December 31, 2009

The Third Way in Iran

Not quite 8 pm Eastern yet. Still time for at least one more serious post of 2009...

Today Charles Krauthammer predicted that 2010 will be the year of Iran, and that one of three events will come to pass: Israel will launch a military attack against Iran's nuclear sites, Iran will succeed in developing the bomb, or a popular revolution will unseat the theocratic regime and effectively end the Iranian nuclear threat.

Adding weight to the third of these options was Tim Ghami of the Colorado Iranian American Community organization [no website found.] He was the guest of Tom Tancredo who guest hosted for Mike Rosen on Denver KOA radio this morning. In the last quarter of the third hour Tim said this:

What's important for the listeners to understand is that the Iranian people are capable of removing this government. They don't need a dollar, they don't need a soldier, they don't need anything. All they need is just the moral support. Exactly what the people are chanting on the street - President Obama, which side are you on? Are you on the side of the people or are you on the side of the government? Do you want to have a dialog with the Iranian people or do you want to have a dialog with the person who wants to wipe out Israel off the earth? Do you want to have a dialog and have a long-term relationship with the Iranian people or do you want to have a relationship with the person who is killing innocent citizens of the Iranian country?

Seems like a simple enough question to me.

Just prior to this Tim discussed the secular nature of the 95% muslim nation he grew up in prior to the Islamist revolution and described them as friendly to the west, the international community, and to freedom.

UPDATE: I also intended to excerpt the passage when they discussed Iran as the "root" of radical Islamic terrorism worldwide and how vital it is to Western interests [read: capitalist, individualist] that the theocracy be overthrown. Continue below...

Tancredo also asked Tim if instead of playing terrorist "whack-a-mole" it would be more effective to kill the roots of terrorism that are firmly established in Iran. "Now you're saying the root of terrorism is in Tehran, it is the leadership, but is that the root of the entire radical Islamic movement? ... If the government of Iran topples, if the mullahs are thrown out, if some democratic institutions are put into place, if they are non-sectarian and not even based on Sharia law - if all of that could happen how could we feel safer in that knowledge? Would it, in fact, end our fear of, or the threat of radical Islam?"

Ghami - "Yes it will. The reason for that is that we mentioned earlier that 80 percent of the international terrorism the Iranian regime is either directly or indirectly involved. We also must understand that for the first time, about 30 years ago, the Islamic fundamentalist force for the first time was able to capture a state and take over a government. Keep in mind that Iran is a wealthy nation, unlimited source of funds, natural resources, money and all of that. That the most evil global threat, a force that has targeted western civilization for the first time...

[Tancredo interrupts for emphasis.]

The leaders of the Iranian government in numerous occasion have said that they are the alternative to western civilization. And that's why, when you keep that in mind, that their activities would make sense in that context. They've spent millions of dollars sending funds to Palestine and Israel to make that area unstable. They're doing the same thing in Iraq. They're doing the same thing in Lebanon. Their entire motive is to cause instability for western civilization and of course they do that by oppressing the Iranian people which is the number one enemy to this regime."

Iran Posted by JohnGalt at 7:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Avatar: Reincarnating the Same Old Story

With a teenage son facinated by mythical creatures and scifi, the movie "Avatar" (starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver) was a holiday must-see for The Refugee Clan. Although the 3-D special effects were at times vivid, the movie itself was nothing more than yet-another-attack-on-the-military-and-capitalism.

The Refugee would normally post a "plot spoiler" warning at this point, but there really is no plot to spoil. Avatar is the revenge of the American Indian, Custer's Last Stand and "Dances with Wolves" all wrapped into one. In the movie, the US military-industrial complex (which are indistinquishable as entities) has colonized a remote planet for the purposes of mining "unattainium," which sells for $20 million per kilo on planet Earth. The indigenous peoples, who happen to have braided hair, ride winged horse-like steeds, shoot bows and arrows, have shamans and speak a language that sounds remarkably like Lakota, coincidentally reside over the largest deposit of unattainium on the planet. The "company" wants the military, a bunch of ex-Marine mercenaries, to move the people from their sacred, ancestral homeland at any cost. The blood-thirsty ex-Marine commander is only too happy to do so, especially if he can kill them all with "shock and awe." He is completely unconcerned about women and children being in the way. How the movie progresses is not worth relating. Suffice it to say that the evil capitalists are vanquished from the planet forever and the local people become one with the environment.

Avatar, as work of art, is bereft of value because it adds nothing to the discourse. It is, frankly, left-wing propaganda packaged to appeal to a young audience. While not denying nor condoning the sometimes horrific treatment suffered by Indians at the hands of the US government (e.g., the Sand Creek Massacre), The Refugee labels this movie as a loser. It is just another ad hominem attack on the US, our military, our history and capitalism-as-greed. Balance and perspective are irrelevant to the producers. The similes are cheesy (i.e., "unattainium), the story plotless and the characters completely predictable. That the producers would intentionally propagandize to young minds in this way is deplorable. The Refugee is unhappy to have patronized this endeavor to contribute to the profit that the producers so apparently abhor. Perhaps his experience can serve as a warning to others.

Review Corner Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [9]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee would refer XX to the example of the gentleman who started the company that he and many of us in this discourse either do or have worked for. No one would disagree that said gentleman started it to create his own wealth (to great success). But, think of the tens of millions of payroll dollars the company has paid to hundreds of employees over the past 30 years. Is this not an intersection of self-interest and the benefit of others? Moreover, if this entrepreneur announced tomorrow that henceforth all wages would be sent to the poor in Africa in the name of "social justice," would XX work another minute for the company? Would that make XX "selfish?"

None of this is original thought to Three Sourcers, but something that XX should consider.

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

Perfectly put, br. And all of that despite paying confiscatory tax rates to various governments every step of the way. Those governments serve the "greater" good of others and the public, don't they XX? Isn't that good enough for you? Would any amount of altruism ever be good enough to satisfy your sanctimonious vanity? (You might reword that last bit jk.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2010 12:28 AM
But jk thinks:

Not a bad example, br. (By the way, xx has gone on to greener pastures, so he would likely applaud my CEO's giving away all our wages to the poor. Please do not put such ideas in his head...)

Prompted by his question, I did a lengthy exegesis (familiar to all ThreeSourcers) about Bill Gates. It started "One of my favorite topics. I hope that the Gateses do less harm giving their money away than Mister G did good earning it." And ended "So you're right. Gates harms the world through altruism and betters it substantively through a ferocious self-interest. Do we want to reward intentions or results?"

Posted by: jk at January 1, 2010 11:41 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

I enjoyed the movie. But then again, I think I have a higher tolerance for movies that do not match well with my ideology the other folks here. ^_~


On a more serious note, I was incredibly impressed with the film's visuals. It was a visual spectacle of the likes I have not yet seen. (I did see it in 3d, fwi.) The film's premise, that of the "avatars", intrigued me. So did a couple of the film's other ideas -- an ecology that is neurally integrated, and the idea of a 22nd century space traveling Dutch East India Company gave me food for thought.

Were the movie fails, I think, is in its villains. I did not find the grizzled, lets-slay-some-natives-before-breakfast, former marine to be realistic, to say nothing of the cookie-cutter evil corporate executive. Both were flatter than a rice wafer, and about as interesting to boot. The businessman, in particular, seemed to be nothing but caricature of what the typical hard-leftist thinks greedy stock-watching businessmen should be like. His behavior makes no sense in any other way; I sincerely doubt that such a man would be successful in the real world, much less a future trading colony in 2150.

(It is all the sadder really, because there was so much room to make the character interesting. I was hoping they would pull a Firefly and make him Chinese, but nope, they needed to whitewash the Evil capitalist's staff.)

So, in sum: Clever premise, amazing artwork, bad implementation. I say 3.5 stars.

if you only have enough time to see one movie, pass this one up and see Holmes. That film gets a 5.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 1, 2010 7:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I'm going to stand up for the other folks around here.

I have no trouble reading Steinbeck or seeing an intelligent movie that does not match my beliefs. Nor do I think anyone will question the art and spectacle. I 'spect I'll see it when it comes out on DVD.

But the downside you describe is aggravating because Hollywood doesn't even bother to give enough real thought to my beliefs to make my villains interesting.

Posted by: jk at January 1, 2010 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Why, whatever do you mean? tg's description of the Hollywood depiction of soldiers and businessmen sounds precisely like the descriptions lefties recite about the real counterparts.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2010 12:23 AM

Wow!

Nice YouTube:

Hat-tip: Don Luskin, who calls it THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S NEW APPROACH TO AIR SECURITY

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

J-Train

I don't watch the TV show, but it was down to finishing some work or following Instapundit's link to the Jersey Shore Nickname Generator 1, 2, 3:

Your Jersey Shore nickname is: J-Train

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

P-Gel, The Tricep, The Hands Team, Bones?

It should be self-evident why, when I travel through NJ on my way to wherever, I just keep going and try not to stop.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 31, 2009 2:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Man, I never thought I'd hear "The Tricep" say that -- youse?

Posted by: jk at December 31, 2009 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My "Tiger Woods mistress" is Brandy Hopkins, a 27 year-old orthopedist from Revere, MA.

A much more fulfilling cyber generator.

Posted by: johngalt at December 31, 2009 5:19 PM
But Keith thinks:

K-Tan? The Body? The Sausage Party? Whiskey-tango-foxtrot?

jg, it looks like you and I traveled together to Revere, but at least yours isn't jailbait. I could make it worth your while to make sure that Cecile - and the law - don't find out about 19-year-old receptionist Tiff Jones.

Maybe I should have told the thing my name was Roman Polanski.

Posted by: Keith at December 31, 2009 6:08 PM

A ThreeSources Christmas Story

I found this story very funny, sweet and strangely moving. Catholics past present and future will get several good chuckles.

I won't excerpt: read it coast to coast or move on. But the author, one "Robin in Berkeley," is a Jew who goes to Mass on Christmas with plans to hide in the back pew and observe. Things don't exactly work out as she planned.

The same author has another interesting post about hypocrisy and insular mentality at Obama-cheerleading churches. That was the hook that grabbed, but the Christmas Story really got me.

Happy New Year!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

December 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Faith/Echo

Ms. Eliza Dushku is 29 today, One commenter wishes "her present wasn't a canceled TV show she worked so diligently on."

Did anybody know Faith's last name was Lehane? Now that's a trivia question.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 7:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin' out the decade

The A-Team of Kurt O and Brooke are in the coffeehouse with one of my favorite seasonal songs:"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (Frank Loesser, 1947).

banner4.gif

liveatthecoffeehouse.com.


But They'll Rock at Health Care

Not me, IBD:
ramirez-tsa.jpg

Hat-tip: Ed Morrissey


Quote of the Day

Don't faint, but I'm giving it to MoDo:

If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch? -- Maureen Dowd

Hat-tip: Legal Insurrection

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, you know the old saying about a broken clock. The rest of her op-ed (almost exactly 90%) is the usual excrement, though. "Well, yeah, Obama's screwing up, but let's blame Bush!"

Being the furthest thing from a Bush fan, I still have to wonder why the jihadists waited until the new president to do this. Hmm!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 30, 2009 1:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, as far as Dowd hoping the terrorists won't attack the vicinity of the White House, she has nothing to fear. The White House, Treasury Department, Capitol Hill and similar locations are the safest places to be during a terrorist attack, but not for the reason most people think.

It's like the 9/11 hijackers would have never thought to hit the UN building: why would the terrorists want to harm their allies on American soil, namely those destroying the country from within?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 30, 2009 1:47 PM

Three Cheers for the Filibuster!

John Stossel wants to expand it to the House.

I'll have to think about that one, but he presents a nice defense of the procedure that every majority party learns to hate:

On any given day, what is Congress more likely to do: violate or expand liberty? As nineteenth-century New York Judge Gideon Tucker put it, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

Libertarian science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein had a good idea. One of his novels depicted a bicameral legislature with one chamber needing a supermajority to pass laws and the other needing only a minority of votes to repeal them.

By the standard of protecting freedom and keeping government caged, that’s not a bad idea. It should be easier to repeal laws than to pass them.


111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Bravo to Stossel for looking to "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" for government reform ideas.

But this quote shouldn't go without repeating:

There is no greater threat to individual freedom and autonomy than government. The threat from private freelance crime is small potatoes compared to the daily usurpations of the state, with its taxation, regulation, privilege-granting, inflation and war.

The first line, by itself, deserves commitment to memory.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2009 3:10 PM

December 29, 2009

America's Enemies' Lonely Hearts Club

Blog friend LisaM suggests a friend for lonely terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: "So Ronery" dictator Kim Jong Il from "Team America."

But johngalt thinks:

Knowing I couldn't possibly be the first to think of the moniker "panty bomber" I googled it. Check out these gems from Democraticunderground dot com:

Pyro Panties
SpongeBob Scorched Pants
Yemini Crispers
Fruit of the Boom!
Jock Strap Jihadi
Suicidey Whities
Weapon of Ass Destruction

and

Well, he certainly roasted his chestnuts by an open fire this Christmas.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2009 6:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Good stuff. I like "The BVD Bomber:" funny, but not too funny to use.

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2009 6:28 PM
But jk thinks:

How about "The Jerry Lee Lewis Bomber?"

Great Balls of Fire.

(I know, keep the day job!)

Posted by: jk at December 31, 2009 11:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It was funnier before you Lenoed it by giving the clue.

Posted by: johngalt at December 31, 2009 5:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Comedic timing is an ongoing pursuit...

But my new favorite is "Captain Underpants." We cannot waterboard our enemies, we can at least laugh at them.

Posted by: jk at December 31, 2009 5:35 PM

Headline of the Day

Don Luskin links to this story:

Apparently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes that a “shovel ready” project means digging up the dead to hand them a stimulus check.
In fact, the SSA reported that more than 10,000 stimulus checks were sent to the dead.

With the headline: "NOW THAT'S STIMULUS New hope for the dead!"


Lack of Global Leadership for 200, Alex?

I have not whacked the folks at Reason Magazine for -- what -- weeks now. How is it that I agree with them on everything and disagree with them on everything else? Like ManBearPig, it doesn't add up.

Today Steve Chapman posts a solemn but truthful look back on the March of Freedom in 2009:

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the blossoming of democracy around the world, stimulated in part by the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. Far from producing much new growth, however, 2009 brought to mind an old folk song: Where have all the flowers gone?

Steve, buddy, can I be honest with you? The "flowers" were in full bloom when a Sharanskyite US President was leading the world with a bold call for more self government and liberalism.

When Reason Magazine joined those who piled on an unpopular Administration in an unpopular war, freedom's growth was impeded. When Reason Magazine's editor published a polemic book attacking Senator McCain and lambasted him throughout the election, it contributed to the election of a candidate who displays zero interest in using even the bully pulpit to promote freedom.

