January 29, 2010

The Best Part of Politics

(The link is to his Facebook page).

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:45 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

How about 1.12 billion cubic yards of fill dirt to raise the city of New Orleans to sea level?

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2010 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

As the kiddies say, LOL, brother jg, LOL.

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2010 9:58 AM

Losing Faith in the Internets

I cannot seem to find a "Simply Not True" T-shirt with a picture of Associate Justice Alito.

Time was, they'd have that by now.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:18 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

I'm pretty sure there's never been a Supreme Court justice on a T-Shirt.... but Cafepress could make you one.

Posted by: AlexC at January 29, 2010 11:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't know, you see lots of shirts that say "Brandeis" on them...

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2010 11:09 AM

Idiotic Idea of the Day

The Refugee has decided to nominate a new category for daily award: Idiotic Idea of the Day (IIOTD). Trust him, this is going to be big.

Today, Barack Obama announced that a $5000 credit would be given to small business for each "net new" job created in 2010. Which really goes to show how little the preznit (credit to Keith) understands about running a business.

So, I'm a small businessman (and The Refugee has been one): Am I really going to hire someone at $60,000 (or pick a number) this year and every year thereafter just to get a $5,000 tax credit? Heck no. I would hire said person based on the economic business justification and a $5,000 subsidy would not even be a tipping point. However, I would gladly take the credit anyway thankyouverymuch.

So, how many jobs will this credit create that would not have been created without it? Zero. How much will it add to the deficit? About $33 billion. IIOTD.

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:57 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By remarkable coincidence, my wife and I were at a business meeting during the Wednesday speech - we'd just filed incorporation papers for a small business. We'll be creating (not "creating or saving") ten jobs. We're actually DOING something to stimulate the economy. Didn't even know about the $5,000 credit - but whatever part of that is left over after the offsetting tax increases and health coverage increased will be donated to the campaign funds of business-oriented, free-market candidates for office.

On the other hand: opening an escrow company in California's depressed real estate market? I may be guilty of the next Idiotic Idea Of The Day.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 29, 2010 5:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Where will you get enough ideas to populate this new feature, br? Is it sustainable?

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2010 6:14 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

OK, KA (like the moniker?), here's the dirty little secret: you have to have enough taxes due to cover the tax credit. In other words, if you lose money or break even, like most start-ups do for the first few years, you have no taxes payable and therefore nothing to offset the credit.

BTW, got any openings? I might as well be the first to apply!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 29, 2010 6:26 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Nevertheless, I'm sure the preznit will happily take credit for creating those jobs! What a guy...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 29, 2010 6:28 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Maybe I ought to tell the Preznit I'm creating these jobs in spite of him, not because of him.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 29, 2010 6:46 PM

Speaking of Health Care...

Don't make the mistake of believing the Health Care Bill is dead. They're still trying to give us the same problems that Canadians have. But in Canada they're way ahead of us. They're already figuring out innovative ways around the socialized medicine scheme, with its 4 month waits for an MRI and 8 month waits to remove a brain tumor as shown in this YouTube video. KOA Radio's Jon Caldera, he of the Colorado Constitutional Reform Initiative, interviewed [audio link] Canadian Rick Baker of Canada's Timely Medical Alternatives and they discussed a specific case with the wait times I mentioned earlier. The conclusion they reached was that, while Canada has Universal Health Care Coverage the U.S. has Universal Health Care Treatment. This is because in Canada it is against the law to pay for private medical treatment - so many of them come here to spend their money. And it's damned affordable to boot. Baker quoted the customary price for a heart bypass procedure in the U.S. when billed to an insurer at $80,000 to $120,000. His cash client paid $16,000. Mister President! Mister President!

Here are the latest fees and wait times published on Timely's home page-


But jk thinks:

Thanks for the great segue. We have been trying to acquire an amazing new therapeutic device for my darling bride.

It has been eight weeks of forms and tough slogging: dispiriting as the treatment has shown such promise. The other day, it was formally denied by Insurance (enjoy it while you can, boys...)

I'm kidding, of course, but not kidding that as soon as I gave them a credit card number, this lethargic process sped up pretty quickly: "Can we FedEx it to Erie for Saturday delivery Mister Kranz?"

Too little attention is given to the empowerment that patients would feel if they were truly customers -- and how much less when the are, like UK and Canadian subjects, just tasks.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2010 3:49 PM

Try Googling It, Mr. President

John Stossel's suggestion. I would never speak to the President in such tones.

Stossel links to Peter Suderman's Reason piece with the less imperative headline:
"Here, Obama, Let Me Google Some Health-Care Reform Alternatives For You"

Suderman provides links to a few good alternative suggestions on health care reform. For a President who said "If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know."

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:05 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, like you can really believe anything you read on the internet.

Posted by: johngalt at January 29, 2010 2:43 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The devil will tell you a thousand truths to slip in one lie. Obama is so brazen that he'll say two nice things to imply that the next three are also good:

"bring down premiums"

How many times have we mentioned that the feds should stop infringing on the freedom of people to buy policies from across state lines?

"bring down the deficit"

Seriously, it's an easy thing to do after quadrupling it. You could keep it at 390% of previous levels and still claim you reduced it.

"cover the uninsured"

Why? When I was single, I was uninsured and wanted it that way. Like lots of younger people, it wasn't worth spending money on insurance I wouldn't use. I paid for doctor bills and prescriptions out of pocket.

"strengthen Medicare for seniors"

Why should I want to strengthen a program that is designed to make me pay for others?

"and stop insurance company abuses"

If you don't like what your insurance company is giving you, then stop f------ doing business with it. This is a lion chasing down a gazelle, but only with permission.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 31, 2010 9:39 PM

Quote of the Day

Ann Althouse has owned the Alito SOTU story, she gets QOTD yet again:

Oh, bullshit. He's a sideshow because he flinches when hit? He's modestly human and not a mannequin. I remember when Obama expressed a desire for Supreme Court Justices with a more sensitive emotional response. Empathy.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 28, 2010

Live at the Coffeehouse


Heck yes: It Could Happen to You

Pack up the Helicopter, Ben!

--- Yer comin back!

Almost twice as many no votes [70 - 30] as Volcker who got 16 back in 1983. BB will have to tough it out against a Congress that wants to push the Fed around. Barney Frank, for instance, wants to kick the regional bank president off the FOMC since they are not confirmed by Senate — and are often to hawkish for his tastes. -- James Pethokoukis

Posted by John Kranz at 5:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Isn't it fascinating that the lengthy, amplified, magnified speech of the most powerful man in the world with his big captive audience — in the magnificent room and in smaller rooms all over the country — are outweighed by one man's headshake and silent mouthing of 2 or 3 words?

And isn't it ironic that, right when we saw the judge's minimalist expression that overwhelmed the President's torrent of words, Obama was railing about the "powerful interests" that would use their great wealth to speak far too much during election campaigns?

It's not how much or how loud you speak that counts, is it? -- Ann Althouse

UPDATE -- Honorable Mention:
How can you tell when President Obama is lying? Justice Samuel Alito's lips move. -- James Taranto

But Keith Arnold thinks:

William F. Buckley could destroy an opponent's verbose arguments with a simple roll of the eyes, a smile, and the word "really..."

Kinda makes me want to use fewer words in my comments. I'll shut up now.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 28, 2010 4:33 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Is it possible the brilliant former professor of Constitutional Law somehow misunderstood the ruling? Or was he just lying to the stupid rubes who are incapable of understanding the nuances of the healthcare bill after his 800 speeches about same?

Honestly, the man's contempt for America could not be more palpable.

Posted by: Lisa M at January 28, 2010 7:12 PM

Economics for Progressives

I went looking for reasons why the GOP's Big Tent actually gets bigger when Progressives are kicked out of it to advance a discussion with jk and found this gem. I'm not sure yet how it relates to my premise but I have to share it, for it seems to tie in with several internecine issues around here.

The admitted Progressive author, UT-Austin professor of [not specified] argues that not only should Medicare and SoschSecurity NOT be slashed (in the name of deficit reduction or anything else) but that large, long term deficits are actually ... desirable.

So the fetish of long-term deficit reduction is politically poisonous -- and economically pointless. In reality, we need big budget deficits. We need them now. We need bigger deficits than we've got, to stabilize state and local governments and to provide jobs and payroll tax relief. And we may need them for a long time, on an increasing scale, and in the service of a sustained investment strategy aimed at solving our jobs, energy, environment and climate change problems. To pretend that expansionary policies are needed only for now, gives all this away.

But don't worry, boys and girls, nothing bad will happen.

The CAF coalition concedes that "long-term deficit reduction" is vital. But why? No reason is given. Are they worried about a threat of inflation? If so, why not look at interest rates? Last December's average 20-year Treasury bond rate was 4.40 percent -- lower than it was before the crash sent deficits soaring. Clearly, the markets aren't worried -- or the government would have to pay more to borrow. Equally obviously, the markets aren't worried about "default" or "national bankruptcy" either. Investors know those concepts don't apply to the government of the United States.

[Pause until your jaw returns to normal position.]

I mentioned tie-ins. This guy sounds like an uber-Progressive, and he's bashing CAF for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Sound familiar?

I said McCain should be opposed in the AZ GOP primary because he won't support the "massive structural reform" that it will take to rescue America economically. Slashing Social Security and Medicare are two such reforms.

But jk thinks:

If your jaw drops, you've been away from Boulder for awhile. I'd consider most of those arguments mainstream. Wrong, yes, but mainstream. Paul Krugman would make most of those statements and he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

We're stuck in label hell. I have tried to use the word "progressive" as others use "liberal" in an (speaking of quixotic) attempt to rehabilitate liberal to its Mises definition.

Taking ka's cue and using progressive in the TR-Wilson mode, I think it describes the maverick-y Senator from Arizona pretty well. It ain't limited government. Conversely, McCain has been tough on spending and earmark reform. His Presidential campaign included some good free-market ideas. I fear a party that could not find room for Senator John McCain would be a small party.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 4:13 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"...We need bigger deficits ... to provide payroll tax relief..."

Wait, whoa - what? We need to go deeper into debt through more government spending, one benefit of which would be... lower taxes?

I'm just a tyro on economics, but is he smokin' what I think he's smokin'? To quote Ricky Ricardo, he's got some 'splainin to do, because I don't get it. Might one of you smarter guys be able to help out?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 28, 2010 4:39 PM
But jk thinks:

WOW Did I lose calibration sometime in the third hour of the SOTU last night? I've read it twice now and still don't see anything in here you would not read in any issue of TNR or the NYTimes.

And, maybe I am misreading Keith, but I think he refers to the one stimulus idea that I could actually accept: a large reduction (I'd say complete holiday) from payroll taxes for employer and employee.

An extremely attractive GMU grad student was pushing this last year in a YouTube clip (if you share my love of economics, you might remember her...) For the same price as the craptastic porkulus bill, she claimed, we could give everybody a year off payroll taxes. That would create jobs.

And the pain of expiring it would advertise the underlying pain of withholding. Don't know if the numbers add up, but I have great faith in GMU's economists.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 5:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Amassing additional deficits AS A RESULT OF a payroll tax holiday is one thing (but the obvious answer "stop spending so damb much money, too!" prolly doesn't occur to such sophisticated, nuanced thinkers); amassing greater deficits IN ORDER TO provide tax savings is quite another. If I'd had enough sense to major in Economics instead of English, maybe I could get past what could just be a crappy grasp of syntax and not actually faulty cause-and-effect thinking.

Still, our budget problem is a spending addiction, not a shortage of income. If Uncle Sugar didn't have such a love for grabbing the check...

That's it - Uncle Sugar needs an intervention.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 28, 2010 7:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:


What I'm slack jawed about is not the list of "mainstream" ideas, but the last one specificallly: "...these concepts don't apply to the government of the United States." Do they think China's lending wealth, patience and cooperation are limitless?

It's just my opinion mind you, but I say there's plenty of room in the Tent for McCain and other Progressives, just not for their ideas and values.

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2010 9:36 PM

But They'll Rock at Health Care Part XCIII


250,000 White House Staffers, Visitors Affected by National Archives Data Breach

A data breach at the National Archives and Records Administration is more serious than previously believed. It involved sensitive personal information of 250,000 Clinton administration staff members, job applicants and White House visitors, as well as the Social Security number of at least one daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.

Of course, your private medical information will be fine.


Bloomberg, via BusinessWeek:

Toyota's "reputation for long-term quality is finished," said Maryann Keller, senior adviser at Casesa Shapiro Group LLC in New York, a strategic adviser to the auto industry. "People aren't going to buy Toyotas, period. It doesn't matter which model. What's happened is sufficient to keep people out of the stores," she said in an interview yesterday.

For what it's worth, I stake my claim as creator of the brand's new pet name.

But jk thinks:

Finally! Something to argue about around here.

I'm sure the recalls are a PR nightmare (how many seconds until I see a Hitler video showing Der Führer very upset with Toyota?) but Toyota has a lot of goodwill in the bank with folks like me who have owned and driven their cars to extreme odometer readings with minimal maintenance and breakdowns. Sie sind nicht kaput!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 1:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought the "finished" quote was overblown. That's why I linked it. I'm sympathetic to the difficulty of diagnosing rare, intermittent bugs (we called them "phantoms") but it's high time the consuming public realized that no automobile is immune to this kind of thing - even Japanese brands.

Personally, my impression of Toyota is and always has been dominated by a vision of the first Corolla I ever saw. How do you say? Mirabile visu!

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2010 2:51 PM
But Keith thinks:

You young kids may not remember the Tylenol recall of 1982. I do. Pundits were saying Johnson and Johnson was finished. But the corporate courage and willingness to take a massive hit in the short term to protect their customers bought them a lot of goodwill and market share in the long run. That was a recall done right, and the public rewarded them appropriately.

I'm not making any prediction about how this will turn out - only that recalls are not *necessarily* the end of the world for the automaker. By the way, happy to see that my car's manufacturer (the only one of the Increasingly Small Three not beholden to Uncle Sugar) just reported a profitable year.

And I admit with jg that it took me a long, long time to get past the spectre of the UJC (Universal Japanese Car). Sadly, it's the Datsun Bluebird 510 that haunts my memories.

Posted by: Keith at January 28, 2010 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

A few things are universal around here -- I think we all join in a huzzah! for Ford's bailout-free profitability. Huzzah!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 5:35 PM
But mcmhvonpa thinks:

Go out on Valentines day and show your sweetie that you love her. Buy her a Ford F150 with CrewCab, extended long bed, dualies and a nice diesel engine. Nothing says love like a giant American steel hug.

Posted by: mcmhvonpa at January 30, 2010 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

A nit, but I think you need punctuation in your new pet name, jg.

The rest of the world is not quite as slow as me, but I didn't get it until I saw it in HTML (what a geeky thing to admit). I was trying to say Toy-Who-Ta (Kinda like Who dat?) and not Toy-Whoa-Ta. (Heh -- now I get it!)

Just a suggest...

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2010 11:30 AM

Equal Time

I was going to offer my thoughts on the "STFU" last night, but the good folks at CATO have done it better, quicker, faster -- and in video!

Mirabile non dictu, I disagree with the last comments on Iraq, but reasonable folks can disagree.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: They missed one of my low points, but Ira Stoll picks it up:

Fourth, the command-and-control central planner aspect of his policies. "We will double our exports over the next five years," Mr. Obama said, adopting, with a tremendous tin ear, even the exact time horizon of Stalin's five year plans. Some readers will doubtless think it is over the top to invoke Stalin in the same breath as Mr. Obama, and, just to be clear, I don't think Mr. Obama is a mass murderer like Stalin. But the idea that government officials can successfully set and achieve goals for how many goods will be sold abroad is exactly the flawed logic of Communist economics.

SOTU: Awesometacular

If you're MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who for one hour forgot that President Obama was black.


But jk thinks:

We need to go to CafePress and get some ThreeSources barf bags if you're going to post more stuff like this.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

To "forget he was black for an hour" Matthews admits that he normally thinks of the president as a black man.

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2010 9:42 PM

January 27, 2010

Libertario Delenda Est!

Gee, I just can't figure out why Libertarians don't have a bigger voice in Government. Oh wait, maybe its this:

Advice to Barack Obama by Two People Who Didn't Vote for Him (or John McCain)
But just might if he ever got serious about governing.

That's the headline of an otherwise good article by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. But the headline explains why the GOP will cater more to Huck's Army that the voices of liberty. They did nothing (less than nothing if you read their magazine) to prevent the election of an unabashed statist. Now he has nationalized General Motors, tripled spending, attempted to take over health care, and -- never never forget -- appropriated the equity of GM and Chrysler bondholders for distribution to more politically aligned groups.

But even after he did all the above, even after he did nothing for gay rights, even after he continued the war policies they so despise, even after he appointed an Erlicher to be Science Czar and a drug warrior to be USAG -- even still, this does not disqualify him from future support by the myrmidons of Reason Magazine.

Of course, they could NEVER support Mayor Giuliani after a comment he made in a 1992 Mayoral race! But President Obama, if he picks it up a bit, can still get the coveted Welch-Gillespie vote.

Puke make to me want.

Quote of the Day

Neither the House nor the Senate have figured out how to pass a reconciliation sidecar first, We are being asked to pass a piece of legislation that amends another piece of legislation which does not exist yet. We are having problems with the CBO and parliamentarian on that front. -- one senior Senate aide

I was wrr.. wrro.. wrooon..

