November 30, 2009

May Need Cable After All...

Dear John,

On December 8, Fox Business News' John Stossel will start taping Stossel, his new weekly show on libertarianism and economic freedom. John is a longtime Reason reader and friend, and we were thrilled when he tapped Reason's Nick Gillespie to appear on the very first edition of Stossel to discuss Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. The following week, John will draw from Reason.tv's award-winning video content as he takes on the healthcare debate.

If you will be in New York and would like to be part of the Stossel studio audience, please send an email to stosseltix@foxnews.com or call Fox News directly at (877) 369-8587. The shows will be taped at Fox Studios, 133 W. 47th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). Please be sure to include your name, the number of seats you need and an email address and phone number where you can be reached for confirmation. The following programs are scheduled:

WHEN: Tuesday, December 8th
SUBJECT: Atlas Shrugged and its meaning today
ARRIVAL TIME: 1:00 PM

WHEN: Thursday, December 10th
SUBJECT: Global warming and the environment
ARRIVAL TIME: 10:00 AM

WHEN: Thursday, December 17th
SUBJECT: Healthcare
ARRIVAL TIME: 10:00 AM

Thanks again for your support of Reason.
David Nott
President, Reason Foundation


Eminently Qualified

I can't beat Scrivener's headline: "Now that he's running the entire economy, don't we all feel better?"

Advisers told Summers, others not to put so much cash in market; losses hit $1.8b
[...]
But the warnings fell on deaf ears, under Summerss regime and beyond. And when the market crashed in the fall of 2008, Harvard would pay dearly, as $1.8 billion in cash simply vanished. Indeed, it is still paying, in the form of tighter budgets, deferred expansion plans, and big interest payments on bonds issued to cover the losses...

Harvard ... would pay $500 million to get out of the interest-rate swaps Summers had entered into, which imploded when rates fell instead of rising...

Summers, now head of President Obamas economic team, declined to be quoted on his handling of Harvard finances...


Do It Yourself Blog Post

Off to an appointment, so you'll have to do this blog post yourself:
Link: http://www.professorbainbridge.com/professorbainbridgecom/2009/11/nicholas-kristoff-obamacare-and-the-broken-window-fallacy.html

Title: Nicholas Kristof, Obamacare, and the Broken Window Fallacy

Don't forget to hat-tip: Professor Reynolds...

UPDATE: If you don't have time, Michelle Malkin (jk links to Michelle Malkin -- mark the date!) does a great job, awarding Kristof the prize for "Quite possibly the crappiest NYTimes column for Obamacare ever."

Bainbridge gets points for the Bastiat reference, but what Malkin grabs is that the object of pity in this ObamaCare paean already qualifies for government healthcare, but (don't laugh, this gentleman is truly suffering) he cannot secure the services of a physician because the reimbursement rates are too low!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Bastiat: He was one of those Ayn Rand disciples, wasn't he! She was an extremist nutjob and he is too!"

The preceding was a pre-enactment of a relativist's "counter-argument."

As for me (and Rand, and Heinlein): TANSTAAFL.

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2009 2:59 PM

My Server's Been Hacked!

Programmers all over the world have begun wading through the code [for Tiger Woods's Driveway Rally 2k9] and they have been stunned by how bad it is. Its quite clearly amateurish and nothing but an accumulation of seat-of-the-pants hacks and patches.

How did this happen?


Nah, just kidding! That what Shannon Love says about the non-peer-reviewed computer models supporting peer-reviewed climate papers. "Its hard to explain to non-programmers just how bad the code is but I will try" Follow the link for the visual analogy.

BLEG UPDATE: I am becoming a huge Shannon Love fan and have linked frequently. Each time, I reach the uncomfortable moment of choosing a gender-based pronoun. Anybody know if I like his writing or hers? (Chicago Girlz?)

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

When the emails leaked it was apparent that their import could be assessed rather quickly, but the "data" which accompanied them would have to be evaluated by experts first. It's good to see the first of those evaluations hitting the 'net already.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 9:17 AM

November 29, 2009

Just In Time for Christmas!

I learned computer programming because I wanted to write video games (we're talking early 1980's...) I never got as far as a finished, releasable product, but the foundation returned more than a decade later to establish my fourth and current career.

I am thinking I have a great idea for a game. Looking at Electronic Arts' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, I thought of:

Tiger Woods's Driveway Rally 2009

Players get to choose a Maserati, Aston, Koenigsegg, or Porsche supercar. They then must drive the car at high speed around Tiger's driveway, avoiding obstacles like trees, garden walls, and a machete-wielding Mrs. Woods. Advanced levels pit the driver, online, against members of the Palm Beach police department.

Buy both PGA Tour 10 and Driveway Rally 2009 together for 52.95. Delivery guaranteed by Dec 24th if ordered this week...

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

Rockin!

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2009 8:14 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Or you could try "Tiger Woods v. Elin Nordegren: Death Match 2010"

Choose your weapon: Fingernails, golf clubs or both.

Yikes: http://www.tmz.com/2009/11/28/tiger-woods-elin-nordegren-fight-accident-suv-lacerations/

Posted by: Lisa M at November 29, 2009 8:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Yikes indeed! I will clearly have to work the prescription pain medicine in...

Posted by: jk at November 30, 2009 10:31 AM
But Keith thinks:

Don't think of it as having an auto accident. Think of it as him having shanked his Escalade tee-shot into the rough. And the fireplug? Water hazard.

Posted by: Keith at November 30, 2009 5:35 PM

Cleaning up the debate

No, not my bad language...but a few items today augur well for the ClimateGate controversy's improving the quality of debate on climate change. That's all I ask. If DAWG's real, let's study it and plan around it, based on realistic scenarios.

The Telegraph (I know a lot of Telegraph readers whom I am sure are uncomfortable with the paper's thoroughness on this story) brings us the story of David Holland, an Electrical Engineer from Northampton who makes the most serious and level statement I have heard on DAWG in many years:

Mr Holland, who graduated with an external degree in electrical engineering from London University in 1966 before going on to run his own businesses, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's like David versus Goliath. Thanks to these leaked emails a lot of little people can begin to make some impact on this monolithic entity that is the climate change lobby."

He added: "These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna. It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering. I could be wrong on global warming I know that but the guys on the other side don't believe they can ever be wrong."


Nailed it. I could be wrong, but I need to see that the other side understands that they could be wrong as well. Brilliant.

Hat-tip: Volkh, via Instapundit


Reality - Fact or Fiction?

In the wake of the Drive-By Media's silent treatment of Climategate I'm compelled to ask, "If a nuclear mushroom cloud appears in Tel Aviv and the New York Times doesn't report it, do six million Jews still die?"

In the wake of IAEA's admission that "the agency's investigation into Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program is at "a dead end" due to Iran's lack of cooperation" and Friday's 25-3 IAEA vote to "censure" Iran and demand a freeze of its nuclear enrichment program, Iran is boasting they will build 10 new enrichment plants, effective immediately.

But the "significant" vote, "significant because it was backed by all six major world powers, including Russia and China" carries no weight. Only the feckless Security Council can impose sanctions. Yet that body has repeatedly demonstrated its conviction that reality is a fiction. Enter Israel who says [first link],

Israel commended the passage of the resolution.

"The importance of the resolution is in its determination that Iran is continuing to defy the resolutions of both the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors, as well as its expression of concern over the fact that Iran is building its enrichment facility in Qom in secret," said Israeli Embassy spokesman Jonathan Peled. "The demand to immediately halt the construction of this facility is of extreme importance."

In layman's terms, the IAEA has given Israel an international green-light (as if it were necessary) for pre-emptive strikes in self-defense. In Israel, reality is fact.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 28, 2009

"I earned this"

Before linking to this Debi Ghate article about Thanksgiving in the Christian Science Monitor [irony noted] I checked to see if I had done an Objectivist take on the holiday in past seasons. As far back as '07 the only thing I found was this excellent John Stossel piece that jk linked. So without further ado...

So, on Thanksgiving, we should thank ourselves and the other producers who make the good life possible. Why don't we?

From a young age, we are bombarded with messages designed to undermine our confident pursuit of values: "Be humble," "You can't know what's good for yourself," "It's better to give than to receive," and, above all, "Don't be selfish!" We are scolded not to take more than "our share" whether it is of electricity, profits, or pie. We are taught that altruism not mere benevolence or generosity, but selfless sacrifice for others is the moral ideal. We are taught to sacrifice for strangers, who inexplicably have a claim to our hard-earned wealth. We are asked to bail out failing banks and uninsured patients. We are asked to serve rather than lead. We are taught to kneel rather than reach for the sky.

JG like!

As for the CSM, perhaps they printed it only as an excuse to re-link their flawed Atlas Shrugged opinion from 2007. Like Martha Stewart of Sarah Palin, the author calls Rand's ethics "dangerous." In both cases - a danger to what, exactly?

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 5:17 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the insights about Skousen but since I've never heard of the FEE or the Liberty Dinner I don't quite grasp the thrust of your explanation. (I just chalked it up to being the Christian Science Monitor.)

This idea that Rand "fully condemned charity" is unfortunate and did not, in my opinion, originate with her. Her villain was altruism - the idea that one's moral worth is measured in proportion to how much he gives to the undeserving and even by how undeserving his benefactors are. I read in her own hand that voluntarily helping others because you want to - because it makes you feel good - doesn't contradict rational selfishness. In my words, charity is not the same as altruism unless you do it because of what some third party may say about you.

Ghate addressed this distinction in the paragraph I excerpted. The collectivists preach that the moral ideal is altruism and "not mere benevolence or generosity." So be charitable if you want to, just don't expect it to satiate those who would take your money "to help others."

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2009 10:46 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
This idea that Rand "fully condemned charity" is unfortunate and did not, in my opinion, originate with her. Her villain was altruism - the idea that one's moral worth is measured in proportion to how much he gives to the undeserving and even by how undeserving his benefactors are.
I haven't read enough of her to know, I readily admit. That makes me feel better, that it someone else who misunderstood charity, and that person also misunderstood what "altruism" really means. Altruism has no inherent requirement of pure unselfishness.
I read in her own hand that voluntarily helping others because you want to - because it makes you feel good - doesn't contradict rational selfishness. In my words, charity is not the same as altruism unless you do it because of what some third party may say about you.
They're not necessarily the same, but as I've said in a previous example, you can be altruistic while making a profit: ensuring that people who value a scarce resource the most will be the ones to get it. Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 1, 2009 1:55 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

One more thing:

"The collectivists preach that the moral ideal is altruism and "not mere benevolence or generosity.""

This is true, but they promote "altruism" as a smokescreen. If a collectivist were really concerned about his followers' welfare, he'd release them from his rule.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 1, 2009 1:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:
"Altruism has no inherent requirement of pure unselfishness."

Actually, Rand said that is precisely what altruism requires. I'll have to look up a quote for you.

I think you've equated altruism with good ol' Christian charity and benevolence and I also think you should use those latter words to describe generosity without self-sacrifice. Because we don't even need Rand's judgement to see that altruism means "selflessness."

Note that the Latin roots of altruism are "other"-ism, in opposition to ego-ism.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 9:29 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is a good example of Rand on altruism. From 'Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal' Chapter 12, Theory and Practice. Opening paragraph:

"Few errors are as naive and suicidal as the attempts of the "conservatives" to justify capitalism on altruist-collectivist grounds.
Many people believe that altruism means kindness, benevolence, or respect for the rights of others. But it means the exact opposite: it teaches self-sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of others, to any unspecified "public need"; it regards man as a sacrificial animal.
Believing that collectivists are motivated by an authentic concern for the welfare of mankind, capitalism's alleged defenders assure its enemies that capitalism is the practical road to the socialists' goal, the best means to the same end, the best "servant" of public needs.
Then they wonder why they fail—and why the bloody muck of socialization keeps oozing forward over the face of the globe.
They fail, because no one's welfare can be achieved by anyone's sacrifice—and because man's welfare is not the socialists' goal. It is not for its alleged flaws that the altruist-
collectivists hate capitalism, but for its virtues."

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 6:12 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
"Many people believe that altruism means kindness, benevolence, or respect for the rights of others. But it means the exact opposite: it teaches self-sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of others, to any unspecified "public need"; it regards man as a sacrificial animal.
She is partially incorrect, going by her redefinition of altruism. I need not point out again that altruism doesn't inherently require putting others before yourself, nor does it mean sacrificing others for yet others. Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 5, 2009 7:22 PM

November 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

You know, when you consider that "We're Saving The Planet" is the biggest power/money grabbing scam since "We're Saving Your Souls," whoever leaked/released those e-mails and such is kind of like the modern scientific equivalent of Martin Luther. This person/persons may well have broken the backs of the Global Warming Priests who did everything in their power to make sure that the common man, and those who would oppose them, had no direct access to the Spoken Word of God. -- Col. Douglas Mortimer, writing to Instapundit
But johngalt thinks:

The obvious irony being that science was the first true alternative to the "Spoken Word." These Science-Theists in the climate change cabal [I'd call them Scientologists if it weren't already taken] were willing, able, and compelled to resort to Belief as their method of persuasion, making them no more enlightened than the "bitter" Christian rednecks they so denigrate.

Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2009 3:42 PM

November 26, 2009

Hide the Decline

Happy Thanksgiving from Michael Mann-
(And the jokesters at Minnesotans for Global Warming)


Happy Thanksgiving!

The Virtual Coffeehouse does not close for holidays! My friend, Wes's, CD release party from last week yielded a few good guest videos. Catch the title track: "Only Time."

liveatthecoffeehouse.com/

But johngalt thinks:

Wow. Sounds like Neil Young!

Posted by: johngalt at November 26, 2009 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

They made a couple jokes about that between tunes. "there's that guy's name again..."

Posted by: jk at November 26, 2009 8:12 PM

November 25, 2009

John Nance Garner, Call Your Office!

The Onion:

WASHINGTONIn keeping with a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition, Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially pardoned a 4-pound yam today at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. "Under my authority as vice president of the United States of America, I hereby grant this yam full and unconditional clemency," a smiling Biden declared as he gently patted "Spud," a Beauregard sweet potato grown in Louisiana and selected from millions of candidates yielded by this years harvest. "May he never find himself in a casserole. Right, little guy?" Like yams reprieved before him, Spud will ride as an honored guest aboard the second float of the Disneyland Thanksgiving Day Parade before spending the rest of his life in the comfort and safety of a tuber petting zoo.

VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

Defeat Pelosi

Bah. Impossible!

It's likely that many readers have seen the following letter circulating via email. It is legitimate and has been verified by Snopes.

DennisGuthrie%20rips%20Pelosi%20Pg1.jpg

[Page 2 is below the fold]

A friend with far better things to spend his time on than politics wrote to Mr. Guthrie:

Dear Mr. Guthrie,

As you probably know, your forthright letter to Ms Pelosi is circulating widely on the internet and has been verified by Snopes.com as actually written by you which is reassuring. I think many agree with you in every regard about Ms. Pelosis despicable behavior; she is the epitome of political corruption and blind arrogance. Thank you for your letter.

