February 28, 2010

Almost

The US women's hockey team lost gold to Canada days ago. The US men were 24 seconds from repeating the disappointment. But American Zach Parise scored a fortuitous goal that sent it to overtime. While the US men appeared to be more talented and better conditioned, the Canadians managed to win on pure desire. Sid Crosby, heir apparent to Wayne Gretzky, fired a Sakic-quick wrist shot through Ryan Miller's legs to clinch gold.

Good for them. Good for Canada. America salutes you little brother.

P.S. Thumbs down to the cynical live coverage by NBC that managed to crop much of goalie Miller's patriotic helmet art, including Uncle Sam wielding a big stick, during their numerous close ups.

Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 9:56 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Yeah, Team USA beat the Soviets in 1980 and nine years later, 50 million people were free. I figured one more goal and in 2019, Canada would have private health care! But it is not to be.

I actually thought our boys were outplayed and only the able talents of Mister Miller made it a game.

I have to quibble with the announcers on one thing and it happens in many broadcasts. Guys, the post is not in the net. This is an old goalie talking but if you make a guy hit the post, that goes in your column. If a guy misses an empty net and hits the post that's one thing. But Miller had perfect position on those two shots and it would've been quite the shot to thread it in.

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2010 10:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's interesting. I actually thought the US squad was more talented, at least offensively.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2010 11:28 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You beat me to the post, JG! However, my headline would have been "Heartbreaker." I will have to agree with JK, however, that the Canucks outplayed us in this one. Their defense was stifling and the neutral-zone trap resulted in a lot of turnovers. We were rarely able to enter their zone with any speed or space and were reduced to taking 50-foot shots. Nonetheless, I'm proud of our boys, who played a helluva game, especially Miller. I was totally impressed with Patrick Kane, who chased down Sidney Crosby to disrupt his breakaway shot.

A special shout-out to the former WCHA players who were stars on both sides of the border: Zach Parise (Univ of North Dakota) and Paul Stastny (Univ. of Denver) for the US and Jonathan Toews (Univ. of North Dakota) for Canada.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 1, 2010 4:10 PM
But CA thinks:

Heartbreaker. Though they would beat us solidly in a 7 game series. We have slightly better goaltending and speed. They have speed and a large size / talent / experience advantage.

Was fun to dream in between the 3rd and overtime. In any one game we're a great threat to them.

Posted by: CA at March 1, 2010 4:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm no expert on hockey talent (although I did score an unassisted goal myself 2 nights ago) so I can't give an objective analysis to refute any of the opinions here. I will say that in the 2-game series that was the Olympic tourney we split it with them 1-1. I'll also add that under previous Olympic rules there was no "gold medal game" and the US would have taken the top medal with its undefeated record including that win over Canada.

But as I said, they did win it under current rules and as I've said elsewhere, they needed that win more than we did - psychologically. Now, this seems like an opportune moment to float my idea of NHL an profit sharing structure that intentionally benefits Canadian teams, for if there are no NHL teams in Canada then it won't be long before we'll have to call the sport they play something other than "hockey."

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2010 11:35 AM

Humanity's Hope

Slums.

Really.

They're models for good living.

I trained as a biologist and to my eye, they look organic. Squatter cities are also unexpectedly green. They have maximum density—1m people per square mile in some areas of Mumbai—and have minimum energy and material use. People get around by foot, bicycle, rickshaw, or the universal shared taxi.

Three cheers for abject poverty.

Something we should aspire to, and something our better would be glad to give us.

But jk thinks:

Green, dysentery, no, not goin' there...

I'm going to steal your post as a segue. I wanted to post something on Milton Friedman, Chile, and Haiti.

I got to thinking about these stickers. Some folks (ac's slum worshippers no doubt) plaster D.C. with stickers that say "Milton Friedman Proud Father of Global Misery."

Well, Port-au-Prince Haiti was largely spared Friedman's brand of misery. And a 7-ish magnitude earthquake killed 200,000 people.

Chile had enough "Chicago Boys" prosperity that an 8-ish quake killed 200 [sad update 700+] instead of 200,000. On one level this is not fair -- the epicenter of the quake was not in a heavily populated area.

But we're talking about a four magnitude difference in the death toll, when the quake was more than twice as strong (I heard five times the energy).

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2010 1:15 PM

February 27, 2010

The Summit in Four Minutes

ThreeSources and Heritage.org have just saved you SEVEN HOURS! Now you can catch up on all that Curling footage you Tivoed...

Senator Grassley has an awesome sound bite in there that opponents should pick up on. "Unconstitutional" doesn't mean anything to anybody who doesn’t read ThreeSources. His explanation of the unprecedented nature of government forcing you to buy something is very strong.

Lookit me, cheering on Sen. Grassley, I guess I am a pragmatist!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 26, 2010

Our Problems are Solved!

I know that a lot of ThreeSourcers used to worry about "debt" and "deficits" and things like that.

But President Obama is starting to announce members of his blue ribbon, bipartisan deficit commission.

MORE COMMISSION MEMBERS: President Obama has appointed four members to the bipartisan deficit commission he established last week, an administration official said. The appointees are: Andy Stern, the president of SEIU; David Cote, the Honeywell International CEO; former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin; and Ann Fudge, a former Young & Rubicam Brands CEO.

Wow! With leading lights like this on the commission, I am just going to start worrying about other things. Andy Stern is on the case!

This is all courtesy of Don Luskin whose frequent contributor Mick Danger points out "Stern is a goalie. Doesn’t much matter which player on this Commission tries to score, Stern will block every single shot."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hopefully, he'll do as well as Finland's goalie.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 26, 2010 6:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Now I would yell about spoilers, but with Twitter, time-shifted sports are impossible. Everyone I follow fancies himself a mini-Bob Costas...

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2010 6:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Sorry, jk. My only defense I can offer is, you can't lay straight lines like that out there.

So, the hacks on this baby-blue* ribbon panel, do they get to be czars too? They are appointed and anointed but not confirmed by the Senate, and part of the shadow government of regulators and level-pullers, after all.

* Did I mention yet, for the record, that once this administration is consigned to the ashheap of history, I don't ever, EVER want to see anything in that noxious shade of baby blue again?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 26, 2010 6:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Spoilers? Time shifted? The game started at 1pm Mountain and was telecast live on NBC network affiliates. And how about that Ryan Miller? Not just his play, but his goalie mask? "Don't Tread on Me" shares space with patriotic images. (haven't seen a tea bag but maybe it's just really really small.)

Oh yeah, the "commissioners." Merely four more sets of hands to build runways and light marker fires.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2010 9:34 PM

Sucks to be Jane Norton's Spokesperson

Score one for Ken Buck:

Young energetically anti-big government PPC blogger Ari Armstrong, like many Coloradans, wanted to get straight what Norton meant this week when she said the Obama administration jobs bill was "too small," a response that suggested longtime government employee Norton was advancing a government solution to the jobs crisis. Armstrong didn't get hold of Norton; he got hold of her spokesman Nate Strauch. Suffice it to say, Armstrong got the better of Strauch in the exchange which, given what he has had to deal with week to week as Norton drops bombs at small gatherings across the state, is to say nothing against Strauch.

What Norton meant to say, explained Strauch, was that she would cut taxes to small businesses!


Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong


Charlie Rangel: "Spiro Agnew of the Democrat Party"

We know that Charlie Rangel cheated on his taxes regarding investment properties in the Dominican Republic. He claimed that he "didn't understand" the tax laws. We also know that he lied to get four rent-restricted properties in NYC. He claimed that he "unaware." Now, we learn that he violated House rules by accepting a corporately-funded trip to the Caribbean. He says that "there is no evidence that he knew" the trips were funded by a corporation, even though his staff did. (Hey, Charlie - who did you think funded it, the Tooth Fairy?) One could call this the "I'm just a dumb-f***" defense. That may be true enough, but it is clear that Rangel and Spiro Agnew are kindred souls.

112th Congress Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:21 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I'm tempted to leap in and defend Vice President Agnew...

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2010 4:52 PM

Fifty One Votes

If you haven't seen this take five minutes and enjoy Democratic Senators waxing poetic about the joy of the filibuster, the danger of ,majority rule -- y'know, everything they believed when they were in the minority.

Hat-tip: Scrivener

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

QOTD

From Thomas Paine's "Common Sense":

"Earlier in this work, I threw out a few thoughts on the propriety of a Continental Charter, (for I only presume to offer hints, not plans) and in this place, I take the liberty of rementioning the subject, by observing, that a charter is to be understood as a bond of solemn obligation, which the whole enters into, to support the right of every separate part, whether of religion, personal freedom, or property, A firm bargain and a right reckoning make long friends."

The breadth and depth of all American patriot's wisdom at the time of our country's founding remains awe inspiring.

Freedom on the March Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master." -- Ayn Rand
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | What do you think? [0]

"A simple solution to many of our problems"

... is how Clifford Asness summarizes his ideas for health insurance reform.

Ignoring pre-existing conditions might sound compassionate, but it is equivalent to declaring that a fire-insurance company must charge the same amount for a modern house with smoke detectors and interior fireproofing as for a century-old, wooden-frame former stable, complete with some hay left over, and a basement full of painting supplies.

(...)

The desire to help those with pre-existing conditions is laudable. The way to do this is to help. If someone needs more medical care than he or she can pay for, direct state subsidy is far more efficient than making insurance companies pretend that the patient isn’t ill or at high risk of becoming ill. We can separately debate the degree of generosity of this subsidy, but it is efficient and honest. Making insurance companies play “don’t ask, don’t tell” with health status is neither.

Wait a doggone minnit - this Asness character is an investment banker! Never mind. Say, how much was HIS bonus last year?!

But johngalt thinks:

Very pleased to read your comment CA, and I'll check out your website soon. I take the blame for "labeling" you an investment banker. I made the leap from "capital management" to "investment" to "investment banker." I mostly used it as an opportunity for sarcastic TARP humor.

I'll not speak for brother Perry (and I'm sure he'll speak for himself) but as I said above, "Good play!" (Since you wouldn't know, that was a reference to one of our contributors' excellent football analogy for the American experiment in self-government.

And, if you have a moment, are you interested in commenting on our discussion of the Mount Vernon Statement?

Cheers, [not the] johngalt

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2010 3:53 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
We have to move minds on who pays and how it is taxed. If the let's-not-have-socialism side of the discussion is wrapped in a pretty red ribbon of "let the bastards who didn't prepare die in the street in agony" then I think we're going to get ObamaCare.
No, JK, we do not have to compromise here. You're just allowing the temperature to turn up a little bit more each time. The line must be drawn somewhere and kept there, not moved every time a political fight brews.

Liberty can finally win when you stop compromising and point out the collectivists' lies. Just because I oppose socialized medicine does not mean I advocate people dying in the street, and anyone who claims that about me is a damned liar.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 3, 2010 11:31 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

No, JG, it's not a first down. It's making an onside kick on the first down and bumbling it badly.

Read his tripe again: he talks a good line about people overusing insurance and not realizing costs, but he's advocating further collectivism as the cure.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 3, 2010 11:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
I think I am a capitalist.
Asness, I don't know how old you are, but here's a free wake-up call: you're no capitalist. You may work with capital, you may base your business on turning capital into ever-increasing amounts of capital, but you're not a capitalist.

A real capitalist operates his business and lives his life by the principle that your transactions are always voluntary for both sides. A real capitalist does not advocate the taking of someone's money (even through "taxation") and redistributing it to others. You talked a good line at the start, but in the end you're talking about taking my property so that other people can be "subsidized" in their health care costs.

Even if we ignore the immorality there, where's your practicality? How will people realize health care costs when someone else is helping pay for them? And where do you draw the line? You know, or should know, that politicians will dole out Other People's Money to people who don't necessarily need it. Recall that maximum income for SCHIP benefits is 300% of the poverty line. Because you do not realize the state monstrosity you are advocating, "moron" is a very applicable term to you.

If you want to help, then establish your charity to help poor families with health care costs and encourage others to donate. Or strike a deal with a doctor that if you give him $X, he'll give a certain number of hours each week for free treatment of poor families.

"I am an objectivist (on the board of TAS and decent size donor also to ARI if that counts for anything). I would vote for no subsidy. I do believe any redistribution that's not voluntary is theft. But I'm trying not to fight every battle in every place.
TAS being what? I know the ARI, in fact someone of some status there, and I can also say this: you are not an Objectivist. If you don't accept all of Rand's principles, including liberty without compromise because it's based on principles, then you have no right to call yourself an Objectivist.

"There is nothing wrong in using ideas, anybody's ideas. Provided that you give appropriate credit, you can make any mixture of ideas that you want; the contradiction will be yours. But why do you need the name of someone (or their philosophy) with whom you do not agree in order to spread your misunderstandings - or worse, your nonsense and falsehoods?"

You evidently have no principles. You're willing to sell them out because it's easier to do something this way.

What I suggest in this article would be a far better system with the growth of the state far smaller and clearer than what's being suggested by Dems or Republicans.
Read my first comment again, the last paragraph where I talk about "efficiency" not making something necessarily moral or just. You're talking about making criminal acts more efficient. You claim that you believe involuntary redistribution is theft, but why do you want to make that more efficient? You should want to stop it dead in its tracks.

Zyclone B was pretty damn efficient too, do you disagree?

We can argue how much of a subsidy (including our preferred zero) later. But first we need to get people to understand some of the basics (which my article tries to do).
Actually, we can argue "how much of a subsidy" now: zero.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 3, 2010 11:55 PM
But jk thinks:

No, Perry, I am not allowing them to turn up the heat a little -- It's about 170F in my pot and I am trying to get them to turn it down.

Equalization of the tax treatment for health plans, interstate purchase of insurance and expanded health savings accounts would have a huge effect on health care. Yet none of those explicitly changes the balance of subsidy or the distribution of payment between producers and leeches.

My point (and I'm guessing Asness's) is that we can concentrate of correcting those structural imbalances without at the same time perusing the reduction of subsidies that we'd all prefer.

Lastly, to be clear, I was not summarizing your position pejoratively, I was seeking to remove that arrow from the quiver of the collectivists.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 11:33 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

How do you think you'll "get them to turn it down" when your compromises are only turning the temperature up? That's exactly what you're doing, you know. Every time you'll accept something "because the alternative is full-blown socialized medicine is another expansion. Smaller, yes, but it's still a few degrees hotter.

"Equalization of the tax treatment for health plans,"

But by that you've clearly stated that everyone should pay taxes on insurance -- why not the other way around? Should all rape victims be penetrated as the one most violated?

"interstate purchase of insurance and expanded health savings accounts would have a huge effect on health care."

These are a good start, I don't deny that, but they are not enough. The government needs to get the hell out -- completely.

"Yet none of those explicitly changes the balance of subsidy or the distribution of payment between producers and leeches."

And that is precisely why each compromise, even though it may appear to be on the side of individual liberty, will not work.

"My point (and I'm guessing Asness's) is that we can concentrate of correcting those structural imbalances without at the same time perusing the reduction of subsidies that we'd all prefer."

There was a great classic Trek episode about two warring planets. They set up a pretty efficient system of electronic warfare so that neither planet would experience infrastructural destruction. People just had to be good citizens and report for obliteration after the computers calculated their "deaths" from successful simulated attacks. Clearly this was more efficient than real war, but it still didn't make it better. People will get used so used to the "efficiency" that they'll forget and consequently stop demanding their God-given rights to something better.

Kirk's solution was to destroy the computers. Without the electronic "compromise," both sides realized that it was either peace or death. There was no in-between choice that would allow them to get accustomed to what they should abhor and therefore fight against.

"Lastly, to be clear, I was not summarizing your position pejoratively, I was seeking to remove that arrow from the quiver of the collectivists."

I know, and we both know you know me well enough that I know you wouldn't misrepresent me. But collectivists do deliberately misrepresent, using a hundred different strawmen, and we must start calling them out on it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 4, 2010 11:19 PM

Coffeehousin'

I did a wee bit of shameless self promotion yesterday, but I really like This one.

banner4.gif



Open all night, Drugs!

The title is of course from George Carlin's classic comedy routine. No wonder we have a drug problem with so many drug stores.

I inferred from one of my favorite commenters that my frequent defense of drug legalization and my enthusiasm for medical marijuana has been misconstrued. I cannot claim, as Penn Jillett does, that I have never ceded to temptation on any intoxicants -- but I come at the argument from the same place. I have no intention of ever wasting another minute on such things. And yet, I am deeply disturbed at the liberty implications. It's especially clear when we talk of the FDA and pharmaceuticals -- and yet from a first principles perspective "recreational use" seems no different.

The question remains citizens or subjects? There is an "approved" list from the government of what I can and cannot ingest? Help me John Stossel, I'm in great need of a segue...

That’s the subject of my FBN show tonight.

Who gets to control what you put into your body? In what sense are you free if you can't decide what medicines you will take?

Bruce Tower has prostate cancer. He wanted to take a drug that showed promise against his cancer, but the FDA would not allow it. One bureaucrat told him the government was protecting him from dangerous side effects. Tower's outraged response was: "Side effects, who cares? Every treatment I've had I've suffered from side-effects. If I'm terminal it should be my option to endure any side-effects."

Of course it should be his option. Why, in our "free" country, do Americans meekly stand aside and let the state limit our choices, even when we are dying ?


Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, the simple physical answer is that the government has the firepower, and the willingness to use it, to enforce FDA rules and regulations.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 26, 2010 8:54 PM

I Now Believe in Global Warming

Well, compared to believing something truly ludicrous, like say, that Toyota has exceptional manufacturing, engineering, or safety problems.

Compared to belief in that, Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe is a slam dunk.

I was pretty queasy about GM Ownership's involvement in the serial contretempses. The media coverage had that witch hunt vibe, and the body count -- if I may put on my cool, statistician's face -- just didn't seem high enough [insert standard disclaimer how every life is precious and every death a tragedy, &c.]. I assumed that there were some problems, but that government and media were overblowing them -- that wouldn't exactly break precedent.

But no more. Yesterday put me in the full deniers’ camp.

"There is absolutely no problem with any Toyota motorcars that is any more serious than any mechanical defect that one is likely to find on any car." -- John Kranz

I don't know that any ThreeSourcers disagree. Bright lot that you are, you probably all beat me to the punch. If anybody still feels leery of cutting off that smug guy in the Prius, let me present three stunning exegeses (surely ac will let me use that term in the plural).

