March 31, 2010

Headline of the Day

Cloudy with a Chance of Global Warming

Greenpeace now has cloud computing in its crosshairs. If you ever wondered why the huge data centers were being built as close as possible to large hydro plants, now you know—cloud computing is an energy hog. Expect to hear more about this going forward. It will be interesting to see if green groups try to demonize the high-tech industry the way they’ve demonized coal and other fossil fuel firms.-- Nick Shultz

Got to comment: yeah, guys, much better to distribute that power among a million old servers in air-conditioned data centers powered by a variety of sources.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Barack Obama, Progressive

I appreciate blog friend tg's thoughtful comments in defense of our 26th President and invite everybody to read them before they fall off the page.

Shelby Steele has an interesting piece on the WSJ Ed Page today on President Obama. Steele speculates that "He is likely to be the most liberal president in American history. And, oddly, he may be a more effective liberal precisely because his liberalism is something he uses more than he believes in. As the far left constantly reminds us, he is not really a true believer. Rather liberalism is his ticket to grandiosity and to historical significance."

Presidents Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln opened the door to expanded executive power and any believer in limited government and separation of powers needs to weigh this -- substantively -- against their achievements.

But I am going to draw the line from TR Progressivism to Obama Progressivism with this quote from Steele:

Of the two great societal goals—freedom and "the good"—freedom requires a conservatism, a discipline of principles over the good, limited government, and so on. No way to grandiosity here. But today's liberalism is focused on "the good" more than on freedom. And ideas of "the good" are often a license to transgress democratic principles in order to reach social justice or to achieve more equality or to lessen suffering. The great political advantage of modern liberalism is its offer of license on the one hand and moral innocence—if not superiority—on the other. Liberalism lets you force people to buy health insurance and feel morally superior as you do it. Power and innocence at the same time.

My friend is absolutely correct that much of President Obama's agenda would be anathema to President Theodore Roosevelt. But that paragraph portrays both men perfectly.

Executive Power Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

And if Obama Progressivism isn't defeated some other president, probably sooner than 72 years hence, will pursue an agenda that makes Obama look like Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 3:23 PM

If Senator McCain Has Lost jk...

I heard this this morning on TeeVee and almost fell out of bed. Senator John McCain is demanding National Guard troops on the border.

We all have a few things about Senator McCain that drive us completely mad. One thing that I always appreciated was his "Profile in Courage" to stand up for what I think to be the right position on immigration. He took an unpopular, minority position and stood up to an extremely vocal wing of his party, because he thought it was right.

He watered his position a bit for the GOP nomination, but that is politics and I remained on-board. Now Stacy McCain accuses him of "Get[ting] in Touch With His Inner Tom Tancredo" in advance of a primary challenge from Rep J.D. Hayworth.

Yeah, and we know that John McCain is sincere about his newfound border-security concerns, right? All that stuff a few years ago calling his critics hatemongering xenophobes – just kiddin’ guys, hahaha.
I'm the lonesome guy on immigration round these parts, but I invite ThreeSourcers to look at the ability to stand for principle and not the principle itself.

I am truly disgusted and feel, for the first time, that Brother jg is perhaps right that we are better of having had President Obama win the 2008 election.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Over the weekend I was eager to dogpile Senator McCain again but somehow playing around on the tractor took precedence. This opportunity in the comments will have to suffice:

First - On Saturday morning, after being elected a GOP delegate to the State Convention, I had a wonderful one-on-one conversation with Perry Buck, wife of Senate candidate Ken Buck. When the discussion turned to Jane Norton's support by McCain's PAC she asked if I'd heard the story about McCain screaming at Tancredo. John wanted Tom's vote on McCain-Feingold so offered to help with Tom's re-election campaign a week or so prior to asking for support on the bill. "I can't support it - it's a bad bill" was met with heated words that escalated to screaming. "The first time John McCain does that to Jane Norton she'll fold. Not Ken. He'll be right back in his face."

Second - Charlie Crist, during the Chris Wallace interview with Marco Rubio, said that his favorite senators are McCain and Graham. He also said his idea of "public service" is an old-fashioned one [and I'm paraphrasing] that "we are here to do things to serve people."

These aren't examples of the kind of "experienced leadership" the GOP needs, or even, can tolerate. If he is re-elected in 2012 he'll have significant influence over selection of the party's presidential candidate too. I'd rather he followed Tom DeLay out of town instead.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 3:49 PM

March 30, 2010

Denver TEA Party III

I don't yet have firm plans to attend tomorrow's Denver TEA Party [4pm at the State Capitol] but if I go, these will be my signs:


Are any of the Colorado brothers interested in going? I have two blank poster boards and need someone to carry the second sign.

UPDATE: 3/31 0850 MDT - According to People's Press Collective the scheduled 4pm start time is unlikely. Travel delays from Grand Junction mean the start time will probably be 5pm instead.

Also, I had assumed that Palin and other headliners were on board for the entire tour. Not so.

In the event that none of us go to the event I invite others to contribute their sign ideas in the comments.

UPDATE II (jk): Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a pic:

But johngalt thinks:

Not out of line at all. Besides not having to walk from a parking spot we'll also be livin' the green life in the carpool lane!

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Posted before update -- whatever you decide. I'm not sure Palin's absence isn't a plus. With all respect to the guv, I'd rather attend a freedom rally than a "Sarah Palin rally."

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 10:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

More signs:



(A couple of these would make good 3Srcs T-shirts!)

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

News of Ms. Palin's absence serves mostly to explain the dearth of local advertising for the event.

jk: I emailed you to discuss logistics. [@3srcsdotcom]

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Got your email, thanks. $50 seems a bit excessive for gas but we're thinking it over...

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 1:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What did you expect in the "new energy economy?"

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 2:56 PM

Obama: Health Care Bill is "All Sorts of Republican Ideas"

Did anyone else catch this Matt Lauer interview of Obama this morning?

The president is "frustrated" that Republicans did not support these ideas that they had actually proposed in the past.

Mister president, have you forgotten that the Republicans were VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR THE POLICIES THEY PROPOSED IN THE PAST? Instead of trying to please congressional Republicans, try pleasing the voters.

TEA anyone?

But jk thinks:

Clearly he recognizes the unpolularity of ObamaCare® -- he's trying to blame Republicans!

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2010 5:14 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

You mean that interview where he said that the Tea Party's core is a bunch of birthers? The flat out lies in that interview were too many to count, including his claim that his NCAA brackets blew up because he was too busy concentrating on health care.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 30, 2010 6:47 PM
But jk thinks:

If only the President had payed more attention to his NCAA bracket, the country could have saved Trillions!

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2010 7:13 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"Mister president, have you forgotten that the Republicans were VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR THE POLICIES THEY PROPOSED IN THE PAST? Instead of trying to please congressional Republicans, try pleasing the voters."

I do not understand this.

Republicans are in office for eight years. Voters do not like them - perhaps for what they proposed, perhaps for what they (or did not) accomplish. It does not matter really - the voters chose to kick them out.

But they also chose to put someone else in. That someone was a person, described by yourself, as 'the most radical leftist President' in America's history.

Doesn't the election of such a man imply the implicit endorsement of radical leftism by the voting public? Or at least, the rejection of conservatism writ-large?

You say Obama should stop trying to please congressional Republicans and start trying to please voters. Forgive me, but that sounds like an invitation for an even more socialistic set of policies than we have got.

TEA is fine and all, but lets not fool ourselves into thinking we have attained greater heights. We have a long way upwards yet.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 31, 2010 7:49 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll let brother jg defend his own words; I'm guessing that we're all gobsmacked that this single-party cramdown that gathered zero GOP votes is presented as being jam-packed with Republican Ideas®

I will speak up on the suggestion that President Obama's election proves "endorsement of radical leftism." President Obama cleverly ran away from his leftist record. He beat up Senator Clinton for insurance mandates and wasn't going to raise taxes "one dime" on earners below 250K. Post-partisan, post-racial, and Post Toasties, a new era of government bla bla bla.

It worked and I won't blame him for trying it. You're correct that the GOP left the door wide open and he walked through it. But it is unfair to the poor American voter to say that he asked for this.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My best effort at explaining how a center-right country elected the most radical leftist president in history is here.

It took the happy, not-paying-attention public six to eight years to recognize that Republicans were ripping them off. It hasn't taken that long with the Bolshecrats.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 10:43 AM

Huh? Science Not Settled?

Meteorologists Against Global Warming? Mai Non!

Joe Bastardi, for example, a senior forecaster and meteorologist with AccuWeather, maintains that it is more likely that the planet is cooling, and he distrusts the data put forward by climate scientists as evidence for rising global temperatures.

“There is a great deal of consternation among a lot of us over the readjustment of data that is going on and some of the portrayals that we are seeing,” Mr. Bastardi said in a video segment posted recently on AccuWeather’s Web site.

I'm linking 'cause I like the guy's name. Wonder if any of the DAWG-promoters have a nickname for Mister Bastardi...

Hat-tip: Instapundit (I thought I should throw a link back).

But johngalt thinks:

Go Joe! I've liked Joe B. for a long time, even before he "came out" on DAWG. O'Reilly (cough, cough) recently hosted a Climate Change debate between Joe the Meterologist (my name) and Bill Nye "The Science Guy." Joe took Nye apart, complete with maps and graphs. Nye was admirable in not revealing the sweat building under his stupid little bow-tie.

As for Joe's tease-worthy surname, I'll just say that the Bill Nye's rhyming word is "guy" not science. We could call him whatever kind of guy we want.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2010 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Nice Clip -- list me among the Bastardis as well!

Joe gets extra points for a Popperian methodology: thepredictive power of his theory.

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2010 4:19 PM

Our Favorite Libertarian Obama Supporter

Instapundit reader Brant Hadaway writes:

I’m not usually this petty, but every time I see a link to another piece by Megan McArdle in which she (correctly) calls out the Dems on deficits, accounting rules, Obamacare, etc., I have to grit my teeth to prevent myself from yelling at the screen, “But you voted for him! You and every other sentient being on the planet should have seen this coming!”

I can respect the true believers in Obama. After all, they have their agenda.

But I cannot abide those who act like they were duped. The only people who were duped by Obama were those who wanted to be duped.

I have taken heat for my appreciation of Ms. McArdle. but I must confess I have lost some tooth enamel over that as well, Brent.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"He said he wanted to be another FDR! FDR ended the Great Depression! That's what we really needed!!!"

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2010 3:29 PM

Are Two Mandates Not Enough?

I'm willing to take correction from my economic betters on this, but this concern from Charles Schwab strikes me as -- what's the economic term? -- whacked.

Today's historically low interest rates may be feeding banks' profitability, but they are financially starving our seniors.

In February 2006, when Ben Bernanke was first sworn in as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the federal-funds target rate stood at 4.5%. That same year, the average yield on a one-year certificate of deposit was 5.4%. A retiree who diligently saved for a lifetime and had amassed a nest egg of $100,000 could count on an added $5,400 in retirement income per year. That may not sound like much to the average Wall Street Journal subscriber, but for a senior on fixed incomes that extra money improved the quality of his life.

I hate to beat up on the seniors as the Obama Administration beats up on the Juniors, but is this a rational consideration for monetary policy?

I suspect not. The FOMC already suffers from the dual mandate of inflation protection and employment (Mister Phillips, call your office!) I think that badly damages the former. Trichet only has to worry about the soundness of the Euro (and Greece, and Portugal, but you get my drift...)

I don't think it is the duty of the Fed to ensure the return on fixed income securities -- am I missing something?

FOMC Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I hope Rupert doesn't come after you for putting the extra words "...incomes that extra money improved the quality of his life" into the public domain without permission.

I tried reading the article for context - to see if it was being raised as a warning to investors rather than a criticism of government.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2010 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Rupert is frightened of my influence.

I think Schwab is truly disgruntled that (let's be real, his) investors do not have ready access to a 4% + risk free vehicle.

We've taken our whacks at Helicopter Ben and The Maestro for easy money policies, but depriving seniors of adequate Money Market returns seems a stretch.

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2010 3:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Schwab also omits the rate of inflation when interest rates are at 5.4%. When considering inflation, the net yield is probably more like 1%-2%, not unlike what we have now.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 30, 2010 3:37 PM

Art Laffer, Call Your Office!

President Barack Obama's new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% "Medicare tax" on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000.

The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions.

Add it up and the government is counting on squeezing an extra $1.2 trillion over 10 years from a tiny sliver of taxpayers who already pay more than half of all individual taxes.

It won't work. It never works.

Alan Reynolds, in a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, goes on to enumerate the steps earners would take to escape taxes. I don't think it is widely known or accepted just how fungible and controllable taxable income is in the brackets targeted by tax-the-rich-ers.

I could increase my 401k deductions a little or perhaps quit my development gig and live off my blogging and coffeehouse revenue. But I am not yet in the bracket the Obama Administration is targeting. Yes, I know, they'll come looking for me soon enough, but there is some level of honest but misguided sentiment that only folks much more affluent than me will pick up the tab for social programs.

Reynolds -- I'll plug his magisterial Income and Wealth one more time -- shows how many tools are at the disposal of this taxpayer echelon.

But johngalt thinks:

I don't believe we can assume the crafters of this crapola ever intended that it would be paid for by their tax hikes. They just needed the CBO to say it would. The real crime here is that the effects of tax avoidance strategies are forbidden ground in CBO analyses.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2010 3:03 PM

It's Okay, Scientists are in Charge

C/O The Guardian:

"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said [Really Smart Human James] Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."

Non-James-Lovelock humans are " too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades." Thank Zeus that the 90-year-old super genius is willing to step into the breach and run the world for awhile.

H-T: My buddy Glenn at Instapundit, who just can't stop linking to me...

But johngalt thinks:


Paragraph 1 - He doesn't think we're clever enough to handle "as complex a situation as climate change."

Paragraph 2 - "It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while" ostensibly so that we can "handle" the complex situation.

Obvious point number 1: Does suspension of democracy make humans more clever?

Obvious point number 2: Is the interaction of economic market forces any less complex? Is there any less human inertia in the realm of commerce?

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2010 3:14 PM

March 29, 2010

jk Defends Senator Franken

You live long enough, you see it all.

I just wish some people had a knob on them that you could turn down. I have seen a few videos from this guy, Jason Mattera, and they are close to genius. His MO is to complement a legislator as he/she passes in the hallway. Target immediately shifts to "accept fawning" mode and is completely unprepared for a tough question. It's Brilliant!

And yet, Mattera needs a knob to dial him back from 11 to eight. He is completely out of line to refer to a (sortof) elected member of the US Senate as "Senator Smalley." That is out of line, plus Senator Franken has valid points on both his opportunity to answer the question as well as possible misrepresentation of the bill's contents.

Ouch -- I am scoring this 2-0 for Senator Franken who may not be "Minnesota Nice" but is certainly not "unhinged."

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Doug Wright thinks:

I agree. Al (Smiley) Franken is a world class jerk of the first order and IMHO quite ignorant on many issues. However, Franken's retort to Mattera is on point and Mattera should have dialed way back. Mattera would have been effective if he'd simply given Franken time, and space, to answer the question.

The video did highlight that Franken's self-control is almost nonexistent; he has a short fuse, which should be ignited by Mattera's replacement.

As for Franken's aid grabbing Mattera's shoulder, Mattera should have responded to that vigorously, yet peacefully. Is Jason a man or a mouse?

Posted by: Doug Wright at March 29, 2010 6:58 PM
But AtheistConservative thinks:

While I can agree that Mattera was overly combative, it's rather nonsensical to claim that Franken 'has a point'. He had numerous opportunities to answer, but first responded with derisive dismissal, then when the clauses were shown to him he just kept repeating 'let me answer' and then walked away.

Posted by: AtheistConservative at March 29, 2010 8:39 PM
But Charles Collins thinks:

I'm not a big fan of "ambush journalism" in general, and have never understood why we think it is wrong to let officials know what they are going to talk about. As if they should be up to date on every topic, and be prepared to answer any question without notes. Its why I hate 60 Minutes.

Posted by: Charles Collins at March 30, 2010 9:31 AM

Passover Sermon

Once again, ThreeSources provides the unexpected. Well, Arnold Kling provides it. And Volkh links. To which Instapundit links...

Yet if I understand the spirit of Kibbutz correctly, I have every right to reproduce Kling's "If a Libertarian Gave a Sermon for Passover."

As we approach Passover in 2010, many people are unemployed. But in a free society, government does not create jobs.

Pharoah created jobs for us. Moses led us away from those jobs. Even though those jobs helped to complete public infrastructure. Even though they were green jobs, where we used our muscles and our backs instead of fossil fuels.

Moses could have been part of the ruling class in Egypt. He chose freedom instead. Those of us who followed Moses also chose freedom. Freedom brings risks. But we preferred the risks of freedom to the security of bondage.

Do not confuse government with G-d. Government cannot miraculously provide us with manna--or health care. When we look at government, we should not see G-d. We should see Pharoah. Government-worship is Pharoah-worship.

Passover is known as the festival of freedom. To live in the Jerusalem of a free society, we have to leave the Egypt of the reach of government.

Amen and happy Passover/Easter/Equinox/Whatever.

This is an awesome answer to my Facebook friends' goofy paean to government.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:10 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Please also mention to your goofy Facebook friends this other important distinction between government and G-d:

Respecting the commandments of G-d the thinking man is free to decide "G-d doesn't exist, therefore I reject whatever commandments I find baseless." How many men, thinking or otherwise, get away with that approach to baseless government commandments?

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Mea Maxima Culpa! I should have said "Equinox" and not "Solstice" (since corrected).

ThreeSources regrets the error and apologizes for any inconvenience.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2010 7:08 PM

TR, Progressive

"At the time I became President I had grown to feel --antri deep intensity of conviction that governmental agencies must find their justification largely in the way in which they are used for the practical betterment of living and working conditions among the mass of the people. I felt that the fight was really for the abolition of privilege; and one of the first stages in the battle was necessarily to fight for the rights of he workingman. For this reason I felt most strongly that all that the government could do in the interest of labor should be done. The Federal Government can rarely act with the directness that the State governments act. It can, however, do a good deal." -- Theodore Roosevelt (autobiography)

Chew on that a moment, ThreeSourcers. I just finished President Theodore Roosevelt's autobiography. I recommend it highly and it is available free on Google Books (I have a SONY eReader that displays Google Books -- you could also read onscreen).

We had words once about TR. I had a pretty negative opinion based mostly on Gene Healy's The Cult of the Presidency and Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Reading through the presidents, I have tried, where I have a strong opinion, to read at least one book from the other side. So for TR I read his autobiography, William Roscoe Thayer's highly complimentary autobiography and I am partway through TR's "Through the Brazilian Wilderness."

It is impossible to not appreciate his patriotism, integrity, and the intensity of his personality. One can quickly see why Senator McCain and Governor Charlie Christ call themselves "Teddy Roosevelt Republicans." He truly looms larger than life: his Rushmore image.

He addresses accusations of executive overreach. He claims correctly that he represents the "Jackson-Lincoln" view of executive power. In a masterful, world class display of spin, he refers to objectors as the "Taft-Buchannan" view of Executive Power. Me = Lincoln, Jackson; Taft = Buchannan.

And yet -- for all my appreciation -- I see him not as much a continuation of Lincoln-Jackson but more as a precursor to Wilson-FDR-LBJ-Obama. He turns the Tenth Amendment on its ass like some rhino he has shot in his pajamas:

in such cases it is the duty of the President to act trppii tin theuiy llial he'is Llie steward of the people, aficHftatlhfe' proper aTT.itildeJtM>-4nm^to take is that haTfe bptinci"to"assume that he has the ]epa1 right to do whatever the needjTbf the people demand, unless the Constitution or the laws explicitlv torhirt him To do it

Google Books are scanned and occasionally wig out like this. It is rare that it is that bad. I did not want to cleanse it and change the actual quote -- but I think you all get the drift. He looks to the Constitution for a list of enumerated proscriptions -- and, not finding it, carries boldly on.

As you can imagine, much ink is devoted to trust-busting. The Sherman Antitrust act was turned over in US v EC Knight but President Roosevelt forced an almost identical case through a year later and got it overturned.

I'll even cede that TR and his administration may have been in the right on some of their forays against the right to contract. But he did not see what his philosophical heirs would do 100 years later. Clinton's DOJ's attack on Microsoft, the impedance on the Sirius-XM merger, &c.