I noted in your letter the following comment, I await your defeat in the next election with glee. Of course, that would be a great day to see her expelled from office by disgruntled voters. My understanding though is that she hails from a district in San Francisco where her voter base of hard left liberals is much larger than an opposing constituency. Is this the case or do you know if there is a local San Francisco movement afoot fire her. If so, I would like to contribute financially to that effort and would like know who to contact to make my contribution.

Thank you in advance for your kind response.

Mr. Guthrie wrote back:

In fact, Ms Pelosi has a strong opponent who I had the pleasure of having supper with a couple weeks ago named John Dennis. You can evaluate him yourself by going to johndennis2010.com. I am doing what I can for John from afar. John is a principled conservative CONSTITUTIONALIST. He needs all our help financially, endorsement wise and in merely spreading the word. Please let me know what you think after looking at his web page.

Dennis L. Guthrie

I visited John Dennis' website and found this in his explanation of "why run?"

It's also important that those who can effectively deliver the liberty message do it. The time has passed to pretend that "someone else will do it."

The deciding factor for me came down to this: When things get dark, which they will if we don't change our present course, I know that I will regret not having spoken out on this stage when I had the chance.

I don't believe that ANY Democrat will be safe in 2010. My friend is sending a cash donation to help Defeat Pelosi. I will do the same.

DennisGuthrie%20rips%20Pelosi%20Pg2.jpg

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 1:19 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I'm in.

Dennis's candidacy defines "quixotic," but I do admire his spirit. I have wasted money on worse things.

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2009 4:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, one has to wonder if he can poll a higher percentage than Cindy Sheehan did in '08 (16.8%). It may be completely out of reach due to a gerrymandered redistricting in 1993.

But his views on privacy and the Patriot Act should be popular there.

Who knows, a few more public disputes with the CIA could take her down a few pegs. And making her spend at least some of her time campaigning could keep her out of the devil's workshop for a while.

Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2009 11:23 AM

New Yorkers Can Rest Easy Now

John Stossel:

New York City is famous for lots of things. For one, New York pizza. Unfortunately, the city is also known for its ridiculous nanny-state laws. One pizzeria owner wrote in to a food blog about his struggles with regulators

Even though there are ZERO reports of anybody getting sick from reheated pizza-by-the-slice, Bloomberg's Nanny Brigade has moved in to restrict consumer choice and business opportunity.

We're from the government and we're here to help: protected from the scourge of pizza!


Inter'stin'

Nick Shultz brings us an interesting graphic:

obamacabinet.jpg

That underscores something I appreciated (blast from the past link) about President George W Bush, and one is not surprised to see Presidents Kennedy (best and brightest), Carter and Clinton eschew the evil corporate types for academics and pols.

But, to be fair, let's look at the outlier(s). A good, long, blue stripe didn't keep President Nixon from giving us wage/price controls, the EPA and abandoning Bretton-Woods.


November 24, 2009

I Fear for Our Republic

Three Navy SEALs recently captured a "most wanted" terrorist in Iraq. In the process, he apparently sustained a bloody lip. The (hero) SEALs are now to be Court Martialed for assault.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Can the civil suit and charges of racial bias be far behind?

I weep for our Republic.

UPDATE: Here is some background on "Objective Amber" from the same story:

The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that "Objective Amber" planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and "they had been tracking this guy for some time." ...

The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.

Bloody lip? Are you kiddin' me?!?

War on Terror Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:22 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith thinks:

The unspoken rule in the field is quickly going to become "stop taking prisoners."

Which is fine by me. A little field justice under Rule .308 will prevent unnecessary show trials to bash American policy in New York.

Posted by: Keith at November 24, 2009 5:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I just hope they didn't hurt the widdle tewwowist!

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2009 12:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

More fallout from the decades of hard work by the "American Criminal Liberties Union."

If we must endure four years of anti-war show trials in return for no appreciable achievements on any of President Obama's other leftist policy goals, that is a trade I am willing to make.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2009 1:17 PM

May As Well Buy a Boat

I'm aware that not all ThreeSourcers share my appreciation of Megan McArdle. But she has written a gem that demands linkage. McArdle is unimpressed with the argument that we may as well do ObamaCare. because Medicare is going to bankrupt us anyway:

Anyone who has dated a manic-depressive has heard some version of this argument. "I can barely make ends meet now, so I might as well use my tax refund check to buy a boat! After all, if I can't figure out a way to fix my budget, I'm going to go bankrupt anyway."

The premise is fun. The serious treatment she gives to an American bankruptcy is a bit disturbing in its casualness.

Professor Reynolds suggested reading the whole thing. Do what you want.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

ThreeSources Spin Meter Spin Meter

Gotta love the AP! There's a 2,000+ page healthcare bill out, it "reduces the deficit" by applying 10 years of revenue to six years of expenses, and by claiming Medicare reductions that no sentient being expects will not be rescinded by this or a future Congress.

Thankfully, the Associated Press has pulled a few resources off the Sarah Palin book to expose the disingenuousness of -- wait for it -- the GOP opposition:

WASHINGTON -- Republicans love to get their hands on the Democrats' health care legislation. They show it to the cameras at every opportunity, even piling one version on top of another to make a big pile look even bigger.

Although they complain they don't have time to read all of it, they found the time to tape it together, page by page, so they could roll it up the steps of the Capitol like super-sized toilet paper and show how very long it is.

It surely is long. But, no, not longer than "War and Peace," as they claim.


Those wacky Republicans! What stunt will they dare try next?

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

This is perhaps the biggest pile of cow excrement I've ever read from the AP. Calvin Woodward evidently can be a little critical of Democrats to show "balance," but he's showing his true colors. Besides, he must ensure he won't be sent off to a future re-education gulag.

This deserves an Eidelbus fisking:

WASHINGTON – Republicans love to get their hands on the Democrats' health care legislation. They show it to the cameras at every opportunity, even piling one version on top of another to make a big pile look even bigger.
If you didn't see the AP logo, you'd think you were reading the Huffington Post, Think Progress or Talking Points Memo. Sheesh.
Although they complain they don't have time to read all of it, they found the time to tape it together, page by page, so they could roll it up the steps of the Capitol like super-sized toilet paper and show how very long it is.
Gee, how professionally written, and how absurd. Which takes more time and effort, to heft a single tome or to read through its thousands of pages?
It surely is long. But, no, not longer than "War and Peace," as they claim.
No one really expects brevity when reinventing something as complex and huge as the nation's health insurance system, which accounts for one-sixth of the economy. Indeed, legislation of comparable size was used to redefine an area of much more limited federal responsibility, education. That was the No Child Left Behind Act from the agenda of Republican President George W. Bush.
See, see, that evil McChimpyBooshHitler did it, so it's ok for Democrats to do it even bigger!
Size only matters in the health care debate because Republicans have turned the length of the legislation into a symbol: Big, unwieldy bill means big, overreaching government. Even bigger when you display double-spaced copies with double-wide margins and large print.
So if Republicans didn't oppose it, it didn't matter that it's a big bill by big, overreaching government to control a sixth of our economy.
As if he risked a hernia carrying it any other way, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa was seen hoisting such a copy of the House Democratic bill on his shoulder, the package trussed in a sturdy rope. GOP Rep. John Culberson of Texas brought a copy to a Capitol Hill rally and threw its loose pages to the crowd, like meat to lions.
See what I wrote above about the comparison to HuffPo et al.
During the weekend vote to bring the Senate health bill to full debate, five Republican senators displayed the massive legislation on their desks and one of them, Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, piled the House and Senate bills together to represent a nightmarishly bureaucratic double-whammy.
So more irrelevancy, when the point is that it's absurd for the two halves of Congress to come up with such monstrosities.
The actual bill, which Senate Majority Leader Harry introduced last week, came in at 2,074 double-spaced pages, 84 more pages than the House version, which was already being ridiculed for its size.
"That's larger than the novel 'War and Peace,'" Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said of the Senate bill.
"Exceeding even 'War and Peace' in length," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said of the House bill.
Said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas: "'War and Peace' — some people consider it the greatest book ever written, but most people recognize the novel because at 1,284 pages its length is often the butt of jokes. Now imagine trying to read something that long overnight."
Mainstream media apologism in three, two, one...
Actually, Leo Tolstoy's tome is longer than either bill. Full translated versions are nearly twice as long.

The bill passed by the House is 319,145 words. The Senate bill is 318,512 words, shorter than the House version despite consuming more paper. Various versions of Tolstoy's novel are 560,000 to 670,000 words. Bush's education act tallied more than 280,000 words.Oh, that should make us feel so much better. Counting words, the two versions are "only" 57% as long as "War and Peace"...so let's see which members of Congress read 57% of the book overnight. Or in five days? That's how long Obama said he'll make a bill available for public view before he signs it, a promise he has routinely broken.

Another point of comparision: the bills, again counting words, are 40% as long as the King James Bible. No doubt, the very middle of each commendeth us to say, "Bless the Lord Obama, o my soul, and all that is prosperous within me, may he take away."

By now, the full draft of Reid's bill that had circulated in the corridors and landed so prominently on Republican desks has been published in the Congressional Record in the official and conventional manner.
The type is small and tight. No hernias will be caused by moving this rendering of the bill around. Unfurling it on the Capitol steps would not be much of a spectacle.
"The type is small and tight." Yes, and you can laser-etch the Declaration of Independence on the head of a pin. I routinely fiddle with font size and margins so that a memo can fit on a single page, so when it comes to Reid's feat, so f******** what?

Think about it: a single-spaced typed page is roughly 500 words, so if you somehow put the absurd quantity of 1000 words on each page, you'd still need well over 300 pages for either version. That's over 150 double-sided pages of fine print.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 24, 2009 12:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

For Obama commendeth his love toward us in that, while we are yet greedy capitalists or the uninsured and oppressed, we can die for him.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 24, 2009 12:03 PM

November 23, 2009

Nice Guy Act Gets President Nowhere

Those right-wing neocons at Der Spiegel are again doing what they can to sabotage the current President, saying "His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.":

Lost Some Stature
Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.

In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.

The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.


UPDATE: A good friend sends this link: Even Chris Matthews sees "Carteresque Mistakes." Matthews saw the original Carter mistakes up close and personal.


The Ayes Have It!

Hat-tip: Don Luskin, who says "Watch this and tremble"

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Democrats should be embarrased, Republicans either sardonic or smug, and independents outraged.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 24, 2009 11:21 AM
But jk thinks:

And people who actually believe in self-government, dejected.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2009 12:12 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK, you are so 18th century!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 24, 2009 12:48 PM

Heh

African leaders advise Bono on reform of U2

"Our youth today are imperiled by low quality music," said Commission chairman Nelson Mandela. "We will be lending African musicians to U2 to try to refurbish their sound to satisfy the urgent and growing needs for diversionary entertainment at a time of crisis in the global music and financial sectors."

Concerns about U2 have been growing in Africa for a while. One Western aid blogger testified to the Commission that his teenage kids found U2s music "cheesy." The Mandela Commission proposed that U2 follow a series of steps to recover its Edge:


Love it. Hat-tip: Scrivener

Posted by John Kranz at 1:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

We Know What You Are, Senator...

On the wild chance somebody doesn't know this joke, here's the Cliff's Notes® version (best in a Groucho Marx voice...):

He: "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?"
She: "A million dollars, I'd have to think about that..."
He: "Would you sleep with me for $20?"
She: "No, you think I am some kind of whore?"
He: "We know what you are, now we're haggling over price!"

Punchline implanted? Segue to WSJ Editorial:
Take Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, who claims to have grave concerns about the bill's cost. Those worries became less pressing when Majority Leader Harry Reid added language on page 432 of the 2,074-page opus that would raise the bill's cost by increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for "certain states recovering from a major disaster." Guess which state is the only one that would qualify under that wording?

This political gratuity was quickly reported as costing $100 million, but Senator Landrieu made clear after her floor speech that her vote couldn't be bought that cheaply. "I will correct something. It's not $100 million, it's $300 million, and I'm proud of it and will keep fighting for it," she told reporters.


My work here is done.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

We know what she is: a thief, and she's proud of it.

That's a great joke, and very illustrative of a point of logic that I've used before. On a friend's blog, some Brit was criticizing Bush for not doing enough to hunt down Osama. So I asked what it's worth. More than one dollar? Certainly. One hundred billion dollars? For one man who's hiding for his life and thus effectively contained, no, $100 bil isn't worth it. OK, so now we know that it's somewhere between the two numbers, and we can narrow it down from there.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 23, 2009 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Um, don't all 56 states qualify on the grounds that the election of Barack Obama was a "major disaster?"

Jus' askin.'

Posted by: johngalt at November 23, 2009 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's another gem I heard on the [highly recommended, 6pm on Denver's KHOW] Jason Lewis Show (some other Minnesnowtan guest-hosting):

Harry Reid's persuasion of Mary Landrieu (Democrat-Louisana) ((hey, where have we heard THAT title before?)) is the modern version of - The Louisiana Purchase.

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2009 2:52 PM

It's Disgusting!

The folks at Reason boil down most of the complexities of Pharmaceutical economics into a nice, watchable seven minute video.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 22, 2009

"2009 is also the first year of global governance"

Hope and Change for the entire planet.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to the new President of the European Union, Herman van Rompuy.

Here is my transcription, complete with relevant emphasis:

It is my firm intention to ensure that our work develops, over a long-term period, a perspective that goes beyond six months and will allow us to be better organized where the major multi-annual dossiers are concerned, such as the financial perspectives in the Lisbon strategy. I also think that going back to our roots in the European Council could help us to discuss from time to time in an informal and open way the big questions of the European project. I'm thinking more specifically of the economic and social agenda and this is a particularly urgent matter because of the environmental and energy challenges we face and aspirations we have for greater security and justice for all our fellow citizens. We're living through exceptionally difficult times. The financial crisis and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets. The climate crisis which threatens our very survival. A period of anxiety, uncertainty and lack of confidence. Yet these problems can be overcome by a joint effort in and between our countries. Two-thousand-and-nine is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet. Our mission, our presidency, is one of hope supported by acts and by deeds.

Brother tg assures us that the climatologists in the climate cabal "are not evil environmentalists bent on hatching a secret plan to rule the world -- they are scientists, no better or worse than the rest of us." That may be true but it doesn't mean their work is not being used by others to "hatch a secret plan to rule the world."


Al Gore Wishes he Never Invented the Internet

This whole post at Minnesotans for Global Warming is hilarious and biting, but here is the part I find most relevant to prior posts of my own:

The Global Warming Extremists controlled the argument for years by saying, it's only legitimate science if it's published in certain journals and peer reviewed, and if you control the Journals you control the science. But sadly with Al Gore's invention, the anointed few are losing control, much like the medieval church did with the invention of the printing press.

Climategate

Intapundit notes that Climategate makes the WaPo "In a big way."


Cloture

The Associated Press spells it out for those for those who don't understand the arcane procedures of the US Senate:

WASHINGTON A bruising debate on health care awaits the Senate after Thanksgiving now that the historic legislation has cleared a key hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama.

The bill would extend coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it, crack down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits and curtail the growth of spending on medical care nationally.