Last week I cast our friend McCain as a RINO. That was not quite precise. A better description would be Progressive.

McCain was best described as a progressive - like Teddy Roosevelt, whom he cited constantly. McCain tended to see politics as a contest between the national interest and the selfishness of private agendas, and he favored a role for government in counterbalancing the excesses of organized wealth.

But that's not all. He's also a flip-flip-flopper.

This is the consensus: McCain's basically a right-winger, but at least you know where he stands.

Actually, this assessment gets McCain almost totally backward. He has diverged wildly and repeatedly from conservative orthodoxy, but he has also reinvented himself so completely that it has become nearly impossible to figure out what he really believes.

Political conversions are hardly new or scandalous. McCain's ideological transformation is unusual for two reasons: First, he has moved across the political spectrum not once - like Al Smith or Mitt Romney - but twice. And, second, he refuses to acknowledge his change.

I wasn't wrr..ong only about RINO vs. Progressive, but also when I parenthetically noted, "I'm even OK with it" [McCain winning re-election on Tea Party coattails.] While consciously aware of the fact that personality often distracts voters from a politician's policies, I was subconsciously taken in. Just as our government needs massive structural reform to rescue the nation economically, the GOP can no longer include Progressives in its Big Tent. They don't help us, you see, they neuter us. There's a place for those people and it's called the DNC, as lap dogs to The One.

And it's not just McCain, to whom I had ascribed Chait's "unwavering authenticity" whose personality clouded my judgement, but Palin as well. These people are right - "Time to pick a side, Sarah - Are you with the people, or against them?" I'll reiterate my willingness to kick her to the curb if she ever strays from the small-government playbook, and if she follows through on plans to campaign for McCain that's either a massive miscalculation or an admission of guilt. Either way, it'll be tough to recover.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

I suspect you're rrrr....right. He does aspire to TRism.

Question is: does a big tent GOP have room for progressives? This pragmatist has to say yes.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2010 5:07 PM
But Keith thinks:

Progressive in TR's day didn't mean the same as it does today - or for that matter, what it did in Lincoln's day. Ask today's self-styled "progressives," and you're talking about central-planning, tax-raising former listeners of Air America.

Perhaps the problem is that, in both parties, people run for office and seek to get into government because they believe government can fix the problems. Not much future for, or much appeal to, someone hopinge to dismantle large parts of government. Among the Dems, that attracts lefty statists to swell the nannystate; among the Reps, it still attracts people who want to fiddle with the levers of government.

We'd vote for someone who wanted to assume office because he promised to dismantle the EPA, the Dept. of Education, the Dept. af Agriculture, and dozens of others - but why would that guy ever want to run?

Posted by: Keith at January 27, 2010 7:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Surprise! We disagree:

"Just as our government needs massive structural reform to rescue the nation economically, the GOP can no longer include Progressives in its Big Tent."

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2010 1:55 AM

I Hate 24-hour News Channels

This is why I hate political news shows/24 hour news networks:

So, basically ACORN should be exonerated because the guy who exposed them is a criminal? I am not following the logic.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:53 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Hasn't Woodward or Bernstein at least had a traffic ticket since 1972?

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2010 2:49 PM

Picture of the day

Andrew Breitbart's Big Government:
Hat-tip: insty

Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

Divided We Stand!

Curious lede:

AP - Facing a divided Congress and a dissatisfied nation, President Barack Obama will unveil a jobs-heavy agenda in his State of the Union address Wednesday, retooling his message more than his mission...

Divided? Almost historic majorities? A filibuster-proof Senate for the first year?

A Link, an Analogy

Republicans (and Tea Partiers) could and likely will do worse than to adopt Rep Paul Ryan's GOP Road Map for America's Future.

Ryan lays out outstanding alternatives to Democrats' health care, taxation, and spending policies. I'll suggest you read the whole thing before the SOTU speech extravaganza this evening.

I promised an analogy. I read this and thought "like a broken clock, the GOP is right twice a day." The Democrat Clock is not broken. It provides -- on request -- a perfectly random time value. It's not ever right in a predictable matter.

Call me mean spirited, but that captures my mood these days. I can't go on about the swellness of the GOP -- but when I look at the other guys...

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

January 26, 2010

Everything I believe in one picture

Here's a chart for the Prosperitarians:


This is why I rail at those who would take up back to the caves. The "live simply so that others may simply live" movement misses this. Curiously, I think the Objectivists do as well. I suppose I understand -- after repetitive beatings -- that no concept of collective good can be reified, but I still find this to be a powerful selling point. Everybody gets happy as we move down the X axis toward modernity.

Hat-tip: Scrivener

But johngalt thinks:

Dagny's working overtime to help America's subjects comply with the brutal rules of the illegal and corrupt IRS so you'll have to settle for my disjointed ramblings instead.

What I recoiled at was your suggestion that Objectivists (or Randians) are somehow against, as suggested by the chart, industry, wealth, technology and specialization or population growth. I didn't realize you were rehashing the old argument of society's benefit being the cause or the effect of our political system. The brothers, ka* and nb**, did a good job of defending dagny's overall point using both general and specific arguments. But I think none of us would disagree with the chart. What it shows us is that technology and human ingenuity is where true progress comes from - not from Progressives. (More on that later.)

* "ka" as in "kick-ass!" Rock on, brother.
** Nuthin' wrong with anonymity. I presume someone knows your identity in the Matrix.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2010 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought ka*** was the character in "Batman Begins" that you like...

Anonymity is a good choice in this company, nb, stick around. I have your real email but will protect it to my grisly death if Vice President Cheney comes for it. But if there is a personal tie I am not aware of it.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2010 1:09 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Keith and NB, thanks for making the very point I did some months back. "Public good" is too imprecisely thrown about, and Bastiat would remind us to look at who's paying for it in the first place.

Fireworks and beautiful vistas could be called public goods, but is someone being made to pay for them against his will? "Non-rivalrous and non-excludable" is only half of the picture, particularly when the so-called "public good" is government's way of crowding out a viable competing good in the private sector.

"The military" is most certainly not a public good, as I pointed out, even by the simplistic definition (because it's consumption is definitely rivalrous). It's a service I'm coerced into paying for but hope not to need to use.

"Free trade" isn't considered a public good, yet it does make "society" better off.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 27, 2010 2:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Curiously, I think the Objectivists do as well."

Now jk, I have no idea where you got this.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 27, 2010 2:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Clarification: I think that the pantheists will deny that progress was made. Sure we used to freeze in caves -- but they never had to watch commercials of view the decadence in Walmart*

Objectivists, I feared, would not let me celebrate this collective good. For the record, I mean good in the most abstract usage. I celebrate that freedom, innovation, modernity, trade, comparative advantage and the infield fly rule have made us all richer and less prone to morbidity. But I was concerned that celebrating this "collective good" would attract disapprobation from the Three Sources Objectivist community.

So I'll leave you all with a Democrat apology: "If I worded it poorly, I apologize to those hurt by their misunderstanding of my comments."

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2010 7:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbuse thinks:

No offense, you know, but that's quite a misunderstanding.

When a collectivist talks about "collective good" or "public good," you know he's talking about the forced, shared equality of poverty and state oppression.

An Objectivist would never have a problem with you living your life on your own terms, harming no one else without consent. If you asked him why he didn't object to the collectively good situation of society, he would reply that you're looking at an abstract average of individuals and their voluntary networks.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbuse at January 31, 2010 9:45 PM

Senate Nixes "Deficit Commission"

Hours ago a curious blend of Democrats and Republicans voted to establish a so-called blue ribbon panel to gin up various tax raising and spending cut packages to be sent up to the Hill. Fortunately, there were only 53 yes votes where 60 were required.

I read the list of GOP ayes thinking I'd find a handy checklist of big-government Republicans to campaign against in future elections, but some of the names on the list surprised me. Tennessee's Bob Corker and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, most notably. Here's the rest of the list:

Alexander (R-TN)
Bond (R-MO)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
LeMieux (R-FL)
Lugar (R-IN)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)

Do they not know what Obama has in mind for them?

P.S. Our friend McCain was one of the 24 Republican Nays.

But jk thinks:

Senator McCain -- that guy should've been President!

The biggest name for me was Judd Gregg. One of the best and I think that this was his baby. I don't get it either, brother.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2010 5:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I could see Gregg voting for this - he almost joined the Obama Administration after all.He's pretty well established his *strikethroughtext* RINO */strikethroughtext* "willing to compromise at all costs" bona fides.

[One of these days I'll remember the HTML for that.]

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2010 3:06 PM
But jk thinks:

<strike> </strike>

I live to serve...

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2010 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, how might johngalt remember the command "strike?" Revoke my login if I ever forget!

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2010 1:57 AM

Mondo Heh

Hat-tip: Blog friend tg

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

I KINDA HOPE NOT: “Could Harrison Bergeron be to 2010 what John Galt was to 2009?” -- Glenn Reynolds
Can't we all get along?
Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

Where you getting all this economic freedom all the sudden Canada? Just happen to find it laying around in the snow somewhere? Well it turns out we’ve recently misplaced a good deal of it around here. A little suspicious if you ask me. -- Adam Ozimek
Hat-tip: Instapundit
Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:26 PM | What do you think? [0]

Two Pictures of the President

Mirabile your dictu, kids, I am going to defend the President from a partisan attack. Don't worry, I will follow it with a partisan attack of my own...

Professor Reynolds links to this photo saying "Metaphor Alert: It was locked and no one had a key."


I'll let the (strained) metaphor pass. I have seen so little humor and even less possibly self-deprecating humor from President Obama, I cheer this. It's kind of clever, somewhat sweet, and speaks to a history of the White House before January 20, 2009. None of this was expected and all is appreciated.

Now that I'm on the new David Plouffe team, I will also post this. Here is the "leader of the free world" preparing to address a roomful of sixth graders -- Jesus Murphy I sure hope the teleprompter doesn't break!


Follow the link for a far more substantive attack about Federal usurpation of education. Me, I'm just enjoying the moment.

But johngalt thinks:

Does anyone else wonder how many fewer times President Ford would have tripped if someone had taped the edges of his carpets down?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2010 3:11 PM

January 24, 2010

Travel to the Edge of The Known Universe

Here's something cool to do during halftime - travel to the edge of the Universe, and back, in six and a half minutes. Cool!

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 5:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

January 23, 2010

Draft Kudlow

jk, brace yourself.

There is a movement about to draft Larry Kudlow to run against Chuck Schumer. Kudlow hasn't denied interest and has said that, "defeating Senator Schumer would be a noble cause."

2010 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 3:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Signed it yesteday, hb -- but thanks for thinking of me! Prosperitarians Unite!

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2010 5:06 PM

January 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

In Ohio today, Obama threatens to keep helping. (http://bit.ly/54sUYd) -- @VodkaPundit

On a TEA Party Platform

What is a RINO? As JK and I agreed, it depends who you ask. I suggested we'd agree with the definition used by the TEA Party movement but that's more than a bit nebulous since it's a movement and not a party organization. For the sake of argument, let's consider the commendable platform of the Boston Tea Party:

Platform of the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.

Being a "black-and-white" type of guy myself I like this concise expression of a consistent policy that is applied to every issue. But where jk would probably see "reduce the scope and power of government to limit illegal immigration" I would instead point to Article I, Sections 8 and 9 and say that establishing and enforcing laws regarding migration and naturalization are Constitutional functions of government. As is the repelling of invasions.

Ultimately though, I don't see this platform standing the test of time. If the scope of the movement is allowed to creep beyond taxes, regulations and government spending it is doomed to fragment and fall through the policy planks of the established GOP and DNC parties. I'll take an impromptu swipe at a better TEA Party Platform:

Platform of the _____ TEA Party

In order to promote a just and sustainable civil society in the United States, the ____ TEA Party supports the requirement of Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution that all direct taxes be apportioned among the states according to their representative numbers and, in so keeping, calls upon the state legislatures to ratify a constitutional amendment repealing the 16th amendment.

Furthermore, the Party supports a robust exercise of Judicial power to constrain the Executive and Legislative branches to the letter and spirit of the United States Constitution, most importantly in regard to regulation of commerce and expenditures from the national treasury.


Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

I don't want to do a lot of either ... either. I also don't want to spend the rest of my life in Washington trying to make sure the right amount of both gets done, and no more. I like our Constitutional Republic and think it was in darn good shape until a few bad amendments slipped through (some without actually being ratified.) And no, I don't think this idea is an overreach for the vast majority of Americans. Why would you think so?

My reading of your proposed platform is an attempt to strengthen adherence to the Constitution but if swearing an oath to uphold it doesn't achieve that then why would these few words in a platform make a difference?

You also mentioned "Tea Party" legislators, executives and candidates, which exposes an area of confusion by the name "Tea Party." I don't propose that it be a political party, but an alliance of patriots that takes its name from the historical party at Boston Harbor. Perhaps a better name would be Platform of the TEA Party Patriots.

My wording may be lacking and it may be too lengthy to gain the desired traction and following. But I do have the sense that this is where most TEA Partiers have been saying they want to go - lower taxes, fairer taxes, less government welfare and meddling with matters of commerce, and much, much more transparency.

I've seen many mentions of border security and some, but fewer, of abortion bans at the rallies I've witnessed. It would be tragic for the anti-tax and spend message to be diluted by those or any other issues. Hence, my suggestion to repeal the 16th amendment. If the Constitution is restored I am hopeful that voters acting in their own interest will refrain from electing representatives who intend to raise taxes. What is so overreaching in that?

[I tried to keep this comment to less than a zillion words. I also hoped the post would attract the views of a variety of regular commenters. Good intentions, by the board.]

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2010 8:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope, I had the overnight brainstorm here it is:

All Ten in 2010!

We, the undersigned legislative candidates of either political party do promise to craft and approve all future legislation expressly to restore and protect our rights as granted in the Bill of Rights.

The first ten amendments were crafted by our founders and the original authors of the Constitution. They protect individual freedom from government intrusion and limit the size, scope, and power of government.

Therefore in 2010, the signers pledge to govern as Tea Party Patriot Legislators, protecting the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2010 10:33 AM
But jk thinks:

Hate to duck a direct question, but I wanted to get my All Ten in 2010 platform up (above).

I thought we'd worn through this, but I don't see any interest in rolling back government services to pre-16th Amendment levels. Once I leave the lofty, intellectual heights of ThreeSources I am confronted with the fact that people like Medicare, Social Security, the EPA and the Department of Education. Nobody has been able to shave off 1% from any of those. Even with miles of evidence at their inefficacy and unconstitutionality, they (and the mohair subsidy) live on.

Trying to kill them all in one fell swoop (what is a fell swoop?) would be quixotic at best. Trying to preserve the Bill of Rights would get a little more purchase.

When you start tossing out Amendments that were ratified on shaky procedure, you would have to start with the Civil War Amendments (13-14-15) which were ratified by occupational governments. Worms. Can. Opener.

Give folks time. It is not only a weekend, it is a playoff weekend.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2010 10:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good feedback. My intent in rolling back the 16th is not to eliminate the income tax, but to make the tax on everyone equal. It's the inequity that enables redistribution. Congress would just have to figure out a way to tax every individual equally, and at a rate to get the same revenue. All programs could then remain intact to the extent voters continue to support them. Given this policy I'd be fully willing to allow illegal aliens to not only have amnesty and use government services, but to vote - provided they have social security numbers and pay their taxes.

I've considered the "first 10" approach in the past but see a few that came later we'd all agree should stay: women's suffrage and emancipation, primarily.

It looks like "fell swoop" came from Shakespeare, and hunting birds.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2010 5:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Methinks me wuz misconstrued. I did not want to lop the Constitution off at the end of the Tenth -- I wanted to focus on the Bill of Rights as a cause for the Tea Partiers.

I questioned the 12th and 17th, thinking that popular elections have not increased freedom. But I publicly wavered in the face of Gov Rod Blagojevich's putting a Senate Seat up on eBay last year. Maybe the people should do it.

There are facets of the 14th that disturb me, but I am quite ready to take the whole thing: chicks voting, MTV's solemn right to rock the vote, holding inaugurations on Jan 20, I'm in...

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2010 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm just sayin' that it would be easy to make the TPer's look bad if they say the first 10 are "the most important" or "our focus" or whatever. But I think we're both thinking too hard. Let's not talk about "10" but about "The Bill of Rights." Who could villify that?

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2010 11:47 AM


The Friday calf blogging has been a little light at blog friend Terri's I Think ^ (Link)...

But it is back with a vengance today as we trace Kenny from birth to Stock Show.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

Everybody Wants a Pony!

I don't think they teach "Civics" anymore, but a young person could learn much about government by reading Scrivener’s awesome Pony Reform

I want a pony. You want a pony. Polls show that everybody wants a pony!

Let's build a New Permanent Majority by enacting Pony Reform!

OK, we're committed. Upon this foundation of popular reform we will build our power base...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

I'd Love a Poll...

I'd love to see a poll on how many people really believe this. AP:

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is telling voters in Ohio, already wracked by high unemployment, that investments in clean-energy technologies will help boost the nation's economy.

Obama planned to use his visit Friday to test-drive an aggressive populist push on jobs, a top concern for voters across the country as the White House begins a message shift heading into fall elections expected to be difficult for Democrats.

I do appreciate the AP's telling us that it is all a political stunt. But I am curious how many folks actually believe "that investments in clean-energy technologies will help boost the nation's economy?"