The list goes on and on. Today you can add DuPont vs. Monsanto. In case you are wondering which one of the adjudicants is "the little guy," that would be DuPont. Poor fledgling child that it is, it requires gub'mint help to stop Monsanto's monopolistic practices. As Dave Berry would say, I am not making this up. The WSJ Ed Page points out that the Obama Administration is on the case:

In fact, DuPont holds a slight edge in soybean seed sales, and each company represents about one-quarter of the soybean seed market. Competition is strong in the seed industry, where Monsanto lost market share as a result of its decision to license its soybean technology to other seed producers.

But Ms. [Christine] Varney, the Justice antitrust chief, has her eye on bigger things. She once worked to organize farm workers and she has said that Justice's Iowa workshops were inspired by her concern that the Bush Administration had allowed too many mergers across the farm industry, creating a culture of Big Agriculture that is bad for America. Besides this litigation, the Justice Department recently filed suit in Wisconsin to prevent further "consolidation" in dairy processing. The livestock industry, which is dominated by a handful of major producers and was another hot topic at the Iowa workshops, could be next.

Had Mister Roosevelt left things to property rights and market forces, the ills he fought would have worked themselves out through unions, state regulations, and consumer preference. By creating a government panel for Ms. Varney and Ag Chief Tom Vilsak to sit on, this insane charade continues unabated,

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

In my younger days I fancied myself a "Teddy Roosevelt Republican" too. My reasons were, mostly: National Parks conservation and "speak softly and carry a big stick" (and be willing to use it.) Now, I know better.

Excellent post brother.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 3:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Many thanks for the kind words, jg.

The SONY Reader has a "bookmark" button to mark relevant quotes for future retrieval. Reading the book and imagining this post I must have marked well over a dozen (a real dozen, not a CNN dozen) such quotes -- each more incriminating that the one before it. The introductory quote of this post summed them up. But should anyone think that I cherry-picked it, I can provide many similar and some worse.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2010 5:42 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

TR's Autobiography is a funny book. I enjoyed it my first read through, though I do not think it is the best thing that he has written. Most amusing to me was the chapter that deals with finance - biographers tell us that the one subject in the world that bored TR was economics, and that large bits of it went over his head. Perhaps understandably, TR had managed to convinced himself that it was the concentrated actions of the federal government that had saved the nation's economy from a death spiral after the banker's panic.

It is funny that you should write this post now, as I am about halfway through reading The Free citizen, a summons to service of the democratic ideal by Theodore Roosevelt; selections from his writings and stories from his record, a lengthy and annotated series of quotations and excerpts from TR's writings and speeches. It has been an interesting read, and has deepened my appreciation and understanding of the man. I think it can be safely said that most of his errors rest on two assumptions.

TR said in 1912:

All of us, you and I, all of us together, want to rule ourselves, and we don't wish to have any outsiders rule us. That is what free government means."

Consider the implications of this statement. For TR, any force that violated the autonomy of the honorable citizen was a threat to freedom. As he said in another speech he given a few years earlier:

The distinctive features of the American system are its guarantees of personal independence and individual freedom; that is, as far as possible, it guarantees to each man his right to live as he chooses and to regulate his own private affairs as he wishes, without being interfered with or tyrannized over by an individual, or by an oligarchic minority, or by a democratic majority.

Notice that he does not distinguish between the means by which these individuals, minorities, and majorities received their power to tyrannize - for TR, price setting cartels, lynch mobs, and despotic kings all are one and the same. They all impose restrictions on the autonomy and opportunity of the citizen, and thus all ought to be fought against with equal vigor.

Thus in many ways TR was very, very different from other progressives who followed after him. Unlike FDR (or Obama), TR never would sanction direct governmental control of the economy or support state sanctioned monopolies. This would be the establishment of undeserved privilege - the enemy of all those who thought that men should be given equal opportunity, not equality itself. This equal opportunity was the the 'square deal' TR was always taking about, and at its core was this vision of the citizen as an autonomous being whose only limits to success was his character. It makes sense then, that TR wanted to destroy those institutions that served (as he saw it) as artificial limits from above.

What TR missed was that these limits were fundamentally different from each other. Coercion was coercion, no matter its source. It never would have occurred to TR that the power of the corporations was unstable, that market forces and consumer preferences would eventually sort things out. Part of this is due Roosevelt's poor grasp of economics, as already mentioned. Part of it was also due to the tenor of the times, where the folks with the power of Morgan seemed untouchable. Most of all though, I think it was just TR's insistence on painting everything in black and white. The evils of the mob and the market were one and the same. Forgotten was that at the end of the day, the state is always the one with the biggest stick.

As for the tyranny TR himself brought to bear with his wielding of state power - this I think is sourced in one of TR's bigger mistakes: the conflation of the people and the federal government. More often than not, TR saw the two as one and the same - or rather, one as the subset of the other, the government being the arm of the people. The American people were, in TR's mind, a mass that could do no wrong - paragons of virtue and enterprise in a world that had little. When this world assaulted the freedom of self-made men (be it through of financial oligarchs or foreign intrigues), it was the government of the US, consecrated in her constitution, whose job it was to defend them. TR, I think, had a very hard time imaging the US government as a tyrannical force - how could an arm tyrannize the body? Only through inefficiency and corruption could the Republic pose a threat to the people as a whole.

We know, of course, that this is not true. I think this was less clear in 1900. His substantive civil service reforms and wars against the party machines (an under appreciated legacy whose importance cannot be discounted, I think) were meant to ensure that only the best of men could come to power. TR saw his own election as proof that the American people recognized who these men were. He had faith that the American people would continue bringing such men to power.

For this reason, I doubt that TR gave much thought to long term implications of his policies. His starting point was the opposite of the framer's. They labored to build institutions that could not be used for despotism even if the worst of men were elected to power. TR's policies were such as would fall into despotism unless the best of men were elected to power. TR's fault, I think, was the sincere expectation that this would never happen.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 31, 2010 8:57 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Quick note-

That "coercion is coercion" line should go right after "evils of market and mob are the same".

Hopefully it makes more sense that way. Bit confusing as it is now. ^_^

Posted by: T. Greer at March 31, 2010 9:04 AM
But jk thinks:

So he has a poor philosophical grounding, cannot grasp economics and cannot see the dangerous future uses of the Executive Power he claimed. "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln..."

I'll cede all of your points and still think him one of the worst and most dangerous presidents.

Additional reading has improved my appreciation for all of the 25 who preceded him. I had high expectations that I was misled by Misters Healy and Goldberg and would come to appreciate TR like my friends tg and sc (well, to some extent).

What I found was that he was far worse that I expected. As I mentioned, I bookmarked many quotes. He did not even believe in adversarial law; he was disappointed that an attorney would provide a vigorous defense of a position rather than all coming together to seek some intrinsic truth. I can imagine a high-school sophomore taking that position, but not a POTUS.

We can agree on "swell guy:" an appellation I would happily bestow on Presidents Carter, GHWB, and Franklin Pierce. But his philosophical mistakes have become serious flaws in our nation's government.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 11:18 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

So he has a poor philosophical grounding, cannot grasp economics and cannot see the dangerous future uses of the Executive Power he claimed

An unfair standard, I would say, on all three counts.

The idea of freedom as autonomy stretches back to the Roman's day (surely it was the main sense of the word before Locke came around), and plenty of America's founders subscribed to this type of classical Republicanism. This too, was the type of freedom most Southerners fought for during the civil war. (Anexcellent book for those interested in America's many kinds of freedom, Eric Foner's The Story of American Freedom). TR was part of a pretty grand tradition in placing autonomy front and center of his vision of freedom. It hardly deserves the label "poor philosophical grounding".

Not being keen on economics is bad, but TR is hardly unique in this. Jefferson was even worse - I am remember chuckling as I read Joesph Ellis' account (another good book, IMHO) of Jefferson's opposition to Hamilton's economic policies - one of the central problem was that Jefferson simply did not understand all of this Adam Smith stuff! Democratic opposition to the BOTUS followed similar patterns.

I take most issue, however, with the last bit. You have said it twice now, so I think it is fair game to hit - the reason you dislike Roosevelt not for any of his particular executive crusades, but with the direction his precedent has been received in the 100 years since TR's time. Forgive me for not thinking this is an unjust criticism of any statesmen. Can you tell me of a statesmen who was so far sighted as to plan his politics around the battles of those who would come 100 years hence? I can think of none. Would you apply such a standard to other Presidents and politicians in our history? Are you ready to condemn Jefferson for the civil war? James Monroe for Wounded Knee? TR's actions were hardly worse than those of Lincoln or Jackson. The only difference is that the folks who came after TR were ready to match his oversteps measure for measure. The difference was less in the man himself than in those who came after.

And this counts for all of those who have ruled in the 100 years since TR stalked the halls of Washington. Blaming TR for flaws in our government is simply shifting the blame. If there are flaws in our governance, the fault lies not with him, but we.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 2, 2010 4:20 AM

March 28, 2010

I Think the 21st Century is Here

You used to hear serious people say "all the cool stuff has been invented." Thankfully, that statement has lost currency. All the same, I have to call "whoa! cool!" on this. Jeepers.

At the DEMO conference in Palm Springs, CA, today, the company's executives announced a new technology called QuantumFilm that lets small camera sensors, like those in cell phones, capture more light than ever before. QuantumFilm is simply a layer of quantum dots--tiny crystals that efficiently absorb light and emit either photons or electrons--in a top layer of the sensor. The electrons emitted by QuantumFilm are collected and sorted the chip's circuitry.

The result is a sensor that collects twice the light of the standard chip, converts it to electricity twice as efficiently, and is just as cheap to make, says Ted Sargent, chief technology officer of InVisage and professor of electrical and computer engineering and the University of Toronto, where the early research for QuantumFilm began. "Silicon image sensors have a really severe problem in that they just throw away photons left right and center," says Sargent. Quantum dots, he says, provide a "fundamental solution to the problem."

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

Missing the Point

Roughly a year after inauguration of America's most radically leftist president in history, in the wake of a year of grassroots outrage popularly monikered TEA Parties, a pair of "documentary filmmakers and political activists" formed "an alternative to the Tea Party Movement" - the "Coffee Party USA."

By failing to notice the capitalization of all three letters in the word TEA the authors of the linked Wikipedia entry, and likely the Coffee Party USA organizers themselves, fail to recognize that the TEA Party phenomenon is not just about dumping tea into a metaphorical government harbor - it's about being Taxed Enough, Already!

But it isn't just the name that Coffee Statists have wrong, it's the philosophy.

Its mission states that it is based on the underlying principle that the government is "not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans."

TEA Partiers participate in the democratic process but since there is no such thing as "collective will" outside the writings of Karl Marx they seek to address the challenges we face as individual Americans. Today, more than ever before, productive Americans are challenged by a government that forcibly confiscates individual earnings in the name of "helping the people." Unfortunately, they do the former much more efficiently than the latter.

So what does COFFEE stand for? While waiting for the founders to enlighten us we can at least offer our own interpretations. Mine is 'Confiscate Ownership Freedom From Every Entrepreneur.'

But terri thinks:

Funny how that philosophy is only official when the new coffee party's side is in office.

Posted by: terri at March 29, 2010 9:12 AM
But HB thinks:

I couldn't help but to be reminded of the introduction of Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom:

"In a much quote passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, 'Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.' It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on it origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic 'what your country can do for you' implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, 'what you can do for your country' implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favor and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served....

...He will ask rather 'What can I and my compatriots do through government' to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom?"

THIS is the issue that divides the two groups.

Posted by: HB at March 29, 2010 1:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, Milton, and excellent segue HB.

A contemporary free-market reprise of the JFK line might be: "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask how your country can leave you alone."

I repeatedly lament a "progressive" public education establishment shaped by John Dewey and others that gave us the baby boomer do gooders who now claim to run things "for the public good." This Kennedy quote is a reminder that the collectivist ethos has infected all of civil society for a very long time.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 2:59 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

A bit late on this one, but here it goes.

My problem with Friedman's piece is that he makes an assumption I am uncomfortable with - the automatic jump from "country" to "government".

This does not make much sense to me. A country is much, much more than the state that governs it. It is a group of people, a stake of land, a collection of traditions, and the state that tries to govern it all. Thus where Friedman reads, "Ask not what your government can do for you - as what you can do for your government", I read "Ask not what your society can do for you - ask what you can do for your society". Or perhaps "your community". Even "your civilization".

And to be honest, I do not think those latter sentences are half so bad. Then again, I a am bit more on the communitarian side than most you folks...

Posted by: T. Greer at March 31, 2010 8:00 AM
But jk thinks:

We're working tg like a blogging dog today.

Were we France or Germany, I'd agree. Ein Volk and all. But I object to your objection. America is not a race or a people or a piece of dirt, it's an idea and that idea is expressed in *gasp* a free government.

Yup, letters == bad...

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 11:26 AM

Dozens, Indeed.

My inner mathematician says "yes, it is accurate to say that this crowd is some finite if not integral multiple of twelve."

But my inner b******* detector says CNN is whacked on steroids to describe the crowd at this Sarah Palin/TEA Party rally in searchlight as "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people..."


Hat-tip and more at Gateway Pundit (via Instapundit)

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Mainstream news made absolutely NO mention of the anti-big-government D.C. march last Saturday, but the "hundreds" of illegal aliens the next day made headlines.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 28, 2010 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This TEA Party Express III arrives in Denver on Wednesday, March 31 at 4:00 pm. West steps of the State Capitol.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 3:04 PM

March 27, 2010


Oh boy! It's freeze in the &^%&^ing dark day!

Let There Be Light

Like my celebration of Earth Hour last year, this year I will again demonstrate my "awareness" of the global warming hoax by making sure that my house is visible from space. At 8:30 this evening, every light in my house will be ablaze for one hour.

Celebrate civilization. Celebrate humanity. Turn on all your lights at 8:30 tonight.

Usually I can let people be stupid if it does not affect me (good capacity for a libertarian). This drives me up the wall! Lights will be a-blazin' at the little grass condo shack.

Hat-tip: blog friend LisaM

Dirty Hippies Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Take a look at our blog's banner image if you think darkness is an expression of virtue. Is there much light in North Korea? Cuba? 8th district of California?

They didn't call them the 'dark ages' because everyone "came together to make a bold statement" about the evils of science, industry and individualism.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2010 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm thinking next time somebody complains about global warming, I'm gonna say "Yeah, it was sooo much better when all those people in India and China were starving -- but how do we get them to do it again?"

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2010 11:17 AM

March 26, 2010

Very Bad Headline

And yet, Oh so very much certainly incredibly true:

Romney attacks health care law similar to his own (AP)
2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Repeal is Real editorial page explains how national health bills have been repealed in the past and can be again.


Once before there were "angry mobs" reacting to government expansion of and into health care. They once greeted former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski over the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, which expanded Medicare benefits and funded it with a supplemental tax.

Unlike the current legislation, which was barely passed through a combination of deals such as the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase (along with a worthless executive order on federal funding of abortion services), the earlier bill passed the House in June 1988 by a vote of 328-72. It passed the Senate by 86-11.

In a precursor to the Tea Party movement, the natives, particularly seniors, rebelled over its provisions and the supplemental tax.


Legislation to repeal was introduced in the House on Nov. 7, 1989, and passed by a voice vote.


There's still time for repeal. House Minority Leader John Boehner says the election of a Republican House and Senate in 2010 would make possible the de-funding of ObamaCare. A victory at the presidential level in 2012 would seal the deal.

It can be done. It has been done. It must be done. To paraphrase Joe Biden, it's a big deal.

Actually Funny!

One of my newfound Facebook Communist friends posts a picture that is actually humorous.


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

Where is the "like" button on this blog?

Posted by: AlexC at March 26, 2010 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well into our sixth year and we're only now getting that question. Ouch!

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2010 2:33 PM

March 25, 2010

Cowboy Diplomacy?

From the UK Telegraph:

The Israeli prime minister arrived at the White House on Tuesday evening brimming with confidence that the worst of the crisis in his country's relationship with the United States was over.

Over the previous two days, he had been feted by senior Republicans and greeted warmly by members of Congress. He had also received a standing ovation from the American Israel Public Affairs Affairs Committee, one of the most influential lobby groups in the United States.

But Mr Obama was less inclined to be so conciliatory. He immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: "I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls."

As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. "I'm still around," Mr Obama is quoted by Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. "Let me know if there is anything new."

Israel Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

On the plus side, the Israelis' blinders are off. Any inclination to believe Obama's rhetoric is now gone. Israel will do what it needs to do with full knowledge that it must go alone. It is unlikely to remain patient for the endless "sanctions" routine.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 25, 2010 11:51 PM



WASHINGTON – Once again, a stubborn Senate Republican is blocking speedy passage of a stopgap bill to extend jobless benefits, saying its $9 billion cost should not be added to the national debt.

They say it like it's a bad thing...

I Didn't Want to Say It

But I will quote Jonathan V. Last:

For people who like to think of themselves in ideological, rather than party-based, political terms, ObamaCare is a hard lesson. When push comes to shove, political parties matter, quite a bit. Any Republican who, say, voted for Jim Webb as a sensible, hard-nosed Democrat over George Allen, a bumbling, embarrassment of a Republican, is now confronted with the stern truth about the power of parties. To paraphrase the great Midge Decter, at the end of the day you have to join the side you're on.

I hear the pragmatism theme song swelling up in the background...

I'd be unpleasant enough to suggest that Libertarians in Montana gave us Jon Tester. The Organic Farmer beat Incumbent Senator Conrad Burns by less than 4000 votes, and Libertarian Stan Jones got 10,377.

Not that one Senator would have made much of a diff -- no, wait...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

I thought 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday night in Washington was the Republican Party's finest hour in a long time. When the voting stopped, the screen said the number of Republicans voting for Mr. Obama's bill was zero. Not one. Nobody. -- Dan Henninger
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

Virginia Postrel on Glamour

We had a little scrap around here last week about Bill O'Reilly. I easily got a couple of his watchers to admit that he lacked philosophical consistency. But it was implied that there was such a paucity of consistent ones in the public, maybe we were asking too much.

I've been cataloging those in my mind since then that I would offer as exceptions. John Stossel came to mind. Penn Jilette, Paul Gigot. Larry Kudlow can go down some side streets, but it falls into a rational pattern.

Today, I have the one I will bank my hopes on. Ms. Virginia Postrel. I was a huge fan of her "Substance of Style." "The Future and its Enemies" had me at the title's homage to Dr, Popper and the bits inside did not disappoint. She brings her Reason-Magazine theory to design, structure, politics, and now medicine.

She has a cover story for Weekly Standard on Glamour. It's cover-story-length, but well worth a read in full.

The word originally meant a literal magic spell, which made the viewer see something that wasn’t there. In its modern, metaphorical form, glamour usually begins with a stylized image—visual or mental—of a person, an object, an event, or a setting. The image is not entirely false, but it is misleading. Its allure depends on obscuring or ignoring some details while heightening others. We see the dance but not the rehearsals, the stiletto heels but not the blisters, the skyline but not the dirty streets, the sports car but not the gas pump. To sustain the illusion, glamour requires an element of mystery. It is not transparent or opaque but translucent, inviting just enough familiarity to engage the imagination and trigger the viewer’s own fantasies.

Glamour can, of course, sell evening gowns, vacation packages, and luxury kitchens. But it can also promote moon shots and “green jobs,” urban renewal schemes and military action. (The “glamour of battle” long preceded the glamour of Hollywood.) Californians once found freeways glamorous; today they thrill to promises of high-speed rail. “Terror is glamour,” said Salman Rushdie in a 2006 interview, identifying the inspiration of jihadi terrorists. New Soviet Man was a glamorous concept. So is the American Dream.

Glamour, in short, is serious stuff. It can alter life plans, even change history.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Cutting Israel Loose

Three Sourcers with exceptional memories may recall an election-era comment in which The Refugee questioned a Jewish friend's fealty to Obama. Her reply was that Obama was fully committed to support and defend Israel - after all, he said so. The Refugee has not heard from her lately, but wonders if she is starting to evaluate Obama's words versus his action.

The Refugee postulates that Obama's recent over-reaction to the Jerusalem settlement-building flap is the building of a case to cut Israel loose. By trumping up a case against Israel, Obama can justify failure to confront Iran and failure to act in defense of Israel when Iran inevitably attacks, or failure to assist Israel should it feel the need to pre-emptively strike. Conspiracy theory? Maybe, but just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.

Victor Davis Hanson pens a great piece in today's NRO, worthy of the full read. He does not come to the same conspiracy theory as The Refugee, but his conclusion has the same result.

So we are watching unfold a sort of Chicago-style Realpolitik, flavored with the traditional academic leftist disdain for the Jewish state. The subsequent result is not so much a cut-off of U.S. aid as a subtle shift in perception abroad: Israel’s multiple enemies now are almost giddy in sensing that America is not all that into protecting the Jewish state, intellectually or morally.