To be more fair than they, the fourth paragraph quotes Leader McConnell with some decent opposition, but he comes off sounding political now that we have laid down the facts: Democrats want to "pass historic legislation" that "extend[s] coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it," "crack[s] down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits" and "curtail[s] the growth of spending on medical care nationally"

Republicans are "eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama."

But johngalt thinks:

"APObama" is in fine form.

As for the "historic legislation" it is so much so that it wasn't even mentioned in an email update from one of my Colorado senators, Mark Udall.
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2009 7:14 am.
Subject: "Mark's Newsletter Update: Helping Small Businesses Grow, Honoring Our Veterans, Expanding Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains"

Worse than not even mentioning the health care bill he was poised to vote AYE on later the same day, he trumpeted a letter he wrote to the president because he's "looking out for Main Street - not just Wall Street." His arrogant self-deception disgusts me.

Posted by: johngalt at November 22, 2009 1:03 PM

November 21, 2009

The "Prestige Press"

Sarah Palin calls them the "Lamestream Media."

Mike Rosen calls them the "Dominant Liberal Establishment Media."

Brother jk calls them <heavenly music>The New York Times.</heavenly music>

Climate change conspirast Michael Mann, of "hockey stick" fame, calls them the "Prestige Press." This excerpt from one of the email thread archives that comprise Climategate definitely is one of the "things that make you go HMMMM."

Andrew Revkin to Michael Mann, Sep 29, 2009, 4:30 pm:

needless to say, seems the 2008 pnas paper showing that without tree rings still solid picture of unusual recent warmth, but McIntyre is getting wide play for his statements about Yamal data-set selectivity. Has he communicated directly to you on this and/or is there any indication he's seeking journal publication for his deconstruct?

Michael Mann replies, Sep 29, 2009, 5:08 pm:

Hi Andy,

I'm fairly certain Keith is out of contact right now recovering from an operation, and is not in a position to respond to these attacks. However, the preliminary information I have from others familiar with these data is that the attacks are bogus.

It is unclear that this particular series was used in any of our reconstructions (some of the underlying chronologies may be the same, but I'm fairly certain the versions of these data we have used are based on a different composite and standardization method), let alone any of the dozen other reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature shown in the most recent IPCC report, which come to the conclusion that recent warming is anomalous in a long-term context.

So, even if there were a problem w/ these data, it wouldn't matter as far as the key conclusions regarding past warmth are concerned. But I don't think there is any problem with these data, rather it appears that McIntyre has greatly distorted the actual information content of these data. It will take folks a few days to get to the bottom of this, in Keith's absence.

if McIntyre had a legitimate point, he would submit a comment to the journal in question. of course, the last time he tried that (w/ our '98 article in Nature), his comment was rejected. For all of the noise and bluster about the Steig et al Antarctic warming, its now nearing a year and nothing has been submitted. So more likely he won't submit for peer-reviewed scrutiny, or if it does get his criticism "published" it will be in the discredited contrarian home journal "Energy and Environment". I'm sure you are aware that McIntyre and his ilk realize they no longer need to get their crap published in legitimate journals. All they have to do is put it up on their blog, and the contrarian noise machine kicks into gear, pretty soon Druge, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their ilk (in this case, The Telegraph were already on it this morning) are parroting the claims. And based on what? some guy w/ no credentials, dubious connections with the energy industry, and who hasn't submitted his claims to the scrutiny of peer review.

Fortunately, the prestige press doesn't fall for this sort of stuff, right?

mike

Revkin again, Sep 29, 2009, 5:18 pm:

thanks heaps.

tom crowley has sent me a direct challenge to mcintyre to start contributing to the reviewed lit or shut up. i'm going to post that soon. just want to be sure that what is spliced below is from YOU ... a little unclear . ?

I'm copying this to Tim, in hopes that he can shed light on the specific data assertions made over at climateaudit.org.....

I'm going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks. peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?

One can almost see the "wink, wink" between the lines when Mann says, "...the prestige press doesn't fall for this sort of stuff, RIGHT?"

The two of them certainly appear to be defending the standing of their sycophantic collection of science journals against any dissent - even from other peer-reviewed journals which may happen to be "discredited."

But jk thinks:

Well played, lads.

I think the "bombshell" of the "Climategate" emails is to underscore what I have bored y'all with for years: the pro-AWG side may not be evil, but they are not participating in the scientific process. You don't have to get a paper published to contradict a paper. Science moves along as gruesomely as the NFL playoffs. If you publish, your work will be attacked fairly and unfairly and you are expected to defend it.

I posted a link last September about this mentality:

Now begins the fun. Warwick Hughes, an Australian scientist, wondered where that +/- came from, so he politely wrote Phil Jones in early 2005, asking for the original data. Jones's response to a fellow scientist attempting to replicate his work was, "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Reread that statement, for it is breathtaking in its anti-scientific thrust. In fact, the entire purpose of replication is to "try and find something wrong." The ultimate objective of science is to do things so well that, indeed, nothing is wrong.

The leaked emails highlight this contempt for Popperian discovery. At the end of the day, whether in the sainted NYT or lowly Australian Sun, I don't think they'll change anybody's mind. They'll feed the deniers' case but the process is too abstract and arcane to dissuade believers.

Posted by: jk at November 22, 2009 11:47 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


TG has a point: there is no smoking gun here of Dr. Hockey Stick or the NYT reporter trying to extort or directly kneecap a critic. However, I only see a trace of scientific curiosity. I see two professionals spending most of their time spinning, packaging and smearing by association.

This upholds my main criticism of the 'science' arm of the AGW movement from nearly the very beginning. They long ago shucked science for politics, notoriety, and ideology. I feel vindicated in this at the Royal Danish Society's response to the attempt at - in effect - defenestrating Dr. Lomborg by several hundred Danish scientists, whose terse judgment upholding Dr. Lomborg's status and ideas, essentially said "you all say you have degrees?"

I've spent years in academic review settings, and never seen anything quite like this, nor any scientist so worried about what the press may or may not "fall for." If Dr. Mann were truly confident in his findings, surely he'd have the confidence that that the truth would out, yes?

I'm also quite shocked that Dr. Hockey Stick is still listened to by any institution that regards itself reputable in a scientific sense, as much as if I saw some institute still giving prominence to Drs. Pons or Fleischmann.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 22, 2009 5:53 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

For what it's worth, "Lamestream media" was coined by Bernie Goldberg.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 23, 2009 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for that br. I knew Palin wasn't the first but I couldn't remember who was.

My favorite is still "Drive-By Media." It's such a perfect description of how they race in to shoot up a story however they like and leave it for others to come in later with the ambulance full of facts. Trouble is, the patient - in this case, objective reporting of the news - often dies anyway.

Posted by: johngalt at November 23, 2009 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Any Bernie fans around here? To be fair, I think of him as "our Andrew Sullivan." His two books "Bias" and "Arrogance" were incredible for their seriousness, quality, and explosiveness. Game changing admissions from an inside whistleblower.

Like Sullivan, it probably hurts to lose all your friends. His hyper-partisan screeds that have followed tarnish the reputation and seriousness of the two masterpieces.

Too harsh me?

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2009 4:09 PM
But Fran Manns thinks:

Climategate Foretold...
“• What is the current scientific consensus on the conclusions reached by Drs. Mann, Bradley and Hughes? [Referring to the hockey stick propagated in UN IPCC 2001 by Michael Mann.]
Ans: Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on MBH98/99. As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.”
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION, also known as The Wegman report was authored by Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University, David W. Scott, Rice University, and Yasmin H. Said, The Johns Hopkins University with the contributions of John T. Rigsby, III, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Denise M. Reeves, MITRE Corporation.

Posted by: Fran Manns at November 28, 2009 11:16 PM

I guess that's why they're called "lamestream"

Andrew Revkin of the New York Times reports on environmental issues, "in print and on his blog, Dot Earth." At least, that's what his NYT bio page says. The day after Climategate exploded on the internet, Revkin wrote about it today.

The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.

As one of the leading lamestream media voices, Revkin's seems to be spinning: Yeah, these guys were doing bad science but we're only talking about a handful of scientists. Well we're also only talking about a handful of reporters who tell us that the science is settled, and Revkin is one of them.

It turns out his name appears in the FOIA data dump emails. According to Dr. Tim Ball in the story linked as UPDATE 2 on yesterday's post,

They also had a left wing conduit to the New York Times. The emails between Andy Revkin and the community are very revealing and must place his journalistic integrity in serious jeopardy.

Paul Chesser at American Spectator wasn't so delicate:

Revkin has authored two global warming books and so has a lot to lose himself from this controversy, as his reputation is just as much at stake as the scientists.' Therefore his defense mechanisms are fully engaged. In his blog post yesterday about the revelations, he states that repercussions "continue to unfold" and "theres much more to explore," but do you really think he can be counted on for follow-up stories about it this week?

For my part I have to ask, is Revkin a reporter, a blogger, or a co-conspirator?

But jk thinks:

I did chuckle at the 'graph you excerpted -- but that was pretty far down the post and I thought what came before it was pretty damning. Most significant was the jump from anti-DAWG organs and blogs to <heavenly music>The New York Times</heavenly musc>.

Not on the cover of The Nation yet, but it took a couple steps up with this admission.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2009 3:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Really JK,
do you need to ask I have to ask, is Revkin a reporter, a blogger, or a co-conspirator

His comment that "evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted" clearly points to him being a reporter (such as it is these days)!!

I think I'm right in stating that the majority Vox Populi is now against what Revkin has bought into, and the scientific community will continue to defy quantification.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 22, 2009 6:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Point of order: actually nb, this post is jg and not jk. I'm the attractive one, he's the good spellor.

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2009 10:46 AM

November 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

@Lileks NEWS: on its first day of operation, the Large Hadron Collider has detected a particle smaller than my interest in the "Twilight" movies.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:03 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Oh lucky you not to have a 12 year old daughter. I have been dragged to the theater already...

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 21, 2009 3:08 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Guess I'm safe until a new "Lassie" movie comes out...

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2009 3:08 PM

Woodward and Bernstein, call your office!

If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW.

That's the lede of today's Daily Telegraph posting by James Delingpole [author of 'Welcome to Obamaland'] entitled, Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'? Delingpole continues:

The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglias Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)

His cited source is our friend Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That.

Somewhere in the afterlife, Michael Crighton is enjoying a belly laugh.


UPDATE (11/20): From Climate Depot-
'CRU director admits emails seem to be genuine'

UPDATE 2 (11/21): Canadian Dr. Tim Ball, former climatology professor at University of Winnipeg writes "The Death Blow to Climate Science."

CO2 never was a problem and all the machinations and deceptions exposed by these files prove that it was the greatest deception in history, but nobody is laughing. It is a very sad day for science and especially my chosen area of climate science. As I expected now it is all exposed I find there is no pleasure in I told you so.

UPDATE 3 (11/22): WSJ (in the Politics section)

One email from 1999, titled "CENSORED!!!!!" showed one U.S.-based scientist uncomfortable with such tactics. "As for thinking that it is 'Better that nothing appear, than something unacceptable to us' as though we are the gatekeepers of all that is acceptable in the world of paleoclimatology seems amazingly arrogant. Science moves forward whether we agree with individual articles or not," the email said.
But jk thinks:

Somebody twittered this an hour ago and I wasn't sure when/whether to pull the trigger. I am giddy with excitement but this had the feel of one of those Druge stories that never really "develops."

Here's hoping -- it would be an awesome blow for freedom!

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2009 6:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My brother emailed it at 1:27 this afternoon. Not sure how he got it so quickly. Didja check out the update? Didja? Didja?

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2009 7:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I did and thank you for it. The Austrailian Sun has been as tough on the warmies as anybody -- I'm waiting for The Nation to certify it.

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2009 8:02 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

...coming the day after Al Gore appears on "30 Rock" as part of NBC's "Green Week" indoctrination programming....it just CAN'T be a coincidence!

Posted by: Lisa M at November 20, 2009 9:06 PM
But jk thinks:

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE??? THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!!

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2009 3:26 PM

Those who would send us back to the caves...

That's my favorite line and it is a footnote to a footnote (I kid you not) in Karl Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies."

But Dr. P saw the nexus of environmentalism and totalitarianism long before Rachel Carson or Vice President Gore. Brother AC is driven mad by the Freegans -- I am driven mad by the (I don't know, can we call them "darkies?" Better not.)

Karen O'Connor, a Barrington Hills homeowner, is a lawyer who specializes in technology and an organizer of the anti-ordinance group. She thinks that residents would be happy to move toward environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing exterior lighting if given the choice. They're just tired of government regulations creeping into every detail of their lives.

But letting people choose for themselves wouldn't win praise from the International Dark-Sky Association, which encourages cities to adopt strict lighting ordinances, and rewards those that do with the designation International Dark-Sky Community. Ms. O'Connor suspects that the desire for praise has made some elected officials more interested in the opinions of dark-sky advocates than in the druthers of the people they represent.


The power utility is running commercials for a candlelight lunch movement. Wrong on so many levels, guys: how about you just make the power and we buy it?

I did go to a mining school in the late 70s: the preferred bumper sticker was "Let the Bastards Freeze in the Dark!"

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm a "darkie."

The issue isn't outdoor illumination, but glare. Properly designed outdoor luminaires (the lighting engineering term for "light fixture") direct 100% of their light downward to eliminate glare and dramatically reduce urban light pollution. It used to be that the IDSA advocated only the use of such luminaires. I wouldn't be surprised though if someone told me they've "evolved" the way that Greenpeace and GASP have - toward greater and greater infringement.

Should local laws restrict light glare? I think its in the same category as disturbing the peace. If you support regulation of one you should support the other.

And yes, nighttime glare does drive me mad. My outdoor enjoyment is decreased by blazing halide lights that are miles from our farm (but take on characteristics of a searchlight in comparison to the rural darkness.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2009 4:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Like JG, The Refugee lives in the rural hinterlands. He has a neighbor who lights up his yard with multiple mercury vapor lights that shine into The Refugee's windows and ruin night sky viewing. However, The Refugee has also dealt with Boulder County's onerous light fixture regulations to great expense (actually at a rural church parking lot). He would rather tolerate the irritation of fugitive light than see the fist of government intrustion in his neighborhood.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 20, 2009 5:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I will rethink my position vis-a-vis IDSA. A classic "tragedy of the commons" and a classic opportunity for nanny-statism.

But, in deference to my Weld County neighbors, I will no longer conflate the operation with the moronic desire to roll back the advances of the Indistrial Revolution. I'm sure they share rides, but as to a nobler underlying purpose, safe to say I have seen the light (mwahaha).

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2009 6:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The true lack of judgement here seems to be the enterprising young WSJ reporter eager to whip up some more anti-regulation frenzy.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2009 7:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On second reading, I meant to say "over-eager."

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2009 8:59 PM

November 19, 2009

Citizens or Subjects?

Hat-tip: Virginia Postrel

But Terri thinks:

YAY for Karen. Longmont had it's own issue with "free speech" (as long as you didn't spend $100.01 and filled out all the forms BEFORE you actually had knowledge of what you needed to spend to create those yard signs and flyers. )
http://www.timescall.com/News_Story.asp?ID=18781
As of this moment the judge set it aside for the November 2 election and is going to revisit it when time allows.

