clifford Asness

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

There are rational Americans who want things at cheap prices, but who understand that some things cost money. There are idiot Americans who think they're entitled to whatever they want at the cheap prices they want. And then there are the Americans in mental la-la-land who think we can have things beyond our technology at cheap prices.

I had the misfortune of knowing a nutcase who, after Christopher Reeve's accident, suggested on a BBS that someone invent a sort of neck airbag: it will sense when you're about to hit the ground, then automatically inflate to keep your neck rigid. Oh, and it will be small and comfortable enough not to inconvenience riders.

He finished, "I think this is an idea that should be researched and developed."

When you think about it, he's actually not much more of a loon than the birdbrains who think we can have "free universal health care."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 27, 2009 1:42 PM
But jk thinks:

But is there a plurality of rational Americans?

Hate to be down, but after watching President Obama's news conference where he promised the world to everybody if government took over health care -- and having just a few partisans question it -- I am pretty concerned.

It looks like we may have dodged a bullet, but we're way too close to passing a huge government intrusion with popular support.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2009 2:34 PM

Conyers: Lazy & Dangerous

Congressman John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan:

“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

Yeah, it's no good.

But johngalt thinks:

Which of course leads to the next obvious suggestion: "Members of congress, WRITE the bills you pass." Enough of this staff committee bullcrap. You've invited lobbyists into the halls of congress to do the job you were elected to do and apparently now consider to be beneath your dignity. Let's shine the full light of day on whichever trolls are WRITING this crap.

"Too big to read?" Too big to pass into law.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:05 PM

Imperial Congress

The WSJ Ed Page delivers a serious smackdown of Ways & Means Chair Charlie Rangel. Sad to say, Rep. Rangel is one of my favorite Congressional Democrats. Besides his considerable style and charisma, he seems to be one of the few who understand that the nation's business provides the revenue for his pet projects and -- unlike so many -- is truly reluctant to kill the golden goose.

But, he is a crook. He owns a villa at the Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic (don't all men of the people?) that "rents for $500 a night in the low season, and as much as $1,100 a night in peak season. Last year it was fully booked between December 15 and April 15." Rangel reported no income from the property, which I am tempted to ascribe to Congressional business acumen. Yet one must also consider malfeasance.

Mr. Rangel said last fall that “I never had any idea that I got any income’’ from the villa. Try using that one the next time the IRS comes after you. Equally interesting is his claim that he didn’t know that the developer of the Dominican Republic villa had converted his $52,000 mortgage to an interest-free loan in 1990. That would seem to violate House rules on gifts, which say Members may only accept loans on “terms that are generally available to the public.” Try getting an interest-free loan from your banker.

As he told Larry Kudlow, these are all just accusations and he has the presumption of innocence.

But not around here. Rangel is a powerful member of Congress and can count on the six current ethical investigations to be slow and friendly. Ergo, he must suffer at the court of ThreeSources' opinion. He's a crook.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

So you're saying that a sitting US Congressperson is a crook? Naaaaah.

Seriously - I continue to maintain that the only sustainable solution to this problem is to remove the profit motive for elected officials, i.e. revoke the 16th Amendment. Point belabored here.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 4:00 PM

My "Truther" Theory

I always wonder why my conspiracy theory accepting friends are never dissuaded by the number of opposing views if not by Occam's Razor. To be sure, truth is not a democracy, and I have been proud to stand for many minority positions. But when I see "9-11 Truthers" and a few friends who believe that five billionaire families meet in Germany once a year and plan everything that happens everytwhere, I wonder that the tidal forces don't affect them.

And yet, my favorite wacko belief got linked by Instapundit today: Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth? I heard it called "outgassing" and had the pleasure of a personal presentation by Dr. Sterling Colgate, who was a former President of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a good friend of a(nother) guitar player in my band.

His pitch was that almost every hunk of rock we see floating around kicks out low level hydrocarbons, when these comets and asteroids clearly did not have millions of decaying dinosaurs to create oil. Maybe, just maybe, Earth was no different and these small molecules were compressed into more complex organic structures as they came through the intense heat and pressure of the Earth's mantle.

This was in an apolitical part of my life and I had no dog in the fight. I admittedly got a pitch from a charismatic and obliviously brilliant physicist, but it has always made more sense to me.

But johngalt thinks:

So experimental efforts to "sequester" carbon by burying it underground could actually promote the natural creation of more hydrocarbon fuel deposits? The irony is delectable!

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:14 PM

Healthcare as a Right

Letter to the Editor in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The time has not been better to finally stop a national disgrace. That health care for everyone be a right should not even be in question. No one or company should make a profit on the health, denial of service or death of a human being. Why is this even a discussion?

How many of our "rights" (scary air quotes intended) are granted to us by the government?

Regular readers would say "None. 'Constitutional Rights' (air quotes again) are not granted by anyone, they are defined so as to not be abridged by the government."

Governments do not grant rights, they only take them away. Like my right to have a wallet full of money that I earned.

That being said, no one is going untreated in this country. Can we please stop using that canard? Anyone walking into a medical facility with injuries will be helped. The debate, such that it exists, is about costs and who will pay them.

Let's focus on that.

I dont pretend to have the answer for how to cut costs in medicine, but I can say, "more free competition" is likely the correct one. When have price fixing and cost controls ever made anything cheaper?

It's all too easy to blame Big Pharma (as I've heard) or Doctors getting millions (as I've heard) or HMOs (as I've heard) or Big Insurance (as I've heard).... but we, as a people, never blame government for problems.

Let's look there first.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

When government increases demand and restricts supply, who's surprised that prices go up?

Government "insurance" programs can only drive up costs by encouraging an increase in demand and discouraging supply. Millions of people on Medicare and Medicaid figure, why not, they'll go to a doctor every time they sneeze. I have a friend in medical billing who frequently deals with MediCal, and it's no wonder that state is going to hell. It's this whole cockamie idea of "medical insurance" for routine things like checkups, or low-cost procedures

On the supply side of the curve, we have an AMA, with the implicit backing of the federal government, that limits the number of licensed doctors. The feds also prevent us from buying policies from out of state, and that goddamn SOB in the White House bluntly said in the debates that it can't be allowed. You know, just in case people buy a policy that doesn't insure them enough -- notwithstanding that if a policy doesn't give the coverage they want, then they have the freedom to not buy it!

Classic liberalism emphasized the freedom of individuals to make their own choices. Modern liberalism rejects that.

Oh by the way, and I've been meaning to blog about this: did anyone notice a recent ranking of hospital appointment wait times? The city with the biggest increase: Boston. Who would have thought?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 27, 2009 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, Perry. I have occasionally felt doubt about my decision to McCain over Romney. I feel much better now.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2009 12:04 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I hate McCain as much, although for different reasons. But Romney, good lord...

If a Republican governor can do that much damage, how much can a Democratic president and Congress do?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 27, 2009 1:44 PM

July 24, 2009

ThreeSources Gospel Hour

And so Jesus said to them: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like 3x2 + 4y - 9"

And one disciple turns to the other and asks, "So what's up with that??"

"Oh, don't worry. It's just another one of his parabolas ..."

Hat-tip: my very Catholic brother via email.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:10 PM | What do you think? [4]
But AlexC thinks:

hahahah, you're gonna burn.

Posted by: AlexC at July 24, 2009 7:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I think we all knew that.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2009 11:16 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I love it!

If you want to talk about burning, when my wife dragged me to mass for last Palm Sunday, and the priest dashed around water, I was sooo tempted but kept my mouth shut. "Oh, it burns, it burns!"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 25, 2009 7:03 PM
But AlexC thinks:

That's funny, because when I sprinkled with holy water, I tend to get the chills.

Posted by: AlexC at July 27, 2009 1:20 AM

On Winning Afghanistan

What the hell are we doing there then?

President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.

"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.

The enemy facing U.S. and Afghan forces isn't so clearly defined, he explained.

"We're not dealing with nation states at this point. We're concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda's allies," he said. "So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States."

I thought Afghanistan was the war the left could get behind, Iraq was the war of choice.

Oh, and for the record, Emporer Hirohito did not surrender to MacArthur. It was the Japanese Foreign Minister.

Posted by AlexC at 12:44 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Heh. That Sarah Palin is sooo stupid.

I think the professorial mind is disturbed by the concept of military victory. We're there to "restore order" or "achieve goals" or "provide stability" but, like Iraq, victory is not on the menu. Too harsh?

UPDATE: If it is too harsh, I have company: "(Oh, and the word "victory" - like so many other terms - became unfashionable last year.)" -- Greyhawk

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2009 1:50 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The last Democrat to understand the purpose of war was FDR. Since then, Democratic presidents have gotten us into "police actions" that confuse political goals with military action. That is truly when senseless, purposeless deaths occur.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 24, 2009 3:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Agreed, BR. Truman got off to a great start, but he set the precedent for any president to send the military into a war without a formal declaration from Congress.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 24, 2009 3:03 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Truman's war, the Korean, was the only war sanctioned by the UN Security Council. Make of that what you will.

In terms of "military victory", i'd say that JFK knew what that meant. "Bare any burden, pay any price."

Clinton ran plenty of wars from the White House, so he certainly wasn't afraid to have a war, just operated in the mode that American fatalities are unpopular... (cutting from Somalia, bombing Yugoslavia from the air only)

Posted by: AlexC at July 24, 2009 8:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In defense of Truman he was, after all, the president with the testicles to use A-bombs to secure *ahem* victory.

But why all this concern over an itty bitty word, President Obama? It's not like words have precise meaning in the world you live in.

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2009 4:29 PM

GOP Purity, Volume XCIV

Still some good comments trickling in on our follow up post to JG's "On a New Conservatism" post.

In addition to this's being my favorite topic, I wanted to clarify my position on social conservatives. Blog friend Sugarchuck called this blog hostile to social conservatives and I suppose it is a fair cop.

SC: A copy of Hayek's "Constitution of Liberty" is on its way. Read the last chapter, "Why I am Not a Conservative" and then give the book to your daughter to read the rest of it. (I'm a Hayek fan and even I gotta admit parts are pretty turgid.) The good news is that you can read sections and don't have to go coast-to-coast.

I'll buy you a new set of Telecaster strings if you can show me a paragraph that would offend a social conservative. It's a discussion of the classical liberal and the conservatism he opposes is european monarchical conservatism, plus the Buckleyesque "standing athwart history yelling stop!"

I loved Bill Buckley and I loved National Review, but I always squirmed when I heard that phrase. I would not object to 19th Century freedoms -- but I don't want to live in the 19th Century. This essay is older than I am but it holds up well today.

My war is not with social conservatives, but with those who would use statist means to achieve their objectives. I'm the Frank Meyers of ThreeSources! We have a natural affiliation, mister social conservative -- limited, Constitutional government will allow you to pursue your religion and will allow me to pursue things which are important to me. Where we cross swords, let's agree to do it at the State level and using methods which support rule of law.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Hostile to social conservatives?" Not exactly.

Hostile to the imposition of social conservative values on others by force of government? Yes.

Hostile to the harm done to free market capitalism by association as partners in the GOP? Yes.

Before this comment leads into another abortion debate let me say that my heart sank when I offended brother SC. Particularly since the case I tried to make was not that the morality of social conservatives is contradictory to liberty and electoral success, but rather their willingness to increase government power in service to that morality.

So how does one say this without causing offense?

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:45 PM

Who Were the Rubes?

Professor Reynolds has had of nice run of "Who Were The Rubes," in which he reports on Obama supporters who have not been well served by his policies.

He links to Reason a lot and certainly has much philosophical overlap with them. But he has yet to give them a WWTR? They trashed Senator McCain in every issue, and Matt Welch had full page house ads for his anti-McCain book. As I've mentioned, that might be fair.