When Israel's enemies believe that it stands alone, they will not hesitate to once again attempt to annihilate it. Let's hope the IDF has a Joshua or a David in its ranks. The bible has no heroes named Barack.

Israel Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [8]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jg: many have believed, and some Israeli leaders have obliquely admitted, that an Israel abandoned by America and being overrun by Islamists retained a nuclear option as a last resort, and nobody knows for certain how many warheads Israel possesses. Samson defeated the Philistines, even though it cost him his own life (Judges 16); hence, "the Samson option."

You're definitely right that we've been no great help to Israel of late, but I'm hoping they never have to pull that trigger.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 26, 2010 1:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

ka: Thanks for the explanation. I had never, ever, even fathomed the notion that Israel might detonate said weapons on their own soil. My "Neutron" reference was meant to imply using those weapons on the capitol's of Israel's enemies, and any more as may be necessary to halt the invasion of Israel.

This option goes away if Tehran gets the bomb. Then it's a game of MAD [mutually assured destruction] with a madman [Ahmadinijad.] About this, America's president seems shamefully unconcerned.

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2010 2:38 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'd say it's a safe bet that the Samson option would be a last resort of the deepest extremity - just as Masada was a last resort centuries ago.

Ahm-on-a-jihad may be a madman, but if I learned nothing else from Osirak and from Entebbe, it's this: never go in against an Israeli when death is on the line.

Yeah, sorry...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 26, 2010 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I recently confided in dagny that I'd like to trade our president and journalists with those in Israel.

How much do you suppose we'd have to sweeten that pot?

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2010 8:04 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

A running back, two draft choices, and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 26, 2010 9:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Which is more than what Stupak's vote cost, but less than Landrieu's.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 26, 2010 10:14 PM

Balloon Boy, Shark Attacks, Audi/Toyota,...

I'm going to add Congressional threats to the list.

A rational person wants to accept that things are possible and allow them to play out. But in our media world, the truth is hitchin' up her drawers when the lie is being served pretzels on the 218 to Cleveland.

Ergo, I am demanding that a person who claims on TeeVee news to be threatened provide some proof. It's a startling charge to make that somebody is threatening you. And serious charges should be accompanied with evidence.

Brother Johngalt's Congressperson has asked for police protection after receiving two threats. One was not divulged, the other was "hope you don't see me in a dark alley." Is that a threat? Ill-advised certainly, but I would call that a playground taunt.

But not to the political geniuses on FOX31's Good Morning Colorado. The TEA Partiers have gone nuts! Lock up the children! With background footage of anti-Obama signs at the TEA parties, the newsfolk intone that "Politics has become even uglier in Washington, and the violence has now spread to Colorado!" The spitting and racial slurs incident was presented as fact even though there is no corroborating evidence with 100 video cameras rolling.

There was some vandalism that looked real enough. An Arizona Congresswoman's door was shot out and a Democratic headquarters had windows broken. But we had that in Denver for the DNC -- and it ended up being a Democrat. Sure there are some nuts out there, but many are disciples of Saul Alinsky and not Art Laffer. Michael Walsh at BigJournalism smells the same acrid odor. Walsh provides several examples and offers suggestions for his buddies in the MSM:

There are two sides to every story — and it’s your job to find the truth between them. Tempers are already too frayed, the tinder too dry. The country does not need you, my former colleagues at Time and elsewhere, to supply the match. You’re the firemen, not the arsonists.

Unless, of course, you’ve already chosen up sides.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse out-of-thepark hits it.(HT: Insty)
I really want to know the details about this one. Who did it and why? Let me see the photographs. I want to know all about it. I don't like the home addresses being posted on line, and I don't like even peaceful protests at any individual's house. I can see why you'd be upset that your address is known. But anyone could commit an act of vandalism (including dirty tricksters on the Democrat's side). Is the press following up about what, exactly, happened? Or are they complacently passing this story on to be used to propagate the violence meme?

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [0]


Tough week. The bright spot was my purchasing a very nice Gibson L-5ct back from my brother-in-law to whom I sold it four years ago. She joins me in the coffeehouse this week.


Jeepers, Creepers!

March 24, 2010

Good News!

I followed Math as an amateur for many years even though I had long decided the academic life not for me.

I'm so out of it now that I learn that The Poincare Conjecture has been solved -- from Instapundit.

The Russian who solved it declined the Million Dollar Prize and lives in a cockroach infected flat. Asimov fans will appreciate the closing line:

"Some Mathematicians are not odd."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

Oh, Foul Opinion!

Y'all glazed over when I railed against Raich v Gonzales, and its evil ancestor Wickard v Filburn. But David Kopel cites them as precedent that might uphold the penumbral constitutionality of a health insurance mandate:

One source of the impending constitutional challenge to the Obamacare mandate is that [it] exceeds the enumerated powers granted to Congress under Article I, section 8. For example, that the people's grant to power to Congress to regulate commerce among the several states does not include the power to compel people to engage in commerce. [Yale Prof.] Jack Balkin, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, has two responses: 1. Yes it does, because of [the precedents in] Wickard and Raich, since people without insurance will eventually get sick and then buy health services; and allowing these people to buy health services outside the congressional system would undermine the congressional regulation. 2. The mandate is structured as a tax.

Some hope:
Americans today are not bound to meekly accept the most far-ranging assertions of congressional power based on large extrapolations from Supreme Court cases that themselves come from a short period (the late 1930s and early 1940s) when the Court was more supine and submissive to claims about centralized power than was any other Supreme Court before or after in our history.

Yeah, call Angel Raich -- ask her how that worked out.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 2:49 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Was the Heller v. D.C. ruling not considered to have gone largely against precedent? And that precedent was more voluminous than the crap* cited above.

*Working my way up, at least in public, to the f-bomb.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Lately, it's more of a firecracker in our house...

I am speaking way above my pay grade here, but I do not think Heller was a real stare decisis buster. Because they were not tackling incorporation as DC not a state, it did not run under the worst precedent. McDonald v Chicago will tackle some of those.

(The comments above were written by a political hack, not an attorney, and anyone using them for purposes beyond political hackery is cautioned...)

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2010 3:31 PM

Other Really Bad Stuff

Don't let the health care monstrosity take your eye off all the other really bad things.

Kudlow has been talking about this -- and no, it is not unrelated. But we live in interesting times. The "full faith and credit" of the United States has been supplanted in importance by the "full faith and credit" of one Warren Buffett. Professor Mankiw links to Bloomberg:

The bond market is saying that it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffett than Barack Obama.

Two-year notes sold by the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lowe’s Cos. debt also traded at lower yields in recent weeks, a situation former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. chief fixed-income strategist Jack Malvey calls an “exceedingly rare” event in the history of the bond market.

These are exceedingly rare times. Only a fool bets against the bond traders.

Click through to Mankiw for more intelligent commentary and a bonus Paul Krugman whack.

UPDATE: New Momentum for Legislation on Financial Rules

The White House and Congressional Democrats are intensifying efforts to pass their financial regulatory overhaul, buoyed by the enactment of health-care legislation and an acknowledgment by some top Republicans that the initiative is likely to pass.

jk Defends VP Biden

Man, I don't see what the big deal is. So, Vice President Biden dropped "the F-Bomb" at the signing ceremony for Health Care Reform.

Hell, I know I did! Let he who is without f%^&% sin cast the first stone!

VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've got to second that motion. I've got to confess my swearing is way up since November of '08.

WAY up. I'm willing to give him a pass for vulgarity, just not one for stupid.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 24, 2010 12:22 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

I agree 100% with Biden's sentiment. Thought it was completely appropriate for the occasion.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 24, 2010 8:23 PM
But dagny thinks:

I will not give him a pass for vulgarity or for stupidity. The VP of the US SHOULD be someone who sets an example for our children in word, and deed. I would not expect my children to behave in that fashion.

Sorry, call me a prude if necessary.

Posted by: dagny at March 25, 2010 12:33 AM

Health Care

I'm going to try and take the advice of two very smart people. Nicholas Nassim Taleb suggested, in The Black Swan, that everybody [jk] should read more books and less news. A good friend of mine and this blog sent a private email suggesting that my jest of "putting down the keyboard" was actually a pretty good idea.

My work has me wired in and using three Internet connected computers, so I won't stop hitting F5 on ThreeSources, but in that spirit I did decide that the best reaction to my liberty-ignoring friends was no reaction.

Another good friend who has right to be far more disappointed than me pointed out the folly of repeal. "We're gonna take away your free stuff" is not really a campaign winner. ObamaCare is here to stay, All we can do [close your ears ThreeSourcers, he's gonna say it again] is fight at the margins.

It's a Brave, New, Darkly Dystopian world -- and Soma® isn't even legal.

AND YET, I still have to link to Holman Jenkins's outstanding editorial today "Now Can We Have Health Care Reform?"

We'll let Angela Braly, CEO of insurer WellPoint, take the story from here. She was recently hauled before Congress to justify her company's proposed 39% rate hike in California. She explained the source was two-fold: rising medical costs and healthier customers dropping their coverage, forcing the sick to pick up the tab.

Now this sounds like two problems, but for WellPoint and other insurers it's really only one problem. Once everyone is required by government mandate to buy insurance, the industry's survival is no longer threatened: It can just pass its skyrocketing costs along to customers.
Once customers can no longer refuse to buy the industry's product, the problem of costs won't be fixed, but it no longer is the insurance industry's problem.

There, in that one sentence, we give you the failure of ObamaCare, the failure of the congressional health-care debate, the failure of health-care politics in this country.

He ends with a dare for us to open our hospital. Judging from my email, a lot of health professionals are ready to join us:
A world-class hospital in India does heart surgery the equal of any heart surgery in America, but does so at one-tenth the cost (and increasingly attracts a world-wide clientele). The reason is not what you think: low-paid doctors and nurses. The reason is that competition works in medicine as it does in everything else when the patient cares about getting value for money. This is the great low-hanging fruit of health-care reform. It continues to hang.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 23, 2010

No Nukes!

Haw about a little energy scarecrow? I'm sick of health care.

I saw this on a Stossel clip on Hulu and meant to ask the ThreeSources' cognoscente about it. Stossel has a blog post about it today. Key 'graph:

I thought that nuclear power is a wonderful underutilized energy source, hampered only by idiots who believe the scaremongering pushed by the likes of Jane Fonda and The China Syndrome. After all, France gets 80% of its electricity from the atom, and they handle the nuclear waste without a problem.

But Cato Institute energy analyst Jerry Taylor set me straight. Yes, the waste is manageable, he says, but affordable nuclear power is a Republican energy myth: “Take a Republican speech on energy and cross out nuclear, replace with wind and solar…and you’ve got a Nancy Pelosi speech on energy. Exact same thing.

I won't say Cato is never wrong, but I am disinclined to say that he's nuts on this.


But Lisa M thinks:

No jg, I meant efficient--the quote form the Cato guy seems to imply that nukes are as inefficient as wind and solar, which I don;t think is a fair comparision. Additionally, since I was distracted and in class, Perry makes a point I was going to make, which is that government regs artificially drive up the price of nukes, thereby making it less economical.

That all being said, I admit to being pretty ignorant to actually knowing how nukes compare to other forms of energy in the realmsof economics and efficiency. It would not surprise me at all that the French were using an inefficient power source for 80% of their supply.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 23, 2010 11:53 PM
But jk thinks:

<animalhousevoice>I'll not sit still while Perry runs down Cato!</animalhousevoice>

I think, to be fair, Cato's on your side, Perry. The comparison to wind and solar is that none competes well on a level playing field. Doofy Right Wingnuts like me have been assured that nuclear power would be competitive if gub'mint "got out of the way" but I fear he (and jg) may be right.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2010 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Lots of thoughts in as few words as possible:

Coal is less popular in the east because those sources are intrinsically higher in sulphur (read: "acid rain") than western coal.

I never found a reference by Cato guy to efficiency of generation, which is what I assumed Lisa meant. He touches on efficiency of greenhouse gas reduction but not really compared to wind and solar, that I could see.

The efficency of wind and solar is not their fatal flaw - availability is. Wind energy peaks at night and in the winter - solar is effectively limited to a 4-6 hour period mid-day. Peak electric usage is summer afternoons and evenings year-round.

The efficiency of nuclear isn't really an issue since the fuel source is so magnificently concentrated. Perry's government regs. and concommitant costs/risks are the problem. (So now, finally, I'm prepared to agree with Cato guy that NUKES ARE NOT THE ANSWER! though not for the flower children's reason.) If gub'mint got ALL the way out of the way then nookyuler would have a chance to compete - but that ain't gonna happen.

The major battle line in this country today is coal vs. natural gas. Production advancements in natural gas have massively increased supply, therefore lowering cost vs. coal. But it still costs more than coal, notwithstanding gas guy's claims on the Mike Rosen show yesterday.

Hey gas guy, if gas really is "as inexpensive as coal" then why do you need Colorado law to keep utilities from buying coal?

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I wasn't quite done.

My last point refered to Colorado outlawing coal. I just updated last week's blog on that issue here.

And in this link to the coal industry website you can see, state by state, average electric rates along with the breakdown of fuel sources. Compare CO to CA or TX on the high side and WA on the low side.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 4:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm not "running down" Cato, but I'm pointing out something that their analyst doesn't appear to have considered. There's no such thing as a truly private nuclear power plant in the United States: there are so many requirements and regulations that they're state-run, even if ownership is ostensibly in private hands. When I first started researching nuclear energy, ahem, 19 years ago, I was shocked to find that you can't build a new plant based on an existing working design. You still can't, as far as I know. Nuclear energy can never be viable while regulations prevent operators from "Xeroxing" a practical design. This adds millions before the site can be considered for approval.

Take Indian Point, in my home county. Its electricity is expensive not because nuclear energy itself is that expensive, but because the envirowackos have completely hamstrung the operations. There's always a lawsuit or near-lawsuit to shut down the place, and applying for a license renewal is an extremely long and costly process.

But remember that I'm a staunch believer in markets, so I'm only saying about the Cato analyst, "Maybe correct, but here's something to think about." It's one thing to say that an apple costing 50 cents should be cheaper than a pear costing 40 cents after a 20-cent subsidy. But you can't say that the pear is cheaper or more expensive in a free market when the government has made it more expensive for the pear grower.

If someone can make something work, let him. If he can't, failure will be a lesson to the next guy (whether it's not to try it, or to try a different way). Some people once thought dirigibles were the future, and that airplanes would be limited to mail routes and sma.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 24, 2010 4:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oops, trailed off at the end. Meant to say, "smaller passenger routes."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 25, 2010 10:05 AM

Why Health Care is so expensive

Just as the housing bubble can be traced to the Community Reinvestment Act, the American health care 'crisis' can be traced to EMTALA. This act, part of the 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is the origin of the treatment-on-demand mandate on American hospitals. The stick that makes hospitals comply is continued receipt of Medicare reimbursements. So why can't a private hospital choose to stop treating Medicare patients and, as an added bonus, indigent patients?

As with the CRA, EMTALA was made worse by subsequent amendments. Like this one:

"Though patients treated under EMTALA may or may not be able to pay or have insurance or other programs pay for the associated costs, they are legally responsible for any costs incurred as a result of their care under civil law. Patients whose advance intention it is to receive medical care and fail to pay cannot be held criminally liable unless they intentionally and knowingly provide false identifying information to dodge billing."

And yet, as amended...

"The patient cannot receive a negative credit mark for failure to pay the hospital or any related services, or any third-party agent collecting on their behalf."


Where do you start?

All my lefty friends are fawning over this on Facebook

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food. At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory. I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to send via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school. After work, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to a house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

They cannot fathom anything's being done without government.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM | What do you think? [8]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And after that our liberal friend will:

- Call the zoning commission to complain about the color of his neighbor's house
- Petition the City Council to condemn his other neighbor's property for a new hotel and mall
- Write a letter to the editor about how the schools are underfunded and how the government has no right to set educational standards that hold teachers accountable
- Call for a right-wing speaker to be denied a seminar at the local college in the name of "free speech"
- Try to get Rush Limbaugh banned, also in the name of "free speech"
- Wear a Che Guevara T-shirt to support "freedom fighters"
- End the day at a pro-choice rally with a sign saying "Get Your Laws Off My Body" to protest the government's intrusion into their own business.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 23, 2010 4:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm trying to calm down. I work with all these people and don't want to go in guns-a-blazin' (although a Bazooka might come in handy...)

I'm collecting ideas to educate. Phrases so far:

-- I noticed you didn't mention the DMV or TSA...
-- You conflate Federal, State, and Local government -- and even private enterprise. I don't believe I've seen an "NTSHA car." The car, unless a contemporary GM was made by a private corporation to high standards required to please customers. The police and fire marshal are local officials, the roads have Federal subsidies but are provided by the state,
-- Like the car, your food was not courtesy of the USDA. It was, as Adam Smith noted in 1776, provided by a farmer, grocer, and distributer out to provide for his or her own needs. The government regulation makes it cost more and dissuades competitors, but the evidence is scant that it improves safety.
-- Many of these things could be done better and cheaper with less or no government involvement.
-- something about cell phones and IPods -- the poster is a Mac-head. (He's just posting, it is attributed to "anonymous)

Also tempted -- I don't see them every day -- to do a bitchy counterfactual about going to the DMV, TSA, enduring the mohair subsidy, choking on Ethanol fumes, &c.

Put down the keyboard, jk, put down the keyboard...

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2010 4:35 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Heh. When I first started reading this I thought it was an argument against the over-extension of the government's role in society.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 23, 2010 4:37 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm with you, tg. For full effect, you should read the comments it engendered:

-- Love it!
-- Wonder if he dropped his kids off at school? Or maybe the grandparents that are retired because they can get social security now?
-- NICE!!!! Very eloquently stated!
-- Reminds me of Life of Brian!

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Attendee: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, peace - shut up!

Okay, points for the Life of Brian reference...

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2010 4:53 PM
But dagny thinks:

Here is some assistance for you jk. I have NOT fact-checked it but it wouldn't surprise me. I received this via email today:

Walmart vs. the Government

1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.
2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private Employer, and most speak English.
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in
mind they did this in only 15 years.
8. During this same period, 31 supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.
9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.
10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 Years ago.
11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur At a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)
12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.

You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work for suggesting that MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to Fix the economy.

This should be read and understood by all Americans


To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature,

It is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:

The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775.
You have had 234 years to get it right and it is BROKE.

Social Security was established in 1935.
You have had 74 years to get it right and it is

Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is

War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; 1$ trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.

Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965.
You have had 44 years to get it right and they are

Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is

The Department of Energy was created in 1977
to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has
ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24
billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal FAILURE.

You have FAILED in every "government service" you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.


keep this circulating. It is very well stated. Maybe it will end up in the e-mails of some of our "duly elected' and their staff (they never read anything) will clue them in on how Americans feel.

I have now done by best to, "keep this circulating."


Posted by: dagny at March 24, 2010 6:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Reading this again I have another reply:

Six mentions of the words regulated, inspected or determined and you still consider this a free country?

See the 3/29/10 'Passover Sermon' answer to this here.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 3:24 PM


731,000 strokes occur annually. My doctor bills were close to three quarters of a million dollars. Some stroke are not as bad and some are worse. this is only a small thing add in cancer, heart disease.

We were adults and we made sure we were covered( thank you john!!!) We had the best care, We did fine and are still doing okay.

I worry about next 731,000 people. I was lucky I had my stroke before obama care. I still have things thst need to need to be paid for. I can not walk with out my lyrica. It's about 2 hundred a month.

This is reality. not a magic wand that the dems thinks they can wave to make my healtrh stuff go way.

P.S. I am not a pre-existing condition, neither is John

What do I want from the goverment. I want them to leave me alone? I don't want to pay for other peoples health care. Nor do I want to be forced to have health care, or pay a penelty to the IRS

Where are all the adults in this mess? in the republican party, at the tea parties.

Am I mad? No mad is to mild a word. Dissapointed? also to mild. asthma is not a pre-existimng condition. a stroke. yes!! Have I been denied health care? No, Not yet.
Thanks for listening!!! Riza

Posted by Riza Rivera at 12:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Fools Rush In

I do have a Johnny Mercer tune queued up for the virtual coffeehouse on Thursday, but it is not "Fools Rush In."

I am going to foolishly rush in, however, on the TEA Party contretemps of the day. It is alleged that an African American Congressman was spat on and called a name last Sunday as he walked through a crowd of protesters who opposed the health care reform bill.

Curiously, this happened in the midst of hundreds of video cameras and none captured anything untoward. Dana Loesch offers video that she claims debunks the accusation. Not that there is really an accusation. A reporter claims to have heard the N-word.