Posted by: Terri at November 20, 2009 9:17 AM

November 18, 2009

Turn Out the Lights

Hide your Brazillian Rosewood! They've raided Gibson!

An international crackdown on the use of endangered woods from the world's rain forests to make musical instruments bubbled over to Music City on Tuesday with a federal raid on Gibson Guitar 's manufacturing plant, but no arrests.

A Federal raid for f***ing wood! Executive power at its finest!

UPDATE: Rant of the Day: Where were you when wood became a felony? Read it all.

UPDATE II: I wish I could start over and make this post more serious. A good friend of the blog emailed the classical values link to me this morning. This is how liberty ends. Whatever happens to health care, the Feds (the Executive Branch) are now in charge of wood. Anything with wood in it. Anything made of wood. It's all in their purview now.

Because I did not do this post justice, please read the guy who does: www.classicalvalues.com

But johngalt thinks:

It's called a freakin' JUNGLE!

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2009 2:18 AM
But Keith thinks:

Somebody tell the Federales: I've got a router, and I'm not afraid to use it.

And for the record, I think it was darned nice of me to avoid making any obvious jokes about the Feds taking control of wood - but someone ought to warn Bob Dole that they're coming for him next, and that commercial he made is virtually a confession in their eyes...

Posted by: Keith at November 19, 2009 2:08 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

When Les Pauls are outlawed, only outlaws will have Les Pauls! Well, outlaws and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Posted by: sugarchuck at November 19, 2009 2:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My first reaction was that federal regulators "just doing their jobs" is the same excuse that Nazi soldiers used for their willing participation in genocide. My second thought was that going after someone like Gibson first might have been an intentional effort by reasonable people to bring publicity to an unreasonable law.

Ahem: Just a little more of that old fashioned "rule of law."

And if this and more can be hidden in the measly 663 pages of Pelosi's farm bill, imagine the trojans and trap doors in her 2000 page stimulus bill. Not to mention the 2000 page house and senate versions of healthcare, likely to be 4000 when it comes out of reconciliation. (If it gets 60 votes in the senate on Saturday, chances are it can't be stopped after that.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2009 2:53 PM
But Riza Rivera thinks:

I guess once again. I'm bad and didn't know it or care. I'm a proud owner of a rosewood guitar. I love it. It's the crown jewel in my guitar collection. The sound is so rich. I'm not willing to give up my right to own a guitar or a gun. One day I'm playing that guitar again. That is my goal.

Posted by: Riza Rivera at November 20, 2009 1:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Shhh! I am sure my lovely bride was speaking hypothetically: If I owned a Brazilian Rosewood guitar and if I owned a gun to shoot the ass off the Fish and Game agent who came to collect it... (will they get FFG Kevlar vests like the ATF?)

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2009 1:27 PM

But They'll Rock at Health Care, Part XCIV


Cloward-Piven

While trying to maintain a low profile on a plane yesterday, The Refugee caught the Glenn Beck show on Fox News. Beck showed a clip of Damon Vickers from Nine Points Management and Research on CNBC (I think) saying that the current direction of US debt would lead to a currency crisis that would result in a whole reworking of worldwide currency and a new world order. The Refugee does not do the analysis justice, but it was cogent and chilling.

Beck then interviewed Vickers and discussed Cloward-Piven. Columbia professors Cloward and Piven were two 1960's radicals intent on socializing America. On September 28, 2009, The American Thinker ran a piece on the Cloward-Piven strategy. Here is an excerpt:

The Strategy was first elucidated in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation magazine by a pair of radical socialist Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. David Horowitz summarizes it as:


The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.


Cloward and Piven were inspired by radical organizer [and Hillary Clinton mentor] Saul Alinsky:


"Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one. (Courtesy Discover the Networks.org)

Hopefully, The Refugee is not just falling into a conspiracy theory trap. However, it all adds up very nicely. Worth the read and worth the thought. Scary.

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:37 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Lisa M thinks:

As Rahm Emmanuel famously said, "Never let a crisis go to waste." Obama is a huge Alinsky follower, too. Sign me up for the conspiracy society.

Posted by: Lisa M at November 18, 2009 7:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Pretty much the plotline of Hayek's "Road to Serfdom"

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2009 7:22 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The thing that scares me the most is that it could work.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 19, 2009 11:02 AM
But jk thinks:

BR: it doesn't have to, all is lost already.

Maybe the Gibson guitar raid is too close to home (shh, don't tell AG Holder, but I've got a few of those...) but I read this as we have no liberty left to defend. Read the update link in my Turn out the lights post. This ain't the road to serfdom, we've arrived.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2009 12:24 PM

Bottom Story of the Day

If I can borrow Taranto's riff, here's my "bottom story of the day:" Another Obama nominee runs into tax problems

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's choice for a top job with the Treasury Department is having tax problems.

A congressional report says Obama's nominee for undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, Lael Brainard, was late in paying real estate taxes in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The report by the Senate Finance Committee staff also challenges the accuracy of a deduction Brainard claimed for running an office from her home. The challenge led Brainard to reduce the deduction on her 2008 return.

The committee's top Republican is unhappy that the committee staff had to submit 10 sets of questions to Brainard before getting complete information about the discrepancies.


Yawn.


Sure that's not Billions of degrees?

The Oracle of Carthage speaks:

Conan [O'Brien, talk show host]: to create energy, and it sounds to me like an evil plan by Lex Luthor to defeat Superman. Can you, can you tell me, is this a viable solution, geothermal energy?

Al [bert A. Gore, Jr, 45th Vice President of the United States and Nobel Laureate]: It definitely is, and it's a relatively new one. People think about geothermal energy when they think about it at all in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot


John Derbyshire points out that there is debate (the science, apparently being not settled) whether the Earth's core is 5000 C or 9000C, but it ain't millions Mister Vice President.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But jk thinks:

The Vice President also translates the IPCC esimation of an 18 inch rise in sea level (dubious) to 18 feet. Don't hire him as a lifeguard.

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2009 11:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

But the complete ignoramus DOES have a point. Ground source geothermal heat pumps can deliver 5 or 6 times as much heating or cooling energy to your home than the amount of electrical energy that it takes to pump it. And it doesn't take "millions" or even thousands of degrees. A reliable source of 60 F ground will do the trick.

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2009 2:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Making fun of a former Vice President, jg, not impugning Gaia's core...

Seriously, the real issue -- and I know we all tire of asking -- is to imagine what would have happened had George W. Bush or Sarah Palin said this?

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2009 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just a PSA brother.

As for Gore ... at least he can spell potato. (Come to think of it, are we sure?)

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2009 2:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


I did some research on this as well. Turns out that the thermal gradient for _extremely favorable_ sites (e.g., Calpine's Geyers) is as much as 120C/km. The Goracle's assertion that "most places" have 'incredibly hot' rocks just a couple of Km down is as true as .... well, just about anything he's said in the public sphere!

I'd no idea Derbyshire was as well versed in this as he appears to be, but I'm not surprised to find more light than heat at NRO. Being in Power & Energy for as many years as I have has made me despairing of anyone that CNN declares an "energy expert" long before reading the first post on TS.

I once interviewed with a company trying to make a go of GT energy: it's pretty much all west of the Miss. R, but well-cited to take advantage of ever-increasing costs in the Golden State (if they ever get free choice again).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2009 12:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Derbyshire's good for a lot of heat and light. He's a serious Amateur Mathematician and I am the proud owner of his book, "Prime Obsession" on the Riemann Hypothesis. He signed it for me at the Boulder Bookstore and I teased him that one of his columns pasted on the wall and he'd be run out of town on a rail.

He used to post a Math problem of the month and it was fun to try those and try to keep sharp (I majored in Math but left school early to pursue a music career).

I lost touch with Derb and a lot of the NRO folk after Lowry took over and they took a populist swing on immigration and social issues. I still have a lot of respect for Derbyshire, Jay Nordlinger, Jonah Goldberg, and a lot of staff. But I dropped my subscription a few years ago and read the online content only when linked. Breaking up is hard to do.

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2009 1:37 PM

November 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

WASHINGTONIn an effort to combat what organizers are calling "our current epidemic of complete and utter obliviousness," the American Foundation for Paying Attention to Things has declared December "National Awareness Month." -- The Onion
Posted by John Kranz at 7:47 PM | What do you think? [14]
But johngalt thinks:

Careful brother. It's not the "rule of law" that promotes prosperity but the knowledge that your stuff won't be taken from you if you work hard to produce/earn it. We'll all agree that there is good law and bad law. The hallmarks of the former are individual liberty and property rights. If Thomas Jefferson were here today he'd be saying it looks like time to refresh the tree of liberty.

Gee, I'm really enjoying my new life in Baja! I actually feel like I'm free to say what I think about the U.S. government without fear of retribution.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2009 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, here's the tenth comment on a quote from The Onion! If I have not mentioned it in a while, I love you all.

Prosperity requires comparative advantage; comparative advantage requires trade. Trade requires a more substantive rule of law than you and Perry are comfortable with. I get kicked out of the libertarian cocktail parties because I extend this to international relations, a'la Deepak Lal.

I can understand lovers of liberty not wanting to "go that far." But "you say you want a Revolution:" your new world order will be assembled by the current political class and polity. I see nothing to recommend them over Mister Madison.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2009 2:38 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm not talking about libertarianism anymore. I'm talking about capitalist anarchy. As my friend Billy Beck once said, paraphrasing, are you really going to compare us to "dirt-scratching savages"? The difference between us and them is our tradition of freedom, and our greater wealth allowing us to defend ourselves.

Which kind of "law" are you talking about: the implicit, self-evident one that you cannot infringe upon the rights of others, or statute law by which people seek to rule others? We have the latter, and that is most certainly rule.

Just like the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, laws were created for men and not men created for laws. Unfortunately, and Bastiat began his most famous treatise by noting this, laws have been perverted from protecting rights to an instrument of greed. He elsewhere noted that "The state is the great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else."

"The state" just doesn't cut it for me anymore. I've now lived long enough to realize that it exists only because some people refuse to give up their rights -- their property, their sovereignty over their persons -- to others who would rule them. Did you notice my recent post where I said that Madison said the right thing but in the wrong way? "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." The purpose of government is overwhelmingly that criminals, in the guise of "government officials" and rent-seekers, can legitimize their actions. If men would not infringe on each other's rights, they would not need to form a government to get away with stealing others' property through taxes and regulations.

Prosperity requires comparative advantage; comparative advantage requires trade. Trade requires a more substantive rule of law than you and Perry are comfortable with.
Actually, prosperity does not necessarily require it, but it's generally maximized. So it's better phrased that maximum prosperity comes from free division of labor.
I get kicked out of the libertarian cocktail parties because I extend this to international relations, a'la Deepak Lal.
You're still giving too much credit to the state. I'd even say you're giving far more credit than Lal. Did Arab traders reach the Philippines because of the caliph, or because they were the great explorers of the time? Bandits could be anywhere along the Silk Road, but travelers still braved it without having the protection of "the state."

On the other hand, galleons plundered the New World because Spanish armies and warships were able to back up their evil by force.

When I travel to work, are people not committing crimes against each other because they fear the police? If it happened on Metro-North or the NYC subway system, the police could take several minutes to arrive. Could it be because people, although being fundamentally sinful in their hearts, would still prefer to cooperate, if anything because the guy you attack could be stronger and/or be defended by others?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 19, 2009 8:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, and as far as the current political class ruling the new order? The key is to not let them. And that is by the raw threat of meeting force with force.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 19, 2009 8:42 PM
But jk thinks:

We share a reverence for Bastiat's "The Law." My takeaway is that just law is "understandable and avoidable" and that American legislation has gone off the rails on both counts. I do not see his advocating a retreat from law.

We've had this conversation before but I don't buy Anarcho-capitalism beyond a paper or game theory.

I do credit the state with providing recourse when another party violates a contract. A judiciary to sue and, yes, some burly men with guns to enforce the settlement. I suppose I could just shoot the quack physician or Bernie Madoff, but I would rather pursue comparative advantage and hire the burly guys.

Those "dirt-scratchers" (we're really not ever getting elected to anything around here, are we?) kept the lights of philosophy and science alive when the West had its Dark Ages. I'd say my precious rule of law raised us up to our lofty perch. Looking at Western history, I don't see a particularly sainted approach to minority rights in our character, the gains were hard-fought and generally required a legal framework.

I'll accept your clarification on prosperity. Sure, you can eat without trade. But you cannot have Internet, cell phones and iPods without contracts. And you cannot have contracts without a judiciary.

I fear the Anarcho-capitalist society ends up in the same place as the radical environmentalist’s: we all tend our little farm and do without the benefits of global trade. I’m trying to keep my iPod and my Brazilian Rosewood Taylor (shh, don’t tell AG Holder…)

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2009 10:19 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
We share a reverence for Bastiat's "The Law." My takeaway is that just law is "understandable and avoidable" and that American legislation has gone off the rails on both counts. I do not see his advocating a retreat from law.
But which "law" are you talking about: statute by which some seek to rule the rest, or natural law by which people have the right to band together for justice?

"The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all."

Anarchy doesn't mean the absence of natural law, but the absence of statute and its formal embodiment in the state.

I do credit the state with providing recourse when another party violates a contract. A judiciary to sue and, yes, some burly men with guns to enforce the settlement. I suppose I could just shoot the quack physician or Bernie Madoff, but I would rather pursue comparative advantage and hire the burly guys.
And yet the state routinely fails to protect people, because of incompetence or corruption. I have personally been victimized both ways with contracts, and by police who threatened to arrest me for a nonexistent crime.

Remember that you can't have the benefits without the drawbacks, and the drawbacks increasingly outweigh benefits -- whatever little there are. Madoff is a perfect example. The SEC monitors and may indeed catch criminals, but it failed miserably with Madoff even when presented with smoking guns. Markopolos went to the WSJ, which didn't want any part of it for good reason. Taking the allegations public meant risking a defamation suit, in which Madoff could have prevailed by making it too expensive for Markopolos and others to continue.

Dragging Madoff out of his apartment and lynching him from the nearest would have been short-lived satisfaction for his victims. They'd have been brought up on murder charges, merely for dispensing justice. When the state fails to deliver justice, what recourse do people have? Look at all the sex offenders who spend a few years in prison, then are released to commit even worse crimes later on.

Those "dirt-scratchers" (we're really not ever getting elected to anything around here, are we?) kept the lights of philosophy and science alive when the West had its Dark Ages.
Somalians did? That's who I'm talking about. But even shifting to Arabs, mathematics and science have no problem developing in cultures without a tradition of freedom. The Nazis and Russians had many great scientists. Yet for all those contributions, where are they now? Egypt is twenty times older than the United States.

There's a very good reason for it. Arabs' -- or Persians' -- contribution to philosophy, being primarily Islamist, has never been anything like the West's Enlightenment. You have to look to the Turks to find anything remotely like the Western notion of freedom, and they picked it up from Europeans.

I'd say my precious rule of law raised us up to our lofty perch. Looking at Western history, I don't see a particularly sainted approach to minority rights in our character, the gains were hard-fought and generally required a legal framework.
You're again talking about society based on statutes, which means that somebody is "in charge" with the authority to compel people against their will. I'm talking about natural law, which is an instrument for justice, but justice does not require law to exist.