But it was certainly not fair to give then-Senator Obama a free pass. It was obvious that he sought an expanded role for government and a huge arrogation of power to the Executive Branch. They weren't sycofantish like some media outlets, but they were not at all tough on an obvious statist.

I think in the back of their minds they thought "this guy will suck at property rights and economics, but he'll end the Iraq War and will likely ease up on the War on Drugs." Rubes? Reason? Mirror:

Hey, remember all the speculation that Barack Obama might be, you know, better on pot issues than his various awful predecessors, partly because he, you know, bragged at times about inhaling ("that was the whole point")? As the liberals like to say, He won, get over it. And for those of us who value individual rights and a sane (not hysterical) drug policy, get over that too. Here's Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowske talking in Fresno, California yesterday:
"Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine," he said.

Hat-tip: Insty (but with no WWTR?)

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:16 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Libertarians like Radley Balko have bluntly stated that they hoped for big GOP losses, because of the GOP's record on things like Iraq and the War on Drugs.

Well, uh, it's not as if liberals are any better, are they? Voters have cast out one devil by inviting in a worse one.

Here's a repost of my comment on a friend's blog last night, on the subject of people supporting Obama only to get burned later:

Many in the financial industry, even ultra-rich who should have known better, supported Obama because they figured their support would temper his socialism into "regulations" they could tolerate.

Doctors supported him for the same reason, and even Wal-Mart is now supporting "reform" at the employer level. Maybe, they think, just maybe if they can influence Obama, it won't be as bad as it could have been with full-blown federal control.

This is like a rape victim thinking that since something bad is going to happen anyway, maybe if she does a little foreplay, it won't hurt as much.

The problem is that people are willing to compromise on their freedom. "Maybe if we feed the beast, he won't eat us." That never works. As long as you're willing to feed the beast called Government whatever it wants, it'll eventually run out of everyone else and turn to you for its next supper.

"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 24, 2009 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

PE: The analogy of unlimited government to a rapist is brilliant. I'll credit you whenever I repeat it.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:22 PM

July 23, 2009

An MS Support Alternative

I found a very cool group that raises money that goes directly to MS patient needs.

Three nurses that administer the drug trial I am on are doing a 50 mile walk. The organization took over the walk from the National MS Society. They provide grants to patients to help with copays, lack of insurance, or home needs like wheelchair ramps. No Socialim Division as near as I can tell.

Here's the walk.

Here's my nurse's donation page.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:43 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Looks like a worthy endeavor! Fifty miles in three days in non-trivial.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 24, 2009 12:10 AM


More fun at the virtual coffeehouse. Brooke and I do our illustrious Fly Me to the Moon / Corcovado medley. And my brother, Howard, has the guest slot.


July 22, 2009

Health Care Petition

I'm not a big fan of online petitions, but this one got me:


Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt It's no secret I disagree with his Hughness on many things, but he is great at driving electronic responses to issues like this.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 6:41 PM | What do you think? [0]


Our President? Surely not:

Hat-tip: Larry Kudlow

Bad Gig

Blog friend Terri brings to light the poor plight of the Pakistani stand-up comic. It seems the following jokes are illegal:

“Terrorists have kidnapped our beloved Zardari and are demanding $5,000,000 or they will burn him with petrol. Please donate what you can. I have donated five litres.”

To commemorate the ascension to the Presidency, Pakistan Post has officially launched a new stamp. But the people of Pakistan are confused which side on the stamp to spit on.

Robber: “Give me all your money!”
Zardari: “Don’t you know who I am? I am Asif Ali Zardari.”
Robber: “OK. Give me all my money”

Quote of the Day

And so early:

It is, of course, not outside the realm of possibility that Ezra [Klein], Young Turk, is possessed of a keener analytic mind than Greg Mankiw; I'm not opining here on substance, but only on the seemliness of career track. It's the realm of possibility, however, in which Spock has a goatee. -- Kenneth Anderson @ The Volkh Conspiracy

UPDATE: The professor seems to be tking things in stride: Whatever

July 21, 2009

25 Years and Counting

Twenty-five years ago today, The Refugee and The Little Mrs. tied the knot. He has two lucky days each year: the day she was born and they day he married her. And yes, she is a tolerant woman.


But jk thinks:

AWESOME ON STILTS!!! Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2009 5:02 PM

Wait a Cotton-Pickin' Minute

The Sun is what makes the Earth hot? Who knew?

I love the patronizing NYTimes "some global warming skeptics..." locution. Apparently, the skeptics are busy predicting sunspot activity. This one skeptic is more interested in correlating climate change to sunspot activity so that non skeptics do not take us back to the caves.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Hold the Mayo

Credit ABC's Jake Tapper for the headline. (And what's with that guy anyway, doesn't he know he's not supposed to challenge The One?)

I do this with hesitation but I believe I can be tangential enough for comfort: Not long after the "Stimulus" bill was signed into law I seem to recall a certain Mayo Clinic honcho close to this blog who was contemplating radical action due to runaway government spending. It looks like she might have rallied a small raiding party amongst her peers at Mayo and pointed her cutlass at Obamacare. Of the legislation being raced through congress a Mayo Clinic blog says,

"... the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. In fact, it will do the opposite."

You go girl!

But jk thinks:

Stunning that the AMA sold out its members so quickly. I was glad to hear the Mayo clinic was among the few taking a stand.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2009 3:53 PM

Pain Pill or Pacemaker?

Here's a high fast ball across the plate for the Randians. President Obama says "we'll have to decide 'as a society' whether 100 year olds will be given pacemakers -- or sedation a pain pill."

No, Mister President. This woman is an individual and happened to be very active and alive at 100. To decide "as a society" what care is to be provided to "a generic 100 year old woman" is wrong -- and in this instance would be criminal.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | What do you think? [0]

Health Care Bill: Worse Than You Thought

What? There is a problem with the House health care reform bill? Really?

The WSJ Ed Page finds that it repeals "ERISA" that allows large employers to self insure and offer consistent plans across state lines. "A new analysis by the Lewin Group, prepared for the Heritage Foundation, finds that some 88.1 million people will be shifted out of private employer health insurance under the House bill. If those people preferred their prior plan, well, too bad again."

So when Mr. Obama says that “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what,” he’s wrong. Period. What he’s not telling the American people is that the government will so dramatically change the rules of the insurance market that employers will find it impossible to maintain their current coverage, and many will drop it altogether. The more we inspect the House bill, the more it looks to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever introduced in Congress.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, it's worse than "Obama was wrong." Obama lied.

And to apply what liberals said about Bush, people will die because of him.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 21, 2009 1:38 PM

Hotel Philosophy

Sadanand Dhume has a great guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal. He examines why luxury hotels have been a target for radical Islamic terrorists and I think that ThreeSourcers will enjoy his reasoning

From a radical Islamic perspective, however, an international hotel is much more than merely a convenient target of opportunity. It also represents, in microcosm, the antithesis of the world that radical Islamists, both violent and nonviolent, seek to create.
For Islamic radicals, who seek to order all aspects of 21st century life—from banking to burqas—by the medieval precepts enshrined in Shariah law, the secular nature of a hotel is galling enough. But perhaps this would not matter as much if it weren’t appealing to local elites. In a place like Peshawar or Kabul, and to a large degree even in Jakarta or Mumbai, a five-star hotel represents an island of order and prosperity in a sea of squalor. It hints at the prosperity promised by free markets and a culture of individual liberty. It is living proof that the worldly can successfully be split from the divine. It also acts as a bridge to the West. For example, star players of Manchester United, the British soccer club, were scheduled to stay at the Ritz-Carlton before the attacks forced them to cancel their visit to Indonesia.

July 20, 2009

Giants Walked the Earth

Rule Britannia! WWI Veteran Henry Allingham has died at 113 years of age.

Allingham, who was the world's oldest man when he died Saturday at 113, attributed his remarkable longevity to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women."

The FDA has not verified the efficacy of this, but I figure "why chance it?"

On a more serious note, Allingham's love of aviation and his mission to tell the story of "The Great War" and honor its heroes provide an uplifting tale.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Republican Purity

My On a New Conservatism post elicited concern from JK that kicking the big government conservatives out of the Republican Party would be an electoral mistake. I think we've discussed that quite a bit around here with no consensus opinion, but consider this historic quote that Hayek placed at the very top of his 'Why I am Not a Conservative' essay:

"At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has sometimes been disastrous, by giving to opponents just grounds of opposition." - Lord Acton

Is this not an accurate description of what happens when big government conservatives are running the party?

But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to offer a few quick points:

- Kasich is a good man. Palin is a good woman. Neither is a savior. The focus needs to be on the principle of limited government power and not on any particular individual.

- Grassroots involvement is important but remember to advocate for limited government first, particular candidates second.

- With all due respect to the "People's Front of Judea" I believe they are the ones with some decidin' to do: Resign to leaving their moral priorities in the private sphere where they belong or watch the Progressives/socialists run wild in the public sphere for lack of sufficient opposition.

- How is it possible to teach more Americans that they really are better off when government is less involved? An excellent start would be to teach more of them how many millions are in a trillion. (See the comments there.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2009 12:18 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Huzzah, everybody is right. It could only happen here at Three Sources. Let's purge the party, though being the simpleton that I am, I didn't get who exactly is going to be purged. The Three Sources hostility towards social conservatives and bible thumpers leads me to believe that we'll toss them under the bus, or as our friend JG suggests, perhaps they will leave their moral priorities in the private sphere and this won't be necessary. I'll bet that's what they'll do. Starting with Sarah Palin, they'll take abortion, gay issues and border security off of the table so we can all come together in a secular tsunami and wipe Progressive/socialists off of the playing field before they commence with any more of their wild rumpus.
But what if they don't... what if they decide they are not going to let any minority fringe of the Republican party tell them what to do and further more, what if they decide that minority fringe better check their morals at the door if they want to defeat Obama and the Democrats. Just asking.

Posted by: sugarchuck at July 21, 2009 12:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I almost get the feelin' that pointy headed guy in the suitcoat is makin' fun o' me... I can't speak for the vast confederacy of ThreeSourcers, but I'll happily identify my prospective purgees.

I remain the pragmatist and fusionist 'round these parts. I am happy to share a big successful political party with social conservatives. I think the animating idea of the party, however, needs to be "limited government/enumerated powers." Live and share the Ten Commandments. Donate a plaque or a poster to a school through your Lion's Club or church, I'm in.

But when you say, in a presidential debate, that you want to have the Federal Government purchase and distribute (and force to display?) them. I am not too far off in thinking you have misread your Madison.

Still not purgeworthy, though it does disqualify my support.

My only purge is what I hope to be a small group that uses social issues as a campaign tactic to get elected and then to promote more government. I think that Rep. Tom DeLay and Senator Trent Lott are examples of this breed. "Vote for me to stop gay marriage," they say. And then in office they do not champion any limits on government power.

I think those people are counter-productive because they undermine a robust and attractive message of limited government.

Once again, my appreciation of Governor Palin was her veto (first as guv, I b'lieve) of a bill proscribing benefits for same sex partners of Alaska state workers. Her belief in enumerated powers -- she felt it violated the AK Constitution -- superseded what I imagine to be her personal beliefs about a social issue.

I don't think we have a Palin purger in our midst. Now that bass player guy from Arkansaw...

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2009 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yes and yes, jk. You said it well. I don't advocate purging any "folks" from the party, just the ideas that keep it from succeeding in the modern world. Some of those ideas cause electoral failure and some cause faulty governance. People can learn and grow and I fully believe they'll embrace the ideals of liberty with just a little help to recognize what they are. (Would immigration limits really be necessary without the welfare state?)

I'm still waiting for Keith to chime in on why, if, or how the ol' "moral majority" will play along as we suggest. Brother Keith, where art thou?