1) Holman Jenkins: My Sudden Acceleration Nightmare. The nightmare is facing the US regulatory industry, tort bar, and UAW-owned Congress if your name is Toyoda and you make cars without union labor. In this devastating piece, Jenkins pins the defect on "driver pedal misapplication."

2) John Stossel: The Parasite Circuit. Stossel points out that "No one looks at safety 'rationally' when the media and Big Government are stirred up." Stossel runs the numbers and notes the tort sharks already circling in the waters.

3) Washington Examiner: The Taint in the Toyota Probe traces UAW contributions to the congressfolk whipping this controversy up and questions the veracity of some expert witness.

There's a taint a right. Tain't nothing there! Every car has some flaws. Some 40,000 people die each year and surely thousands could be avoided with some vehicle modification. But we buy and drive cars accepting the risk. One of the above links discusses a national news that opened with an 11 minute report on a defect that hasn't been seen since 1992.

This is a witch hunt exacerbated by government ownership of "the means of production" for a competitor. There are no significant Toyota defects.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:34 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

AHA! I'm here to debunk you. Government doesn't own the means of production, the unions do! Just like they own government. What, are you calling the president a socialist or something?

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2010 2:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll admit to a certain amount of Shadenfreude over Toyota's troubles. I've long felt the Japanese brands' quality is overrated by the likes of Consumer Reports. But this is getting ridiculous.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2010 9:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Prob'ly fair, but this punishment does not fit the crime. Yeah, in both instances, the press is exhibiting the lazy groupthink we've come to expect. But this is a company-threatening non-event trumped up by some very nefarious forces.

On your topic, I think the big three do themselves no favors marketing that they have "pretty much finally caught up in quality." I would not highlight the years they lagged without making some bold claim that they have surpassed their rivals.

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2010 6:31 PM

February 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

Well, if Hitler, Hennessey and Hoyer are right, then in a couple of months the partisans on the left are going to be ramping it up from angry to screaming mad, after they are teased, led on, and frustrated all over again. -- Jim Glass at Scrivener.net
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Rivaling Extreme Mortman's famous Send Hoyers, Guns and Money,

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2010 10:59 AM

Spinal Tap on Jazz

Heh. To demonstrate: here's jk playing a Sammy Cahn/Jimmie Van Husen classic too soft and all wrong at the virtual coffeehouse.

UPDATE: Double Heh. A good friend of this blog says the clip put him in mind of this month's Rolling Stone cover featuring Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. "Our towering heroes of days gone by look like little old lesbians."

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 7:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

Maybe Obama's not a Socialist after all

On yesterday's program Bill O'Reilly posed the question, "Is the president [Obama] a socialist?" His answer was that while Obama has pursued socialistic policies he isn't an actual socialist because "Mr. Obama doesn't want to seize your house." I would counter that straw man with, "No, but he want's to seize your income to give a house to thems what ain't gots 'em."

Unfortunately I think it gives Obama too much credit to call him a socialist. That would imply that he knows what he's doing. I tend to agree with Randall Hoven at American Thinker who wrote Obama "is the cargo cult president."

At least the real Cargo Cult followers built real things that looked like landing strips to get airplanes loaded with food and supplies to land on them. Obama thinks you get factories to produce things and hospitals to fix people by making speeches -- speeches that are reasonably good imitations of speeches given by real leaders.

If you're not familiar with the cargo cult tribes of the South Pacific you'll want to read the article to see what he means. If you are familiar then you'll want to read the article to see just how eerily similar the Obama Administration (and the alternative energy movement) is to those primitive peoples.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Remember what he said to Joe the Plumber? "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." I have no issue with calling Obama a socialist, even if he doesn't understand it. One can be a socialist and not openly espouse the philosophy of collectivism, or even realize himself what he espouses.

I was not familiar with the cargo cults, and it is the perfect term for the Obama presidency. His cabinet members, his czars, all his pretenses: even now there's never been a bit of substance. Like the actual cargo cults, underneath the manufactured façade is something incapable of producing something real. It's the ability to produce real things that distinguishes capitalist systems from collectivist ones.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 24, 2010 4:39 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great post, JG. I heard that same comment from O'Reilly and flipped as well. One must suppose that he really doesn't understand that socialism is not an absolute state, it is a continuum. One could argue that the US is on the right of that continuum (exhibiting some socialistic tendancies, [e.g., progressive tax rates, Medicare]) whereas France, Sweden, Greece, etc., are on the left side of the continuum support a wide range of socialistic programs. He certainly does "the folks" no favors when he vastly oversimplifies reality.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 25, 2010 10:48 AM
But jk thinks:

Bill O'Reilly oversimplifying? Mai Non!

Mister O caused me to truly accept Ayn Rand's call for a clear, consistent and empirical philosophy. He is such a perfect example of the obverse.

Sure, I agree with him 79.4% of the time. But he believes -- fervently -- in himself 100% of the time. And he is always following his gut, never his head.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2010 1:29 PM

Understatement of the Year

George Soros, Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell and others are proposing to curb speculative trading and even outlaw it in credit default swap (CDS) markets. Their proposals appear to be based on a misconception of speculation and could harm financial markets.
Ya think?

This is the lead paragraph from a superb WSJ guest editorial that deserves a more serious link. It's one of my favorite topics the non-evil of speculation. The author is Professor Darrell Duffie of Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

Professor Duffie waxes his evil mustache and provides a credible defnse to those who absorb risk and provide information to markets.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I don't have a subscription, so without reading the rest of the article, I'll just point out that credit default swaps are a necessary tool for insuring both government debt and corporate debt. To restrict or outlaw "speculation" in CDS markets is to effectively restrict or outlaw CDS for everyone. So I can tell you without thinking for more than two seconds what will happen if they're restricted:

Municipalities will have to offer higher interest rates to attract borrowers. But if the expected debt service payments exceed what they can afford, they can't offer the debt in the first place. But no problem, they can rely on the federal government for a bailout. The Fed can keep printing more money to lend to the Treasury, whose securities are insured by the U.S. taxpayers.

Corporations will also have to offer higher interest rates on their debt offerings. But again, they can't offer the debt in the first place if the expected payments exceed what they can afford. More importantly, they won't offer the debt in the first place if the expected payments exceed the expected benefits. (A government by nature need not worry if the debt is actually worth it. Why should it?) So a company can't expand and therefore won't create new jobs, or it can't raise enough capital to stay solvent after some bad earnings and may have to lay off people.

Does anyone not see why I say this whole crisis has been engineered? Every proposal just makes things worse. We are witnesses to the destruction of capitalism so that the state can step in, tell us that markets failed "because of greed," and take over entire sectors.

One of the idiotic comments at the WSJ:

The issue is (kudos to Rick Santelli) is registration and regulation of the instruments. If they were registered and given a CUSIP the could be traded and a market would develop and that would set prices. That would tend to limit the proliferation at unreasonable values.
I am not opposed to private individuals and non-regulated entities creating CDS contracts. But when they are held as assets by regulated and taxpayer insured ,and defacto tax payer insured, entities they need full disclosure and markets.
This person clearly knows nothing about CDS. Proliferation is intrinsic to their nature. They're not a one-size-fits-all instrument, nothing like logging on your online brokerage account and buying the same June calls on XYZ that everyone else can.

Why should they need "full disclosure"? They're none of his business, or mine, no more than how much cottage cheese or filet mignon I just bought. Oh, but they're backed by the taxpayer, he says -- fine, so stop putting the taxpayer on the hook, and he won't need to care about what contracts others have.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 24, 2010 11:23 PM

The Master

Michael Barone: Obama's nanny care insults the American spirit

You are victims. You are helpless against the wiles of big corporations and insurance companies and you need protection. You need the government to take over and do things you cannot do for yourself.

That is the thinking of what David Brooks calls "the educated class" that favors the Democrats' health care bills. Members of this elite spout tales of woe of people denied coverage or care with the implication that there but for the grace of government go you. So sign on and the government will take care of everything.


We try to distill arguments down to their original essence around here. Michael Barone is good at this (as well as many other things). His "Hard Amerce, Soft America" is just such a distillation.

I'm glad to see him call out David Brooks in the second 'graph here. Many are looking for politicians to exhibit purer principle, I'd like to see some of the elitist establishment conservative pundits like George Will, David Brooks and Peggy Noonan take down a peg or 16.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 23, 2010

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead

She's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead!

With apologies to EY Harburg, who would have championed government health care, the lyrics seem apt: Rep Steny Hoyer is breaking the news.

AP: WASHINGTON – Democratic congressional leaders confronted the reality Tuesday that they may not be able to pass the comprehensive health care overhaul sought by President Barack Obama. Republican leaders prepared to do everything in their power to make sure they can't.

Democrats saw the sweeping health bill that Obama unveiled ahead of a bipartisan health care summit Thursday as their last, best chance at a top-to-bottom remake of the nation's health care system that would usher in near-universal health coverage. But some were clear-eyed about the difficulties after a year of corrosive debate and the loss of their filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:13 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Damn, I thought you meant perhaps breaking news about a California senator...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 23, 2010 9:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Don't get my hopes up, Perry - plus, you'd have to specify which one. And don't forget a California Speaker of the House.

Perhaps a list would be in order.

That being said, there's an order of magnitude between "may not be able to pass" and "the wooden stake has been driven through its heart and we've burned the dismembered remnants with fire." I've learned never to start carving names into tombstones 'till the body's in the ground...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 24, 2010 11:02 AM
But jk thinks:

I'd rather beat her at the polls!

Yes, Keith, this was meant to be a bold display of blogging bravado. I have been cautions up 'till yesterday (and I still don't for a second believe AGW is going away).

But my friend Perry would tell me to examine the source. And it's Steny Freakin' Hoyer! Ding Dong indeedy!

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2010 11:52 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I'm not ready to uncross my fingers yet, JK. This is an idiological battle. If Obama/Reid/Pelosi can use a procedural trick to pass the bills, they will do it. I think they would all gladly lose control of both houses in the next election in trade for passage of a program that will forever cement socialized medicine, and therefore long-term Democrat advantage, into the fabric of our nation. If a few Blue Dogs get tossed in the street, well, they had it comin'.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 24, 2010 12:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Prob'ly right. I'm just walkin' on sunshine today.

John Fund calls it 15%:

The best health-care analysts I know say Democrats have perhaps a 15% chance of threading the needle and getting a comprehensive bill signed into law. But even that success could be costly politically if voters came to believe Democrats had ignored the public's feelings and rammed through a bill anyway. The most recent surveys show that 61% of the American people want Democrats to put aside the existing bills and start over.

Yes the Speaker is all in, but some of her caucus like their jobs.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2010 1:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That's true, JK, there's a third I missed. Wouldn't matter much to me who -- merely hearing bad news about one would make my day.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 25, 2010 9:32 AM

Quote of the Day

"The President's Proposal," as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone. -- WSJ Ed Page
UPDATE: Professor Mankiw is not really on board either:
Very, very strange. You would think that all those future Nobel-prize-winning economists working for the President would explain to him the history and economics of government price controls. Imposing price controls certainly wasn't President Nixon's finest hour.

Maybe President Obama should instead follow in President Ford's footsteps and start wearing a WHINE button on his lapel, for Whip Healthcare Inflation Now, Egads!

Feckless would be one step better than counterproductive.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Glenn Beck Factor

WSJ's John Fund saw the Beck speech at CPAC about the same way I did: Good for the GOP.

In reality, the Tea Party activists who are the core of Mr. Beck's viewing audience have made a pragmatic decision to forswear splinter-group politics and work within the Republican Party. It's true Mr. Beck's words sting and may show insufficient appreciation for recent GOP solidarity against big government. But given the powerful pressures in Washington for even conservatives to backslide when it comes to spending, the Fox News firebrand is probably doing GOP members a favor by keeping the heat on them.
2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:13 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee must stand by JG with respect to Glenn Beck. Beck's schtick is often painful, his analogies hokie and his sky-is-falling routines sometimes over the top. He certainly does not have the sophisticated erudition, rapier wit or panache of William F. Buckley. But he tries to engage busy, working people in the concepts of individual liberty and responsibility. We have precious few pundits who try to bring these ideas to more than us pencil-heads. I suspect that more people see Beck in a day than saw Buckley in a year.

I also admire his willingness to hold everyone's feet to the fire, which is the spirit of the Tea Party. I contrast Beck to Sean Hannity, whom I see as an enabler of the Republican downfall. While the Republican Congress was spending like drunken Democrats, Hannity had the likes of Tom DeLay on his show routinely to rationalize and obfuscate their behavior. The party, and the Republic, would have been better off if he had called DeLay to the carpet as Beck is now doing to the Republicans.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 24, 2010 11:01 AM

February 22, 2010

Thank You, Mister President?

It could be a complete coincidence.

For convenience, I use one credit card for everything and I pay the balance every month. I have had this card for 11 years and it has been my exclusive card for three or more years. I have others but I seldom use them.

Yesterday, a charge of $25 or so for lunch was declined. I called to inquire today, and was told that my credit limit had been reduced from $33,500 to $3900. Thank you and have a nice day.

I don't think it rises to black helicopter conspiracy theories to believe that the adjustment, dated February 18, 2010 came just before the new credit card rules take effect February 22, 2010.

THANKS FOR LOOKING OUT FOR ME!! I REALLY APPRECIATE IT!!!

Must read Nick Gillespie’s Today is The First Day of The Rest of Your Life Under The Credit CARD Act. Which Means, Get Ready For All Sorts of New Fees.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

You mean it wasn't declined because Obama was grabbing the check for you? He's grabbing everyone else's. And paying our rent and buying our gasoline, if you listen to some of him more gullible cult-minions.

Aren't you glad he's going to be paying for your healthcare coverage, too?

I trust I don't need the obligatory "/sarc off" tag...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 22, 2010 7:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Oh, and since I'm already in one of my moods, riddle me this:

On what legitimate basis does a government that, in the words of recently-cited Glenn Beck, cannot admit that it has a spending problem, cannot live within its means, and cannot balance its own gorram checkbook, presume to dictate to credit lenders and we free citizens the terms under which we agree to borrow and repay against the credit they are freely willing to extend?

Yeah, it's a rhetorical question, as well as one which is a challenge to diagram. Heh.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 22, 2010 7:21 PM
But jk thinks:

The Fifth Amendment "right to contract" was considered so sacrosanct that even abolitionist judges upheld slavery statutes. Lochner v. New York remains an odd bit of pre-progressive jurisprudence, turning somewhat on that sacred right.

Last year the Federal gub'mint dictated terms to preferred debt holders of GM and Chrysler, now sets the terms between my bank and I, and tomorrow suggests that it arbitrates premium increases for health insurers.

Did I mention the road goes straight up somedays?

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 8:10 PM

Seen This Before

ObamaCare 2,0: Obama Unveils His Future Vision of Better Health Insurance Through Price Controls

Health%20Care%20Shortage.jpg

Heh. Hat-tip: John Stossel (Commenter, actually.)

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

Pollywood on the Olympics

Very very interesting take on the Olympic coverage (which matches my views pretty closely).

But johngalt thinks:

A pretty fair take but I disagree on the figure skating judges. It does appear to the viewer that the outcome is preordained but I think that's attributable to NBC's ham-handed editing of the tape-delayed coverage. Last night while the Russians ice dancers were waiting for their scores the graphic read "96.whatever needed to medal" and not "109.whatever needed for gold." It was clear that the Russians were going to get the bronze.

Dagny and I have had no quarrel with the ranking of any of the skating competition results. And when has anyone ever been able to say that before!

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2010 11:38 AM

Glenn Beck: Denyin' Deniers?

'Nother datum for those asessing Glen Beck. Yet another vicious attack from the l -- I mean right.

Anointed Leader Of Conservative Movement Glenn Beck Now Believes In Global Warming

The stunning duplicity of Fox News host Glenn Beck has been exposed once again after the talk show host told USA Weekend magazine that he now believes in man-made global warming, after years of assuring his viewers that he was on the side of skeptics who questioned the science behind AGW claims.

In an article entitled Don't judge Beck by his cover, Beck tells interviewer Dennis McCafferty, "You'd be an idiot not to notice the temperature change."


Hat-tip: The ClimateGate Facebook page.

But jk thinks:

As the last guy on the planet without a solid opinion, how do I score this?

+5 points for heterodoxy and willingness to assert independence

-15 for calling those who disagree with him "idiots."

Sorry gang, after a nice bump for his speech yesterday, I think I am ready to come out as anti-Beck. Ann Coulter is very bright too and far better looking. Yet I tired of defending her bombast. I'm not seeing where I'll appreciate Mister Beck more.

There’s a surfeit of punditry and one can afford to be particular.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 2:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.

Let's do some more: "Seruh Paylyn's son Twig is Gwyn Bekk's secret love child!" Now, watch for this on HuffPo before the dinner hour.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2010 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

No, it's true -- I read it on the Internet!

I'll be the first to concede that it is not the most credible of sources (their profile picture is the Kool-Aid man). But do you have substantive proof for impugning their probity?

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So far ... only my good sense.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2010 8:36 PM
But jk thinks:

o.

Here's another link and a critical whack at Beck from Mark Levin (whom I don't know either -- I really do need to get out more).

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2010 12:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll believe Beck "believes in global warming" when I hear him say it himself. Instead, I've consistently heard the contrary. I read in the comments to the original link that the author making the claim had made the assertion himself based on various answers from Beck, i.e. if he doesn't deny that the average global temperature may have increased then, Q.E.D, he "believes in global warming."

Mark Levin (Rush calls him "F. Lee Levin") is a social conservative lawyer and Constitutionalist. I generally agree with him except when he insists that the Founders were all (or predominantly) true-believin' Christians and that America is a Christian nation.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2010 2:47 PM

Quote of the Day

Access to credit doesn't stem from card issuers beneficence but from their self-interest, which coincides pretty well with borrowers. Sure, lots of people get into credit-card and other forms of debt that cause problems. But it doesn't help the far-larger majority of people to limit what can be offered. And, as the quote above suggests, Mr. Potter always gets his fees one way or another. Hell, even George Bailey ended up squeezing his customers for what appears to be an interest-free loan. -- "The Jacket" Nick Gillespie
Insidious that the Democrats are getting away with this. I saw three news reports, all unapologetically explaining that "this new law is gong to save customers billions of dollars."

One has to read Reason (or Insty) to hear anything different. Someday the road just goes straight uphill.


Review Corner

2081.jpg FIVE STARS!

Fun, and pretty. The best part, whether watching or reading, is knowing it was written by America's premier Socialist. Watching it last night, it occurred to me that it could have been written by Ayn Rand. What a masterful celebration of the individual!