So which do you think is more attainable: capitalist anarchy where everyone cooperates, or the perfect state that dispenses justice without flaws? Having been a victim of the state, having been threatened by its enforcers and magistrates, I'd rather deal with criminals myself.

I'll accept your clarification on prosperity. Sure, you can eat without trade. But you cannot have Internet, cell phones and iPods without contracts. And you cannot have contracts without a judiciary.
A judiciary is one way to enforce the contract, but not the only way. How does the judiciary, or any, enforce its decisions? By force, and force can be employed by private individuals. If someone made a deal with me, I'd rather trust my cousins Carlos and Francisco to enforce it than a town's pocket judge.

How did the judiciary protect me, or Suzette Kelo, or Jessica Lunsford? In one, the judge was bought. In the second, the judges had no respect for property rights. In the third, the judge was stupid to let a criminal out of prison.

I fear the Anarcho-capitalist society ends up in the same place as the radical environmentalist’s: we all tend our little farm and do without the benefits of global trade. I’m trying to keep my iPod and my Brazilian Rosewood Taylor (shh, don’t tell AG Holder…)
Why would it reduce trade to local extents? There's no reason for it. I think this is part of your giving too much credit to the state for protecting us.

And even if it somehow did, unimpeded human freedom could easily rebuild the trade patterns and make them even better. No more tariffs, currency manipulations (the real problem is ours, not China's) or faux agreements. Wouldn't you rather have the freedom to start over and create a new world, without paying up to Don Barack and his consiglieres?

I've been thinking hard about this for a year and a half, maybe longer. Ask yourself: for what possible reason should others have any authority over you?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 21, 2009 9:47 PM

A 19th Century Sean Penn?

History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes. (I attribute that to Mister Twain, but the lineage is murky.)

Scrivener links to a post that compares the "dismal science" economists to their contemporary poets: who stood for human rights, freedom and equality? Who stood for slavery? Let's say the poets don't come out well.

It was [Thomas] Carlyle who christened economics [social science] as the "dismal science", in contrast with the gay science of poetry. The context is shocking:
Truly, my philanthropic friends, Exeter Hall philanthropy is wonderful; and the social science -- not a "gay science", but a rueful -- which finds the secret of this universe in "supply and demand", and reduces the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone, is also wonderful.

Not a "gay science", I should say, like some we have heard of; no, a dreary, desolate and, indeed, quite abject and distressing one; what we might call, by way of eminence, the dismal science.

These two, Exeter Hall philanthropy and the Dismal Science, led by any sacred cause of black emancipation, or the like, to fall in love and make a wedding of it -- will give birth to progenies and prodigies: dark extensive moon-calves, unnameable abortions, wide-coiled monstrosities, such as the world has not seen hitherto!...


Carlyle is arguing here for the reintroduction of slavery in the West Indian colonies.

There have been (way too many) great examples in our time, but the top of the charts for me goes to Carole King, who sat in front of Fidel Castro with an acoustic guitar and sang "You've Got a Friend."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Heh

IBD:toon_111109_C_FULL_2.jpg
Hat-tip: Scrivener

Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

But They'll Rock at Healthcare, Part XCIII

Third call today from the Nebraska Correctional Facilities Victims Notification Unit. Notifying me of an upcoming parole hearing for some guy I never heard of. (I got a new landline installed for work, the previous owner of this number gets a lot of calls from debt collectors.)

To stop the calls, all I have to do is enter the four-digit PIN number I registered with. Of course, I did not register and do not have a PIN. I have learned that they are serious about calling back.

They do leave a number to call but nobody answers.

UPDATE: It gets better. I have now called five numbers and finally found the right office. They can't turn it off because I don't have the PIN. They have to be certain that I am not the criminal turning it off to keep bad testimony from my parole hearing. I told young Justin that I'm certain it is easier to get out of jail than to stop these calls.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Just imagine when you start receiving calls from the Federal Correctional Facilities Residents Notification Unit, telling you to surrender on such-and-such a date for not having sufficient health care, or else they'll come get you.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 17, 2009 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

With apologies to Cheech & Chong: "Enter zee PIN number, Old Man!!!"

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2009 3:13 PM

Professor Belichick Loses a Close One

(Or, as one ThreeSources friend calls him "Darth Hoodie.")

Coach Belichick admits to being a fan of David Romer's paper. Christopher Price discusses the possible impact in a column, "When It Comes To Fourth Down, Belichick Is Anything But Conventional"

I think I understand some of the points that were made in there, and I think he has some valid points, the coach said during training camp in 2002. Theres sometimes an emotional aspect, and momentum, if you will to those decisions, but Im not sure how to calculate that.

I understand the points that hes made. I dont understand all the mathematical equations [of] how he got to those points, but I think that some of those are legitimate points and you just have to evaluate the situation to your team, the team youre playing, he added. I see where a lot of thats coming from.


I'll not abandon it because of last Sunday night's game. The Pats came pretty close to making the first down and I have no reason to believe that they could have stopped Peyton Manning had he started 17 yards deep in his own end zone.

Hat-tip: New Englander N Gregory Mankiw. who reminds "Some strategies that fail ex post might be optimal ex ante. Randomness is a fact of life, even if Patriots' fans do not fully appreciate it."

UPDATE: Searching for a link for the Advanced NFL Stats site, I found, mirabile non dictu, an interesting post on the Belichick call.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [2]
But EE thinks:

Mankiw is correct. Ex ante, the numbers favored going for it. What people are missing is that there are two aspects to the play: (1) the decision to go for it, and (2) the execution of the play. Critics also neglect to mention that on the replay Faulk appears to have been very close to the first down. However, New England was out of timeouts and thus could not challenge the play.

For an economic analysis on the fourth down decision, see David Romer's paper in the JPE:

http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~dromer/papers/JPE_April06.pdf

Posted by: EE at November 17, 2009 10:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the backup, EE. I was turned onto this by James Surowecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds." Since then, I have found no love for those ideas anywhere. (Well, except for advancednflstats.com.)

I feel like VP Gore at an oil extraction convention. Most curious is that statistics and probability seem to have a very small hold in football when they are holy gospel in baseball.

So, EE, how about you and I buy the Rams (they'll never find any compromising writings of mine on the Internet...) and attempt a Diamondbacks deal where we manage based on math. Who's in?

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2009 10:00 AM

Perfect Description of Democracy!

AP:

WASHINGTON When it comes to paying for a health care overhaul, Americans see just one way to go: Tax the rich.

That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

UPDATE: JammieWearingFool suggests that other results from the poll are not quite so encouraging (to the collectivists).

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | What do you think? [5]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Bleeping hell, the poll is pure horse excrement. JWF had some excellent points with what the MSM left out. Let me point out the BS in what they did:

conducted by Stanford University with the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Right there, you know it has no objectivity. The RWJF are "nonpartisan" socialists who advocate single-payer health care.

The poll tested views on an even more punitive taxation scheme that was under consideration earlier, when the tax would have hit people making more than $250,000 a year. Even at that level the poll showed majority support, with 57 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed.
In other words, 43% (flatly opposed and those "unsure") still didn't support that tax, which means a large minority still didn't believe in taxing a small percentage (
For example, 77 percent said the cost of health care in the United States was higher than it should be, and 74 percent favored the broad goal of reducing the amount of money paid by patients and their insurers. But 49 percent said any changes made by the government probably would cause them to pay more for health care. Thirty-two percent said it wouldn't change what they pay, and just 12 percent said they would end up paying less.For example, 77 percent said the cost of health care in the United States was higher than it should be, and 74 percent favored the broad goal of reducing the amount of money paid by patients and their insurers. But 49 percent said any changes made by the government probably would cause them to pay more for health care. Thirty-two percent said it wouldn't change what they pay, and just 12 percent said they would end up paying less.
The 23% who don't think health costs are higher than they should be are well-insured by their employers (government workers, current/former union labor). They're also the 26% of reducing costs, because they have no need to concern themselves.

Half of the polled think they'll pay more for health care. This means that of the minority who want to "soak the rich," at least 8% think they'll pay more even with soaking the rich.

The 44% who think they'll pay the same or less are clearly those who want others to pay for it, whether through tax hikes on "the rich" or because they already have government-supported plans. They don't need to care if total costs go up, only what they're paying.

Forty-eight percent in the poll were opposed to new taxes on insurance companies, and 42 percent were in support. Fifty-one percent opposed raising taxes on drug and device makers, while 41 percent supported that approach.

But 72 percent of people polled said insurance companies made too much profit, compared with 23 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit. And 74 percent said drug companies made too much profit, versus 21 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit.In other words, 30% of the polled think insurers make "too much profit" but understand it's a bad idea to tax someone who's providing a service you need. And 33% of the polled think drug makers make "too much profit" but don't want them taxed, either.

People who told pollsters they generally supported Congress' health care overhaul plan were also more receptive to new taxes to pay for it. Taxing health care companies, drug companies and equipment manufacturers eked out majority support from that group.
Even if this had hard numbers for "eked out majority support," this is all statistically meaningless. You can't quantify "generally support" when asking someone a question.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 17, 2009 11:56 AM
But jk thinks:

Nicely played, Perry. Superb analysis.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2009 12:03 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, I forgot that the blockquote tag doesn't span across paragraphs. So above should read like this:

But 72 percent of people polled said insurance companies made too much profit, compared with 23 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit. And 74 percent said drug companies made too much profit, versus 21 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit.
In other words, 30% of the polled think insurers make "too much profit" but understand it's a bad idea to tax someone who's providing a service you need. And 33% of the polled think drug makers make "too much profit" but don't want them taxed, either.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 17, 2009 8:26 PM
But Keith thinks:

Perry: perhaps that poll should have two questions, like this:

"Q: Do you think health insurance companies make too much profit, not enough profit, or about the right amount of profit?"

"A: Definitely, way too much profit."

"Q: What was the health insurance industry's average profit margin last year?"

"A: Ummmmm... I dunno, but it was way too much."

Answer: 2.2 percent. Less than the government garnered from the health insurance companies.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091025/ap_on_go_co/us_fact_check_health_insurance

Posted by: Keith at November 18, 2009 11:22 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I remember that. Calvin Woodward has written some "fact checks" that poke holes in Republicans' claims, but more than a couple about Democrats' too. Clearly he must be sent to a re-education camp!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 18, 2009 3:54 PM

November 16, 2009

More Crowded Under the Bus

Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast tallies the body count:

In his readiness to discard underlings who are no longer useful to him, or otherwise have passed their sell-by dates, Barack Obama is no different from his predecessors. But hes arguably more unsentimental than most about the unpleasant necessity of throwing friends and allies under the bus.

Steve Clemons: The Assassination of Greg CraigAs Jacob Weisberg wrote recently in Slate, Obama has a healthy disdain for the overrated virtue of political loyalty If you're useful, you can hang around with him. If you start to look like a liability, enjoy your time with the wolves


Discussion point: Most, if not all ThreeSources would list over-loyalty as a President George W Bush vice. He kept some folks inside that should have been "defenestrated." So, is President Obama's coldness a positive? I hate to get a reputation as a big Obama booster, but I am thinking it might be.

I am reading Ray Morris's "Fraud of the Century." It's 1876 and Governor Tilden and the Democrats are competitive after 16 years because of Grant's failure to clean house. Grant, like Harding, didn't profit from corruption but both reputations were destroyed. Perhaps extreme loyalty is a vice and ruthlessness a virtue. "Sorry Michelle, but your poll numbers are down..."

Posted by John Kranz at 4:17 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

It could be worse. You could be writing about Michael Scott - in which case that whole "bus" metaphor would become pretty ominous.

It's the Chicago way.

Posted by: Keith at November 16, 2009 5:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Had GWB had provided some adult supervision over the worst of the Republican Congress's excesses, the Republicans might not be in the current minority fix. However, he did not want to rock his own parties boat.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 16, 2009 9:29 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

It's a personality flaw that serves a politician well, just as the converse of GWB's loyalty being a liability. That being said, two quick points: among the people Obama has thrown under the bus are his grandmother and his spiritual advisor of 20 years "who was like an Uncle" to him, not to mention any number of foreign countries we used to number as our allies so that he could placate his far left base. GWB may have been loyal to a fault, but that also included his country. You can make a strong case that Obama's lack of loyalty also extends to his country.

Secondly, I see no adult supervision from Obama over Pelosi-fest 2009 in the House.

Posted by: Lisa M at November 16, 2009 10:05 PM
But jk thinks:

I have to agree with lm (you've commented enough times, you're two letters now) on the countries/allies. Staff and cabinet chiefs should be expendable, but countries whose troops have stood beside ours in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be abandoned.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2009 10:20 AM

Billions, Trillions, and a cure for frigidity

I was drawn to this story on a legal settlement with state governments over supposedly misleading advertising by Vonage, the internet phone provider. Not because I'm a Vonage customer, but because the supposed settlement fine was 3 billion dollars. Hmm, thought I. What's their market cap anyway? Oops - Reuters got it wrong. Was supposed to be million. I guess all those stories about government spending have got the Reuters newsroom desensitized to the size of a BILLION DOLLARS.

But the foray onto the Reuters site wasn't completely without reward. I happened across this anti-frigidity pill developed in Germany and on track for the U.S. market in three years or so.

"By modulating the neurotransmitter system, flibanserin may help to restore a balance between inhibitory and excitatory factors leading to a healthy sexual response," said Elaine Jolly, a Canadian gynaecologist and medical researcher who helped oversee the trials.

(...)

During the half-year course of once-daily flibanserin in the trials, the number of satisfying sexual events -- which did not necessarily involve orgasm -- rose to an average 4.5 per month from 2.8 in the North American arm of the trial, the study shows.

In the control group on placebo the rate rose to 3.7.

Women on the drug also reported a higher level of sexual desire and less distress from sexual dysfunction than those on placebo.

The drug's side effects were described as mild to moderate and included dizziness, nausea, sleepiness and insomnia.

So it makes women more interested in having sex and falling asleep afterwards. Men of the world rejoice!

(And before anyone slams me for calling it "frigidity" I'll link to the clinical description.)

But jk thinks:

Maybe it's my background, but I was trying to imagine the clinical trials...

Posted by: jk at November 16, 2009 4:06 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...and how does one sign up?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 16, 2009 9:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Doesn't it bode well for all of us that we've not had occasion to learn about the clinical trials?

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2009 2:18 PM

EC10

Free Harvard Economics lesson from the guy what wrote the book:

Let's review some basic principles of supply and demand: If a government policy increases the demand for a service, the price of that service tends to rise. If the government prevents prices from rising, shortages develop. The quantity provided is then determined by supply and not demand. In the presence of such excess demand, the result could be a two-tier market structure. Consumers who can somehow pay more than the government-mandated price will be able to purchase the service, while those paying the controlled price may be unable to find a willing supplier.

Follow the link to see Professor Mankiw apply the lesson to a current WaPo story.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:22 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith thinks:

Or the third tier: the good becomes readily available for those who are politically connected. Welcome to the Soviet Union.

Wonder how long we'll have to stand in line for bread that isn't there.