Said Reason editors and staff were no doubt on firm philosophical footing when they criticized President Bush and Candidate-Senator McCain. But big-L Libertarians are supposed to be so smart about unintended consequences are they not?

You and your buddies, Steve, would do nothing to contribute to American leadership of a Liberal International Economic Order (LIEO). Welcome to your world.

Libertario delenda est!

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Well crafted post, JK! Could not have been said better nor more forcefully.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 29, 2009 2:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Many thanks for the kind words, br. I'll confess to liking it, too. Bloggers soon learn that your pop hits do not always match your critical, artistic triumphs...

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2009 3:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not exactly completely truthful though, is it? Chapman writes "Democracy did not fare so well in Honduras, where the military roused President Manuel Zelaya from his bed at gunpoint and put him on a plane to exile in Costa Rica."

But after what the AP describes as "Central America's first coup in 20 years" the Hunduran congress voted 111-14 to keep him out of power. And he was "roused from his bed at gunpoint" because he ignored a ruling by the Honduran supreme court, which said a referendum could not change the national constitution in regard to presidential term limits.

It is true that "democracy" did not fare as well here as in, say, Venezuela or Bolivia, with masses of leftist agitators rigging elections to have their way. But the 125 members of the Honduran congress exercised democracy. And all of this goes to show that liberty, not democracy, is the ultimate savior of humanity. Strange that a Libertarian would confuse this important distinction.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2009 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

I missed that. It does look like Chapman joins the US State Department in being on the wrong side of the issue. That should be punishment enough for a Reason contributor.

And yet he is not wrong to list it as a dark moment in history when the Obama Administration sided with Hugo Chavez over the Honduran Supreme Court.

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2009 5:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Food for thought: Barack Obama loses in a walk to the Republican candidate in 2012. Do you suppose the Republican will have to settle for sharing power with Obama, ala Mugabe?

I have to think the transition would result in far more damage than popping the W's off of some keyboards.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2009 6:05 PM

Go Packers!

We've got several flavors of football fan 'round these parts, but I have to give some props to the boys from the frozen tundra of Lambeau field. I recently reconnected with a great friend of this blog. When I was posting at Berkeley Square Blog, I met then Maj. Jay Greeley who had been recalled and was serving in Mosul.

lambeau_field.jpg

Now LTC Greeley is an Army liaison to the FAA. He sent me a couple of emails, and I know everybody at ThreeSources will dig these pictures.

gbjackets.jpg

"Every Thursday a group of us arrive at Walter Reed about 3pm and stay no later than eight to sit with the soldiers. Two years ago, Gen Campbell called me up and invited me to contact the Packers organization. The Gen was an Alumni of St. Norbert College (SNC), knew that I had a connection with Bob Harlan, and said to "get the stuff."

"Mr. Harlan, then acting Pres of the Packers, sent eight boxes overnight of game balls and other stuff. Soldiers received hats, coats, everything... This is the family of a young man who lost his left leg and left arm. His younger brothers came from Arkansas and did not bring coats for the cool fall. So the Packer ladies packed some coaches jackets and the word is that they went in the Locker Room and grabbed them from the head coaches’ lockers as they had the biggest ones.

packers_pres.jpg

"A year later we were able to give Bob Harlan his thank you from the Walter Reed Warrior BDE Commander. With me was a young Sgt that was with me in Mosul, his unit supported some tough operations. He was assigned to St. Norbert College (SNC) ROTC."

MajGreeley.jpg


There are other great pictures in the email and I can forward them to any ThreeSourcer who is interested, Some depict current patients so I will not post them publicly. I will leave you with one picture of our friend, receiving his service coin from some fellow named Petraeus – you may have heard of him.

I had the chance to talk to LTC Greeley on the phone for an hour yesterday, He is a fire hose of interesting information and great stories. I know I'm joined by all ThreeSourcers when I say "Thank you for your service!"


I Take it Back

It looks like I can blame the Administration after all. Thanks, AP:

WASHINGTON – Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.

It took the Obama administration more than eight months to nominate anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. security policies following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He vowed Monday to "do everything that we can to keep America safe."


We would not have gone with a health care czar for eight weeks. Yet, those stupid, time-wasting, enumerated powers...

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Obama will "do everything that we can to keep America safe." That means "starting now." Ergo, until this time his administration has not been doing everything it can.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 29, 2009 12:06 PM
But jk thinks:

The system worked perfectly Perry! Now if we can just post a Dutch filmaker on every flight...

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2009 12:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm brainstorming an "air traveler safety kit" that includes a "Citizen TSA Agent - Deputized by Janet Napolitano" T-shirt and a pair of fire resistant gloves.

Posted by: johngalt at December 31, 2009 5:13 PM

December 28, 2009

Elections Matter

Sprint showed us what it would look like "If Firefighters Ran the World."

Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Richard Durbin and Christopher Dodd show us what would happen "If the Mafia Ran the World."

Problem is, the Sprint ad was hypothetical and the Senate's actions are all too real. It can legitimately be argued that the Democrat party has become a full-fledged criminal syndicate. Just listen to Judge Napolitano.

Is what we are seeing today much different than if a majority of Mafioso had been elected to Congress?

But Keith thinks:

jg: that's SO not true. If the Mafia ran the Federal legislature, they'd be running it at a profit.

Ha.

Posted by: Keith at December 28, 2009 2:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Not to mention that whatever you kick up would be far less than current taxes...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 28, 2009 2:54 PM
But Keith thinks:

Perry: great point. I hear that, since Red China is no longer buying our T-bills, one of the administrations went down to the docks last night to borrow a few trillion dollars from a guy. The guy turned him down, saying that Uncle Sam couldn't afford the vig.

Posted by: Keith at December 28, 2009 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You think congressmen aren't profiting from their activities? Why else you think they do this "thankless" job - benevolence?!

I know you were joshin' but all kidding aside, the analogy fits like a glove.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2009 4:07 PM
But jk thinks:

If the analogy fits, you must aquits...

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2009 4:28 PM

Meet Your New Nurse!

Am I racist to post this because this particular, brain-dead, corrupt Union thug happens to be of African descent? You decide.

redcross-teamsters1.jpg

The teamsters are blockading blood donations at the Red Cross in Philadelphia (home to a certain football team). But, compassionate lot that dey is, dey did allow one shipment to go through to save the life of a two-year old. But the rest of youse? Dey got grievances!

I cannot even continue. Read Liberty Chick's post on BigGovernment (from whence I lifted the picture), then John Stossel's take.

When we have a union disgruntled over a pay freeze that has resorted to blocking a blood donation delivery, on its way to save the life of a 2-year old child, from reaching a hospital, we have a problem. When we have unions that control the majority of health care, home care, nursing home care, child care, pharmacy, radiology, and public workers in this country, we will have a catastrophe. -- Liberty Chick


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith thinks:

Are you racist to post this? If you'd said "At last it can be told where the 'Bloods' got their name; now explain the 'Crips,'" then maybe. (Blood bank - pretty funny what I did there, huh?)

Otherwise, I vote no.

Posted by: Keith at December 28, 2009 2:42 PM

RU Ready for Some Football?

Etiquette dictates that I hand our Eastern Keystone State Brothers and Sisters a license for full ThreeSources bragging rights. That's a damned fine football team y'all have got.

I only wish you had sent those same lads to San Diego a few weeks ago...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [0]

Too Long for Quote of the Day

The spirit of Sharansky lives, even though it is so unfashionable in America today that even I am becoming sheepish. Here's the WSJ Ed Page today:

In Iran and China, Christmas weekend brought two inspiring examples of the high price that men and women are still willing to pay in the eternal struggle for political freedom.

In Beijing, the Chinese Communists ignored the protests of more than a dozen countries and sentenced 53-year-old literary critic Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison for the crime of peacefully agitating for democracy. His verdict came after a two-hour, closed-door trial Wednesday from which diplomats, his wife and his chosen lawyer were barred.

"When he decides to do something, he doesn't regret it,'' said his wife, Liu Xia, who was allowed to speak to her husband for 10 minutes after he learned his fate. "He said he hopes to be the last person punished for practicing freedom of expression" in China. No wonder Chinese officials are so afraid of Mr. Liu, who wields the power of the unbreakable individual spirit.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, democratic protestors continued to risk their lives and freedom by going into the streets despite an increasingly brutal government crackdown. On Sunday, security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the College Square neighborhood, killing at least four and injuring dozens, according to witnesses and opposition Web sites. The nephew of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was among the dead.

It's impossible to know when these freedom fighters will realize their democratic goals, but they deserve our admiration and support.


But johngalt thinks:

Yes, we are kindred spirits are we not?

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2009 1:08 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

For those interested, this is what Liu was arrested for. That was about a year ago. I wonder why they even need a trial - they have not had a problem detaining him for a year.

Posted by: T. Greer at December 28, 2009 9:19 PM
But jk thinks:

This is the government Thomas Friedman so admires, tg. Sure they can detain a political prisoner for a year wuthout trial -- but the government is empowered to make people use CFLs!

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2009 10:15 AM

Give me a "Duh!'

I don't have the intestinal fortitude to watch "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." But yesterday, by accident, I was up and tuned in when it came on. Jake Tapper was interviewing Secretary Napolitano. In spite of admirable effort, he could not shake the Secretary out of happy talk mode.

"All the systems performed properly!" said the woman who believes herself to be in charge of our personal safety. No, no problems here.

The headline this morning is "Napolitano concedes airline security system failed" and even the AP is a bit wry in the lead paragraph:

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watchlist with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Misconstrue me not. I don't blame the Secretary or the Administration for the failure. But her insistence that nothing was wrong portends poorly for hopes to correct it.

UPDATE: Janet, You're Doin' a Heck of a Job! I do love the Internets...

But johngalt thinks:

A "young man" boarded a flight. Hmmm. Wonder if any other facts might be germane.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2009 1:09 PM

December 25, 2009

AGW as Farce

A linkety-good Christmas present from a good friend of this blog. Alexander Cockburn's piece in Real World Politics.

This admission edges close to acknowledgment of a huge core problem: that "greenhouse" theory violates the second law of thermodynamics, which says that a cooler body cannot warm a hotter body without compensation. Greenhouse gases in the cold upper atmosphere cannot possibly transfer heat to the warmer earth, and in fact radiate their absorbed heat into outer space. (Readers interested in the science can read Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner's "Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics," updated in January 2009.)

Recent data from many monitors including the CRU, available on climate4you.com, show that the average temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans near the surface of the earth has decreased significantly across the past eight years or so. CO2 is a benign gas essential to life, occurring in past eras at five times present levels. Changes in atmospheric CO2 do not correlate with human emissions of CO2, the latter being entirely trivial in the global balance.



December 24, 2009

Collectivism in the Heath Care Bill

I know you're all shocked. Stick with me a minute.

In a superb guest editorial in the WSJ, Dr, Scott Gottlieb provides a comprehensive enumeration of reasons that the current Senate bill is bad for physicians and providers. Most will not be a surprise, but I had not seen this little gem before:

Next, the plan creates financial incentives for doctors to consolidate their practices. The idea here is that Medicare can more easily apply its regulations to institutions that manage large groups of doctors than it can to individual physicians. So the Obama plan imposes new costs on doctors who remain solo, mostly by increasing their overhead requirements—such as requiring three years of medical records every time a doctor orders routine medical equipment like wheelchairs.

The plan also offers doctors financial carrots if they give up their small practices and consolidate into larger medical groups, or become salaried employees of large institutions such as hospitals or "staff model" medical plans like Kaiser Permanente. One provision, laid out in Section 3022, allows doctors to share with the government any savings to the government they achieve by delivering less care—but only if physicians are part of groups caring for more than 5,000 Medicare patients and "have in place a leadership and management structure, including with regard to clinical and administrative systems."


Round 'em all up so they are easier to control! These are Doctors we are talking about.

Consolidation has a great track record in business and is important. But no serious person ever claimed it improved innovation. Our new medical overlords are so considered somebody will discover a new treatment that costs money.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Merry Christmas!

I cannot imagine that any ThreeSourcer would enjoy anything more than a generally intelligent and very spirited philosophical debate. Larry Kudlow, Don Luskin, and NRO's Jerry Bowyer take on Ayn Rand, freedom, athieism, selfishness, the works.

Video and superb commentary at the link.

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

December 23, 2009

Two More Months of Freedom?

Yes!

Politico’s Mike Allen and Alexander Trowbridge have some bad news for Democrats, especially in the Senate, where Harry Reid has kept the chamber locked in battle over ObamaCare for weeks in an attempt to hit the finish line by Christmas. Barack Obama plans to put the health-care overhaul on the back burner until after the State of the Union address, pushing any conference between the House and Senate off until February. Instead, Obama plans a “hard pivot” towards jobs and the economy.

Let him screw up jobs and teh economy for awhile, that sounds far less dangerous.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Heresy or Heterodoxy?

I know my pick:

Tax Policy Blog:

How Congress Can Create More Jobs: Mandate the National League Enact the Designated Hitter

At first, this would create 16 new jobs (number of N.L. teams). But think of all the other jobs. There will likely need to be more balls and bats produced because a D.H. is more likely to break a bat or foul a ball off during a plate appearance than a pitcher batting. This will increase the demand for wood and forestry products. Think of all those jobs. We may even need another bat boy. Pitchers will wear out faster, thereby compounding this issue. And pitchers will probably be more likely to be hurt during the season due to more wear and tear (every 9th batter won't be essentially a free pass). Therefore, more replacement pitchers will be needed. Plus, this wear and tear will create more jobs for medical trainers.


Hat-tip: Scrivener

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

"This will increase the demand for wood and forestry products." You forgot to mention all the people that would be hired to plant new trees to replace the ones we hack down - we are environmentally conscious about this, right?

So who gets to do the obligatory post about how this is not creating new jobs, but taking away workers from other industries?

Posted by: Keith at December 23, 2009 4:39 PM
But jk thinks:

My love of Ricardian specialization should make me a DH man. Instead, an accident of birth in what becomes an NL town puts me firmly in the "People's Front of Judea" camp.

Coherent, consistent philosophy my ass!

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 4:54 PM
But Keith thinks:

I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.

But I'm flexible on the infield fly rule - perhaps my vote on that one could be bought, and for less than it costs to rent a Senator these days.

Posted by: Keith at December 23, 2009 5:32 PM
But jk thinks:

You'd forever be suspected of being under the sway of BigDroppedFlies

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 5:57 PM

Getting tired of asking for permission

LetMyPeopleDRILL.jpg

Get yours here.


But They'll Rock at Health Care

I really resent TaxProf Blog's blatant spin on this issue. I would have entitled it "IRS Gets 30% Right!"

TIGTA reviewed a sample of ITIN applications and found that almost 70% contained significant errors and/or raised concerns that should have prevented the issuance of an ITIN. The IRS estimates that it has issued more than 14 million ITINs as of December 2008.