January 21, 2010

The Black Vote and the Party of Lincoln

Thomas Sowell wants to know why Republicans haven't given more thought to winning the black vote. "If they get 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats are in trouble-- and if they get 30 percent, the Democrats have had it in the general election."

Many of the key constituencies of the Democratic Party-- the teachers' unions, the trial lawyers, and the environmentalists, for example-- have agendas whose net effect is to inflict damage on blacks. Urban Renewal destroys mostly minority neighborhoods and environmentalist restrictions on building homes make housing prices skyrocket, forcing blacks out of many communities. The number of blacks in San Francisco has been cut in half since 1970.

But, unless Republicans connect the dots and lay out the facts in plain English, these facts will be like the tree that fell in an empty forest without being heard.

He has some good practical advice. "The teachers' unions are going to be against the Republicans, whether Republicans hammer them or keep timidly quiet. Why not talk straight to black voters... Blacks have been lied to so much that straight talk can gain their respect, even if they don't agree with everything you say." Come to think of it, that last part applies to voters of any race. Just ask Scott Brown.

A tale of two RINO's

Until April of last year many considered Senators John McCain and Arlen Specter to be RINOs based on their support for signature Democrat policies in the areas of immigration, global warming and campaign finance among others. Specter's announcement that he was switching back to the Democrat party after 44 years made big news, but John McCain stealthily embarked on another track. First he reversed his support for cap and trade. Then he bumper-hitched the Tea Party movement and started befriending candidates like Scott Brown and voting against the Obamagenda. Now, he's in pretty good shape to hold his own seat in the senate with campaign endorsements and appearances by his former running mate Sarah Palin and even the newly minted junior senator from Massachusetts.

This goes mostly to show that McCain was never as much a RINO as Specter but also that Arlen seriously misread the staying power of the Obama Express. Losing the presidential election and inspiring some primary challengers seem to have rekindled McCain's conservative sensabilities. I'm already willing to predict that McCain's strategy will succeed and he'll be re-elected in November. And I'm even OK with it. He is a war hero, after all. (I just hope he'll remember what he really believes in if he ever again becomes a media darling.)

Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 3:35 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

And this is as good a place as any to point out that if just one of the current 40 Republicans in the senate can be persuaded to follow Specter into the abyss, then the significance of Scott Brown's victory would be nullified. Fortunately, I can't imagine anyone being that stupid - not even a Republican senator.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 4:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I would never call Senator McCain a RINO. I would call him a few other names, but...

Senator McCain has been an unreliable vote in the GOP Senate caucus, but he is usually there when needed. I think of Senators Snowe, Collins, Voinovich as RINOs. Senators McCain and Graham can be irritatingly absent on issues, but I would never call either a RINO.

The distinction is to envision "pulling a Specter." The three I mentioned would fit in the Democratic Caucus, McCain and Graham never!

I clarify because if/when immigration becomes a GOP litmus test, you are going to lose not only McCain, but also Kudlow, the WSJ Ed Page, and umm, me…

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2010 6:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Human Events' top 10 RINO's in the senate as of March, 2009, based on an overall analysis of votes in the 110th congress. Specter 6, McCain 7.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 8:49 PM
But jk thinks:

If Human Events is the arbiter of all things Republican, I am certainly a RINO. The next list is Family Research Council's top ten in the House. I'd suggest if they're deciding, you are one too.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2010 10:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If there was such a thing as the "TEA Party Top 10 Big Government Republicans in the Senate" I'd have used that instead. Let's not miss the bigger point though by arguing over what RINO means to the nth degree. McCain has clearly been a leaf in the Capitol Hill wind and that's quietly changed since last April. I call that good news. He and Specter read the same political landscape and saw it exactly opposite from each other.

And for his part, Specter seems none too comfortable with his current predicament.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2010 12:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I agree that RINO-taxonomy does not affect your post nor your excellent point.

But we occasionally digress down a side road around here. And Scott Brown's candidacy has spotlighted the question of who/what defines a Tea-Party RINO?

If it turns out that the Tea Partiers come out full-on against baby-killers, queer-lovers, and (gasp!) open-border types, then you and I are in a spot of trouble, nicht wahr?

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2010 1:55 PM

One for Brother Keith!


The impact of Tuesday's Senate election in Massachusetts hit California within hours, as Republican office- seekers moved to grab opportunities and nervous Democrats scrambled to assess how vulnerable their party's largest stronghold may have become.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith thinks:

Just remember, you heard it here first. ThreeSources has scooped the LA Times.


Posted by: Keith at January 21, 2010 5:44 PM
But jk thinks:

The "layers and layers of fact checkers" at a profession Journo shop like the LA Times has to introduce a certain latency, Keith. I really don't want to make a big deal of it.

By the way, though, Rielle Hunter's kid is actually John Edwards's...

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2010 6:36 PM

Ezra Klien Finds the Dark Cloud

Well, he finds a silver lining:

Scott Brown: Inadvertent hero of banking reform?

If Scott Brown's election was very bad for health-care reform, it looks like it was very good for financial reform. Desperate to add a new issue into the news cycle and give Democrats something they can actually fight for, the White House is set to propose a raft of regulatory reforms that go far beyond anything that Congress has suggested so far, or that the White House has hinted might be in the offing.

The dark cloud was spotted by political meteorologist James Pethokoukis a few days ago.
Brown win could spark Obama war on Wall Street

Scott Brown’s stunning capture of the Massachusetts Senate seat held for decades by Ted Kennedy was a political black swan, a near-unpredictable event.

The result ends the Democratic supermajority in the Senate and leaves key parts of the Obama agenda in deep trouble. But the biggest loser just might be Wall Street. Desperate Democrats may see anti-bank populism as a way of holding power as the November midterm elections approach.

The last days of the heated Senate race saw the first attempts at that political gambit. Democratic candidate Martha Coakley’s allies in Washington, both the White House and national Democratic officials, used President Barack Obama’s proposed bank tax as a cudgel to bash Brown via emailings and telephone calls.

Now that he doesn't have health care to worry about, he can really go after those fat cat bankers (boo, hiss!)

218 - N for Nonzero, Positive Values of N

Pelosi: House lacks votes to OK Senate health bill

WASHINGTON – Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she lacks the votes to quickly move the Senate's sweeping health overhaul bill through the House, a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama's signature issue.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

You're Next, Senator Bennet!

Senator Bennet:

I donated a small amount of money to Scott Brown's candidacy in Massachusetts and was extremely happy to see him win.

I respectfully suggest that you represent your constituency and vote against health care when it returns to the Senate from conference.

And I would also ask that you join Senator Webb in insisting that no significant vote takes place before Senator-elect Brown is seated.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

Not as cool as the trike

VW-1L.jpg But Silence sends a link to this VW concept car. If you read the comments, many US consumers are interested. Silence says "Now if we can just get DOT out of the way..."
Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 20, 2010

From the Rally

I busted into jg's post to add a link to Colorado rally videos. But this one needs an embed, Neurosurgeon Sanat Dixit:

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Unaffiliateds Matter

Much was made of Massachusetts Democrats' 3-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans, but the raw numbers are roughly -

11% Republican, 36% Democrat and 51% Unaffiliated

About one in four Democrats went for Brown but independents were for him three to one.

Wondering how things might fall in the "Replace Bennet" race in Colorado I looked up the statistics:

35% Republican, 34% Democrat, 31% Unaffiliated

Bennet can have all of the Dems here too and it will do him about as much good as it did for Coakley.

Keith dreamed aloud of a threat to his two lovely senators in California. So what are the registration numbers out there brother?

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith thinks:

The most recent figures (dated 5/4/2009) are 44.6% Dem, 31.1% Rep, 4.4% Other, 20.0% none-of-your-damn-business. Given a candidate with Scott Brown's coalition appeal to conservatives and independents, a win for the good guys could happen. Barb "Ma'am" Boxer continues to poll under 50% with strong negatives; Chuck DeVore, Carly Fiorina, and Tom Campbell are all within striking distance. If anti-Obama polling stays high, California could be very much in play. Here's Rasmussen's take:


Posted by: Keith at January 20, 2010 3:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The idea behind this post was to show how Democrats are vulnerable in state after state come November but I didn't find an easy reference for registration numbers in all fifty states. Brother Keith showed us that Kal-e-fourn-ya is even more Democrat ridden than Massachusetts but many more Republicans to go along with them.

I think I'll just save myself a bunch of work and analysis and wrap this up with an observation by Lindsey Graham. "We could win Obama's seat in Illinois and Biden's seat in Delaware this November, to go along with Ted Kennedy's seat we won last night."

Sounds good to me!

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 12:02 AM
But Keith thinks:

Ted's Kennedy's seat, jg? It's the peoples' seat!

If it were Ted Kennedy's seat, it would be upside-down, and under five feet of water.


Posted by: Keith at January 21, 2010 1:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of Ted Kennedy, the sound we've been hearing may not be Democrats whistling past the graveyard - it might be Uncle Teddy spinning in his grave.

I'll not speak ill of the dead but it's quite ironic that passage of the healthcare bill that Kennedy's colleagues once considered naming after him has been derailed by his successor in office.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 5:26 PM

Waterboarding wins in Liberal Massachusetts

Marc Thiessen at NRO's Corner:

Andy McCarthy has it right in his excellent article, "It's the Enemy Stupid." Scott Brown spoke out forcefully in favor of enhanced interrogation, and won — in Massachusetts. He said of waterboarding, "I do not believe it is torture. America does not torture . . . we used aggressive, enhanced interrogation techniques." And his own top strategists say their polling shows his victory was not in spite of this public stance, but because of it.

Here's hoping that Brown's leadership inspires other GOP candidates to "grow a pair."

A little more cold H2O

C/O our buddy Donald L Luskin:

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Brown for President!

I gotta admit I had not heard that one until Ed Morrissey shot it down. He cleverly asks "do we really need another former state Senator with next to no experience in national politics on a major-party ticket?"

But then he says the first thing that has ruined my elation and euphoria since last night's miracle:

Brown has a good sense of fiscal conservatism, but falls closer to Rudy Giuliani than to Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin on social issues, which is one of the reasons Rudy got an invite to Massachusetts and prominent social conservatives did not.

Closer to Hizzoner than the Huckelmeister? We can't have that!

Well, I had a fantastic 12 1/2 hours.

UPDATE: @JazzShaw tweets that "The GOP love affair with Scott Brown will be a short fling"

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

And another thing-

The takeaway from Brown's meteoric rise and electoral success is not that he's the new frontrunner for the '12 presidential nomination. Instead he's just the latest of the new breed of candidate who appeal not to the entrenched bureaucracy of the DNC or GOP, but to the "basic convictions that only need to be clearly stated to win a majority." Add him to the roster that started with Sarah Palin. And get ready to add more names in the coming months.

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2010 2:51 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I do not think I am as optimistic as all you happen to be. Massachusetts has elected Republicans to prominent positions before -- does anybody else remember the results?

Brown won because he respected his voters. He traveled across the state of MA dozens of times while he campaigned. One of the Kos kids (I hate to give them credit, but they did bring up a good point) notes that Coakley held 12 rallies/town halls since her nomination -- Brown held 66. Brown was the only one actually running for the race. He worked like a beast to win, and win he did. Lets not fool ourselves into thinking that this was a referendum on the health care bill (which doesn't really effect Mass anyway) or even Obama, who remains popular in the state.

So I congratulate Brown. I also recognize that he has one of the hardest jobs in America. The Senator-elect is from a solid blue state. Do you really think he will win reelection next time around if he alienates the better half of the state first year out?

A friend of mine told me a year or so ago (back when Romney was in the news) something rather clever -- Massachusetts Republicans are really just Democrats with red ties. I can't say that he was wrong.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 20, 2010 9:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

TG, you don't remember "I'll be the 41st vote against Obamacare?" You may not have read this story describing the lack of enthusiasm for Coakley among Obama supporters. "If Martha Coakley loses today, it won't be because she didn't put up enough signs on Blue Hill Ave."

When Democrat pundits claim the Brown victory wasn't a referendum on Obamacare or Obama I hear the sound of whistling ... as they walk past the graveyard of the Obama agenda.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 12:19 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

From the article posted:

"If Martha Coakley loses today, it won’t be because she didn’t put up enough signs on Blue Hill Ave. It’ll be because she failed to convince enough of the people who put up the Obama signs on Blue Hill Ave. and a lot of other avenues across Massachusetts that Obama’s ability to get anything done depends on her winning the election."

I agree with this entirely. It seems that Ms. Coakley did not convince anybody of anything. She was a bad candidate -- Brown was a good one. It is much the same as a few of the Blue Dogs who broke through Western California and Washington: the biggest factor in their victory was that they were the only ones who respected their voters.

This is not to discount the views Brown has on politics altogether -- they matter. I am not sure however, they matter as much as you think.

The Obamacare one in particular does not make sense to me. Mass has a universal health care system. They do not need Obamacare. What evidence is there that this was the state's biggest issue? Why that instead of, say, the unemployment rate, which still hovers around 9% in Mass?

I am just afraid that we may be thinking our own wishful thinking is reality. I am not ready to declare victory yet.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 21, 2010 1:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Time for brother jk to fire up the Sanguine Machine®

The first cause for celebration in purely technical: the 41st vote. The "Byrd Rule" requires 60 votes for cloture on any policy changes when the bill comes back from conference. You are stranded on an island and you have just found a swiss army knife. My friend tg (who is stranded on an island) is complaining that it does not have GPS.

No, our liberties are not returned back to the 19th Century but we dodged a massive intrusion.

Secondly, while I cede your point about AG Coakley's disastrous candidacy, this race had huge national implications. Every other Senator will see a 31 point flip (Obama's 26% win, Coakley's 5% loss) and will be forced to seriously rethink unflagging support for a far left Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda.

Thirdly, I see it as a trophy-sized, get-that-baby-stuffed-and-mounted-and-hang-it-on-the-mantel scalp for the Tea Party movement. The RNC sent nickels, but I sent dollars. Brown raised more than a million dollars every day of the final week from folks like us.

Contra Ed Morrissey and JazzShaw (whom I follow on Twitter because of his name and his hat), I like about everything I have seen of Brown. If he's more Giuliani than Huckabee, that's fine by me. I saw an extended interview on CSPAN last night and I was extremely impressed.

Chins up, friends, we've won a game changing battle. Sure the war rages on, and we will not be blessed in November with many Democratic candidates as bad as Coakley or GOP candidates as good as Brown, but this week we won a big one. And I will allow myself to be caught smiling,

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2010 11:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the calm words brother. I'm sure my "hell yeah" is showing.

I don't think MA voters needed it explained to them that "Obama's ability to get anything done" depended on Martha winning. I think the explanation they were looking for was why they wanted anything that Obama is trying to get done.

TG, you keep mentioning Romneycare as an insulator from Obamacare. So they don't need the "benefits" from Obamacare? Fine. What makes you think they'd be exempted from the costs?

And finally, we may still be arguing about the wrong "most important issue."

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 12:26 PM

Editorials I Never Started Reading

Thomas Frank today: "Cross of Gold: How the government could get even with right-wing cranks"

Not gonna click. Not gonna link. It's on the WSJ Ed Page if you have the stomach.

You Laughed at Me, Eh?

Wondering aboot freedom's next home, I suggested that out neighbors to the North have been heading in the right direction.

Holy Hockey Pucks, eh? They've now passed us in the Heritage/WSJ Freedom Index.

The U.S. lost ground on many fronts. Scores declined in seven of the 10 categories of economic freedom. Losses were particularly significant in the areas of financial and monetary freedom and property rights. Driving it all were the federal government's interventionist responses to the financial and economic crises of the last two years, which have included politically influenced regulatory changes, protectionist trade restrictions, massive stimulus spending and bailouts of financial and automotive firms deemed "too big to fail." These policies have resulted in job losses, discouraged entrepreneurship, and saddled America with unprecedented government deficits.

Canada is now #7, with the United States right behind at #8.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Despite their socialist health care system, they've had some conservative leaders who (gasp) somehow reduced their deficits at the same time they lowered taxes. I need not elaborate on what we've been doing here...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 20, 2010 10:08 PM


The late Senator Ted Kennedy was called the "Liberal Lion" of the senate. The man elected to fill his vacant seat today certainly came in like a lion himself. After giving gracious and non-partisan recognition to his opponent, interim Senator Paul Kirk, to Ted Kennedy and his wife, and to President Obama, Senator-elect Brown then criticized specific policies that have materialized in the past 12 months.

A "trillion-dollar healthcare bill" that is "not being debated openly and fairly."

"No more closed-door meetings, back-room deals with an out of touch party leadership. No more hiding costs, concealing taxes, collaborating with the special interests and leaving more trillions in debt for our children to pay."

"I will work in the senate to put government back on the side of people who create jobs and the millions of people who need jobs. And remember as John F. Kennedy stated that starts with across the board tax cuts for businesses and families to create jobs, put more money in people's pockets and stimulate the economy. It's that simple."

"And let me say this with respect to the people who wish to harm us. I believe and I know all of you believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation. Let me make it very, very, very clear. They do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. And the message we need to send in dealing with terrorists: Our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them and not lawyers to defend them."

"And across this country to all those folks who are listening - if they're covering me - we are united by basic convictions that only need to be clearly stated to win a majority."

An endless stream of adjectives has been used to describe today's unlikely outcome. And they are all deserved, for his election makes forty other senators in Washington relevant once again. If this is indicative of a new tone in Washington then I think I just might be proud of my country once again.