The lovely bride and I watched it twice (it is unrandianly short) and then clicked it off to find the Olympics on. I have mentioned that I have been less enthralled than some, but it seemed like the Men's skiing deserved to be grafted onto the end of the film: here were folks from all over the world trying to be the best and to prove they are the best -- an emotional juxtaposition from the equality dystopia.


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

February 21, 2010

"Progressing Past" Glenn Beck

Here's how Salon.com chose to dismiss Glenn Beck's CPAC speech.

The recitation, and the whole speech, was captivating, it was a little scary, it was almost completely incomprehensible. It was, in other words, pure Glenn Beck. Watching him walk the audience through his absurd fantasies and his melodramatic bluster, you had to wonder what would have happened if he'd been on the CPAC straw poll ballot with the GOP's list of would-be presidents. All weekend long, there wasn't anyone else who held the stage with the presence -- or the craziness -- Beck did.

Pay no attention to the scary, crazy man. You can't understand him anyway. Just move along.

But jk thinks:

Incomprehensible to whom? The Salons at Salon (SaS)? (I've waited all my life for that joke...)

Beck is a Palinesue character (Gov. Sarah, not Michael) in that no shades of grey are allowed. You have to be willing to crawl over broken glass to obey his orders or contrive a time machine to prevent his grandparents' being born.

I thank you for posting the clip, it was helpful in my deciding which camp I am in.

I'd call the speech interesting and comprehensible. He's a captivating speaker and I appreciate his appreciation of history. I guess it is incomprehensible to the SaS to blame the Progressives and toast President Coolidge, but I do that 'round here every week.

I would subtract points for two stylistic flaws. A) Starting the speech with "I hate Woodrow Wilson!" I object to defining oneself as what you oppose. (Hilarity ensued on the FOXNewSunday panel yesterday when Juan Williams claimed that [CPAC? the GOP? I forget who] was "just anti-Obama, they don't stand for anything!" when Candidate Obama was never anything but the anti-Bush, but I digress...) B) I am guessing from the applause that the chalkboard is part of his show, but it subtracted from the speech rather than adding to it. He can't say the word "Progressivism?" He did not chart the p-shell of a carbon atom's tetravalence or draw a supply and demand curve. It made me feel talked-down-to. Professor Beck is telling you dumb kids a lot of stuff you don't know.

At the end of the day, though, I cannot disappoint my fans. I must respond to the attack on the big-tent and pragmatism. It's a great applause line to tell the true believers that ev'ybody gotta be true believers.

But the Constitution he and I so cherish is not conducive to the purity he demands. I respect his appreciation for history, but maybe he missed the bit where we've been evenly divided about something or another since 1800. Opposition to slavery could not attain electoral majority without appeals to other issues, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison traded elections over tariffs.

I'd think at least the Boulder ex-pats around here would respect the philosophical and electoral success progressivism enjoys. I am distinctly an outlier everywhere I go but ThreeSources. The idea that I am going to assemble a plurality of folks who think like me is pretty laughable.

I think Beck, and ThreeSourcers need to reach the party leaders and I think that TEA partiers need to hold leaders of both parties to Constitutional standards. But when you start throwin' guys out of the tent, you have fewer guys.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If this was the first time you've watched Beck it may have been a bit like drinking a bottle of Tabasco without tasting it first. Sorry.

I've watched him off and on throughout the TEA Party era and I'll submit the only thing he "demands purity" on is doing our best to comply with the Constitution.

And he doesn't want to throw people out of the party, just some ideas that are incompatible with a)liberty, b)capitalism, c)the Constitution. What's not to like (other than the bombast?) He sounded like a cross between Mike Rosen and the late great Billy Mays.) He's (slightly) more reserved on his TV show. I think he got carried away with the passion of the moment, having a face-to-face chance to tell the GOP to stop being Democrat Lite.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2010 3:14 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"...but it's not enough just to not suck as much as the other side."

Isn't this the sort of talk that frightens liberals? And it frightens a lot of GOP officials also: the idea that it's not enough for them to be "less bad" than Democrats.

For once, Beck said something I can applaud. Whether he really means it, well...but at least it's the very thing I have been pounding on for a good while now. Given the choice between the lesser of two evils, I choose neither. I'm not "letting the perfect be the enemy of the good" -- quite the contrary. I'm demanding that "the good" be worthy of the name, that it's not some watered-down "compromise" that leaves me only partially violated.

"Less bad" should never, ever be mistaken as "good," particularly when we're talking about the rights of the individual. That's why, JK, I no longer can excuse the Constitution for giving permission to slavery just so we could assemble as a nation. It betrayed the whole thing Jefferson had written 11 years earlier about "all men are created equal." If we hadn't ratified the Constitution, what would have happened? Would the British have really said to themselves, "Oh look, they still have no strong central government" and invaded us again?

Once your opponents know you're at all willing to compromise, they have you. "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." You are accepting some bad because you aren't willing to fight for what is good. Look at what we did to Eastern Europeans, betraying them to decades of Soviet rule. Supposedly we needed Soviets on our side in World War II, and millions of slaves were supposedly price. But what were the Soviets going to do, not fight Germany?

If Republicans don't "compromise" with Democrats on health care, what options do Democrats really have? What will they do, force single-payer medicine on the country if Republicans don't go with a public option?

Children have been socially engineered for decades in public schools to think that "we compromise so that everyone gets part of what he wants," and they grow up to think that if a politician doesn't, he's "selfish" or "an extremist." Yes, I'm selfish, and I'm an extremist: I'm selfish about my personal liberty, because it's something no one else should have, and I'm an extremist in that I refuse to compromise on that.

Now on the "big tent" stuff: what good is having a plurality when you become the party of "Whatever"? As in, "Whatever you believe, join us." If the Republicans finally wise up and start throwing people out, why should the latter be missed?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 22, 2010 10:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry, you bring up one of my favorite counterfactuals. We all venerate the founders, but would it have sucked so bad to be Canada South? I'd say in the 18h and 19th centuries, we may have been better off. I'm glad we escaped the post WWI Fabian Socialism, but it's an interesting position.

But let me go back to the alliance that ended slavery. This was not a collection of starry-eyed dreamers who hummed John Lennon songs and dreamt of a world without racism. It was a motley collection of corporate interests, unionists, and northern imperialists that teamed up with the abolitionists. If the impure were kicked out of that group, they'd have never raised a battalion.

Not sure if anybody believes I actually have any principles, but I do, I would NOT compromise on health care or Cap'n Trade or advise any GOP legislator so to do. I love the Goldwater quote "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

But Sen. Scott Brown voted for the jobs bill and posted a defense of the vote on his Facebook page. Are we going to kick the guy who saved heath care out of the GOP?

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2010 11:26 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
Perry, you bring up one of my favorite counterfactuals. We all venerate the founders, but would it have sucked so bad to be Canada South? I'd say in the 18h and 19th centuries, we may have been better off. I'm glad we escaped the post WWI Fabian Socialism, but it's an interesting position.
I don't doubt for a second that we were better off seceding from British rule.

Several years ago, I posited that in an alternate timeline where the colonies failed to secede, Germany eventually ruled the world. The British had no interest in expanding west of the Appalachians, and it was the achievement of independence that allowed American innovation and ingenuity to flourish, so you wouldn't have had an industrial power called the United States capable of stopping Germany.

But let me go back to the alliance that ended slavery. This was not a collection of starry-eyed dreamers who hummed John Lennon songs and dreamt of a world without racism. It was a motley collection of corporate interests, unionists, and northern imperialists that teamed up with the abolitionists. If the impure were kicked out of that group, they'd have never raised a battalion.
Well, I was talking about the fact that the federal government from the start gave sanction to owning other human beings, as "compromise," not how to end slavery. But on this topic, what happened with the colonials? Only a third of them wanted to be free from England: some were smugglers (certainly NOT a crime), some were businessmen, some were farmers. The one thing that united them was a desire for freedom, and they found a way to be strong enough to win.

If you never read it, Thomas DiLorenzo wrote a spectacular book on Lincoln in which he pointed out that slavery was kept alive only because it was supported by the government. In a free market, it would have died out because it wasn't as profitable as paid labor.

Not sure if anybody believes I actually have any principles, but I do, I would NOT compromise on health care or Cap'n Trade or advise any GOP legislator so to do. I love the Goldwater quote "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
But you routinely talk about pragmatism and compromise. Sticking to a couple of things isn't enough. I'm not trying to be a jerk about it, you know, but you're one of several friends I'm trying to nudge toward that real extreme of pure liberty.
But Sen. Scott Brown voted for the jobs bill and posted a defense of the vote on his Facebook page. Are we going to kick the guy who saved heath care out of the GOP?
Considering the GOP has its own brand of big government, he's a perfect fit for that political party. He didn't save health care, he just postponed things a little until a "compromise" that moves us further along on the road to hell.

The people who need to dismiss him are not Republicans, but anyone who values true liberty. Were you really surprised that he did this? I figured the honeymoon would end badly for Republicans striving for limited government, just not quite so soon. The clock just hit midnight, and the joke is on the people who thought Brown was their Cinderella.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 23, 2010 10:47 PM

Barnburner

I was going to make this an "Otequay of the Ayday" post but there were too many good quotes. Glenn Beck keynoted this year's CPAC conference. It was brilliant. He told Republicans it's time to say, "I'm sorry."

"It is still morning in America, it just happens to be kind of a head pounding, hung over, vomiting for four hours kind of morning in America."

Why? Progressivism. And it's in both parties.

"I'm so sick of hearing people say, 'Oh, well, Republicans are going to solve it all.' Really? It's just Progressive Lite. (...) Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution. And it was designed to eat the Constitution. To 'progress past' the Constitution."

(...)

"This is the cancer that is eating at America. It is big government. It's a socialist utopia. And we need to address it as if it is a cancer. It must be cut out of the system because they cannot coexist. And you don't cure cancer by, 'Well, I'm just gonna give you a little bit of cancer.' You must eradicate it.

(...)

"Dick Cheney, a couple of days ago, was here and he says, 'It's gonna be a good year for conservative ideas.' That's true. That's very true. It's gonna be a very good year, but it's not enough just to not suck as much as the other side."

He then played on his own battle with alcohol addiction and mocked the Republican party with the first step of the Twelve Step program: "Hello, my name is the Republican Party and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government."

Watch the video to see what he said about the Big Tent concept, and many, many other good points. Like American citizens giving ten times the charitable contributions of France ... per capita. And the depression of 1920 as compared to the "Great Depression." And Calvin Coolidge versus Woodrow Wilson.

Hat tip for the vid link to a critical Ryan Witt at examiner.com.

Some good comments there and he promises to "fact check" Beck's speech "later today."

But jk thinks:

Like a good joke, I enjoyed it the FIRST time (comment on post above).

But this thing kicks off once every hour. No wonder liberals hate Glenn Beck -- he won't shut up!!!

Without objection, tomorrow I will replace the embed with a link.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 11:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, have you heard that Tiger Woods plans to legally change his name? From now on he'll be known as Cheatah Woods.

(Sorry if it's not the first time for that either. I attempted to fix the vid.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2010 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

And my brother in law told me that Michelle Obama is pregnant!

-- of course, they're blaming George W. Bush!

Sad to say that crazy man once again tried taking over my workday. Jeez! No wonder everybody hates him...

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 4:51 PM

February 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

Labor Party election slogan: A Future Fair for All. i actually find that quite frightening and Orwellian -- James Pethokoukis
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Sea Level is Falling!

What will become of the poor endangered snails if we don't stop these falling seas?

Clearly, Thomas Friedman is right, things are getting wierd!


Pet Hate

One of the things the UK does better than the US: I like the term "Pet Hate" far above "Pet Peeve."

Insty links to a boing boing post that links to this comparison of pirated media versus legal DVDs.

It is infuriating to be preached at before watching a movie. The chart (click the last link for the full version) is clever but it leaves out my favorite. Not only are you told not to steal the DVD you just bought, forced to watch trailers (which I love -ahem- the first time I watch a DVD), but then you have to be told the evils of smoking! Lets look at a scarred-up old tattooed emphysema patient in very bad light for awhile before "Santa Buddies" starts -- you kids don't mind, do ya? Or maybe the guy singing out of his voice box because the mean old tobacco companies never told him it was bad.

A commenter has a good plan. Rip every disk. She has toddlers that destroy them, but it’s probably worth a half hour to get a backup copy and to undo the forced menu options. My lovely bride does her faves to watch on iPod anyway.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

Libertario Delenda Est

Add David Boaz to the list of big-L libertarians who dislike the Mount Vernon Statement because it does not whack our 43rd President enough.

Conservative leaders may have restated principles of long standing, principles that reflect the philosophy of Buckley and Reagan rather than the practice of Bush. And Tea Party activists may be demanding that both parties get control of spending and stop expanding government. But in 2008 and 2010, it appears that when you get committed conservatives together in a room, they display no regrets about the Bush disaster.

Boaz's problem is not with the document at all. He loves a good segue even more than me, and launches into the real topic: Gov. Romney's embrace of President GWB in his CPAC Speech.

I'm thinking this is the big lacuna. Libertarians and Conservatives are separated in 2010 over the legacy of George W Bush. Odder still, I'm on the Conservatives' side (hardee har har). The Reason gang all hate President Bush passionately. President Obama? Well, we'd like to tweak some of his policies...

Reason has met the enemy -- and it is George W Bush. I read Gene Healy's superb "Cult of the Presidency" after President Obama was elected but before his inauguration. The book is brutal on W for arrogation of executive power. As I read it, I thought "Gene, Gene, you ain't seen nothin' yet" but I would guess if you cornered him a cocktail party, he probably still rails on the previous occupant more than the current.

They hate the Romans, but it's the People's Front of Judea whom they despise!


Citizen's United v FEC

My progressive friends are incredibly cheesed off at Citizen's United v FEC. A friend posts this on Facebook today:

SCOTUS_CORP.jpg

I know that Jon Stewart and the Huffington Post folks have been whipping this up. After surviving Kelo, Raich and McConnell I find it somewhat amusing to see the left in apoplexy. My friend who posted it is pretty bright (and well known to Colorado ThreeSourcers [HINT: two-letter-guy]) but it is attracting comments from friends, some of whom I suspect couldn't name a judge that wasn't on American Idol. "These guys are all a hundred years old!" "Who made them the boss of me?"

Tag, lefties -- you're it!

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 10:38 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Who made them the boss of me?"

Liberals (the modern incarnation, not the classic form) are not just hypocritical, but inherently so. Who made them the boss of me, that they can steal my property to give away?

How many liberals still believe it was "the conservative Supreme Court" who decided it was perfectly fine for New London to condemn and sell the property of Kelo and others?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

We're on the same page, Perry. For the record, here is the respone I left:

After surviving Kelo v New London, Raich v Gonzales, and McConnell v FEC I confess that I am enjoying seeing my progressive friends discomfited by SCOTUS. (Tag, lefties -- you're it!)

And yet, looking long-term, the legislative branch has been the best protector of our liberties throughout the country's history. Many notable aberrations, but they get the prize.

(And the picture is pretty clever!)

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2010 11:59 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

They forgot to label the liberal justices with "SEIU, NEA, ACLU, AFL/CIO, NOW, Planned Parenthood," etc. etc. Major oversight.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 19, 2010 2:49 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Refugee, I was actually thinking GE, ABC/Disney, CNN, Knight Ridder, Associated Press, CBS. But I like yours better.

Posted by: Lisa M at February 19, 2010 8:04 PM

February 18, 2010

Quote of the Day

Okay, I ripped on the Reason folk pretty hard earlier today. I'll give QOTD honors to "The Jacket:"

And yet, even (or perhaps especially) in Obama's America, where Dick Cheney is still making millions of ill-gotten gains by keeping unemployment high and sending troops to the Middle East and Central Asia to secure Haliburton's ultra-lucrative tapioca concessions, there are signs that this world was never meant for one as beautiful as Olbermann. -- Nick Gillespie


NRSC Ad

Hat-tip: Don Luskin: "I didn't know the GOP had this kind of style. Very fun and cool."

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice! They even used AC's "epic fail" but this time for the stimulus bill.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 3:33 PM

Coffehousin'

banner4.gif

Not sure I am happy with this version, but I really like the song: "If I Ruled the World." The Virtual Coffeehouse.



The Real Lesson of Evan Bayh?

Coverage of Evan Bayh's retirements has focused on "the partisan divide" and the notion that there is no longer room for moderates in the debate. The prevailing group-think seems to be that "extremists" on both sides have hijacked the respective parties and forced out the moderates. This analysis is essentially correct, but does not recognize the underlying dynamics.

Over the past 80 or 90 years, the US has gradually drifted to the left in the form of expanded government regulation, bureaucracy, oversight and personal intrusion. During the periods in which Conservatives have prevailed at the ballot box, the result has been an arrest or a slowing of the leftward drift, not an actual move back to the right. There have been some notable periods of deregulation and reduced tax burden, but even under Reagan, the actual size of government never slowed as measured by Federal budget or number of agencies. The best we have enjoyed is a smaller government as a percent of GDP, but that does not represent an actual return of personal authority and freedom to the people.

The country has now reached a crossroads: we either move once-and-for-all into Euro-socialism or we start to reclaim the individual liberties that the Constitution and founders intended. To use a football analogy, the Left can see the goal line and is intent on crossing it. At the same time, the Right understands that this is a goal line stand. We either stop the Left and push them back or we lose the game.

The Tea Party protests are the manifestation of this reality. An awaking population is not only saying "no" to nationalized heathcare and "no" to expanded government, many are saying, "Return Liberty to its rightful owners." In this fundamentally ideological battle, there is no middle ground. Prior comprise has only resulted in extending the time to a socialist state.

No mas. It's time for smash-mouth football.

Freedom on the March Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

You hit a nerve, br. I think we should take up a collection and buy every journalist a history book. Would that slow the preening "unprecedented partisanship" stories? Jeeeburzz.

I really do rank Senator Bayh among the good guys. Yet I am alarmed at this rising chorus of "politics is broken" because they cannot steamroll-through the Euro-socialism you discuss.

Curiously, with so many things in government and politics truly broken, this is what we software guys like to say a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2010 1:05 PM
But HB thinks:

The problem is that the media covers policy like they do sporting events. So much of the coverage is on the "process" and the "players" and how things might play out. Success is measured by what gets done. If a policy proposal is defeated, it is a "loss", despite the fact that it might be a victory for the American people.