ITINs are intended to provide tax identification numbers to resident and nonresident alien individuals who may have U.S. tax reporting or filing obligations but do not qualify for Social Security Numbers, which generally are only issued to U.S. citizens and individuals legally admitted to the U.S.


Hat-tip: Instapundit


Funny Gub'mint Account -- Mai Non!

James Pethokoukis points out: "On this double-counting issue, I dont know if this will pan out. But if it does, boom goes the dynamite."

The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs. Trust fund accounting shows the magnitude of the savings within the trust fund, and those savings indeed improve the solvency of that fund; however, that accounting ignores the burden that would be faced by the rest of the government later in redeeming the bonds held by the trust fund.

One tires of saying it but: if they did this at Enron, there'd be jail time...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

The FoxNews.com story is here.

Republicans, emboldened by a new letter from the Congressional Budget Office, accused Democrats on Wednesday of "Bernie Madoff accounting" for double counting the savings from Medicare as a means to pay for the Senate health care bill.

I took a quick look through "all 12,634 news articles" on the same subject and only this one referred to the "double-counting" letter. Said letter from CBO director Elmendorf, by the way, is linked at the bottom of the FNC article.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2009 1:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Awesome quote, Keith -- I forwarded it to Jimi P.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 1:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Cut 'em some slack, jg, they had their whole staff fact checking Sarah Pain's political puff book. Can't do everything y'know.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And that's another thing - What does it say that with all those "fact checkers" reviewing her book the best attack the progressive media can mount against Palin is Visorgate?

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2009 1:27 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I thought the Social Security "trust fund" farce was bad enough. It's a form of double-counting because those bonds will also have to be redeemed eventually. Meanwhile, surpluses are used to mask the current deficit while future obligations are merely on another ledger (and so are not reckoned against any year's budget). Are we surprised the feds didn't stop there?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 23, 2009 1:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters.org tweets; "WaPo devoted 19 staffers to today's Style frontpager on the Salahis. Why not put that much energy into detailing crap in health care bill?"

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 2:39 PM

The Big Excursion

A little reminder of what happens when government gets too powerful: my friend sends a link to a post on his friend's blog on "The Big Excursion." I guess the author was about 11 when the events happened. It does not lend itself to excerpting, but here is the intro:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the compelled migration of Bulgaria’s Turks. Being a part of the brutal forced assimilation process that the Bulgarian government imposed on the largest minority of the country, it is the biggest exodus that Europe has seen since the World War II. More than 320,000 people left their homes seeking for shelter and protection in Turkey [1, 2]. Later this became known as “The Big Excursion”. Here I will try to relate my recollections of the sad story of my family during this excursion.

My friend is Bulgarian by birth, Turkish by race, and now a citizen of Ireland. He and the author now both have PhDs in Computer Science.

Both grew up under not only the oppression of Communism but also governmnet-sponsered racism against Turks and Muslims. Curiously, I cannot detect the distrust of government in my friend present in so many freed from Communism. He is a big fan of European Socialism, hopes to see the UN do more against Global Warming, &c.

He IMed this link to me and said "i hope nobody experiences something like this again." And yet he thinks I am crazy for seeing the seeds of that in expanding government power today.

We agree, however: "i hope nobody experiences something like this again."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Duquesne Light carries extra weight here because health-insurance industries are far from natural monopolies, so that regulating their rates calls for an extra dollop of judicial scrutiny. At this point, the Reid bill is on a collision course with the Constitution. I take it for granted that, constitutionally, the federal government could not just require all private health insurers to liquidate tomorrow, without compensation. -- Richard Epstein
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Sigh, I've had the pleasure of meeting Epstein (and having a chance to talk about a paper of his that I discovered preceded an idea I had) and know he's brilliant, but he's so naive here, and also wrong.

Fine, so the federal government will compensate insurers (rather, their owners) for being driven out of business. How will that be done? The people, whether through taxation or the Federal Reserve monetizing more debt. This isn't, as Lenin said, capitalists selling the rope that will be used to hang them. This is Nazis making us dig our own graves.

It's such a lose-lose situation that the best we could hope for is that insurance company owners will be paid out based on crashed stock prices. That means, on top of all the destroyed wealth, our taxes will not have to increase as much, or the Fed won't print as many new dollars, to compensate us for any shares we might own. Lots of people, via 401Ks and regular mutual fund holdings, have shares of publicly traded insurance companies that they don't know about.

Now, Epstein mentions "the constitutional guarantee that all regulated industries have to a reasonable, risk-adjusted, rate of return on their invested capital." And where is that? None of that phrasing exists in the Constitution. The only argument toward such a notion is merely interpretation, based on the takings and equal protections clauses.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 23, 2009 2:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I did not read Epstein's position as being as benign toward this as you saw it. I will go through it again.

What interested me was the backdrop of precedent for such a takeover and how the current Health Care Bill seems far outside it.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

I submit, for your approval, the closing line as an alternate QOTD:

The Supreme Court should apply the constitutional brakes to this foolhardy scheme if Congress doesn't come to its senses first.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 2:21 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I wasn't thinking he was "benign," just naive in the part about, "constitutionally, the federal government could not just require all private health insurers to liquidate tomorrow, without compensation." Even if that happened, what's the actual consequence? The people have to pony up the money.

I like your closing better, but I don't trust Kennedy to, you know, follow the document he's sworn to uphold. Remember his vote on the Kelo case? Yes, it's called a "decision," but it was still a vote like any other.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 23, 2009 4:02 PM

Questioning the D

It has been such a fine year for DAWG Denyin' -- really 2k9 was one for the books.

I went from skepticism that man was causing global warming to skepticism that the globe is warming at all. Good times. If things get better, I may start doubting that the Earth is round...

But don't let's forget the D: Is Global Warming, Anthropogenic or not, actually Deleterious? Insty links to a "Copenhagen Coda:" 100 Europeans dead -- just by being on the same continent as VP Gore:

More than 100 people have been killed in the cold snap across Europe, with temperatures plummeting and snowfall causing chaos from Moscow to Milan.

In Poland, where temperatures have dropped to as low as -20C in some areas, police appealed for tip-offs about people spotted lying around outside. At least 42 people, most of them homeless, died over the weekend.

In Ukraine 27 people have frozen to death since the thermometer dropped last week. Authorities in Romania said 11 people had succumbed to the chill, and in the Czech Republic the toll was 12. In Germany, where temperatures have fallen to -33C in certain parts, at least seven people are known to have lost their lives in the freezing weather.


Rough weather in the US lately has lead to dozens of deaths -- at the risk of jingoism -- in a developed, industrial society.

Just sayin'

But johngalt thinks:

Maybe developed, industrial society is the problem? Here at rural Atlantis Farm it reached -29 C and nobody died, man nor beast.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2009 1:07 PM

December 22, 2009

The Best Health Care Bill Money Can Buy

Lining up at the trough after the slop has been poured -- are they not?

Nelson Says More Senators Seeking Special Treatment in Light of Nebraska Deal

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who has faced a heap of criticism for appearing to trade his vote on health care for millions in federal Medicaid money, said he's considering asking that the Nebraska deal be stripped from the bill. But he said other senators are looking for special treatment in light of his success.


Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 6:50 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I usually avoid FNC's Greta VanSustern. Her show is routinely the tabloid segment of the evening. But I give her credit for her guests, her commentary and her interviews during this healthcare debate. Last night she had Nebraska's governor on [video here] and they discussed how he had called Senator Nelson's bluff on removing the Nebraska Windfall from the bill:

Governor Dave Heineman joins us live. Governor, so will you be asking Senator Ben Nelson to tell the Senate that you guys don't -- Nebraska doesn't want that $100 million? Are you going to ask him to do that?

GOV. DAVE HEINEMAN, R - NEB.: Well, we've already made it clear, Greta, we want all these special deals removed. In fact, this afternoon, our other United States senator, Senator Mike Johanns, introduced an amendment to strip all of the special interest deals from this bill, and the Democrats objected! That is really unfortunate. All these special deals should be removed from the bill.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2009 1:36 PM

They can keep Specter

Interesting:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday he is switching to the GOP, another blow to Democrats facing a potentially tough midterm election.

Griffith spoke to reporters at his home in northern Alabama, a region that relies heavily on defense and aerospace jobs.

"I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt," Griffith said as his wife Virginia stood by his side.

The 67-year-old radiation oncologist was narrowly elected last year in a district that includes Huntsville and Decatur. President Barack Obama lost badly there to Republican John McCain.


UPDATE:Rep Griffith speaks out (HT: HotAir)


AP Speaks Truth!

end_is_near.gif

The end is near.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 3:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

Constitutional? What's That?

Give the 111th Congress props for one very difficult feat: they are making GOP Senators look really, really good.

DeMint and Ensign have forced a new vote:

The Senate on Wednesday will have to take an unplanned vote on whether the Democratic health care proposal is constitutional.

Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and John Ensign, R-Nev., on Tuesday raised a point of order against the legislation on behalf of a caucus of conservative senators.

Ensign said the bill violates individual freedom of choice by requiring people to purchase health insurance or be subjected to fines and penalties


Well done guys and gals! Strictly procedural, but a good --nay, great -- marker to lay down.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 2:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Christmas Coffeehousin1

Kurt O and Brooke are back in the coffeehouse with "Santa Baby:" a song that captures the true meaning of Christmas!

banner4.gif

liveatthecoffeehouse.com.

Some of our older Christmas mp3s are still up at Berkeley Square


He Hate Me

govthatesme.jpg

Capturing my thoughts in the wake of the Nebraska (and Louisiana and Vermont and Massachusetts and Connecticut and NEVADA) windfalls.

But AlexC thinks:

love it. nice XFL connection.

Posted by: AlexC at December 22, 2009 5:27 PM

December 21, 2009

A great WSJ Editorial

Coals to Newcastle. But I break my Facebook pledge against politics again with this comprehensive argument against the Health Care bill and current partisan tactics.

I highly recommend everybody's sharing it with a few people who will dislike it.

I'll even give them a Quote of the Day:

Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.

The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:25 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

That is a great editorial, and reading it makes one wonder why every voice in the land is not screaming NOOO! Talk radio America is understandably pissed, of course. But in the gigantic gulf that is the most bitterly divided electorate in U.S. history, we have the likes of this from another newspaper in the same town: A Bill Well Worth Passing. No wonder only 51% of public opinion is against it.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2009 8:07 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the link. I didn't realize this:

Despite all the exaggerated Republican rhetoric that the bill will lead to fiscal disaster, it has been carefully and responsibly drafted so that it is fully paid for without busting future budgets.

Hey, if it's good enough for the NY Times...

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2009 1:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

S'pose the NYT Ed page ever used the words "carefully" or "responsibly" during the eight years of the Bush administration? Me neither. But the current administration and congress are apparently now deserving of those adverbs because ...

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2009 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Statistically, the Giants have one great thing going for them -- the Broncos have a knack for beating the champs in the regular season, even when we have a miserable year. In '68, we beat Namath's Jets, we beat the Pats and Colts recently in their championship years. I'd say y'all are on the way!

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2009 3:22 PM

RU Ready for some Football?

I don't like to call out one of our valued commenters by name, but...

Keith, from here on out, no comments will be allowed that debase or deprecate Jamacus Russel. I can see exemptions for ridiculing those goofy earrings, but his QB skills are off limits. I have a delete button and I am not afraid to use it.

I will live but I will be grouchy for at least 24 more hours. Hey the Raiders beat us, that happens. I just asked SC if he saw the penalty at the end of the game. It gave them one or two more downs and as much as 30 seconds on the clock. Yet the illustrious TV presentation could not be bothered to run a replay. We saw the pass and the clock five times during the officials' time out, but we never saw the game-changing penalty. For all I know, #59 was busted with a smoking gun, DNA, and a solid chain of evidentiary possession. But if it were a ticky tacky call that changed the game, I'd like to have seen it.

The broadcasters. They called the game over with five minutes left and a single score separating division rivals. They were doing the playoff lineup and congratulating Coach McDaniels for his ninth win. I was wondering "any of you guys ever seen a Broncos-Raiders game?'

UPDATE Peace offering: here's an embed of Keith's clip:

I'll leave the name misspelled; I’m still pissed.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

I will abide by your dictum, jk; I will only point out that your misspelling of both the first and last names of the QB in question gives me the right to believe you bear him no love either. I hope y'all know I was really rooting hard for the Broncos.

Posted by: Keith at December 21, 2009 4:11 PM
But Keith thinks:

If a brief moment of levity will help, by the way, then - submitted for your consideration - I offer you this, which is making the rounds in Southern California and going viral. My feelings won't be hurt if you opt to delete this comment, but here is what I hope is truly the best medicine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E8wxvXE1IA

Posted by: Keith at December 21, 2009 4:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is a bitter pill brother, I know, but repeat after me: "This is a rebuilding year." So they might not make the playoffs this year. Big deal!

Every win this season pushes the Broncos further down the draft order, which is counterproductive in the club's desperate mission to improve on the current state of talent - Brandon Marshall, Ryan Clady, and 20 guys named Steve.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2009 1:43 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

All I can add is...

GO ELI!!!

Santa came early last night, although it might be just that one trip.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 22, 2009 9:14 AM

Entertainment News

We don't do a lot of Entertainment News 'round here, but the death of Brittany Murphy suggests that I complete a Review Corner.

Ramen Girl is a fun little Indie flick. And if you are saying "Brittany Who?" it is a nice performance.

A fun 4-star rental (available on the Netflix instant queue). I don't think we'll follow a celeb death too closely, but RIP Ms. Murphy.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

Militia Time!

Thanks to Senator Sheldon Whitehose for giving the opposition a viable plan:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today took shots at those who are not supporting the health care legislation. During a floor speech, he excoriated Senate GOP members for up holding the pending health care bill and accused their supporters of being birthers and fanatics in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups. He started off by citing an editorial from the Manchester Journal Inquirer, which used insults like "lunatic fringe.":

Looking like armed revolt may be our best plan...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

I've been asking - how many times now? - at what point we're at the Concord Bridge. Perhaps in our next Constitution, we'll add some language about forbidding the involuntary redistribution of wealth by government, along with banning bills being written in secret and voted on during the dark of night.

Posted by: Keith at December 21, 2009 11:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"... in our next Constitution?" The present one forbids most of the evils of big government. And yet, here we are.

The reliance upon SCOTUS to render a Constitutionality judgement effectively absolves the congress from having to even consider the question. "Are you serious? Are you serious!?"

Just enact the thing and live with what the pragmatic Court will let you get away with, years and thousands of billable attorney hours later.

The only thing that kept past congresses and administrations from doing what we see today was conscience and honor.

Posted by: johngalt at December 21, 2009 3:17 PM
But Keith thinks:

johngalt, you capture my frame of mind full and proper. But for a few of the Amendments (regarding the direct election of Senators and direct Federal taxation, f'rinstance), I like our present Constitution a lot. The problem is, it's not obeyed.