Senate Posted by JohnGalt at 12:53 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 19, 2010

Woo Hoo

Okay. I b'lieve...

Coakley concedes

But Keith thinks:

I hope Boxer and Feinstein are having a hard time sleeping tonight. "If we've lost Massachusetts..."

Posted by: Keith at January 19, 2010 10:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The 364-day drunken bender of President Obama and congressional democrats is now, effectively, over. The Republic has survived. Barely.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2010 11:46 PM
But Keith thinks:

Yeah, jg, maybe, but they're leaving us one hell of a bar tab that somebody's eventually going to have to pay.

Posted by: Keith at January 20, 2010 12:21 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Not to mention all the barf on the floor and the furniture. But at least they didn't burn the house down.

Damn. I haven't felt this good about something I watched on TV since CU won the college football national title in '89.

"Good night, Marcia,
"Good night, Marcia,
"Good night, Marcia,
"It's time for you to go."

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2010 12:47 AM

Constitutional Ban on Obamacare

On deck for Colorado: "A ballot initiative to amend the Colorado Constitution to exempt Colorado from Obama Care."

Thank you Independence Institute!

UPDATE (from jk): Interviews/videos from the rally!

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I presume to speak for the bunch of us when I say, well, silly us for pointing out that trite part about "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution..." The name "United States" means, of course, the national government and not the nation.

GWB said it correctly, albeit for the wrong reason. The Constitution IS just a goddamn piece of paper, because it can be ignored. That's part of why I don't believe in it anymore.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 19, 2010 7:57 PM
But jk thinks:

When it is disregarded, it is hard to believe, Perry. And yet, for the first half of our country's existence, it protected liberties quite well -- at least liberties of those who it was written to protect. Even into the Early 20th, it guided Taft, Harding and Coolidge.

It put some brakes on FDR and provided a legal foundation to Loving v Virginia, Beck v Communication Workers, and most recently CD v Heller.

All of which encourages me to say that when we follow it, it is a very good system of governance. I don't know how we'd ever get that train back on the track (toothpaste and tube being a better comparison). But if I started a new nation today, I would happily take the US Constitution as a legal foundation. I have seen none better.

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2010 11:26 AM

Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Jonathan Chait tells Democrats not to Panic.

"The perception has formed, perhaps indelibly, that the reason Democrats will get hammered in the 2010 elections is that the party moved too far left in general and tried to reform health care in particular."

"Nope" says Chait.

"While the Democrats may have committed sundry mistakes, the reason for their diminished popularity that towers above all others is 10 percent unemployment."

Of course there's no possibility the two could be related. And while I'm cautioned not to gloat over a potential Scott Brown victory today, Chait matter-of-factly concedes that "Democrats will get hammered in the 2010 elections."

My one fear of a Brown victory today is that the Dems will pivot and start governing reasonably, although still pursuing the statist agenda slightly less brazenly. Stuff like this from "thought" leaders on the other side gives me great comfort and joy.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee hopes that the Dems do pivot. He would gladly trade Republican majorities in both houses for the failure of Obama's Eurostate agenda.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 20, 2010 5:44 PM

Why Obama's Agenda is in Jeopardy

White Massachusettsians who are "lifelong Irish Catholic Democrats" are a big reason why the state has reliably elected Democrats for decades. But today they are "disgusted with Obama's handling of terrorism, health care and taxes." As a result they "told The Post yesterday they intended to vote for Brown."


Outstanding Ayn Rand Quote

What? You think I can't/won't? This one comes from the Facebook Fan page today:

"So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Or in the case of the IRS, with money AND the muzzle of a gun.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2010 2:32 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That's a good complement to what's often attributed incorrectly to Bastiat: "If goods don't cross borders, armies will."

The great sin of collectivists is that they do have access to money (if only the opportunity of making it themselves), but their lives are based on forcing others to give up their property, via the contraption called "government."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 19, 2010 8:02 PM

Quote of the Century

RE: disposition of Ted Kennedy's seat:

Why would you hand the keys to the car back to the same guys whose policies drove the economy into the ditch and then walked away from the scene of the accident?-- Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) (via Ann Althouse, Jonah Goldberg, FOXNews, Instapundit, &c.)

Ow! That's gotta hurt!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Dr. Freud, please call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2010 12:11 PM

January 18, 2010

Holiday Quote of the Day

"The only person ever prosecuted under the Georgia income tax perjury statute was Martin Luther King." -- Corey R. Chivers, Desuetude, Due Process, and the Scarlet Letter Revisited, 1992 Utah L. Rev. 449, 454 n.27 (Gated paper, HT: TaxProf)
Stunning. This brings the abstract concept of liberty home. I sound black-helicopterish to myself some days. But power given to State can be used as the State chooses.
Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

A [whatever it is] for Silence

To recap: the concern is that DOT regulations have forced new vehicles to fit into certain "boxes" and impeded innovation. Commuters, might like a vehicle like this.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 3:44 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh man. I wonder how long one would stay unviolated in my local train station's parking lot, once the neighborhood punk teens spotted it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 19, 2010 8:04 PM

The Democrats are Doomed

Overblown rhetoric no doubt, but it ain't mine. It's the sub-head of a TNR article that tries to argue in favor of passing the cap-and-trade bill this year. So what's their definition of "Democrats are doomed?"

"Worst of all, Democrats are likely to lose at least a few seats in November--and with them, their chances of overcoming a GOP filibuster--so this may be their last chance for some time to set limits on greenhouse gases."

With "doomed" now wasted, what superlative will TNR use if Democrats actually lose the majority too?

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

Technically this quote was uttered yesterday but I didn't hear it until this morning. President Obama, stumping for his candidate in the Massachusetts race for US Senate:

"So understand what's at stake here, Massachusetts. It's whether we're going forward, or going backwards. It's whether we're going to have a future where everybody gets a shot in this society, or just the privileged few."

Was he campaigning for Coakley or for Brown?

January 17, 2010

State of the Union

It's Sunday: treat yourself to a read of Grover Cleveland's 1887 State of the Union message to Congress.

I call President Coolidge the last Constitutional Executive. He was the last "Chief Magistrate" who felt duty bound to keep his actions confined to those inscribed by the Constitution. President Cleveland was the last Constitutional Democrat. He favored internal improvements and, though he makes a compelling case against protectionism, he would not call himself a free-trader.

But this, his third message of his first term, falls on modern ears like a speech from ancient Rome or Sparta. He felt bound by legislation and legislation bound by the Constitution. He omits the usual folderol to address the serious problem the Treasury faces: there is a $140Million surplus and no legislative mechanism to return it! Revenues outstrip expenses every year, and President Cleveland knows this pot of money will attract government flies.

But all matured bonds have been purchased, and as he sees it, the Executive branch lacks the authority to offer longer bond holders a premium for prepayment. Oddly enough, neither TARP nor buying GM seems to cross his mind.

I got the address in a compilation of Cleveland's papers and positions, but the link I provided has a free copy of the entire message.

As I typed my post below that "A [Scott Brown MA Senate] win would be the biggest stand for freedom since they tore town the Berlin Wall." I heard Silence's voice in my ear about "overheated rhetoric." And yet, when I compare the Cleveland and Coolidge view of the Constitution to (let me be bipartisan) President Bush and Obama, it is hard to consider any description overheated.

In the same vein, blog friend TGreer is not very sanguine about the state of freedom today. (Perhaps he will mail stupid me the direct link to the post I cannot find. Else scroll to "America's Greatest Challenge -- and Danger.")

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

Most Motivated Votahs. Evah.

Insty links to Boston Conservative Talk Show Host (and you thought you had a rough job!) Michael Graham's blog post "Brown Supporters: The Most Motivated Voters Ever?" I corrected the spelling in my title to provide regional flair.

I ran campaigns for six years, and I’ve been watching campaigns for years more, and I’ve never seen the “We’ve got to win this race” attitude from regular voters like I’m seeing for Scott Brown.

In a typical campaign, the hardest part is getting people to actually do things—show up at events, make phone calls, etc. They all talk a good game, but what you usually end up with is a hard core group of activists begging folks just to put a sign in their yards. That’s why money is so important—so campaigns can pay people to do the work. Even Obama had to use money to get his “community activist” campaign off the ground in early 2008.

Scott Brown is having the opposite problem. People are begging for stuff to do, and the campaign can’t keep up with the demand. On Saturday, driving between Ashland and Littleton, I saw more people displaying home made signs than printed ones.

I'm daring to believe. A squeaker, we must remember, is a strong signal to legislators with purpler constituencies. A win would be the biggest stand for freedom since they tore town the Berlin Wall.

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

January 16, 2010

Otequay of the Ayday

From Mark Steyn in Can Obama Hold Teddy's Seat?

Oh, which one to choose. You decide.

If you were at the Hopeychange inaugural ball on Jan. 20, 2009, when Barney Frank dived into the mosh pit, and you chanced to be underneath when he landed, and you've spent the past year in a coma, until suddenly coming to in time for the poll showing some unexotically monikered nobody called Scott Brown, whose only glossy magazine appearance was a Cosmopolitan pictorial 30 years ago (true), four points ahead in Kennedy country, you must surely wonder if you've woken up in an alternative universe.

Or maybe...

If you're one of the dwindling band of Bay Staters who rely on the Globe for your news, you would never have known that a Massachusetts pseudo-"election" had bizarrely morphed into a real one – you know, with two candidates, just like they have in Bulgaria and places.

And if I can only nominate three, the last would be this...

And, while Barack may be cool and stellar if you're as gullible as "the educated class," Nancy Pelosi and Ben Nelson most certainly aren't: There's no klieg light of celebrity to dazzle you from the very obvious reality that they're spending your money way faster than you can afford and with no inclination to stop.

"The educated class" is apparently too educated to grasp this insufficiently nuanced point.

The Backlash is Coming! The Backlash is Coming!

Before I'm chided for overconfidence, the title comes from the linked article by Boston political analyst Jon Keller, who has standing to make a Paul Revere analogy. He makes some interesting points.

Independents are breaking for Mr. Brown by a three-to-one margin, Rasmussen finds. And many people do not realize that independents outnumber Democrats—51% of registered voters in the state are not affiliated with a party, while 37% are registered as Democrats and 11% as Republicans.

"Around the country they look at Massachusetts and just write us off," longtime local activist Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government told me. "But people around here are really not happy with the extremes in the Democrat Party."

Keller enumerates some of the extremes as being civilian legal rights for terror suspects, tax hikes both locally and nationally, crashing poll numbers for Governor Duvall Patrick who was prototypical in many ways for the Obama presidency, and of course - Obamacare.

Support for the state's universal health-care law, close to 70% in 2008, is also in free fall; only 32% of state residents told Rasmussen earlier this month that they'd call it a success, with 36% labeling it a failure. The rest were unsure. Massachusetts families pay the country's highest health insurance premiums, with costs soaring at a rate 7% ahead of the national average, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund.

JK worried that Brown may be "peaking too soon." I have to wonder when would be better - Monday afternoon? But according to Keller, Boston Democrat consultants are still in denial. If Coakley makes a comeback I predict it will be by chicanery, not by heavier turnout among the 37% Dems and 12% pro-Coakley independents.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Better to peak too soon than not at all. I just hate to give them the chance to rebound. They're busing in union thugs, pulling in the big guns.

To answer your question, yeah Monday afternoon would rock!

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2010 7:16 PM
But Keith thinks:

And if that Chicago chicanery (got a nice ring to it, doesn't it?) comes to pass, like a couple of thousand previously unnoticed Coakley votes suddenly get discovered in the back seat of somebody's Volvo, f'rinstance, one might expect even higher turnout - with pitchforks, and flaming torches.

Would it not be delicious for Mr. Obama to wake up on the morning of his admistration's anniversary, knowing that he'd lost his filibuster-proof Senate supermajority? Now THAT would be Morning In America.

Posted by: Keith at January 17, 2010 11:31 AM

Liberal Descendancy

A funny thing happened to James Carville's "liberal ascendancy that would last for 40 years."

Charles Krauthammer on "President Obama's Fall."

To his credit, Obama didn't just come to Washington to be someone. Like Reagan, he came to Washington to do something -- to introduce a powerful social democratic stream into America's deeply and historically individualist polity.

Perhaps Obama thought he'd been sent to the White House to do just that. If so, he vastly over-read his mandate. His own electoral success -- twinned with handy victories and large majorities in both houses of Congress -- was a referendum on his predecessor's governance and the post-Lehman financial collapse. It was not an endorsement of European-style social democracy.

Hence the resistance. Hence the fall. The system may not always work, but it does take its revenge.

Hat tip: My Hawai'i aunt.

January 15, 2010

Democrats for Brown

No posts here on the MA senate race in 4 days... shameful! (Brown by 15 points?)

Public Policy Polling, the first to notice that Coakley was croaking, has some inside baseball on registered Democrats and their attitudes about healthcare reform.

In Massachusetts it's a similar story with Scott Brown up 61-24 with those folks, [Democrats who opposed the health care plan] which based on our current projection of likely voters accounts for 20% of Massachusetts Democrats. One of the keys to Democratic success in 2008, for all the bluster about the PUMA crowd, was a high level of party unity. Barack Obama held onto 89% of his party's voters. If health care creates bigger divisions within the party ranks than that this year it's just going to be one more strike against Democratic candidates in close races.

We voters are repeatedly chided that "elections have consequences." Looks like Democrats should have heeded the corollary: "Pissing on taxpayers has consequences."

UPDATE: From the "Pajamas Media/Cross Target" poll taken yesterday that shows Brown at 15%, a couple of choice questions:

1. Thinking about next Tuesday’s special election for US Senate. The candidates are Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley. If the election were today, who would you vote for? If Scott Brown press 1, if Martha Coakley press 2. If you are undecided press 3. 1. Scott Brown 53.9% 2. Martha Coakley 38.5% 3. Undecided 7.6%

6. Thank you. Now for the last question. Do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or something else. If a Republican press 1. If a Democrat press 2. If something else press 3.
1. Republican 20.3%
2. Democrat 36.6%
3. Something else 43.1%

Registration may be 3:1 Dem but "consider yourself" is running closer than that.

But jk thinks:

They're sending in President Obama to campaign for Croakley. Brown should start measuring for draperies.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2010 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Seriously, I worry that he is peaking too soon. Presidents Clinton and Obama are airlifted in this weekend, the ACORN-brigades will fire up, the national Democratic fund-raising machine has kicked in. I'm glad it's a race but it is too soon to gloat over a GOP win in "The Commonwealth."

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2010 11:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My brother still expects Croakley to win but that a close contest there will make Dems nationwide back off from the O-genda. That's all I'm gloating over - for now.

Interesting that none of the TV talking heads or even Jason Lewis talked about the +15 poll last night. Do they not read RCP or do they think it's a junk poll?

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2010 12:26 PM

Quote of the Day

Let's stipulate that Americans consume what is for some an unhealthy amount of salt. But there are many things Americans consume too much of: reality TV; Ke$ha CDs; stories about hunky, sensitive vampires; Facebook. If Mr. Bloomberg were only prepared to do something about "Twilight," I might look the other way when it comes to his morbid preoccupation with food. -- Eric Felter
Nanny State Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Heh - From Wikipedia.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2010 2:33 PM


A good friend of this blog posts this on Facebook:

Autocomplete Me
On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Another Krugman Smackdown

Ahh, my favorite argument. The Europhiles versus the forces of liberty and reason.

We started with Mankiw vs. Krugman. Hopping over the pond to pick up his Nobel, Krugman looks around his five star hotel and says "Europe is doing great!" Mankiw lists the per capita GDP numbers and begs to disagree.

Megan McArdle goes toe-to-toe, anecdote-to-anecdote with Krugman and says something I've always seen and argued. People go to Europe for two weeks and fall in love with its aesthetics, charm, and history. And it's great. When you spend more time or look a little deeper, you see that they are poorer than us. Period, the end, QED.

I don't want to sound as if I'm saying Britain's a terrible place--it's lovely, and I miss it. But the amount that people are able to consume is much less than the amount Americans are able to consume, and many of the things they forego make real difference in things like personal comfort. (Based on my admittedly limited sample of British mattresses, they must be unimaginably hardy sleepers). Consumption isn't everything. But it is something, and that is what's being captured in the GDP differences.

They have these microscopic refrigerators. And all my friends, especially my progressive friends, say "isn't that cute -- we could learn a lot from them on how to live simply."

But my European friends were rich. And they had American-sized refrigerators. So my takeaway was that you had to be a millionaire in the UK or Ireland to live like a US plumber. Same for those adorable dinky-ass cars. Millionaires drive Mercedeses and Range Rovers.

January 14, 2010

GOP faceoff in CO

JK recently shared Ten Tips for the GOP in 2010 and before that cheered when cold water was poured on an official Tea Party to compete with the GOP. Both posts came to mind as I compared and contrasted the leading GOP candidates for JK's $1000 contribution next fall.

Colorado Republicans will choose between former Lt. Governor Jane Norton and Current Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck as replacements for the ignominious Michael Bennet. Despite being our Lieutenant Governor I know little about Mrs. Norton other than her self-described Issue positions. (I did write her about one of them. Read below the fold.) My brother seems to have a better sense of things, however, encouraging me to attend the March caucuses to support Buck over Norton because "she is the establishment candidate - read: RINO."

Well, I have to say I did see Ken Buck at the 4/15 TEA Party. If Norton was there I didn't see her.