There seems to be less discussion of whether the policy is a good idea than whether a proposed bill will become law.

Posted by: HB at February 18, 2010 11:26 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

That's a very good point, hb. I had not thought of it in those terms.

Perhaps the reason for the media's focus on the process is their underlying bias that additional regulation is almost inherently good (unless it addresses gay rights or abortion). With that as an assumption, they don't have to address the good/bad analysis and can therefore just focus on the win/loss.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 19, 2010 12:22 PM

I Was Right

As I predicted, the folks at Reason do not like the Mount Vernon Statement.

-- Jesse Walker, Mount Vernon Mush
-- Jacob Sullum, All for the Constitution, As Long As It Doesn't Obstruct Their Moral Crusades
-- Brian Doherty, Conservatism, for Party Over Country

Tough room or Libertario Delenda Est? I am going with the latter.

Doherty: Goddammit! How can you have a Constitutional document that fails to enumerate the evils of the Bush/Cheney administration??? (I'm paraphrasing...)

Sullum: Some of the signers are impure!! A good document cannot be signed by a bad person!!

Walker: D. All of the above, plus a serious comment (echoed 'round here) that "[T]he rhetoric here is so all-inclusive and platitudinous as to be practically meaningless. Even the plank on foreign policy is carefully phrased so that both hawks and doves can embrace it[...]"

I complement the ThreeSources commentariat who provided far more substantive and serious critiques than Reason Magazine.

Libertario Delenda Est!

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I like Sullum a lot, and you misrepresent him. He's actually warning you to consider the source: "Nice words, but do you expect these guys to live up to it?"

Brent Bozell, of all people. Good lord.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 18, 2010 1:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I like Sullum too. I actually like all the Reason guys, which makes it hard to work 24 x 7 to destroy them.

I paraphrase but don't think I misrepresent. Sullum will never agree with anything that Brent Bozell has signed? I'm not a big fan of Bozell or Tony Price but I am not going to run away from something because they like it.

I'd like to channel those guys' energy, money, and power to good uses. And if this is an opportunity to do that, I'm in.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2010 2:04 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Sullum, judging by his writings, and I are not the types to dismiss something because of who is proposing it. However, there are certain people -- Obama, Pat Buchanan, Bozell -- of such loathesome character that you must automatically question anything they support.

I will always consider words themselves, but I also reserve my right to question the source.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 4:01 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"consider the source," I meant.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 4:02 PM

Welcome to the President's Deficit Comission

Congratulations, ThreeSourcer! President Obama has selected you to participate in his bipartisan deficit reduction commission-panel-thingy.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama signed an order Thursday unilaterally creating a bipartisan commission to rein in unruly deficits after Congress rejected a similar body with considerably more enforcement power.

In making the announcement, Obama said that unless lawmakers put aside partisan differences, the continuing red-ink trend could "hobble our economy."

If you are wondering how much you should compromise with the evil Democrats on the panel, Professor Mankiw lays out some well founded principles.

The answer for liberals is easy: They want to raise taxes to fund the existing, and even an expanded, social safety net, while politically insulating the Democrats as much as possible from the charge of being the "tax and spend" party. President Obama can then campaign in 2012 that he did not break his no-taxes-on-the-middle-class pledge, but rather a bipartisan group broke it. That is, the President wants to take credit for fixing the fiscal situation but duck responsibility for having imposed higher taxes.

But what if you are conservative? This is harder. You can try to stick to your no-tax-increase position. The problem is that doing so would require spending cuts larger than are politically realistic. If I were king, I bet I could find sufficient spending cuts. But I am not expecting to be anointed any time soon. If the fiscal commission is going to succeed, tax increases will have to be part of the deal.


Welcome aboard. We meet at 9:30 sharp and on the first day we will have Chicken Kiev for lunch. Call ahead if you'd prefer a vegetarian, kosher or halal alternative.

UPDATE: James Pethokoukis tweets:

Greg Mankiw: Rs should get carbon tax in exchange for a VAT. What? Like agreeing to work longer hours in exchange for less pay

Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Where is the switch I can throw to illuminate Commissioner Gordon's Bat Signal after replacing the outline of a bat with the words "LAFFER CURVE?"

The surest way to make the looming solvency crisis arrive sooner is to increase tax rates or impose new taxes. Good NED people, it isn't as if Laffer's theory was proven right before any of us were born. That happened a mere 30 years ago! Okay, I guess that was before most of the Obama Administration was born.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And another thing...

Since Obama claims that "everything is on the table" and that HIS federal deficit "will cloud our future and it will saddle every child in America with an intolerable burden" let's start by RETURNING UNSPENT TARP AND STIMULUS BILLIONS.

Until that is done there's really no point in going any further, is there? Really. The man is mad if he thinks Americans are this stupid.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

They don't believe in the Laffer Curve for a second. What is "proven" to them, is Rubinomics: raise taxes enough to cover the deficit, then gub'mint borrowing does not crowd out the market, lowering interest rates. Instant prosperity!

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2010 4:33 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JK, do you remember Krugman's later explanation for his absurd claim, "And don't forget that President Clinton's 1993 tax increase ushered in an economic boom. Why, exactly, are tax increases out of the question?"

Because of Clinton's tax hike, interest rates supposedly could stay low because the feds supposedly didn't have to borrow as much. Thus businesses were supposedly able to borrow at low rates, supposedly precipitating an expansion.

Let's ignore the fact that it's the Fed that controls interest rates (that it has the power to set it at what it wants is for another thread), and that the budget deficits didn't close until the GOP pushed for those evil tax cuts in the middle of a hot technology-driven economic expansion. Even if Krugman were somehow right about his convoluted theory, you might as well be pushing on a string.

"Crowding out" insofar as interest rates doesn't exist. But it does exist with taxation: taxes drive out the private sector from providing goods and services. I was going to add that that's in contrast to the "public sector," because the private sector can only produce things that are actually worth what people pay for them. But goods and services provided by government are very much worth what most recipients pay: most who receive from the state aren't paying for it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 12:03 PM

February 17, 2010

Don Luskin on Kudlow & Co.

The virtues of gridlock! Hard to argue...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:26 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Except that the Republicans will compromise -- again -- and turn up the temperature just a little more. Boiling frog, remember? The GOP is about to have this "health care summit" where they'll cave in to some of the Democrats' demands, and in return the Democrats will...give nothing.

Don't make the mistakes of equating lower deficits with gridlocked government. As I've pointed out before, the federal deficit decreased in the late 1990s while total spending increased, only because tax revenues were increasing faster than Congressional spending increased. The historical data from the CBO shows that federal spending as a percentage of GDP was in fact quite consistent during the 1980s and 1990s. In line with what I said about the late 1990s, the economic recovery and growth of the 1980s gave the federal government more of our money to spend.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 17, 2010 8:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But wait, federal spending as a percentage of GDP actually was going down with GWB and a Republican Congress. How can that be, when supposedly they were such spendthrifts together? Because they were, in absolute dollars. Notice that the outlays, in absolute dollars, kept going up and up -- just like they were going up during Reagan's terms, GHWB's term, and Clinton's terms too.

Bottom line: it's economic growth, from factors beyond the federal government's ability to create, that reduced budget deficits, not this "gridlock" or "divided government" so many cling to.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 17, 2010 8:37 PM

I Guess I AM a Conservative

If all Conservatives think this.

Insty links (and at 11:55 MST the Instalanche seems to have overwhelmed the petition signing process) to the Mount Vernon Statement. Some enjoyed the One Sentence Tea Party manifesto last week, but if you like a little more meat on the bone, I recommend this. Highly.

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.

These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world. They are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.


And it just gets better...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | What do you think? [15]
But johngalt thinks:

First I'll refine one of Perry's points on "illegal immigration" in a way I'm sure he'd support: Without a welfare state, nowhere near as many freeloaders will want to [immigrate here.] Those who want to work hard for the American dream like the rest of us (in the private sector) are welcome to be our neighbors.

The comments here reflect most, if not all, of my initial impressions with the MVS but I didn't want to poison the thread. Hence my attempt to provoke thought instead. And having thought on it myself I conclude that it is not, nor could there ever be, an iron-clad unmistakable road map to a utopia of individual liberty on earth. To me, the greatest significance of the Mount Vernon Statement is that the establishment GOP has acknowledged the existence and morality of the TEA Party movement. It's an important first step. But there will never be a day that lovers of liberty can rest comfortably with any government anyway, so we may as well just follow BR's awesome analogy and start driving toward the other goal line. And the way I see it we're in a pretty good position to do so. As John Elway once famously said on a cold Cleveland gridiron, "We've got 'em right where we want 'em."

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 3:28 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Some snippets at QandO prompted me to finally read through the statement, not just the opening. These couple of things should bother anyone who believes in liberty:

It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.
George Washington is most certainly spinning in his grave. This is what neo-cons want, the license to wage war and call it "national interest."
It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith.
Here's the real proof that the talk of "individual liberty" is mere lip service. It's the same old crap of conservatives voting .

What if I don't like my family? I personally do, but some people want nothing to do with theirs. What if I don't like my "neighborhood" or "community"? My neighbors leave me alone, except when it comes to voting on how to use my property for their own interests. In my local jurisdiction, it's not just elected officials who raise taxes. Locals will vote in actual referendums on whether they approve a new school budget. The new budgets are always more and more, with tax hikes, and they always get approved.

God save us all from these people of "faith."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 1:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Those passages indeed cause shivers up my spine (not my leg) but they aren't the only ones in the MVS with, uh, "versatile" meanings. But that's where it's utility can be found: Let all conservatives find their own pet meaning in each statement so that they'll direct their political antibodies toward the nearest Democrat instead of each other. A little pragmatic for my part but it's better than any alternatives I can imagine actually coming to pass. You?

Random thoughts:

The tradition of family deserves a vigorous defense on anti-statist grounds. It is the individual rights and responsibilities alternative to "it takes a village."

Advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world, as in America, is the work of the local citizenry. I have no compunction against "prudently" aiding others in that work. By and large that aid amounts to official public statements of support, encouragement, and promises of future free trade.

The saving grace of "people of faith" is that they believe in a morality that is at least consistent with individual rights, if not holding it as the highest authority as you and I do. Those we should most vigorously oppose and denounce are they who say there is no such thing as morality.

How to protect individuals from creeping taxation and tyranny of the majority? Still working on that one but an obvious first step is to thoroughly discredit Progressivism.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Conservatism's darkest day -- relying on a fulsome defense from jk.

Both the segments you excerpted did give me a twitch, Perry; neither would I have written.

But we are seeking to do politics by addition here and I ask whether these are deal breakers -- and they certainly are not. The first is a call to balance national interest and a desire to promote freedom in a Constitutional framework. We talk about it here all the time. If that section has fault, it is that it doesn't really say anything, not what it says. I think it leaves Jefferson versus Jackson unresolved.

The second quote is not at all outside the bounds of liberty: "...firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith." You read that as a license for Pat Robertson, but I suggest all of these institutions need protection from government. I read nothing about establishing a national religion, but the protection of one's beliefs and protection from the many, many government intrusions into matters of family and community.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2010 3:43 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Once again, we must consider the source. If you take those words literally, they're mostly innocuous. However, we know exactly what those points mean.

Conservatives don't approach those two from any perspective of individualism. It's their own brand of collectivism where, damn the individual, he'll be lumped together so his taxes will be used to "advance liberty" elsewhere -- like it or not. Do you really think these conservatives plan to promote freedom passively, i.e. by this country serving as an example to others? It's doubtful they're thinking that more people can come here freely to escape their own oppressive governments.

Consider the source, and you'll know exactly what the fourth point means: waging more wars. What about people like me who no longer support it? On what moral basis can we, should we be compelled to "advance liberty" for others?

The tradition of family deserves a vigorous defense on anti-statist grounds. It is the individual rights and responsibilities alternative to "it takes a village."
But some people don't believe in that tradition, so this "conservatism" is in fact imposing a moral system upon them.
Advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world, as in America, is the work of the local citizenry. I have no compunction against "prudently" aiding others in that work. By and large that aid amounts to official public statements of support, encouragement, and promises of future free trade.
But again, you know the fourth point's implication is a military approach. Do we, can we trust modern conservatives to take Washington's advice?
The saving grace of "people of faith" is that they believe in a morality that is at least consistent with individual rights, if not holding it as the highest authority as you and I do. Those we should most vigorously oppose and denounce are they who say there is no such thing as morality.
Actually, I don't trust a whole lot of my fellow Baptists. While I share the same beliefs about salvation and sin, there are too damn many of them who want to use the force of law to make people moral. It's great to love your neighbor, but not force the love upon him, or force him to love others.

Have you ever heard Christians say that the Bible teaches us to submit to authority, i.e. government? But when that conflicts with God, what happens to Acts 5:29? "We ought to obey God rather than men." What this particular type of Christian leaves out is that it's a two-way street. Children are to obey their parents AND parents are not to treat them badly so that the children will become angry. Slaves are to obey their masters AND masters are to treat slaves well. And people were told to submit to authority AND such authorities were expected to treat people justly.

Therefore it's a covenant like we have with God. God is always faithful, of course, so if any side breaks it, it's mankind. But these covenants between men don't give carte blanche to the one with authority, so children are not required to submit to bad parents, and slaves are not required to submit to masters who beat them. Should a people, then, be required to submit to a government that does not treat them justly?

On the flip side, "faith" isn't a prerequisite for morality, as we readily see with Randians. They have the higher morality of leaving me alone to my own conscience.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 20, 2010 10:56 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
But we are seeking to do politics by addition here and I ask whether these are deal breakers -- and they certainly are not. The first is a call to balance national interest and a desire to promote freedom in a Constitutional framework. We talk about it here all the time. If that section has fault, it is that it doesn't really say anything, not what it says. I think it leaves Jefferson versus Jackson unresolved.
"it doesn't really say anything" is exactly the danger. As I was saying to JG, we know exactly what conservatives are saying behind nice-sounding words.
The second quote is not at all outside the bounds of liberty: "...firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith." You read that as a license for Pat Robertson, but I suggest all of these institutions need protection from government. I read nothing about establishing a national religion, but the protection of one's beliefs and protection from the many, many government intrusions into matters of family and community.
It's the individual, and his freedom to act without harming others, who alone should be protected. Why should institutions be so specifically enumerated, when to protect the individual is to protect any voluntarily associations of individuals? Why should the institutions have a special protected status over those who want to live in solitude, away from neighbors, and without faith? Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 20, 2010 11:07 PM

Livin' in the Past

Instapundit celebrates the Denver Tea Party of one year ago today.

Intrepid ThreeSourcer jg was there and posted some awesome pix.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Ah, those heady days of roaming the streets with hundreds of like minded free-spirits... singing songs, cursing police, smashing windows... oh, wait.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 9:27 PM

Entertainment News!

2081.jpg Sorry, jg, hb's movie is out before yours.

I was notified today that 2081 | based on Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is now available.

And, needless to say, it's on the way. Colorado ThreeSoucers who don't want to part with $10.81 may borrow it after I'm done.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, well, let's not see someone try to do an 'Atlas Shrugged' film in 25 minutes running time.

Do you suppose more people will recognize the philosophical message here than did so in 'Avatar?'

Posted by: johngalt at February 17, 2010 2:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jk: Putting 2081 on my list, but surely you didn't miss the 2006 version?

http://tinyurl.com/nu28rk

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 17, 2010 2:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Surely I did -- izzitanygood?

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2010 4:55 PM

February 16, 2010

GM Owners Demand Toyota Documents

Am I the only one bothered by this?

WASHINGTON – The government ordered Toyota to turn over documents related to its massive recalls Tuesday, pressing to see how long the automaker knew of safety defects before taking action. Toyota, concerned about unsold cars, said it would temporarily idle some production in three states.

I'm starting to think maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have the US government take over General Motors...


Victory Lap!

I fear some good people -- even some around ThreeSources -- are too optimistic too soon about the collapse of the global warming debate. What's the Star Wars line? Nice shooting, kid, don't get cocky!

But I'll confess we're having a realty really really really good few weeks here.

Three Major Firms Pull Out of Climate Change Alliance

ConocoPhillips, BP America and Caterpillar pulled out of a leading alliance of businesses and environmental groups pushing for climate change legislation on Tuesday, citing complaints that the bills under consideration are unfair to American industry.

The sudden pullout of three corporate giants from a leading alliance of businesses and environmental groups could be the death knell for climate change legislation languishing on Capitol Hill.

UPDATE: The WSJ Ed Page agrees.

The departing are BP America, Conoco Phillips and Caterpillar, which were among the original members of USCAP, a coalition of green pressure groups and Fortune 500 businesses that tried to drive a cap-and-trade program into law. Some corporate members concluded that climate legislation was inevitable and hoped to tip it in a more business-friendly direction. Others—ahem, General Electric—are in our view engaged in little more than old-fashioned rent-seeking. Through regulatory gaming, Congress would choose business winners and losers, dispensing billions of dollars in carbon permits to the politically connected.

The climate bills the House passed in August and Senate liberals are contemplating have stripped away that illusion. Carbon tariffs and other regulations would have damaged heavy manufacturing against global competitors, which explains Caterpillar's exit, while oil companies would suffer as transportation, refining and power generation via natural gas were punished. Then there's the harm to long-run growth, which would slow under the economy-wide drag of new taxes and federal mandates.


Who is Mullah Baradar?

Let's ask Wikipedia.

Baradar fought with the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War and afterwards operated a madrassa in Maiwand, Kandahar Province alongside his former commander, Mohammad Omar (the two may be brothers-in-law via marriage to two sisters). In 1994 he helped Omar found the Taliban.

There's also a reference to accounts of his recent capture 8 days ago. But then, there were also reports he was confirmed killed in 2007.


Vancouver Olympic "Legacy"

In the wake of Climategate and the Hoaxer Admission some politicians are trying to put the brakes on DAWG related wealth transfer schemes. Not the Canadians.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) - Today, Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice, announced the Government of Canada's commitment to offset federal greenhouse gas emissions for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"Canada is proud to be the first host country in history to help offset the greenhouse gas emissions of its Olympic Games," said Minister Prentice.

The London summer games are a mere two and a half years away. Any chance that Canada will be not just the first, but the last? Probably not.

RELATED: Winter Olympics 2010: London 2012 will not be bailed out, says IOC chief Jacques Rogge

Jacques Rogge says the financial position of the London 2012 Olympic Games is so healthy that, unlike the Vancouver Winter Olympics, no guarantees will be needed to cover any potential shortfall.