I am glad for a certain sensitivity, but Merciful Zeus, when did we become so fragile?

I offer a racial slur I do believe happened. In the land of free health care, the peaceful march of a group of "Thirty women walking with gladiolas" was broken up by the Castro Government.

Wednesday's procession—one of seven days of protest to mark the anniversary of the mass arrests—included the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the 42-year-old human rights activist who died in a Cuban prison last month. Reina Tamayo is becoming something of a national icon, and she described her Wednesday experience this way to the Cuban Democratic Directorate in Miami:

"They dragged me, I am all bruised. They beat me. They called me a [racial slur; she is black]. They will know this mother's pain. When I get to my home town of Banes in my home province of Holguin they will have to bury me with my son. But my people will remember me. They will remember me. . . . The Castro brothers cannot be forgiven. They cannot be forgiven."

I’m truly sorry if a US Congressman was called a racial slur. But the key words are “U.S. Congressman.” I cannot compare it Reina Tamayo. Nobody can.

Cuba Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [0]

Defend Colorado from ObamaCare

Jon Caldera is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to amend the Colorado Constitution to protect health care choice.

We at the Independence Institute refuse to watch this atrocity corrode the quality of healthcare in Colorado. For months we have been at work bringing forward an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to preserve as a basic human right our “Right to Health Care Choice.” It is my goal to make Colorado a sanctuary state for quality healthcare.

This citizens’ initiative is very close to the petition stage. Soon we will need as many volunteer petition gatherers as possible. We will also need funding to wage this battle. I ask you, right now, to donate to our fight. I desperately need your talents, your time, and your resources to protect Colorado from this affront coming from DC. We can stop Washington.

Follow the links to read the amendment (in lovely, non-selectable PDF...)

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

'Sanctuary State for quality health care.' Ingenious.

I support this amendment. I've signed up as a signature gatherer. BUT-

I'm convinced that SCOTUS precedent allowing federal law to trump state law would ultimately overcome even this constitutional amendment. Our only real, legitimate hope to defend the Republic is that same Supreme Court.

Damn, am I glad the president used his latest State of the Union address to piss off Justice Alito!

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2010 3:37 PM

President Madison's Finger

My favorite story remains that President Madison, when brought a bill to finance internal improvements (Erie Canal, perhaps?) said "I cannot lay my finger on that part of the Constitution which gives me the authority to do this."

Y'know, I think -- even dead -- James Madison would be a better President than the recent crop. He is always rated low by historians. But historians typically do not appreciated enumerated powers nor limitations on Executive authority.

Got a link to complete this segue, jk, or are you just ramblin'? I got a link:

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve issued new rules on Tuesday to protect Americans from getting stung by unexpected fees or restrictions on gift cards.

Free at last, free at last! Great God Almighty, service fees on my $25 Chili's gift card will be free at last!

UPDATE: Oh man, do not miss tg's link!. "The Good and Welfare Clause!" First laugh I have had since Sunday night, tg,;re's really not funny...

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If these God-damned idiots (I say that literally) had the sense God gave them, they'd realize the unintended consequences. Stores and restaurants that didn't charge up-front fees for gift cards will now; those that already did will charge higher fees. If people won't pay the higher up-front fees, or new ones in the first place, then stores and restaurants will simply make up the losses by slightly increasing prices across the board, that's all.

Gift card fees are a source of revenue. It's true that the maintenance fees are far more than the cost of the electronic infrastructure. So do soda and popcorn at movie theatres.

I'd better stop right there before I give the feds a new idea...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 23, 2010 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

It's like Senator Clinton's crusade on ATM fees. You have a convenience, it has a cost. Unlike health insurance, nobody makes you buy it.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2010 11:36 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

I was having similar thoughts. I read the constitution in its entirety twice yesterday just to make sure that I was not misreading anything or had missed a clause that might justify the bill.

I came up dry.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 23, 2010 2:27 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

And it seems I was not the only one.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 23, 2010 3:14 PM

March 22, 2010

Colorado to Join ObamaCare Suit

Two great things about health care:

-- I am proud of the GOP
-- I am proud of my State:

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is joining at least nine other states in suing to block federal health care legislation.

Republican Attorney General John Suthers said Monday he will join the suit, despite the objections of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.

Suthers said the bill's requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or be subject to fines is an unconstitutional expansion of the federal government's powers. He says Congress has the right to control interstate commerce but can't force people to participate in commerce.

Suthers said his decision isn't politically motivated. Republican state lawmakers urged him to join the lawsuit earlier in the day but Suthers said he didn't meet with them to reach his decision.

But Bilbe thinks:

Good story. True. I'm concerned about the GOP though: they need to proceed on several fronts: I believe most Americans would be horrified to realize that this changes the most basic agreement between the gov't & the governed; WHO NOW OWNS AND DIRECTS WHOM? So, education/clarification, probably through private ads. They need to broaden their views on potential cand's (who's that guy from FL? I think it's Marco Rubio? And Thune (or is it Thane?) So, Diversity & careful choice of the right cand @ the right time. 3rd: & have already shown signs of beginning to do: growing a set: knowing who & what they are & speaking the truth continually and clearly without rancor. So, know their ground & STAND UP for it. 4th (& final for now) better involvement by & coordination of Volunteers, who, aware of their danger too late (perhaps) are eagerly scrambling to find a way out of this affront to every man, woman, child and beast who ever died to keep us a free people.

Posted by: Bilbe at March 23, 2010 10:39 AM
But jk thinks:

Being an advocate of free speech, I leave one copy of the above comment -- it's moderately on-topic for blogspam.

I removed the duplicate and the link to a cellphone plan.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2010 12:13 PM


Brother Keith admits to a fondness for Latin:

The editors of National Review sensibly counsel conservatives, in the wake of last night’s victory for Obamacare: “‘Nil desperandum’--never despair.” I agree, though I’m more inclined to the mock-Latin motto of the Harvard band: “Illegitimi non carborundum”--don't let the bastards get you down. -- Bill Kristol

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:11 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If only the Preznit's motto weren't "oderint, dum metuant."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 23, 2010 11:33 AM
But jk thinks:

I think that one sounds better in the original Klingon...

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2010 12:07 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Touche, jk. Nicely played.

I've never heard it in the original Klingon, though; if I e-mail Michelle Obama for the quote, do you suppose she'll reply?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 23, 2010 12:19 PM

Quote of the Day

DISCLAIMER: This is an anecdote, and as such proves nothing. Unless you're the president or the speaker of the House. -- Matt Welch, who did much to elect President Obama, yet is rewarded with QOTD honors on the darkest political day of my adult life.
Pretty sporting of me, huh? The short post is well worth a read.

"Free" Health Care

"Hey buddy, what're ya in for?"

"I refused to practice medicine under duress."

"I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago," said Dr. Hendricks. "Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun.

I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything - except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but 'to serve.'

That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards - never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind - yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce.

Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it - and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't."

-- Ayn Rand, from Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957

Health Care Posted by JohnGalt at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Superb, timely, germane and all that. I tried to post it as my Facebook status but it's about 5000 characters too long.

Not sure what to say on this sad day, but this passage nails it. I went with the shorter "Our fathers and grandfathers fought wars in distant lands to preserve freedom for the next generations. We gave it away because we won't pay our doctors' bills."

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2010 12:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let me help you choose:

- Paragraph 1, last sentence.

- Paragraph 2, sentence 2, 3, or 4.

- Paragraph 3, sentence 1, 2 or 3-5.

- Closing paragraph.

Any one of those 8 selections would make a powerful, stand-alone statement. Magister dixit.

(Rand was oft criticized for repetition - usually by those whose "fraudulent generalities" she railed against.)

Anyone know the latin for "fraudulent generalities?"

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2010 7:59 PM

March 21, 2010


Not with a bang, but a whimper

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 PM | What do you think? [4]
But dagny thinks:

Nothing makes me shout at the television in frustration more than Nancy Pelosi sounding smug. She just sets my teeth on edge.

She says, "Being a woman will no longer be considered a pre-existing condition."

Really???? I can't think of too much more, "pre-existing," than my gender.

Further, it makes total sense that women would cost more to insure as they bear children and have longer life spans. I would not trade my child-bearing (as a mother of of three) or my life expectancy for slightly lower premiums.

Men pay more for life insurance.

WHY is this so obvious to me and not obvious to everyone???

Posted by: dagny at March 22, 2010 10:48 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, Dagny, I was trying to think of some biological condition that women were more susceptible to, that might make their health care more expensive. In the end I could not think of anything and decided that the Speaker was right -- it must be pure, patriarchical sexism. Childbirth, yeah, that's it.

But I can help with the second part: They don't see it because they don't want to.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2010 12:38 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The pre-existing condition under socialized medicine is age. When you get too old, you're not worth covering any more and are denied care on that basis.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 22, 2010 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, br, the pre-existing condition under socialized medicine - the condition for which swift and efficacious care may generally be denied - is illness or injury.

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2010 8:02 PM

Quote of the Day

I've never been prouder to be a Republican. The party's Congressional leaders have fought this battle to the end on behalf of the American people--with intelligence, toughness, persistence and good humor. The contrast between the parties has never been starker than in today's debate. If any intelligent Democrats were watching--there must be some left--they had to be embarrassed for their party.--John Hinderocker, looking for silver linings on a day of dark-ass clouds.
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 9:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

A Good Sport

barb_gasdsen.jpg My beloved-yet-statist sister-in-law has been one of the kindest, and quickest to help people I have ever known. There is nothing she would not do for me or my lovely bride.

All the same, I exploded with laughter (and grabbed the cell phone camera) when I saw her hanging the Gasdsen flag.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:33 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

She hangs our flag - we buy government approved health insurance at government "controlled" prices enforced by government Revenue Agents. Seems like a fair trade.

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2010 8:25 PM

Couldn't She Find a Bigger Gavel?

Just asking.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 2:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 20, 2010

ObamaCare Won't Cost Dems Their Jobs

That's the thesis of Dana Milbank in tomorrow's Washington Post column.

Beyond that, it's doubtful that opposition to the measure will ever again be as high as it is now. Fox News polling found that 45 percent of voters would favor repeal, while 47 percent say leave the reforms alone or add to them. With the big insurance subsidies years away, the initial changes stemming from the legislation would be relatively modest -- and that should come as a surprise to an American public told by Republican foes of the legislation to expect a socialist takeover of the United States.


There will certainly be ads this fall saying Republican Congressman X voted against tax breaks for small business and voted to deny Junior his life-saving treatments. These modest changes to the health system probably wouldn't be widespread and noticeable enough to limit Democratic losses at a time of 10 percent unemployment. But, at the very least, voters would see nothing to justify the Republicans' apocalyptic predictions.

Yet repeal still holds appeal, even to the likes of Mitt Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts created what the New Republic's Jonathan Chait calls "the closest thing to Obamacare in the United States." A poll by the Boston Globe and Harvard last fall found that only one in 10 Massachusetts residents favors a repeal of that program.

Health Care Posted by JohnGalt at 12:58 PM | What do you think? [6]
But jk thinks:

Yup, me and Dana -- two peas in a pod.

I think it will add to troubles in an already tough year, but our [who's this "we" kimosabe?] belief that this is a coupon for 100 seats is potentially misguided. I will give them my favorite joke, mutatis mutandis: "Hey guys, I hear we're going to get to run against the Republicans again this year."

Not guided by my cautious tactical pragmatism and cool head, many TEA partiers will go to third parties or stay home because the People's Front of Judea candidate isn't pure enough.

A quote of my father's wafts back as well: "Great is the power of incumbency." The man was ahead of his time.

Posted by: jk at March 21, 2010 10:49 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Mutatis mutandis" - I always appreciate Latin. And my compliments to your father, jk... though I trust Tom Daschle was relying on that one. If you wake up enough voters, incumbency's power may be great, but not absolute. I am hoping that enough people have been awakened, and there are polls indicating that may be the case. I'm also hoping that as some Democrats cast their votes today, they'll be remembering a little Latin of their own: "Ave, Imperator! Morituri te salutant!"

I have, hoping against hope, called my Congressman's office, politely expressed my position, and was told that Adam Schiff is firmly committed to voting in favor of passing health care "reform" in every vote that takes place today. I expressed my sincere disappointment and thanked the staffer.

I will vote for whoever runs against Schiff, even if I have to run against the sumbich myself.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 21, 2010 12:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Milbank's analysis and optimism not withstanding, the math is not on the side of Republicans. There is no conceivable scenario in which the Republicans pick up a veto-proof majority in both houses - not enough net-seats in play even if they ran the table. Any alternations will be quickly vetoed and sustained even by a Democrat minority, who will suddenly rail against the tyranny of a simple majority. This leaves any hope for meaningful reform to 2014, and The Refugee is not sure the fire can be kept burning that long.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 22, 2010 3:07 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BR: you've taken away my hope for optimism. That leaves only secession, armed resistance, or living with it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 22, 2010 4:25 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not anticipating a veto-proof majority soon (or ever, that is a pretty rare incident), I want a house majority in 2010 -- that stops it from getting worse. Picking up either the Senate or WH in 2012. That would be the start of making things better.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2010 5:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sorry to be a splash of cold water, KA. My hope lies in the new post above about fighting this thing state-to-state. We may also need to adopt the Left's strategy of challenging everything in the courts. Nevertheless, any serious modifications are a long shot. Government cheese is more addictive than crack.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 23, 2010 12:07 PM

AP/OBAMA Newswire - "Medicare fix would push health care into the red"

Betsy Markey based her vote on the CBO deficit reduction number. Now AP (not the Washington Times, not the Heritage Foundation ... the 'in-the-tank, Associated Press) reports:

The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.

Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Markey and the entire Subvert Constitutional Procedure Caucus have been hailing deficit reduction as the justification for destroying the best part of Canada's health care system - the American system. Now this AP report, citing CBO blows that claim out of the water.

What say you, Markey?

I'm really curious why our more liberal blog brothers been completely silent through all of this. Do they believe ObamaCare will cut the deficit, or do they think it's "benefits" are worth a bit more deficit spending?

Health Care Posted by JohnGalt at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

CODE RED Rally in D.C. via Cell Phone Vid

This is cool! Tania Gail of is going to the Capitol rally today and she's posting live video clips to her website via cell phone. If you click on the image it links to her page which shows a google map of her location when the video was recorded.

11 minutes ago she posted this clip. "Holy cow, people are coming!"

Graphic of the Day

Professor Mankiw suggests a warning label for CBO scores:


In the discussion of out and out lies and gimmickry used to game the CBO numbers, both Larry Kudlow and Mankiw remind that the CBO by definition scores statically (their Laffer Curve is flat). They can score an increase in taxes to 110% as revenue and not account for any loss from people who would prefer not to pay to go to work every day.

Indeed, to be very wonkish about it, these tax changes could have especially large GDP effects. Some people like to argue that taxes have small GDP effects because income and substitution effects offset each other. But if you give someone a subsidy and then phase it out, both the income and substitution effects work in the direction of reducing work effort.

Why does CBO assume no change in GDP? It is not because the CBO staffers necessarily believe that result. Rather, it is just one of the conventions of budget scoring.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 19, 2010

"We're Going to Control The Insurance Companies!"

Hat-tip: Weasel Zippers via Instapundit

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 6:04 PM | What do you think? [5]
But dagny thinks:

Those nasty insurance companies and their 2% profit margins.

WOW 2 comments for me in one day, must be record. Comes from being laid off. Anyone want an accountant?

Posted by: dagny at March 19, 2010 7:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And what a fortune will be saved as a result!

Biden - "We really got a great number back from the Congressional Budget Office. (...) Indicates we're gonna save billions of dollars over ten years, over a trillion in the next ten. That's great news and I think that frees up a lot of guys who were goin' 'Wait a minute, I don't know about if there's really gonna be savings here."

With promises of "billions" and "trillions" in savings it's clear that insurance companies aren't the only ones they're controlling.

And yet if we call him a complete @#$#ing liar the approbation will be heaped on ... us.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2010 9:36 PM
But jk thinks:

He's the Guerilla Pedant, you never know where or when he will strike next!

I think you may mean "disapprobation," bro. I heap approbation on you every day.

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2010 11:21 AM
But jk thinks:

That is, we all heap something on each other around here...

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2010 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, yeah. What he said!

I could claim that I used the wrong word intentionally, just to see if anyone was watching. But that would be Bidenesque.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2010 12:54 PM

"Doc-Fix Gate"

Those of us paying attention knew it was true, but now someone within the Democrat ranks has leaked proof:

“As most health staff knows, leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians for a full SGR ["sustainable growth rate" for medicare reimbursements to doctors] repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest (it) complicate the last critical push to pass health reform,” according to the memo.

The memo helps explains why the American Medical Association has supported reform even though their top legislative priority, the doc fix, was left out. The group is working behind the scenes with Democratic leadership and the White House to fix the cuts later this year.

And in the prior paragraph of the memo was this astonishingly honest statement:

"The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform's budget neutrality."

According to the Politico piece, SGR repeal would increase the deficit another $371 ba-billion.

Gee, it's a good thing Rep. Betsy Markey made sure that the CBO scored the legislation as "deficit reducing." I guess she didn't get the memo, addressed to "Democratic Health and Communications Staff."

But jk thinks:

Rep. Altmire (D - PA4) got the memo and will reprise his no vote with an encore.

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2010 6:01 PM

He Claims to Believe in Property Rights...

Yet, as a service to ThreeSourcers who do not subscribe to the WSJ (Heretics!), I provide the full text of their ObamaCare Editorial today.

Gotta go now, Rupert's jack-booted thugs are at the door...

March Madness

Has there ever been a political spectacle like the final throes of ObamaCare? We can't recall one outside of a banana republic, or, more accurately, Woody Allen's 1971 classic "Bananas." Capitol Hill resembles nothing so much as that movie's farcical coup d'etat in San Marcos as Democrats try to assemble the partisan minimum of 216 House votes—if only for an hour or so at some point on Sunday—and no bribe is too costly, no deal too cynical, no last-minute rewrite too blatant.

Yesterday, Democrats defeated 222 to 203 a GOP resolution that would have required them to vote up-or-down on the text of the Senate's Christmas Eve bill. Big Labor hates that bill's tax on high-cost health coverage, and rank-and-file Members are so embarrassed by its kickbacks that Democrats are resorting to the procedural trick of "deeming" it passed instead. Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually told reporters this week that "nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill," but she'll do what it takes to impose it anyway.

The Commander in Chief even felt obliged to cancel his overseas trip so he could personally explain to Members why this Presidential legacy project is worth their defeat in November. Four separate workout sessions, including an Air Force One trip to hometown Cleveland, were enough to convert Dennis Kucinich. The supposedly principled Ohio liberal had opposed ObamaCare in the House's November vote because it still preserves a vestige of a private health-care industry. But a vast expansion of the welfare state as a consolation prize is now good enough for his government work.

That's only the start of the logrolling, if that's not an insult to logs. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on Tuesday that central California would get extra public water allocations. This was apparently the price for Democrats Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa to vote something other than their consciences. We will hear about many more in the coming days.

Also yesterday the white smoke rose up from the Congressional Budget Office, which released its cost estimates for the "reconciliation" bill and the sundry fixes without which Mrs. Pelosi can't deem the Senate bill passed. Democrats pre-emptively released the topline numbers, which by themselves took weeks of tweaking to game the CBO's accounting conventions and officially stay under $1 trillion in spending for 10 years. (The real cost over a decade once all the spending kicks in: $2.4 trillion.)

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf was thus obliged to release a "preliminary estimate," having "not thoroughly examined the legislative language." Mr. Elmendorf said at a hearing that his health-care staff members were close to burning out under "the almost round-the-clock schedule" of unrelenting Democratic demands about the budgetary effects of this or that provision. And all for a bill whose subsidies don't begin until 2014.

By the way, to make the deficit numbers "work," Democrats decided at the 11th hour to increase their new tax on investment income to 3.8% from 2.9%. Congratulations.

White House budget director Peter Orszag quickly declared that "The CBO score today should leave no doubt that we are operating in a new fiscal era," and no kidding. One thing the score also made clear, however, is that Mrs. Pelosi's reconciliation fixes could easily be blown to pieces in the Senate. While the Democratic strategy is already a wholesale abuse of the traditional reconciliation process, it now bids to violate the actual rules of reconciliation as well.