["Wild rumpus." Awesome!]

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2009 3:18 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I must take minor issue with JG on one point. That is, I subscribe to the Rosen philosophy that party trumps person. The ability of a party to control the legislative agenda via committee heads is an enormous advantage. Even when Republicans are on one of their "big" sprees, it's still smaller than any vision of the Dems. I will vote for almost any Republican before almost any Democrat.

Beyond that, it is as the grass roots level where you can influence the selection of the candidate. I can't remember which leftist dictator said, "I don't care who gets to vote as long as I get to pick the candidates," but it applies in a democracy as well.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 21, 2009 5:00 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Y'all are on the wrong track; no purging is necessary. It's only necessary to stand for what we know is right (even Huckabee has noted this), firmly resolutely, and let the weak-minded follow this newest (and very old) strong horse.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 24, 2009 12:52 AM

Quote of the Day III

Hey, can I play? I couldn't decide which of these Michael Steele lines I liked better. You choose:

For example, CBO stated, quote, "We have not yet estimated the administrative cost to the federal government of implementing the specified policies," end quote. In other words, the staggering cost estimated by CBO does not even include one of the biggest expenses in the bill.

Only Washington could make saving money more expensive.

And later in the speech:

Now, I know President Obama has some tough challenges. I get that. We understand that. And the president tells us he doesn't want to spend more than we have, he doesn't want the deficit to go up, he doesn't want to live off borrowed money. But he also told us he didn't want to run an auto industry.

Quote of the Day II

Professor Mankiw suggests that "deficit neutral" is too low a bar for health care reform. In light of expected insolvency down the road for current entitlements, any new system should demonstrably reduce future shortfalls.

A reader suggests an analogy: An obese friend is told that he should exercise more. Instead, he adds an extra serving of cake after dinner. But don't worry: His cake-eating plan is calorie-neutral, as he promises to exercise more as well.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Today, we're spending like we're Paris Hilton, regulating like we're Ralph Nader, nationalizing like we're Hugo Chavez, printing money like we're the Weimar Republic and taxing like we're, well, the Democratic Congress. -- Senator Zell Miller
Hat-tip: Don Luskin
Posted by John Kranz at 11:21 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is a Quote of the Year candidate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 20, 2009 1:17 PM

The Last Word on Socialized Medicine

Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1961:

Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 19, 2009

On a New Conservatism

No, not "Neo-Conservatism."

Brother Russ sent me 'A growing disconnect?' by Frank Wilson, retired editor of books for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The author notes the surge in popularity of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and F.A. Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom’ in the wake of last year’s election. Wilson also refers to Hayek’s 1960 essay ‘Why I Am Not a Conservative.’ Though many around here surely have, I'd never read it and I encourage everyone to do so. Wilson refers to Hayek's argument that "the liberal today must more positively oppose some of the basic conceptions which most conservatives share with the socialists" and draws this conclusion:

"Of course, Hayek uses liberal in its classic sense, referring to someone whose aim is "to free the process of spontaneous growth from the obstacles and encumbrances that human folly has erected." (John Galt couldn't have put it better.)"

While the American electorate clearly tired of the dominant form of conservatism over the past 8 years it's developing the same regard for progressivism at a far greater rate. The climate is nearly ripe for a resurgence of classic liberalism. That is what I lobbied for in 'Defending (and Counseling) Sarah Palin' where I wrote that "I would like to see Sarah Palin campaign for President on the platform that "abortion is abominable, but government prohibition of it is worse." And it was the theme behind a comment on 'Ayn Rand's Revenge' where I said, "Defend capitalism and liberty in secular terms and watch the healthy growth of a new political movement: Americanism."

"Americanism" was my attempt at a modern name for classic liberalism. Hayek also thought it important to rename the movement that started in seventeenth century England and came to be known as the Whig Party, of which Lord Acton wrote "...the notion of a higher law above municipal codes, with which Whiggism began, is the supreme achievement of Englishmen and their bequest to the nation" and, Hayek adds, "to the world." The best he could come up with was "Old Whigs" but I don't see that gaining traction with the iPod generation, nor do I think a reincarnation of it would be more lasting than the original. But Hayek also explains that liberalism did not begin or even thrive exclusively in America - my patriotism was clearly showing. Nor is "republican" really the answer, as Hayek also explained that unlimited government, not democracy, is the enemy of freedom.

I continue to find liberty's best defense in the Constitution and its explicit limitations on government, to the extent that those limitations are observed. The U.S. Constitution with its liberal foundation best represents the ideals of Hayek and Rand as interpreted by James Madison. Ronald Reagan knew all of this and his efforts to limit governmental power suggest the renaming of George Orwell's novel '1984' to '2009'. But the Old Whig tradition needs more than what Reagan gave us if it is to succeed in practice for more than a generation.

But jk thinks:

Awesome post, jg. Hayek's "Why I am Not a Conservative" is for me what John Galt's 42 page soliloquy is to you. I know it as the last chapter in his Magnum Opus, The Constitution Of Liberty.

I agree with every word in your post, yet I suspect you're laying a foundation for an assault on Frank Meyers's Fusionism and calling for a "more pure" political movement. I do not think "the marriage is over" to use Ryan Sager's phrase. I still believe that a coalition of those who appreciate the limited Constitutional government you advocate can be mobilized against a seemingly homogeneous polity seeking more government.

Apologies if I am starting an argument by agreeing; it is truly a great post: Hayek, Madison, Rand -- nice.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2009 10:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for the props JK. It means a lot to me. I spent most of the day yesterday reading and integrating thoughts and writing this. I hope readers can take even a fraction of the positive outlook I found in this topic.

Also, don't overlook mentions of Reagan and Orwell!

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2009 1:05 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I toast your post as well, JG. Excellent treatise.

I don't share your optimism, however, that the body politic is quickly tiring of our Socialist drift. Like a drunk, we seem to take two steps left and only one step right. Nothing will change until we have a cataclysmic event, such as bankrupt Social Security.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 20, 2009 1:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I find optimism necessary to my mental health, br. In addition to bankrupt SS I can envision other events that might provoke a sea change in American politics and governance. Nobody has a crystal ball so it makes no sense trying to predict which will do the trick. Instead, I'll try to reassure you with, as I am wont to do, a Heinlein quote. "Don't ever become a pessimist, Ira; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events." (from Time Enough for Love)

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2009 1:51 PM

Dark Thought of the Day

Only 21% of the people in an econ4u.org could correctly answer "how many millions are in a trillion?" To win an election generally requires at least twice that. Am I the only one not feelin' so good?

Hat-tip: scrivener.net

But johngalt thinks:

The things we take for granted... "Everyone can recite the progression million, billion, trillion." I almost didn't watch the video. I know that lots of people have trouble with this. But this is truly breathtaking.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2009 6:52 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

21% got it right. The other 79% voted for Obama.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 20, 2009 3:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We've been having a lot of fun with this topic around the galt household. I was surprised to learn just how uninformed even my own family members are on this. The engineers amongst us have it locked. After all, we deal with kilo, mega, giga, tera, or alternately, milli, micro, nano, femto, and their ilk on a regular basis. We automatically think in those terms. But for some reason everyone else I asked seemed to have difficulty of one sort or another. So here's what needs to be repeated throughout the blogosphere:

1 million = 1 thousand thousands (1000 thousands)
1 billion = 1 thousand millions (1000 millions)
1 trillion = 1 thousand billions (1000 billions)

The easy way to remember this is just to recite the progression "million, billion, trillion."

Now, when I was a kid in grammar school I remember being taught that a billion was a number so big that "nobody can count that high." Carl Sagan and the Democratic Congress have proven that wrong but it is still a mammoth figure. (Think: 1,000 millionaires) But now this mammoth figure isn't big enough anymore. (A billion here, a billion there - pretty soon you're talking about real money.) Now the government and the press throw around figures in the trillions of dollars, but to most Americans those numbers clearly have no meaning. Let's try to give them some:

One (single, measley little) trillion dollars is enough to create a million instant millionaires.

For perspective, this is like one of every 300 or so people in the US winning a million dollar lottery.

Or, on a state by state basis, 200,000 new millionaires in each of the fifty states. Add another half a trillion to this and it's 300,000 new millionaires ... in EVERY STATE IN THE UNION.

Repeat after me:

Million, Billion, Trillion
Million, Billion, Trillion
Million, Billion, Trillion
More ... Bucks .. Taken.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2009 12:44 PM

July 18, 2009

Props for Facebook

It's increasingly popular for the media to run down Twitter and bloggers to run down Facebook. I remain a fan (as many of you know) for several reasons.

I follow mostly real friends on Facebook. Some are bloggers but I relate to them in that venue as friends and it is very unusual for me to post anything remotely political in that forum. On Twitter, I follow mostly political people. The few celebrities seem pretty vapid against a sea of journalists and bloggers and politicians.

An exception is that I became a fan of Lance Armstrong on Facebook. I am again glued to Le Tour and it is interesting to get an extra inside look at each stage. If you have not checked out his livestrong.com -- I highly recommend that as well.

The point is, and I don't know how many are following, in today's stage Lance's loyal lieutenant for all his stage victories, George Hincape, had a chance to lead the race and wear the yellow jersey for himself. Armstrong and Hincape are on different teams now, but -- as I wrote last year --- the race features a lot of cooperation among different teams to advance goals that they may share.

Hincape got out on a break. Armstrong's team, Astana, wanted to make sure that Hincape did not run up a big lead, AG2R needed to defend the yellow jersey but lacked the power to do it solo. Columbia wanted to get Hincape the yellow but had a second goal to keep Mark Cavendish close enough to get involved in any sprint at the end. Garmin and Columbia have a rivalry that extends into bad blood.

Enough pacing from the peloton kept Hincape's lead down to where he missed the yellow by five seconds. He was visibly shaken in an interview. A bit of gentlemanliness remains in the sport and he felt that Astana had paced the peloton too hard -- that his old buddy Lance Armstrong had churlishly deprived him of a great honor for no real purpose.

In Armstrong's interview, Lance blamed Gamin but it was unsettled.

The point, jk? You mentioned something about a point? Armstrong wrote on his Facebook page, to his 875,878 fans, that: "St14 done. Sounds like there's a bit of confusion over this one. No one and i mean no one, wanted George in yellow more than me." The point is that pre-FB and Twitter, there would be no way for an athlete or celebrity to get a message out like that.

But johngalt thinks:

Fair point, and other than stalking fears I've never had a bad opinion of Facebook.

I had a sports observation of my own today - Watching Fox Saturday Baseball coverage of Angels @ Athletics today we saw former Rockie Matt Holliday go 2 for 3 with a walk, 2 RBI, 2 stolen bases and a run scored through 6 innings after which his A's trailed 8-5. In the Angels half of the third inning, however, he caught a fly ball for the 2nd out and threw a pea to catcher Landon Powell that beat the tagged runner from third by 10 feet. Powell dropped it, leading to that plus 2 more runs scored in the inning. Making matters worse, Holliday recorded the 3rd out on a shallow fly ball to left, surviving a collision with shortstop Orlando Cabrera in the process. Oh, and Holliday is the subject of trade rumors approaching the deadline.

The point this time? I had to wonder if Matt wishes he'd signed the multi-year, multi-million dollar contract offer from the Rockies (49-41) instead of forcing a trade to the A's(38-50).

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2009 6:57 PM

Fall of Capitalism

Now, amazingly, if I read this Reason post correctly, this video was made by those who prefer Islam to Capitalism. They think this video makes their point. Huh.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:39 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let's take this apart, image by image.

The falling dollar. Yes, it's our fault for devaluing it, but the Arabs are still too afraid to make the smallest peep about selling their oil in other currencies. (Madman Mahmoud of Tehran doesn't count. Like most Iranians, he's Persian, not Arab.)