Maybe if BC had skipped the new airport train and "hydrogen highway" ...

UPDATE: The race is on to abandon the sinking Climate Change fraud. Investors.com: "Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, seeing which way the snow is blowing, has issued an executive order saying her state will suspend its participation in the emission-control plan or any program that could raise costs for businesses and consumers." Interestingly, despite succeeding Democrat Janet Napolitano, Brewer is a Republican.


Torture!

Military recruits do it. Now a correspondent from Playboy.com does it. It's called - woooooo - "waterboarding."

So we're "torturing" our own citizens, on U.S. soil. Quick! Somebody alert John McCain!

Let's put this in perspective: Men who kill people and break things are attempting to obtain information to thwart other men who kill people and break things from killing people and breaking things. Isn't waterboarding the most humane act you could think of in this situation? For Senator McCain, a man who endured genuine torture, to denounce waterboarding gives tremendous and undeserved aid to those who reject a forceful defense of American lives. Character 1, judgement 0.

Hat tip: Mike Rosen on 850 KOA Denver.

But T. Greer thinks:

JG, I have argued with you on this one before, and I'll do it again.

Two points-

1. Yeah... waterboarding is torture. Chris Hitchens has written the best piece on this one, so I will not repeat his arguments here. (He went through waterboarding as well, FYI.)

P.S. When you realize that waterboarding is not done in isolation, but in conjunction with other "enhanced interrogation techniques" and not by people who you trust and are willing to explain things to you all nice like.

2. "Men who kill people and break things are attempting to obtain information to thwart other men who kill people and break things from killing people and breaking things."

See the problem here? All you have are men who kill people and break things - you can switch around the two groups and you have the exact same equation. But that leaves us with a dilemma, doesn't? By torturing others (or, to your favored euphemism, "forcefully defend" ourselves against captives who are under our complete control), then those other guys breaking things have just as much right to "forcefully defend" as well. Do you want to see our servicemen exposed to all the stuff outlined in point 1? Heck, as the rest of the wold doesn't draw a line between "forceful defense" and "torture", any time we do the former we rubber stamping approval for the latter as well.

Which is sad. Sometimes one has to draw a line. I like nuance as much as the next guy (quite a bit more than most guys actually), but every once in a while you have to throw out the shades of gray and see the world in black and white.

In the midst of the Cold War, James Burnham said that America's greatest strength was her moral authority. Are you so ready to throw that away? Shall you cede our values for security? Are those ready to do so deserving of either?

Posted by: T. Greer at February 17, 2010 10:39 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

TG: can you give us your definition torture? Forgive me for missing earlier postings, if I'm asking for a repeat. IMO, without that, any such debate simply devolves into a version of 'neener-neener'.

Here's mine: torture causes physical or mental mutilation.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And mine is: torture is the infliction of excruciating pain. According to the hooded man in the video, waterboarding inflicts excruciating panic.

Brother tg's definitive source, Mr. Hitchens, writes "if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture." But then he suggests, "Waterboarding not getting results fast enough? The terrorist’s clock still ticking? Well, then, bring on the thumbscrews and the pincers and the electrodes and the rack." Doesn't this suggest that waterboarding itself is something less than "torture?"

I have more confidence than this in the professionalism of our clandestine services. I trust their capacity to resist the sinister impulses brought about by performing the waterboard method, as though it is some kind of "gateway drug" to genuine torture.

Hitchens is a gifted wordsmith but his citation of text from a legal liability release as evidence for his case betrays his status as a creature of the civilized world with little capacity to comprehend the depths of human savagery. Hell, my wife requires such signatures before letting friends ride her horses.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 12:37 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I like Hitch, but found this article fraught with emotional tones both high and low. That is not a good foot on which to start: 'this is what torture is.'

The disclaimer was interesting, but probably boilerplate. If people cannot take this for more than a minute or so, there's no way irreparable (e.g., mutilating) harm could be done.

Note that my definition of torture does include sleep deprivation when it becomes debilitating (e.g., Saad Edin Ibrahim's stroke). Soooo, I guess that's a half a Neener to brother JG? :-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2010 12:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Well unlike Senator McCain I'm willing to say, putting it crudely, "Shit happens." We all take a risk by getting out of bed in the morning, or crossing the street. Certainly its reasonable to concede a slightly elevated risk to those who i) engage in terror acts; ii) advocate for terror; iii) decline to denounce terror in the name of one's faith; iv) act like one of the above in the presence of our military (following absurdly restrictive rules of engagement in the name of protecting "innocents") and find themselves detained at Gitmo.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I've been enjoying this one from the sidelines. If I'm silent it's because Brother jg has said everything I believe.

I highly, highly recommend Prof Glenn Reynolds's interview with Mark Thiessen. Great line: "Hard to imagine Christopher Hitchens complaining about the introduction of liquids..."

Senator McCain -- a true, bona-fide American hero beyond any of his politics -- was tortured. He still cannot raise his arms. He walks funny (look who's talking). He had things done to him that obviously had life-long consequences. I accept sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and even the occasional, limited circumstance use of the Barney theme song because of the very low risk of permanent physical damage. If it goes away when you stop, it's not torture.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2010 4:01 PM

February 15, 2010

Now, That's What I Call a Jarhead!

WSJ: U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet in Afghanistan

MARJAH, Afghanistan—It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.

"I don't think I could be any luckier than this," Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.


But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hoo rah!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 16, 2010 11:27 AM

America's Next Superfund Sites

It isn't enough that billions of dollars (and euros) have been wasted in the construction of wind energy "farms." Get ready to spend billions more tearing them down.

But jk thinks:

Jobs, jobs, jobs! Is there no end to the prosperity of the Green Revolution?

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2010 4:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Y'all are just too racist to recognize what Obama is doing. He's simply following FDR's programs of people digging holes and filling them up again, which averted economic disaster by creating aggregate demand.

Pardon me while I throw rocks through my windows to create jobs for the local glassmaker. And the feds can enact lots of new compliance regulations, requiring a separate report for each, to ensure employment for my boss and me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 15, 2010 10:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Better yet - let's throw 'em through White House windows. I'm sure they'll be replaced with only the best.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2010 11:32 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

OK, I'll take this one up, as the resident Libertarian-Wind-Phile.

I find the AT article slightly disingenuous, as I often do for the O/L pubs from the reaching Right (worst example was loosely linking Enron to EPact). Still, I don't disagree with it's main point: wind and solar have gotten a lot of subsidies. What is mainly lacking is a comparison with the subsidies wind gets (for production), to those gained by oil, coal & gas for land use and their own depreciation shell games. Even the greenie-weanies rarely draw this comparison. He also doesn't properly explore the shameless shell game that wind proponents play with need a new wind subsidy _title_ every 5-10 years (tax credit: discredited), they get the PTC, then they get a RPS, then they get the ITC, now... it's something else... I forgot which.

As such, I'm not such a firm believer as I once was that wind could complete on a truly level playing field, but I'd like to see a detailed subsidy comparison.

Prof. Calzada's presentation on Spain's Green-going-into-the-Red was very powerful.
http://www.heartland.org/bin/media/newyork09/PowerPoint/Gabriel_Calzada.ppt

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A picture is worth 32,850 words (every year for fifty years.)

Those who rail against coal, oil and gas subsidies generally forget to consider the immense taxes those industries pay in return. But fine, eliminate ALL of the subsidies. Oil wins in a cakewalk.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:48 PM

With one hand I giveth...

Professor N Gregory Mankiw has a superb article in the NYTimes today. We've had much chatter about the difference between President Bush's spending and President Obama's From a first principles perspective, I concede much of President Bush's spending was supraconstitutional and excessive.

Mankiw, who was in Bush's CEA, suggests an important difference; the Bush debt, from 2005-2007 was not outgrowing the economy,

From 2005 to 2007, before the recession and financial crisis, the federal government ran budget deficits, but they averaged less than 2 percent of gross domestic product. Because this borrowing was moderate in magnitude and the economy was growing at about its normal rate, the federal debt held by the public fell from 36.8 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the 2004 fiscal year to 36.2 percent three years later.

That is, despite substantial wartime spending during this period, budget deficits were small enough to keep the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio under control.


Like the Laffer curve, the liberty lover is asked to accept optimization of debt and revenue that are outside limited government's needs. But Mankiw's point holds that spending used to be huge but sustainable.

The current White House budget has no end in sight and insiders admit that a VAT or other massive revenue increase will be required. This is no loan through lean times, this is a new way to live. That's different.

Lastly, I am tempted to give the Professor (I can call him that, he's white!) Quote of the Day honors:

In other words, President Obama’s long-term fiscal strategy is to appoint a commission to figure out a long-term fiscal strategy.

Excellent article.


With one hand I taketh

I complement Professor Mankiw on his excellent NYTimes editorial (above). But I must offer what he'd call "Must Reading for the Pigou Club" from John Stossel.

Right in his backyard, the good people of Cambridge, Massachusetts have enacted a "Climate Emergency Congress." They're going to start with a carbon tax (Pigou, call your office!) and move on to "Mandatory Vegan Mondays," local food requirements, yadda, yadda, and yadda.

It's the tyranny of the silly people. Reminds me of Prince Charles claiming we only have “96 months left to save the planet.” (That was in July, though, so now we only have 89 months left.)

Sorry, Professor, your beloved Pigouvian taxation empowers and rewards these nannies. I don't care how bleedin;' efficient it is, it is an assault on freedom.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [0]

Retiring Legislators

I watched a few minutes of Good Morning America yesterday. Merciful Zeus! I may need therapy.

They did a story on Rep Patrick Kennedy's announced retirement, then tied it to Senator Chris Dodd's retirement, and others and... And I am screaming at the TV: "Uh, guys, any common theme (or party) connecting these retirements?"

Then the political analyst comes on and assures us that this is not a case of Democrats retiring in the face of a tough year. And then he says that more Republicans are retiring this year than Democrats.

Scuze me? They had a graphic prepared, so it was not a casual slip of the tongue. Am I truly in an Internet bubble where I only get news I want to hear? I tried a little research and found this gem from 2009 on CNN: "The 111th Congress has just barely begun as Senate Republicans brace for more grueling elections in 2010 that threaten to further weaken the party's influence in Congress." This was on the devastating news that George Voinovich (RINO - OH) was retiring. I had missed that. The news truly gets better and better...

Today, Insty links to news that Senator Evan Bayh is stepping down. Sadly, he is my favorite 'D' but I think that opens the door wide for Dan Coats.

Has anybody seen a list? Anybody else heard that there are more GOP retirements?

UPDATE: Curiouser. The official AP story notes:

The departure of Bayh, who was on Barack Obama's short list of vice presidential candidate prospects in 2008, continues a recent exodus from Congress among both Democrats and Republicans, including veteran Democrats Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island.

...then it enumerates four seats that retiring Democrats will have trouble holding. So, it's a bipartisan exodous, it's just not worth noting the Republicans.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

As best I can tell the whole "just as many Republicans are retiring" meme is nothing more than an official talking point. If pressed they'd probably produce an account that starts with Tom DeLay, and runs through about 2008.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2010 3:45 PM

February 14, 2010

Biden's Motorcade: A Third Accident

Lord.

This has to be some kind of record.

A spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden says figure skating great Peggy Fleming and former bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers sustained “minor injuries” in a traffic accident while riding in Biden’s motorcade at the Vancouver Olympics.

Spokesman Jay Carney says the motorcade was carrying members of the U.S. delegation to an event Sunday when the accident occurred.


By my count, this is the third accident with the Vice President's motorcade. The other two were in November.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

One more and they'll never let him take off the training wheels.

Seriously, you're surprised? He can't open his mouth without having an accident. You expected his driving record to be any different?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 15, 2010 9:27 AM
But jk thinks:

Senator Kennedy was, by comparison, the paragon of safety.

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2010 4:20 PM

No Statistically Significant Warming

Epic fail.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.


Of special note, Professor Jones' data is critical in backing up the famous hockey stick graph created by Penn State's Michael Mann.

We're waiting.

But johngalt thinks:

The first I heard of this stunning admission about the MWP was from Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday. The liberal members of the panel tried bravely to suggest that DAWG was still a scientifically sound theory but it was clear their heart wasn't in it.

I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of this admission. Despite the contradictory remarks he also made this is tantamount to saying the "skeptics" position is at least as scientifically valid as the IPCC's.

Not even Pons and Fleishman ever admitted that their theory of cold fusion might be wrong!

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2010 6:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Ann Althouse hit this outta the park this weekend:

Everyone should perceive flaws! To talk about "sceptics" as the ones who will "seize" upon "evidence" of flaws is unwittingly to make global warming into a matter of religion and not science. It's not the skeptics who look bad. "Seize" sounds willful, but science should motivate us to grab at evidence. It's the nonskeptics who look bad. It's not science to be a true believer who wants to ignore new evidence. It's not science to support a man who has the job of being a scientist but doesn't adhere to the methods of science.

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2010 10:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

EXACTLY right. Yesterday I wondered if this was the tipping point to rename we "skeptics" something more suitable. (At least they no longer call us "deniers.") But I was looking in the wrong place. This is the tipping point to stop referring to Global Warmists as "scientists." A better word would be hoaxer. Or felons. [first comment]

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2010 3:12 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The best comment I saw in these various posts implied that Scientist and Skeptic are synonymous, to which I heartily agree.

Who's your Denier now? :-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

That's a good T_shirt, nb: "Who's your denier now?" I'll take an LT if you have it, if not an XL.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2010 12:12 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Dunno, I think I like

"I denied Global Warming before it was cool."

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2010 12:57 AM

It's Like Democracy -- or American Idol

TeaPartyLogo.gif So, does this logo belong in the ThreeSources sidebar? Is this a Tea Party site?

I am intrigued by the author's distribution page.

First the rules: show this graphic on your site. Write an article every now and then supporting Democracy in Iraq.

Curious that the one rule is not strictly Constitutional izzit? Now, I support Democracy in Iraq and think this site has been particularly dedicated. But I sympathize with Reason readers and Paulites who say our efforts were supraconstitutional.

Text TEA to #666 -- oh, never mind, just leave a comment!


Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hey, it's your site! I won't stop reading or posting if you banner this.

That is an interesting juxtaposition: support our constitution, and Democracy in Iraq!

I do support DiI, and also duly note it's unconstitutional nature. Perhaps a better question for Tea Partiers could be: is opposing Democracies' opponents constitutional?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:13 PM

February 13, 2010

The Marriage of Capitalism and Government

The end of a humorous and thoughtful post on Don Luskin's The Conspiricay to Keep You Poor and Stupid. The author is Steven Hales.

Capitalism needs the institutions of government to reduce uncertainty from investments. It needs intellectual property protection, it needs a system of regulation to enforce standards, whether they be building codes or a system of weights and measures or any of a host of more arcane regulations that on their face may seem burdensome or unnecessary. But government also needs capitalism to flourish so that its goals of wealth and prosperity for its citizens is fulfilled. The complexities of reaching those goals seems at times overwhelming because economic growth lags its citizens expectations. When economic growth fails to emerge fast enough the dynamic tension between government and the institutions of capitalism come into sharp relief. But government can't rush innovation or changes in our economic life it can only provide an environment for capitalism to flourish and evolve.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

February 12, 2010

Calling All Pedants!

Ed Morrissey at HotAir: "More 'unexpected' economic news"

Reuters breaks out its favorite economic adverb again today, this time in its headline on consumer confidence. American consumers turned more pessimistic than forecasters predicted, which has been more or less the “unexpected” norm in economic reporting

I agree and cheer the ridicule of "unexpected" preceding bad economic news.

But I say "unexpected" modifies the noun news, not the adjective economic, and ergo, ipse dixit, res ipsa loquitor, quod erat demostratum, it be an adjective.

Smarter folks are encouraged to wade in.

But johngalt thinks:

You don't think Reuters considers "news" to be a verb?

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2010 1:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! I'm sure you're tight! Yet the quote is from Ed Morrissey...

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2010 3:59 PM

First Principles

David Harsanyi calls the medicinal marijuana play unhelpful in the War on the War on Drugs. Hard to argue (and with a man with whom I'm not generally inclined to argue).

Would overwhelming proof of pot's therapeutic impotence change my mind about an individual's right to seek the kind of treatment (even imaginary) he or she deems helpful and necessary?

Of course not. I would argue that this should be a debate about the role of government in our private lives, not a case that is contingent on the vagaries of public perception, emotion and evolving evidence.

It is equally grating — not to mention a full-scale assault on reality — for pot advocates to pretend that every one (or even most) of the thousands of Coloradans on the list for medical marijuana is in frantic need of Skunk Weed to ease grave physical suffering.


Those outside Colorado are missing a spectacle. "Dispensaries" have sprung up everywhere and rarely even make an attempt to appear medical -- well, except for "Dr. Reefer" in Boulder, he's obviously serious.

Mea Maxima Culpa. Harsanyi is right and I am wrong. This is not an incremental step toward liberalization and it is certainly not a showcase for relaxed enforcement. On the plus side, I do hope there are a few "Angel Raiches" who are profiting.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

This was the subject of Mike Rosen's radio show this AM. The "legalized" pot is no less expensive than the street variety. "We want to discourage resale" said Mason Tavert, long-time Colorado legalization advocate. So the risky business is no more expensive than the "respectable" one.

I don't mind pot being legal, as long as I can still refer to users as stoners and dirty hippies.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2010 2:58 PM

Who's Got Olympic Fever?

Well, blog friend Perry to start. He demolishes the extra coercion piled on the taxpayers "lucky" enough to host the games. Our friends in Vancouver are learning about an implicit taxpayer put to cover losses and overruns.

Perry saw it up close in Utah. I was ten when mean old Governor Lamm withdrew Colorado from the 1972 Winter Games (which we had "won.") Should build a statue to that (Democrat) guy!

Read the whole thing, but here's a taste:

It's a very simple point of logic: if hosting an Olympics is such a great moneymaker for developers and city businesses alike, then why are taxpayers needed to guarantee it?

Bastiat wouldn't need to know anything else about our modern world to tell us the simple answer. He would reply, "Developers already know from past Olympics that they can't do it without taxpayers, whether to guarantee the debt or to pay for infrastructure. Do you not see it also?" The developers are just a modern form of protectionist, whom Bastiat described as petitioning to the government, "Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man's plunder."


Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM | What do you think? [11]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Why not build a permanent venue in Greece? They historically sort of invented the Olympics, so instead of reinventing the wheel every four years, we build it just once and keep reusing it. They could actually make some revenue back through rent and facility fees in between Olympiads to keep the cost down and make back their initial investment.

And it shouldn't be so hard to do, given the robustness of the Greek econom - um, hold that thought...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 12, 2010 6:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Not sure the skiing is really good, Keith...

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2010 6:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

True, I'm thinking Summer Olympics when I mention Greece. And, of course, there's my inability to resist a chance at a dig an economy a little further down the road to serfdom than our own.

Given today's news on the Olympic meme, I'm merely grateful we're not going down that road on a luge. I'm wondering whether some small piece of those millions spent might have been better invested in some safety rail and a bit of padding.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 12, 2010 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Huh, did you guys say something? Sorry, I was distracted by jk's link.

Seriously, it's not just the beauty of these young Olympians that is inspiring, but their verve. Listening to Lindsay's interview last night it was obvious that she was intent on competing in the games despite a leg injury (that she refused to have x-rayed because she intended to ski on it no matter the diagnosis.) Of course there are disappointments, like Bode Miller 4 years ago who didn't seem to give a whit about making the most of his opportunity. But now, 4 years later, we get to see if he's grown up.

To me the Olympic Games generally deliver on their promise once the competition starts. And that's another refreshing concept these days - competition.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2010 1:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, you're getting to me. I also appreciate the reverence that NHL players have for the games, holding the gold on the level of the Stanley Cup and teaming up with their NHL adversaries and rivals.

You'll perhaps admit that the saccharine, syrupy coverage can be a trifle annoying?

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2010 4:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not as annoying as Bob Costas' self-important diatribe.

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2010 1:58 AM

A Serious Critique of Governor Palin

Many have felt frustration trying to objectively assess the former Governor if Alaska.

The venom, vitriol and antipathy hurled at her from the left makes one on the right naturally defend her. As Andrew Marcus states :

Further, Progressive elites weighing in to consign Sarah to idiot status doesn’t exactly diminish her standing among the average Tea Partier, who love her almost in direct proportion to how much Progressives hate her.

Progressives traffic in the politics of name-calling and character assassination. They have forfeited any goodwill presumption of credibility when it comes to objectively criticizing anyone on the Right, let alone their most vilified American citizen target, Sarah Palin.


This from an objective and honest appraisal of Governor Lipstick's performance at the TEA Party Convention. I don't think anything Marcus says is devastating or disqualifying -- but he makes some damned good points.
The hand note reveals something though that is worth examining in context and without the venom of the Progressive Left.

Governor Palin’s need for a hand note in order to answer the questions posed reveals not so much that she is stupid, as the never-compassionate Progressive Left would have you believe, but rather that Sarah is a Tea Party Keynote speaker and not yet a Tea Party leader. (Note that we are using the term “a” instead of “the” to qualify leader. There is no central leader of this movement and that’s a good thing)

A Tea Party leader should not need a note card in order to answer the question, "What are the top three things that need to be done if the House and Senate are flipped to Conservative?"


Lastly, Marcus is concerned that Palin did not speak with media and bloggers at the convention, that she isolated herself in a bubble like Senator Clinton at the Kos Konvention.
When Hillary made her appearance, it was from within the bubble. She was whisked in through a back hallway and onto a stage in a medium-sized room. She gave her talk, answered a couple of questions, and then was whisked back out through the hallway, never to be seen again.
[..]
In contrast, when then Senator Obama made his appearance, he walked into the room through the same door everyone else did. He remained on the floor level, never taking to the stage. People were not prevented from approaching him, and approach they did. He was greeted and treated like a rock star.

Governor Palin is in no way off my list for 2012 but she is clearly not a frontrunner.

PRE-UPDATE, funny Palin-Derangement story: My moonbat brother and she share a birthday (yesterday). Sorry, Randians, perhaps there is a benevolent God.

REAL UPDATE: I asked him if it was true. He just replied "You Betcha!"

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [8]
But Terri thinks:

I agree with Lisa on Palin and I'd add, that the last thing we need is another snarkmeister president.

One of the beauties of W is that he kept his class even as he was constantly snarked on.

We could use a beacon on the hill sort with high expectations and good will for all of us. In her debut speech, Palin had it. It didn't last though as her complaints (many legitimate) have piled higher.

Posted by: Terri at February 13, 2010 10:33 AM
But jk thinks:

If Governor Palin has lost ThreeSources, she has indeed lost America.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2010 1:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet - she's still more qualified to be POTUS than the current office holder.

Look, no candidate is perfect. Tim Pawlenty, for example, signed Minnesota's Green Police bill in May of '07 when the alternative energy movement looked like a political winner. And no politician can carry out the entire TEA Party agenda by herself. It's going to take a strong block of like-minded people to make a sustained difference. Sarah needs to be a part of that block, even if it's only as a campaign prop for other candidates. Keep the faith sisters!

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2010 2:46 PM
But jk thinks:

I still think she was an inspired choice for Senator McCain to pick as his running mate. And I'll give Gov Palin a pass and heap most of the disapprobation on him for leading the moronic "greed and corruption on Wall Street" campaign.

But I don't see that she has stepped up her game to jump from VP candidate to P candidate. Not yet anyway.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2010 4:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, and that was intended to be the rest of my comment: She's only begun her crash course in national politics. It's unfair to start handing out her mid-term grade already, much less her final.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2010 4:49 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

The first woman president must be much more that just the first woman president.

I agree she is far more qualified to be POTUS than our current selection, and I agree that she was an inspired choice by McCain for Veep---in fact, her entrance into the race was what brought me on board to McCain's candidacy (prior to that, I was still actually considering not voting at all, so great is my distaste for McCain).

That all being said, there is no denying that she is already a polarizing force in politics (through no fault of her own). However, I see very little light between her supporters on the right and the Obamamaniacs on the left. Blind devotion to a leader is not healthy for a nation; indeed our nation has become a bit too enamored with the glamour behind the office of the President. It's time that America stopped putting their President on a pedestal and recognized our leaders as human.

At this point, and it is admittedly too soon to pass any final judgement, but I can't help but feel that Sarah Palin as POTUS would be little better than what we have now.

A year and a half after her debut on the national stage, I expected more progress on her behalf towards her establishment as a stateswoman.

Posted by: Lisa M at February 13, 2010 8:55 PM

February 11, 2010

Partisanship Aside

AP: NEW YORK -- Former President Bill Clinton had two stents inserted Thursday to prop open a clogged heart artery after being hospitalized with chest pains, an adviser said. Clinton, 63, "is in good spirits and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts," said adviser Douglas Band.
I know I speak for all ThreeSourcers when I say that we hope he is up chasing the nurses around very soon...

UPDATE: I retract my flippancy. The stents just given the former President were mentioned in a front page WSJ (News Pages) story today. Onder ObamaCare, would they be available?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:17 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

For Billy Clinton or the Prime Minister of Nova Scotia? Sure!

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2010 7:43 PM

Do Love the Internet

Want to be an Econ geek or just dress like one?

Blog Friend Everyday Economist embeds a cool YouTube.

Federal Reserve’s monetary policy actions is to use a graphical representation of the market for reserves. Frederic Mishkin’s textbook on money and banking is an excellent print resource. Meanwhile, Mark Thoma illustrates the model, and Fed policy changes, in this YouTube clip:


Book Title of the Year

fly_fish_vader.jpg Fly Fishing with Darth Vader by Matt Lebash

Amazon link

Oh man, I love his Weekly Standard stuff -- and they have it for Kindle®. I veered of the Presidents to read (the superb) The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates.

Hat-tip: Galley Slaves



Klavan: Liberal Fantasies v. Reality

Andrew Klavan explains how culture in America has become an enchanted place where the conservative facts of life are magically turned into liberal fantasies. From JFK conspiracy theories to murderous evangelical Christians, can you spot the difference between "culture" and reality? Watch & comment here: http://pjtv.com/v/3008

But johngalt thinks:

Now that I have a moment to excerpt, here's my favorite line (other than calling intellectuals and entertainers "ass hats"):

"And speaking of Avatar, it not only celebrates being at one with the sacred earth but portrays U.S. soldiers as evil sadists out to destroy native peoples. Can you spot the difference between Avatar and, say, Haiti? Where our old pal the sacred earth slaughtered innocent people in the thousands and the U.S. military turned out in a massive rescue effort."

This is a good one to forward to your liberal friends.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2010 3:25 PM


Not an AARP card Among Them

A little fun from our friends at Minnesotans for Global Warming. I'd like to send this out to the brothers and sisters in Philly:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But johngalt thinks:

Aha! Another clue about our friend LM: She lives in Pennsylvania (or northern Florida.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2010 3:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't want to out anybody, but everybody should be reading LM's fine work at PAH2Ods/dt>0

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

You clearly get out more than I do.

Found a nice "Pro-Business Obama" post over there and left a comment.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2010 3:40 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

jg--I live in the town next door to AlexC

Posted by: Lisa M at February 12, 2010 9:41 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

jg--and your point was well taken!

Posted by: Lisa M at February 12, 2010 10:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You all seem to be taking the multi-foot, week after week blizzards in stride. We went through that four years ago and I'm relieved that it's hitting someone else this time. It builds character but it's damned hard work!

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2010 2:11 AM

Hope and Change Update

Democratic strategist Roland Martin writes:


Obama's critics keep blasting him for Chicago-style politics. So, fine. Channel your inner Al Capone and go gangsta against your foes. Let 'em know that if they aren't with you, they are against you, and will pay the price.

Hope. Change.

Politics Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:10 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

How soon his own party forgets. Doesn't "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother" sound familiar? Or is that the history that will be "forgotten" in the New Obama Order?

I won't excuse Shelby and his rent-seeking friends, but how hypocritical (surprise!) of the Demorats. How soon they want to forget that they did the same "obstruction" for years on Bush's judicial nominees. Does anyone else remember John Bolton? Miguel Estrada? (Estrada was in Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude from both Columbia and Harvard Law. Affirmative action, at least at those schools, even at those schools, won't help you graduate near the top of your class.)

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2010 2:00 PM

February 10, 2010

Value

Many people still cannot get their heads around the idea of creating wealth ex nihlo. It's easier to see it in the software business, but people always look at an item and confuse its marginal production cost for its value.

Here's an abstraction for you: WSJ Tweets that it is close to a deal to sell its stock indices.

CME Group Inc. was on Wednesday close to finalizing a deal to purchase Dow Jones & Co.'s stock-indexing business, said people familiar with the matter.

The price was expected to be greater than $600 million, said one of these people, though an exact price couldn't be determined.


Six hundred million for a list of stocks and permission to use the name. I hope we do not kill this wonderful country.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Careful, my friend, or you'll give the socialists ideas. Clearly these are evil capitalist vultures who are stealing $600 million from the hands of their customers!

Unfortunately the NYSE operates under a government charter, so the $600 million is inflated because of a lack of competition. However, your point and its basis are no less valid. The NYSE originated because people needed a trustworthy means of exchanging information and property. As in all things, the state's sanction didn't bring something into being: the "thing" already existed or was made possible before the state declared it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2010 10:23 AM

The Most Randian Character on TV

Don't know how many watch "House M.D." My lovely bride and I have been big fans of Hugh Laurie from his BBC days, and we secretly wait for Stephen Fry to do a guest appearance on House.

Ann Althouse once cheered that the drug-addict doctor was the hero over the zealous narcotics officer. For the last couple of years, I've become convinced that Dr. Gregory House is lifted from an undiscovered Ayn Rand novel. He is preternaturally intelligent -- to which he owes all his success; he is self-focused to an amount that disturbs everybody else on the show; he is dedicated to disproving quackery, junk science, new age spirituality and questioning seriously held religious beliefs.

And Laurie is a brilliant actor, whose comedy chops keep this prickly character entertaining. The show's flaw is that the rest of the cast is thin and hollow. His oncologist friend Dr Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) has his moments, but there's no ensemble of any kind to play on.

Last Monday's episode, therefore, had two fatal flaws. It was built around the hospital's COO, Dr. Lisa Cuddy. That turned out okay, but not memorable.

Secondly, I wonder how many House fans are sympathetic to his Randian nature (like me) and how many (like me) were perturbed by the anti-business tilt of the episode, Yesterday’s Ayn Rand Facebook link was a talk on "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business."

Our brave Dr. Cuddy has to manage her adopted baby, her creepy husband, the weight of the world on the sisterhood, and then has to negotiate a contract with an (duh-duh-duuuuh!) evil insurance company (boo, hiss!)

She's just tryin' to get her doctors paid, but the grubby CEO, who won't interrupt his lobster lunch to speak with her, won't give his monthly budget for olives on his yacht to save children's lives! Thankfully she wins in the end to be cheered in the board room (are you sick yet? Dr. House could figure it out...)

I hope we're back to Reason next week.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Gee whiz, thanks for the non extant spoiler alert! We're a few weeks behind on House (and 24 and ...) because dagny's working busy-season hours. Personally I wonder how many House fans are consciously aware of his Randian nature and still like the show in spite of it. I'm willing to bet the majority of regular viewers are most enthralled with his unapologetic veracity. "Damn, I wish I could get away with that!"

We'll probably be throwing things at the screen during this episode. Thanks for the warning - I'll remove sharp objects from the room.

Final note: Cuddy's "husband" is actually just a boyfriend, right? Or have I not seen the wedding episode too?

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorrrr-reeee...

Boyfriend, yes. We thought they'd get married last week after Foreman ate the bad shushi and they were both drunk at his funeral, but no.

Wait a minute, how many weeks were you behind?

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 3:15 PM
But rewriter thinks:

What you call Randian I call narcissistic and anti-social. See the DSM-IV, soon to be DSM-V. But I agree, there's not much else for Hugh Laurie to play against; Jesse Spencer is the strongest actor of the rest of the lot and he doesn't get much screen time lately. Omar Epps makes odd, not necessarily interesting, choices with his line deliveries, Lisa Edelstein has three stock expressions to suit every occasion, and Olivia Wilde does what she's there to do, rile up the adolescent male viewership. If not for RSL, Hugh Laurie would be hauling this thing around by himself.

Posted by: rewriter at February 11, 2010 9:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Any good capitalist will tell you, never waste more on COGS (cost of goods sold) than is needed to achieve a high volume of sales. In this case, COGS = acting talent.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2010 3:09 PM

The Downfall of Civilization!!

My. Satirist Joe Queenan was not too impressed by the Super Bowl ads.

The ads fell into three basic categories: Some were aimed at drunks, some were aimed at slobs, and the rest were aimed at men unsure of their own sexuality. There was quite a bit of overlap here.
[...]
Maybe it's just me, but it's starting to feel a little bit like Rome, 475 A.D., around here, with the barbarians outside the gates and a bunch of slightly better-dressed barbarians inside.

Allan Bloom, call your office!

Queenan informs that in England "they actually know how to make clever ads" and he grudgingly excludes the Google ("who is the stig?") and Letterman/Leno ads from disapprobation.

Besides elitist condescension, it strikes me as odd to hear somebody complaining that commercial announcements were not clever enough. If we're reduced to that, maybe our culture is decaying...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Lisa M thinks:

It is a rare year indeed when the best thing about the Superbowl isn't the commercials or the halftime show, but the game itself. And it was a helluva game.

Seems that's how it should be.

Posted by: Lisa M at February 10, 2010 2:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Who'd've thunk, huh? It was a memorable game.

One unmentioned commercial was the promo for the talk show (sorry I don't know the host's name). He said "The Super Bowl: it's like 'The Oscars' for straight guys!" I was laughing all day.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 3:01 PM

Quote of the Day

THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT WANTS AMERICA TO RETURN TO CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES.

There it is. I said it, one simple sentence. -- Ron Futrell


Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I'll settle for this as a TEA Party Platform.

BTW - Broken. Link.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Third time be charm. ThreeSources apologizes for any inconvenience.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks! The link is well worth a click. It reads powerfully (and humorously) and expresses another point not captured here: The TEA Party movement is not centralized. It is an individualist phenomenon.

And that is why it is counterproductive to consider a Platform for the movement. [Just who was that misguided idealist anyway?] The ALL CAPS agenda shown above is the one part of such a platform that all of us will agree on, now and forever. Amen.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 8:11 PM

Stupid Idea of the Week

Did I get the title right BR?

I think the same thing every year but they keep running the same stupid ad with the same stupid theme: Spend just a few minutes on our website (and upwards of fifty bucks) ordering this precious Valentine's day teddy bear for your wife/girlfriend/barracks mate and she'll think you spent hours coming up with the perfect gift just for her!

Yeah, because chicks must not watch television too. Listen buddy, they're not as stupid as you are if you actually buy into this notion.

Television Posted by JohnGalt at 1:53 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Heh! Good one, JG. The Refugee and Mrs. Refugee saw one of these commercials the other night and he asked, "Do you want a teddy bear?" The answer was an immediate and succinct "No." Besides, The Refugee doesn't need the competition for his wife's attention.

The original phrase was coined as "Idiotic Idea..." but why quibble?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 10, 2010 10:09 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

My wife has eminently sensible tastes. Instead of candy, she'd rather I pick up some things from a certain Viennese pastry shop in midtown.

Instead of a mediocre dinner and long wait times, she'd rather we get the biggest lobsters we can find for dinner at home -- as long as I'm cooking.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2010 9:28 AM
But jk thinks:

All well and good. And yet, I feel that the Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolates will go over pretty well.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2010 10:48 AM

Superbowl Commercial Hidden Gem

I can't say too many times that Green Police was my favorite Super Bowl commercial, but did anyone else notice the following gem flash by in the Google commercial?

whoisthestig.jpg

It was only a fraction of a second but I hope there's some subliminal awareness-raising from this. No, not who is john galt silly. Who is the stig!

Television Posted by JohnGalt at 1:35 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Some say...

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

For benefit of the uninitiated Top Gear, the show from whence this reference comes, is the best programme on British tele. It's on BBC America in both new episodes and copious re-runs.

While tuned in to BEEB Jr. I've tried watching other programmes such as their daily World News show but I can't sit still long enough for the dry presentation. I guess I'm too drunk and slovenly. [Oh wait, I'm not supposed to know how to turn 'slob' into an adjective.] Slobby.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

It's been mentioned a time or two 'round these parts. I still think of this article every time I see it.

It is also available on the Netflix Instant Queue.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 3:29 PM

February 9, 2010

Giants Still Walk the Earth

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

But johngalt thinks:

"She went on to say violence against women in the Islamic world is systemic and written into the religious texts that are also used as state law in some countries."