In a carom shot if there ever was one, the excise tax on gold-plated health coverage has received one last tweak. It is expected to fund ObamaCare as employees take more of their compensation in wages rather than health insurance, thus exposing more income to ordinary taxes. The House demand to delay that tax until 2018 from 2013 in the Senate bill—to appease the likes of AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who met one-on-one with Mr. Obama on Wednesday—therefore reduces Social Security payroll tax revenues. But reconciliation expressly forbids such changes to Social Security, and CBO says this change will drain some $53 billion from the program's trust fund.

Senate Republicans will therefore be entitled to raise a budget "point of order" against the entire reconciliation bill if it does arrive in the upper chamber. That will let them strip out the offending provision—which will offend the labor movement, to say the least—or even send the entire bill back to the House, forcing another round of agony on the gullible rank-and-file.

North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad admitted the risks yesterday, asking rhetorically if he expected that some GOP "challenges will be upheld? Yeah. I do." By the way, Mr. Conrad and his House North Dakota colleague Earl Pomeroy are getting a special provision that exempts a state-owned North Dakota bank from the unrelated private student loan takeover that Democrats have included as part of ObamaCare. That multibillion-dollar baby was added to further rig the budget numbers and win over conflicted Members.

Even the political panic over the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, amid an incipient financial collapse and a Presidential election, looks like regular order compared to this ObamaCare mayhem. That the White House and Mrs. Pelosi are still running into such resistance after a year of pleading reveals what an historic blunder ObamaCare really is.

This is what happens when a willful President and his party try to govern America from the ideological left, imposing a reckless expansion of the entitlement state that most Americans, and even dozens of Democrats in Congress, clearly despise.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Words fail...

Instead, are you in the mood for a little more optimism?

We've discussed before that if the Obama Administration had not thrown the American electorate into boiling water, or if Democrat-Lite John McCain had been elected, the voters likely would never notice the ever forward creep toward American socialism. So why do Obama and Pelosi keep the rolling boil going? Why not back off the pressure and accept a slightly faster pace of creep instead of a wholesale leap into their egalitarian "paradise?" The answer, in my opinion, is that they know the veil has already been lifted and Americans don't like the looks of the new bride Democrats are walking down the aisle for them. For them, it's shotgun wedding time.

Resist with dignity now. Don't pucker up when she kisses us. Take it like a man. Make sure all the relatives and the local papers know, over the next seven months, what an abomination was forced upon us. November 2nd is the filing date for divorce court and we need to be the first in line.

P.S. It seems that WSJ made the entire editorial visible without subscription. And who said they're not charitable!

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2010 11:44 AM
But dagny thinks:

I am furious and this the most public forum I can easily get to express this so I will. Unfortunately here at Threesources I am mostly preaching to the choir. I did as stated below call Betsy Markey, lot of good that did.

I am also an accountant and so this is what I see. The supporters of Obamacare are telling me repeatedly that we are going to provide health care to millions more people and to people with pre-existing conditions and it is not going to cost more and quality will not suffer. I don't believe them. I don't believe in the tooth fairy either.

That is the heart of my objection. This health care reform will necessarily raise taxes or reduce care and more likely both. There is no alternative.

"The worst kind of tyranny is to make a man pay for what he doesn't want merely because you think it would be good for him."


Posted by: dagny at March 19, 2010 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

My presidential reading tour has brought me to TR. I'm starting with his autobiography, which does nothing to reverse my philosophical impression of #26, even though it is impossible not to appreciate him personally.

He makes a great quote, though. Entering the NY Legislature in the full heat of the Stalwart-Half-breed wars, he says of the "Silk Stockings" Republicans:

They were apt vociferously to demand "reform" as if it were some concrete substance, like cake, which could be handed out at will, in tangible masses, if only the demand were urgent enough. These parlor reformers made up for inefficiency in action by zeal in criticising; and they delighted in criticising the men who really were doing the things which they said ought to be done, but which they lacked the sinewy power to do.


Posted by: jk at March 19, 2010 5:54 PM

March 18, 2010

Will She Even Bother to Run Again?

Despite what meager effort I and my family and those I emailed in CO-4 could make, today's fake CBO report gave Betsy Markey the cover she wanted to commit political suicide in this traditionally conservative district. I hope voters remember the "Markey Mistake" for a long, long time.

Markey's decision to vote in favor of the bill will almost certainly become a dominant issue for Republicans as they try to oust her in November. Markey in 2008 became the first Democrat in 36 years to win the 4th Congressional District seat, and national Republicans have made ousting her a top priority this year.

Two recent polls released by business groups opposed to the Democrats' health care bill showed a majority of district residents were against the bill.

Markey said her decision to support the bill was about policy, not politics.
"I'm not a career politician and I've said this before, this is not a stepping stone for another career. I'm not here as a place to retire," she said.

Ironically, I think she just did exactly that.

But jk thinks:

She shoulda held out for the plane ride.

I've seen many TV commercials lately asking me to "call Betsy Markey and tell her to keep up the fight."

I think we lost, boys. I got overconfident less than one month ago. But today it feels very much over. Most have given up on stopping it and are choosing to revel in November's gains. Small damn comfort.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2010 6:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've been overconfident before. I don't know if my pessimism now is a reaction to that or just to the Markey disappointment. You do realize that if they pass Healthcare with this unsavory process there's no reason for them not to pass every other leftist wet-dream on their wish list too. Perhaps the spectre of that will be enough to stiffen the resolve of the less progressive Dems.

Laura Ingraham told Bill O'Reilly today that Bart Stupak told her for every vote Pelosi switches to a yes, his guys are switching a no. Sounds like Stupak might really be all in after all.

Might there be, dare I say it - Hope?

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2010 1:02 AM
But jk thinks:

My pessimism has the same source. Kucinich covers the left, Markey covers the middle, game over. I see that it is still a fight, but the bogus CBO score and the Speaker's calling for a vote portend bad things.

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2010 10:37 AM

Not a Dealbreaker?

Blog friend Terri asks the question which perplexes me: "With Romneycare, I often wonder why he polls so high."

She links to a Mark Steyn Post that answers "He shouldn't"

According to what he's told at least a couple of NR audiences I've been among, he sought to solve a problem that doesn't exist — ie, that the uninsured are using emergency rooms as their family doctor, and supposedly the rest of the populace has to pick up the tab for that in increased health-care costs. In fact, ER use by the uninsured is in rough proportion to their percentage of the population, and the rest of the populace has to pick up a far greater tab for the under-reimbursement of doctors by Medicare. In other words, Mitt misdiagnosed the disease, and his prescription was a bigger dose of it:

The result is all the problems familiar to patients in socialized systems — longer wait times, fewer doctors, overstretched emergency rooms — with the uniquely American wrinkle of dramatically increased costs. Mass. residents now pay 27 percent more than the U.S. average.

Many other things I like about the Gov, but if this isn't a dealbreaker as we watch ObamaCare®, then I really am going to have to join the Libertoids.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:19 PM | What do you think? [0]


Great feedback on the last instrumental. (Umm, you don't suppose that says something about my vocals, do you?) so here is Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow."

My friend Kirk is in a trio in the guest slot again.


More Patients - Fewer Doctors

First, I don't believe that Obamacare would lead to 31 million more patients. I believe they're all receiving care when they need it already but I went with it for a snappy title. Investor's Business Daily surveyed some 25,000 doctors last summer (about 1400 of whom responded) and reported that 45% said they'd close their practice or retire early if Obamacare passed. And they opposed the measure two to one. The left-stream media slammed this as "ludicrous."

Yesterday IBD reported a similar survey by a physician's job placement firm, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, with similar findings:

This poll, conducted by the Medicus Firm, a physician search and consulting outfit, found that 29.2% of the nearly 1,200 doctors it queried said they would quit or retire early if a health overhaul were passed into law. That number jumped to 45.7% — nearly identical to our own — if a public option were included.


In the end, it's clear: A health care overhaul, as it's now being pushed, could lead to a precipitous drop in the number of doctors.

"Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases," wrote Kevin Perpetua, managing partner of the Medicus Firm, summing up his findings.

*Ahem* - Duh. (This is John Galt speaking.)

But jk thinks:

South of the Border, Down Mexico Way.
That's where I fell in love, when the atars above came out to play.
'Cause it was fiesta, and we were so
[happy, frivolous, carefree]
South of the Border, Down Mexico Way...

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2010 5:11 PM

March 17, 2010

Partisan Hackery

Oh, those Blue Dogs -- ain't they cute when they're puppies? Big brown eyes and floppy ears. I just love 'em. Professor Reynolds shares an email from Roy Herron, who's running as a Democrat in TN-08:

My top three priorities in Washington will be fiscal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, and fiscal responsibility.

Washington is mortgaging the future of my sons and your children and our grandchildren. And Washington is risking the future of this country with trillions in debt.

I drive a 12-year-old truck with 375,000 miles on it. My sons call me cheap, but Washington needs more of us with 375,000-mile pickups who’ll spend your money like our own.

Prompting me to write to his Instantness:
Apologies in advance for filling your inbox with partisan hackery, but:

Roy Herron sounds like just what we need in Congress. Will he vote for Rep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker?

I assume, yes, he is running as a Democrat. Watching her "pass" health care by any-means-necessary-and-some-things-that-are-not-really-means-at-all makes me skeptical of some guys no matter how old their trucks.

See, those blue dog pups grow up to be mangy, mean, bad-tempered congressdogs.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 7:11 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm going to hurt my arm one of these days from patting myself on the back so much, but remember that I've warned since November 2008 that the Blue Dog is a myth. You'll have an occasional few who will claim to oppose something for the sake of fiscal responsibility, but it's all smoke and mirrors. They'll be House members, whose districts are, of course, not state-wide and therefore have more targetted demographics. Pelosi will engineer votes so those members' votes aren't needed, allowing them to put on "fiscal conservative" masks.

Hell, there's been more obstruction from Kucinich than Republicans. It didn't have a public option, so he wouldn't support it, meaning he wouldn't vote for it because it wasn't socialist enough.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 18, 2010 9:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Until he got a plane ride. I saw him coming out of Air Force One the other day and said "his vote's in."

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2010 11:11 AM
But jk thinks:

These guys do campaign as moderates. I always like to remind people that they will vote for the überliberal Democratic leadership.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2010 5:14 PM

Destroy America or Become a National Hero?

I just called my congressperson, U.S. Representative Betsy Markey of CO-4. Her website touts a report that she is one of the most centrist and independent members of congress. The House Switchboard number was busy so I called her office directly and got right through.

I asked if the congresswoman had decided how she intends to vote on the Health Care bill. Her staffer told me that she is waiting for a cost analysis by the CBO and has not yet made a decision. I said, "I am her constituent, residing near Fort Lupton, and I would like to encourage her to vote NO. I think if she votes yes then this won't be the United States of America any more and if she votes no she will become one of a handful of national heroes."

I was asked for my name and contact information, which I gave. (Not that they couldn't have guessed I'm a registered Republican anyway.)

Her D.C. office number is: 202.225.4676

UPDATE: 3/18 4:25pm MDT

The verdict is in: GUILTY

Colorado following California into Anti-Coal Stupidity

Watch out Pennysylvania, you're probably next. Yesterday Colorado's lame-duck governor announced a "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that looks like it's on the fast track through the state legislature, having "bipartisan" sponsorship in both the house and the senate. The sponsoring GOP senator, in particular, draws my ire. It's been a while since I've felt the need to publish outside of the friendly confines of ThreeSources, but I wrote the editor of the Denver Post about it.

Re-thinking Josh Penry

Dear Editor,

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry has been making a name for himself in conservative circles but it may be time to reconsider. The Post reported Tuesday that he co-sponsored Governor Ritter's new "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that outlaws coal power in Colorado. Have we not learned from California's mistake? Electricity costs 40% more there, largely due to their coal ban. Why do it?

Penry isn’t quoted but reasons given include anticipation of federal regulations that could “lead to a 4 to 6 percent increase in rates.” That’s still 34% less than California. Xcel Energy and natural gas companies support the plan. The latter because coal always wins in a free-market; the former because they’ll get money for new plants and cover for raising rates. It’s like light bulb manufacturers encouraging the ban on cheap light bulbs.

And then there are coal’s higher carbon emissions. As Curtis Hubbard alluded last month on his Post blog, if the events of the past year haven’t convinced us that the whole ‘Climate Change’ issue was a fraud we have reason now to at least ask the question.

UPDATE - March 24, 2010:

Not long after my post I heard radio ads SUPPORTING this bill. They were paid for, if I'm not mistaken, by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a natural gas lobbying group. [No, I just heard it again. It's America's Natural Gas Association.] Jackasses.

Fortunately, the coal guys are fighting back. Today I heard the first ad against the bill deriding the mad rush to pass the bill "and raise electricity costs for Colorado residents for decades to come." The ad was paid for by American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal lobbying group.

Which to side with? The one that doesn't want to restrict the market - Coal.

Quote of the Day

One more post and we're goiing to need a "Prius" Category.

IS IT WRONG TO make speeding-Prius jokes? One of my colleagues thinks the whole Prius thing will actually be good for Toyota -- before, Priuses were associated with smug hipsters, but now they'll be associated with death-defying daredevils! -- Glenn Reynolds (well, his colleague)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:41 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Every day in my parking garage, I park next to one of several Prii (I'm willing to accept correction on the plural form) that infest our vehicle population here. It's the only one that doesn't have an Obama bumper sticker, but nothing exudes brain-dead, lefty, Obama-votin' nutbaggery like a Prius. And I can tell you from personal experience that when I park next to it, any smugness, hipness, or death-defying adrenalin-rushiness the Prius might have slinks back into its battery housing and cowers.

By the way, I've looked at the 2011 Mustang and consider it drool-worthy. I'm giving serious thought to trading up. Note to FoMoCo: you can send the check for my endorsement to my home address.

Want some fun at a lefty's expense? Pull your V-8 into a gas station next to a Prius and start tanking up. Invariably, the treehugger will make a comment about your mileage, his mileage, or something similar. Tell him you're glad he's driving a Prius - because it means that much more gasoline that you can burn.

Works every time.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 18, 2010 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I always say, "I'm doing my part to help make 'Peak Oil' a reality. Doesn't seem to be working though - there's always more gasoline to buy."

Related: My brother wrote to Bill O'Reilly, after he slammed "gas guzzling SUVs" that this is America and we're free to drive whatever we'd like. Bill read the letter on the air and chided him, "That's your right sir, but it's not good for the country. Wise up."

Sometimes Bill is a jackass. This was one of those times.

Posted by: johngalt at March 18, 2010 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

No, jg, with all doe respect: Bill is ALWAYS a jackass, it is just that sometimes you agree with him and it is less apparent.

I don't care whom you like, but I want to pick a fight here because of the grounds surrounding my termination of appreciation for Mister O.

My dislike for O'Reilly is very Randian in nature. When I read "For the New Intellectual" on your good recommendation it made me think of O'Reilly. He has no solid, grounding principles. He plays every question on a hunch. If the coffee was bad in the cafeteria, he'll rail against "pinhead, overreaching government that can't keep its books or perform basic services." But if he's in a good mood, the next day or the next segment, he will call for government to take over some underperforming aspect of society or free market. Contradiction is not a hint to him, he'll just turn up the bluster to "11" and keep on rolling.

Resolved: that Bill O'Reilly lacks the foundational principles and reasoned, coherent philosophy required to be a public thinker. And no person who appreciates rational philosophy or empirical principles should watch his show.

What say you, Mister G?

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2010 4:08 PM
But dagny thinks:

Don't know about Mr. G but Mrs. G is on board. Noone without a sound, reasoned philosophical base has the proverbial snowball's chance of making consistent appropriate decisions.

Case in point number one - blowhard Republican at our caucus who was supporting Dan Maes although he is a newcomer without the money and momentum of Scott McInnis but was supporting Jane Norton because she has the money and the momentum over Ken Buck. Huh???

How in the world can you convince him of anything if he does NOT know why he thinks what he thinks?

Also with all due respect, I note that I do not consider pragmatism part of a sound philosophical base.

Posted by: dagny at March 18, 2010 7:37 PM
But jk thinks:

It's a fair cop, guv. Curious if (either of) you are onboard for my assessment of Bill O'Reilly.

Pragmatism is a tactic, Dagny; little-l libertarianism is my philosophy. I concede that I do distasteful and less-than-consistent things to achieve certain ends, but I think I am both cognizant and open about it.

To bring it back to our State candidates, I am perilously close to your blowhard friend. For the record, I went all in for Maes and Buck to send a Tea Party Message to the national GOP. But in the end, I see little difference between Norton and Buck (heresy on these pages I know) and will be tempted to go with the far slicker campaign of the LtGov in the primary. Maes, in contrast, does seem enough of a step up from Rep McInnis that I might take a flyer.

It's a wonder you still talk to me sometimes, huh?

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2010 8:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I think we're both on board with your assessment of Bill O'Reilly's contradictory foundational principles. Where we, or at least I, part with you is on his qualification to be a public thinker or the rectitude of my choice to watch him from time to time.

Can you tell me which public thinkers have a consistent, coherent philosophy? I'm afraid most of those have a consistently wrong philosophy.

Additionally, the vast majority of the voting public hasn't a consistent, coherent philosophy either. If this could be reversed then you'd have less need for your tactical pragmatism.

Posted by: johngalt at March 18, 2010 8:50 PM

Salsa Clinic Staffing

Things are looking up for our Mexican Health Care venture! Insty links to this NEJM Survey of physicians who might "Go Galt" if ObamaCare® passes. There's some up and down and the leftist slant of NEJM's readership shows through in spots ("0.8% feel income will 'improve dramatically' with a public option." -- kinda hope that's not my doctor...)

But the money quote for us is:

Health Reform and Primary Care Physicians
* 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.

To which I say "Don't Go Galt, Go Kranz!" Join us in sunny Puerto Viarta at a free market hospital serving North America and the world.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Perfect - just as US citizens are being evacuated from six cities in Mexico, and a travel advisory is being issues warning of travel in three Mexican states. The US consulate in Juarez still has chalk outlines and blood on the carpets.

The timing is conspiring against you. It's not to late for Costa Rica...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2010 11:25 AM
But jk thinks:

We're going to bid Costa Rica against Mexico. Each will have to make a convincing case for security.

In defernce to your opinions, brother ka, I can assure you that Juarez is out. No, really, Keith has spoken!

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2010 11:40 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Think of bullets and death threats as part of the working environment, which is a legitimate market force (cost of doing business). It's not me - the market has spoken.

Fair competition between Costa Rica and Mexico - I do love free market solutions!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2010 1:12 PM
But jk thinks:

I have no proof but still suspect that the violence is in the sleazy border towns (the only part of the country I frequent, curiously) and that higher-end, more modern tourist locations are fairly safe.

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2010 1:48 PM

March 16, 2010

Caucus Nite!

In addition to Cory Gardner I'll be caucusing for Ken Buck tonight:

Whenever your caucus is, wherever you live ... GO. Find the grassroots candidates. Support them. Tell the McCain PAC money boys (and in Colorado's case, girls) to go home. The GOP primary is the only place you can make a real difference. By the time the general election rolls around it's just lesser-of-evils time. In Colorado, tonight's the night. 7 pm.

CO GOP caucus location info here:


Caucus Report - There were 13 participants from our precinct who chose 4 delegates from 5 nominees. Yours truly was one of those selected (and the only one to be chosen unanimously, with 13 of 13 votes.) This is even more remarkable when you consider that one of the couples in attendance had expressed their strong preference for Jane Norton, since they know her personally. Even though I was unabashedly for her chief rival, Ken Buck, the both of them voted for me. I had chatted them up about the other races and the general condition of the country. I also volunteered to be precinct secretary and one of two precinct chairmen for the next go 'round. When given my chance at a mini campaign speech I said I'm not a member of any TEA Party or 9.12 groups but I attend the Tea Parties when they happen and that best describes my priorities. I said that I consider over taxation and regulation at the federal level to be the chief reason for the sad state of the economy these days. Charity should start at home and that sort of thing. In closing I joked that everyone should "vote for me because I WON'T buy your vote."

Our precinct/district results were:

Buck - 9/49
Norton - 4/20

McInnis - 7/42
Maes - 6/38

Gardner - 11/49
Lucero - 2/16
Brown - 0/9

Statewide results for Senate and Governor are here.

As of (Good Lord!) 1:15am MDT (last updated 11:25pm with 94% reporting) the numbers are:

McInnis - 15,213 (60%)
Maes - 9,952 (39.3%)

Buck - 9,324 (37.9%)
Norton - 9,295 (37.7%)
Wiens - 4,054 (16.5%)


- If the rankings hold through the final count this is a major coup for the grassroots candidate Ken Buck over the much better funded Norton. I think he was just hoping for a good showing to get some credibility. An outright win is a bonus.