Truth be told, I was also channeling the last few pages of Atlas Shrugged, which I had really hoped you would have caught - given your nom de plume.

What's becoming painfully clear to me is that there are multiple components necessary to preserving the Republic: a Constitution as good as ours, a Federal government that will govern in accord with that Constitution, and an educated voting populace willing to hold that Federal government accountable for governing the way thye Constitution says. Many have said that our Imperial Congress disregards the Constitution entirely, but we also have an electorate that keeps sending the Barney Franks and the Nancy Pelosis and the Ted Kennedys (well, okay, Ted Kennedy's not getting re-elected this go-round without a crystal ball and a ouija board) back to their annointed posts. Constitution be damned, the people have figured out how to vote themselves the public treasury. Thank the unwashed 52% for that one, though this goes back at least to FDR's days.

I'm out of solutions. I'm not convinced that the 2010 or 2012 elections will be honest. See this, for example:

http://nicedoggie.net/index.php/archives/3776

If the voters do not or cannot right this, then the sole remaining options become armed revolution, secession, or sitting back and accepting it. That last one is the least appealing.

Posted by: Keith at December 21, 2009 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Followed the link.

Heaven help the Republic.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2009 3:24 PM

December 19, 2009

It's Time

Likely past time. But Senator Cornyn offers a site that allows you send an email to seven Senators -- including my illustrious Senator Bennet.

I sent the mails and made a small gift. If any ThreeSources felt they could join me:

Your message was sent to:

Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln Senator Michael F. Bennet Senator Evan Bayh Senator Byron L. Dorgan Senator Ben Nelson Senator Arlen Specter Senator Jim Webb

I have Multiple Sclerosis and my wife is recovering from a stroke.

Both of us need advances in treatment and therapy that will be severely impeded by this bill.

I would support interstate purchase of insurance, normalization of tax status between employers and individuals, and would consider a well structured plan to aid those who cannot acquire or afford insurance.

The current package does none of this. It will drive up government costs and taxes -- and make future health care worse.

Please vote NO! (I especially urge Senator Bennet because I live in Colorado).


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

December 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

What really bothered Roger Simon about the Copenhagen conference:

I realized what it was. We had returned to the Middle Ages.

A high tech Middle Ages, of course, but still the Middle Ages. Forget the Renaissance, forget the Enlightenment, forget Spinoza, Locke, Galileo and everybody else, we had returned to our roots as gullible and idiotic human beings, as willing to believe in the primacy of anthropogenic global warming as we would in the sighting of the Madonna at a river crossing twelve kilometers south of Sienna in 1340.



Why d'ya think they call it Social Networking?

This is a pretty good prank:

When a man in the UK was asked to be the best man at his friend's wedding, he was touched. So touched, that he promised not to pull any pranks before or during the wedding. After the wedding though, that's another story.

This man, who is choosing to stay anonymous, has set up this Twitter account for the sole purpose of automatically tweeting when the newlyweds are having sex. I'm not kidding.


Keep it under 140 characters, kids...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Why "Jump?"

Kim Strassel notes that "Barack Obama emerged from his meeting with Senate Democrats this week to claim Congress was on the 'precipice' of something historic." (Roger Kimball suggests "precipice" instead of "threshold" as a Freudian slip.)

The polls are bad and getting worse, but Strassel offers what I fear to be the real reason so many will jump:

So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party -- the Barney Franks, the David Obeys -- are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.


Should I congratulate them for principle? Strassel compliments my backbencher freshman Senator: "In Colorado, where 55% of voters oppose a health bill, appointed Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet told CNN he'd vote for a bill even if it "cost him his job." Give the freshman credit for honesty."

Yes, Senator, you've got to break some eggs to make an omelet, don't you?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Here's hoping the good citizens of Colorado break his eggs next November.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 18, 2009 12:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Good lord, I hate this ridiculous use of "historic." Every time some politician or spinmeister uses it, it's merely empty rhetoric to imply something is good.

Hitler invading various European countries was "historic." Russia and China starving millions of their people was "historic." Fourteen thousand French dying in a heat wave was "historic." Now hundreds of millions of Americans subjected to rationed socialized medicine will be "historic."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 18, 2009 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I like to make omelets with the "magic bullet," a small infomercial high speed blender that subjects eggs to 600,000,000 RPM rotating knives until fluffy.

Metaphorical image implanted? Good: Jane Norton 2010!

Posted by: jk at December 18, 2009 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Commenters appear to be missing the point of the article. Sure Bennet will lose his job. Dems expect him to be defeated in 2010. But once the insidious health care entitlement has worked its rotten magic on the will of the electorate the Democrat "party of government" can celebrate an even stronger urge to "vote for thems what took kare of usn's."

This is the looming gambit for 21st century America, and therefore the world: Do a plurality of Americans want to be sheeple, or the last best hope for man on Earth? It's clear what the Democrats think the answer is.

P.S. Here's the Kim Strassel missing link - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704238104574602232786471914.html

Posted by: johngalt at December 19, 2009 5:48 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Y'all are missing the point: the Dems are busy making themselves parachutes with D-A-S-C-H-L-E spelled across the tops! Who needs a job in the Senate when you can become a healthcare-civil-servant for life (or better: a lobbyist for same!). I feel verrrry badly for this....

It will take a true conservative landslide and some powerful leadership like we've not seen in a decade, to tear down what's being built into this bill.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 20, 2009 12:18 AM
But jk thinks:

No, not missing the point (though I did have the link wrong - thanks, jg (since corrected).

I would prefer a "No" vote to an electoral landslide any day of the week, but a consolation prize is a consolation prize.

Dark. Damn. Days. And I don't mean the Solstice.

Posted by: jk at December 20, 2009 12:02 PM

December 17, 2009

But, the Science is Settled!

I know y'all get tired of these examples (but the link is pretty interesting).

This is how science is done. Always questioning, diverging, and occasionally denying!

Was Newton right and Einstein wrong? It seems that unzipping the fabric of spacetime and harking back to 19th-century notions of time could lead to a theory of quantum gravity.

Physicists have struggled to marry quantum mechanics with gravity for decades. In contrast, the other forces of nature have obediently fallen into line. For instance, the electromagnetic force can be described quantum-mechanically by the motion of photons. Try and work out the gravitational force between two objects in terms of a quantum graviton, however, and you quickly run into trouble—the answer to every calculation is infinity. But now Petr Hořava, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks he understands the problem. It’s all, he says, a matter of time.


Damned Relativity-deniers! Don't they know the science is settled!

Hat-tip: Scrivener

Posted by John Kranz at 7:28 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Someday, global warming alarmists will be remembered with the church hierarchies who burned people at the stake for denying that the sun revolved around the Earth, or the believers in phlogiston and later the ether.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 17, 2009 10:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Dude, thanks! I have been misspelling phlogiston for twenty years (yeah, I know you're all shocked...) It is one of the best examples of mistaken science out there. And now I know if does not start with an 'f.'

As for your point, I suspect you are correct, I just wonder how many of us will live long enough to see it?

Posted by: jk at December 18, 2009 11:40 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK, I believe you are confusing this with the word "flogistung." The etymology of this word goes back to the ancient Greek, but has become Anglisized over time. Basically, it means "to give him a good tongue lashing." The Refugee is happy to clarify and educate as best he can.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 18, 2009 12:34 PM

Evolution to Extinction

Sanctimonious progressives ridicule social conservatives for refusing to acknowledge the validity of the theory of evolution. Too bad they are too dense to see the obvious parallel with their refusal to acknowledge the lessons of history. But IBD's Michael Ramirez sees it.

ramirez%2015DEC09.jpg

But Keith thinks:

I thought they all died in the Ice Age. These dinosaurs oughta stay away from the Gore Effect:

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/03/gore-effect-strikes-again-giant-dc.html

Posted by: Keith at December 17, 2009 6:11 PM

Movin' to New York -- Too Crowded Here!

What do progressives love most? It's not global warming or taxes or shutting down a Walmart*

If you guessed "light rail" grab yourself an apple and granola bar.

Vincent Carroll of the Denver Post writes today on the Western High Speed Rail Alliance.

The brainchild of public agencies in four states — Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah — the rail alliance believes "the future mobility of people and freight in the West depends on high speed rail lines." Yet in supporting this dubious thesis in their opening press conference, officials misstated so many elementary facts as to cast doubt on whether they'd studied the issue at all.

An introductory video contained the first whopper. After explaining that in the future, "most of the fastest growing states will be in the West" — true enough — the narrator went on to claim that "for nearly a half century the primary focus for passenger rail has targeted the development and funding of Amtrak's Eastern corridor, an area losing population."


Which it isn't. but whatever...
To compound the demographic muddle, the general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Jacob Snow, told reporters that "our densities here in the West are very high and probably much higher than those areas referenced in much of the rest of the country."

Huh? What? Mister Snow should join a rock band. I have driven across those states a time or two, and the word "density" does not come to mind.
Yet when asked about the economic viability of their plans to link cities in the four states, Snow blithely mentioned the profits of the Central Japan Railway Co., which serves one of the densest, highly populated corridors in the world.

Well, okay then.

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

But Keith thinks:

I don't think he means "dense" in the sense of "concentration of population." I parse his meaning as "the crowd I hang out with is more dense than in most parts of this nation."

Kind of like the guy at the roadwork site holding the sign with the word "Slow," and I can't help but think that's nothing to brag about...

Posted by: Keith at December 17, 2009 2:55 PM

Quote of the Day

Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears

I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.
Cheers
Phil [Jones in a Climategate email to Michael Mann]

But johngalt thinks:

That is indeed an interesting quote, but it's just more evidence that they rigged the scientific process. In the same article you linked is the real bombshell - evidence that they actually covered up facts.

From the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) based in Moscow, as reported by RIA Novosti:

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports.

(...)

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

Here's how it works:

IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.
Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2009 1:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I think they are part-and-parcel (whatever the hell that means).

Agreed that the Russian cherry-picking/data hiding is a bombshell. Without Petey and Mikey's ability to spike competing thought, it would have been found.

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2009 1:38 PM

December 16, 2009

QOTD Runner-up

This, from a WSJ house editorial titled, "The Audacity of Debt":

"Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren," Senator Barack Obama said during the 2006 debt-ceiling debate. "America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." That was $2 trillion ago, when someone else was President.
Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Kill the Bill!

Tipping point? Status Quo was a pejorative term last week:
NBC/WSJ Poll:

As the Senate sprints to pass a health-care bill by Christmas, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that those believing President Obama's health-reform plan is a good idea has sunk to its lowest level.

Just 32 percent say it's a good idea, versus 47 percent who say it's a bad idea.

In addition, for the first time in the survey, a plurality prefers the status quo to reform. By a 44-41 percent margin, respondents say it would be better to keep the current system than to pass Obama's health plan.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 3:09 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith thinks:

It's a shame that the federal legislature's job isn't to (a) carry out the will of the people and/or (b) legislate in accordance with the Constitution. Were it so, this choice would be easy.

Congressman Crockett, pick up line two; there's a Horatio Bunce who would like a word or two with you...

Posted by: Keith at December 16, 2009 3:39 PM

Professional Courtesy

Close enough to Christmas to start pumping out the treacley, feel-good human interest stories at ThreeSources.

Seriously, Professor Mankiw's "Memories of Paul" [Samuelson] is a sweet story,


Copenhagen

I understand kleptocracy:

In theory, the money is supposed to help poor countries pay for their transition to a carbon-neutral future. But the developed world has been pouring trillions of dollars into development aid in various forms for decades, with little to show for it. The reasons are well-known: Corruption, political oppression, government control of the economy and the absence of rule of law combine to keep poor countries poor. And those factors also ensure that most aid is squandered or skimmed off the top. Recasting foreign aid as "climate mitigation" won't change any of that.

Still, Copenhagen's fixation on who pays for these huge wealth transfers is instructive because it lays bare the myth that greening the global economy is a cost-free exercise. The G-77 scoffed at a European offer of €7.2 billion ($10 billion) over three years. Instead, the Sudanese chairman of the group, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, suggested in an interview with Mother Jones magazine that something on the order of a trillion dollars, or more, would be appropriate.


But I don't understand environmental protesters:
BBC video showed truncheon-bearing Danish police shoving the crowd backward as protesters gasped and covered their faces to avoid breathing tear gas.

Now if the Heritage Foundation, Wall Street Journal, CEI, Exxon, and ThreeSourcers were braving the Danish Truncheons I could dig it. But what do the enviros get from disturbing the global warming conference?

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

jk: since when do they need a reason? Reason implies logic. Logic implies rational persons.

QED.

Posted by: Keith at December 16, 2009 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The ex-communists who run the UN and it's subordinate organizations like the IPCC just aren't "Progressive" enough for this lot of "environmental" protestors. They were calling for the Copenhagen Summit to be turned into a "Peoples Assembly" long a goal of World Government advocates.

The "environmental activists" at Copenhagen appear to be from the People's Movement on Climate Change. Here is the 5-point plan that the PMCC calls the "Peoples' Protocol on Climate Change:"

1. "...differentiated and equitable" global effort to "stabilize CO2 concentrations at 350ppm and hold global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

2. "...reparation of Southern countries and the poor by Northern states..."

3. Reject ... corporations from harming the environment, new and greater opportunities for profit, corporate control over natural resources and technologies.

4. "Struggle for ecologically sustainable, socially just, pro-people, and long-lasting solutions.

5. Strengthen the PMCC.

Any questions?

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2009 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

No, Comrade. I got it.

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2009 1:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let's sing along:
http://www.hymn.ru/internationale/index-en.html

The Internationale unites the human race!

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2009 2:43 PM

Quote of the Day

Parson Malthus was invoked on this blog many times yesterday. Wikipedia says he died in 1834, I say he lives:

Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of the Malthusian 1972 classic "The Limits to Growth," also served up some climate honesty in a recent interview with Der Spiegel. "I lived long enough in a country like Afghanistan to know that I don't want us to have to live like that in the future. But we have to learn to live a life that allows for fulfillment and development, with the CO2 emissions of Afghanistan." Mr. Meadows's chilling corollary: "If you want everyone to have the full potential of mobility, adequate food and self-development, then . . . one or two billion" people is about all the population the planet can sustain. -- WSJ Ed Page

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith thinks:

Is Meadows volunteering to take the lead, then, in shuffling off the mortal coil and stepping into the great beyond for the sake of humanity? Now THAT would be altruistic. In spades.

For the sake of efficiency, we could, I dunno, merge Obamacare and the climate change policies - that way, we could conveniently send letters to 85% of the planet's population and instruct them to report to the death panels.

Posted by: Keith at December 16, 2009 11:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Kool-Aid! Get yer free Kool-Aid here! Jim Jones says the water's fine!"