Dear Jane,

I'm a 46 year-old pro-choice Republican and Tea Partier. I've just read your Issues page and have just one objection - to your belief that "abortion should be outlawed" with limited exceptions.

I agree that life begins at conception.
I oppose all federal funding of abortion.
I support constructionist judges.
I agree that the Constitution does not specifically speak about a right to an abortion.

However, your exception for the "life" of the mother must include the mother's freedom to direct her own life. THIS protection IS provided in the Constitution. (Amendments 4, 5, 9 and 10.)

I agree that the unborn should be valued but I disagree that it is moral or possible for the State to coerce individuals to do so. Instead advocacy, counseling, and good role models can change women's hearts.

I have no objection to your personal opposition to abortion - only to your desire to use the power of the State to enforce your will on others. I think many Colorado voters would agree with me.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | What do you think? [6]
But jk thinks:

I am uncommitted but met Ms. Norton at a rally for Governor Owens reelection. Associating her with Owens starts her out pretty high for me.

If we're demanding a prochoice GOP candidate, I think we might be in for six more years of Senator Bennet.

Posted by: jk at January 14, 2010 4:49 PM
But kevinallen thinks:

I would encourage you to support Ken Buck above all others, because he is the candidate that has, and will, do the right thing regardless of the political consequences. Ken Buck doesn't pander in talking points, he isn't trying to convince you he is a good republican, he walks the walk every day.
When it comes to virtue by association, have fun looking into who is giving money to help jane win, it is all the wrong people and PAC's- there is a reason for that.
Support Ken Buck, the candidate who will not sacrifice your right to choose, to score political points.

Posted by: kevinallen at January 14, 2010 6:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't demand a pro-choice GOP candidate. My intention was to shape the position of this particular candidate. I think it would help her in the general election. Come to think of it, I didn't even ask her to become pro-choice. Just don't use law to enforce her view on others.

Have you forgiven Governor Owens for supporting the tax and spend referenda C and D?

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2010 8:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup! A few years with Governor Ritter and it's "Come Home Bill, We Need You!!!"

I know where you're going and I completely agree with you, jg. I just think you are playing with fire. (Perhaps I don't agree, LtGov Norton is not wrong on the law, but I do join you in wishing she would not choose to use the coercive power of government.) How-double-ever, if she chooses to make that a plank, I am ready to overlook it.

Posted by: jk at January 14, 2010 9:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As am I, but it definitely factors in to my decision of whom to support in the caucus. Ken Buck is looking better every day. Let's not make Norton the presumptive candidate.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2010 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Eminently fair.

It strikes me that a perfect function of Internet-blog-new media-whatever would be to communicate candidate's positions in lower races and primaries. The CO GOP page (oh, I do crack myself up sometime) should have an online debate, or questionnaire responses.

Right now, you really have to choose a candidate based on the skill of their web team. Is this something we should be doing?

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2010 2:12 PM



That's an odd rendition, jk...
Well, it's an unusual song.
That's a funny excuse, it sold millions...
Yeah, well.


Don't tell Mark McGwire

Drug day today. I just had sniff a big IV dose of sniff Solumedrol®. I apologize to my family, and major league blogging...

I get two super Tylenols so I can handle the IV Benadryl (a serious trippy substance). Then a dose of sniff steroids, and then the study drug.

Blogging may be light. Or not the steroids frequently make me loquacious.

Fight amongst yourselves...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

January 13, 2010

So, How's That Reconciliation Thingy Working Out?

Jimmy P suggests, not so well, lining to Igor Volsky:

- Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY): “Normally you’re just dealing with the Senate and they talk about 60 votes and you listen to them and cave in, but this is entirely different,” he said. “I’m telling you that never has 218 been so important to me in the House.”

- Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY): “We keep hearing them squeal like pigs in the Senate that they had a tough time getting to 60,” Weiner said. “Well, it wasn’t particularly a picnic for us to get to 218. Generally speaking, the Senate kabuki dance has lost its magic on those of us in the House.”

- Rep. Pete Defazio (D-OR): “They only got two votes to spare in the House. I think this will be a tougher negotiation than they think.”

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

Well, I'll be. Satan's house* really is divided against itself and cannot stand. Warms the very cockles of my heart.

* With apologies to Matthew 12; I'm being liberal in applying this to both the House and the Senate.

Posted by: Keith at January 13, 2010 3:06 PM

I Do Love the Internets!

A risk analysis on the Large Hadron Collider's destroying the entire world:

One way round this is to carry out a cost-benefit analysis but this soon runs into problems too. How do you value the future of entire planet? You could argue that it is infinite in which case any risk that it will be destroyed, no matter how tiny, is too much. Another argument, well established in law, is that there can be no award to a dead person's estate. "Death is simply not a redressable injury under American tort law," says Johnson.

By this argument, the downside of a particle-accelerator disaster that destroys the planet--assuming it is quick--is nothing. The cost-benefit analysis simply blows up in our faces.

There is a way out of these legal conundrums, however. Johnson describes four categories of meta-analysis that could be used to address the black hole case.

Very interesting article. Hat-tip Scrivener, who suggests "if you want to protect yourself from the risk that the world will be destroyed, you can join the wagering at Long Bets on the "it will be" side, and then if it is be compensated by your winnings ... Oh, wait..."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith thinks:

From an insurance standpoint, this is an underwriter's dream - because if the LHC does end the world in a black hole, then there will be no one left breathing to file a claim, and nowhere to file it.

As for Scrivener's comment on the wagering, I'd submit that if it happens, the only wager that will matter is Pascal's.

Posted by: Keith at January 13, 2010 2:46 PM

Quote of the Day

Christopher Caldwell also weighs in, apropos the attempt to kill Kurt Westergaard . . . and, in a very explicit sense, intellectual freedom. Few industries congratulate themselves on their "courage" and "bravery" more incessantly than artists and journalists — at least when it comes to plays about a gay Jesus, or joining the all-star singalong for Rock Against Bush. But it's easy to be provocative with people who can't be provoked. Faced with an opportunity to demonstrate real courage, the arts and the media shrivel up like a bunch of dying pansies. -- Mark Steyn

You Try To Make This Stuff Up

Old, East German joke: What happens when Communism takes over the desert? First nothing, then sand shortage.

Today's news (hat-tip Instapundit):

Venezuela plans blackouts in Caracas, oil town

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela will switch off lights for hours at a time in Caracas and other cities such as oil town Maracaibo in planned blackouts to tackle power shortages that threaten President Hugo Chavez's support.

Venezuela Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

What a coincidence! The same thing happens on page 414 of Atlas Shrugged.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2010 2:23 PM

January 12, 2010

The GOP's "Negro Problem"

Jason Richwine hits a blog post out of the park.

In a short ThreeSources discussion, jg commented that "If putting the Democrat majority leader of the Senate on the defensive for a few cycles can help keep them from peaking too soon, so be it." It's hard to argue with that, but my concern is that we are adopting the victimologists principles and rhetoric.

Richwine asks how the GOP can govern when it makes short term plays like demanding Reid's resignation and foreswearing Medicare cuts.

Senator Reid’s remarks, unremarkable as they were, should have elicited no comment whatsoever from GOP leaders. Instead, party chairman Michael Steele called for Reid to resign his leadership post. Why is this bad? Because for decades the Left has attempted to enforce a strict set of rules regarding what may be publicly stated about race. We are safe if we stick to platitudes like “diversity is our strength,” but any critique of affirmative action or mention of racial differences is immediately suspected to be insensitive, intolerant, or just plain racist. For conservatives to make progress on racial issues, it is essential that the boundaries of the debate be expanded to allow a more open discussion.

Steele’s extreme over-reaction is a surrender to political correctness, just for the sake of having a talking point to emphasize for a few days. Republicans will never have anything useful to say about racial issues if they allow the Congressional Black Caucus and NAACP to set the terms of the debate. Yet that could easily be the long-term effect of their latest rhetorical misadventure.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:21 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Lisa M thinks:

Jason Richwine strikes exactly at the heart of the matter. As much as we we love to savor Reid's squirm, it is best to let this slide without GOP comment. That is because it would be best for everyone if politics of this "gotcha" nature were to disappear from our national dialog for good. Only then will we have truly entered the "post-racial" era.

The GOP can never win the day on race for long because the left controls the language and the rules. That much should be evident from the Dem's handling of Reid. Instead of trying to beat the Dems at their game using thier rules, we should be trying to change the game.

Posted by: Lisa M at January 12, 2010 9:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Riddle me this, Bat-bloggers: How does racial gotcha politics come to an end when only one side foreswears it? Isn't that a bit like saying, "The way to stop terrorism is to educate terrorists and their progeny that it would be best for everyone if terrorism were to disappear from the Earth?"

Isn't it more effective to say, "If you attack us we'll attack you seven times over" and then DO IT? And in the case of racial indignation, using it against the Dems has a dual effect of instructing the glass-house-dwelling Democrats to use caution lest they face the same treatment and exposing their hypocrisy to the racial minorities they posture to champion.

So this is not just the pragmatic course that pays short term dividends. Principled me still sees no reason to object.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2010 2:22 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

jg, that strategy hasn't worked out so well for us thus far, has it? I say we stay above this kind of politics--let the Dems do their kabuki theater apology dance of attrition for transgressions--but we stop playing. There are many many reasons for Harry Reid to step down as Senate leader; this is the least of them.

The other part of it is that we stop eating our own. We are trying to play by their rules--which they change to suit themselves. It's a game we can never win. The race baiters and the feminists, professional grievance mongers all, control the game. The game is hopelessly rigged against us. So we stop playing. Then the next time one of our boneheaded Republicans says somethign stupid, we simply point to Harry Reid and we say, "Well, it wasn't as bad as all that, now, was it? We think we'll keep this guy right where he is, just like you guys did."

Harry Reid does enough damage to himself and the democratic party with each apssing day he is in office. Do we really want someone more competent in there before they have been completely destroyed?

Posted by: Lisa M at January 13, 2010 7:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah -- what she said! (Seriously, nicely put.)

Another point to consider is that they own the outrage and aggrievement channels. Astonishing to me is how innocuous this comment is. The "racist outburst" of the dim bulb from Searchlight was his disparagement of Justice Thomas (I remember because it scored me a Taranto link). Leader Reid asserted that Thomas's decisions were "poorly written" and compared his intelligence negatively to Justice Scalia.

This episode was the real deal and it got little attention outside of Taranto's BOTW and ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 7:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You make a great case LisaM. I still don't get why the GOP forced out Lott. But I still see race as a powerful tool to sway elections. I'm not sure we could all endure the Democrat takeover that lasts until the electorate figures out they're being played.

Earlier you said, "...we should be trying to change the game." Agreed, but how? My best suggestion is to replace the race divide with something more appealing to those who think themselves aggrieved. The great difficulty lies in replacing group identity politics with individual identity politics.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2010 2:25 PM

A "Freedom Recession"

The WSJ Ed Page runs a sobering but essentially correct synopsis of this year's freedom report:

Democracy's troubles are summed up in "Freedom in the World 2010," the yearly report card published today by Freedom House. We're in a "freedom recession," the advocacy group says. For the fourth consecutive year, more countries saw declines in political and civic rights than advances, the longest such period of deterioration in the 40 year history of this widely cited report.

Start with the "axis of engagement" states that President Obama sought to butter up diplomatically in his first year in office. The authoritarian regimes in Russia, Venezuela, Iran and China all became more repressive in 2009, according to Freedom House measures. America's attempts to play nice didn't make the other side any nicer.

I think they short-shift President Bush a bit, for backing down after the 2006 midterms. I suggest that he had his hands full with the Iraq surge and a possible unraveling from all the gains made. He was less of a Sharanskyite in the last two years, but he focused diminished political capital on what was important.

Gotta read the whole thing, but the end is worth excerpting as well:

If in the days of Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan, we worked to fashion the world into a better place guided by the belief that the urge to live in freedom is universal, today we act as if we are resigned to taking the world as it is. We used to nudge countries toward liberal democracy. Now we assume the price of nudging is too high.

Meanwhile, the enemies of democracy have set out to undo the gains of the post-Berlin Wall era, and many are succeeding.

But T. Greer thinks:

Psht. In terms of foreign policy, Bush's last two years were his best. When I try and think of his great fp successes -- the Indian nuclear deal, for example (everybody seems to forget how significant that deal really is), or the stabilization of Iraq -- I find that they reached completion near the end of his second term. It was before his last two years he messed up, not during them.

More pertinent to the editorial's point, however - what kind of "nudging" are they talking about? It all seems very vague to me.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 13, 2010 5:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Well stated, tg. I had certainly forgotten the Indian nucyulur deal...

I return to this blog's founding and the Natan Sharansky quote from which we adopt the name. The second inaugural address was built on Sharanskyism. Secretary Rice and President Bush were both handing out copies of "The Case for Democracy" to staff.

I think it is safe to say that you appreciate the striped-pants diplomacy of the State Dept better than I (odd, because stripes are very slimming...) and I think it is safe to say that the penultimate two years were far more devoted to conventional diplomacy. We absolutely agree, however, on the stabilization of Iraq.

But what I would call his fp successes were built on Sharanskyite ideas. I'll see your Indian deal and raise you Libya. Freedom was “on the March" in Lebanon, Georgia and Iraq because they felt the Third Source of power: "the power of the solidarity of the free world."

I know the country has lost its taste, but President Obama cannot say a kind word about Iranian protesters, and the Administration’s handling of Honduras is an embarrassment.

Nobody is left to trim freedom's lamp. Nobody will lead against the forcers of darkness,

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 10:34 AM

Liberty Deafness

Perhaps you cannot blame the Administration for this AP lede, but I suspect it is not far off the mark:

WASHINGTON – Targeting an industry whose political deafness has vexed his administration, President Barack Obama is weighing a levy aimed at recovering tax dollars from government-rescued financial institutions.

The proposed levy could put Obama on the popular side of public opinion that is decidedly against Wall Street and angry over shortfalls in a $700 billion bank bailout fund.

Get out your pocket Constitution and send me the page that allows the Executive branch to create special levys against industries whose " political deafness has vexed" him.

Absolutely stunning.

January 11, 2010

Hey! You're Misusing My Rule!

Procrastination pays in blogging. I wanted to post on John Taylor's guest editorial in the WSJ today. Taylor is the author of the "Taylor Rule" and he takes Chairman Bernanke to task for quoting it but not using is correctly.

Blog friend Josh Hendrickson at The Everyday Economist has beaten me to the punch:

The entire piece is a must-read, but I would like to focus attention on Bernanke’s use of the Taylor rule. What is troubling about the recent debate and framing it in terms of the Taylor rule is that it seems that everyone has their own definition. Over time, many economists have statistically fit the parameters of the Taylor rule in order to estimate the Fed’s reaction function. However, we have to be careful about what these estimates actually mean. These types of estimates are certainly useful for policy comparisons and other positive analyses. However, they are not useful for drawing normative conclusions because the fitted parameters incorporate policy mistakes in the estimation period.

Boston Herald Endorses Scott Brown

Aah, you know those right wing nutjobs at the Boston Herald Editorial Page.No surprise here:

Massachusetts voters have to ask themselves a serious question before they head to the polls next week: Are they content with the current state of affairs in Washington?

Are they content with a sweeping health care bill, now being negotiated behind closed doors by principals from only one political party? (So much for a new era of bipartisanship promised by our president.)

And are they prepared for the impact that bill will have on the health care industry in our own state, where we already insure 97 percent of our population?

Amazing! Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: He's having a special fundraising day with a $500K goal and it's now pushing 750. I gave another $35. You guys have seen how I dress, I'm not a wealthy man. What's it worth to stop ObamaCare? Donate

UPDATE II: $1.3 Million -- I am going to share this information with Senator Michael Bennet today. Y'know it is almost like people hate socialized medicine and will mobilize against those candidates who support it...


Senator Bennet

I don't have a lot of money, but I did give $85 yesterday to Scott Brown in Massachusetts -- in hopes that we might stop this monstrous health care bill. I will donate $1000 to your opponent if you continue to vote for it.

I suggest you save me $1000 and save your Senate seat. You could still vote against this, citing the non-democratic methods used in the reconciliation process.

How 'bout it Senator? I've got much better things to spend $1000 on.

Respectfully yours,
John Kranz

But johngalt thinks:

Does the nation's 53rd largest newspaper, with a circulation smaller than the Nashville Tennessean, count as a mainstream media outlet? The other paper in town has nearly three times as many readers but the legitimacy conferred by this endorsement is inestimable.

And this big-media desertion of the Obama agenda comes just 8 days before the anniversary of his first year in office. Who'da thunk?

P.S. Have I told you I'll be running against Michael Bennet for the US Senate? ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2010 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I conflated the Herald with the NYTimes-owned Globe. Still cool but not quite the earthquake I'd thought.

RE JG2k10: I wish, brother. You go and I'll support. In the meantime: heh.

Posted by: jk at January 12, 2010 3:52 PM


Mike Huckabee never looked so good as he has since becoming a regular contributor on Fox News Channel. This flattering exposure has concerned me since he might harbor ambitions for another presidential run. So I'm pleased to see someone I'd actually want to run now following his lead:

NY Daily News: Sarah Palin joins Fox News as a contributor in multi-year deal

Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

Jeesh. Dan Quayle? He's a good man if not an inspirational politician but comparing Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin is like comparing The Professor to Mary Ann after a day at the salon (and $50,000 of "GOP wardrobe.")