Posted by: Keith at November 16, 2009 5:19 PM

Quote of the Day

Yeah, it's early but this be good:

All Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has to do is avoid signing a TARP renewal by its statutory expiration date on December 31. Judging by the reader comments on our Web site, we'd guess that millions would happily leave out cookies and milk for the jolly Washingtonian who shows up with a sack full of nothing for auto makers. -- WSJ Ed Page

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

Must Be Monday

Okay, I'm a little grumpy. I frittered away a whole day yesterday watching football. Thats not so bad but my teams lost every game. (Dear Keystone State Brothers and Sisters: my first day as a Iggles fan did not go so well.)

To get away from football woes, I turned to the WSJ Editorial Page. You know, to cheer me up. As it happens, that didn't work. Hard to think that the health care bill could actually be worse than I thought, but it is. In addition to the nationalization of 16% of GDP, there is a little bombshell of arrogation of power to the Executive branch

As envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee, the commissionall 15 members appointed by the Presidentwould have to meet certain budget targets each year. Starting in 2015, Medicare could not grow more rapidly on a per capita basis than by a measure of inflation. After 2019, it could only grow at the same rate as GDP, plus one percentage point.

The theory is to let technocrats set Medicare payments free from political pressure, as with the military base closing commissions. But that process presented recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Here, the commission's decisions would go into effect automatically if Congress couldn't agree within six months on different cuts that met the same target. The board's decisions would not be subject to ordinary notice-and-comment rule-making, or even judicial review.


Clearly, the President's powers are not comprehensive enough (Gene Healy, call your office!) we need to give the Executive 15 picks (Advise and Consent? I am guessing not) who will make life-or-death decisions for providers and patients.

At the risk of flippancy, Senator Baucus, I can think of another way to keep political influence out of these decisions rather than a base-closing panel: HOW ABOUT WE DON'T LET GOVERNMENT TAKE OVER THEM TO BEGIN WITH???

And, while my beloved Broncs likely deserved the loss, we sure got a few tough calls from the officials, did we not?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

But why NOT let a "politically detached" commission pull the levers of this money distribution mechanism. After all, they can't do any worse that the evil rich who want all the poor to just die anyway.

That was the basic sentiment of a hockey teammate who bristled at my quip that Obamacare would be like the plotline of 'Logan's Run' (where everyone is killed off once they hit the age of 30.) When I asked him if he should be required to build free cabinetry for everyone who showed up and asked for it he said, "Well it's not like having new cabinets is a matter of life and death." He said he has family members on welfare and after I suggested his criteria included farmers in the "work-for-free" category he left the room muttering about how "the poor are ruining this country... they should all just die anyway." I didn't even get to ask if he was willing to take care of my relatives if I took care of his.

Tragic.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2009 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, and remember that we Donkey fans can always fall back on the preseason mantra "this is a rebuilding year." Poor Iggles fans can only wonder why they're passing for 400+ yards per game and still losing.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2009 2:52 PM

November 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

Obamanomics. Its as if it were designed by someone who cannot figure out Turbo Tax. -- Don Surber
Great line. Sadly, I have a rare disagreement with the sage of West Virginia. I don't see the increasing trade deficit (my peeps call it the "Capital Surplus") as a problem.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

But is Geithner really crazy like a fox? From the Surber post:

"China on Thursday appeared to signal that it would allow its currency, the yuan, to rise against the dollar. The Chinese central bank said Thursday it would alter how it manages the yuan, which is currently pegged to the dollar. That change raised hopes among economists that China was preparing to allow its currency to rise in value, a change that would boost the competitiveness of American products in China.

American manufacturers contend that China is manipulating the value of its currency, keeping it undervalued by as much as 40 percent in relation to the dollar."

So the Obamanomics strategy of trashing the value of the dollar forces China to change policy or head to the bottom with us. It reminds me of that old war movie where the dueling sub captains keep daring each other to dive deeper, until one of the ships is crushed by the pressure.

Another tactic could be to cause dollar inflation that exceeds the interest rate that lenders charge the US government. I heard a report this morning that much of US debt to China is at 6.5%. I can see Geithner now, rubbing his hands and saying, "Let's try an inflation rate of seven. No, seven and a half! Bwaaa, ha ha haaaaa!"

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2009 2:37 PM
But Keith thinks:

Seven? Seven and a half?

Optimist.

Posted by: Keith at November 16, 2009 5:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, he is. He'll try for seven and get fourteen.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2009 5:42 PM

November 13, 2009

"Very Fair"

Hat-tip: Heritage

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 8:02 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"We want to make sure that everyone has access to health care... We all have to do our part."

Yes, you will do your part to pay for everyone else, or she'll send you to jail.

To hell with that bitch. **** her.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 14, 2009 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Pelosi: "Do you think it's fair if somebody says, 'Well, I'm just not going to have it and if I get sick then I'll just go to the emergency room and send the bill, uh, to YOU.' That's my view on the subject."

Instead she wants ALL of us to send the bill to Robert "It's too expensive - we're gonna let you DIE" Reich.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2009 5:10 PM

On Fannie & Freddie

Blog brother Johngalt doesnt want me to waste my "single use magic history wand" on Fannie Mae because he'd prefer abolition of the 16th Amendment.

Decent point, jg, and a fun mental exercise. I was going to fix Dred Scott v Sandford in a work of historical fiction. All are problematical and I have no idea of the wand's range. (Stephen Fry's "Making History" is a fun read -- a Physics grad student open's just enough of a time hole to prevent Hitler's birth).

I claim that eliminating or retarding the growth of Fan & Fred is in range and for our present financial difficulties remains the best play. Edward Pinto, a former credit officer at Fannie Mae, implicates not only the GSE's but ACORN's involvement in crafting legislation:

The proposals of Acorn and other affordable-housing advocacy groups were acceptable to Fannie. Fannie had been planning to use the carrot of affordable-housing lending to maintain its hold over Congress and stave off its efforts to impose a strong safety and soundness regulator to oversee the company. (It was not until 2008 that a strong regulator was created for Fannie and Freddie. A little over a month later both GSEs were placed into conservatorship; they have requested a combined $112 billion in assistance from the federal government, and much more will be needed over the next few years.)

The result of loosened credit standards and a mandate to facilitate affordable-housing loans was a tsunami of high risk lending that sank the GSEs, overwhelmed the housing finance system, and caused an expected $1 trillion in mortgage loan losses by the GSEs, banks, and other investors and guarantors, and most tragically an expected 10 million or more home foreclosures.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Didja See This? Didja?

The Obama Administration is "Empowering Consumers" by taxing their health plans!

According to Phil Klein of the American Spectator, Christina Romer, head of President Obamas Council of Economic Advisers, had this to say today about the Senates proposed excise tax on high-end health insurance policies:

Part of the idea of how that is going to work is precisely because it does empower consumers. It empowers each of us to have an employer-sponsored plan to call our HR office and say, Would you negotiate harder? Would you think about (whether this) is the most efficient plan out there, because I dont want my plan paying an excise tax.' So I think thats something that is very much empowering consumers.


I was really empowered when I bought my 255' Yacht. I said "Hey, Skippy, what can we do to get the price down below the Luxury Tax?"

Where are these people from? You want empowerment, tax all heath plans and provide a personal deduction. But this spin makes me weep.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If you want real "empowerment," stop taxation. All of it. Otherwise you're merely minimizing the contraption called "government" by which some people live off others' labor.

"Not knowing who the particular individuals are, who call themselves 'the government,' the taxpayer does not know whom he pays his taxes to. All he knows is that a man comes to him, representing himself to be the agent of 'the government' – that is, the agent of a secret band of robbers and murderers, who have taken to themselves the title of 'the government,' and have determined to kill everybody who refuses to give to them whatever money they demand. To save his life, he gives up his money to this agent. But as the agent does not make his principles individually known to the taxpayer, the latter, after he gives up his money, knows no more who 'the government' – that is, who were the robbers – than he did before. To say, therefore, that by giving up his money to the agent, he entered into a voluntary contract with them, that he pledges himself to obey them, to support them, and to give them whatever money they should demand of him in the future, is simply ridiculous." - Lysander Spooner

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 13, 2009 4:04 PM

November 12, 2009

I'm a US Senator, Don't Ask About the Constitution!

What's Professor Reynolds's line? Our country is in the best of hands.

Hat-tip: Heritage

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

One wonders how many senators have read the Constitution in its entirety. Probably as many as have read the bills they've voted on.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 13, 2009 10:17 AM

Hope. Change. Record Deficits.

WSJ (News Pages):

WASHINGTON -- The federal government kicked off fiscal year 2010 by posting its widest-ever October budget deficit, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

The $176.36 billion gap is more than $20 billion wider than the shortfall recorded in October 2008, driven up by lower tax receipts, stimulus-related revenue reductions and consistently high government outlays.

Treasury's monthly budget statement shows receipts were $135.33 billion in October, down 18% from a year earlier and at the lowest level since October 2002. Meanwhile, outlays were $311.69 billion, down 3% from a year earlier and at their second-highest monthly level on record.


Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith thinks:

Step 1. Spend all the money you have and print more.

Step 2. ?????

Step 3. Prosperity!

(submitted as proof that gnomes are running this Administration's economic policies)

Posted by: Keith at November 12, 2009 7:21 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

This is truly the way, the only way. The only reason it isn't working now, like it isn't working in Zimbabwe, is because of all you racist white imperialists.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 13, 2009 9:08 AM

Quote of the Day

So now the mandate is like a tax? Which is it? I'm not exactly sure what's untrue about Rep. [Dave] Camp's statement. If you don't pay your taxes, what exactly happens? You go to jail. You dont get prosecuted in theory. Men with guns come to your home and take you away. -- John Stossel
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

Times ARE Bad

Steven Tyler Laid Off From Aerosmith As Band's Jobless Rate Hits 20% -- The Onion

The announcement of the largest-ever round of Aerosmith layoffs sent shock waves throughout the group, but band leaders said that four decades of perfect employment was "unrealistic" and that it was necessary to shed some of the graying, outmoded workforce.

"Explaining to a longtime Aerosmith employee that his or her job is being eliminated is one of the most difficult challenges we face in this business," Aerosmith manager Trudy Green said in a statement released this morning. "We thank Steven for his many years of loyal service, and wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Marginal Tax Rates

If the words put your friends to sleep, Professor Mankiw brings a picture:

implicit%20tax%20rates%202.png

And every time you do something nice for the poor, you make this worse. Then-Governor Bush campaigned in 2000 on "toll-booths to the middle class." We all have a gripe or two with President Fortythree, but he got it. President Obama obviously does not and I question how many GOP pols do.

This little picture says all the economics and it implies the morality of making people work through "The Dead Zone" for no gains.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Only government can make it so goddamn pathetic that you earn a little more but wind up with less net income, that earning $40K a year is only marginally better than mooching completely off taxpayers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 12, 2009 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ooh. Mister Presnit! Mister Presnit! I've found some waste and fraud for you to cut!

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2009 5:37 PM

Coffeehousin'

We always come back strong after a bye week! I have the first tune in a great guest video session with The Hoagies in the Tuesday guest slot. You're stuck with me solo for the headline act, but you get an incredible tune: Johnny Burke's "Pennies from Heaven."

banner4.gif

What's that url again jk? I forgot to write it down: liveatthecoffeehouse.com. More about The Hoagies at hoagiesjoint.com


Merle Hazzard

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw


November 11, 2009

Nice!

Reason Magazine has been a very vocal critic of recent missions, and a constant critic of anything that can be considered military expansionism or adventurism. But this is an awesome tribute to some guys who ensured many of the freedoms we argue over:

Hat-tip: Instapundit


Amazin'

Thomas "What's the Matter with Frank?" Kansas tries to fill Al Hunt's seat on the WSJ Editorial Page. As I've said, I have found him not quite up to the task, but I bet Al would be right with him on today's. Click on"

The Real Danger of 'One Big Regulator'

And read the subhead: "What if those in control don't believe in oversight?"

Yup, that's the problem, Mister Frank -- you put one guy in charge of the whole world and he might just sit around and never exercise his power. Clearly, thats why Monroe fought for tripartite government and a bicameral legislature: to make sure somebody got off their ass and told somebody else how/what to do.

UPDATE: Don Boudreaux answers more substantively that I did.

Even if we can imagine a super-regulator operating in ways that increase the efficiency and stability of financial markets, the prospect that he or she will be either inept or dishonest is far too great to risk concentrating such enormous power in a single person or agency. In practice we must reckon on realities and not on fantasies.

So in fact we must reckon on the allure of power to those who greedily crave authority over others; we must reckon on powers corrupting influence; and we must reckon on the imperfections that mar even the finest individuals knowledge and judgment. These unavoidable realities of the human condition will result in this One Big Regulator whose hands, at best only loosely tied, will be on all of the nations financial levers injecting into financial markets systematic risks far greater than those that already exist.


Hat-tip; John Stossel


Rent-Seeking

Reading an editorial, if I do not know the author, I always scroll to the end to tell me "who is saying this." I clicked on a WSJ editorial by Janet Trautwein titled "Why We Need a Strong Individual Mandate " Scroll to:

Ms. Trautwein is CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Now, I am not one who thinks that employment in a government research lab -- or oil company -- makes one's opinion or research on climate change irrelevant. But the head of a national trade association arguing for a Federal law requiring all subjects citizens to buy your product...let's say that's a little suspicious.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

You conspiracy theorist you.

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2009 3:31 PM

History

WSJ Ed Page:

"I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing." Representative Barney Frank, September 25, 2003

It was six years ago that Mr. Frank announced his famous dice roll on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the name of affordable housing. Mr. Frank got his wish, and the losses keep rolling in, with no end in sight as Washington finds new ways for the companies to serve political purposes.


If we cannot, as a nation, accept a general acceptance of Fannie and Fred's culpability in the current financial situation, liberty is dead.

You can argue about degree and the relative importance of other factors. But the more-government crowd says everything bad comes from too-little government. I remain convinced that if you could change just one thing with a magic history wand, Fannie and Fred would be the target.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:53 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

And I thought my brother-in-law was a high roller when he told me his table stake for a craps game is $1000. Barney Frank is gambling virtually the entire residential mortgage market of the United States by "rolling the dice a little bit." At least my relative uses HIS OWN MONEY.

But - surprise! - I'll disagree with jk on what one thing should be undone with the "Magic History Wand:" Sixteenth Amendment.

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2009 2:20 PM

On Kelo

Possibly the two greatest paragraphs ever written in all of bloggery.

The people who run your city, the politicians who are full of bright ideas for improving your life by infringing on others' rights, and the black-robed genius who is tasked with interpreting our founding documents; NONE of these people are smarter than you.

NONE of these people are gifted with superior insight on how better to run your life or use our native resources. But they believe that they are. So without the brake of morality or explicit law, these geniuses and pols and town busybodies will extend professional courtesy to each other as they go about dismantling your life for some dubious utopian idea.


Read it all.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

One quibble: "without the brake of individual liberty" would be better.

There's been too much "explicit law" that was well-intentioned but later usurped to undermine freedom, and law specifically meant to. A mere five "black-robed geniuses" cited what they deemed "explicit law" and let New London take Suzette Kelo's house. The health care "reform," if/once passed, would/will be "explicit law."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 11, 2009 2:17 PM

You Haven't Suffered Enough!