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2009 3:10 PM

December 15, 2009

Helping Out TPM

I feel a little bit better about my two hopeless Senators when I watch this. But I do not post it just to jab my Minnesota friends with some sort of rhetorical poke in the eye with some sort of sharp stick, with large hunks of rock salt stuck on the end.

No, I post this for the same reason @mkhammer linked: the good people at Talking Points Memo put this together and posted it because they think it makes Senator Franken look so good. Yup, watch him take down Senator Thune with his repetition of a Moynihan quote -- watch in awe!

But Lisa M thinks:

Oh! He's using the "Liar, liar pants on fire" defense!

Congratulations, Minnesota. You must be so proud.

Posted by: Lisa M at December 15, 2009 9:23 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

I blame Coleman. He lost to a wrestler, barely beat a dead guy, and then lost again to a clown. Having said that, if half of one percent of the ACORN registered voters were fraudulent, that would have given Franken his victory, making him the senator from ACORN and not Minnesota.

Posted by: sugarchuck at December 16, 2009 10:42 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, sc, but "the dead guy" knew how to throw a great party...

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2009 1:17 PM

Bill of Rights Day

CATO scores us as one out of ten. Pretty depressing. I am not going to excerpt, you'll want to read the whole thing. It's what we're all about around here.

I'd add a couple more downers:

-- I thought their Eighth example was not as strong as would be a serious complaint about the possibility of anal rape in American prisons and the jocular attitude toward it.

-- Speaking of attitude, our country's foremost progressive journal, The New Republic, recently ridiculed tea party protesters, calling them "Tenthers" based on their appreciation for the Tenth Amendment. It seems believing in the Bill of Rights is considered akin to being a conspiracy theorist. Sad days.

Hat-tip: Insty

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

We're taxed to hell and back, and the government borrows hundreds of billions on top of that, in part to sustain a standing army. So does it matter whether the military is quartered in our homes or on their own bases? We're already paying dearly for it. I don't have to feed them, just pay for them.

The true score: zero.

To reword an old adage, the government that was made "strong enough" to "protect" the people is strong enough to ignore its own laws. It's strong enough to break the paper chains that even Jefferson naively advocated to restrict the government. Bush said the right thing but meant it in the wrong way: ultimately the Constitution is "just a goddamn piece of paper."

But what if those who restrict our freedoms are the very people who are in charge of securing them?"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 15, 2009 1:45 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
But johngalt thinks:

"Bill of Rights Day?" Not according to Google, where it's the 150th Birthday of LL Zamenhof."

The closest thing to a universal human language today is English, he added, but English in many ways fails to live up to Zamenhof's dream, which was to help create a more egalitarian world.
Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2009 3:39 PM

Kum. By. A.

James Pethokoukis agrees with "a greenie, Guardian op-ed (GGOE):"

Humanity is no longer split between conservatives and liberals, reactionaries and progressives, though both sides are informed by the older politics. Today the battle lines are drawn between expanders and restrainers; those who believe that there should be no impediments and those who believe that we must live within limits.

Count me in as well.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [10]
But johngalt thinks:

But if you're still worried about the neighbors getting too close... Go up young man!

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2009 7:55 PM
But jk thinks:

A Malthusian in our midst? Say it ain't so, tg!

Sorry to pile on, but this hits a huge nerve. I, too, agree with our Guardianista friend that this is a good way to bifurcate humanity -- and I agree with Jimmy P. that he, Brother jg, and I are on the right side of it.

I argued with a mutual friend of ours when the book "Human Scale" came out. Still in the shadow of Paul Erlich, resource limitations would limit humanity. I said "computer chips are made out of sand and we got a bunch left." It's been decades, but that's easily the smartest thing I ever said. Humans will make better and more efficient use of resources and space and anything that would limit our potential.

We are bounded only by our capacity to dream and avoid Congress.

Posted by: jk at December 15, 2009 8:26 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Nah, there is no need to drag out your charts guys. I am on your side. I go up against the limits of growth fellas with as much vigor as the rest of you. We escaped the Malthusian Loop 200 years ago, and I see nothing in the near future that will bring about its return.

On the other hand, I do happen to be a proponent of humility. Humanity is not the universe. We are great - but not that great. Not yet anyway. The comparison, I think, is superfluous.

So no worries - I am not about to mount a great Malthusian assault on the modern world. It is just a nitpick. Perhaps what you see is simply my conservative side breaking through -- I have a great distrust of the notion that man is ready, or even capable, of ruling the world, much less equating himself with the universe.

Posted by: T. Greer at December 15, 2009 11:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think you read too much into my jocular yet indignant quip, tg. I'm merely pointing out that while so many entities are expanding - the universe, 11 of 13 polar bear populations, Al Gore's waistband - why should the human population shrink? (Other than the inability of China's communist regime to provide for more citizens than the impoverished hoardes they already have?)

After some reflection though I realized this is just another take on the age old tension between liberty and paternalism. The greenie's epiphany wasn't all that remarkable after all.

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2009 1:21 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Yeah, I probably did read too much into it. As I said, I was nitpicking. Sorry you had to bare the brunt of it. ^_~

Posted by: T. Greer at December 16, 2009 3:32 AM
But jk thinks:

...so we end as we began: Kumbayas all around! The Brotherhood of Man!

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2009 9:52 AM

Quote of the Day

I spent the day waiting with thousands of others in subfreezing cold to try to get into the proper building to obtain our credentials for the official United Nations Climate Change Conference -- Ronald Bailey, wondering "how anyone expects the U.N. to run the world's climate if it can't manage a queue?"

Extinguish Liberty and Prosperity

An anecdote and a WSJ column add to the same sad conclusion. As the lamp of liberty is extinguished in the US, the lamp of prosperity dims concomitantly (boy if we had an editor around here, sentences like that would be struck or fixed...)

At lunch with two socialists and two dyed-in-the-wool American progressives last Sunday. I kept my mouth shut until the virtues of Michael Moore's "Sicko" came up. This was more than I could bear. "...and you go to the cashier after your doctor's visit and they give YOU money!" I snapped -- I waved my chopsticks in the air (it was dim sum) and said "and the money comes from faeries waving magic wands! They don't tax anybody or anything!"

It was all good natured and I got a little lecture on how socialism has "worked" in France for 60 years. But then my Parisian friend said something which did bug me. "Nobody there wants to come here anymore. My friends and family used to be jealous and they all wanted to come here. Now nobody does."

That line has stuck in my head. At one level it was a debating point, but the sentiment was real. Why would you? In a down economy, the world's highest corporate tax rates and a shining new era of increased regulation, why indeed?

You didn't come to ThreeSources to hear jk bash the USA (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?) so I will pass the baton. Dana Matioli of the Wall Street Journal careers section says With Fewer U.S. Opportunities, Home Looks Appealing to Expats. Unemployment, Visa issues and more dynamic economies in their home countries are luring ex-pats back. Matioli cites examples from Australia, Germany and Asia.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 9:37 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

How much worse will it need to get before President Obama decides to return to his home country?

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2009 3:47 PM

December 14, 2009

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Scrivener links to some contrarian thoughts from Dave Berri's "The Wages of Wins." Berri suggests that the team makes the quarterback, not as supposed, the other way 'round.

The Chicago Bears finished the 2008 season with a 9-7 record, a mark that fell just short of qualifying for the playoffs. In discussing Chicago’s problems, people tended to focus on the team’s quarterback. As Table One reports, Kyle Orton – the Bears starting quarterback in 2008 — was ranked 25th (out of 32) quarterbacks...

In the offseason it became clear that Jay Cutler -– a player who ranked 7th ... was available. So the Bears sent Kyle Orton –-- plus two first round draft picks and a third round pick –- to the Broncos for Cutler.

Fans of the Bears rejoiced at this move. And fans of the Denver Broncos became very, very angry ... Many NFL pundits were heard expressing the conventional wisdom: You simply don’t trade away a “franchise” quarterback [like Cutler]..

[Today] the Broncos are 7-4 while the Bears are 4-7. When we look at each quarterback’s stats we see that the 2008 result has been essentially reversed. Orton now ranks 9th ... Cutler is ranked 25th.


This was posted prior to the Broncos-Colts game. One might respond with the clever, well reasoned three word argument: "Umm, Peyton Manning?"

I have been thinking that the Chicago trade is on par with Cutler's tragic flaw: he lacks the emotional maturity to match his arm. Of course, he will probably grow out of it (into it?), but it is not a guarantee. Forcing a trade to a team with inferior receivers does not strike me as a rational, self-interested move for a QB.

No doubt they have a better club scene, and he can look forward to palling around with Oprah Winfrey. But a guy in his profession should start rolling up stats and wins and establishing a foundation for championships. I can't help but feel he traded those away or deferred them for childish reasons.

Closing, non-sequitor aside: I was pretty happy with the Broncos yesterday. No great shame to lose to the 2009 Colts. They did not get blown out. And if you take away a few educable errors (15 yd helmet-doff penalty), and make a couple field goals, it was a game.

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

JaMarcus Russell makes Cutler look positively professional. Cutler better hope Al Davis isn't shopping for a new quarterback after yesterday's game.

Posted by: Keith at December 14, 2009 6:33 PM

jk the Naif

Two takes on Senator Lieberman's refusal to back a public option bill:

Ezra Klein:

At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.

Megan McArdle:

Still, the question remains: what the hell is Joe Lieberman thinking? Sure, he can get away with these antics as long as he is the 60th vote. No matter how furious Democrats are, they are not going to punish him as long as he can break a filibuster for them.

But that's another year. Then what? It's highly unlikely that Democrats will keep exactly 58 seats plus Bernie Sanders. At that point, one way or another, Joe Lieberman becomes largely superfluous. And the Democrats are going to have their knives out.

Me:
Ummm, is it not possible that this is a vote of principle? This is a huge and likely irreversible step for the country. Senator Lieberman will always have some value as a swing vote in a closely divided Senate. He may be diminished if the numbers change, but not irrelevant.

Back to my naiveté, Klein and McArdle both miss the simple, occam's razor argument: Joe thinks it is wrong.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:34 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I recall slamming Joe on these pages when he voted to bring this bunk to the floor for debate. (Can't find it now though.) And I spoke ill of his "good friend" John McCain for his inability to win sway with Joe. I'm thinking now I may need to take back my ill words for both of them. Talk is cheap though. I'm waitin' for the roll call.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2009 3:13 PM

Vet Bleg

Any of my horsie-owning neighbors know a vet that would make a house call on a dog?

I cannot get a refill for Skylark's pain meds without blood tests and I cannot navigate the ice in our parking lot to keep the appointment (oddly enough I was out this weekend but it thawed and refroze funny).

Posted by John Kranz at 2:17 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Many thanks. The Refugee emailed a suggestion, who suggested "Superior Mobile Vet." Sounds promising and I have a call in. I'll hold yours in abeyance.

The car, curiously, is fine -- the walk to it requires crossing a parking lot glacier. An ice ax, some cramp ons, and a trusty sherpa I'd be fine...

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2009 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You should sue!

P.S. I'd intended to call yesterday about my weatherization internship but spent all morning and part of the afternoon thawing out a furcacta horse fountain. [Don't quote me on the spelling of "furcacta" and apologies to the sensitivies of anyone who knows what it means.] We'll be in touch soon though.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2009 5:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Reading Lileks's tweets, I realize I should not be complaining about my little ice patch when we have about 60F on our Minnesota friends.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2009 6:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, my curiosity's piqued:

We did not find results for: 'furcacta horse fountain.' Try the suggestions below or type a new query above.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2009 6:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It was a bit of original phraseology on my part. Horse fountain is fairly straightforward. My "furcacta" should have been spelled farkakt,and is Yiddish. But basically it means this.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2009 1:17 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Heh! Great image, JG. Here at Finesse Farm, we use Nelson waterers. I've had a heater unit burn out twice, which you only discover when the weather hits about 5 degrees (and then warms up). The spectacle brings new meaning to the term "horse fountain" along with the colorful language that you mention.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 15, 2009 10:33 AM

December 13, 2009

Torching the Strawmen

Mark Steyn captures something that always disturbs me in President Obama's speeches. Steyn exposes the insane strawman arguments with this perfect reductio ad absurdum:

The usual trick is to position their man as the uniquely insightful leader, pitching his tent between two extremes no sane person has ever believed: "There are those who say there is no evil in the world. There are others who argue that pink fluffy bunnies are the spawn of Satan and conspiring to overthrow civilization. Let me be clear: I believe people of goodwill on all sides can find common ground between the absurdly implausible caricatures I attribute to them on a daily basis. We must begin by finding the courage to acknowledge the hard truth that I am living testimony to the power of nuance to triumph over hard truth and come to the end of the sentence on a note of sonorous, polysyllabic if somewhat hollow uplift. Pause for applause."

The whole column is -- of course -- worth a read.

But johngalt thinks:

I really appreciated Steyn's close: "For those of us who oppose the shriveling of liberty in both Washington and Copenhagen, a windy drone who won't sit down keeps the spotlight on the racket. Once more from the top, Barack!"

It is true that the most effective way to keep TEA Party sentiment at a fever pitch is to make sure everyone is continually reminded that Barack Obama is the President of the United States. (Yes, you read that correctly. No, your eyes do not deceive you.)

And in the shameless self-promotion department, Steyn didn't get the memo that "2009 is the first year of global governance" but he would have if he read Three Sources.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2009 4:09 PM

Really, Really Evil

If true. If this is true, Google is evil. This is a so far anonymous email to Rand Simberg:

It’s very disturbing how Google is behaving with regard to Climategate/Climaquiddick. I put both of those in my custom news page. For a while, it steadfastly refused to update Climaquiddick, and then it began to update Climategate only with stories attacking climate change skeptics. I could find many more stories on Yahoo, most of which were alarmed at the fraud which seems to be occurring.

Then when I logged in today, Google News had deleted those two categories from my custom section. When I reestablished them, they brought up only a few of the old, outdated original stories plus a few newer attack stories.

Web searches on Climaquiddick yielded only 72,600 hits on Google and 84,300 on Bing, but 565,000 on Yahoo. None of them will autocomplete the word “Climaquiddick.” They won’t autocomplete “Climategate” either, but Yahoo alone will suggest “climate gate.”

Does everyone in Silicon Valley think that pretending information doesn’t exist will make it so? If so, how much can we trust the technology they produce?


I'm a Yahoo guy thinking of migrating to Bing -- anybody see this?

Google Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

Baby You Can Drive My Car

A good friend of ThreeSources sends this:

Awesome.


December 11, 2009

Eat a Cold Potato in the Dark Day!

I try not to get angry, but...

Boulder Daily Camera:

DENVER — Dozens of Colorado businesses are turning off their lights from noon to 1 p.m. Friday as part of an initiative to conserve energy.

It's called Lights Out Lunch. Residents who pledge to turn off their lights too can get discounts from participating restaurants and a chance to win prizes.

The initiative is by Xcel Energy, the Governor's Energy Office and the city and county of Denver.