And yet, NOW's Terry O'Neill thinks the most important example of violence against women for her to criticize is Tim Tebow "tackling" his mom.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 1:26 AM
But jk thinks:

It is stunning to listen to her. I dare you to find one thing she says which is false, yet in aggregate it is so incendiary.

I think the greatest article the Weekly Standard ever ran was the comparison between her and Frederick Douglass. link

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 10:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, quite. In this respect (and probably others) she is very much like another giant who once walked the earth.

They are incendiary not because of their beliefs, but because of the threat they pose to the beliefs of others.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 3:48 PM

We're All Keynesians Now...

If you didn't have enough reasons to dislike President Nixon (EPA, anybody?) -- he had a peculiar take on the laws of supply and demand.

President Nixon signed the CON law because he thought America had too many hospitals. He thought decreasing the number would lower health care costs. But that was ridiculous economics. Limiting the number of suppliers raises costs.

This is from a nice John Stossel post explaining that we don't really have a free market in health care at all. To build a hospital, you have to prove need.

We're all complete morons now, more like it...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bush's Fault

My slightly partisan defense of our 43rd President was rebuffed in the comments.

Well, it's not how many times you are knocked down, but how many times you get up. Furthermore, the early bird gets the worm.

I suggested that by conceding that President Bush was as bad as President Obama on spending, we were both perpetuating a lie and letting the current Executive off the hook.

For my next witness, I call Obama-voter Megan McArdle:

Whatever George W. Bush did or did not do, he's no longer in office, and doesn't have the power to do a damn thing about the budget. Obama is the one who is president with the really humongous deficits. Deficits of the size Bush ran are basically sustainable indefinitely; deficits of the size that Obama is apparently planning to run, aren't. If he doesn't change those plans, he will be the one who led the government into fiscal crisis, even if changing them would be [sob!] politically difficult.

I have a serious question for the people who are mounting this defense: at what point in his presidency is Obama actually responsible for any bad thing that happens? Two years? Five? Can we pick a date for when bad things that happen on Obama's are actually in some measure the responsibility of one Barack Obama, rather than his long gone predecessor? And then stick with that date? Conversely, can we agree that as long as the bad things that happen are really George Bush's fault, any good things that happen should probably be chalked up to his administration as well?


This is part of a great post about another great post from Veronique de Rugy. Both deserve a read in full.

But johngalt thinks:

OK, I left the field open for a while so that others could maneuver freely. Seeing none, onto the pitch:

"Deficits of the size Bush ran are basically sustainable indefinitely; deficits of the size that Obama is apparently planning to run, aren't."

So there's a succinct description of why Bush was not "as bad as" Obama. It also explains the rest of my Ow*every*line*a*dagger comment. Bush turned up the steam ever gradually from where it was left by his predecessor and McCain would have done the same. If a committed socialist ideologue such as Obama had not come along and tried cranking us up to 10 all at once then the TEA Party smoke alarm might never have sounded.

You know those stories you read about "Nazi Germany was weeks away from mass producing jet fighters" or "Imperial Japan was within days of their own nuclear bomb?" I expect we'll learn, some day in the future, how close America came to complete collapse if not for the rallying of a core group of dedicated American patriots to take back our government on behalf of The People.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 4:02 PM

Don't Ask Bret Stephens, Don't Tell Bret Stephens

Wow. Bret Stephens takes to the WSJ Editorial Page today for a powerful and thoughtful piece on gays in the military. He first exposes some of the more frivolous and emotional arguments on both sides of the debate. Then he plays in the middle, and makes what I feel are incontrovertible points.

But does "don't ask, don't tell" contribute to military effectiveness? Probably not. One problem is that by demanding that gay and lesbian service members keep their sexuality a secret, it makes them uniquely susceptible to blackmail. It creates a security hazard where none need have existed.

More problematic is that it has meant the dismissal of more than 13,000 service members since the policy came into force. Assume that the presence of openly gay people in uniform poses real if intangible risks to morale or capability. It's still worth pondering whether those risks outweigh what amounts to the loss of an entire division of war-fighters.


He closes with positive reactions from the British, Canadian, and Israeli militaries.

I think it's a good idea -- I'd just hate to see President Obama do something right and ruin his streak.

UPDATE: Ilya Somin concurs

The Australian, British, Canadian, and Israeli armed forces are all among the best in the world. If they allow gays to serve openly with no ill effects, that strong suggests that the US can as well.


Time for new glasses

Prof Reynolds links to an article about "sexual anorexia."

I read it quickly and expected an explanation of "sexual dyslexia." With my imagination running away as the page loaded. I perhaps suffer from one of the afflictions.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Dr. Laura, please call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2010 3:00 PM

Reading The Footnotes, So You Don't Have To

Prof. Mankiw links to an interesting website that attempts to referee the claims of the White House Budget recommendations. They've already thrown a couple flags:

The Administration is taking two tax provisions from the 2009 stimulus bill -- expansions of the child tax credit and the EITC -- and claiming them as part of the "current policy" Bush tax cuts. And they are doing something similar for Pell grants: assuming that they will receive sufficient funding to pay out the maximum grant level set in the stimulus bill.

The Administration didn't inherit these policies, they created them. And worse, still, they created them as explicitly temporary, under a stimulus bill which they claimed was meant only to help bring us out of this recession.

Yet the White House wants to continue these policies, and they don't want to pay for them. So what do they do? They hide these policies in their baseline, in the hopes that they won't have to.

But jk thinks:

Ow. Every. Line. A. Dagger. In. My. Heart.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2010 4:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You think I'm HAPPY to make this observation? I voted for the "move along, nothing to see here" GOP ticket!

Please tell me, what good does it do to defend Bush on spending?

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2010 5:04 PM
But jk thinks:

More in a post above. It is not a matter of defending GWB, it is a matter of not accepting that x = 3x for nonzero values of x.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2010 5:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe you're too sensitive or maybe I'm too cavalier but I don't believe I suggested that. It was more of a "you think Bush was bad, this guy is way worse" sort of comparison. "Teabaggy" rednecks like Beck and me have already concluded that spending under Bush was worse, not better, than his predecessors so perhaps that's why I don't see this as the GWB hatchet job that you do. It's meant to be a BHO hatchet job.

And it is a fact that Republicans are less inclined to complain about deficit spending by one of their own than by a Democrat - particularly when it's such a brazen redistributionist as Obama.

Peace brother.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2010 8:04 PM
But jk thinks:

No worries, I'm fine. I just hear a torrent of "Bush was equally bad" and see a GOP unwilling to defend him at all. That is a dangerous thing to concede.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2010 8:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, if Bush really was equally bad we'd have seen the TEA parties while he was president.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 1:01 AM

February 8, 2010

Quote of the Day

Seeing The Who's 65-year-old Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend perform "Teenage Wasteland" during the Super Bowl Half-Time Show brought to mind an image of the Soviet Red Army Chorus Alumni performing "The Internationale" at a Goldman Sachs Christmas party.

But maybe it's just me. -- Jim Glass, Scrivener.net


I rather liked it but will defer to brother JG in all things "Who..."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:07 PM | What do you think? [13]
But jk thinks:

@Keith: t'was a great game, one for the books. If I may steal a quote from blog friend Sugarchuck: "Now, seven months of darkness."

@Perry: 'xactly! All well and good to leave your best stuff defining you, but unsaid in these discussions is the unlikelihood of the following:

BR: "jk, this is your agent. Hey I got you the gig for the Super Bowl next year."
JK: "Naah."
Posted by: jk at February 9, 2010 3:55 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... All well and good to leave your best stuff defining you..."

Begs the question, as long as we're talking football. Anyone have an opinion about which quarterbacks (or other position players, for that matter) ought to invoke the Carson rule and hang up their cleats, before the decline sets in? Favre? Brady? Warner?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 9, 2010 4:56 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

First moonwalk?!? Sorry, dude, Michael Jackson is dead...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 9, 2010 5:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope, I am foresquare against the Carson Rule. I'm trying to remember whether Mister Carson really followed it. Favre went 12-1 and took his team to the NFC Championship. Better than 28 other guys.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2010 5:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Since Perry brings up The Stones, The Refugee will mention that he saw them in concert at the Meadowlands a few years ago and it was unbelieveable (coming from one who is not a big Stones fan). Mick Jagger must have burned 6000 calories during the show and they sounded as good as ever. Quite the juxtaposition compared to The Who.

@ JK: Elway's agent: "John, Bowlen wants you for one more year."

Elway: "Naah."

Five year later: Canton and universal admiration.

@ KA: Favre: yes; Brady: no; Warner: moot point.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 9, 2010 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't know that a year of professional sports and a cherry rock-n-roll gig are equivalent -- Daltrey's not going to get hit with anything larger than ladies underwear (admittedly, his fans might be using a bit more support than they did in '64...)

The sportwriting community (mean IQ = 67) was in an uproar over Favre this year. Costas (who brings it down) was apoplectic -- Who does this guy think he is? Well, he went one game away from the hearing the Who live in the locker room.

Y’all can invoke Carson, I’ll go with Hayek: each has better information about his career than we.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2010 5:52 PM

Happy Birthday, BSA!

Today marks the 100 anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. In those 100 years, more than 110 million American boys have learned self-reliance, self-respect, leadership, teamwork, survival and a dedication to service - not to mention how to stay warm in below-zero temperatures and not burn the eggs when cooking over an open fire.

The Refugee is proud to be an Eagle Scout with Son of The Refugee close to that rank as well. The Boy Scouts remain the largest, most effective organization for teaching the core values that made this country what it is. Happy birthday, Scouting!

Freedom on the March Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

Green Appeal of the Green Police

If you already knew I'm an Audi afficianado in addition to being a green-basher you weren't surprised when I called the Green Police on the new ketchup pouch. The ad had me guffawing wildly, yet Grist Magazine's David Roberts argues that "the teabaggy interpretation just doesn't quite fit."

The ad is not just another pot shot at greens. It's an appeal to a new and growing demographic that isn't hard-core environmentalist -- and doesn't particularly like hard-core environmentalists -- but that basically wants to do the right thing.

Yeah, sure it is. Personally I think that movement peaked prior to 1998. Tea anyone?

But jk thinks:

Jim Geraghty will have a cup. He tweets:

Green Police: Biggest zeitgeist sign since Garry Shandling tried to "Kelo vs. New London" Tony Stark. http://tinyurl.com/yzu5gt6

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2010 4:15 PM

Crisis Me This.

John Stossel points out that, while Reuters grimly intones "Heart disease 'will kill 400,000 Americans in 2010'" they don't mention:
.
heart-disease.jpg

Or:

cancer1.jpg

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

Things that make us richer

I love this. Insty links to video of a new Ketchup package.

I bore everybody with this all the time. Small innovations in packaging never show up in GDP numbers but millions of small innovations provide us with a richer environment. The zip-lock® feature built into cheese and tortilla bags generally elicit a dull disquisition from me. But over time, this matters. Just like getting more memory in your laptop.

And yet, Paul Krugman, should there be a Republican in the White House, will tell us that we are poorer than we were in 1973.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Oh sure, you like it, but have the Green Police seen it yet?

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2010 2:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oops. Wrong link. I meant to use this one.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2010 3:00 AM

Penn Jilette on Obama On Vegas

A fun column:

I like to say I don't believe in hope, but I had the hope to move to Vegas to do a magic show. And I do hope that Vegas pulls through this bad economic time and people come and visit us and we do our stupid shows for all the stupid, hopeful people.

Obama, please remember, it was those stupid, very hopeful people who took the over on a stupid point spread on Obama with a stupid hope to help our country, which includes stupid Vegas.

The gamble Obama took with his run for president and the gamble that the American people took on him sure weren't taken at good odds. It wasn't putting everything we had on red in roulette, or "don't pass" in craps, or carefully counting cards in blackjack.

Obama's presidency is more than all of us putting our whole future on 00 in roulette. It was more like putting everything we had on one slot pull at the stupid Elvis impersonator slot machine in the stupid Elvis casino for the stupid hillbillies who are filled with hope.

UPDATE: Brother ka rubs it in that our President failed to pick the winner yesterday, Wayne Allen Root did. I will take a break from my Libertario Delenda Est campaign to link to a superb article: Lessons Obama Should Have Learned From Watching the Super Bowl.

Obama, Reid and Pelosi might snicker, but they obviously don’t understand the difference between Vegas and Washington D.C. You know what it is? In Vegas the drunks gamble with their own money. Maybe we need a politician in D.C. who understands the psychology of winning; who understands the motivation of risk versus reward; who has the guts to take gambles; and the courage to back his convictions with his own money, instead of the taxpayers’ money.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

That betting-on-the-slot-pull metaphor is going to leave a mark. He could do a whole television show on the present administration. Whaddaya think he's name the show?

I wish Obama's speeches sounded more like Teller's.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 8, 2010 1:49 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By the way, I'd say it's a good thing that Vegas doesn't pay any more attention to Obama's economic predictions than they do to his football predictions:

http://tinyurl.com/ylobcgk

It's not just Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts that the Obama Curse has struck. Indiana's now in that club as well.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 8, 2010 1:54 PM

Fat Cat Bankers Cause Depression!

Must read lead editorial in the WSJ today. If you have to subscribe to read it, pony up!

NYAG Andrew Cuomo has filed a fraud lawsuit against Bank of America joining as the WSJ Ed Page declares "the long queue of politicians blaming bankers as the chief culprits in creating the financial panic and recession"

But they click on over to the Housing and Urban Development web site. Take a moment and imagine explaining to the ghost of James Madison that we have a Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that it is contained in the Executive Branch... I digress. Here's an item from the HUD accomplishments during AG Cuomo's tenure as HUD Chief under President Clinton.

HUD's Web visitors learn that in 1999 "Secretary Cuomo established new Affordable Housing Goals requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government sponsored enterprises involved in housing finance—to buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages in the next 10 years. This will mean new affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that the companies must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percent—a 19 percent increase—in the year 2001."

Damned, fat cat bankers!

The good part of this story is that I have been overwhelmed of late with nostalgia for the Clinton days. Spending was down, Buffy was on, NAFTA and GATT were kicking in -- as was China's MFN and WTO status. Yeah, he was boning the interns (Umm, that would depend on what the definition of "boning" is...) but IPOs were happening and life was good.

It is worth remembering that Al-Qaeda’s growth was unabated and that these seeds of future economic troubles were being sown. Hey, I still take him any day of the week over the present occupant, but the pleasant, silver-haired magistrate of bonhomie we see helping the Haitians is always pitched as being better than his successor. I'm not buying.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

To be specific, budget deficits were down during in the Clinton years. But as I've pointed out in the past, it wasn't because spending was down. Federal expenditures were as high as ever. It's just that tax revenues were increasing faster than Congress accelerated its own spending.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 8, 2010 12:01 PM

February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Has Been Canceled

A "truther" friend of mine (and BR's) shares this video -- approvingly -- on Facebook.

I think it proves that nannies come in all shapes, sizes, and politics. You could transcribe this and give the script to a young earnest bespeckled Boulder woman in a Che T-shirt and hemp necklace. And it would work pretty well.

So, whaddya say we all skip the Super Bowl and watch a documentary in the Federal Reserve? I'll bring dip!

UPDATE: Who Dat? I resign my membership in the reason and logic club. I am an AFC guy and was looking forward to seeing the Colts accept their reward for their talent, intelligence, and work ethic. But even I got caught in the magic. When the Saints were down 0-10, I started hoping that they'd avoid a drubbing. By the fourth quarter I had openly changed allegiance.

Jeez, you don't want to be in a foxhole with me...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 5, 2010

You Like This

brown.gif

Oh, yes, I like this very much.


Quote of the Day

But Tancredo, a committed protectionist and anti-immigration crusader, would have been equally disastrous. It’s too bad that the Tea Party would open their first “official” convention with a politician who so ferociously opposes one of the key tenets of the capitalism. Fact is, committed socialists and Tancredo have plenty to agree on. -- David Harsanyi
My hope for the TEA Party convention does not match my hopes for the TEA Party movement.

UPDATE: Blog friend Terri and I do not see eye-to-eye on immigration, but she's no happier with Rep. Tancreado's speech:

If Tom Tancredo is the “face” of the Tea Party movement, then the tea party movement is dead. He’s pretty certain we should have Jim Crow laws for voting.
“People who could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House,” he said.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

Et tu, AP?

If he's lost the Associated Press, he's lost America!

AP - No, maybe he can't. President Barack Obama, who insisted he would succeed where other presidents had failed to fix the nation's health care system, now concedes the effort may die in Congress.


I was kidding

Sort of. I was kidding a bit when I suggested, a couple of days ago,

GM Owner Misspoke Telling Americans Not to Drive Toyotas

But the attention to the Prius brake issue unnerved me. Now Professor Reynolds nails it:
NOW IT’S brake issues for Ford hybrids. Funny how these problems keep hitting non-bailout companies.


There Ought To Be a Law...

The Internet segue machine comes through for me yet again.

I am watching TeeVee news in the morning -- against my better judgment. I am particularly tied to the weather these days and it seems almost worth it. The personalities are attractive and perky and I am luckily immune from most of the nonsense spewed.

Today, we are in full-out sturm and drang about "Sexting." WE WARNED YOU ABOUT THIS EPIDEMIC in no less than 49 Exposes. Well it has happened. In Falcon, Colorado, that hotbed of sin, a nude photo of a 12 year old girl has been sent to a dozen phones. I hate to make light of a particular instance; I feel for the child involved. But the media response has been disproportionate to the problem all along.

An interesting issue crept in. The father of a student was interviewed and expressed displeasure that his child had his phone confiscated and was questioned in what could be a felony case without anyone alerting his parents.

The FOX31 news crew would not understand legal nuance or questions of liberty if they were to bite them in the ass, but they did offer one piece of advice: "Students should disable the ability to receive picture messages."

Got it? Turn your phone off in case somebody sends you an illegal nekkid picture. Or stay home in the cave with no phone.

This has burned in my mind all day, but now the Doctor is in: Theodore Dalrymple suggests we fix global warming by banning lampshades. The first of his legal fixes came to him in what I knew as "Defensive Driving School:"

It was then that I had a blinding flash of illumination, a real eureka moment. The best, indeed only, way to prevent road traffic accidents is to prohibit people from leaving their houses in the first place! By a process of association of ideas, I remembered the slogan that was used during the war to cut down the demand for public transport: “Is your journey really necessary?”