A black child's hand in a white hand. Yes, light-skinned Muslims have been slaughtering black Christians in Darfur.

"CRIME SCENE" tape. Yes, we've needed that after all the various things that "the religion of peace" has done in the West: 9/11, the LAX shooting at the El Al area, Muslims going on the rampage at synagogues, and Iyman Faris' plot to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting its cables.

"Divorce decree." One of many lopsided one-way "legalities" in Muslim countries, greatly simplified by modern technology in that a Saudi man need only text his wife three times.

A homeless person? Or a Western woman beaten up by the Saudi religious police for being with a man who isn't her husband or a family member?

Crack. Smoked by someone who looks like he's wearing a keffiyeh/she's wearing a hijab.

Whatever that aircraft image is, that isn't the type to fire missiles. They appear to be flares. But that, and the next scene of a nuclear mushroom cloud, are exactly what many Muslims would like to happen to the U.S.

The rest aren't worth commenting on, except for this sign:


That says it all.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 19, 2009 6:27 PM

Glad Gub'mint Won't Meddle in Car Companies

The only surprise is really that any in the Administration or Congress could promise -- with a straight face -- that they would not meddle. Chairman Barney Frank (D - America!) famously got caught keeping a parts depot in his district from closure. Now Senator Harkin (D - C2H5OH) thinks, surprise, that we should force the companies to support flex fuel. After all "we own them!"

Sen. Tom Harkin said he wants Congress to use a climate bill to force auto companies to make new cars and trucks capable of running on 85 percent ethanol as well as conventional gasoline.

"We own the automobile companies. Why not? I think that will be an easy one," Harkin said Thursday, referring to the government interests in Chrysler and General Motors.

Hat-tip: Instapundit. Professor Reynolds has received a couple of emails from me questioning his support of a flex fuel mandate. This is just brazen enough to float him into my camp on this. Harkin's a uniter, not a divider!

10 Reasons BMI Measurements are Complete Horse Shit

The list comes from NPR but the title comes from Ken Wheaton* on Twitter.

* Just some guy linked from the "Twitter" section on RealClearPolitics.com.

A synopsis:

1. The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.

The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. In other words, it is a 200-year-old hack.

2. It is scientifically nonsensical.

There is no physiological reason to square a person's height (Quetelet had to square the height to get a formula that matched the overall data. If you can't fix the data, rig the formula!). Moreover, it ignores waist size, which is a clear indicator of obesity level.

3. It is physiologically wrong.

It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. But bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese.

4. It gets the logic wrong.

[Obese people have a high BMI but a high BMI doesn't mean you're obese.]

5. It's bad statistics.

Averages measure entire populations and often don't apply to individuals.

6. It is lying by scientific authority.

Because the BMI is a single number between 1 and 100 (like a percentage) that comes from a mathematical formula, it carries an air of scientific authority. But it is mathematical snake oil.

7. It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.

That's total nonsense.

8. It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high.

Insurance companies sometimes charge higher premiums for people with a high BMI. Among such people are all those fit individuals with good bone and muscle and little fat, who will live long, healthy lives during which they will have to pay those greater premiums.

9. Continued reliance on the BMI means doctors don't feel the need to use one of the more scientifically sound methods that are available to measure obesity levels.

Those alternatives cost a little bit more, but they give far more reliable results.

10. It embarrasses the U.S.

It is embarrassing for one of the most scientifically, technologically and medicinally advanced nations in the world to base advice on how to prevent one of the leading causes of poor health and premature death (obesity) on a 200-year-old numerical hack developed by a mathematician who was not even an expert in what little was known about the human body back then.

To #10 I would add, "...and help make the case for a "health care crisis" in this country."

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

I saw this going around this week and wanted to take a victory lap. Thanks jg, I am way too modest to bring this up...

but I wrote in Feb 2007 that the weenie little Belgian that "discovered" this theory should have studied a little Calculus.

"Related Rates" dictate that a cylindrical man would add mass as the square of his height, and a spherical man (and we all know a few of those) would add mass as the cube. A realistic BMI would have to have an exponent between two and three. I offer this, humbly of course, as #11.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2009 3:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, a cylindrical man would add volume as the square of his radius, and proportionately with his height. (But relating volume to mass is further complicated by #3 above.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2009 10:45 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Somebody please pass the pie.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 20, 2009 1:09 PM

MS Society

Make that two wingnut cranks! A good friend of this blog just shared a nice comment after sending it to the MS Society -- signed M.D.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 3:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 17, 2009

CATO on Freedom in Health Care

It is easy to get lost in the minutia of Heath Care reform plans and their specific (de)merits. One should remind oneself, every day, about first principles. The folks at Cato are pretty good at that. Doug Bandow:

What people need is a medical system that allows them to make the basic rationing decisions: what kind of insurance to buy, what kind of coverage to choose, what kind of trade-offs to make between spending on medicine and spending on other goods and services.

Such decisions are complex and people with little means will need assistance. But the specific “rationing” decisions–i.e., the inevitable trade-offs–vary dramatically by individual and family preference and circumstance. Even today’s system allows many people some choice between plans and providers. The rise in consumer-directed care is a positive development which is expanding the choices available to Americans.

The worst strategy would be to increase the government’s authority. Washington already has to “ration” care through its own programs. Politicizing everyone’s care by increasing federal control would override the differences in preferences and circumstances which are so important for all of us. It doesn’t matter how bright or thoughtful or well-intentioned the legislators and regulators would be. They would end up getting it wrong for most Americans.

Is rationing inevitable? Yes. Is government rationing inevitable or desirable? Neither. The bottom line is: who should control people’s and families’ medical futures? Not Uncle Sam.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

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

When President Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984 many of us foolishly boasted, "America was smart enough to avoid the dismal future predicted in George Orwell's novel '1984." Now it is clear he merely erred on the book's title by 25 years.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2009 12:32 PM

Mankiw Was Wrong

And he is man enough to admit it:

A couple days ago I noted that under the House healthcare reform bill, marginal tax rates on top earners would go up substantially. Indeed, they would reach levels not seen in many years. That bill would institute a tax surcharge of 5.4 percent on top of normal income taxes, which under current law are already scheduled to revert back to Clinton-era levels.

This is no cause for alarm. A reader points out that the President would surely veto such a bill. After all, during the campaign, he promised us the following through two of his top economic advisers:

[Clinton level taxes, no hikes below 250K, &c., click through if you need remindin']

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

American Hero

National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford is my man of the week this week. He came to blog fame thanks to his testimony to the Senate. He was testifying on behalf of his members who will suffer disproportionately under the Cap'n Trade bill. He crossed paths with Senator Boxer, who made a point of showing all the support the bill has with other organizations, like the NAACP.

He is a guest on Breitbart TV and he is very engaging (not to mention clean and articulate!) If you have some time, I highly recommend his interview.

Now he's going to start a search across California looking for "all these green jobs they're talking about."

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"They oughta recall her butt. That's what they oughta do." - Alford on the voters of California regarding Ms. Senator Boxer.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2009 10:04 AM

Quote of the Day

It's pretty early in the day for making a call on QOTD, but this gem from Joe Biden is going to be tough to beat:

"We're going to go bankrupt as a nation," Biden warned at an event in the backyard of the House's No. 2 Republican.

"People, when I say that, look at me and say, 'What are you talking about, Joe? You're telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?" he said. "The answer is yes."

Unlike Joe, I'm speechless.

Hat tip: foxnews.com

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:18 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

3:07 PM Eastern and the Vice President still has a comanding lead.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2009 3:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, this statement from the Vice President of the United States is mildly embarrasing in its idiocy but it's not like he can't spell 'potato.' There's no reason for newspaper editors or columnists or TV anchors to bring this to America's attention (and tell us what we're supposed to think about it.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2009 10:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

FNC's Elizabeth MacDonald gave us her own QOTD nominee this morning in describing the Biden line:

"Biden is effectively saying to the American people, 'Pile into the back of my spaceship while I point it at the center of the sun.' No one, no one, not McCain, not Obama, would have won the election last year if they'd told the truth, if they said what John Rutledge said, if they were straight and stopped whipping fastballs by the American people the size of Jupiter. You know, the debt that we're looking at is gonna be three-quarters the size of our country's GDP. This is beyond faith-based economics, it's delusional."

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2009 11:41 AM

July 16, 2009

By The Way, Private Insurance is Illegal

IBD Ed Page:

Congress: It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.

So if you like your insurance, you can keep it. You just can't add a spouse or a kid, or change your middle initial...

Hat-tip: A great friend of this blog by email,

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

How to Kill the Public Plan

It's a health care trifecta today. John Fund takes to Political Diary to highlight Senator Tom Coburn's (R - OK) amendment that would force Congressfolk to actually enroll in the government plan:

"Let's demonstrate leadership -- and confidence in the system -- by requiring that every member of Congress go into it," Mr. Coburn told his colleagues as they were marking up the health care proposal championed by Senator Ted Kennedy. His idea wasn't exactly greeted warmly by many public plan supporters. Senator Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat, responded: "I don't know why we should require ourselves to participate in a plan that no one else needs to participate in. This bill goes to great lengths to show that the choice is there for everybody."

Crazy talk. Before you know it, the Treasury Sec will be forced to pay taxes!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Congress has never eaten its own dog food. Members should be required to enroll in Social Security and Medicare just like the rest of us. Instead, they get full pension and fully-paid, gold-plated medical benefits for life after just six years in office.

Imperial Congress indeed. Mr. Adams must be doing summersaults.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 16, 2009 1:18 PM

MS Patient = Socialist

health_reform_now.jpg More spam from the MS Society. "Our demands" for healh care reform.
It is an exciting time in Washington, DC, as our nation moves to reform our ailing health care system. Health care reform is a top priority for Congress and the Obama Administration. The timeline is aggressive. Comprehensive, meaningful health care reform legislation is expected to move through Congress this year.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and MS activists are working with members of Congress and their staff to ensure that reform meets the needs of people living with MS.

Not another dime...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

That is rather pissifying.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 16, 2009 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

The good news is that the newsletter has a link to a survey. They will have at least one wingut crank represented in their survey results.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2009 11:39 AM

Mickster on ObamaCare

There have been some very good anti-socialist-health-care pieces lately in the WSJ, IBD, and even the Washington Post. But whatever happens, do not allow yourself to miss Mickey Kaus: Obama as Health Care Salesman: He Sucks!

Kaus critiques -- roughly and amusingly -- President Obama's interview with NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman:

Who knew we were electing a national mother-in-law? And get a chance to endure increased taxes for the privilege. Obama's supposed to be rallying support from voters, not castigating them. Outside the S& M parlor, most people do not enjoy paying to be disciplined.
The likelier possibility is that he is saying what he wants to say. He's been surrounded by Orszaggy wonks for so long he thinks talking about "trend lines" and "incentivizing" is red meat. Which brings us to a final point: 4) He doesn't seem to know that much.

Devastating. Fascinating, Enthralling.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:01 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 15, 2009

Passengers' Rights

I saw this sign the other day at an airport I was traveling through.

It pissed me off to no end.

What about my rights?

But GK thinks:

Oh,crud, this will probably upset you more, but remember alkieda (misspelling intentional) is ultimately responsible for this being a sign of the times, and deserves full blame for it.
I enjoy blaming them for everything, because they deserve that, also.

Posted by: GK at July 15, 2009 6:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What rights would those be, AC? The right to remain standing? The right to be searched? If you choose not to be searched, the right to be detained without cause?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 15, 2009 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

A fresh glove for every search...

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2009 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Your safety is our second priority."

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2009 9:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Rights? RIGHTS?! These are the punks who feel you up, who terrorize little old ladies while they'd let Abdul through with a scimitar for fear of offending him. Once at San Francisco, I noticed this attractive young woman up ahead in the security line (hey, I was single then), and I just knew she'd be singled out for the thorough search. God, how I wanted to slug that bastard.