In parting, please remember to judge Palin by her words and deeds and not by her media caricature.

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2010 3:05 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"judge Palin by her words and deeds"

I have tried that, and I still came to JK's conclusion. And heck, I an't no Palin hater -- the reason I am on your guy's blog role is because I wrote a nice post on why I had been advocating for her place on McCain's ticket long before such a move was announced.

I just cannot get around the fact that she quit. You can give me excuses about how she was tired of being a lame duck Governor, that the Presidential run had ruined politics in Alaska (a sad truth -- I wonder if Palin might have been much more if she had never been chosen for vp running mate at all) -- but none of this changes the fact that she quit.

To be honest, I am not a great fan of quitters.

Sarah Palin is a great tragedy of our times. I believe if she had stuck to it, if she had put her nose to the grind stone and devoted herself to acquiring knowledge, wit, and political expertise, she could have become something truly great. Ten years of work and America could have her own Thatcher. Instead, we America is getting one more politico blow hard to fill her airwaves.

As I said, it is a tragedy.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 13, 2010 6:18 AM
But jk thinks:

And, if I recall correctly, Mary Ann's wardrobe was fine.

I would happily pull the lever for Governor Palin. My point is that I know A LOT of needed votes who won't. I hate to offer anecdotal polling as data, but the moderate to right-leaners I know have all written her off.

Maybe in the same 16 years as Reagan's AuH20 speech to his election she can rehabilitate her image. But it is not going to happen in four. I blame the McCain handlers more than the Gov, but she is badly damaged goods.

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 10:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

JK, are you forgetting about Moore's law? Things happen faster now. It must be that internet thingy.

So you know people who've written her off. Yeah, me too. Just tell them they're wrong, they should take a closer look, and move on. Silence in the face of baseless criticism reinforces it.

As for "quitting" as governor of Alaska, how many Boston patriots quit their jobs to take a leadership role in the revolutionary war? The tree of liberty is parched and Palin knows we're darn desperate for field generals.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2010 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

You good folks are again too quick for me. I almost ceded the point in advance. The Internets thingy will cut her rehab time down to eight years (likely a good time for a Presidential run).

I do correct folks. But many of them don't buy it. Some of my friends, you'll be surprised to hear, think me a partisan hack. And I suspect there are some people in this country that I don't even know.

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 5:36 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Sure thing JG, we are in need of field generals. But you are kinder to our class of political pundits than I. Field generals? All I see them do is dig latrines.

And when you are in that line of business, one quickly gets too covered in muk to transfer out of it.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 14, 2010 1:04 AM

Economist Smackdown!

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says:

As health care reform nears the finish line, there is much wailing and rending of garments among conservatives. And I’m not just talking about the tea partiers. Even calmer conservatives have been issuing dire warnings that Obamacare will turn America into a European-style social democracy. And everyone knows that Europe has lost all its economic dynamism.

Strange to say, however, what everyone knows isn’t true.

Harvard Professor N. Gregory Mankiw says:
Here is GDP per capita, adjusted for differences in price levels (PPP), from the IMF, for the United States and the most populous countries in Western Europe:

United States47,440
United Kingdom 36,358

Readers of today's column by Paul Krugman might find these figures useful to keep in mind.

Ow! That's gotta hurt!

But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, those numbers impress me. So what could Americans do with that extra $11,000 of GDP per capita (if the government didn't tax it all away?) Maybe they could buy their own health insurance. And if insurers could compete across state lines and doctors could practice without fear of insanely frivolous lawsuits, maybe buy a new bedroom set, a new wardrobe or finance a new car with what's left AFTER paying for your own health insurance.

Or, we could just let the government spend that money and much, much more on the health insurance THEY think we should have.

(P.S. I'm not preaching to the choir any more - Silence is back!) :)

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2010 3:03 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yeah, but I am at least in the pews on this one. I am all for allowing national health insurers. When you think about how many companies have offices and workers in many states it just doesn't make sense any more. Ditto for reform of malpractice rules.

I will add however that I do not see doctors as pure white hats in all this either. The AMA has staunchly fought any attempt to inject scientific testing into medical procedures. Your doctor is just right, no sense anyone attempting to prove the efficacy of his treatment. Here is where I think the health insurers could lead, it would actually be in their financial interest to fund studies to determine the most effective treatments.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 13, 2010 10:59 PM

Ten Tips the GOP will Ignore in 2010

Why so gloomy, jk? Well, Michael Steele was on FOX News Sunday and...

I don't think anybody at GOP HQ will read this, but ThreeSourcers should. Clark Judge lays out "10 Tips for the GOP in 2010." I don't know that it would match any of our individual list, but I don't think there's a thing on there anybody around here would disagree with.

We could do much worse for an agenda -- and, of course, we will.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 11:37 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not so pessimistic to think the party leadership will fail to read the tea leaves. It's taken the last 12 months for the current mood to homogenize (heh - he said homo) and it's not unreasonable if the party only starts to adopt it now and over the next 12, errr, 11 months.

Speaking of eleven...

11. Inspire the American underclass to get off the "have-not" track and become of the "haves."

- Trade your welfare check for a paycheck, which actually has a potential for growth.
- Support a flat tax with a very low floor, say the annual sum of a full-time minimum wage, and revel in the knowledge that you are pulling your own weight like the richest of the rich.
- Be willing to try LESS government for a change and watch what happens to job creation. Imagine an economy where employers COMPETE for your labor by offering higher and higher wages. If you build a free economy, jobs will come.

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2010 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

How can you blather on about reliance and job creation, jg? Leader Reid made a comment about President Obama's RACE! We have a lot more important things to do in the Republican party than compile a list of core beliefs and legislative priorities.

I was very pleased when LtGov Steele took the post (the guy is clean, articulate, light skinned, and has no Negro accent!) No, seriously he is a bright guy and I was sorry to see him lose the Senate race in MD.

But I am exasperated with trivial politics and name calling when important concerns are afoot. I see no sign that anybody in GOP leadership has "got" any message.

Posted by: jk at January 11, 2010 4:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, I suggested that they are only starting to "get the message" and have 11 months to ramp it up. If putting the Democrat majority leader of the Senate on the defensive for a few cycles can help keep them from peaking too soon, so be it. I don't want Reid to resign, I just want him to be the butt of more jokes.

And the Boston Herald endorsement of Scott Brown that you heralded above [couldn't help it] should make it easier for other media lemmings to venture over the cliff of politically correct orthodoxy and give individualism a try. Before you know it they may question The One himself.

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2010 3:32 PM

January 10, 2010

Great Idea

ThreeSourcers should enjoy their six weeks of Silence Dogood. Our favorite left-of-center commenter has posted some interesting items today, including this, which I had not heard before:

The real term limits we need - limits on time as a committee chair. Stay in congress as long as you like (and can get elected). But you have to do it on more than your ability to deliver pork through the power of a committee chair.

I like that a lot. I am very torn on term limits. They seem arbitrary and counter to liberty. And yet, the problems of incumbency...

Next March, College basketball will take him away. So like I say, enjoy while you can!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Ha, OK I deserved that. I try to keep up really! Surprise I had not mentioned my limits on chairmanships before, I have long thought this was the one fair way to limit terms (of power). Elections are free and open, chairmanships appointments with obscure, questionable motives.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 12:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Where Silence wants to limit terms of power, I want to limit the power itself. Remove the governmental power to redistribute wealth - through inflation of the currency and inequitable taxation - and most of the leeches in the congress will lose interest.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 2:14 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Baby steps johngalt. I don't disagree with your proposition, just that I consider even my suggestion a long shot, your's would hardly seem to register on the possibility scale. Or, put it another way, one could help lead to the other, I am just adding a step to the ladder.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 6:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've always liked the vertical game.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 8:18 PM

Quote of the Day

"How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?" [Candidate-Senator Barack Obama] demanded of his advisers on a conference call, a moment at which most people on the call said the candidate was as angry as they had ever heard him... -- via Allahpundit
VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

January 9, 2010

TOSS UP in the Commonwealth!!!


Buoyed by a huge advantage with independents and relative disinterest from Democratic voters in the state, Republican Scott Brown leads Martha Coakley 48-47.

Here are the major factors leading to this surprising state of affairs:

-As was the case in the Gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia last year, it looks like the electorate in Massachusetts will be considerably more conservative than the one that showed up in 2008. Obama took the state by 26 points then, but those planning to vote next week only report having voted for him by 16.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. A 2-1 lead over Coakley among independents is huge.

I liked this line: "All that said Coakley can certainly still win this race..." That's a far cry from "a Republican has a snowball's chance in hell of winning Ted Kennedy's seat."

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 10:59 AM

Quote of the Day

This comes from the documentation accompanying a $15 USB CD Rom drive. The cover is in Chinese and English. The title is "Manual Content." Like an old horror movie, that title screams "don't go in there!" But I bought a defective one and had to see if there was something I needed to do to open the door. The last sentence is a perfect example of translated-documentation-speak:

"Please do not place the driver under easy pressure to guarantee the proper operation of the drive."

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

January 8, 2010

Friday Heterodoxy

It may not pack the punch of "Quote of the Day" or "Quotidian Huck-a-Whack," but we're trying it out.

Today's Friday Heterodoxy is my admission that I cannot summon high dudgeon when the media call Tea Party movement members "teabaggers." I know, I know! Anderson Cooper is calling me gay! I'm outraged! I haven't eaten in weeks!

Firstly: there really isn't another term. "Teabaggers" rolls off the tongue (stop snickering on the back!) "Tea Party Protest Movement Members bla bla bla...it goes on forever.

Sure, Cooper and Olberman and Chris Matthews love to use it pejoratively. Yankee Doodle was the height of distain until some brave young teabaggers -- I mean original Tea Party Movement Members -- took it on as their sobriquet. How many police departments adopted pet pigs?

Lastly, are we not adopting the volatile victim mentality that most of us decry in others? If it's not racist to oppose President Obama's health care agenda -- it ain't homophobic to call Members of the Tea Party Movement teabaggers.

Outside the CNN/MSNBC/Andrew Sullivan axis, I don't think many people parse tea bag as a verb. I'm secure enough in my heterosexuality -- you can call me a teabagger if you like.

It wouldn't be heterodoxy if everybody agreed: Byron York does not share my view.

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

"Firstly: there really isn't another term." Umm... patriots? Federalists? Those Who Find No Constitutional Authority For Taxpayer Financing of National Public Radio?

Okay, that last one doesn't quite roll trippingly off the tongue.

I take a mediating position. It's clearly intended pejoratively, and at that childish intent, I do take offense. But that being said, if I'm the teabagger, that makes them... the teabaggees?

Posted by: Keith at January 8, 2010 9:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I call myself a "Tea Partier" or a TPer for short. If leftist commentators wish to call me a Tea Bagger I don't take offense. Instead I recognize their impotence in the realm of ideas. It's the same as when they call me a racist.

When other TPers take offense they play into the hands of the statists, who desperately want most of all to change the subject away from the idea that what people earn actually belongs to them.

I must say, however, I am incredibly impressed that NPR's own ombudsman thinks the cartoon is over the line and should be removed because "it doesn't fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse" and "it
engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks."
No surprise though that higher ups ignore the ombudsman.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2010 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. He said impotence.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2010 5:33 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Childish. It's the only real way to describe it. Like JK and JG said, more time spent on the name than the ideas. Historically I think JG has it as well, it was the Boston Tea Party after all, not the Boston Tea Bag Party, what the colonists dumped into the harbor was ground tea in bulk. They did however not quite so bravely dress up as Indians (oops, native Americans) potentially laying blame on a racial scapegoat were they seen.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 10:53 AM

Quote of the Day

Kim Strassel's column, Sean Duffy's quote:

Wisconsin's Mr. Duffy describes it this way: "I'm running because this is the fight of my generation. The prior one fought the Cold War, before that it was World War II. But our fight is becoming one for the principles of free markets and against creeping socialism." He's targeting Mr. Obey for writing the $787 billion stimulus, highlighting Democrats' failed economic program. The DA (who is also a professional lumberjack athlete) is crisscrossing the district to warn about rampant spending, Medicare cuts, higher taxes and overregulation.

But jk thinks:

And here we all thought Glenn Beck was making that stuff about Jon Stewart up!

Whatever. I just don't know that we are going to sit back and let a ThreeSourcer mercilessly bash our brave French allies...

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2010 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Silence, when you say "fairness" and "social contract" I sincerely doubt you mean the same thing I would with the same terms. The difference between East Germany and France is the difference between evil and merely "wrong." Yes, this country was founded on a belief in freedom but that means more than just the right to toke up with impunity. As originally founded we had independent states whose citizens could shape to their democratic liking without infringing the rights of any more than their own citizens. That the federal government now does this on a national basis is what makes us little different from France.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 2:29 PM
But PoliticalMe thinks:

Thanks for the welcome jk. There have been many libertarians in the Republican Party. I just want my politicians to be honest about it. He's pushing hard "FISCAL CONSERAVATIVE", and trying to convince everyone he's a total conservative (like this article). Then his team smears anyone trying to reveal his social issues. If he ran as a libertarian, I wouldn’t be posting.

Posted by: PoliticalMe at January 10, 2010 3:56 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Chuckle, yes JG I suppose we would differ on definitions. But, I do suspect that you and I would be closer than either of us to a Frenchman. A very big part of our founding was the concept of social and economic mobility. Religion gets big play as the reason to head to the new world, but in reality there was a much bigger economic draw. Yes the federal government has very much overstepped the bounds originally envisioned, but we still differ significantly by not having a system of lords and serfs in our background. I think that makes it easier for them to hand over authority to lordly government than it is for us. We are just wired a bit differently so our socialist tendencies are different as well.

Hey JK, I always like to point out that this little experiment we call America would have been crushed before it could start without the brave French Navy.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey there PoliticalMe. By "social libertarian" do you mean that Duffy is pro-choice? Scott Brown of Massachusetts is pro-choice but would you prefer to see Martha Coakley take Ed Kennedy's seat?

If you succeed in what I assume is your effort to defeat Duffy with a "total" conservative in the primary, does that candidate have as good a chance against Obey?

The Tea Partiers I met don't want the government spending our money or raising our taxes. Their concerns about taking inflexible positions against a woman's right to control the comings and goings within her uterus are way, way down on the priority list (for those to whom it is a priority at all.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 8:44 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Greetings as well PoliticalMe. Sorry for hijacking this thread, it has been a while since I posted and I got carried away. You will probably find (we hope you will be back!) that a lot of the conservatives around here have some social libertarian in them. But we welcome all views, heck I am an unabashed liberal and they let me play!

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 11:15 PM

January 7, 2010

Lost the Post, Lost CNN

The normally solidly Democratic Denver Post Ed Page:

Despite repeated promises of transparency by Obama and Democratic leaders, the House and Senate will forgo the usual approach of combining bills through a conference committee, which would allow for floor debate and television coverage, and instead craft a compromise behind closed doors.

Democrats say Republicans, who have rejected the plan, could otherwise filibuster the process, delaying negotiations and the legislation.

But Democratic leaders even rejected a request from C-SPAN to allow cameras to capture the important negotiations. That's an outrage

Et tu CNN?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Jim Glass thinks:

Jon Stewart is even better than Jack. 'nuff said!

Posted by: Jim Glass at January 8, 2010 6:20 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Jeez, Jim could you issue fainter praise?

The question is: if Obama's lost "Jack", has he lost the middle of the country? Even if he has, I'm afraid our Senators have all designed Daschle-parachutes for themselves, such that the money & the hours will be better once they're freed from elected office to become true, trough-feeders! As such, all this is for naught, and we're gonna get Ried's healthcare rammed down our throats, to the delight of the lawyers & lobbyists.

I really hope this genie can be mostly put back in it's bottle....

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 9, 2010 12:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Rammed down our throats" is right, but it's better than the alternative - shoved up our Barney Frank.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2010 3:33 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

As maybe the only Obama voter around here I will say it, maybe not completely lost, but getting close. I am cynical enough to have not taken all his specific campaign pledges too seriously, but his track record is getting ridiculous, he can't even end the don't ask don't tell policy? The health care posturing (I refuse to call it a debate) pits Pelosi and Reid and cohorts who are more interested in appearing to be doing something grand than actually doing something useful against flamethrowers talking about killing granny. Really, how many of those pull the plug shouters actually have a DNR clause in their will? I do, and so do millions of Americans, many of us have already made our decisions about what we wish to define our end of life. Holding up support until regulations are put in place to prohibit use of federal health care funds for abortion? Really, in the huge issue that is health care and all its possible negative ramifications that is the best you could come up with?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 11:28 AM


RT @PikeCountyGirl It's so COLD the Democrats are sticking their hands in their OWN pockets! (h/t John Hoover) -- @ariarmstrong
Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Cell phone radiation cures Alzheimer's mice

Ever think you'd read something POSITIVE about cell phone radiation? Live long enough and you'll see everything.

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Next week: moving in next to a high voltage tower cures erectile dysfunction.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2010 4:25 PM
But Keith thinks:

Nice. Until you stop and realize that jg just figured out a way for the FDA to regulate cellphone usage, and jk gave them the avenue to control real estate - they're both medicinal. I predict two new czars will be appointed by the middle of next week.

Damn that commerce clause, too.

