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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
* Just some guy linked from the "Twitter" section on RealClearPolitics.com.
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."
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.
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']
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."
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...
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!
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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..."
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.
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.
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.
(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.”
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.
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
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!
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.
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?.
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.