Great piece.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

banner4.gif

La Vie En Rose: The Telecaster version.



February 4, 2010

Teleprompter is Your Friend

Dagny and I were amused when we heard the president pronounce the word "corpsman" at this morning's prayer breakfast as though he referred to a dead male. We laughed our arses off when he did it again! But his press secretary probably wishes he had his own teleprompter telling him what to say, even if he couldn't pronounce it either. While defending the White House over publicizing the bean-spilling panty bomber he tried to turn the tables on the criticizers.

"I think he owes an apology to the professionals in the law enforcement community and those that work in this building, not for Democrats and Republicans, but who work each and every day to keep the American people safe and would not ever, ever, ever knowingly release or unknowingly release classified information that could endanger an operation or an interrogation," Gibbs said.

"Never knowingly or unknowingly doing anything" is a good motto for the 111th Congress.


...Or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

How long until we import this European idea?

A British farmer who secretly built a castle and hid it behind haystacks to avoid trouble from local planning authorities was ordered by a court Wednesday to demolish it.

Farmer Robert Fidler built the mock Tudor castle in Surrey and moved into it with his family in 2002.

He says he had applied in 1996 to build a house on his farmland, but the authorities wouldn't grant him permission. So, when he and his wife were feeling "desperate," they found a loophole in the British law.


Can't Call them a Do-Nothing Congress!

The Democrats in the 51st Congress ridiculed President Benjamin Harrison and Republicans for annual federal spending that reached one billion dollars for the first time: the Billion Dollar Congress! Ahh, those were the days...

debt_limit.gif

217 Ayes (all 'D') - 212 Nays

Hat-tip: Roger Simon

But Keith Arnold thinks:

A billion? Pikers.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 4, 2010 9:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

At the time they surely thought, what - a ba-billion dollars? Now we're barely impressed by a ta-ta-trillion dollars!

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2010 3:52 PM

Quote of the Day

We are all Austrians now. Over the past few weeks, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, New York City, and London, I've run into more and more institutional investors whose economic and financial views either knowingly or unknowingly reflect the influence of the Austrian School of Economics. I am in Zurich today and Geneva tomorrow. … How do you know if you are an Austrian? Here is a simple test. Answer yes or no to the following question: "I believe that this will all end very badly." -- Ed Yardeni (via James Pethokoukis)

So This is How 9/11 Happened!

Yesterday's Investor's Business Daily lead editorial is Bare Warning.

A chilling spectacle just took place before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked, "What is the likelihood of another terrorist-attempted attack on the U.S. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low?"

And one by one, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller all agreed an attack was "certain."

But log onto the Department of Homeland Security's Web site and all seems fairly calm. The first news item listed says, "Secretary Napolitano Announces More than $23 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Fire Station Construction Grants." And three of the other four news items on the main page tout the ways the department's $56.3 billion fiscal year 2011 budget request would be spent.

The go on to make a larger point about counter-terrorism strategy but the first thing that occurred to me was hey, at least Secretary Ridge suggested we stock up on duct tape!

But jk thinks:

I like to help up-and-coming bloggers. There's this guy in Tennessee has a respectable blog...

Seriously, watch Instavision today. Mark Thiessen on waterboarding, but most notably on the different approaches to terrorism from the Bush and Obama administrations.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2010 4:04 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"...Blair... Panetta and... Mueller all agreed an attack was "certain - and highly confident the intended target is San Francisco..."

I'd have said that just to see her reaction.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 4, 2010 4:14 PM

GOP Ideas

Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson is calling the GOP's bluff on their claims to have ideas other than "no" for economic and health care reform. Most of her examples are flippant or revisionist so the main reason to link is for her accusation. OK, I'll give you an example:

You can't just wish something into being, like the heading in their "No-Cost Jobs Plan" that reads, "Tear Down Self-Imposed Obstacles to Economic Growth." In other words: clear-cut pesky regulations about mine safety and meat packing. We might die, but we'll be more competitive.

Now, for my money I think President Obama himself actually had the best idea. I don't remember which policy retreat he said this at, probably the one with the GOP, but he more or less said, "In order to make federal outlays match revenues we would have to cut spending across the board by something like sixty percent."

Tell you what, Mr. president - I'll settle for fifty.

But jk thinks:

Spendthrift!

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2010 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Never let it be said I'm unwilling to compromise.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2010 3:11 PM

The Ten Years of Failed Policies of the Bush Administration...

...or as Keith Hennessey puts it: Ten Years, Seriously?

Hennessey goes over President Obama's continuing campaign bromides one at a time. He acknowledges overspending (and personal bias) but picks apart the current Administration's attempt to exculpate itself. It is an excellent summation against the argument of "Bush broke it and Obama is trying to fix it."

This debate about the past can continue ad nauseam. At some point I hope it ends, but the President and his team bring it up at every opportunity. It is strange for a President to complain repeatedly about ten-year old policies and then not propose to change them. More importantly, this debate is not relevant to the problems we face today.

Yes, President Obama faced some enormous economic challenges early in his term. His predecessor did as well, even before the crisis of 2008: a bursting tech bubble leading to a recession in 2001, an economic seizure caused by 9/11, corporate governance scandals in 2002, a recession in 2002-2003, the economic uncertainty triggered by invading Iraq (this one was a policy choice), and eventually oil spiking above $100 per barrel.
[...]
More than the blame game, this is what concerns me about the President’s economic agenda. The President’s own projections show that his policies will not fix the future problems he identifies. Based entirely on numbers from the President’s just released budget, America will see the following results if all of his policies are implemented as proposed and work as projected:


Hat-tip: Prof. Mankiw

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Ten years of policies over all 57 states.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 4, 2010 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent point, this. "Bush broke it" but despite Obama's claims, he ain't fixin' it.

One quibble: For most of the first year the O-ministration did bring it up at every opportunity. But toward the end of last year I honestly felt they were moving beyond the excuse, as if it had served its usefulness. But it's being resurrected again to explain away the really tough issues.

This reminds me of a line from the excellent movie 'Hunt for Red October' when the sonar man, seaman Jones, explains why the artificially inteligent sonar system often identifies unknown sounds as "geological" because its software was originally developed to explore for oil. He said, "When it gets confused it just runs home to mama!"

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2010 3:02 PM

Y're Breakin' My Balls, Murdoch!

Sorry, I've been watching way too much South Park lately...

Wow, the Wall Street Journal has really tightened up what it gives away. I subscribed for many years, and then dropped it, honestly, when they started giving away all my favorite parts for free.

Rupert has turned the thumbscrews down and I cannot live without the only source of information I actually believe. I got a nice "Come home, jk, we miss you" offer for a $79 One year subscription.

Uncle!


February 3, 2010

Blog Post Heading of the Day

Martians and Bill O'Reilly -- John Stossel

The rest of the post is good, too. Captures my thoughts on Citizens United v FEC perfectly.


Thank you Rahm!

Personally I agree with Jason Lewis that Sarah Palin becomes what she claims to abhor when she chooses to attack Rahm Emmanuel for calling the hard-core progressive Democrats in congress "f-ing retarded." He did so for suggesting they run campaign ads against fellow Dems who won't walk the plank for health care. Criticizing speech for being "offensive" is the stock in trade of the politically correct. But don't those people just need to get a life?

Instead I think all conservative-minded people should write a letter to Rahm thanking him for the best "he said it" moniker for our political enemies since the L.A. Times gave us Barack the Magic Negro.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Giving credit where credit is due, Mr. Rahm did apologize for the the offense he gave:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0210/Special_Olympics_Apology_not_accepted.html#

I'm trying to find out if Joe Biden was the one who accepted the apology on behalf of the offended minority.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2010 5:45 PM

GM Owner Misspoke Telling Americans not to drive Toyotas

AP:

WASHINGTON – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood now says he misspoke when telling owners of recalled Toyotas to stop driving then.

Instead, LaHood says take them to dealerships to get them repaired.

LaHood told reporters it was "obviously a misstatement" when he told a House panel earlier Wednesday that he would advise owners not to drive recalled vehicles. The remark came during testimony to the Appropriations subcommittee on transportation.

Toyota's most recent recall in the United States affects 2.3 million vehicles with the potential for sticking gas pedals.


Perhaps they'd be just as tough with a problem in an Official, Government Owned Automotive Manufacturing facility.

But am I the only one who sees great opportunity for conflict of interest?

UPDATE: Nope, some clever Insty readers agree.

But jk thinks:

The Administration misspoke when they told all patriotic Americans to "crush their crappy little rice-eaters and get a good 'Merican car, like a Chevy or a Cadillac."

Sorry for the inconvenience...

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2010 2:35 PM

Taxes or Fees?

I love the smell of doublespeak in the morning.

Faced with severe budget shortfalls after a steep economic recession, state legislatures and governors are trying to raise money without raising taxes — at least not technically.

A fee hike, an increased penalty or fine, the elimination of a tax exemption — none of these technically counts as a tax increase, as far as many state lawmakers are concerned. Fiscal conservatives argue that a tax hikes are exactly what they are, but their arguments are likely to fall on deaf ears for legislators and governors wrestling with some of the worst budget deficits since the Great Depression.

"There's a certain American antipathy to raising taxes, so even if these are tax increases, there's an incentive to call them something else," said Joseph Henchman, director of state projects at the conservative Tax Foundation. "It's a trend we always see, but it's certainly going to be one that's stronger this year."


I feel for my friends from Colorado, but I suspect none of us are going to escape this.
On Monday, the Colorado House of Representatives approved eight bills eliminating tax exemptions on items ranging from online sales and farm equipment to restaurant napkins and plastic foam containers. The bills passed with no Republican support.

Were those tax increases? It depends on your political bent. To Democrats, the votes merely rid the books of tax breaks and loopholes for big business in order to avoid cuts to public schools and social services.

"It's time for corporate and other special interests to pay their fair share, and suspending a small fraction of the over $2 billion Colorado loses every year in corporate loopholes and giveaways is not too much to ask," Alan Franklin, president of ProgressNow Colorado, said in a statement after the vote.

To Republicans, the bills meant raising taxes on many of those who can least afford it: struggling farmers and ranchers, people running Internet-based businesses out of their homes, small businesses teetering on the brink of insolvency.

"At the worst possible time, we're making a choice to raise taxes on people who can't afford them anymore," state Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican, said during the floor debate. "It's an overreach by government."

But jk thinks:

I'm sure we'll all be glad to hear that "Big Napkins" is finally going to pay its fair share around here!

Y'know, I'd love to get rid of exemptions and special tax rates. But I seem to notice my Colorado Democratic legislative friends always seek to normalize to the highest level.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2010 11:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for bringing this to the blog brother ac. The story is reverberating across the nation, including Minneapolis where Jason Lewis was all over it in last night's first hour.

In addition to what's mentioned here Lewis points out that taxes will be imposed on software sales, internet sales (even to out-of-state buyers) and even on business to business sales.

(He also touches on why Gov. Ritter won't run for re-election. There's talk of an extra-marital affair with his U.S. Attorney nominee.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2010 2:58 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Let me make this easy on you, KA. The liberal definition of "fair share" is your share plus their share. Simple math.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 3, 2010 4:11 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm sure you all remember that California increased state income tax withholding by 10%, effectively so that people will have the privilege of giving Sacramento a 0% interest loan -- and possibly getting repaid with IOUs.

What isn't often mentioned is that Sacramento has slightly lowered its tax brackets, meaning the same income will pay higher taxes. The justification is "deflation," the sham borne of massaged statistics that give heavy weight to property prices and year-on-year fuel prices.

Keith, the liberal's concept of "fair share" is like a soon-to-be ex-wife's mentality: "What's mine is mine, what's ours is mine, what's yours is mine."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 3, 2010 10:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I can't resist giving my version: "Fair" is what I say it is.

Also, a Heinlein quote: "Don't handicap your children by letting them believe that anything is ever fair."

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2010 12:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Heinlein begets PJ O'Rourke. His daughter complained that something wasn't fair. He responded that she was pretty, American, young, healthy, and relatively affluent, and suggested "you better hope things don't get fair too soon."

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2010 1:05 PM

February 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

Stated another way, even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car. -- TARP Inspector General's Quarterly Report.

Via Breitbart, via Insty

But johngalt thinks:

A faster car driven by a more reckless driver, and with a gas pedal made by Toyota. His recent speeches scold that "this is no way to drive a family's car" but the best he's offered is to "freeze at our current speed."

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2010 3:13 PM

I'd've Given it to Ahhnold

I'm a First Amendment purist, but after producing Snoop Dogg, one can almost sympathize...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:49 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And if any of you are (1) truly interested or (2) finding it difficult to drift off to sleep tonight, here's the official "so let it be written, so let it be done":

http://www.ci.diamond-bar.ca.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7693

Yes, right here in anything-goes Kahleefornia (hey, congrats on winning the runner-up slot, Governator!),barely fifteen miles from my front door, they have banned live entertainment. But wait! This was done because of the number of complaints about noise and nuisance, so they... do nothing about the places which are the cause of said noise and nuisance, and give them a monopoly on it, but ban anyone else from getting in on the fun?

I should admit, based on transparency and Truth In Commenting laws, that I do despise karaoke, which I believe to be a combination of two Japanese words meaning "talentless" and "annoying."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 2, 2010 9:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, ka. My flippancy catches me yet again.

Fancy me missing the segue, and pardon if this is not original.

But California! The very name conjures thoughts of freedom. Hardy folks from the 49ers to the hippies who refused to accept the norms of the status quo. Now, sadly, the Golden State is leading the way into nannyism: all those who rode to power by challenging authority have become authority -- with a vengeance.

Not to be harsh on your home, ka, trust me: Colorado is headed down the toilet right behind you.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2010 11:16 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

No offense taken, jk. Harsh on my home? Ha! I'm a transplant - born in Massachusetts, raised in North Carolina (where it wasn't until I was eight years old that I learned "damn Yankees" was two words), and endlessly entertained by the folly of the locals. I've never been anywhere in my life where I've felt more needed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2010 11:42 AM

Help is on the way!

According to the Senator-Elect's Facebook page:

Scott Brown will be officially sworn in on February 11th at 12:45pm.

UPDATE: You and 8,048 others like this.


February 1, 2010

Look for the Union Label

John Stossel has done some good reporting on the NYC "rubber room." Suspected pedophile teachers are shunted off to draw full salary, benefits and pensions (dey do got a Union contract!) without putting them in a classroom where they would likely hurt a student.

Scrivener links to a story of one guy -- just has to be read to be believed. Alan Rosenfeld "collects a $100,000 salary for doing nothing...working on his law practice and managing 12 real-estate properties worth an estimated $7.8 million..."

So Rosenfeld simply collects his $100,049 salary -- top scale for teachers -- plus full health benefits and the promise of a fat pension, about $82,000 a year if he were to retire today.

His pension will grow by $1,700 each year he remains. He could have retired at age 62, but he stays.

He has also accumulated about 435 unused sick days -- and will get paid for half of them when he retires. With city teachers trying to negotiate a 4 percent pay hike, Rosenfeld stands to get the raise.

All this largesse comes as Mayor Bloomberg threatens to cut 2,500 teachers to help close a $4 billion budget gap.


Maybe some brave politician will stand up to the Teachers' Union and demand that they repair this outrageous --- oh I do crack myself up sometime.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 6:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

“But I stole this for you,” says the plunderer.

I have two great links today and I cannot decide whether to try for a segue. I post, you decide...

First is King Banaian, whom I have linked before -- easily the finest of the HotAir stable. Today, his majesty brilliantly answers "What's the Matter with You Americans?" He traces it back to the Revolution's suspicion of tyranny and revolution against what most people today admit is pretty small potatoes.

Doesn’t it seem the same today? When one points out the connection between parts of the Obama agenda and those of European socialists we are told “he’s certainly not one of those!” Of course not. But we called tyranny a level of taxation that many other places just accepted as their lot in life. Our common people believe they deserve explanations, and they are mistrustful most of those who say, “trust us.”

And this is a vital point — a country that has the character to not use government power to plunder a minority for the sake of a majority (or vice versa, as in Saddam’s Iraq) better resists the eventual trials of war, depression, famine, etc.

Outstanding piece, not done justice by my excerpt.

For the second link, blog friend tg has a superb post on "The Death of a Nation” (I might mention that it is not an uplifting, optimistic story of sweetness and light, lots of hugs and puppies kind of thing).

Also comparing the Revolution to today, tg and his buddies turn to Carroll Quigley's theory of institutional decay and disturbing parallels with modern American government.

The discussion began with a Committee post titled "Institution vs. Instrument". The post highlighted historian Carroll Quigley's theory of institutional decay, termed in this discussion as the "institutional imperative." According to this imperative, organizations are formed as a means to accomplishing a stated goal. These organizations are thus instruments whose role is limited to the function they were designed to perform. Over time these instruments tend to denigrate into institutions – organizations who exist for their own sake, devoting resources to protecting their position instead of directing resources towards the fulfillment of their designed role.

I am able to fire up the Sanguine Machine® a little more than tg. Our Constitution lays seeds to rejuvenate itself without Jeffersonian bloodletting. I commented that I find America's being centered around ideals instead of race or heritage an optimistic sign, Lastly, attending a tea party (egads! me among all those unwashed, anti-intellectuals!) has given me hope that the light of liberty burns a little more brightly in people's hearts than the media would have you know.

It's Monday and I know you're trying to get some work done, but both of these items deserve a thoughtful reading (and neither is long).

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I just finished brother tg's piece and quite enjoyed it. I left a comment that seconded jk's view of a more universal love of liberty.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2010 3:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And here is your seque...

Brother tg exasperates at the willingness of the public to vote against liberty while King Banaian credits a public distrust of government for Obamacare's failure to be embraced. I submit there was a time when a majority would have voted for Obamacare but that time was before most of us saw what happened when it was tried elsewhere - Britain and Canada, most specifically.

The David Runciman column that Banaian excerpts reveals the slip: Those who most dislike Obamacare "are often the ones it seems designed to help." (...) "Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal." That's because it IS the ultimate betrayal.

Those who "lose out" under the existing system are the ones who can actually pay. Not the indigent, for everyone is treated, by rule of law. But the reality of Obamacare is that care will be rationed. Even if the cost IS reduced, and I use the word "if" advisedly, most prefer to actually be treated promptly, thank you very much.

It's not a cultivated American sense of character and wariness towards power that has undone Obamacare. It's that most of us know, in the real world, the thing doesn't work!

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2010 3:35 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)