Colorado Restaurant Association President and CEO Pete Meersman says research shows restaurants use more than five times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.

We froze in the dark for tens of thousands of years. Y'all want to climb back in the cave, be my guest! The stupidity of local government is no surprise, but how is the utility, Xcel Energy, caught up in this? Will the restaurants do a hunger strike day?

But johngalt thinks:

Turn off one's lights for "a chance to win prizes." It's Privations for Prizes!

Gee, maybe one of the prizes is one of those bitchin' little solar-powered book lights.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2009 11:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for why the power company is "caught up in this" remember that they are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. It's for the same reason that insurance companies initially "supported" health-care reform. If they don't play the game, or at least pretend to, there will be hell to pay at the hands of our "protectors" in the government.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2009 11:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wouldn't it be better to have a "brown bag" day when all restaurants shut down? Surely the energy needed to keep all those ovens, grills and dish washing equipment working far exceeds the energy used for a few office lights. Think how much energy a cold ham sandwich would save!

Do you supposed the restaurant association is really interested in being "green" or is this perhaps cynical opportunism to increase business? Not that I blame them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 13, 2009 6:33 PM

Separated at Birth?

Too funny. Smart Girl Politics' Senate Rally invitataion:

reid_grinch.jpg

Hat-tip: WaPo

But johngalt thinks:

He's a bad bananna with a, greasy black peeeeeel!

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2009 11:20 PM

Quote of the Day II

Two Quotes of the Day? At 11:00 Mountain? Boy, this blog is going downhill...

I'm sorry, I tried to be all breezy and cynical about this, but it's time for Democrats to tell Max Baucus that it's time for him to resign. Not because he had an affair with an employee, which doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't bother the employee. But nominating your girlfriend for US Attorney, and then withdrawing the nomination when a paper says they're about to break the story, clearly indicates that you know it's unsavory. Say what you want about Republicans, but they have a much better sense than their opponents of when it's time to grab one of their own and throw him off the sled to the wolves running behind. -- Megan McArdle

Quote of the Day

This last-minute, back-room ploy shows again that Democrats are simply winging it as they rush to pass something—anything—that can get 60 votes by Christmas. President Obama praised the proposal as "a creative new framework," while Finance Chairman Max Baucus told the Washington Post, "If there's 60 Senators who can reach agreement, I'm for it." Now there's a model standard to use for reordering 17% of the U.S. economy. --- WSJ Ed Page
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

December 10, 2009

Ain't Rocket Science, Baby!

NYTimes (1920):

That Professor Goddard, with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react – to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.

Chicago Boys' David Foster (day before yesterday):
What is noteworthy about the original editorial is not just the ignorance, but the arrogance and the outright nastiness. As the AstronauticsNow post points out, “The enlightened newspaper not only ridiculed the idea that rocket propulsion would work in vacuum but it questioned the integrity and professionalism of Goddard.” The post goes on to say that “The sensationalism and merciless attack by the New York Times and other newspapers left a profound impression on Robert Goddard who became secretive about his work (to detriment of development of rocketry in the United States)…”

It appears that some of the attributes of the NYT which make it so untrustworthy and unlovable today are actually cultural characteristics of long standing.

Worth keeping in mind when reading NYT analyses of Climategate.


A-damn-men.

But AlexC thinks:

Nothing makes you smarter than everyone else quite like a diploma from Journalism school..

It's why they hate bloggers so much. Because bloggers have blown the lid off of their scam.


Posted by: AlexC at December 10, 2009 4:30 PM

Campaign Finance Reform

I have a goofy idea, but it is a good idea. Here is a new way to raise campaign cash:

Create a "Director's Level" ("Wonk's Level," whatever..) and members who donate a certain $$$ get put on a special list that will receive -- how can I put this -- not-completely-idiotic campaign literature.

I have received a couple copies of an email from Jane Norton. She is running against Senator Bennet in 2010. I want to support her. I want her to win, but I really can't handle these emails. I know we all get 100s electronic and print:

[Two sentences]

Tell Michael Bennet to Stop Playing Politics with Health Care. Sign Up Now, Below and Support Jane Norton. Send a Message that We Need Quality, Affordable Health Care - Not a Government Takeover of America's Health Care System!

[Three bullet points]

Tell Michael Bennet to Stop Playing Politics with Health Care. Sign Up Now, Below and Support Jane Norton. Send a Message that We Need Quality, Affordable Health Care - Not a Government Takeover of America's Health Care System!

&c.


As blog pragmatist, I understand that she cannot win by a 100% pure appeal to higher philosophical virtues (though she could do a little better than this letter). And yet, I am tired of being treated like a child. AND, I am wiling to pony up a certain amount ($250, maybe $500) to get emails that are substantive and targeted at somebody with a knowledge of politics and government that is not third-grade populism.

I'd like to receive her serious thoughts on health care at a level that would be suitable for readers of this blog. And I'd pay for the privilege.

Michael Steele, same offer buddy, I'm not three and your vehicles are causing me to contribute less than I would normally.

UPDATE: I conflated Jane Norton with Gale Norton (since corrected). ThreeSources apologizea for any inconvenience.

UPDATE II: Gale vs Jane

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Motivational Poster

One of a bunch of good "motivational posters" I received by email from a good blog friend (one of our token lib-er-alls, no less). Holler if you want the whole mail:

a4_sopmod.jpg

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith thinks:

Sweet. Heck yes, I'd love it.

By the way, it would be even sweeter if it included the replacement upper that modifies it into the .50 Beowulf. I wonder if I can find someone well-versed in Photoshop who can shoehorn that in.

http://m4gery.com/?p=23

Posted by: Keith at December 10, 2009 11:53 AM

BLEG

I wonder if you guys can help me. I have a bunch of weatherization projects I wish to complete but I can't seem to find any trained workers. Maybe if we had a government program...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I could help but beware - I haven't been trained by government experts.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2009 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno...it's pretty tricky stuff...

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2009 6:29 PM

December 9, 2009

Score one for jk!

A beloved non-moonbat relative is not a fan of expanding government, yet is convinced that the reason the local grocery store doesn't sell bad meat is fear of the USDA, not fear of reputation or lawsuits.

I just sent a link to this USA Today piece (no doubt the print version has a cute little graph showing tainted chickens...)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program "meets or exceeds standards in commercial products."

That isn't always the case. McDonald's, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.

And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef.

For chicken, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of meat from old birds that might otherwise go to compost or pet food. Called "spent hens" because they're past their egg-laying prime, the chickens don't pass muster with Colonel Sanders— KFC won't buy them — and they don't pass the soup test, either. The Campbell Soup Company says it stopped using them a decade ago based on "quality considerations."


This represents an insidious acceptance of government power. Living a whole life of regulation -- many assume that they have been protected by regulation, when they would be better served by free markets.

A good little, expository story. Hat-tip: Instapundit

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Of course, you and I know why: we can easily stop going to a certain place if it seems unclean, or if the food sucks. Where's the "choice" for public school students? Yuck, I'm starting to remember the sour tuna pitas and other inedible crap that were the best promotion for brown-bagging.

There was a deli across from work where I usually got breakfast and lunch, and one day the new guy was chopping up vegetables for my omelette with an ungloved hand. I wonder if he understood, "That's gross!" He certainly understood my turning around and walking right out, never returning. There are plenty of other places I can go for clean food.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 9, 2009 10:09 PM

Contra-cyclical

Several blog brothers and friends used to work at the company where I work. (I left and came back). I have some shocking news for them and an interesting economic indicator for everybody else.

We just bought a new building. We have been in some barely-improved warehouse space for more than 20 years. Our CEO enjoyed a good personal relationship with the landlord, and the price was right. We'd outgrow the space and get another building, fix it a little...

Being in a good position in a down economy does present opportunity (I think the Chinese pictogram for opportunity is the one for "crap" and the one for "dollars" -- not sure...) and I guess we got an offer even we could not refuse. I'll still work at home, but it is a nice underscore of stability as we celebrate our 30th anniversary.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:57 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Congratulations WALI-ites and Spectra Logicians!

Of course, now nobody can blame the landlord. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2009 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Shhh! Now they tell me not to tell anybody. Oops!

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2009 3:53 PM

I Do Love This Country

The subject line of the NYTimes wrap up today:

@Times: Top 5, Taylor Swift, Hanukkah Recipes and More

All that's fit to print!


100 Lame Government Stimulus Projects

Senators Colburn and McCain have compiled an impressive document: Stimulus Checkup: a closer look at 100 projects funded by the coercive taxpayer theft act of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It's worth a look.

Don Luskin has highlighted a few egregious examples, but I'm going to open the bidding with #14: Anti-Capitalist, Socially-Conscious Puppet Shows ($100,000)

Each spring, Minnesota is home to a nationally known Mayday parade put on by In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOTB), which includes artists that advocate for socially progressive causes such as the elimination of fossil fuels and ―free market fundamentalism.‖98 The theatre derives its name from a quote popularized by Che Guevara, who in a thinly-veiled reference to the United States said, ―I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all – you live in the heart of the beast.

Holy cow, who's representing that State in the Senate? Some comed -- oh, never mind.

Pull up a chair and open the PDF, you'll be really unhappy you did.

UPDATE: #51 is an oldie but a goodie: Study On Why Young Men Do Not Like Condoms ($221,355)

Indiana University professors received $221,355 in economic stimulus funds to study why young men do not like to wear condoms. The research will ―advance our understanding of...the role of cognitive and affective processes and condom application skills in explaining problems with condom use in young, heterosexual adult men, and to create --education strategies tailored to the needs of individuals who have trouble using condoms effectively.

But johngalt thinks:

Oy. Government at its best, unfortunately.

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2009 3:39 PM
But Keith thinks:

How did they ever narrow it down to just a hundred? Sifting through thousands of candidates to pick that hundred would be a job I sure wouldn't want.

Unless it were being paid for with stimulus money.

(I kid, I kid...)

Posted by: Keith at December 9, 2009 5:38 PM

Brrrr!

I know our Minnesota brothers and sisters will laugh, but it is unusually cold in Colorado this week. Big sixteen below for the morning dog walk today. Atlantis Farm wasn't any warmer.

It's almost as if VP Gore was in town or perhaps a big media event on global warming or something -- you guys heard anything?

UPDATE: They promised me 19F today! Ten? at 3:30? Ten?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:14 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

http://minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw/2009/11/the-minnesotans-for-global-warming-song.html

Sing along and feel warmer!

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2009 3:03 PM

December 8, 2009

We're Certainly Not Nicer Than Canadians.

Hat-tip: Instpundit

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

Quote of the Day II

The Vegas erotic/sex museum is now claiming that the building is haunted. It's heartbreaking when something so cool goes cynical and hateful -- @pennjillette
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

Spend Our Way Out of Debt!

Spend our way out of obesity!

Spend our way out of alcoholism and drug addiction!

AP:

New Obama plans: 'spend our way out' of downturn

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama outlined major new government stimulus and jobs proposals on Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to "spend our way out of this recession."

Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.


As Professor Reynolds would say "What could possibly go wrong?"

But AlexC thinks:

this is a new plan?

I could have sworn that Vice President Biden said we have to spend to save. or something like that.

Posted by: AlexC at December 8, 2009 5:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Gotta confess it didn't sound really groundbreaking to me either. You do have to admire the directness of the AP headline, though.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2009 5:41 PM

Certainly in the Vicinity of Evil...

I'll briefly remind that I stood up for Google when brother ac took them to task for facilitating Chinese censorship, and even when brother jg claimed their stock was overvalued.

But there is an underlying creep factor on privacy concerns. And CEO Eric Schmitt let it loose on CNBC.

Schmidt's philosophy is clear with Bartiromo in the clip below: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." The philosophy that secrets are useful mainly to indecent people is awfully convenient for Schmidt as the CEO of a company whose value proposition revolves around info-hoarding. Convenient, that is, as long as people are smart enough not to apply the "secrets suck" philosophy to their Google passwords , credit card numbers and various other secrets they need to put money in Google's pockets.

Hat-tip: Galley Slave Jonathan V. Last who says "Google = Slightly Evil?"

Google Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

And yet, if Tiger Woods had heeded this advice - not doing things that cause him embarrassment - then he wouldn't be in the current less-than-happy place in which he finds himself.

And had all the climate wizards at East Anglia's CRU followed that advice and not faked everything on which the climate change cult is founded, perhaps they would not be living in their predicament.

Mark Sanford, anyone? Larry Craig? At least David Carradine doesn't have to live with the shame of his private secrets in the public eye.

We live in an information age in which secrets are admittedly harder to keep - and have since the Watergate cover-up unraveled. We're watching the death of hypocrisy. In the near future, people will have to choose between living lives as admirable as their facades, or adopting Henry Ford's philosophy when he was caught in flagrate delicto and saying "Never complain, never explain."

Having said all that - yeah, really creepy. There's an element of truth to what Schmitt says (and the pastor side of me appreciates the kernel of living consistently with that), but it will be interesting to see if the tune changes when someone finds and discloses where his skeletons are buried.

Posted by: Keith at December 8, 2009 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Privacy qua privacy is a difficult concept -- I'll bet a stunning majority of Americans agree with Schmidt.

I am the farthest thing you're going to find from a true civil libertarian but it is extremely important to resist this defense. The same can be said against one's right to not testify, right to not register a gun, et freaking cetera.

Also pretty disturbing that a guy as smart as he is cannot lie better. “Oh, we’re very concerned about privacy…”

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2009 3:31 PM
But Keith thinks:

jk: and yet a stunning segment of Americans read the tabloids, and can't go three days without the television gossip shows.

You know I have a certain perverse delight in taking the ugly side of issues, and I apologize regularly for a lot of "yes, but..." comments. I hope I don't surprise anyone by pointing out that any free-marketer would agree that the tabloids wouldn't exist without a willing customer base eager to poke their noses into other people's private lives, nor would "The Real Housewives Of [fill in the blank]".

People compartmentalize. They expect their privacy to be respected, unless there's money or a crack at American Idol in it for them. They're not ashamed of downloading porn or beating the kids (not enough to stop doing it), but they're ashamed of others knowing about them doing it. But they're eager to know about the dirt in the lives of others.

Hmm. An argument for a consistent ethos about respecting privacy - that of others as well as their own?

Perhaps my point of view stems in part from dealing with the aftermath of people enjoying their vices until they were busted for them, and the damage done to themselves and their families. I don't take issue with placing a high value on privacy - I merely add to it placing a high value on not living in such a way that requires me to live hypocritically, as I suspect you do as well.

Posted by: Keith at December 8, 2009 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Let me grab the two examples you offered. I believe that beating your kids is illegal and, outside of Saudi Arabia, downloading porn is not.

If one commits a crime (folks around these parts might split it further to harming others), he forfeits privacy on that issue. I don't mind the child-beater's being exposed.