And it isn't just the TSA. Airline employees also love to milk this for all they can get. Several years ago when TWA was still in business, their incompetence stranded me in St. Louis for several hours. We were assured that there would be agents waiting at the arrival gate to help us with getting on the next flight. Damn them all for that flat-out lie. I had to stand for over an hour in the regular check-in line, where I confronted the so-called "agent" -- a 400-pound Aunt Jemima type. But hey, what temerity I had to demand a level of service.

I was understandably upset at my 7-hour wait for the next flight, but I never yelled at or threatened her. Yet she said, "Sir, you're scaring me." Even in pre-9/11 days, I knew where this was going: she was egging me on. If she could get me on something, agents could detain and possibly arrest me, and that would be her revenge for my daring to question her.

On the other hand, for our trips to and from Asia, my family uses Cathay Pacific. Fabulous service at very comparable prices, and I've see their agents waiting right at the gate to give new boarding passes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 16, 2009 3:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I honestly believe that I have been a victim of racial profiling by the TSA. In the 2002/2003 timeframe, I flew >100,000 miles per year. At the time, TSA "randomly" gate-screened five passengers per flight. With approximately 120 passengers per flight, I should have had more than a 1 in 24 chance of being selected in fact, I was chosen for 1 in 5 flights. You see, they could pull out a middle age white guy wearing a sportcoat without fear of "profiling" allegations. Of course, I was not alone; little old ladies were over-represented as well. Never did see anyone of apparent Middle Eastern decent pulled out of line.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 16, 2009 6:25 PM

Top Tax Rate to Exceed 50%

Professor Mankiw links to a WSJ study and adds:

I believe the relevant marginal tax rate is even higher than the Tax Foundation suggests. Their calculations seem to ignore sales taxes, which are significant in many states. Because income earned will eventually be spent and thus subject to sales taxes, sales tax rates need to be combined with income tax rates to find the true tax wedge that distorts the consumption-leisure decision. Once sales taxes are included, a top earner in a typical state would face a marginal tax rate of about 55 percent.

Those African kleptocrats who take only twenty percent are looking better every day...

UPDATE: Jimmy P piles on

But johngalt thinks:

A top marginal rate exceeding 50% isn't as revolutionary as we Reagan-era kids naturally believe. In fact, from 1932 to 1981 it was far above that rate. (After that "foolish" period of 25% marginal rates in the late twenties that undoubtedly "caused" the great depression.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2009 7:55 PM

Quote of the Day

Then again, it's one thing to be a bumbling soothsayer but quite another to underestimate the resourcefulness of mankind enough to ponder how "population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution," as ["Science Czar" Dr. John] Holdren did in Ecoscience in 1977.-- David Harsanyi
Glad to see my man, Harsayi, writing in Reason. He could teach those folk a few things. Starting with Steve Chapman and Governor Sarah Palin...
Technology Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 14, 2009

DC to NYC: Drop Dead

New York's hegemony in financial services is under threat from Schumpeterian gales. But a bad regulatory environment could be far worse, says Luigi Zingales from the Chicago Business School:

If we look beyond the Americas to the broader world, however, New York’s enduring supremacy is not a foregone conclusion. Besides the power of inertia—people like to trade where others trade, so they trade in New York—the city has benefited from three comparative advantages in the past: a sophisticated and well-trained workforce, reliable but not intrusive regulations, and (at least since Ronald Reagan’s presidency) a favorable tax and political environment. All these advantages have shrunk, if not vanished.

New York’s skills advantage eroded long before the 2008 crisis. Thanks to its early deregulation of brokers’ commissions in 1974, New York took the lead in the quality and reliability of trade. Global companies came to the city to be traded and judged by New York’s analysts. But during the 1990s, most European stock exchanges caught on. Their tardiness allowed them to adopt the most recent trading technology easily, and they moved faster and more decisively into electronic trading, creating markets that were at least as liquid as the traditional exchanges. Most of the daily trading in cross-listed companies—companies traded on both the traditional and electronic exchanges—moved back to the country of origin, eliminating one of New York’s advantages.

I daresay (and did) that when New York's Senior Senator defines innovation in financial services as "clever ways to dupe the consumers," it portends poorly.

Hat-tip: Mankiw

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The status of "top financial city" is a matter of who wants it less. I guess New York has recovered the title from London, but for how long?

It's bad enough that D.C. evidently wants NYC to lose that status again. The city seems to want to drive people out, and the state seems to want to drive out non-city residents like me who work in the city. Albany has just finished raising taxes on everyone who works and buys things, down to a "payroll tax" of 34 cents per $100. (This is to bail out the transit system that's running itself into the ground because of UAW-like benefits for union workers. The tax is in all 11 counties served by the transit agency, so it affects people who don't even use public transportation.) But employers will pay that tax, right? Ha, yeah, just wait till I sit down with my boss in December to find out my paltry raise.

Greenwich is looking better and better, so NYC and Albany had better realize that people are as mobile as ever. Bloomberg, Paterson, Schumer and every last one of those dirty bastards had better realize that with the technology available to the financial sector, capital is even more mobile.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 14, 2009 4:41 PM

Quote of the Day

I am attending a Senate Banking hearing on the Obama proposal to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Some folks think new regulations would stifle financial innovation. Sen. Chuck Schumer just dismised “innovation as merely “clever ways to dupe the consumers.” -- James Pathokoukis.

Umm, that would be New York's Senator, Chuck Schumer.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:54 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don't remind me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 14, 2009 12:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Did not mean to rub it in Perry (and I'm in a glass house myself). It just strikes me as if Chuck Grassley had gone on about stupid-ass corn farmers or something. Not even her home Senator cares to defend her.

If you haven't seen it, do read the City Journal piece on Washington's assault on New York that I link to above.

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2009 12:27 PM

July 13, 2009

With Success Like This...

[Austin] Statesman.com:

Austin Energy officials say that times have changed and that the nation's most successful (by volume of sales) green-energy program, which offers the renewable energy only to those who select it, might no longer be the best way to carry out the city's goals. It now costs almost three times more than the standard electricity rate.

"I think it's time to sit back and look at the philosophy behind GreenChoice," said Roger Duncan, the head of Austin Energy and the chief architect of GreenChoice.

"It was our intent to use it to stimulate the market for renewables, which it did, and then eventually phase it out," Duncan said. "It was never intended to go on forever."

Duncan said part of the solution might just be adding new wind, solar and other renewable-energy projects into the bills of all Austin Energy customers, which could increase rates for everyone

A perfect blueprint for the nation! Create a bunch of green energy that is too expensive to find a buyer --- and then make everybody buy it.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

If we're going to LOVE Republican Women...

Governor Palin is quite attractive, but can I love Liz Cheney? She has some pointed words in the WSJ today about President Obama's speech to the students in Moscow. She thinks he is rewriting the history of the cold war:

The basis of the Cold War was not "competition in astrophysics and athletics." It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet "sphere of influence" was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.

It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended.

Awesome. Read the whole thing.

But jk thinks:

An emailer points out that her husband has a shotgun and is not afrad to use it.

Purely professional, Mister Vice President, purely professional...

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2009 11:55 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Lynne is the President's wife. This is Liz, the daughter. The straight one.

Posted by: AlexC at July 13, 2009 1:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks -- mea maxima culpa! Still think the shotgun part holds true...

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2009 2:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not long ago I mused about a Palin/Cheney ticket for '12. Pairing Palin with this Cheney is even more interesting to ponder:

"Change? We'll show you change!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2009 3:48 PM

Quote of the Day

Unfortunately, neither Democratic nor Republican senators will decry the post-New Deal rulings that transformed our constitutional order from what Princeton professor Stephen Macedo has called "islands of [government] powers in a sea of rights" to "islands of rights in a sea of [government] powers." Unless they can explain how we know which precedents to follow and which to reverse -- apart from liking the results -- all pontificating about "stare decisis" is really about nothing.-- Randy Barnett, with a great idea how the nomination hearings should be conducted.
SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 12, 2009

"Joe the Fireman"

Jonathan Adler says Welcome to Washington, Mr. Ricci:

Senate Republicans opted to call New Haven firefighters Frank Ricci and Ben Vargas to testify at Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings in order to score political points against Judge Sotomayor over the issue of affirmative action. Now Judge Sotomayor's advocates are seeking to take Frank Ricci down a notch so as to blunt any effect of his testimony.

How's that "new style of politics" working out for you?


SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Was that not unprecedented?

Don't watch this more than 11 times:

From The Virgunian via Instapundt

But jaafar thinks:

I watched it 12 times. Now do I get 100 lashes with a wet noodle?

Posted by: jaafar at July 12, 2009 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

I think you're safe, jaafar, our enforcement division around here is pretty lax...

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2009 11:11 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Besides, a guy can't really be blamed for finding this lamestream media faceplant so compelling as to watch it an unhealthy number of times.

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2009 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

But-but-but, wasn't it unprecedented in its awesomeness?

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2009 10:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Pardon me: "unprecedented lamestream media faceplant..."

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2009 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. We are having too much fun now. That was a suggested quote for CNN's Don Lemon. But it works pretty well as you inferred as well!

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2009 4:27 PM

July 10, 2009

The Second to Last Word on Honduras

I encountered a good friend of this blog in another forum (no, not a strip club on East Colfax...) and expressed surprise at his assertion that the contretemps in Honduras was indeed a coup. I suggested that I had no dog in the fight but that I felt several pieces in the WSJ Ed Page made a compelling case that the rule of law was well represented in this. I have been promised a longer response after the strip club closed other obligations were completed, and I will post or link here.

In the meantime, the bar on "not a coup" has been raised pretty high. Judge Miguel Estrada, who was considered bright enough that the left waged a full onslaught to interrupt his SCOTUS-bound career path, researches the case and the Honduran Constitution and states:

It cannot be right to call this a "coup." Micheletti was lawfully made president by the country's elected Congress. The president is a civilian. The Honduran Congress and courts continue to function as before. The armed forces are under civilian control. The elections scheduled for November are still scheduled for November. Indeed, after reviewing the Constitution and consulting with the Supreme Court, the Congress and the electoral tribunal, respected Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga recently stated that the only possible conclusion is that Zelaya had lawfully been ousted under Article 239 before he was arrested, and that democracy in Honduras continues fully to operate in accordance with law. All Honduran bishops joined Rodriguez in this pronouncement.

Estrada details events that may sound odd to American ears, but are clearly founded in due process considering Honduran law.

He concedes that the exile/expulsion of Zelaya went too far, but he makes a substantive case that removal from power was not.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Nothing is too far when dispensing of proto-dictators. A bullet through the head of a pre-dictatorship Chavez would have prevented a lot of headaches throughout the world, for example.

The Honduran Constitution explicitly calls for immediate removal for office just for trying what Zelaya did. If he had been permitted to stay in the country, he'd be rallying his evil forces personally.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 12, 2009 11:14 PM

President Coolidge Smiles Down

Harvard Professor Jeffrey Miron lays out The Case For Doing Nothing. And it is a compelling case indeed.

When people try to pin the blame for the financial crisis on the introduction of derivatives, or the increase in securitization, or the failure of ratings agencies, it's important to remember that the magnitude of both boom and bust was increased exponentially because of the notion in the back of everyone's mind that if things went badly, the government would bail us out. And in fact, that is what the federal government has done. But before critiquing this series of interventions, perhaps we should ask what the alternative was. Lots of people talk as if there was no option other than bailing out financial institutions. But you always have a choice. You may not like the other choices, but you always have a choice. We could have, for example, done nothing.
From the distributional perspective, the choice is a no-brainer. Bailouts took money from the taxpayers and gave it to banks that willingly, knowingly, and repeatedly took huge amounts of risk, hoping they'd get bailed out by everyone else. It clearly was an unfair transfer of funds. Under bankruptcy, on the other hand, the people who take most or even all of the loss are the equity holders and creditors of these institutions. This is appropriate, because these are the stakeholders who win on the upside when there's money to be made. Distributionally, we clearly did the wrong thing.