Posted by: Keith at January 7, 2010 6:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

On the plus side, it will all be free under the new healthcare plan. "Take two cell phones and call me in the morning."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 8, 2010 2:54 PM

From Solid-D to Leans-D

The last chance for liberty in the US:

Posted by John Kranz at 3:20 PM | What do you think? [3]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Good video. Can any TS'ers shed light on a nagging question I have: how did Reid get 60 votes for cloture on Xmas eve without Kennedy's vote? Now, if Kennedy had been from Chicago we all know he could have stayed active in politics...

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 9, 2010 12:12 PM
But jk thinks:

The Senate Roll lists Kirk (D-MA) as voting yea. Paul G. Kirk was appointed by Gov Patrick after a special Commonwealth session reversed the no-gov-appointee rules they had instituted on Republican Governor Romney.

Principle before politics, eh?

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2010 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

And they now plan to vote before Kirk is replaced: Boston Herald.com

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2010 1:35 PM

Them Harvard Boys All Stick Together

Actually, Prof Mankiw has an interesting take on the oft-rumored upcoming under-the-bus-throwing of Larry Summers. (My favorite tale was that the left is disturbed because Summers brings too much frugality to the Obama Administration -- yikes!)

Mankiw thinks that Summers is a valuable voice, but might be miscast as a policy guy:

On the other hand, the job Larry has--NEC Director--traditionally has the responsibility of coordinating the policy process, which requires more people skills than deep insights into economic policy. Maybe what the White House needs is a reorganization. Put a hard-working but easy-going person like Jason Furman or Doug Elmendorf in charge of organizing the economic policy process and then give Larry a position such as "senior adviser" from which he can kibitz on a wide range of policy topics. There is really no one better at asking the hard questions that need to be asked.

He did have a policy role in the Clinton Administration, and presumably as President of Haaavaad, but a reorg might be better in this than another underbussing.

Quote of the Day

Obvious but good. In a great editorial about the real costs of regulation (this time licensing tax preparers), the good folks at the WSJ Ed Page tell it not unlike how it actually exists:

We can certainly understand why Mr. Geithner wants government to do his returns, but please spare the rest of us.

UPDATE: Honorable Mention to the same folks:
"This is my moment to step aside," Christopher Dodd said yesterday in front of the East Haddam, Connecticut home that he once financed with the help of Countrywide Financial.

Ow. That's gotta sting a little.

January 6, 2010

Watch It Again

Yup, everybody's posting this, and yup, I did not bother to watch because I have seen it before. But Allahpundit says " Lies this shameless, especially from the lips of our modern-day Lincoln-Jesus, must be cherished." And he has got a point.

Bonus, web-only feature. Follow the Hot Air link to see Robert Gibbs actually face some tough questions on this.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:55 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It's a classic like "Gone with the Wind" or "Wizard of Oz." Who can get tired of watching it? Someday, it may get released in IMAX or 3D.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 6, 2010 7:18 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Empty promise of the first order, but who really thinks televising the grandstanding and posturing over small clauses in a 2000 page piece of junk legislation is really going to improve it? There has been 9 months in which to bring out real debate and we get "kill granny". Pardon me if I don't think 5 minutes of C-Span coverage allowed by Democrat controlled conference rules will be used to voice real issues versus party platitudes.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 11:50 AM

Not Another Party Party

The Tea Party Patriots (very official spokespeople for the movement as they have Facebook, Ning, and Twitter accounts) renounce the move to create a Judean People's Front Party. Good for them.

There is much talk of the formation of a third political party based on the tea party movement. In Florida, a Democratic operative with absolutely no connection to the tea party movement has filed papers to form a third party called the Florida Tea Party. He has issued legal threats against local tea parties demanding that they cease using the name "Florida Tea Party."

Tea Party Patriots is issuing this statement in order to make it clear that we are not associated with this, or any attempts to form a third party. Additionally, we believe that such efforts are unproductive and unwise at this time. The history of third party movements in this country is one of division and defeat. We believe that it is instead time for all Americans to rise up and demand appropriate reform within their own parties. The mechanisms exist for citizens to participate in their parties, and to drive their parties in the right direction.

The Tea Party Patriots encourage all citizens to get involved in the party process, and to reshape their parties into something in which they may once again believe. This country does not belong to any one party, nor does it belong to the career politicians. This country belongs to the citizens. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "We have given you a republic madam, if you can keep it." The founders knew that it would be our sacred obligation as citizens to get involved, and to work hard to hold on to this great nation. We have much work to do, and future generations will look back in judgment. We hope you will join us in preserving the republic.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

Barone on Ritter

I am not making up this headline: Are Democrats exiting the sinking ship? Part 11: Colorado

I’ll get to Dodd in a later post, but it’s interesting to ponder what’s happening in Colorado. In 2008 it was a showcase for the popularity of Barack Obama. He accepted the Democratic nomination in Invesco Field, in front of a stage setting with fake Roman columns, to the cheers of tens of thousands. I remember seeing Ritter speak triumphantly at an earlier event, a concert in an amphitheater in the mountains above Denver, celebrating his own and Obama’s support of environmental causes (his official website calls him “Greenest Gov. in U.S.”).

Well, we certainly have the greenest President...

Part 12, takes on Senator Dodd:

It looks like a Torricelli move: Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd is announcing that he will not run for reelection this year. This has the look of a not very voluntary decision.

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

I'm thinking we'll be seeing the doddering Dodd in the future, either as Geithner's replacement, or as the Waitress Sandwich Czar.

Posted by: Keith at January 6, 2010 4:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope. CEO of Fannie Mae!

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2010 5:30 PM
But Keith thinks:

jk: Barney Frank's got dibs on that one. But Dodd could be an Executive VP at Countrywide.

If he were open to a private-sector job.

Posted by: Keith at January 6, 2010 5:46 PM

Score One for the Internets!

I read and recommend Don Luskin's co-authored guest editorial in the WSJ today. I guess Democrats are in charge -- a tax on trading?

If you have not settled in yet, I suggest you read it on Luskin's site. WIthout the legacy requirements of paper, his version features several links to sources and additional information.

Quote of the Day

"There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail," quipped Pelosi, who has no intention of making the deliberations public.-- Speaker Pelosi quoted in Politico
I think the word you are looking for is "RAWR!"

UPDATE: Honorable Mention QOTD:

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said Wednesday it was not a slap at the president. "It was a quip," Daly said. -- AP

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

A Third LIEO?

A friend of this blog sends a link to an item of great interest to me. He says "You have mentioned a few times your fear that once America socializes, there will be no where left to see the light of liberty. I would not be so sure." And the link summarizes a Pew global poll:

To the question “whether you completely agree, mostly agree, mostly disagree or completely disagree with the following statements: Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor“, 81% of the (mostly urban) Indians said they agreed. As Dr Shah writes “In 2002, India was halfway in the list with 62% support. In 2009, India is at the top of the list, with 81% support.”

Similarly, to the question “What do you think about the growing trade and business ties between (survey country) and other countries – do you think it is a very good thing, somewhat good, somewhat bad or a very bad thing for our country?” 96% of the Indian respondents said that it’s a good thing, compared to 88% in 2002.

My emailer notes that "Ayn Rand's works have become incredibly popular among Indian elites as well."

The title refers, of course, to Dr Deepak Lal's "Reviving the Invisible Hand." Lal delineates two Liberal International Economic Orders: One headed by Britain from the repeal of the Corn Laws to WWI, and a "Pax Americana" version from the end of WWII to the present.

I've always wondered if India, with its British colonial rule of law history, might take up the third. A couple friends who did Econ PhD dissertations on India are less sanguine than I am.

Of late, Canada's been showing good signs. It's a lot closer and I really enjoy hockey.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Canada!? But they have socialized medicine and strict gun laws, how can those poor oppressed and downtrodden people be free?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 12:07 PM
But jk thinks:

But Canada is moving away from Socialized medicine as quickly as we are moving toward it, and there's some chance of fixing the gun laws.

I used to believe that the Confederacy was doomed and that the interior provinces would make great States or a very interesting breakaway Republic. That talk seems to have died down in the past 5-10 years.

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2010 12:13 PM

January 5, 2010

And Tiger Woods is Losing Endorsement Contracts?

Hitler and Lara Croft sell fireworks in Delhi.

HT: @kmanguward (Katherine Mangu-Ward)

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:22 PM | What do you think? [9]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee has mixed emotions about Ritter's announcement. He is a weak candidate who had alienated all major constituencies that helped elect him and was very defeatable. If Hickenlooper desides to run, he will be very tough to beat (although I can think of worse potential governors if you've gotta pick a Dem).

Getting rid of Dodd is an unalloyed good. Even if replaced by a Democrat (and it looks like the Republicans may have some competitive candidates) it is still like trading a rook for a pawn in chess. The numbers may be the same, but the power is significantly diminished. Fannie and Freddie will no longer have a patron saint in the Senate, and Barney alone may not be enough to keep the protection racket going. North Dakota is definitely a win-able state for the GOP.

Funny, about a year ago Democrats were celebrating the beginning of a "1000 year reich" with the accendance of Obama. Now, even die-hards like Denver Post columnist Mike Littwin are running scared.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 6, 2010 12:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Good calls on seniority and power, br. Let a thousand Senator Al Frankens bloom!

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2010 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ritter abandoned a re-election bid because the unions told him they wouldn't contribute to his campaign. They took this decision because early in Ritter's term he vetoed Card Check in Colorado. Apparently Ritter believed that governing as a "moderate" would be the best way to maximize his popular approval rating and that the unions would understand his need for pragmatism as he put the shiv in their backs. Apparently the unions were not as forgiving as Ritter had hoped.

I still like the way this bodes nationally. Millions or even b-billions in union contributions may tip the scales with an apathetic electorate, but it can't overcome the sort of visceral rage that's been cultivated by the 111th Congress and an Administration so tone-deaf and inept that even the NY Times has a hard time covering for them anymore.

Democrat politicians seem to be saying, "Union: Yes! ... but is it enough?"

The caveat here is how much more damage they can do in the next, final, year of the 111th. I expect it to resemble a crowd of looters rushing to steal or destroy everything in sight as they retreat from the oncoming wave of baton-wieldling policemen.

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2010 2:48 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK, I actually would take a Franken over a Dodd. I doubt there is a scintilla of difference in their voting proclivities, but Franken is such an idiot that no one takes him seriously. Dodd, with the help of a few cronies, and key chairmanship and Barney Frank in the House almost managed to topple the entire US economy while socializing our mortgage system.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 6, 2010 4:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Again my flippancy is miscontrued. I absolutely agree that a Freshman backbencher will always be a good trade for a Senate Banking Committee Chair.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2010 5:01 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

The real term limits we need - limits on time as a committee chair. Stay in congress as long as you like (and can get elected). But you have to do it on more than your ability to deliver pork through the power of a committee chair.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 12:14 PM

The Best Chance to Stop ObamaCare?

Some are calling it the best chance to stop ObamaCare. I gave $50 and follow @ScottBrownMA on Twitter.

And that was before I saw how cute his daughters are! You want to make a difference, I don't think this is a bad place to start. The national GOP has given up but some bloggers are thinking of making it a race, He's nine points down, and the race is in Massachusetts, but...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bless the Blogosphere

Sure, I could spend an hour and crank out a second-rate blog post ridiculing David Brooks's elitism. But why? Will Collier hits it out of the park -- and I just gotta link!

Read the whole merciless pounding, but here's a taste:

First, David, until you can explain--without consulting Google--say, Bernoulli's theorem and how it relates to flight, don't bother passing yourself and your like-minded NYDC pals off as the country's sole "educated class." Out here in the hinterlands, we're well aware that you and your Ivy League buddies believe that you are the only actual educated people on the planet, but you ought to have learned somewhere along the way that belief in an idea does turn that idea into reality. Asserting as much, to borrow a line from the late John Hughes, just makes you look like an ass.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: Plus, a Title of the Day for "More Arugula From David Brooks"

But Silence Dogood thinks:

Ah,how I long for the days of President Bush who would never have been caught in an Ivy League institution, or professionals like Michael Brown.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 12:26 PM

Whole Foods: Bad for the Planet!

You think I won't link to Mother Jones? Y'think? You dare me?

Kate Sheppard asks Is Whole Foods Bad for the Planet?

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has probably brought more people to organic foods than anyone else in the United States. And many of the folks shopping at his markets undoubtedly consider themselves to be environmentally aware. They might even believe that by purchasing their groceries at Whole Foods outlets they are doing their part to help the planet. But certainly many of them would probably be startled to learn of of [sic] Mackey's position on climate change: he's a global warming denier.

If only a reliable media outlet had predicted this disaster...

To be fair, I think Whole Foods is bad for the planet because they promote organic farming which threatens animal habitat and fair trade coffee which impoverishes the poorest farmers to subsidize middle-class (well, less poor) farmers. But those don't seem to be the faults that Mother Jones has in mind.

But T. Greer thinks:

But are the subsidized organic farms any different than America's large corporate farms? I was under the impression that the obscenity passed every other year (euphemistically titled a "farm bill") was not so discriminatory.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 5, 2010 10:09 PM

Quote of the Day

Of course there was "no single piece of intelligence" that spelled it out. You have to put the pieces together, genius.

Anyway, we're not talking about a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle here.

This was more like one of those children's puzzles with four giant pieces that have to be laid out of the floor, and each piece gives you a pretty good idea of what you're looking at. -- Charles Hunt

Posted by John Kranz at 10:54 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 4, 2010

My New Favorite CEO?

I hesitate to post this. I don't want to get they guy in trouble and I don't want to see the Boulder store close down.

But Whole Foods chief John Mackey has gone from criticizing ObamaCare (high crime or misdemeanor enough that he had to step down) to suggesting -- in The New Yorker -- that he is reading a book which is skeptical of Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe.

As Mackey warns, the higher energy prices, compliance costs of new regulations, and the litigation nightmares will lower our standard of living. One thing he forgot to mention is that these new energy taxes and regulations won’t do anything to reduce the earth’s temperature and reducing our economic prosperity cripples our ability to tackle real environmental problems.

Yeah, he is still no Friedmanite, his company has a duty to help the poor and save the planet &c. But damn, you have got to salute us candor and dedication to principles.

Hat-tip: @Heritage

But T. Greer thinks:

Yep, I like him. Pretty close to how I feel about things actually.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 5, 2010 1:41 AM

Fact. Joke. Observation.

The Fact (well, I heard it on the TV news...): The city of Denver now has more licensed medical marijuana dispensaries than it has Starbucks®

The Gag: Obviously, we need more Starbuckses...

The serious observation: One unintended consequence I missed as a fierce proponent of medical marijuana was the incredible cheesiness of the establishments. (Again, I am trusting local TV news, so NaCl a bit, but) most of the dispensaries have much more the vibe of a head shop than a Doctor's office. I remain a proponent of full-out legalization and can classify this as freedom's exploiting a loophole. But I remain disappointed that I was thinking of serving Angel Raich more than Snoop Dogg. Not as far as regret, but definitely disappointment.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

Second Amendment Rights, NBA Edition


Words fail even worse, NBA edition. Washington Wizards (formerly Bullets) player Gilbert Arenas reportedly could lose a $100 million contract as the result of bringing guns (plural) into the locker room in a city where possession of them is as illegal as it is here in NYC -- and then deciding to threaten teammate Javaris Crittenton with one, rather than pay off on a bet ... only to have Crittenton draw his own gun in return!

This is post-Plaxico, no less. When members of a local NBA team were asked for comment, "Nets say 3 out of 4 players pack heat"..

I was in a band where the guys would threaten each other with guns at rehearsals. That probably set back my appreciation for the Second Amendment by ten years.

UPDATES: Taranto adds: "This is almost as embarrassing to the Wizards as their record, although perhaps they'll make a virtue of necessity and embrace the tough-guy image. They could even change the team name to something firearm-related--say, the Washington Bullets."

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Where guns are outlawed only outlaws and pro athletes have guns.

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2010 2:30 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Let me guess - machine guns in violin cases?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 4, 2010 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Singers with semi-automatics actually. We played at some bad addresses and they were always surprised that I was not packing. But these guys were not really models for firearm safety.

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2010 4:58 PM

Revising the Aughts Up

Reason TV did a stupid and snarky video about how bad the last decade was, seemingly based mostly on a few phrases from the Presidential debate in its first year.

GMU Econ Professor (and general deity) Tyler Cohen gives the decade a far more measured evaluation in the NYTimes today.

Putting aside the United States, which ranks third, the four most populous countries are China, India, Indonesia and Brazil, accounting for more than 40 percent of the world’s people. And all four have made great strides.
One lesson from all of this is that steady economic growth is an underreported news story — and to our own detriment. As human beings, we are prone to focus on very dramatic, visible events, such as confrontations with political enemies or the personal qualities of leaders, whether good or bad. We turn information about politics and economics into stories of good guys versus bad guys and identify progress with the triumph of the good guys. In the process, it’s easy to neglect the underlying forces that improve life in small, hard-to-observe ways, culminating in important changes.

In a given year, an extra percentage point of economic growth may not seem to matter much. But, over time, the difference between annual growth of 1 percent and 2 percent determines whether you can double your standard of living every 35 years or every 70 years. At 5 percent annual economic growth, living standards double about every 14 years.

Cohen cedes that it was not a banner decade for the America economy. But the world, as a whole, got "ten years richer" and we all got iPods. I'm cool with that.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

iPods? You got an iPod? Where's mine Obama!?

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2010 2:33 PM

Hundreds Protest Global Warming!