Celebrities exchange their privacy for other benefits of fame. If I live to be a thousand I'll never understand the fascination. All the same, they can be photographed in public, or an enterprising ET reporter can sift through theory garbage, but even they enjoy boundaries and islands of privacy.

You can certainly do something that you would prefer not be shared that is not immoral. My real objection to Schmidt is his rejection of that.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2009 5:08 PM

Location, Location, Location

Scrivener looks at a couple outliers in the real estate markets.

Zaarath and Christopher Prokop -- and their two cats -- live in the smallest apartment in the city, a 175-square-foot "microstudio" in Morningside Heights the couple bought three months ago for $150,000.

Yup, there's a picture at the link (175 square feet!) Scrivener adds the $700/mo maintenance fee into the mortgage and comes up with an interesting comparison:
So the four "double" versions of these pre-World War II apartments (two maid's quarters put together) -- that sold for near $500,000 plus an equivalently larger monthly maintenance fee -- each sold for about as much as Detroit's 34-year old, 80,000 seat Silverdome...

(Or two of my 1200-and-change ft2 condos with enough left over to furnish both.)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith thinks:

Given the current state of the real estate market in Detroit, plus the prestige lent by the Lions' current performance, I'd bet I could get you a better deal on the Silverdome.

Posted by: Keith at December 8, 2009 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

If one did not have to have Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow representing you in the Senate and Jennifer Granholm in the Gov's Mansion, a good case can be made for snapping up large swaths of the city to remake into a utopian paradise.

We always decry the lack of frontiers -- we cannot pick up and create Rand's Atlantis on a deserted island. But, hell, we could buy Detroit.

(Not an original idea, but I am too forgetful and not search savvy enough to find the author.)

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2009 3:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For comparison: I board horses in stalls measuring 12 feet square, or 144 square feet. That extra 31 square feet must make all the difference.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2009 3:46 PM

Quote of the Day

As someone who worked inside a White House, I say you really believe government should be small when you see your friends running it. -- Bill McGurn
Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

...and even smaller when you see Bill Ayers' friends running it.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2009 3:44 PM

December 7, 2009

For the Broncos D

This could come in very handy next week.

Hat-tip: Scrivener

Posted by John Kranz at 6:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

Recognition

I know Microsoft is the root of all evil and all, but an Instapundit reader points out a little discrepancy:

bing091207.gif
vs:
goog091207.gif

I know, it's not like it was Earth Day or something...

But AlexC thinks:

That's a great picture of Pearl Harbor I had never seen before.

Kudos to MSFT. Boo on GOOG.

Posted by: AlexC at December 7, 2009 7:27 PM
But jk thinks:

And you can mouse over hotspots to get additional information.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2009 8:01 PM

Quote of the Day

"It's too cold to walk from the hotel to the convention on global warming. Let's take a limo!" -- Simon Scowl
Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfill the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."

The Unicorn Rider

Steve Den Beste has a great piece at Hot Air. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that ThreeSourcers will dig it. He bifurcates materialism (which I would be tempted to call "reason") with teleology.

He then posits that the President's actions and policies make sense if their viewed as part of a teleological epistemological system.

Matthew Continetti says that we’re in “a year of magical thinking.” And to someone who has grown up with a materialist view of the universe, it could certainly seem that way. But what’s really going on is that Obama has this kind of world view. And that explains everything he’s done.

It explains his foreign policy. To a teleologistst, it just makes sense that everyone should want to get along. If you unclench your fist and hold out
your hand, everyone else will unclench their fists, and become your friends. So Obama is doing that, and as we know the result has been a shambles.

It explains his economic policy. Teleologists inherently don’t believe in unintended side effects when it comes to implementing their idealistic policies. Obviously it should be possible to provide free health care to everyone without wrecking the economy; it’s just how things really should be, so that’s how it will be. Where will the money come from? That’s the kind of question that materialists ask; teleologists don’t concern themselves with such trivial. It’ll happen somehow, because it’s obviously how it should turn out. To say we shouldn’t do it is to be heartless, uncaring — and those things are more important than mundane claims that it won’t work. If you just believe, it will work.

Of course, it won’t work. The materialists are right about that. But when it fails (if it gets tried) the teleologists will blame the negative vibes of all the materialist doubters for the failure. If only they’d come on board and supported it, then it would have come out OK.


I got into a Facebook fracas with a very good -- but seriously moonbatted -- friend, He pitted peace versus imperialism with a pithy aphorism that would look really good silk-screened (with soy ink) onto the side of a Whole Foods burlap reusable shopping bag.

I really do try to keep cool on FB, but my friend asked "How has imperialism improved the world we live in?" No doubt that was rhetorical, but my contrarian heart leapt into the fray and I touted Deepak Lal and suggested an answer to his question: "What I suspect you’re calling Imperialism established a foundation of law, rights and freedom that lifted the entire human race out of tens of thousand years of poverty and privation."

He's a smart guy and a fun interlocutor. I suspect I drove a couple of his friends into therapy, but we're having a good time. At the end of the day our ultimate difference is his teleological worldview. And the voice of jg rings in my ears that there is no chance or value in arguing with that.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Fun post! There's much to ponder here.

Here's a random thought: Suppose we create a parallel nation called the Teleological States of America. Obama can be their president and most of the news media and universities would be governed by the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court of the TSA [no pun intended.] Meanwhile, only materialists will hold seats in these offices of the USA. The US government will act to secure liberty and promote the general welfare while the TS government will work independently from them to think the same ends into being. With both sides working together in this new harmonious and non-confrontational manner only a positive and progressive future can result.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2009 3:42 PM

Two Dozen More Green Jobs!

We're plus 24 thanks to the new green economy we were promised. Yet, for some reason, John Stossel is not impressed.

Institutions like Summit Academy use stimulus money for their “results-oriented programs” that “empower adults” to “become educated, employed, contributing members of their community.”

Your money is being used to teach building weatherization skills; problem is, there seems to be little demand for these newly trained weatherization workers.

130 people have been through Summit's new weatherization program. But just a couple dozen have landed jobs.


If only there were some other way to connect workers with professions that people really wanted. There must be some way to do it.


December 5, 2009

Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally

Having wished out loud here for a conservative candidate like Sarah Palin to advocate limited government in the economic AND the social spheres I was naturally pleased to hear evangelical Christian Kevin Miller talk about his new effort to "reestablish crucial commonality and shared success among social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians and all freedom-cherishing Americans." (Hey, that got your attention din't it!)

Christians know from the New Testament that virtue is not accomplished even by Biblical law — so how much more powerless is civil law to create virtue? No national government can achieve both freedom and virtue: neither will be accomplished ...

Hat tip: Mike Rosen's second hour today [audio file].


December 4, 2009

TV News

I thought "Dollhouse" was dead. But there is a two hour episode on tonight with special guest Summer Glau.

Also, Blog friend Silence turned me onto "Burn Notice" in a comment awhile back. I got the DVDs from Netflix and am halfway through Season One. That is a very good show, kind of halfway between Dexter and Castle. Goood stuff.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 6:25 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Lisa M thinks:

I like Burn Notice, too. It's like an updated version of The 'A' Team.

Posted by: Lisa M at December 4, 2009 6:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Exactly -- it's Castle meets Dexter meets A-Team...

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2009 6:57 PM

Birther Humor

From my brother, via email. I think he may actually be a birther, I 'm not sure. He sends me a lot of jokes like this.

birther.gif

UPDATE: Interestiing press fallout from this and the role of the WH social secretary Desiree Rogers.

Ryan claimed that there have been whispers around Washington insinuating that Rogers had overstepped the traditional role of her title at the event to become the "belle of the ball," thus "overshadowing the first lady." Frustrated by Ryan's tabloid-y line of questioning, Gibbs instructed her to "calm down" and to take a deep breath," adding "I do this with my son and that's what happens."

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Good News for Keystone State Friends

That blue state has gone at least indigo, if not quite purple. So thinks Julie Mason at the Washington Examiner:

But politics are shifting in Pennsylvania, which is lately drawing comparisons to New Jersey and Virginia, both of which elected Republican governors this year after lining up for Obama in 2008.

"I think the political environment in Pennsylvania has dramatically changed since last year, and now the Republicans are looking increasingly competitive," said Terry Madonna, a political scientist and pollster at Franklin & Marshall College In Lancaster, Pa.


Keep it up, Keystone State blog brothers and sister!

Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 12:42 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Is it true that Arlen Spector is thinking of switching parties again?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 4, 2009 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother ac should sell Specter weathervanes. That would be funny.

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2009 6:50 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ooh! That's a great idea. Every Arlen Specter story will be accompanied by a weathervane picture. That's genius.

It doesn't take so-called political expert Terry Madonna to tell you the winds have changed.

You just look at the election results from November.

6 of 7 statewide judicial races went R. There's a statewide registration deficit of 3 million for Republicans! Republicans turned out, the Democrats stayed home. Plain and simple.

Posted by: AlexC at December 4, 2009 11:02 PM

Quote of the Day

Indeed. My take: If healthcare is as important as they say, why would we trust Congress to run it? -- Professor Glenn Reynolds
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

December 3, 2009

Quote of the Day

Lifted from the good folks at Samizdata:

"Leute wie Sie standen auf den Mauer-Wachtürmen der roten Sozialisten, Sie überwachten die Wachtürme der braunen Sozialisten. Und, ..., Leute Ihres Schlages werden auf den Wachtürmen der grünen Sozialisten stehen und deren Umerziehungslagern zu klimatologisch korrekten Staatsbürgern."

("People like you stood in the guard towers of the red socialists' wall, they stood in the brown[shirt] socialists' guard towers. And people of your stripe will stand in the guard towers of the green socialists and their reeducation camps for climatologically correct citizens.")

- Commenter Frank39, who appears to have lived in East Germany, responding to another commenter on a post on Climategate from the German "Science Skeptical" blog. My thanks to the anonymous correspondent in Germany who pointed this out and provided me with the translation.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 7:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

Lt. Colonel Allen West

Running for Congress in FL-22:


Hat-tip: Ace via Hugh

But johngalt thinks:

Clean, articulate, and not a teleprompter in sight. Inspirational! Thank you brother. (Thank you too brother jk.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2009 1:09 AM

How Much for Two Light Snacks?

Washington Times:

Former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday abruptly canceled a Dec. 16 personal appearance that was to be staged during the United Nation's Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which begins next week.

As described in The Washington TImes' Inside the Beltway column Tuesday, the multi-media public event to promote Mr. Gore's new book "Our Choice" included $1,209 VIP tickets that granted the holder a photo opportunity with Mr. Gore and a "light snack."


Some possibly exogenous event has caused the Vice President to cancel, but I bet the snack is still on.


December 2, 2009

"Does it disprove global warming? No, of course not!"

In a comment jk predicted that despite Climategate, the DAWG religion "is not going away." As counter argument I give you the ultimate shaper of public opinion - Jon Stewart.

Hat tip: Minnesotans for Global Warming

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Scientists Hide Global Warming Data
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Except for the title quote Stewart hammers the hapless climate changers pretty hard. What do you think the kiddies will remember?

But jk thinks:

And he did a good job on the Acorn videos as well.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2009 8:13 PM

Rand on Capitalism vs. Altruism

For the purposes of the commentary to my Thanksgiving post I had occasion to search my Objectivism Research CD Rom for "altruism." The following passage [click continue reading] from 'For The New Intellectual' made a tremendous impression on me when I first read it, lo those many years ago. It hasn't lost its punch.

I consider FNI to be the best of Rand's non-fiction writing and I highly recommend it to everyone. In a brief 224 pages the reader gets a compendium of the author's thoughts on history, philosophy and morality in the form of a review of her major works of fiction: We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged. Fifty pages precede this under the heading, For the New Intellectual. First sentence: "When a man, a business corporation or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow: they can evade the reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, range-of-the-moment expediency-not daring to look ahead, wishing no one would name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow-or they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding."

Damn! Where's my copy?! Gotta read it again.

From chapter 1 of 'For the New Intellectual' by Ayn Rand - 1963

The businessman, historically, had started as the victim of the intellectuals; but no injustice or exploitation can succeed for long without the sanction of the victim. The businessman, who could not accept the intellectual leadership of post-Kantian Witch Doctors, made his fatal error when he conceded to them the field of the intellect. He gave them the benefit of the doubt, at his own expense: he concluded that their meaningless verbiage could not be as bad as it sounded to him, that he lacked understanding, but had no stomach for trying to understand that sort of stuff and would leave it respectfully alone. No Witch Doctor could have hoped for a deadlier concession.

By becoming anti-intellectual, the businessman condemned himself to the position of an Attila. By restricting his goals, concerns and vision exclusively to his specific productive activity, he was forced to restrict his interests to Attila's narrow range of the physical, the material, the immediately present. Thus he tore himself in two by an inner contradiction: he functioned on a confidently rational, conceptual level of psycho-epistemology in business, but repressed all the other aspects of his life and thought, letting himself he carried passively along by the general cultural current, in the semi-unfocused, perceptual-level daze of a man who considers himself impotent to judge what he perceives. It is thus that he turned too often into the tragic phenomenon of a genius in business who is a Babbitt in his private life.

He repressed and renounced any interest in ideas, any quest for intellectual values or moral principles. He could not accept the altruist morality, as no man of self-esteem can accept it, and he found no other moral philosophy. He lived by a subjective code of his own—the code of justice, the code of a fair trader—without knowing what a superlative moral virtue it represented. His private version or understanding of altruism—particularly in America—took the form of an enormous generosity, the joyous, innocent, benevolent generosity of a self-confident man, who is too innocent to suspect that he is hated for his success, that the moralists of altruism want him to pay financial tributes, not as kindness, but as atonement for the guilt of having succeeded. There were exceptions; there were businessmen who did accept the full philosophical meaning of altruism and its ugly burden of guilt, but they were not the majority.

They are the majority today. No man or group of men can live indefinitely under the pressure of moral injustice: they have to rebel or give in. Most of the businessmen gave in; it would have taken a philosopher to provide them with the intellectual weapons of rebellion, but they had given up any interest in philosophy. They accepted the burden of an unearned guilt; they accepted the brand of "vulgar materialists"; they accepted the accusations of "predatory greed"—predatory toward the wealth which they had created, greed for the fortunes which, but for them, would not have existed. As a result, consciously or subconsciously, they were driven to the cynical bitterness of the conviction that men are irrational, that reason is impotent in human relationships, that the field of ideas is some dark, gigantic, incomprehensible fraud.

But johngalt thinks:

Before I attempt anew to answer the question, "Why deny the reflection, the reaction that you also contribute to others" perhaps differently than I (or dagny) have done in the past, I'd like to point out that Howard Dean is down with jk's pragmatic victory: "I'll gladly accept the right choice for the wrong reason."