I found it difficult to choose excerpts because the whole piece is pretty good. I recommend a read in full.

Hat-tip: Mankiw

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

How dare anyone accuse anyone of operating under any kind of moral hazard!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 10, 2009 3:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Damn. Where was rational thinking like this last September, when congress needed it? Hopefully this will help prevent another big bailout bill this September.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2009 8:34 AM

Genealogy on the cheap

From my brother, via email:

Question: "I have always wanted to have my family's history traced
but I can't afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Any suggestions?"

Answer: "Run for public office as a Republican".

Posted by John Kranz at 10:16 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Daniel Horowitz thinks:

Hi John,

You can go to MyHeritage.com and upload or create your family tree. The SmartMatch tool will research for you all the individuals that may be already in our database. You never know were you can find an unknown relative doing the research for you.

If you build it with the Family Tree Builder Software (http://www.myheritage.com/family-tree-builder) you can even take advantage of the SmartResearch, an intelligent tool that will research your complete tree in more than 100 of the best genealogy databases.

Also you can try the Genealogy Search Engine (http://www.myheritage.com/research) were you can look for personal information on +1500 genealogy databases at once.

And ALL THAT for FREE !!!!!

Posted by: Daniel Horowitz at July 12, 2009 6:18 AM

Thank You, Mr President

Eric Raymond:

Americans are still out there eight months later buying firearms like mad - and I think this can be nothing but good in the longer term. Let me count the ways:

1. More firearms in civilian hands means a larger constituency to oppose restrictive firearms laws and regulations.

2. More firearms in civilian hands means more people carrying concealed, depressing crime rates.

3. More firearms in civilian hands means the balance of coercive power shifts in favor of the people and against government, making some of our nastier potential futures just that much less likely.

4. Higher demand means more firearms-manufacturing capacity in the future, leading to lower prices and a likelihood that the previous three virtuous effects will be sustained.

My most serious concern about this situation is that the manufacturers might overinvest themselves into a capacity glut and get badly hammered when and if the market saturates. But that’s a worry for another day.

Thank you, Barack Obama. You didn’t intend this good result, but then I suspect that pretty much all of whatever little good you end up doing will have been unintentional. I’m grateful for it anyway.

July 9, 2009


It's Minnesota Week at the virtual coffeehouse. Today I post the last of the SugarChuck sessions -- and my brother, Howard, was in town and joins in the guest slot.


But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Excellent, JK!

That song reminds me of the 1984 movie of the same title starring Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. One of my all time favorite comedies - rate it five bowls out of a possible five.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 10, 2009 11:20 AM
But jk thinks:

Back in bowl? Yes, great flick!

Thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2009 11:24 AM

Quote of the Day

The Refugee is starting to get the hang of the QOD thing...

An American Muslim-turned-terrorist recently commented on Obama's Cairo speech. He states that Obama makes "one major miscalculation:"

“A Muslim doesn’t look to peace, security, education, work, or the love of any other number of things as his ultimate goals,” al-Amriki said. “Instead, a Muslim is always working and striving to please the one true Creator."

I don't know that he's speaking for all Muslims, but he's certainly speaking for the Jihadists, aka, the ones shooting at us. So, Mr. Preznit, its not a matter of a big misunderstanding, or our unwillingness to "dialog," or an outcry for jobs or the fact that we backed the Shah in 1953. It's the fact that we exist. Could it possibly be made more clear? Anyone in the administration listening?

Islam Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:43 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

The quotes rock, br, but I believe the ThreeSources Style Guide abbreviates it as QOTD.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2009 5:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Mea culpa!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 9, 2009 5:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Administration? How about the PRESS? They would even get a chance to bash religion in the process.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2009 11:14 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The press will only bash Christianity.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 9, 2009 11:38 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Both are correct. Muslims are supposed to please Allah, just like Christians should do all things for the glory of God. The difference is that the Koran teaches that infidels should either be subjugated or killed. I don't find anything like that in Matthew 25...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 9, 2009 11:39 PM

Bullcrap of the Day

Bullcrap of the Day would be an easy feature to fill. The name does homage to South Park, avoids trademark infringement with Penn & Teller, and seems a bit more family friendly.

But I have to call it on Steve Chapman today. Chapman says, and Insty links, that the conservative base I accepted Sarah Palin as VP nominee and not Harriet Meirs for SCOTUS because of "Sex Appeal."

It's hard to exaggerate how valuable a pleasing appearance can be. Numerous studies show that people rated good-looking make more money than those who are not so easy on the eyes. In the modern media age, the same effect holds in politics.

Good looks are a big advantage to male politicians as well. No one would have given the time of day to John Edwards or Mitt Romney if they were short, paunchy, and bald. When Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm ran for president in 1996, he said, "The real question is whether someone as ugly as I am can be elected." He got his answer.

I'll not quibble that it is an advantage to be attractive, it has been great for me. But I'll argue with everything else in the excerpt, and I did not pick it for fiskworthiness.

Back to front: Senator Phil Gramm did not lose over looks. He lost because he tells the truth. He led the polls in New Hampshire and had the most money when he told a religious convention "I'm not running for National Pastor -- I'm running to be President." I don't think any Reason authors forget this history -- but it didn't fit his thesis.

Gov. Mitt Romney was a Republican Governor of one of the five bluest states in the country. He had executive cred from the Salt Lake Olympics and let's see, was there something else? Oh, yeah -- he had a bazillion dollars to float his own campaign and avoid the rules that the Handsome lad that won the nomination had enacted.

Senator Edwards is not my cup of tea, but he is a credible candidate beyond the expressive locks. He is Southern, which got him the 2004 VP nod, and he had 2004 experience in 2008. He is a skilled if oleaginous orator and represents the populist southern liberal tradition of guys who want to be Atticus Finch.

Back to his thesis, I would suggest that an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and a Vice President are different roles (Earl Warren missed his Veep shot and rose to Chief Justice, but this is a different world.)

My appreciation for Governor Palin is NOT physical. Blog Brother ac posted a photo from her interview in Running Magazine and I thought "oh, she is cute." If I loved her, it was because she was the only one of the four candidates in the General (Obanma,Biden,McCain,Palin) that discussed or displayed a whiff of belief in limited government. In a good year, I'd expect the folks at Reason to notice this. Or, like David Harsanyi, to notice that she had vetoed a ban on benefits for same-sex partners of State workers because it was proscribed by the Alaska Constitution.

Chapman is dead wrong on all his examples. Sure it helps to be pretty (again, I did not rise to my blogging prominence based on SAT scores) but it does not work in this application.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Superficial pricks like Letterman and *insert name of ass who replaced Leno here* still think of women as either beautiful OR smart. Is this Chapman fellow in that camp as well?

And as jk also knows, good looks always make you less popular with the vain amongst your peers, hence the cold shoulder Palin gets from other GOP hopefuls (and jk gets from lead singers of hair metal bands.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2009 11:32 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

She was my gal before I ever saw the first image: the stories of her rise, over the bones (oohh, what a satisfying crunch they made!) of Alaska's cupidinous class and I was in Luuuve.

She's since proven to be complex enough to warrant more than the space I can take right now.

I think JG nailed Chapman. I find Reason very hit'n miss... one of the few that's better OdT than OnLine.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 12, 2009 9:40 PM


I'm not sure Professor Reynolds has been fair, highlighting bad economic data with "Hope and Change." No doubt they'd take a victory lap on good news -- and no doubt they're hurting, not helping, the economy. But, we are in a complicated global contraction and I don't think you can pin everything on President Obama.

That said, you have got to appreciate this AP story:

565K new jobless claims, lowest level since Jan.

WASHINGTON – The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits last week fell to lowest level since early January, largely due to changes in the timing of auto industry layoffs.

Continuing claims, meanwhile, unexpectedly jumped to a record-high.

Happy days are freakin' here again, huh AP? I'm not sure I remember this rosy coverage when that Texas guy was living at 1600 Penn.

But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh likes to say that bringing us hope for change is the only campaign promise Obama has delivered on. In the meantime, day by day, he lowers the bar for his 2012 opponent.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2009 11:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Back in 2001, every week it was pointed out that jobless claims over 400K meant a contracting economy.

Where is the same point made today? It's the same AP, Reuters and CNN "economics" writers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 9, 2009 11:43 PM

July 8, 2009

Bug? Feature? Bug Feature?

“If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,” [Dem Leader Rep. Steny] Hoyer told CNSNews.com at his regular weekly news conference

Michael Novak, Call Your Office!

Don Luskin links to a disturbing Papal Encyclical.

Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State.

Luskin says "Jesus have mercy on the starving peasants whose solidarity is disrupted by being given the opportunity to prosper in the global economy! "

Readers around here know that, while I have left the Catholic faith, I remain respectful of people's religion and recognize the great contributions to liberty and rule of law that has come from religious communities over the years. Remembering the abolitionist movement or Joshua Evarts's protestations on behalf of native Americans always keeps me from getting my full Rand on. The religious have been a friend to liberty.

But this Pope’s appeasement to Saddam Hussein and the Islamist movement in general, combined with this make my blood boil.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

The End of Liberty

It's been a great run, and you have to think that the ideas of Locke, Jefferson, and Madison will capture another generation somewhere, someday. But it is over.

Why so blue? Sunspots.

A new group of sunspots developed, and while not dramatic by historic standards, the spots were the most significant in many months.

"This is the best sunspot I've seen in two years," observer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, Calif., said on Spaceweather.com.

The lack of sunspots has allowed the Earth to cool, demonstrating dispositive linkage between CO2 output and global temperature. Now that there are sunspots, the earth will again heat up. The UN will attribute this to affluence and we will all march back to the caves on their Malthusian nonsense.

It's been a gas.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Perhaps the bigger concern is the diminishing solar winds. The solar winds are charged particles that create the heliosphere, a sphere that protects the solar system from dangerous cosmic rays emitted from things like novas and supernovas. Without the heliosphere, gamma rays from outerspace can destroy life on earth.

NASA estimates that the solar winds are the weakest they've been in 50 years and that the heliosphere has decreased as much as 20%.

Obviously, there is a correlation between man-made greenhouse gasses and the decline of the heliosphere. Life as we know it hangs in the balance. Quick, somebody call Al Gore!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 8, 2009 1:58 PM

J. Danforth Obama

That's gotta hurt! I'm something of a VP Qualyle fan, but it is an interesting look at differences in media perception. President Obama gloats over "Seward's Folly" and ChicagoBoyz say The Quayle-O-Meter goes DingDingDingDingDingDing!!!


The man is a Laff Riot!!!

That’s the way to “hit the Reset button”, Mr. President. Remind the Russians of perhaps the stupidest thing they ever did.

(Can you imagine the teeth-grinding rage of a person like Putin, a guy who has clawed his way to the top on sheer wit, cunning and brutality, having to deal with this lightweight and take him seriously? I almost feel sorry for Putin.)

Can you imagine if any Republican said this? How about if Sarah Palin said it? Geez.

Bottom line: The guy is a smooth-talking ignoramus: not all that smart, not well-read, with a wafer-thin resume.

Some people who are paying attention don’t call our President His Holiness Messiah Barack I or even just The One: We call him J. Danforth Obama!