- Wiens spent a lot of ad money too, mostly hammering Norton for supporting the tax grab Referendum C. If he drops out none of his support will go to her.

- Buck's current margin of victory is 29 votes, of which two were my dad and me. It sure feels good to make a difference like that.

Good night. And, goodnight!

As of 10:30 AM 3/18, 99.69% reporting -

McInnis - 15,385 (59.1%)
Maes - 10,421 (40.1%)

Buck - 9,776 (38.2%)
Norton - 9,613 (37.5%)
Wiens - 4,223 (16.5%)

Buck's margin has grown - from 29 to 163.
Winner winner, chicken dinner!

But jk thinks:

Still not sure about Ken, I will keep an open mind. I definitely like the idea of Dan Maes over Scott McInnis.

This video is not compelling. The problem is...Lobbyists? Really? Fat cat bankers in Greenwich, CT? I just don't get it.

He tweets "Tonight, CO has the opportunity to stand against D.C. special interests. Please support my campaign at your..." Sounds like John Edwards! Gonna fight the drug companies for me!

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2010 7:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Headed to Legacy School in Frederick by any chance?

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2010 7:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You didn't like the improved fuel economy promise from his bumper stickers?

For Buck it's all about the national PAC money being funneled to Jane Norton. You can't blame the guy for feeling a little like Rodney Dangerfield: The NRSCC has reportedly reserved domain names for Norton's general election run already.

And no, it wasn't "fat cat" bankers, but "bailed out" bankers. When I hear that I think Lehman Brothers. I understand if you think he's just talking about arm-twisted TARP recipients. In the final analysis though, for me it's about the Republicans who brung us attempted amnesty, half-hearted SS reform, no adult supervision over spending and entitlements, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama versus the mad as hell types who reluctantly chose to take on the careerists and show Democrats what a REAL "party of NO" looks like.

And no, we weren't in Frederick but the other direction - Fort Lupton Middle School.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2010 3:02 AM
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, I love the message to the national GOP (cough losers! cough!) I was actually more surprised at Dan Maes's showing. I think the grassroots spoke loudly and clearly.

Ft. Morgan, huh? Big town! You probably went in early for sushi and stayed late to catch a show...

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2010 10:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You made the same mis-identification that my dad repeatedly makes. I have no idea why it's so easy to recognize Ft. Collins but Ft. Lupton is easily confused with Ft. Morgan. As for the civic charms of our nearby little burg, I've come to appreciate that what it lacks in size, demographics and amenities it makes up with history and friendliness.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2010 12:31 PM
But jk thinks:

My best to your Dad. I make it <italics>repeatedly</italics> as well. No idea why. I go to Ft. Lupton for license plates and maybe drove through Ft. Morgan ten years ago.

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2010 7:23 PM

Grame Frost, Call Your Office

We all have a favorite kind of story or blog post. I'll readily confess mine is exposing the huckster prop in a Democratic "feel their pain" pitch.

I suppose it goes back farther, but it all started for me with Grame Frost the 12-year-old poster boy for SCHIP. Way back in 2007, mean ol' President George W Bush vetoed the expansion of SCHIP (I do enjoy reminding right-wing Bush haters of this). So the Democrats chose young Grame to deliver their radio response. He pulled the heartstrings as he was recovering from a serious accident and his medical bills were affecting his parents.

Well, Dad turns out to be a hyper-partisan and a loser. He quit a good job to start his own woodworking business. The more one looked, the less sympathetic the family appeared.

I invoked their name on these pages in July of 2008. The Nunez family, in George Bush's Evil Amerikkka, could not afford meat. They were highlighted on an NPR story. But the 'R' is for radio, and once people saw the extremely obese family, sympathy rolled off a bit.

Today, FOXNews via Gateway Pundit brings us Natoma Canfield. She was President Obama's prop in Ohio -- follow the link to hear the President say "I am here for Natoma."

Natoma has cancer and is dying in the street without care after being kicked out of her home for failure to pay her medical bills and has nothing to eat or wear a minute, this just in: No, it appears she is in a top flight cancer center receiving care after 12 years of not working and dropping her insurance. She will get financial aid and will not lose her house:

Lyman Sornberger, executive director of patient financial services at the Cleveland Clinic, said "all indications" at the outset are that she will be considered for assistance.

"She may be eligible for state Medicaid … and/or she will be eligible for charity (care) of some form or type. … In my personal opinion, she will be eligible for something," he said, adding that Canfield should not be worried about losing her home.

"Cleveland Clinic will not put a lien on her home," he said.

Well, I'm glad that ended so well, aren't you?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

"Yeah, it's a good thing the president went there to pressure the CC to do the right thing" say Obamacare apologists.

You love to write 'em and I love to read 'em.

Posted by: johngalt at March 16, 2010 2:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Thanks for the link, man. I had heard about her last night, in a naturally sympathetic segment on CBS radio news. Knowing only that she appealed to Obama to force others to pay for her care, I expressed my feelings thusly to a friend: "She can f------ die, for all I care."

My sentiment has not lessened. She was paying $5000 annually for insurance? For crying out loud, she had cancer, so that was quite a reasonable rate. And her insurance, presumably, is privately bought and therefore higher than group insurance. My high-deductible policy, between what my employer and I pay, is more expensive!

Even $8000 annually, considering her cancer could have returned -- and did -- is not bad at all, considering her health history and what she could cost the insurer. Cancer can be so managable these days that her insurer could easily spend half a million dollars for the rest of her life on all the drugs and treatment to keep her alive.

There were some excellent comments. "This is just a Henrietta Hughes redeux."

Indeed. It sounds like her real problem is (1) not working a steady job, and (2) refinancing a house that should have been paid off years ago.

"Obama has reinvented the Potemkin village. It used to be that Communists would create fake prosperous villages to deceive gullible Westerners into thinking Communism was a success. Now we have Comrade creating fake suffering in order to persuade gullible liberals that free markets are a failure."

We can call them "Obama's Nikmetop victims."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 16, 2010 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

"Nikmetop" -- I like it.

At my brother-in-law's suggestion, I watched some of the "one-minute speeches" on CSPAN today. The Republicans seemed to have facts or procedural arguments, but the Democrats all had a letter from a constituent.

Ms. Canfield did everything wrong and is still receiving care in a top-notch institution. Her bills will be paid (thanks, Perry!) and she will keep her house. I love it.

I'm thinking I need to write one of those heart-tugging letters. How a middle-class family in a small town in flyover country received amazing, truly life-saving care, ran up more than a half-million in bills, and then kept their home and lifestyle thanks to insurance that was anything but "Gold-plated" or "Cadillac."

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2010 4:43 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Here's another one for you in a bit of a different vein:

Lance Lewis was paralyzed 20 years ago from falling down the stairs backwards. His employer, Core States Bank, kept up his insurance which provided him with in-home 24/7 nursing care. That care has been uninterrupted for 20 years, through no less than 5 bank mergers. With the last merger, from FU to Wells Fargo, Wells says they no nothing about the nursing and insurnace care deal that Lewis has. Lewis, of course, has nothing documenting this deal he cut with a bank five mergers ago.

Not to lessen the plight of Mr. Lewis, but in the volitile banking industry, shouldn't it be his responsibility to make sure that his insurance follows through the merger? Furthermore, I don't think that any of the Banks, from Core Staes on through Wells, has a legal obligation to conitue Lewis' insurance and it was damned genreous that they did for so long.

Besides being a poor case to illustrate the need for Obamacare (which was, make no mistake, the intent of the article) it highlights the need for separating health insurance from the emplooyer--a conservative idea, if I'm not mistaken, and one that makes no appearance in the 2,700 page abomination that our president is currently campaigning for.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 16, 2010 7:22 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Wow--I apologize for the horrid typos. I guess I shouldn't post while I'm in class.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 16, 2010 7:31 PM
But jk thinks:

U typ bettr n me. I did convert the long url to a link. You can always email me anything you'd like changed -- or just give up and accept an author's login around here already.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2010 7:39 PM

Reason Saves Cleveland

I do take my shots at Reason Magazine. But their new Reason TV series "Reason Saves Cleveland" with Drew Carey is really shaping up. Part One is a setup piece: well worth watching -- especially for the clip of the Broncos-Browns AFC Championship.

But part two gets starts to get into specifics. Fix the schools:

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

March 15, 2010

In Markets We Trust II

Last Friday, Jack Calfee asked if health insurance profits are so healthy, why weren't large firms like Walmart, Microsoft and the like diving in. I mean, who would miss a chance to bilk an unsuspecting public out of -- wait for it -- $66?

Mark Perry at The American links to the Calfee piece and adds the $66 figure to the discussion:

Using the industry profit margin of 2.2 percent last year, it means that insurance companies make only about $66 on average per policy in profits for individual coverage, and less than $140 in profits for each family policy.

Wow! Two-point-two percent profit! Man, why doesn't every business give up the stupid things they do and hop into this lucrative pool?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

A related statistic I heard is that the total profits of health insurance companies would pay the health care costs of Americans for 4 days out of each year.

- I think I heard this on Mike McConnell's radio show last Sunday night. (It's a mediocre show that KOA switched to as a cost-cutting measure, IMHO.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 16, 2010 11:12 AM
But jk thinks:

That's what you get when you put heartless capitalist corporations in charge of programming. Jeez, NPR has great stuff on the weekends...

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2010 11:28 AM

Government Motives

Brother jg gets the comment of the week for suggesting -- at the end of "Cousin Milton's" devastating takedown of ObamaCare:

Analysis above is, of course, predicated on the notion that extending longevity and quality of life are the intended goal of the health care system.

Thanks to government, they can actually claim a "crisis" in health care. And yet health insurance has similar saturation rates as broadband Internet. Ergo, Crisis! Ergo, government needed!
Last year, Congress directed the FCC to develop a plan to make high-speed Internet available to more people. But given that 95% of Americans already have access to some form of broadband—and 94% can choose from at least four wireless carriers—rapid broadband deployment is already occurring without new government mandates.
In 2009 alone, broadband providers spent nearly $60 billion on their networks. Absent any evidence of market failure, the best course for the FCC is to report back to Congress that a broadband industrial policy is unnecessary. Instead, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is moving to increase the reach of his agency and expand government control of the Web.

I just dropped my 7Mb DSL for a screamin' 16Mb pipe. The good folks at Comcast run as high as 50 Mb out to my condo, which is not in the sticks but is isolated from other dense development.

So, government has a chance to declare victory and go home. But, to coin a phrase, analysis above is, of course, predicated on the notion that extending access to broadband is the intended goal of the system.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

"I'm Going to Pick a Fight"

Those were the words of William Wallace [1:03] as he set out to meet representatives of English tyranny over Scotland. They're the same words I heard a GOP candidate for CO-4 say to a fellow debate attendee. She had asked him, "How long do you want to keep this job?" Cory's reply was, "I don't want to go to Washington to make friends, I'm going to pick a fight." There were only a few of us standing around him at the time so I don't believe it was a rehearsed line, but it sure made an impression on me: He's going to pick a fight with representatives of federal tyranny over America.

Cory was the only one of the four candidates not wearing cowboy boots so I joked with dagny, "Cross him off the list!" But by the end of the debate the other three had not won me over like Gardner did. I went to meet him afterwards and that's where the quote comes from. My question for him was whether he would have a problem having any of the other three candidates on his "team" to which he said, "Not at all." I had a better question for him this morning, which you can read about below the fold.

I intend to stand for election as a delegate for Cory at tomorrow's GOP caucus.

I called Cory this morning and he called me back. I asked him about his 2010 plan which, for spending reform, only says we need a balanced budget amendment. He said that the 2010 plan is a sort of bare bones summary. He essentially wants to push for a Colorado style TABOR law at the national level, which includes restraints on the growth of spending. He said that neither of these things is required in order to roll back spending. I said, "You're right, if congress wanted to cut spending they could. But what are you going to say when your colleagues say 'You're asking me to vote against something that's popular in my district - what are you going to vote against that's popular in yours?'" He said he's recently gone to the well of the Colorado legislature and proposed a cut in spending by the agriculture department, and that this is a big deal for a representative from a rural district. I agreed and asked if that sentiment would extend to the federal farm bill. He said, "Absolutely." He then explained that the 1996 farm bill was written by Wayne Allard and a senator from Kansas to wean farmers off of subsidies over a 6-year period but subsequent congresses, with Republican complicity, undid the effort.

We also talked briefly about government employee unions and ridiculous pension plans. He said that's a problem at the state and the federal level and it needs to be reformed at multiple levels. I asked if it is as simple as candidate McInnis' pledge to reverse the executive order allowing state employee unions. He said that Gov. Ritter's order gave state employee unions the right to bargain collectively - that's what would be reversed if McInnis or Maes is elected. He said it's an important first step but not the whole solution. (I was impressed by his inclusion of Dan Maes who I'm just learning about since he's getting zero press but is what I suppose you'd call "the TEA Party candidate.")

I told him I know that he has experience resisting the pressures to go along against his principles at the state level but the pressures in Washington will be even stronger. I said that I think Senator Bunning has some regrets about his career in congress. He agreed and said he plans to spend as much time as possible with constituents in his district instead of in Washington.

Quote of the Day

Dear choir, today's sermon:

America has the finest health care delivery system in the world. Let's not forget that and put it at risk in the name of reform. Desperate souls across the globe flock to our shores and cross our borders every day to seek our care. Why? Our system provides cures while the government-run systems from which they flee do not. Compare Europe's common cancer mortality rates to America's: breast cancer - 52 percent higher in Germany and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom; prostate cancer - a staggering 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway; colon cancer - 40 percent higher in the United Kingdom.

Look closer at the United Kingdom. Britain's higher cancer mortality rate results in 25,000 more cancer deaths per year compared to a similar population size in the United States. But because the U.S. population is roughly five times larger than the United Kingdom's, that would translate into 125,000 unnecessary American cancer deaths every year. This is more than all the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, cousins and children in Topeka, Kan. And keep in mind, these numbers are for cancer alone. America also has better survival rates for other major killers, such as heart attacks and strokes. Whatever we do, let us not surrender the great gains we have made. First, do no harm. Lives are at stake. -- Dr. Milton R. Wolf, Barack Obama's second cousin once removed.

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

Analysis above is, of course, predicated on the notion that extending longevity and quality of life are the intended goal of the health care system.

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2010 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Ow! You're sadly correct. Silly cousin that went into medicine instead of politics probably assumed that.

Posted by: jk at March 15, 2010 3:51 PM

Give Thanks for What Divides Us

I have been meaning to ask whether any reproductive-rights ThreeSourcers had found new respect for pro-life legislators since they became the best chance to kill ObamaCare® and keep the last vestige of freedom in these United States.

But then I saw this, and I am laughing too hard to type:

That's especially true given yesterday's report indicating that at least seven of Stupak's faction have confirmed they will not vote for a reform bill without a change in the abortion language.

Another single-issue conflict with a different House faction also reared its head: The Hispanic Caucus is now publicly threatening to torpedo reform because of the Senate bill's ultra-restrictive language prohibiting illegal immigrants from buying health insurance through the state-run insurances exchanges that would be set up. At least one high-profile former yes vote, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, has said that he'll switch his vote to no if the immigrant restrictions aren't changed. (For more detail on this conflict, see the Reason Foundation's Shikha Dalmia.)

Strange bedfellows indeed.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 13, 2010

In Markets We Trust

Larry Kudlow knocked it out of the park last night. Like the White House releasing bad news on Friday night, I fear it will vanish into the aether. He hat-tipped Barry Ritholtz on the show but I do not see anything to link to in Ritholtz's blog or Kudlow's.

Thursday, more evidence came out that Lehman Bros. was "cooking the books" with the delightfully named accounting trick Repo 105. In short, Lehman moved a lot of paper off-balance sheet to lower its apparent leverage. Curiously, it was high grade debt that they could park at a hedge fund, not so much hiding the toxic assets.

The point Kudlow makes (and attributes to Ritholtz) is that only the short sellers discovered this chicanery. Kudlow listed the soi disant watchmen who missed it:

  • Ernst & Young -- nope, nothing to see here folks!

  • The New York Fed, chaired at the time by one Timothy Geithner

  • The layers and layers of bullshit and suffocating regulations dictated by SarbOx

  • The SEC

So, let me get this straight. No government regulator or oversight board got a whiff this was going on. Or worse, problems were found and were hidden. One of the last of the Big Eight accounting firms signed off on a Sgt Schultz audit.

And yet, at the same time, those who make a living trading Financials (and a pretty decent living I am led to believe) realized that it smelled funny. They sold short -- adding information to the market and positioning themselves to make a tidy profit if they were right (and limitless loss t'were they not). These people found the problem, caught it, and shut the company down. No regulator, no legislator, the aggregate wisdom of the market discovered and corrected the problem, while the regulators and regulations did nothing but add deadweight to all firms.

So how are we making sure this doesn't happen again? More regulation of course! A bigger role for Timothy Geithner to "manage" systemic risk: to bring that New York miracle to the whole country!

Oh, yeah, and propose a rule to ban short sellers.

Stop. World. Me want off.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, as I was telling a friend Friday, short-selling is the big scapegoat. Not only is it a legitimate investment tool, it hardly does what its detractors claim it does. However, the SEC in particular needs a scapegoat because all its regulations (especially record-keeping, which I can personally attest to) and all its audits failed to do the job the SEC claims as its mission. The rightful outrage at the SEC's incompetence with Bernie Madoff, when they had a smoking gun, was quickly forgotten.

In and of itself, short-selling had and still has nothing to do with "attacking" financial companies' stocks so the prices would go down. When you buy shares of XYZ, you have no idea if the person is selling shares he currently owns or if he's shorting. You're simply buying whatever shares are offered.

So when you short XYZ, your motive stays with you, and your buyer implicitly thinks the shares are going up -- otherwise why would he be buying? (Barring that he sold someone some uncovered calls and had the market move against him, but this is a tiny minority of cases.) Thus both sides cancel each other out, just like so-called "speculators" weren't driving up oil prices.

If blame lies with short-sellers, it should also lie with others who owned the shares and dumped them. Even though John Q. Public felt Lehman was going down the tubes, he was sending just as much of a signal to the markets when he placed the order to sell it all. Why isn't the SEC going after owners also, for "market manipulation" and other nonsense?

The reason financial companies' stock prices went down is very simple: buyers weren't willing to pay the asking prices. That's it. Buyers who were aware or prescient of those companies' problems, or even just guessing, wouldn't budge at current market prices, so sellers had to keep bidding lower. It's buyers who send the strongest signals, because they are ultimately the ones in control of prices.

Mises said, "The captain is the consumer." In stock exchanges, buyers are "the consumer."

One thing I mentioned to my friend: what if Larry Wildman had made good with his threat to dump Anacott to "burn" Gekko? In real life, any knowledgeable investor would have laughed to himself at such a wonderful opportunity. Once Wildman dumped his own shares, Gekko should have been the first to start buying!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 14, 2010 7:02 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Excellent post, JK! It's like blaming the canary:

"Gentlemen, we've noticed a high correlation between canaries dying and mine disasters. Everytime the canary dies, we have a disaster. Clearly, we need to get rid of the canaries."

"Yeah, damn canaries can't be trusted."

Next, the New York Times runs a front page expose' on the Republican canaries.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 14, 2010 7:30 PM
But Terri thinks:

Excellent Post, that I overquoted since most people never link through. Thanks!

Posted by: Terri at March 15, 2010 8:47 AM

March 12, 2010

International Club for Meddling with Local Government

One of moderator Amy Oliver's questions at last night's CO-4 GOP debate was about an international organization called the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. They've changed their name to ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Apparently they encourage local governments to impose environmental regulations all over the world. They describe "members" as "the strongest allies of ICLEI by contributing a yearly membership fee, but also by hosting ICLEI offices, financing events or contributing staff time to projects and activities." That would be staff time of the local governments they work for, paid by local tax dollars.

The online membership directory is unavailable: "Please accept our apologies. We are presently working to update our membership information pages. This page will be available again shortly."

They do, however, list the 1124 local governments these members come from. They include:

Arvada, Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Denver, Durango, Ft. Collins, Frisco, Golden, Gunnison County, La Plata County, LAFAYETTE, Loveland, Manitou Springs, San Miguel County, and Westminster in Colorado.

Haverford Township, Lower Makefield, Meadville, Montgomery Township, Mt. Lebanon, Narberth, Nether Providence Township, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Radnor, Upper Dublin Township, and West Chester in Pennysylvania.


March 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

Somehow no one in the press has asked Sikes how it is he could stop the car once it had slowed to 50 mph, but not when it was going 90 mph. Have Balloon Boy and the finger-in-the-chili taught us nothing?