I don't know how many commercials are in this series; this is the second that Instapundit has posted. The first subject ended up coming to America for care, this woman got treatment after begging doctors for two years:

There's a BB King tune, he sings "Went down to the welfare office to get myself some grits and stuff. The woman said you ain't been around long enough! Everybody wants to know why I'm singin' the blues..." I cannot imagine hearing "you have not suffered long enough -- others have been on the list longer."

But of course that will not happen here: we Americans are so much kinder and more generous than Canadians and our government is so much more efficient than theirs -- no doubt our version of socialized medicine will rock!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

She deserved it! Single mom? What was she thinking? She should have had an abortion! Filthy breeders like this shouldn't get anything!

So let me get this straight - Canada's national health said she couldn't get treatment because "you aren't old enough." But Robert Reich said "if you're very old we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs ... it's too expensive so we're gonna let you die."

So you can be denied because you are too old OR because you're too young. Or too rich, poor, smart, dumb, white, black, fill-in-the-blank.

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2009 5:35 PM

November 10, 2009

Creepism of the Day

The Justice Department wants a list of IP addresses for a website:

In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.


They came for FOXNews and I was silent because I did not have cable...

Hat-tip: a friend of ThreeSources "sent from her iPhone."

But Keith thinks:

Correct answer to the DOJ: "When you pry it from my cold, dead event logger."

Most transparent administration EVAH!

Posted by: Keith at November 10, 2009 1:45 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

They are transparent, just not in the way Obama wants us to think. We can see right through, to the very core of his evil.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 10, 2009 2:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm heart-warmed yet not surprised the EFF is involved. No ACLU, though, huh. That's no shock.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 10, 2009 2:24 PM

Quote of the Day

The government's household survey (the one from which the unemployment rate of 10.2 percent comes) showed a "decline in employment" of 589,000 in October, which followed a 785,000 employment drop in September.

That number also includes people who say they retired and others who were fortunate enough to have died during the past month and no longer require a job. -- John Crudele, claiming the actual unemployment rate to be 22%


Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis (you have GOT to click and see his Twitter background).

Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

Whiteboard

Mister Gillespie is in form today:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:10 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 9, 2009

Somebody has to say something

The lead editorial in the WSJ today captures it pretty well:

The bill is instead a breathtaking display of illiberal ambition, intended to make the middle class more dependent on government through the umbilical cord of "universal health care." It creates a vast new entitlement, financed by European levels of taxation on business and individuals. The 20% corner of Medicare open to private competition is slashed, while fiscally strapped states are saddled with new Medicaid burdens. The insurance industry will have to vet every policy with Washington, which will regulate who it must cover, what it can offer, and how much it can charge.

We've lost our liberty and privacy, we've demolished the greatest engine of innovation for improving quality-of-life ever created, and we've signed up for complete middle-class serfdom. But THANK GOD for the work of those brave blue dog Democrats who stood tough and stripped out abortions!

I guess I am still enough of a partisan hack that I can at least appreciate the possible bloodbath for the Democrats in 2010. But this has come one step closer than I thought. I figured something would pass the House (the old line was "you could pass a ham sandwich in the House") but I did not expect anything this bad to pass.

On to the Senate. I am thinking of writing Senator Bennet today with a pledge to donate $1000 to his opponent if he votes for it. Good idea?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:


Agreed here: not sure what to do, but just as sure that something needs doing. I wrote Polis hoping he'd be more conscientious than politically short sighted (he's on record as being a deficit hawk, yes?).

Also agreed there's no point in writing Udall; he put his brains into a gov't bailed-out hedge long ago.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 10, 2009 12:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Is he? I'll take your word for it, nb. I guess I thought that Rep Polis was truly representing his constituency; I am guessing you and I are the only two people in his district that do not want gub'mint health care. I sat in on a telephone town hall and we are outliers.

Sen. Bennet would be the most vulnerable and the soonest up for election. I think that's a good place to put the screws.

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2009 3:24 PM

November 7, 2009

What are You In For, Kid?

"Not having health care."

PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail

JCT Confirms Failure to Comply with Democrats Mandate Can Lead to 5 Years in Jail
Friday, November 06, 2009

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain acceptable health insurance coverage and who choose not to pay the bills new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.


No surprise to ThreeSources, all government mandates are ultimately enforced by guns and jail time. I wonder that some enterprising 527 could not make a good TV commercial by juxtaposing this with footage of Then-Senator Obama ridiculing rival candidate Clinton for mandates.

Hat-tip: Ann Althouse who asks "Is this what the Democrats mean to inflict on the unsuspecting public that believes it is getting health care? What chaos lies ahead?"

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [8]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Don't knock it, there is free health care in prison.

Sigh, will we ever see realistic discussion on what kind of health care should be provided IF we go down the path of supporting it with taxes? The $15K/year quoted is based upon a current health plan with coverage for doctor's visits and prescriptions. Again I look at my auto insurance (required by law) that includes $500K of bodily injury coverage for about $1K/year. I also pay for fire department coverage in my property taxes, but the fire department does not come out and trim my trees or apply a yearly fire retardant to my roof. Nor do they clean up or pay for water damage if they should have to extinguish a fire in my home.

Sadly this would require our wonderful members of Congress to stand up to the insurance industry, and I see two chances of this happening, fat and slim.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 8, 2009 10:41 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Sadly this would require our wonderful members of Congress to stand up to the insurance industry, and I see two chances of this happening, fat and slim."

Do you really think the insurance industry has power over Congress, not the other way around? The only "health insurance industry" we have right now is the state-by-state monopolies that Congress so graciously permits.

As has been stated here and on countless other blogs, no small part of the problem is that leftists want everything covered, effectively down to the tiniest sneeze. Couple that with massive pay reductions (the only way socialized medicine can "save costs"), and maybe we'll have our own when doctors and nurses quit.

It's been asked often, "Once we have socialized medicine, where will Canadians go?" And how will they get cheaper pharmaceuticals? A major part of the health care "reform" is that the feds will force down drug prices. But right now Americans subsidize Canadian prices, because of Canadian price controls. Americans are willing and able to pay extra for our medicines, even though a foreign government is screwing us, so Canadians are getting a free ride from us. However, when our own government "negotiates" the lower prices, oops: our pharmaceutical manufacturers won't make enough of a profit to sell the drugs, or create new ones. Game over.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 8, 2009 11:50 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Do I really think that health insurance companies have power over Congress? Yes. Money is power. You don't get to have congressional power without being in Congress. You don't get to be in Congress without getting elected, and you don't get elected without money. That money buys influence because it can be withheld. Legislation can be written to push more of that $15K/year into the coffers of private insurance companies. Those companies are not losing money by providing more coverage, on the contrary, the more elaborate the coverage they can supply, the more money they make. They have no interest in having mandated coverage if that means smaller coverage plans. More profitable to provide $15K plans or nothing.

Pharmaceutical research and manufacturing is actually worse than you indicate as US regulations are forcing R&D to Europe. We support the price controlled countries drug costs and lose the jobs and tax base provided by R&D.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 8, 2009 12:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You're confusing money and influence with actually having power. Lobbyists use money to influence legislators, but there is no guarantee it will get them anywhere. Think about it: Microsoft, sitting on tens of billions in cash reserves, couldn't stop the anti-trust investigations. Money is no guarantee of power.

Insurers, that is, existing insurers would like everyone to be forced to buy plans from someone, but that isn't going to happen. Why hasn't it happened already? Because the intent all along has been no less than the "public option," because leftists don't believe in private insurance. Leftists want the government to control health care.

"That money buys influence because it can be withheld."

Lobbyists don't withhold money; they try to spend more than the competition. What you're thinking about are endorsements, typically from union groups, and that money flows in the reverse: a teacher's union will support a candidate with the expectation of getting lucrative contracts.

And yes, I know the dire situation of pharmaceuticals. I was only making one small point about when pharmaceutical companies shrug with care-givers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 8, 2009 8:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Silence finds the diamond: the trouble with health insurance is that it ain't insurance -- it's prepaid medical. I'd bend his analogy worse and say it's like if auto insurance covered gas and oil changes.

But I will argue with his (sorry, sd) "Democratic Talking Points" that big money insurance companies are the culprit. Sure, there's some rent-seeking behavior and most of the current players probably do not want the rollicking interstate competition that we do. But I have to think that some (rhymes with Lauren Stuff-it) could see the opportunity.

I am far more concerned about the nannies and the small time special interests that have ensured that every policy covers aromatherapy, acupuncture, chiropracty, &c. Without going into the merits of each, sensible people might pick a less expensive policy that covers, oh let's say, doctors and hospitals, with otehr treatments to be paid out-of-pocket.

The opposition to Geico health plans that we both want are not the evil, profit bound, heartless insurance companies. The roadblock is nannies who want to use health care to control our lives.

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2009 10:07 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Did I ever mention how safe I feel that New York State mandates that my health insurance cover uterine cancer and hysterectomies?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 9, 2009 1:07 PM

November 6, 2009

I Saved or Created 11 Jobs Today!

Pretty good day for me. I completed a project that will keep my boss from being fired. Then I refrained from sending ten emails accusing my coworkers of embezzlement and sexual harassment that could have got them all fired. So I am counting myself as up eleven.

Not quite as good as North Chicago:

More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.

Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.

"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187.

The Obama administration last week released the first round of data designed to underpin the worthiness of its economic stimulus plan, which so far has directed $1.25 billion to Illinois schools. That money has helped save or create 14,330 school jobs in the state, the administration claimed.


This got me thinking of CNN News-whatchamacallit Susan Roesgen, thinking a tea partier was insane because Illinois was lined up to get so much Federal Jack -- surely Lincoln would approve:

And it's saved more jobs than there are!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:42 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the stimulus "saved" 10% of the workforce, or 29 teachers jobs. At that rate, it cost $162,000 to save each $60K job. And no, I haven't forgotten my Bastiat...

But they'll rock at healthcare!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 9, 2009 12:00 PM

A Few Districts in the Old Dominion

It's Friday and jk is linking to Kim Strassel.

She looks at a few districts in Virginia, compares their 2008 and 2009 voting patterns, and proclaims a tipping point on heath care and the entire Obama agenda:

The White House and the congressional leadership saw this coming, and it is why Speaker Nancy Pelosi is force-marching her health bill to a vote tomorrow. She's not about to give her members time to absorb the ugly results, or to be further rattled by next week's Veteran's Day break, when they go home for a repeat of the August furies. If not now, she knows, maybe never.

Look for it, nonetheless, to be a squeaker. A lot of Democrats are getting a sneaky suspicion Mrs. Pelosi is willing to sacrifice their seats on the altar of liberal government health care. Combined with the election results and Mr. Obama's falling poll numbers, this is no recipe for loyalty. Hello, tipping point. Hello, even crazier Washington.


Awesome as usual.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 5, 2009

Freedom on the March

Sad that President Obama could not find the time to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin. But glad Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed a joint session of Congress:

[F]or me America seemed completely out of reach . . . then on the 9th of November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell.

And this border which had divided a nation, for decades, keeping people in two different worlds, was now open. And this is why for me, today is first and foremost a time to say thank you.

I thank all those American and Allied pilots who heard and heeded the desperate appeal of then-Mayor of Berlin Ernst Reuter, in 1948, who said, you, the nations of this world, cast your eyes towards the city.

For months, these pilots flew food to Berlin for the airlift, saving the citizens from starvation. Many of these soldiers risked their lives. Dozens lost their lives. We shall remember and honor them forever . . .

I think of John F. Kennedy, who won the hearts of the Berliners, when, during his visit in 1961, after the wall had been built, he reached out to the desperate citizens of Berlin by saying, "Ich bin ein Berliner." I think of Ronald Reagan, who, far earlier than most, clearly saw the sign of the times and, standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, already in 1987, called out, "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." This appeal shall remain forever in my heart.


Third Bush Term

Here's another rousing cheer for the Obama Administration: American Magazine says that he will be continuing "the failed policies of the Bush Administration" for Four More Years!

Reading the climate-change news in recent weeks, one might wonder who won the last election.

The Obama administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol (ensuring it will expire), adopted some of former President George W. Bushs key positions in international climate negotiations, and demurred when asked about reports that the president has decided to skip the December climate summit in Copenhagen. United Nations climate negotiator Yvo de Boer has concluded that it is unrealistic to expect the conference to produce a new, comprehensive climate treatywhich also describes the once-fond hopes for passage of domestic climate legislation this yearor even in Obamas first term.


One Year

One year after the election, he's still campaigning.

Obama Administration Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:13 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Do you suppose he'll campaign for re-election 3 years hence on the same theme? Or even a year from now, stump for more Democrats in Congress to "help me recover from what Bush did for the last 8... uh, 8 of the last 10 years?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2009 3:09 PM

George Orwell Call Your Office

John Nolte at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood has 11 of these, he ranks from Really, Really Bad to Worst. But I demand a recount, none were worse than this:


Barack Obama there is none higher
Other politicians should call me sire
To burn my kingdom you must use fire
I create change till I retire!

Democratic Party come correct
Our cuts are on time our rhymes connect
Got the right to vote and will elect
Others cant feel us but give us respect

Now I walked through crowds, shook many hands
Spent my time saying YES WE CAN!
I stood on many stages, held many mics
Took airplane flights at great heights
PA and Jersey, I won that fight

Chicago Illinois was so hype
Moving so strong
Biden joined the fight
Now we are a team and we ignite!

Now I crash through walls,
Cut through floors,
Burst through ceilings
Knock down doors.

He is George
And Im Turan
Were never far behind
In class we shine
For every living person
With dreams and plans

Keep hope alive
Think Yes We Can

Were the baddest of the bad
The cool of the cool
Im Barack
I rock and rule.

Im Joe. I rock and rule.
Its not a trick or treat or April fools,
Its all brand new
With a little old school.

Weve got the music and the message
For all my friends.
Check us out on the internet,
Load and send.

Music aint nothing
but a peoples jam.
Its President Obama

Rockin with the band!


Nice telecaster, though...

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

Quote of the Day

Chrysler to break out new "Ram" line of trucks. If they'd called it the Rahm line I'd really start to worry about politicization. ... -- Mickey Kaus. Who knew a pundit that mixed automobiles and politics would become so vital?
Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

Happy Days are Here Again

You just get dizzy comparing press coverage of the economy before and after Jan 20, 2009: AP:

New jobless claims drop to 512K, lowest since Jan.

WASHINGTON The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level in 10 months, evidence that job cuts are easing as the economy slowly heals.


Only a half million new unemployment claims this month (well, a little more but who's counting). I guess all the Stimulus worked!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

During the 2001 recession, leftist economists and pundits looking to blame Bush often claimed that jobless claims above 400,000 meant that unemployment was increasing, and anything below 400,000 meant unemployment was decreasing.

I don't know if that was actually true, but let's hold them to their own standard. The population is about 7.7% larger today. Correspondingly, why aren't the same economists and pundits talking about jobless claims above 430K indicating rising unemployment?