Hold on to your hats, folks. We are in for at least 3.5 more years of comedic hijinks.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 7, 2009

Poll Testing Our Congressmen

Since JK brings up the subject of bread, The Refugee links to this report of a Missouri bakery owner livid about the climate change bill that he estimates will cost his business $15,000 per year. Although the articles does not say so, this probably means that one person in his firm will lose his/her job. Maybe Obama will call to offer encouragement about contributing to "the greater good." One wonders how many workers will be in a similar boat. But The Refugee digresses - that's not the point of this post.

A quote from the article states:

Mike Wilson, who led a protest in Cincinnati of about 100 people on June 27 across from the offices of Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-Ohio, said he was appalled by the 1,500-page legislation, which was fast-tracked by House leaders for a vote Friday. A 310-page amendment was slapped onto the bill Friday morning.

"It was, quite frankly, criminal passing a bill that you didn't read," said Wilson, founder of the anti-tax group Cincinnati Tea Party.

This lead to The Refugees brainstorm: why not resurrect the Poll Test, albeit in a different form? Before any member of the House and Senate can vote on a bill, they have to pass a test about that bill with at least a 70%. Of course, we'll have to confiscate cell phones and other communication devices during the test to discourage cheating. Moreover, anyone caught cheating will be expelled.

Before panic sets into the Chambers, The Refugee hastens to clarify that he means cheating on the test, not their spouse which would clear both Chambers. Come to think of it, that brings up a second idea...

Government Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:43 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I wonder how many can spell "cat."

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2009 6:36 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Depends upon whether or not it is the name of their girlfriend.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 7, 2009 7:09 PM

Citizens or Subjects?

Is this really Raisin Bread?

I know the subject comes up at breakfast all the time. But rest assured, good people, your Government has protected you. And if it says "Rasin Bread" on the package, the full faith and credit of the Executive Branch will stand behind it:

(b) The name of the food is “raisin bread”, “raisin rolls”,“raisin buns”, as applicable. When the food contains not less than 2.56 percent by weight of whole egg solids, the name of the food may be “raisin and egg bread”, “raisin and egg rolls”, or “raisin and egg buns”, as applicable, accompanied by the statement “Contains – medium-sized egg(s) per pound” in the manner prescribed by Sec. 102.5(c)(3) of this chapter, the blank to be filled in with the number which represents the whole egg content of the food expressed to the nearest one-fifth egg but not greater than the amount actually present. For purposes of this regulation, whole egg solids are the edible contents of eggs calculated on a moisture-free basis and exclusive of any nonegg solids which may be present in standardized and other commercial egg products. One medium-sized egg is equivalent to 0.41 ounce of whole egg solids.

There's more if you can stand it on radio host Mike Slater's website.

Now they can get that BCS thing sorted out,

July 6, 2009

Jowhan Rathfarnham

Too much fun! @Lileks links to a page that has directions for constructing your own "NPR Name"

In fact, we’ve often wondered what it would be like to be one of them. A Nina Totenberg or a Renita Jablonski. A David Kestenbaum or a Lakshmi Singh. Even (on our most ambitious days) a Cherry Glaser or a Sylvia Poggioli.

So finally, after years of Fresh Air sign-off ambitions, we came up with a system for creating our own NPR Names. Here’s how it works: You take your middle initial and insert it somewhere into your first name. Then you add on the smallest foreign town you’ve ever visited.

This is Jowhan Rathfarnham for "All Things Considered..."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:50 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, the only thing I can do is Prerry, because Perrry sounds either redundant or Spanish-wannabe.

Small town...that will take some thinking. I guess Scipio, Utah.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 6, 2009 10:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Works for me, Prerry.

-- Jowhan

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2009 11:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, ha, it was supposed to be a foreign town. Then again, Utah places can still count? ;)

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 7, 2009 10:20 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Perry: How about Perryr? It sounds Scandinavian. Sort of.

Here is mine:

Tabn’ Ner-Paraje.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 8, 2009 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Eriac Rothenberg here.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2009 9:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Damn, it works every time. I'm starting to think that NPR used the same system,

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2009 10:14 AM

Quote of the Day, Honorable Mention

If Sarah Palin announces she's running for governor of South Carolina next year, all is forgiven. -- @JimGeraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 6:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Louis Woodhill, on the Leadership Council of the Club for Growth, pens a somewhat technical but compelling (and disturbing) analysis that points to 14% unemployment. That alone could have been the headline for this post, but this beauty of a paragraph fairly screams QOD:

"Stimulus" is based upon the superstition that government borrowing and spending creates "demand". In reality, it does no such thing. "Stimulus" is like trying to raise the level of the Hudson River by dipping out a bucket of water, walking five feet downstream, and pouring it back in. The only difference between the Bush and Obama plans is that Obama's bucket is bigger (and will create more debt). Ironically, the July 2 jobs report prompted calls from leftist economists for Obama to go back to the river with an even bigger bucket.

Hat tip: RealClearPolitics.com

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:14 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Bastiat's taught us this for only, oh, 160 years...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 6, 2009 10:49 PM

Tea Partio Delenda Est!

Can I try to kill a really bad idea before it gets too far? Instapundit reader Paul Lee started the longest post in Instapundit history by suggesting that Sarah Palin co-opt the Tea Party movement into its own party.

[Insert long string of curse words here] This stupid argument is pretty well refuted in the Instapundit post by both Professor Reynolds and other readers, but then the idea makes an evil return in an Insta-poll: What should Sarah Palin do?

Friends, you are proposing that those who like individual liberty and limited government divide into THREE ineffective parties and then compete in winner-take-all elections against a party that is united in its devotion to collectivism. (And has the Commanding Heights of media, academia and entertainment in its control).

Third parties hold great romantic sway over smart and reasonable people. Who wouldn't like to pitch some of the GOP's baggage, failures, losers, posers, and crooks? Lee gives it away in his response: "Ross Perot got 19% of the popular vote." The implication is that Governor Palin could get 29 or 39. The magic number is 50% + 1 of the electoral vote.

Nip this bad idea in the bud.

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2009 9:10 PM

Stomping on the Green Shoots

An important turn of phrase, from Jimmy Bise: "Maybe We'd See Some "Green Shoots" if the Government Would Stop Stomping on Them "

In reality, the government is forcing small businesses to float the government a zero-interest loan to cover the insurance payment. The situation gets far, far worse when it comes to unemployment. As those of you who own a business know, when one of your employees files for unemployment, your insurance premiums go up. So what happens to those premiums now that unemployment insurance has been extended an extra 20 weeks? The government isn't picking up that slack. That money is coming straight from the businesses. So, says the blogger, he's far more hesitant to hire new employees, even if he could use a few new bodies, because the cost to hire, retain, and lose them is far too high.

This remains my concern. The American economy is powerful and resilient. I have no worries that it could bounce back from this contraction stronger than ever. But at the same time, Government seems to do everything it can to stop it.

I saw on the news that Colorado has enacted a new law that provides a $5,000/employee fine for first offense to an employer who miscategorizes a worker as a contractor. I think a lot of us have worked in very grey areas. And I'll even concede that it is a real problem. But to roll out a draconian solution like this in the middle of a recession is certain to provide less employment and fewer opportunities.

A labor lawyer on the news admitted that the laws are complicated. One of the big changes is to allow a worker to claim that he or she should be categorized as an employee to get benefits and withholding. Workers will be incentivized and empowered to turn their work providers in -- or just blackmail an employer.

As Bise points out, "jobs recovery" will come first from small business. Unless State and Federal government team up to squash them.

July 3, 2009

Governor Palin Steps Dowm

I think Scrappleface nails it:

(2009-07-03) — Sarah Palin today announced she would step down as Governor of Alaska in order to spend more time with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson and several unnamed former staffers from John McCain’s presidential campaign.

“We all have our priorities in life,” said the former Republican vice presidential candidate. “I met so many interesting people during the presidential race and many of them still have the same commitment toward me that they had during the campaign.”

Gov. Palin said she looks forward to “relaxing, fishing, hunting and just generally giving people something to Twitter about.”

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Please pardon my language on this momentous holiday but I am compelled to call "bullshit" on this belittling attitude toward Governor Palin. After initial surprise Bill Kristol called it a "shrewd political move" and I agree. In their haste to read between the lines and figure out what sort of hidden scandal could have prompted the unconventional resignation nobody that I've read or heard has reported what the woman actually SAID in the first few minutes of her press conference-

"And so, as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what that means for Alaska I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They, maybe travel around their states, travel to other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions - so many politicians do that. And then I thought, that's what's wrong - many just accept that lame-duck status and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck, they kinda milk it, and I'm not gonna put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness. That's not how I'm wired. I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual. I promised that four years ago and I meant it."

She then alluded to her intentions in the coming months-

"Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans. (...) And that's what I am doing, keepin' our eye on the ball. That represents sound priorities. Remember they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom, and I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory."

Democrats, "go along to get along" republicans, media types and other redistributionists ... underestimate her at your own risk.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2009 1:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, The Refugee is going to have to take that risk in this case. He has been a Palin supporter from the beginning, but if this is a political strategy, then it's clever by half. The counter argument, "She couldn't even make it through one term as governor, and she wants to be President?" is a pretty powerful one. Moreover, the correct response to lame duck status would to outline a aggressive agenda and take the fight to the Democrats, not throw in the towel 16 months early.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 6, 2009 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

...leaving me wondering which group the Refugee is in:
a) Democrats,
b) "go along to get along" republicans,
c) media types
d) other redistributionists

I'm leaning toward accepting The Taranto Hypothesis (sounds like a Ludlum book) that a life outside of politics has to look pretty good right now.

Whatever the case, it portends poorly for our ever attracting anything but "lifer" politicians to public office. Buckley's dream of being governed by the first 535 names in the phonebook has become even more distant.

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2009 5:43 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Adams and Andersons would definitely support Buckley's proposal, but the the Jeffersons - not to mention the Washingtons - would be screwed.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 6, 2009 7:12 PM

GHG/CO2/AGW Hypothesis Fails "Ultimate Scientific Test"

More than one person on these pages has declared that there is a "consensus amongst the majority of serious scientists that man made global warming is a real phenomenon." The obvious implication is that anyone who disputes this is either an un-serious scientist or a crackpot. I now ask any of you who may still hold that belief, which label would you apply to Dr. Alan Carlin, the EPA's own Senior Operations Research Analyst? Previous ThreeSources blog posts here, here and here have referenced the internal dissent by Dr. Carlin against the hasty and apparently premeditated regulation of CO2 as an atmospheric "pollutant." In Carlin's own words, here is what he has to say about the state of the GHG/CO2/AGW "science."

I have become increasingly concerned that EPA has itself paid too little attention to the science of global warming. EPA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups, particularly the IPCC and the CCSP, as being correct without a careful and critical examination of their conclusions and documentation. If they should be found to be incorrect at a later date, however, and EPA is found not to have made a really careful independent review of them before reaching its decisions on endangerment, it appears likely that it is EPA rather than these other groups that may be blamed for any errors. Restricting the source of inputs into the process to these these two sources may make EPA’s current task easier but it may come with enormous costs later if they should result in policies that may not be scientifically supportable.

This is profound enough in its own right. But there is more:

It is of great importance that the Agency recognize the difference between an effort that has consumed tens of billions of dollars by the IPCC, the CCSP, and some additional European, particularly British, funding over a period of at least 15 years with what I have been able to pull together in less than a week. (...) What is actually noteworthy about this effort is not the relative apparent scientific shine of the two sides but rather the relative ease with which major holes have been found in the GHG/CO2/AGW argument. In many cases the most important arguments are based not on multi-million dollar research efforts but by simple observation of available data which has surprisingly received so little scrutiny. The best example of this is the MSU satellite data on global temperatures. Simple scrutiny of this data yields what to me are stunning observations. Yet this has received surprisingly little study or at least publicity. In the end it must be emphasized that the issue is not which side has spent the most money or published the most peer-reviewed papers, or been supported by more scientific organizations. The issue is rather whether the GHG/CO2/AGW hypothesis meets the ultimate scientific test—conformance with real world data. What these comments show is that it is this ultimate test that the hypothesis fails; this is why EPA needs to carefully reexamine the science behind global warming before proposing an endangerment finding. This will take more than four days but is the most important thing I can do right now and in the coming weeks and months and possibly even years.