Even if one believes all the hype, the reaction so far has been a giant overreaction. Fifty-odd deaths over 10 years and millions of Toyotas is a drop in the bucket compared to the general risk of being on the road at all. -- Theodore H. Frank

Fairness dictates that I give equal time to contradictory evidence. A good friend (and talented engineer) pointed his 2007 Prius up a hill, romped on the accelerator, and was unable to cut the engine or put the car into neutral. I report, you decide. (But I still call B*******!)

Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Lisa M thinks:
But jk thinks:

You're so mean Lisa -- I mean he was afraid that if he shifted into neutral "I figured if I knocked it over [the gear knob] the car might flip." A perfectly rational explanation.

I hope everybody reads the Forbes link. Not only does it prove me astonishingly right, it is a perfect indictment of the media which passed along numerous goofy details without a hint of skepticism. We may have learned from "Balloon Boy"ť and "Finger-in-the-chili"ť but they clearly have not.

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2010 6:46 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Great links, Lisa, thanks a million. Sikes has an awful lot of splainin' to do now.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 12, 2010 10:03 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Perhaps the worst indictment of the media is Fumento's retelling of Sike's 911 call, where he repeatedly refused to follow the 911 operator's instructions and put the car in neutral, finally just ignoring her altogether. I don't know if any of you guys caught the Today Shows stellar coverage of this incident at all, but they actually played a clip of the 911 call--commenting that it was impossible not to "hear the fear and panic in Sike's voice"--all accompanied by a computer graphic explaining how the police car brought the Prius to a stop. Now aside from the fact that they obviously either didn't talk to the policeman or if they did, they completely ignored his story, they HAD to have heard the entire 911 call, therefore specifically picking and choosing the part of that call that would most corroborate Sikes' hoax. It seems to me that Toyota may have a lawsuit here, not only against Sikes, but against all the media outlets who promoted this false story despite the plethora of common sense evidence to the contrary.

A woman in my area also recently had an incident with her "out of control" Toyota. Because I am not only mean, but VERY mean, I hope that she is exposed on the national stage as a fraud as well.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 13, 2010 8:47 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Which one was that, Lisa? I had mentioned the housekeeper who crashed her employer's Prius in Harrison, NY, not too far south of me. It wouldn't surprise me if it's a new one: everyone wants to jump in on the action. Sikes has said he wants to be left alone now, and he has no plans to sue Toyota, but you can bet your bottom dollar he'll be part of the inevitable class action lawsuit. I can only hope Toyota will stand firm.

I heard no "fear" or "panic" in Sike's voice. What a wonderful world we live in today, that we have such volumes of information to expose the mainstream media's lies.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 14, 2010 7:31 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

No Perry, it's completely different leech sucking off of society. She's from my area in southeast PA. The alleged incident happened one town over from me.

I notice that the press is now reluctantly giving this story the hairy eyeball, although they are very careful to now present "balanced" reporting by reporting Sikes' lawyer's contention that just because Toyota found nothing wrong with his Prius, that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 16, 2010 7:20 AM

Napolitano on Obamacare

I hadn't seen this before. It's from last October and even if you've seen it, watch it again. Among other things the judge explains how federal government lawyers act to prevent unconstitutional laws from being judged so in court.

Hat tip: Home page of the Bill Cunningham Show

UPDATE (3/15): For those who didn't listen, and just because I want to see it in print, here is one of those other things the judge said: [closing minute]

"These gatherings are more important than anything you can imagine. Because in the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger. You are that generation! This is your role! Now is that time! Freedom must be defended from every assailant in every corner of this country, from outside the country, from inside the country, and especially from the government that wants to take it away from us. [applause] God bless you."

CO-4 GOP Debate Tonight in Loveland

Published in the newspaper but found on the 'net only at this left-leaning site:

Brought to you by the following five groups who have united for the Great Cause:

• Northern Colorado Tea Party
• We Will Not Fall 9-12 Fort Collins
• Loveland 9-12 Project
• Windsor 9-12 group
• Longmont 9-12/Tea Party

Gardner, Lucero, Madere and Brown are all confirmed to attend.

Thursday, March 11th
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Mountain View High School Auditorium
3500 Mountain Lion Drive
Loveland, CO 80537

The debate will be moderated by Amy Oliver from 1310 am KFKA Radio.

I'll be attending, vid cam in hand.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Sadly, I am still stuck in CO-2, even though I escaped Boulder County. Have fun.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2010 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sure somewhere in CO-2, a Trotsky-Lenin debate will be taking place...

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2010 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Every time I go to one of these things I wish I had a T-shirt. Shall we make some? It could read,

TEA Anyone?

Now we only need to choose a color. Hmm, red or blue? (Nobody better suggest green!)

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 4:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm taking tomorrow off, I'll play around on CafePress. I was playing around with some Live at the cups.

I really like how Hank's Devil Dog Brew stuff came out Shirts and mugs on video display here.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2010 5:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Last night's debate started with the excitement of four guys saying, "I agree" but before it was over there were a few areas of disagreement. I'd say the bombshell moment was when Tom Lucero had to defend his YES vote on Referendum C as a "time out" from Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, eliciting criticism from Madere and Gardner: "You can't take a time out from your principles" and "We can't set reasonable spending limits and take a time out when the going gets tough." It's a shame because Tom was looking very good to me up to that point.

I have video of everything but the closing statements and want to put up a few highlights soon, along with more commentary. Until then if you're interested you can see the entire debate on video at People's Press Collective (a weird name for a conservative site if you ask me.)

There were some good one liners:

Diggs Brown: I'm 52 years old and I understand that the US Army won't let me kick down Taliban doors any more. That's fine. Now it's time to go kick down Nancy Pelosi's door.

Cory Gardner: Betsy Markey and Nancy Pelosi have spent more tax dollars in just one year than Bill Clinton did in eight years.

More this weekend.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2010 11:00 AM


Long-time friend Kirk has the guest slot in the coffeehouse this week. I do my very best with Jerome Kern's beautiful "All the Things You Are."


March 10, 2010

Headline of the Day

Bank Padlocked Wrong House and Took Parrot -- WSJ
Posted by John Kranz at 4:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

I really Did Hear the Speaker Say This

Taranto's lead item today is Speaker Pelosi's brilliant defense of ObamaCare. I saw this but I feared it was a bad dream:

You've heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don't know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention--it's about diet, not diabetes. It's going to be very, very exciting.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.

Why don't we pass a flat-tax, then see what's in the bill?

But johngalt thinks:

The indians had no government when the colonists arrived, nor during westward expansion. Look where that got 'em. I say we need a government if only to tell other governments of the world to shove off.

Anarchy is too "individual liberty" even for me, and I'm widely considered a "wing-nut." I prefer leaving a Constitutional Republic to myself and my posterity.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

But jg likes to forget Amendment XVI which was written specifically to refute it.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2010 3:38 PM
But jk thinks:

A two-lettered-sobriqueted acquaintance of ours would also insist that you read Wikipedia’s entry on The Iroquois Constitution. He'd say that it presaged ours and that Madison took lots of good ideas from it. I would and have disagreed; it was a defense compact of related tribes with no mention of rights. Brother jg points out its efficacy.

I bring him up because we have a long Facebook thread on the role of government. I shared naked snow-women and unlicensed beer with my Facebook coterie, and brother XX asked pretty specifically the level of government I thought appropriate.

I said, no surprise to ThreeSourcers, that you have to find some balance and that I thought the founders did a good job. Too bad we stopped paying attention.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2010 3:59 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

PE, I'm struggling with the notion that anarchy is the ultimate instantiation of liberty. That might be true if humanity had reached perfection, but until that happens...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2010 5:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

jg wishes he could forget Amendment XVI, which was written specifically to turn the American Republic into ancient Rome.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 6:19 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The Indians weren't the way they were because they lacked government like Americans or Europeans did. The Indians were the way they were because they didn't believe in property rights. With no property rights, no man had an incentive to cultivate his own land. Thus the Indians were constantly "living off the land," but such a "noble" hunter-gatherer existence allows for little accumulation of wealth and little leisure.

BG, ask yourself this: what is government? Government is force, specifically coercion. You are being forced to be a part of something, even though you may not be harming anyone else. You cannot opt out. Therefore you cannot actually be free to your own life, harming no one else, if you are being forced into a government.

I'm going to get a lot more into this when I post on my blog. Stay tuned.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 8:50 PM

Improving Our Standing in the World

Vice President Joe Biden was expected to spend this week nurturing the Obama administration's shaky relations with Israel and building momentum for a new peace process. Instead he may have accomplished the opposite -- by stumbling into a classic Middle Eastern trap.
Jackson Diehl explains Biden's falling into the trap that has been set for visiting American diplomats since at least the 1990s:
Over the years U.S. envoys from [Secretary of State James] Baker to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have learned that the trick is to sidestep such broadsides, expressing disapproval without allowing the toxic settlement issue to take center stage and derail peace negotiations. After all, most Israeli settlement announcements, including this one, are pure symbolism: No ground will be broken anytime soon, and even if the homes are eventually constructed they won’t stand in the way of a Palestinian state.

By that measure, Biden flunked. Interrupted in the middle of what was supposed to be a day of love-bombing Israelis with speeches and other demonstrations of U.S. support, he kept Netanyahu and his wife waiting for 90 minutes into a scheduled dinner before issuing a statement that harshly criticized the interior ministry’s announcement. Biden chose to use a word -- “condemn” -- that is very rarely employed in U.S. statements about Israel, even though he and his staff knew that Netanyahu himself had been blindsided by the settlement announcement. So much for love bombs.

Whacking our VP is a fish-barrel activity at best, but I still have to point it because of two common themes:
  • The Obama Administration will "restore our standing in the world." In the past week, Secretary Clinton stepped in it in Argentina, suggesting that the US could arbitrate negotiations between Great Britain and Argentina on the Falklands. I thought PM Brown should have offered to mediate with the US and Spain on Florida -- where's that famed wit when needed?

  • Even my moderate friends still talk about "dodging a bullet" when "that woman!' was almost elevated to Vice President! Now we have different levels of Governor Palin appreciation 'round these parts, but the suggestion that she is far below VP Biden defies credulity.

VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

Walmart* Hippies

Now there's a sobriquet I would not run from -- much better than Teabaggers! I'll give Lee Harris at Quote of the Day for his appraisal of David Brooks's NYTimes column:

According to Brooks, the Tea Party movement is not only similar to hippie movement of the 1960s in terms of its lack of overall historical significance, it is a lowbrow revival of that movement, leading Brooks (or at least his editors) to dub today’s Tea Partiers “The Wal-Mart Hippies”—the title of his article.

The phrase “Wal-Mart Hippies” is certainly attention-getting, as was no doubt intended. After all, who would suspect that there lurked a secret affinity between the carefree flower children of late ’60s and the hard-working folks who shop at Wal-Mart? The two groups would seem a study in antithesis. The flower children of the ’60s put flowers in gun barrels and chanted sweet songs of peace. At Wal-Mart people buy guns to put bullets in and use them to shoot cute and cuddly animals.

Good stuff -- hat tip Insty

UPDATE: Insty also links to They expected 600, but over 2000 showed up at this anti-Obamacare meeting.

Watched Teevee news this morning to catch weather and saw footage of a giant demonstration demanding heath care reform and protesting eeevil insurance companies. Every one had a purple SIEU shirt on and they all had matching professional signs with the SEIU logo. If I thought they had the intelligence to pull it off, I'd call that media bias. But I suspect they just don't see it.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 12:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Unintended Consequences

Enough of that philosophy stuff. My brother emails this picture. suggesting "Apparently, the sun was not considered when designing this wall "


Where is this work of art located? St. Peter's Basilica of course. (This is an email joke, I have no proof, but, I mean, c'mon...)

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Is your brother's name Beavis, or Butthead?


Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2010 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Huhgh, hughnh, hughn...

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2010 3:43 PM

March 9, 2010

And that's a bad thing?

A front-page article in today's Denver Post declares, "Colorado Not Cashing in on Census." According to the article, Colorado is the third-lowest state in terms of federal reimbursement. The culprit seems to be Medicaid reimbursements that lag because of Colorado's relatively high per-capita income and relatively low child poverty rate. We also set the bar for Medicaid eligibility at the poverty line, whereas states like Vermont set the bar at 3X the poverty line. And that's a bad thing? It is if your a liberal who rates success based on how many tax dollars you can vacuum up.

Kathy White, program director for the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, said the state generally provides basic Medicaid benefits without the options other states provide for adults and children.

"We kind of keep it scaled back to the minimum requirements," White said.

Gov. Bill Ritter's office agreed.

"One of the primary reasons Colorado is toward the bottom of this list is that we have very lean safety-net programs," said Ritter's spokesman, Evan Dreyer.

However, that will change with legislation passed last year that increases benefits, said Adela Flores-Brennan, health care attorney for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

"Colorado is expanding its program," she said.

In addition to the galling situation in Vermont, Alaska is even worse. Alaska ranks among the highest-reimibursed states, garning more than $2000 per citizen compared to Colorado's $890. This, despite the fact that Alaskans have a negative state income tax (i.e., residents pay no state income tax but get an annual rebate from oil tax revenues). So, Alaska pays for all of its state social benefits funded by tax payers in other states - and rather generously at that. Question: what happens when every states is a net tax receiver? Answer: Unending deficit spending.

But they'll rock at heathcare... wait a minute... they already do...

What say you, Three Sourcers?

Sens. Schumer and Graham (probably not a pair of Threesourcers favorites) are proposing legislation to create a biometric ID card that, at a minimum, would be used for proof of employment eligability.

The Refugee will put an initial stake in the ground and say that such a plan does not sound like a bad idea. In fact, he would make presentation of such identification a requirement for social benefits, health services (i.e., non-emergency hospital care), school registration and - yes - voting. The cards may significantly reduce fraud.

Opponents say that such a card would be a defacto national ID card and a way for the government to track citizens. However, the SSN is already a defacto national ID and the government has so many tools to track us now that the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.

The Refugee will admit that he may not have thought of every possible threat to liberty that these cards may present and therefore has an open mind; he would like to hear what Three Sourcers have to say. What say you?

Immigration Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [13]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll be blunt. Forget the Constitution. Go to : "Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?"

My neighbors have no legitimate right to seize my property against my will, even if they band together and call themselves a "government." (That it nonetheless happens, and that I currently am not doing anything to physically stop the legalized robbery, is another topic.) So how can my neighbors, in the guise of a "government," require me to carry around a document just to prove I have a right to work?

Is it not the liberty of someone to trade peacefully with another, whether it's goods for goods or labor for wages, and they harm no one else? If someone is originally from Mexico, or Germany, does it matter to me if they are not harming me?

"Pay-purz, pleez!"

"And [The second beast] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 10, 2010 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I knew help was on the way. Now let me pitch the squish side.

I share your revulsion at "Pay-purz, pleez!" Perry. And that might be the best argument against. I also writhed a bit that the purported benefit of this was to prevent a free transaction between a consenting employer and worker. I get lonely around here when we discuss immigration.

But we are losing money and safety in our airline security. If a better ID could produce speed and security, it would facilitate business, prosperity and innovation. We run courts and cops to facilitate honest and repeatable business dealings. I'll admit it's at the deep end of the Hamiltonian pool, but a real government solution instead of the current Kabuki Theatre would be a bona fide public good.

And, we are losing liberty to voter fraud. I'm sure somewhere in rural Idaho, there is a Libertarian voter scheme. But 98% of the fraud is committed to provide more government (cf, ACORN). Trading a bit of privacy for sound elections would likely provide more liberty.

Agreeing with BR on two outta three, I am also swayed by the "too late already" argument. Amazon has the goods on me, Colorado has some, the Feds have some. It is a fait accompli that a decent dossier can be assembled on me. What is the benefit of fighting at the margins?

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2010 6:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow, this is really frightening.

I didn't realize just why a national ID card was evil until Perry took the idea to its ultimate conclusion. But he is absolutely correct.

Allowing a national government to put a tag in our ear is no "solution" to immigration issues, at least none that benefits individual citizens.

The reason we're losing money and safety in airline security is because the government is running it. Follow your own advice, jk, and allow the airlines to do the job.

You endorse a "real government solution?" The only thing the govenment does well is use force (and sometimes, not even that.)

Can't have honest elections without tattooing us all with our "serial number?" Then do away with elections instead.

And finally, "fighting at the margins?" What happened to the football analogy? It's goal line stand time, brother!

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 10:22 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

For me, immigration/seaonal work, whatever, is not that big an issue to me. I support liberal immigration laws. That said, I do not support open borders, if for no other reason that to prevent Castro and Chavez from emptying their prisons into the US. I also do not support the notion that under-the-table workers should be able to avail themselves of our schools, hospitals and welfare state. I view such transactions as fraudulent and an ID would help to reduce them.

Perhaps a solution would be bio-ID required to received government benefits. If you want to suckle on the taxpayer teet, you have to prove you're eligible (and surrender a certain amount of personal privacy). The debate will then be about who is eligible, but it is then at least enforcable.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2010 10:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

BR's proposal has merit in the sense of trading government cheese for liberty being an individual choice, but is it a gain or loss of yardage for the collectivists? I say we have to throw a flag on that one.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 11:20 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
But we are losing money and safety in our airline security. If a better ID could produce speed and security, it would facilitate business, prosperity and innovation.
There's an unspoken reason: airlines don't bear full responsibility for the crashes. Sure, they'll settle with the families of victims, but that's generally the limit of their liability. In a free market, American Airlines and United Airlines would have been held partially liable for the deaths and damage at the WTC, because their lax security measures allowed certain passengers from bringing aboard weapons. (Al Qaeda would bear the rest of the liability, but that of course is uncollectable.) Thus the airlines and their insurers would be the ones to pony up the billions for compensating families and any rebuilding. But the airlines have effective immunity from such claims, because it's the government that creates and enforces the ineffective security policies. So the government is instead the one "responsible," meaning that it will bleed taxpayers just a little bit more for payouts.

It's a good deal for the airlines, don't you think? What should happen instead is that airlines and airports must be fully private. You're correct that it'll take a better ID, but that can come only through private endeavors. But even more effective will be private methods of screening.

You'll have certain airports that could develop a reputation for tough scrutiny and exceptional security agents (not these TSA morons), such that no terrorist will dare to go through those airports. A terrorist would rather go to an airport with reputations for lax security, except that no reputable airline and certainly no honest, sane passengers will want to go through there. Jihad Airlines with a 767 full of Abduls will be pretty easy to spot -- and shoot down, if necessary, before they do any damage.

This is like what I wrote about on my own blog a few months back, regarding food safety. It's the same principle: when government creates a standard and is the only enforcer, consumers have no means to inform themselves, let alone go with a superior option. You walk into a deli, or go through an airport, hoping that the government has actually done what it promises but can deliver only by blind luck: to keep you "safe."

If this means that some airports and airlines will go out of business, then that's just too damn bad. If they can't operate without bearing responsibility for their actions, then they shouldn't be in business.

We run courts and cops to facilitate honest and repeatable business dealings. I'll admit it's at the deep end of the Hamiltonian pool, but a real government solution instead of the current Kabuki Theatre would be a bona fide public good.
Even the best libertarian concept of government, which exists only to punish force and fraud, can't "facilitate." It can only apprehend and punish after something wrong has been done. It's only peaceful, willing individuals who can facilitate.

The problem is that courts and cops aren't always successful, even the most competent ones who truly seek justice. And as I have personally experienced, courts and cops are sometimes the very ones facilitating or even committing the very criminal activity they're supposed to prosecute (and "prevent" only in that they deter criminals because of the threat of catching and prosecuting them).

When it comes to elections, I like JG's reply: "Can't have honest elections without tattooing us all with our "serial number?" Then do away with elections instead." So we don't want illegal aliens "participating" in this farce of democracy. Is it really any better that only my citizen neighbors can vote to seize my property and rule my life?

Bio-ID: it's a step in the right direction, but to continue the football analogy, that's a half-yard gain when you're 3rd and 20. It doesn't do anything for the fundamental problem of the state forcibly seizing our property to give to others. Are you going to hope for a miracle with an onside kick, or are you going to punt and hope you can stop the enemies of liberty on their next crusade?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 11:57 AM

I think that may void the warranty.

Hey, Toyota owners. DON'T DO THIS:

Here's what Gilbert had to do to make his Avalon go rogue: He had to cut open three of the six wires that travel from the pedal assembly to the engine computer. Two of the wires send the accelerator-position signals—one for each Hall-effect sensor—and one is a 5-volt power supply. Next he had to insert a specific 200-ohm resistor between the two signal wires. Finally, he had to generate a direct short between the 5-volt supply lines and the signal leads. The new wiring essentially mimicked a size-12 mashing of the pedal to the carpet and the engine went to WOT. Also, the order of the modification is important. Apply the 5-volt power lead to the wires before inserting the resistor and the computer would instead throw a fault code and go into limp mode.