See his videotaped speech here where he says, "There's not so much of a debate anymore on the left about capitalism - and whether we should have it or not. There's a debate about how to have it. I think capitalism is always going to be with us because capitalism represents part of human nature. But the other part of human nature is communitarianism. There's a natural tendency of human beings, in addition to wanting to do things for themselves - they feel a great responsibility in wanting to be part of a community. And so then I think the debate for the new generation is instead of capitalism OR socialism is, we're going to have both and then which proportion of each should we have in order to make this all work. It's a much more sensible debate."

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2009 4:01 PM
But Keith thinks:

That debate could only be sensible to Howard Dean.

Posted by: Keith at December 3, 2009 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No Keith, I don't think so. I think that debate is sensible to every Democrat and a great fraction of the remainder of Americans. And I contend the reason for this is Americans have been conditioned that helping others is at least as important as helping yourself.

On re-reading I don't believe jk is saying that. Nor do I take Shultz's excerpt to mean one should start a business for the express purpose of helping the poor. I think he was just saying, "Hey, if helping the poor is your big goal then you'll make more of a difference in corporate America than with some do-gooder charity scheme."

I'll leave the rest of my thoughts until tomorrow. The hour is late.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2009 1:02 AM
But jk thinks:

And I was going to give you tips how to beat on me. My hero, Milton Friedman says the sole purpose of a corporation is to add value for the shareholders. Rand and Friedman would slow me down...

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2009 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Having freshly re-read the 2006 dialogue which you linked I have come to the conclusion that the obstacle to your acceptance of the capitalist morality, as a replacement for rather than a sidekick to, the altruist morality is your focus on convincing others that your way is better. Not just any others, but the most died-in-the-wool emotionalist liberal do-gooder collectivists you're likely to meet. From time to time it is wise to sit back and examine your premises: Is there anyone on earth whom you might find "unreachable" by logic and reason? Rand said that anyone who denies the existence of reason can't be persuaded by it, so there is no use in wasting your time or breath on them.

I'm sure you feel that it is important to bring the light to these people, many of whom are beloved family members. But if they can't acknowledge that collectivizing productivity destroys it, ala John Stossel's example of the Plymouth Colony, then you have no hope of success in convincing them that WalMart is a greater good than the World Wildlife Fund.

Rand addressed both of these facts in Atlas Shrugged. Rather than convince the public that altruism was evil, her heroes abandoned the public and struck out on their own. And your well-meaning refusal to give up on the socialists amongst us is mirrored in Dagny Taggart's refusal to watch her grandfather's railroad rot into oblivion when she "knew" that through brute force of her own will she could "save" it.

Let's return to the Rand excerpt I published above: "The businessman ... made his fatal error when he conceded to them the field of the intellect." By doing so, "the businessman condemned himself to the position of an Attila." ("Attila" you'll recall is Rand's term for the men who practice persuasion by force.) And this is why the modern Progressives can denounce businessmen (corporations) as the selfish rich who say "screw everybody else." Because as a result of his abandoning the realm of philosophy the prevailing morality of our time is altruism.

I wholeheartedly agree that we can't afford to spend forty or fifty years teaching a proper morality, like the progressives did in fostering altruism. We now have an emergency situation where the tree of liberty is about to be exterminated. But to rally around a national return to healthy corporatism in return for accepting the bridle of "helping the poor" on the backs of corporate profit will not defeat the Progressives and their creeping socialism. The first step - the very first step - must be to denounce altruism on moral grounds. "Don't tread on me." "Don't spread my wealth - spread my work ethic." Countless other signs and slogans express the individualist moral ethic of capitalism at the expense of altruism.

The Tea Parties have done this, and the Progressives lashed out against them. Sarah Palin does this and they elevate her to the level of pariah. The ideas that Rand invented, and that we are promoting, are on the verge of widespread acceptance, and the Progressives know it. The only thing they can offer in return is to call us names and offer to let capitalism "coexist" with their socialism - as though they could survive without us! We can win this fight, this battle of ideas, because ours is the idea inherent in Americanism. Americans of every race, religion and economic station understand and trust these values in their gut. But the biggest obstacle to our success may be the realization that we may have to let a few friends think poorly of us for a while if we're to be successful in "securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2009 7:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I wrote a long, thoughtful, reasoned response and my browser froze. So please accept this short, disjointed rant in its place.

I do think you have nailed it, brother. Software guys look for patterns and this is definitely a pattern around here. My position as blog pragmatist is secure for the near future.

I'm also tempted to agree on the moonbats. I'm never going to reach them, related or not. But I have succeeded in convincing a few that there is a serious opposition and that there is indeed a liberty component to opposing coerced charity. There's some value in that.

There is more value -- and here I will quibble -- in reaching those in the middle who are not devoid of reason. It's me against unions, teachers, Hollywood, and five centuries of literature. If I come in, guns-a-blazing, I lose their thoughtful consideration quickly.

I don't know that I have ever really turned anybody on to liberty theory, for years and years of trying. But my heroes are the "happy warriors." Jack Kemp, Milton Friedman, and Tony Snow were hard to dismiss, whereas Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter even put me off.

I'll end by destroying my credibility with ThreeSourcers. I consider myself pretty pure on first-principles liberty (much of my reasonableness is feigned), yet I'll go with Governor Dean a bit of the way. There is an intrinsic element in humanity that yearns to improve not just our own lives and environment. I'll go with Ms. Rand on the dangers of letting that emotion rule our life. But part of individual achievement is improving things outside of your circle. If I get kicked out of the Objectivist cocktail parties for that then so be it.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2009 12:00 PM

Altruist? Be a Walmart* Executive

Okay, Nick Schultz doesn't use the A-word, I'm just grasping for segues.

But I think most ThreeSources will dig his "Want to Help Poor People? Help Start Businesses" post.

New businesses are indispensable to kick-starting poverty-eliminating growth. So if you have an aptitude for starting and building businesses and want to help people in poor countries, think about that course of action. Or go to work for large multinational firms (like Wal-Mart or Carrefour) and help them break into developing countries (or even boroughs of New York City). This may not be what your anti-globalization friends in college think is a smart move, but it will do more to alleviate poverty than anything they will come up with.

My contrarian heart sings...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith thinks:

English translation:

"P-P-P-PUH-LEEEEZE* don't go Galt on us and take your assets out of the system, where we can't tax them out of you. If you do, the economy will burn to ash like parked cars in the Parisian night. You should start businesses, even in this horribly anti-business climate where our government will do nothing to encourage you and everything to screw you under from six different directions. Why should you do this? For the poor!"

Were I to start a business today, it would be first and foremost to benefit me.

And yes, I'm feeling a little contrarian myself.

* best when imagined with that Roger Rabbit voice.

Posted by: Keith at December 2, 2009 6:49 PM
But Keith thinks:

Okay, I admit to being a bit peevish today, and a lot of the world is looking like a target-rich environment for my attitude malfunction. To clarify:

Yes, business and enterprise remain the very best way to improve the economy. However, over-regulation and a punitive tax structure are two institutions by which our overlords repress business - and they are just the first two that come to mind. If those in government believed in the power of business, they should do everything to foster enterprise, not destroy it.

Further, if the goal is to benefit the poor - presumably by employing them and thereby blessing them with paychecks in return for their productivity - then I have to suggest that this model calls for a labor force ready to report for duty. The poor don't magically become rich just because business moves into town, and I can speak from the experience of someone who's made probably well over a hundred hiring decisions in my career that a moocher mentality will not enable people to either compete for nor keep those jobs. This is a two-way street.

Posted by: Keith at December 2, 2009 7:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Amen brother.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 7:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Tough. Damn. Room. Wow.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2009 7:55 PM
But Keith thinks:

It's not that it's a tough room, jk; it's just that a blog that invokes Sharansky, appreciates Rand, channels Hayak, and quotes Mankiw is going to attract contributors who are a couple of standard deviations north of the norm in the intellect department. Yeah, that's a compliment, and you're welcome.

We're - wait for it - nuanced. We grasp the fact that the ONLY way out of the economic black hole the present and previous Presidents (not only is that elegant alliteration, but it does admit that Bush 43 certainly did prime this pump by pre-socializing the economy with the first bailout) created is productive entrepreneurship; but we also grasp that that ALONE won't fix the economy - necessary components also include a government willing to create a business-friendly climate and an employable workforce. If all you have is the entrepreneurs, all they are doing is carrying the moochers and the looters.

Hence the strike. The John Galt of Atlas Shrugged - as well as, doubtless, our own - would have taken issue with Mr. Shultz for that very reason.

Posted by: Keith at December 2, 2009 11:24 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've been busy, but after reading through...

JK, you are correct.

Keith, as JK explained in the subsequent post, Schultz isn't some collectivist. This is precisely how the Invisible Hand works: acting in your own self interest, as paradoxical as it seems to leftists, improves society after all. And why not? Wealth does "trickle down," although a better term is, "Wealth flows." As Abraham increased his flocks, he needed to hire more help. His men cared more about themselves than Abraham, but working hard in their jobs helped Abraham and consequently future employees.

Also, it's implicit that a business will start in a new location only if the available labor force is suitable. Some businesses will transfer an entire staff to a new center, but that isn't what happens in retail. Wal-Mart will open a new store somewhere because it thinks there's already a labor force ready to be tapped -- if not already capable, it's one that's trainable.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 4, 2009 9:04 AM

Quote of the Day

In the future, everyone will be CEO of GM for fifteen minutes. -- Jim Geraghty
But jk thinks:

That's why I've agreed to send in 30,000 new GM CEO's next year. But this is not "a blank check" for General Motors -- these executives will be redeployed by the end of 2011.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2009 2:57 PM

Gimme Thirteen Minutes

Health Care is a complex topic. But this Reason TV piece closely matches my views -- even citing my favorite example. It is a great thing to share with honest supporters of ObamaCare:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Coach Josh McDaniels has apologized to the six million viewers who heard him use bad language when (Dave Barry would herein point out that the author is not making this up) yelling at professional football players.

Y'know, I'm a bigger fan of civility than my blog posts let on. I watch the 1956 Stanley Cup finals and believe that we are really missing something not having Joe Louis Arena populated with fans in suits and ties. Yeah, they're all male and white, but the boorishness of society does get me down. Freedom and civility need not be mutually exclusive.

But, darn it all, I don't think anybody is too surprised that a pro football coach might use a few salty bon mots after his team gives up 15 ^%&%@ yards in procedure penalties in the %^&*$@ red zone when the team is trying to snap a &^*%$@# four game losing streak.

The broadcast was done by the NFL network, which gets to follow cable rules. The local FOX affiliate rebroadcast it. If we must have a witch hunt, I think they should have probably caught it. Personally, I would just say "Shit Happens" and move on...

But forcing the coach to apologize? I saw some smarmy nanny-moms on TV who were aghast. There is something really wrong here, that we can feign this hyper-sensitivity in an ocean of crassness.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Can't swear in a football huddle...
Can't smoke in the armed forces...
Can't use arm-twisting tactics on spies and terrorists...

What is this country coming to? Before you know it there will be no praying in foxholes.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I can't tell if he's smiling or not -- can you?

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2009 4:20 PM

December 1, 2009

Huck-a-Whack!

Back by popular demand!

The Gov of my nightmares has been showing up in GOP 2012 polls and even did a health care stint with Gov. Howard Dean on FOX News Sunday last week (the solution is for all of us to eat better).

He also showed up as commuting the sentence of Cop Killer Maurice Clemmons. I don't know that I would rush to make a stink (you've heard me keeping quiet). But this has bubbled a bit as he's started to lash out at his detractors. Jim Geraghty has some disturbing background from his former campaign manager.

Joe Carter, probably the best part of Huckabee's presidential campaign, notes that the candidate really saw this issue differently from almost everyone else in the political world, for better or worse: "The governor seemed genuinely surprised that he was held responsible for the criminal acts committed by those whose sentences he had commuted as governor. It was as if he believed that simply having noble intentions and a willingness to make tough decisions would provide political cover."

That's a good Huck-a-Whack there, James. You caught his disturbing sanctimony, that his personal intrinsic purity supersedes judgment and beliefs.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Jason Lewis said this should just about put a fork in any presidential ambitions for Huck. Ned, I hope so. While I like the governor and have enjoyed most of what I've seen on his TV show his policy ideas are just W-R-O-N-G. In the contemporary vernacular, Republicans like Mike Huckabee are "dangerous" and "scary."

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 8:51 AM

All Hail Jillette!

I have the virtual coffeehouse, Penn Jillette has PennSays (I follow on Twitter). They are sometimes philosophical, sometimes political, sometimes just honest emotion.

But this 13 minute review of a U2 concert is a joy.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day Deux

The people who made those adjustments are, we now know, desperately invested in proving the truth of man-made global warming. And they lost the data. That’s more damning than anything else in the emails. If you’re doing important work that you know will be controversial, you don’t lose the data. You document everything you did to the data. You make the data available to others. If you don’t do all of those things, people are right to ignore anything you have published about the data. And that’s what we should do with everything these men have published about man-made global warming. -- Charles Murray
But johngalt thinks:

But saving the data for independent scientists to repeat your work and corroborate your results is a requirement of science. We're not talking about science here, we're talking about climate change Scientheism.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 8:59 AM

All Hail Taranto!

Genius:

muddy_waters.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [0]

JG 1, JK 0

I withheld judgment that ClimateGate was a game changer until it got a little more mainstream coverage. Blog Brother Johngalt more approached the "It's Christmas Day and I got a pony!" view.

Well, he has the setup for a pony, and -- while it's still just a blog post -- this <heavenly music>New York Times</heavenly music> blog post by Science Editor John Tierney is a big deal.

I’m not trying to suggest that climate change isn’t a real threat, or that scientists are deliberately hyping it. But when they look at evidence of the threat, they may be subject to the confirmation bias — seeing trends that accord with their preconceptions and desires. Given the huge stakes in this debate — the trillions of dollars that might be spent to reduce greenhouse emissions — it’s important to keep taking skeptical looks at the data. How open do you think climate scientists are to skeptical views, and to letting outsiders double-check their data and calculations?

But johngalt thinks:

It was just obvious to me that this was a game changer. Politics certainly isn't pure but hard science is. A scientist's career is defined by his record of publication. Anyone who dares attempt to explain away what has been exposed here runs a serious risk of ruining his scientific credibility, tainting the entirity of his published work, and putting himself clearly in the bin labeled "politicians" and removing himself from the one labeled "scientists."

Climategate represents sort of a "Gore Doctrine" for the climate change cabal. Every one of them is in effect being asked, "Are you with us, or are you with the scientists?"

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 9:10 AM
But jk thinks:

It reinforces the complaints that I have made (rhymes with Snarl Copper) about the unscientificness of the movement.

But it does not expose a hoax as some have claimed. The believers truly believe. As long as well funded people believe, it is not going away.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2009 10:01 AM

Quote of the Day

Under ordinary circumstances anybody who contributed to the destruction of Harvard would be hailed as a national hero, but Summers has gone on to make the whole country poorer. -- Tim Cavanaugh

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