Emphasis mine. In Dr. Carlin's 85 page review report, composed in about 4 of the 5 days he was given to review the Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act he made 19 specific recomended revisions to the TSD. In the Executive Summary section he pretty much sums up his opinion with this:

These inconsistencies between the TSD analysis and scientific observations are so important and sufficiently abstruse that in my view EPA needs to make an independent analysis of the science of global warming rather than adopting the conclusions of the IPCC and CCSP without much more careful and independent EPA staff review than is evidenced by the Draft TSP. Adopting the scientific conclusions of an outside group such as the IPCC or CCSP without thorough review by EPA is not in the EPA tradition anyway, and there seems to be little reason to change the tradition in this case. If their conclusions should be incorrect and EPA acts on them, it is EPA that will be blamed for inadequate research and understanding and reaching a possibly inaccurate determination of endangerment. Given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until about 2030 given the 60 year cycle described in Section 2) there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain much of the available data.
But jk thinks:

Like the folks at Americans for Limited Government, I'll label Dr. Carlin an American hero.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2009 6:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is an excellent idea.

When I think of Dr. Alan Carlin and what he's done, one image comes to mind. Tank Man.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2009 12:21 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Serious scientist": one who agrees with liberals.

Any other scientist isn't even called "unserious," but labeled a crackpot or Flat-Earthist.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 5, 2009 9:09 AM

July 2, 2009

Quote of the Day

On CNBC today, WH economist Christina Romer said the president is committed to “doing whatever it takes” to turn around the economy. And she did not rule out a second stimulus plan. Yet the president will not cut corporate taxes or investment taxes — even temporarily much less in a permanent way that would boost confidence and certainty. I think the WH believes it can pretty much ride this out, 2012 being a long way a way and Dems have structural advantages in 2010. -- James Pethokoukis
Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed."
- Robert A. Heinlein in 'Time Enough for Love'

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2009 12:01 PM


Forget about climate change. Forget about preventing a second term for Obama. The world is coming to an end the month after the election. "It could really happen." And that is a quote.

[What a waste of the category "art." I promise to do better in future.]

Art Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Too bad the Mayans did not see the closer cataclysm of the Spanish. I'd have to call them 0 for 1 -- too harsh?

Yet I embrace the premise wholeheartedly -- no need for Cap'n Trade now...

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2009 3:23 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

The first trailer is quite a bit cooler I think. Granted, the destruction of the Vatican was pretty cool looking, but the original teaser still makes the movie look the best, methinks.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 3, 2009 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I take back my dismissive closing above. I'd give this movie a chance, though not at 10 bucks a head. (PPV maybe.) If one just disregards the Mayan prediction premise, which is so often where the great errors lie - in the premise, then it might be an entertaining film about disaster on a global scale. It is a recurring Heinlein theme after all.

I'll ignore the director's (Roland Emmerich) support of Hillary '08 and his efforts to "focus the public's attention on the issue of global warming" since 2004. He is dismissive of film critics which is all right by me.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2009 2:48 PM

Good Week at the Coffeehouse!

Great week! Blog friend SugarChuck has the guest slot, and I had one more with Kurt O on vibes for today.


My name is jk and I'm a PC

My new computer just came in. Sorry, ac, it's not a Mac.

I have been pretty happy with my old one, but editing video for the virtual coffeehouse taxed my old box. The new baby has 8GB, a quad core processor, and 3/4 TB of disk -- for $651. NED bless the free market, free trade and comparative advantage!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | What do you think? [6]
But sugarchuck thinks:

Hi JK!

Posted by: sugarchuck at July 2, 2009 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brave you are - admitting this in public.

Any props from me would be counterproductive but my new "friend" socalragamuffin, who is now inexplicably following my wholly unused Twitter account, looks like a girl with enough street cred to innoculate you against charges of "un-hip-ness."

[WARNING: I don't advise anyone follow any links on the linked page. No tellin' where this "girl" has been.]

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2009 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

And an awesome guitar from Sugarchuck -- better than Christmas. Now if Rep. Conyers and Senator Stabenow go down in that scandal...

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2009 3:26 PM
But Al thinks:

I remember when i rolled out the 386/40 with 20mb RAM and a 150mb HD in high school....

we were like "how are we ever going to fill up that hard drive?!"

Posted by: Al at July 2, 2009 3:45 PM
But jk thinks:

I bought an Atari 800 (to upgrade my 16K 400) and the box asked -- in very large letters -- "What will you do with 64K?" I wish I still had the box.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2009 7:04 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

In 1983 I got my first computer, a Vic-20, with 3581 bytes of RAM.

I still have my Commodore 128 and third-party hard drive.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 3, 2009 5:11 PM

Oy Vey!

Sorry, Children of David, you've been had. Alan Dershowitz writes in the WSJ Ed Page:

Many American supporters of Israel who voted for Barack Obama now suspect they may have been victims of a bait and switch. Jewish Americans voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama over John McCain in part because the Obama campaign went to great lengths to assure these voters that a President Obama would be supportive of Israel. This despite his friendships with rabidly anti-Israel characters like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and historian Rashid Khalidi.

At the suggestion of Mr. Obama's Jewish supporters -- including me -- the candidate visited the beleaguered town of Sderot, which had borne the brunt of thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas. Standing in front of the rocket shells, Mr. Obama declared: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." This heartfelt statement sealed the deal for many supporters of Israel.

Dershowitz's IQ is probably three times mine. I've enjoyed several of his books and even though he has gone pretty far left in recent years, I always appreciated his commitment to personal civil liberties (if not property rights). But do they never listen to The Who? They get fooled again. Every Time.

Who (not, The Who, I have moved on from that) seriously thought that Obama would be a friend to Israel? I was very happy with his choice of Clinton for SecState because I felt she would balance out an administration that I was sure would be anti-Israel,

But they will get fooled again (back to The Who again). Every time.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I've often thought there is a Heinlein quote for every occurence in human events. Here's one for this story:

"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."

-Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2009 1:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Isn't it ironic: Dershowitz is quite far left, except he supports freedom of speech and freedom of property far more than pro-Israel-but-you'd-better-live-by-God's-law Republicans.

He supports freedom of speech more than these "tolerant" liberals who want anyone silenced who they don't like. The same liberals who, of course, don't support property rights at all, or Israelis' right to defend themselves.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 3, 2009 10:14 AM

July 1, 2009

Lone Star Envy

Listen to Professor Reynolds's interview with Texas Governor Rick Perry -- and tell me you don't feel like callin' U-Haul...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've been wondering what kind of people live in Ron Paul's district, to send that kind of man to Congress.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 3, 2009 10:20 AM


Those who love liberty are pretty reliable to step up and defend Walmart from its many enemies. We'll fight off the back-to-the-cavers who want a 1900 grocery with a pickle jar. We'll fight religious wackos upset that the company sells pants to women.

And in the end, as Adam Smith predicts, we'll be sold out by the firm's rent-seeking. Will they make a case for liberty? No. Jimmy P details Walmart's coming out in favor of government mandate that employers provide health insurance. In short, they can afford it and many competitors cannot. Pethokoukis links to Heritage and CATO:

An employer mandate to provide health insurance would enhance Wal-Mart’s cost advantage. Wal-Mart has 1.4 million U.S. employees, and can negotiate a health insurance contract for them all at once. As a large multi-state employer, they can self-insure and provide coverage under federal ERISA regulations, which exempts them from costly compliance with most state health insurance regulations.

Wal-Mart's small competitors have neither of these advantages. Employers with less than 20 employees often pay more than twice as much per employee for the same coverage, and small employers must comply with sometimes-onerous state regulations.

Now is time for ThreeSourcers to shove back in my face my frequent suggestion that a corporation exists only to maximize value for its shareholders. If Walmart can crush Target as it crushes liberty, I should cheer, right?.


Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:08 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You hit the nail on the head, but it's not a new concept. In business school (lo these many years ago)we learned about companies using regulations as a competitive weapon - increase barriers to entry for innovative companies and increase the costs of your competitors. We studied it more as an observation than as a "how to," but there's a fine line in that distinction.

Companies are, or at least should be, dispationate objects. Otherwise, the become like GM. However, they are run by people and therein lies the weak link.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 1, 2009 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

And yet it hurts to have this company that all but defines capitalism treat it so cavilerly.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 4:45 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Was meaning to blog about this myself. This is just the latest case demonstrating the adage, "Government makes criminals of us all." Wal-Mart is put in the unenviable position of having to choose between Bad and Really Bad. Consider this: if it were so advantageous for Wal-Mart to push for mandated employer-provided health insurance, why didn't it before?

Wal-Mart's actions prove that it prefers the status quo. However, now it has to support some sort of health care "reform" BS, in the hopes that it will placate the feds and stall the nationalization movement. So, I'm willing to give Wal-Mart a bit of a break here. It's not to the level of Standard Oil, which lobbied for hefty insurance requirements as artificial barriers to entry for its competitors.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 2, 2009 12:00 PM

That Damn Balance of Powers Thingy Again!

Even Glenn Greenwald (not a frequent linkee 'round these parts) finds the following quote "creepy."

It's "stunning that he would ignore the wishes not just of his president, but of his constituents and the country," said an administration official.

This directed at a Democratic Congressman from Texas who had the temerity to vote against Cap'n Trade. Greewald:
This has become an emerging theme among both the White House and House leadership: that progressive membe ers of Congress have an obligation to carry out "the wishes of the President" even when they disagree (now, apparently, it's "stunning" when they defy his dictates).

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) was not opposing the bill to protect Texas families from a 300% tax on electricity, mind you -- he felt that the bill was too lenient on polluters.It remains a story without a hero -- but with a couple more villains.

Independence Day

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

Birds of a Feather

Even if you've already seen this one you'll appreciate it again:


Indeed. If you aren't already familiar, here is the real story on the "military coup" in Honduras.

But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page did a nice piece as well.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 12:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Excellent. It's refreshing to see major sources pointing out that this was not a real coup, but the removal of a proto-dictator. What does it tell you when Chavez and the UN insist that someone be returned to power?

Billy Hollis at QandO has been publishing stuff from his friend in Honduras. Must-read.

So now you know, when U.S. and AFP news talk about "protestors" battling with police, whose side the protestors are actually on. And think about what will happen if Zelaya returns. He'll virtually flood the streets with the blood of his opponents, making Robespierre look like Mother Theresa.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2009 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

'nother good cartoon

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 2:07 PM

Governor Sanford

Now that we have broached the topic of Michael Jackson and Billy Mays, we have to say a few words about the governor of South Carolina. My brother emailed an insightful thought:

In all fairness to Governor Sanford's staffers, "I'm getting some Argentinean tail." sounds a lot like "I'm hiking the Appalachian trail." on a fuzzy, cell-phone connection!!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Repeat after me: "Wise latina woman. Wise latina woman."

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2009 11:02 AM
But Keith thinks:

Which one, johngalt - the one that that got served by SCOTUS, or the one that gave service in Argentina?

Posted by: Keith at July 1, 2009 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On the serious side, no politician's wife ever showed more grace."

"I don't know whether he'll be with me, but I'm gonna do my best to work on our marriage because I believe in marriage. I believe in raising good kids; it's the most important thing in the world."

How Sanford could love anyone else but the mother of his children who can say something as profound as this is beyond me. Here's hoping he's got sense enough to recognize a genuinely wise woman.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2009 11:58 AM

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