Hat-tip: my (biological) brother via email. It is pretty germane as we have had very few hours above freezing for the last couple of weeks.

But johngalt thinks:

Heh. Check out "The Blue Peninsula" (1/4/10) and WeatherMapGate (1/3/10) over on http://www.minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw/

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2010 2:40 PM

January 3, 2010

Abdulmutallab Knows More

So we negotiate.

The U.S. Government is offering the suspect charged with attempting to bomb an aircraft on Christmas Day, Omar Abdulmutallab, some kind of incentives to share what he knows about Al Qaeda, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Sunday.

Asked why Abdulmutallab should cooperate given his right, as criminal defendant, to remain silent, Brennan replied: "He doesn't have to but he knows there are certain things that are on the table... if he wants to engage with us in a productive manner, there are ways he can do that."


Instead of strapping this guy to a board and pouring water down his throat till he talks, we get this.

(tip to Ace)

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Look, first class back to Yemen is out of the question. Business class is the best we can do. Now, we can't help you at all with your request for a kilo of yellowcake, but maybe we can work something out in C4?"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 4, 2010 10:40 AM

January 2, 2010

We're All Huskers Now!

"Call off the Dogs!" says the deeply deliberative Senator Ben Nelson. Who stood up to his own party in a matter of deep conscience until the Senate Bill made provisions about Federal funding of abortions gave his State $100 Million. You know the guy I'm talking about -- another Damn Webster if I ever saw one!

The "dogs" in this instance being 13 state attorneys general who were suing against the "Cornhusker Kickback." Senator Webst -- I mean Nelson, said that it would be fixed.

How would the kickback be fixed? The memo explains: "Senator Nelson said it would be 'fixed' by extending the Cornhusker Kickback (100% federal payment) on Medicaid to every state."

In no time, we'll all be drinking free bubble up and eatin' rainbow stew!

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

Naked Emporer Alert

I read this yesterday and did not think it was too big a deal. But Mark Tapscott says it is, and I am starting to see his side.

[Personal Democracy Forum's Tech President Micah] Sifry summarizes the difference between the truth and the myth at the outset of his post, noting "the truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied.
"And this is the big story of 2009, if you ask me, the meta-story of what did, and didn't happen, in the first year of Obama's administration. The people who voted for him weren't organized in any kind of new or powerful way, and the special interests--banks, energy companies, health interests, car-makers, the military-industrial complex--sat first at the table and wrote the menu. Myth met reality, and came up wanting."

I did not believe anything else from the Obama campaign, but I must admit that I did buy in to grassroots, little-guy, small donation fundraising story. Naďf.

UPDATE: Link! (Thanks, jg!)

But johngalt thinks:

Did you mean to link?

So where did the big money come from? Let me guess:

George Soros
Trial lawyers
General Electric
Duke Energy
Pharmaceutical lobbyists
Environmental groups

Did I miss anybody?

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2010 1:10 PM

January 1, 2010

"Where are the thinking people?"

Did anyone else watch JK's Merry Christmas video with Larry Kudlow interviewing Don Luskin and CNBC business correspondent Jerry Bowyer on the significance of Ayn Rand's resurgence in the Obamanomics era? It really is quite revealing. [Better quality audio and video here.] You see, Bowyer is a Chief Economist and a Christian though not necessarily in that order. He says that Ayn Rand's philosophy actually "handicaps our message. The American people will not be persuaded by that case for capitalism."

Later he said, "The Randians have never been able to really make the sale because Americans have an inherent sense that selfishness is not a good thing. So the Rand case that says selfishness really is good and embrace capitalism because it's selfish probably hurts us more than it helps us." This statement, however, and Jerry's meaning of "selfish" must be put into context by Bowyer's later assertion that "freedom is not a selfish thing."

Probably worse that the true-believer Bowyer is Kudlow. After saying that he "totally regards himself as a free-market capitalist" he conducts the entire interview from a sort of "Rand was half-right" point of view.

"Can one agree to like Rand on her free-market capitalism and at the same time put away, put aside her atheism? I personally have a lot of problems with that part. I don't see how you run a country, I don't see how you run a society, I don't see how you run your life, and I draw on my own life, without some spiritual, moral and religious rules of the road. I think that's what God teaches us. I think that's what the New and the Old Testament teaches us and that's why I think charity and helping others is so important. (...) On the other hand Jerry I hope that I am open enough to realize her ideas on free-market capitalism, we need a bigger dose of that right now in American history."

[The sound you hear is me pulling my hair out.]

I think I need to send my Rand on Capitalism vs. Altruism post to Kudlow. Check your premises Larry!

Noted Objectivist philosopher Dr. Harry Binswanger saw the program and forwarded it to his subscription email list with a long analysis (reprinted in whole below the fold).

What I want to know is where are the thinking people? Thinking in regard to being pro-reason and pro-independence. That is, why isn't a frequent reaction: "She's an atheist--that's good; she was for radical selfishness? How interesting! I've never heard of anyone taking that position. Maybe Nietzsche (but maybe not). Let me hear more."

Harry feels my pain. Heinlein, help us!

"The hardest part about gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche. As long as that niche is occupied, evidence and proof and logical demonstration get nowhere. But once the niche is emptied of the wrong idea that has been filling it — once you can honestly say, "I don't know", then it becomes possible to get at the truth." -The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, 1985

Subject: HBL You want bitter? I'll give you bitter.
December 24, 2009

From Harry Binswanger

You've got to watch this CNBC show on Ayn Rand. It's about 10 minutes out of
the Larry Kudlow show. Kudlow and a creep named Jerry Bowyer are critical of
Ayn Rand for her atheism and selfishness. Her defender is Donald Luskin, a
name that's vaguely familiar, but whom I don't know. Luskin does try to make
some points, but he is not deep and he is not given enough time.


But here comes the bitter part. In the mounting publicity about Ayn Rand,
I've seen commentator after commentator make these same
criticisms: she's an atheist and she's for selfish greed. What the hell is
wrong with these people? Those are not criticisms: those are her virtues.

What I want to know is where are the thinking people? Thinking in regard to
being pro-reason and pro-independence. That is, why isn't a frequent
reaction: "She's an atheist--that's good; she was for radical selfishness?
How interesting! I've never heard of anyone taking that position. Maybe
Nietzsche (but maybe not). Let me hear more."

A thinking person would then pursue some further thoughts along the lines of
"What reasons have ever been offered for unselfishness? I know Ancient Greek
culture was not inclined toward that 'meek shall inherit the earth' stuff.
Were the Ancient Greeks pro-altruism, or did that begin with Christianity?
Is the drivel I always hear about unselfishness something that's just a
leftover of Christian nonsense?"

I can only go by what *my* reaction was when I first encountered Ayn Rand's
atheism and pro-selfishness. When I came to her talk on the Objectivist
ethics my Freshman year at MIT (Spring, 1962), I had slid back from an
earlier atheism into speculating as to if maybe there was a (non-conscious)
"something"--like a basic law of the universe (e.g., that all processes move
toward equilibrium) that was God in an impersonal sense. When I say I was
"speculating," I mean I was indulging in absurd, arbitrary, "what if's?"

At any rate, in the Q&A following her lecture, she was asked whether she was
an atheist, and she answered, in a tone of some surprise at even being
asked, "Of course." It was as if she had been asked whether she wore a coat
when she went out in cold weather. I heard an answering "Of course" in my
own mind, and that was that. To be sure, she went on to explain that she
accepted only reason and that there had never been any reason given to
believe in God. That solidified my "Of course," but all that had been really
necessary was what she did by her tone: to indicate that this was not an
occasion for fantasy but a question of fact--like whether or not there
gravity holds the moon in orbit. Once the issue had been put into that
rational, factual, scientific context, there was nothing to consider. "Of

Now my reaction to her selfishness. Within days of her speech, I bought a
copy of Atlas Shrugged and began reading. I think it was this passage, from
page 51, that caused the mental light bulb to turn

> "You're unbearably conceited," was one of the two
> sentences she heard throughout her childhood, even
> though she never spoke of her own ability. The
> other sentence was: "You're selfish." She asked
> what was meant, but never received an answer. She
> looked at the adults, wondering how they could
> imagine that she would feel guilt from an undefined accusation.

That had been exactly my reaction to my mother's nagging along the same
lines. It was either then or a few pages further on that I thought to
myself, "I had never bought into the idea that I should feel guilty for
being selfish, but this lady goes me one better: she thinks it's actually a
virtue to be selfish!" My reaction was one of admiration. Mixed with a vague
chagrin that I hadn't taken that step myself.

My purpose is not to brag. Alright, maybe a little--but only in retrospect.
At the time, I didn't think there was anything special about me in this
regard: it was just a matter of common sense and personal honesty. I thought
that half to a third of the population was in the same situation as I was.
Yes, there were the self-deceivers and the sheep, but there were also, I
thought, a goodly number of people just waiting to be told that
unselfishness makes no more sense than religion.

So where are those people? You can say they have been destroyed by the
comprachicos of our educational system--except that the comprachicos weren't
that numerous until the 70s, and there are amazingly few people among the
older population who are open to atheism and selfishness. Lawrence Kudlow
looks to be just a little younger than I am, and yet there he is taking his
belief in nomadic tribal tales as if it were the solid finding of science.

Is it that it's too hard to go back on a lifetime of accepting and acting on
altruism? Well, there were about a million copies of Atlas and hundreds of
thousands of copies of The Virtue of Selfishness sold to people who were
young in the pre-comprachio era.

My bitterness (probably temporary) is fueled by seeing *everyone* now raving
about Atlas Shrugged while missing the whole point of the novel, treating it
as if it were essentially a condemnation of over-regulation. I'm reading
dozens and dozens of articles on the web, pro and con, on the rising
interest in Ayn Rand. They are all depressing.

And what about the philosophic content of her non-fiction? What about the
incredible outpouring of knowledge, from the nature of existence to the
theory of concepts, to the theory of free will, and on and on? Sure, I can
understand why professional philosophers have tremendous difficulty in
grasping any of it, because of their automatized methodology (though that
took me decades to appreciate). But where are the thinking readers among the
non- philosophers?

Where are the people who are *at least intrigued* by ideas like:
"Psycho-epistemology is the study of man's cognitive processes from the
aspect of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic
functions of the subconscious"? Or, "Art is a selective re-creation of
reality according to an artist's metaphysical value- judgments"? Or,
"Emotions are the automatic results of man's value judgments integrated by
his subconscious; emotions are estimates of that which furthers man's values
or threatens them, that which is
*for* him or *against* him"? Or, "Sacrifice is the surrender of a greater
value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue"? Where are the people
who, even if they have questions or doubts, can recognize the power of such

I guess most of them are on HBL.

But Keith thinks:

And here appears that local social conservative, starting the year by thanking the ThreeSourcers for having befriended him!

I, too, pull my hair out. I do my best to avoid theological tangents on this blog, but I'm going to shoot my mouth off for a moment and posit that for the thinking theist, Randian Objectivism and genuine Christianity not only are not opposed to each other, but actually complement each other nicely in life as partners, because Objectivism centers around recognition of the free individual as he was created to be.

And the place where I tear my hair out is that intersection of popular-culture Christianity and political conservatism, horribly misnamed "compassionate conservatism," where people see big-spending government programs as some sort of outworking of the kingdom of God. We could go on for pages and weeks talking causes and solutions.

I'll withhold my dissertation on the political distinctions between the Old Testament prophet in Israel and the New Testament evangelist in the Roman Empire - and simply leave it by saying that Bowyer's attempt at compartmentalizing his faith and his political philosophy in separate boxes is a mistake, and a tragic one.

Posted by: Keith at January 2, 2010 12:47 PM
But jk thinks:

ThreeSources being a case in point. What I consider devout Christians are a distinct majority around here. I guess the louder voices convey a different impression.

I feel enough in the minority seeking limited government and enumerated powers. If I chase off my friends who believe it gets a bit more lonely.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2010 11:48 AM
But Brian Gregory thinks:

That show was painful; a textbook example of how TV in its quest for eyeballs can destroy a good topic. I liked Luskin up to the point where he began shouting at Bowyer (which might've been warranted, I stopped listening to him rather early).

I'm done pulling my hair out over any of this: the constant need to preach about limited gov't and personal responsibility (where Objectivism and Christianity are best met), means I've got to keep my head, stay focused and at least appear to be the happy warrior.

Rand was a polemic and did a disservice to her ideas with her lack of personal ideals. The biggest flaw with the 'conventional wisdom' that goes along with Rand is that selfish = greedy.

Look at her characters (and her life) just for a second, please. Selfish: yes. Greedy: absolutely not.

Posted by: Brian Gregory at January 3, 2010 6:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There are short term and long term goals. I have no delusions about discrediting altruism before the next election cycle but I do see it as the next step forward in human societal development. "Progress" if you will.

I'm as friendly with the social conservatives I meet as with any other conservative but when they say something I disagree with I'll speak my mind. If one says the state should abrogate my liberties because he finds some things I might do "immoral" I'll explain why he's wrong. If he laments that "we need a bigger dose of free-market capitalism but charity and helping others is just as important" I'll suggest he read Rand's explanation why capitalism and altruism are mutually exclusive ideas. And if he doesn't believe her I'll ask him to just look at the state of our government today.

Unfortunately the Believers have been convinced beyond question that altruism is a moral ideal. When I question their altruism they consider me hostile to their faith. If I don't question altruism then my children will have even less freedom than I do. Think badly of me if you'd like. I choose to fight for my kids future right to a life of happiness.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2010 8:23 PM
But jk thinks:

We'd never think badly of you jg! I just worry about the short term goals.

And bg (you've commented a few times, you're initials...) is spot on about the tone of the piece and the cause. The old Kudlow & Cramer show sat astride "Firing Line" for serious and respectful exploration of disagreements. Now CNBC loves to show the boxing gloves (if you stayed up late, could you think of something more stupid?) and have clearly moved to book pugnacious guests.

That's Capitalism for ya' -- all about the might $$$!

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2010 10:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Kind words appreciated but I still wonder sometimes.

Describing my reply to dagny on the way to play hockey last night I expanded on the theme of what happens if I don't challenge altruism: "Our heirs and successors will be subjected to an endless series of collectivist tyrants, from either party, taxing them right to the limit of popular revolt."

So I'll continue to be a "louder voice" around here extolling the virtues of selfishness. Perhaps I'll one day discover a way to do it that evokes visions of bunnies and the smell of freshly baked cookies.

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2010 2:54 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

When one speaks of man's right to exist for his own sake, for his own rational self-interest, most people assume automatically that this means his right to sacrifice others. Such an assumption is a confession of their own belief that to injure, enslave, rob or murder others is in man's self-interest -- which he must selflessly renounce. The idea that man's self-interest can be served only by a non-sacrificial relationship with others has never occurred to those humanitarian apostles of unselfishness, who proclaim their desire to achieve the brotherhood of men. And it will not occur to them, or to anyone, so long as the concept "rational" is omitted from the context of "values," "desires," "self-interest" and ethics. - Ayn Rand

From "The Virtue of Selfishness" page 30, via the Ayn Rand Lexicon

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 5:20 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I will include this in my Facebook Avatar thread. I don't know that it is compelling to our true believer friend, but what the hell?

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2010 11:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Bravo. It'll be interestin' to see on what basis he rejects it (if he can think of one.)

I consider the quote to be more evidence that Rand was a once-in-a-millenium genius. I never would have thought to argue for selfishness this way. (Honestly, I'd probably never have dared to argue for selfishness at all without her explanation of how I'd been taken for a fool by the "compassionate" "humanitarians.")

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2010 3:01 PM

New Year Thanks

The first decade of the 21st century has come to a close. 2009 is widely regarded as a crappy year (though it did mark the birth of my third, very precious, daughter) and surpassed in crappiness in recent memory only by 2008. 2010 can only be better still, right?

I'll take this opportunity to wish all Three Sourcers a happy and hopeful new year, for knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness, and to invite everyone to list in the comments what you are thankful for on this memorable date. Me? I'm thankful there's only one more year for the 111th Congress.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 12:42 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

You guys wanna start the decade on a lot of Kumbaya, feel good, be-thankful nonsense, go right ahead. I'm going to pick a fight.

I'm not a resolution-kinda-guy, but I liked this one from the Christian Science Monitor: "Resolve not to repeat the media's mantra of America in decline."

"widely regarded as a crappy year..." perhaps, but I'm going to take a Reason-magazine style approach and ignore all the horrible things happening in government and celebrate technological and social advances.

In 2k10, I am thankful that:

-- Devil Dog Brew is now the official coffee of Live at the Coffeehouse dot com

-- I live in America and Jimmy P enumerates "Why this may still be the American Century."

-- I can look forward to another year of persiflage with the most engaging and thought provoking group of bloggers who ever found their way onto the Information Superhighway (Someone's typing, Lord...)

Happy New Year!

Posted by: jk at January 1, 2010 12:17 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

I am thankful for civil discourse and the times when we can agree to disagree, on everything from Rand to Clapton. I too am thankful for 2010 and the day of national house (and senate) cleaning to come. As always, I am very, very thankful for my wife and my three daughters. I am glad that George Bush was our president and that whatever faults he may have had he kept freedom's lamp trimmed and burning in a dark world. I am thankful for Ernests, Tubb and Hemingway. Thank you Lord for telecasters and please bless our Three Sources host and his lovely bride in the year to come. "kumbaya"

Posted by: Sugarchuck at January 1, 2010 10:40 PM

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