Which, of course, means that "512K, lowest since Jan." is very grim news.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 5, 2009 12:09 PM
But jk thinks:

It seems even during the expansion, the same AP would tsk, tsk the addition of 200K jobs. So, plus 200 was subpar, negative 500 is cause to pop the corks!

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2009 12:26 PM

November 4, 2009

Jobs Saved

I don't think any ThreeSourcers were fooled by the "jobs saved or created:" lingo, but I'll recommend Prof Mankiw or The Everyday Economist for serious debunking.

Me, I'll just enjoy some anecdotal evidence :

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

Or:
Moore's slice of the stimulus came in an $889.60 order from the Army Corps of Engineers for nine pairs of work boots for a stimulus project.

Moore says hes been supplying the Corps with boots for at least two decades. This year, because he provided safety shoes for work funded by the stimulus package, he said he got a call from the Corps telling him he had to fill out a report for Recovery.gov detailing how hed used the $889.60, and how many jobs it had helped him to create or save. He later got another call, asking him if hed finished the report.

"The paperwork was unreal," said Moore, who added that he tried to figure out how to file the forms online, then gave up and asked his daughter to help.

But johngalt thinks:

Don't you see, Moore's is the job that was "saved" and his daughter's was the job "created." He's cranky now but wait until the IRS contacts him about failure to withold from his daughter's paychecks. Hint: In-kind payment still has a dollar value.

Honestly, all of the government jobs to count the Stimulus "benefit" is the main source of job creation.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2009 3:00 PM

November 3, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

We have not had too much good news, I will make the most of it.

Blue Dogs would be dog-foolish to ignore the off year elections. Now, Leader Reid says they'll debate health care while looking down the barrel of midterms.

WASHINGTON In a blow to the White House, the Senate's top Democrat signaled Tuesday that Congress may fail to meet a year-end deadline for passing health care legislation, leaving the measure's fate to the uncertainties of the 2010 election season.

UPDATE: James Pethokoukis 10 quick observations about Election Day, 2009

UPDATE II: Michael Barone underscores that the results imperil health care legislation:

I cannot imagine that Congressmen Nye, Perriello, Connally and Boucher have not already accessed the websites which have shown the position of their constituents in a contest which, while like all governorship contests has its own specific features, was also in its contrast on issue positions reasonably congruent with those prevailing on national issues. And I can certainly respond with sympathy if any or all of these incumbents responded to these numbers with a two-word comment of which I will relay only the first word which is, Oh.

The 2009 election results are certainly not going to make it easy for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to round up the needed 218 votes for Democrats health care bills.


He also mentions Westchester County, a race that brought a cautiously optimistic email from Perry.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:17 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Terri thinks:

Longmont, to me, was as big as VA and NJ as far as a ray of sunshine in this country! Tonight the grownups won and won in a big way here.

Posted by: Terri at November 4, 2009 12:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Longmont race news here:
http://www.timescall.com/news_story.asp?ID=19036

I don't know any of the Longmont candidates or positions but I did very much like this report:

"Boulder County voters also appear to be turning down the request to extend an open space tax."

Proving you can fool most Boulder County people only 19 out of 20 times.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2009 1:18 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


What was with Benker, and a lawsuit against Firestone?!? I've been out of the State for nearly half the year, so have no idea what's been going on to the town just north of "my town."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 4, 2009 11:26 AM
But Terri thinks:

Short version:

A megachurch bought land east of Longmont and wanted to develop it and annex to Longmont. Longmont said yes. A petition was started to say no and elections held in 2008 ended up in a new council changing their minds and saying no.

The church said, "Ok" and convinced Firestone to annex the land.

Then there is something with multiple annexations and rights of ways, but bottom line, the old city council was suing to keep Firestone away from the Longmont border.

Posted by: Terri at November 4, 2009 1:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of good news, this 2-week old Karen Travers post on Jake Tapper's 'Political Punch' is the 2nd "most Dugg" story on ABCnews.com.

"Vice President Joe Biden said today that if Democrats were to lose 35 House seats they currently hold in traditionally Republican districts, it would mean doomsday for President Obama’s agenda.

Biden said Republicans are pinning their political strategy on flipping these seats.

“If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do,” the vice president said at a fundraiser for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) today in Greenville, Delaware."

I hope they continue to push just as hard next year for climate change schemes and healthcare reforms, but with exactly the same degree of legislative success.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2009 3:15 PM

More to life than politics

I love this country! Hat-tip: Galley Slaves

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:37 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Don't forget .357 Magnum Santa!

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2009 6:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, I'll just have to go back!

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2009 1:19 AM
But Keith thinks:

jk: Arnold's Rule of Gunfights #8: never go into a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with at least a four. If you're looking for a recommendation, I'm a big fan if the Sig Sauer P229 DAK in the .40 flavor.

I'd ask Santa for that Mossberg Model 590 I've been drooling over, but I already know which of his two lists I'm on this year, and it would be futile.

TOTALLY loved the anvil video - and couldn't help thinking that somewhere in the New Mexico desert, there's a skinny coyote who's sure to find himself in its path once gravity asserts itself. I should probably have the print shop gin up his little sign...

Posted by: Keith at November 4, 2009 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

Keith, my people will have enough firepower. I just don't like to get my hands dirty...

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2009 12:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And gunfights aren't the only uses for handguns. Anyone who's read "Unintended Consequences" knows the utility of the lowly .22 LR.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2009 2:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Just what we needed, one more thing to fight about.

Wikipedia reports muzzle velocities of up to 1600 ft/sec on high load defense .357 Magnum cartridges, versus 1175 for the highest grain .40 S&W. Let the games begin!

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2009 4:35 PM

Quote of the Day Dos

Mister Taranto is in rare form today:

Virginia is one of two states that elect statewide officials a year after presidential elections, and in the governor's race, Republican Bob McDonnell looks to win big over Democrat Creigh Deeds. (We're not sure whether Creigh rhymes with "gay" or "brie.")

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

Boom and Bust?

In last Thursday's Quote of the Day Veronique de Rugy described how America is more and more resembling an Ayn Rand novel. (I think we all know which novel she refers to.) She correctly identified "crony capitalism" as the culprit and government manipulation as an essential ingredient for said cronyism but I took her to task for her examples: Bailouts. Not to defend government bailouts but the best example of crony capitalism I can think of at the moment is how the mortgage crisis was 100 percent engineered by government regulation.

Brother Silence agreed in the comments, saying that government made sure the banks made loans that were not discriminatory against the poor (because we all know it's not their poorness that keeps them from repaying their debt?) But I was befuddled when our good brother lept from this obviously flawed economic transaction - flawed from the standpoint of a private lender ever receiving his principal back, with or without interest - to blame the mortgage meltdown on "the boom and bust effect." There is no denying the fact that financial professionals did their level best to profit from the preordained train wreck set in motion by our friends on the Senate Banking Committee, among others, but is it not also obvious to everyone that without said foolish lending "thou shalts" the opportunity wouldn't have existed in the first place?

The only way for government to fix the economy is to stop "fixing" the economy. Or am I mistaken?

UPDATE: I also meant to include excerpts from this Robert Skidelsky article I found on boom/bust cycles:

It is impossible to imagine a continuous gale of creative destruction taking place except in a context of boom and bust. Indeed, early theorists of business cycles understood this.

(...)

These are efficient responses to changes in real wages. No intervention by government is needed. Bailing out inefficient automobile companies such as General Motors only slows down the rate of progress. In fact, whereas most schools of economic thought maintain that one of government's key responsibilities is to smooth the cycle, "real" business-cycle theory argues that reducing volatility reduces welfare!

It is hard to see how this type of theory either explains today's economic turbulence, or offers sound instruction about how to deal with it. First, in contrast to the dot-com boom, it is difficult to identify the technological "shock" that set off the boom. Of course, the upswing was marked by super-abundant credit. But this was not used to finance new inventions: it was the invention. It was called securitised mortgages. It left no monuments to human invention, only piles of financial ruin.

There are those pesky bailouts again! But Skidelsky's point is that it's hard to have a boom-bust cycle in something where there is no production to boom and then bust.

But jk thinks:

I do remember the comment. I considered it a duty of the blog to reply with a link to Austrian Business Cycle Thoery nad you have caught me in my failure.

Here's a nice, short and accessible overview from the Mises Institute.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2009 3:44 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Remember, "financial professionals" does not necessarily mean, and today typically does not mean, "free-market capitalists."

I had been working off and on on quite a lengthy comment to what you guys had left there, but I found my work PC rebooted one morning and lost the Notepad session I was using to write the comment offline. I'll do it this week sometime.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 3, 2009 4:16 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

No boom and bust? I bet there are a whole bunch of home builders who would disagree. Doesn't Austrian theory basically state that boom and bust comes when more capital is invested in an area of the economy than it can support long term? Demand to get in causes prices to rise above a point that can be sustained, and when the price drops back to that level a bust has occurred. Did the dot-com boom really leave monuments to human invention? Pets.com? More people planning on advertising on the web than selling products?

My overall but possibly not well stated point was that the base role of Federal monetary policy, at least since the late 1800's, is to attempt to smooth the boom and bust cycle that really is part of capitalism. The question is how much you can do this without destroying the power of capitalism.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 8, 2009 11:59 AM

Quote of the Day

Tim Flannery, the jet-setting doomsaying global warm-monger from down under, was in Ottawa the other day promoting his latest eco-tract, and offered a few thoughts on Copenhagenwhich is transnational-speak for Decembers UN Convention on Climate Change. We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen, remarked professor Flannery. We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society. -- Mark Steyn in a home run column on enviro-totalitarianism.
Hat-tip: A good friend of ThreeSources by email.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 2, 2009

A Philosophical Ramble

Ulysses Grant drops an interesting line in his (awesome, awesome, awesome) autobiography. He says -- during an uncharacteristic digression in the middle of military history -- that he "always thought the South could profit from defeat." He explains that the Confederate States were built on an inferior economic system and that both slaves and non-property holding whites would be better off under the North's economic system.

I'd suggest that the bulk of the country today, myself included, agrees with that. I got to wondering why "enforcing our values and way of life" is accepted for slave-holding States who were following the United States Constitution, but it was not acceptable for us to impose those same values on the indigenous peoples of America who had generally far worse governments than Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama. Im very sympathetic to those who feel that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were forced on the returning States. But I think that is a procedural question, the abolition of chattel slavery by force is accepted mainstream thought.

This is the kind of thought that will ensure that I never hold elective office. If anybody wants to throw their futures away in the comments, I'd be extremely interested.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 6:43 PM | What do you think? [3]
But T. Greer thinks:

I got to wondering why "enforcing our values and way of life" is accepted for slave-holding States who were following the United States Constitution, but it was not acceptable for us to impose those same values on the indigenous peoples of America who had generally far worse governments than Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Simple: because we never did such thing in the first place?

Lets take the Cherokee as an example. We did not enforce our values on the Cherokoee. Heck, they tried their best to emulate the Western example, inventing a syllabary alphabet, published their own newspaper, built upwards of 60 black smith shops, and wrote their own constitution. How did we reward the adoption of our ways? We killed their leaders, took their land, and forced them to move a thousand miles away to federally defined and enforced reservations.

Forgive me for sounding like Howard Zinn, but this is exactly what we did. We did not play the role of a benign enforcer of proper morality and governance. Following the Jackson administration, we took indigenous property, broke treaties with indigenous peoples, and destroyed the liberty of indigenous peoples. We did not impose values. We betrayed them.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 2, 2009 10:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Can't argue. I'm most disappointed with the abrogation of treaties (and the 11th Amendment denying them a chance at redress). I don't think Howard Zinn and your local History Professor would agree that we should have simply conquered and forced assimilation.

But the real anger at American policy that I read and see is not that -- it is the subjugation of their lifestyle: our (and it's always second person) enforcing our values on another culture. Who are we?

In my darker moments, I answer that "we" were the guys who created the free business climate that enables Sam Colt to invent interchangeable parts.

Reading about Tecumseh's brother, "The Shawnee Prophet," I have been held captive by the disconnect between the numinous native American of today's history and media compared with the reality of tribal rule that recognized no minority rights and was less of a stranger to atrocities than our history.

It's quite possible that I have rebelled against the Kevin Costner vision too far and have lost center. It doesn't help that the topic is so taboo I feel guilty typing this. There's no search for truth.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2009 11:30 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Fair enough. Your right of course -- if the Indians owned slaves (some of the afore mentioned Cherokee did, oddly enough), the men in blue would not be celebrated for forcing a "more just value system" upon the Indians.

Along a similar vein of thought is this: if the slaves of early American republic were multiracial, would academics still be so angry about the subject? At times I can't help but think that it is not the restriction of liberty the racism of the slavers that so disgusts progressive-types.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 4, 2009 11:15 PM

Quote of the Day

Malaria is only weakly related to temperature; it is strongly related to poverty. It has risen in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years not because of global warming, but because of failing medical response. The mainstay treatment, chloroquine, is becoming less and less effective. The malaria parasite is becoming resistant, and there is a need for new, effective combination treatments based on artemisinin, which is unfortunately about 10 times more expensive.

Mr. Samson is right to ask what spending money on global warming could do for him and his family. The truthful answer? Very little. For a lot less, we could achieve a lot more. -- Bjorn Lomborg

But Keith thinks:

Well, hell. All this time I've been thinking that the rise in sub-Saharan Africa of malaria was the result of the refusal to kill the mosquitos with DDT - an inexpensive and highly effective mosquito slayer, far more so than the highly entertaining Bug-Zapper™ on my back porch. By all means, if malaria is strongly related to poverty, then by all means, we must transfer untold boatloads of American wealth to Africa to rid the continent of the scourge of malaria.

Somebody had to say it. May as well be me.

Posted by: Keith at November 2, 2009 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Complete agreement on malaria and DDT. But that is one of the things that makes Lomborg so significant: he believes in global warming, he is not against a bit of wealth redistribution, he's a gay European environmentalist!

This underscores his belief that there are far better things to focus on than global warming. I enjoyed his personification of Samson -- environmentalists love to care for mythic aggregations at the expense of real individual people. I never mind reminding people of that.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2009 6:43 PM

A: Eleventy-One!

Q: Frodo, how many new bureaucracies would be created by Speaker Pelosi's new health care bill?

Hat-tip: @mkhammer

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Worst Bill Evah

"The health bill [Speaker Pelosi] unwrapped last Thursday, which President Obama hailed as a 'critical milestone,' may well be the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced." So begins a long and thoughtful editorial in the Wall Street Journal today -- and it does not let up from there.

The editors enumerate its flaws and suggest -- rightfully -- that the flaws are features, not bugs: the goal is to complete FDR's vision.

Mr. Obama rode into office on a wave of "change," but we doubt most voters realized that the change Democrats had in mind was making health care even more expensive and rigid than the status quo. Critics will say we are exaggerating, but we believe it is no stretch to say that Mrs. Pelosi's handiwork ranks with the Smoot-Hawley tariff and FDR's National Industrial Recovery Act as among the worst bills Congress has ever seriously contemplated.

Full of choir preachin' for ThreeSourcers, but if you are looking for a serious article to share with someone in the other side, this one is very very good.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Don't click this. Comments (2)