Gilbert is Dave Gilbert, of Southern Illinois University's auto technology department, He "modified a new Avalon to go to full throttle with the flip of a switch, by altering the same circuits [Popular Mechanics' Mike Allen] wrote about. Gilbert appeared on ABC news and testified before Congress that his manipulations demonstrate how easy it is for Toyotas to accelerate out of control."

If Brother jg's linkage on his 'Cuda is anything like my 1968 Sports Satellite, I bet I can jam it full throttle with a paper clip. Quick, somebody call ABC News!

This morning I saw where a Prius had accelerated to 95 MPH in El Cajon, CA (home of Taylor Guitars) and had to be stopped by a State Trooper after he called 911 and endured terror for 20 minutes. Prius? 95? Twenty minutes? Neutral? Ulterior motive?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

But but but...

All I gotta do to keep my '68 (or '95 Dodge or '99 Audi or '08 Cummins) throttle from jamming WOT is keep gifted bloggers with paper clips off of my hood while I'm driving.

And it's not just about the throttle. Any vehicle with a mechanically linked clutch or auto trans shifter can be stopped in an emergency, though the engine may self-destruct. The problem with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive is that the electric motors that provide most of the motive force are connected, through gearing, directly to the drive shaft.

From the "Neutral gear" operating phase at the link above:

"Most jurisdictions require automotive transmissions to have a neutral gear that decouples the engine and transmission. The HSD "neutral gear" is achieved by turning the electric motors off."

That, friends, is subject to multiple electric/electronic failure modes. (And you believed them when they said "green tech" is safer than the way we did things in olden days!)

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2010 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This may be considered too macabre for polite company but I'm sayin' it anyway:

James Taranto coined the term "Roe Effect" to describe how liberal-progressive beliefs can result in a reduced quantity of, liberal-progressive persons. I think I'm the first to observe how the "Prius Effect" does the same thing.

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2010 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

But but but, the Prius has not been involved in the "sudden acceleration" contretemps (until now).

Your point is interesting (does it really go 95 on 'lectric?) but does not disprove my contention that there's nothing going on here. Now that blood's in the water, every fool with a Toyota can get his own lawsuit or reality show by having a sudden acceleration incident.

Not to say the one guy's wasn't genuine, but I remain skeptical. (El Cajon is the "Longmont" of California, BTW. Just sayin'...)

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2010 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was commenting more on the risks of the design than on the veracity of recent claims. While only 2 Prius incidents have been reported I'm not so sure that none of the others were hybrids.

And I called it the "Prius Effect" because it was the first such hybrid and is the most recognizable model. It's also the one enviros are most likely to choose - probably because it's generally the least appealing.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2010 10:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Michael Fumento agrees with JK: The latest Prius guy is a hoaxer or an idiot. (Not mutually exclusive, mind you.)

I heard him on the radio today say that Car and Driver has yet to find a car whose brakes couldn't over power its engine.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2010 2:29 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Thanks for the link, JG. Fumento is the man.

This didn't smell right to me either. At first I thought, "Here's another idiot who doesn't know to push it in neutral," but he was TOLD THAT and yet ignored it. What about the woman who testified before Congress about her Toyota going out of control, yet not so badly that she had time to call her husband? She said she just wanted to hear his voice one last time. Riiiiiight.

From the start, I've been telling a friend that, yeah, there probably are a few genuine cases of a problem, but now everyone's jumping on the bandwagon. The next day, a housekeeper driving her employer's Prius experienced...ta-da! A stuck accelerator!

It's like the swine flu hysteria: a couple of students come back from spring break with the flu, and suddenly entire schools shut down because "hundreds of students complained about flu-like symptoms." On beautiful spring days, no less.

In the San Diego case, the pedal was physically stuck down, the driver said. He also claimed he reached down and tried to pull it back. But an article I saw yesterday very briefly mentioned that when the police examined the car, both pedals were in their resting position.


First, 90 mph on a Southern Cali freeway really isn't much faster than normal.

Second, the guy said he was passing a truck when the accelerator stuck.

Third, the cop was coincidentally in the area, or at least close enough for pursuit.

You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to put it all together: the guy was speeding, saw a cop car or thought he saw one, and figured that "my accelerator stuck" was the way to get out of it, get his name in the news, and maybe get some cash from Toyota. The very moment that the mainstream news^H^H^H^Hpropagandists started the crap, every unscrupulous Toyota owner knew how to extort the company.

There was a guy in the Bronx who recently claimed his new debit card was stolen. A total of $7200 was drained from his account before he alerted Bank of America. His PIN would have also been necessarily stolen, because there were multiple ATM withdrawals. Surveillance cameras showed only that whoever it was wore a hood tightly drawn around his face.

I don't believe the guy for a second. New cards must be activated by calling a number, AND at the least entering the last four digits of your SSN. And if it isn't the phone number registered to your account, you'll probably talk to a live customer service rep and go through further verification. So unless he's had his SSN stolen, and other info to verify his identity, it's basically impossible for a thief to steal and activate the new card.

Bank of America initially refused to reimburse the guy, saying it had every indication of fraud by the customer. But they relented in the face of bad publicity, which was really too bad. Now every BofA customer requesting a new card knows what to do, see?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 3:02 PM

If the Naked Snow-Women Don't Get You...

I'm sick of all the libertarians (like John Stossel) insisting that we can live with less government! Who will protect us from the scourge of unregistered beer?

More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three popular Philadelphia bars known for their wide beer selections. The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers...


Although the bar owners had bought the beer legally from licensed Pennsylvania distributors and had paid all the necessary taxes, the police claimed that nobody had registered the precise names of the beers with the state Liquor Control Board ....

Based on a complaint from someone the State Police refuse to identify, three teams of officers converged last Thursday on the three bars, run by Leigh Maida and her husband....

But jk thinks:

I'm thinkin' we stage a ThreeSOurces Liberty Night where we all drink unlicensed beer and gawk at naked snow women. It could be an annual event.

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2010 3:38 PM
But mcmhvonpa thinks:

Benjamin Franklin told us that beer is God's way of showing he loves mankind. Those who would deny our path to God's love are obviously in league with the DEVIL!!!

Posted by: mcmhvonpa at March 9, 2010 10:27 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I'll drink to that! I'll bet we can get Starrman to provide the unlicensed libations.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 10, 2010 10:04 AM
But jk thinks:

@mdmh: Amen and halleluia!!

@br: I married into a family of awesome brewers as well (plus she's beautiful -- what a lucky guy!) so I can cover the beer side. I'm a little more worried about acquiring a quality nekkid snow girl...

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2010 10:27 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Can it be ice instead of snow?

What a country!

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 11:29 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Gentlemen, may I take this time to mention that I recently procured a case of San Miguel (the regular lager export), and a double-case of San Miguel Dark?

With Manny Pacquiao's fight Saturday, a whole filet mignon to chow down on, and my beautiful wife by my side, life can't get any better.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 1:41 PM

Mankiw on Deficit Neutrality

Funny, until you realize how sadly true it is -- Professor Mankiw explains "Deficit Neutrality;"

Friend: I am going to take off a few days from work and fly down to Bermuda for a quick vacation.

You: But isn't that expensive? Won't that just add to your growing debts?

Friend: Yes, it is expensive. But my plan is deficit-neutral. I have decided to give up that half-caf, extra shot caramel macchiato I order at Starbucks twice every day. I really don't need that expensive drink. And if I give it up for the next three years, it will pay for my Bermuda trip.

You: Well, then, how are you going to solve the problem of your growing debts?

Friend: I am going to figure that out as soon as I return from Bermuda.

You: But in light of your budget problem, maybe you should give up Starbucks and skip the Bermuda vacation. Giving up Starbucks could be the easiest way to start balancing your budget.

Friend: You really aren't any fun, are you?

March 8, 2010


NYTimes Corrections, courtesy of Gregg Easterbrook

New York Times Corrections on Fast-Forward: In the past six months, the Times has, according to its own corrections page, said Arizona borders Wisconsin; confused 12.7-millimeter rifle ammunition with 12.7 caliber (the latter would be a sizeable naval cannon); said a pot of ratatouille should contain 25 cloves of garlic (two tablespoons will do nicely); on at least five occasions, confused a million with a billion (note to the reporters responsible -- there are jobs waiting for you at the House Ways and Means Committee); understated the national debt by $4.2 trillion (note to the reporter responsible -- there's a job waiting for you at the Office of Management and Budget); confused $1 billion with $1 trillion (note to the reporter responsible -- would you like to be CEO of AIG?); admitted numerical flaws in a story "about the ability of nonsense to sharpen the mind;" used "idiomatic deficiency" as an engineering term (correct was "adiabatic efficiency"); said Paul Revere's Midnight Ride occurred in 1776 (it was in 1775 -- by 1776, everybody knew the British were coming); "misstated the status of the United States in 1783 -- it was a country, not a collection of colonies" (dear Times, please Google "Declaration of Independence").

The Times also "misidentified the song Pink was singing while suspended on a sling-like trapeze;" confused the past 130 years with the entire 4.5 billion-year history of Earth (see appended correction here); misused statistics in the course of an article complaining that public school standards aren't high enough (see appended correction here); said Citigroup handed its executives $11 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses, when the actual amount was $1.1 billion (in the Citigroup executive suite, being off by a mere two zeroes would be considered incredible financial acumen); said a column lauding actress Terri White "overstated her professional achievements, based on information provided by Ms. White;" identified a woman as a man (it's so hard to tell these days); reported men landed on Mars in the 1970s ("there was in fact no Mars mission," the Times primly corrected).

This is the New York Times photo referred to in the correction -- that's a Plymouth Barracuda she's on -- and also, possibly, the greatest photograph of all time. The Times also gave compass coordinates that placed Manhattan in the South Pacific Ocean near the coastline of Chile (see appended correction here); said you need eight ladies dancing to enact the famous Christmas song when nine are needed; said Iraq is majority Sunni, though the majority there is Shiite (hey, we invaded Iraq without the CIA knowing this kind of thing); got the wrong name for a dog that lives near President Obama's house ("An article about the sale of a house next door to President Obama's home in Chicago misstated the name of a dog that lives there. She is Rosie, not Roxy" -- did Rosie's agent complain?); elaborately apologized in an "editor's note," a higher-level confession than a standard correction, for printing "outdated" information about the health of a wealthy woman's Lhasa apso; incorrectly described an intelligence report about whether the North Korean military is using Twitter; called Tandil, Argentina, home of Juan Martín del Potro, a "tiny village" (its population is 110,000); inflicted upon unsuspecting readers a web of imprecision about the Frisians, the Hapsburg Empire, the geographic extent of terps, and whether Friesland was "autonomous and proud" throughout the Middle Ages or merely until 1500; inexactly characterized a nuance of a position taken by the French Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (philosophy majors must have marched in the streets of Paris over this); confused coal with methane (don't make that mistake in a mine shaft!); on at least three occasions, published a correction of a correction; "misstated the year of the Plymouth Barracuda on which a model dressed as a mermaid was posed;" "mischaracterized the date when New York City first hired a bicycle consultant" and "misidentified the location of a pile of slush in the Bronx."

Too much fun. Other than that, as Taranto might say, "The Stor[ies were] accurate."

Hat-tip: Jim Glass at If you click, you get the "When was the mermaid on the Barracuda?" referenced...

But johngalt thinks:

You knew I'd bite on the Barracuda reference...

It's either a '67 or '68. I recognize the headlight bezels. That design was used on 67-69 models but their shape, and that of the front-center area of the hood, changed in '69. AND, it's a convertible! (Them's what don't know, my '68 Barracuda convertible is red.)

But in the big picture, you don't really expect the NY Times to be expert authorities on everything do you? That would require a super-human intelligence and omniscience on a par with government central-planners.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 8:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On closer inspection it looks like it is the '69. The ridge down the center of the hood is what that thin cushion is protecting the mermaid's "tail fin" from.

See, even someone who's always right sometimes has to make corrections! ;)

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 8:42 PM

An End to Rationing!

President Obama decries insurance companies that "freely ration health care based on ... who can pay and who can't."

John Stossel highlights Don Boudreaux's reply:

Not only insurers, but all producers who greedily refuse to supply persons who don't pay should be set aright. Now I'm sure that YOU don't ration the supply of the books you write according to any criteria as sordid as requiring people actually to pay for them. But our society is full of people less enlightened than you.

For example, the typical worker rations his labor services according to who pays and who doesn't. That must stop. Oh, and supermarkets! Every single one rations groceries according to who pays. Likewise with restaurants, clothing stores, home-builders, furniture makers, even lawyers! You name it, rationing is done according to who pays. Indeed, my own county government has been corrupted by this greedy attitude: if I don't pay my taxes, the sheriff takes my house ... Preposterous!

I look forward to your changing this selfish and unfair system of rationing that for too long now has kept Americans impoverished.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 2:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is classic. However, it is also worth noting that Obama wants to ration healthcare based on those who can't pay.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 9, 2010 4:40 PM

CBO Budget Estimation

The good folks at the CBO have revised their projections of the Obama budget deficits. The new numbers are the lighter blue bars (Color blind ThreeSourcers: the much higher ones!)


Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw who still feels that these are based on overly optimistic projects.

But johngalt thinks:

And for innumerate ThreeSourcers (if there were such a thing) the National Debt grows by each of those lighter blue bars stacked on top of each other year after year.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, they're still just a couple of inches high or so -- I can't believe that's gonna be a big problem.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2010 2:51 PM

Quote of the Day

Liberals don't think the middle-class insurance subsidies are large enough. Big Labor hates the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health coverage because extremely generous benefits typically come out of collective bargaining. The pro-life Democrats led by Michigan's Bart Stupak can't abide federal funding for abortion. Everyone detests the enveloping corruption, such as the Nebraska Medicaid bribe for Ben Nelson, which has become so politically toxic that the opponents now include Ben Nelson. -- WSJ Ed Page
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

The tragedy of collectivist thought is that, while it starts out to make reason supreme, it ends by destroying reason because it misconceives the process on which the growth of reason depends. -- FA Hayek
C/O Dr. Helen
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:45 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Far be it for me to critique Hayek but I say collectivist thought merely purports to make reason supreme.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is also a big piece of the answer to jk's question about the success of revolutions, to which I've finally given an answer.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 3:16 PM

March 6, 2010

NHS Update

From the Times of London:

DAMNING reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed.


Lord Darzi, the former health minister, commissioned the three reports from international consultancies to assess the progress of the NHS as it approached its 60th anniversary in 2008. They have come to light after a freedom of information request.

The first report, by the Massachusetts-based Institute for Healthcare Improvements (IHI), identified the neglect of patients as a serious obstacle to improving the NHS. “The lack of a prominent focus on patients’ interests and needs ... represents a significant barrier to shifting the trajectory of quality improvement in the NHS.”

One heading in the report says: “The patient doesn’t seem to be in the picture.” It adds: “We were struck by the virtual absence of mention of patients and families ... whether we were discussing aims and ambition for improvement, measurement of progress or any other topic relevant to quality.

“Most targets and standards appear to be defined in professional, organisational and political terms, not in terms of patients’ experience of care.”

A cautionary tale. Read the whole thing.

But jk thinks:

In a related story:

A man of 22 died in agony of dehydration after three days in a leading teaching hospital. Kane Gorny was so desperate for a drink that he rang police to beg for their help.
They arrived on the ward only to be told by doctors that everything was under control. The next day his mother Rita Cronin found him delirious and he died within hours.
She said nurses had failed to give him vital drugs which controlled fluid levels in his body. 'He was totally dependent on the nurses to help him and they totally betrayed him.'

And, in a totally unrelated story:
WASHINGTON -- In private pitches to Democrats, President Barack Obama says he will persuade Congress to pass his health care overhaul even if it kills him and even if he has to ask deeply distrustful lawmakers to trust him on a promise the White House doesn't have the power to keep.

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2010 5:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Coincidentally: Tory MEP to launch anti-tax 'Tea Party' group

"But the MEP believes that an anti-tax movement would have "enormous resonance across the EU."

[Billy Gibbons Voice]We're baaaad, we're world wide![/Billy Gibbons Voice]

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 2:52 PM

Video of the Week

Cowboy Soldiers

[Embed removed -- it annoyingly defaults to play, but give this a listen at the link]

"You want to thank us for freedom, send beers 'cause we need 'em" Masterful!

Hat-tip: Blog friend Terri

But johngalt thinks:

"MMMMM, beer!"

Get your ground-poundin' butts back home to Wyo safely boys and I'll happily drive up and buy you a round or three.

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

And I got the next three!

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2010 10:14 AM

March 5, 2010

I'm from 'Big Oil' And I'm Here to Help

I'm not quite ready to address the question of why the secular French and Russian revolutions "made such a hash of things, when the relatively devout American [revolution] succeeded." As a warm-up exercise I'll attempt to explain why America's elected leaders insist on cutting the nose off of America's energy policy. Hint: It is to spite America's face.

I remember wondering 20-odd years ago in my college days if environmentalists who lobbied government for ever greater restrictions on oil and gas development (and every other productive activity, it seemed) seriously believed that elected leaders would do something so obviously harmful to the American standard of living. Looking back now it clearly wasn't as obvious to our elected leaders as I had assumed. More importantly, however, it's also no longer obvious to a huge portion of the electorate. For decades the environmentalists and their minions, through vehicles such as global warming and Avatar movies, have lectured Americans that we are evil earth killers. For most of that time there was little in the way of self-defense on the part of "big oil." I'm pleased to say that has changed. "The US oil and natural gas industry is moving ahead with a long-term educational advocacy program to build understanding and appreciation of the role the industry and its products play in fueling the nation’s economy."

But just why has the industry felt the need to undertake such a program? Red Cavaney, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), provides some context. “Like many industries, especially those with roots dating back a century or more, we have traditionally focused on just getting our job done, if you will,” he says. “To the extent we communicated externally, our companies have tended to focus on their brand.”

Cavaney explains that on issues related to public policy, the industry has tried to be responsive to a policy-maker audience. “The industry has not, however, engaged stakeholders and others more broadly about its irreplaceable role in fueling our nation’s overall economic growth or its contribution to an improved quality of life for the American consumer,” he says.

As my high-school history professor Doc Ton used to say, "The pendulum always swings back."

But jk thinks:

Add to that Karl Popper's famous "those who would take us back to the caves." Boulder is full of folks who would like us all to be poor dirt farmers even if we could get clean abundant energy from kissing rocks.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2010 4:45 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

As a Boulder native, The Refugee will attempt to shed light on the average Boulder psyche. Most of them don't, in fact, want everyone to be dirt poor farmers. They want all of the 60" flat panel TVs, 6000 sq ft homes, three cars, iPods, etc. They want everyone else to be dirt poor farmers so that they can by organic produce and feel good about.

An interesting article appears in the WSJ on Feb 13: The point of the article was that even in an uber-environment outpost like Boulder, individuals valued convenience more than energy savings:

"Since 2006, Boulder has subsidized about 750 home energy audits. Even after the subsidy, the audits cost each homeowner up to $200, so only the most committed signed up. Still, follow-up surveys found half didn't implement even the simplest recommendations, despite incentives such as discounts on energy-efficient bulbs and rebates for attic insulation.

The City of Boulder prides itself on being an eco-conscious town. So how come it's been so hard to get residents to reduce their dependence of fossil fuels? WSJ's Stephanie Simon reports.
About 75 businesses got free audits; they made so few changes that they collectively saved just one-fifth of the energy auditors estimated they were wasting."

Once again, the Liberal Left shows it's true colors.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 5, 2010 10:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome link br. Thanks!

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 11:37 AM

Got Jobs?

The House of Representatives recently passed its own version of the largely symbolic, but very expensive, 15 ba-billion dollar jobs bill. What frustrates me most of all about this is how they ignore a simple and inexpensive way to create real, private-sector jobs, increase tax revenue, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. sez:

Increasing access to oil and natural gas resources could generate nearly 160,000 new, well-paying jobs, $1.7 trillion in revenues to federal, state and local governments and greater energy security. And according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry already supports 9.2 million American jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the national economy, or 7.5 percent GDP.

Our nation has vast on-and-offshore oil and natural gas resources that could be produced safely to put this country's economy back on its feet.

But it's not just domestic oil and gas that will provide the jobs and energy our nation needs. Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north and top supplier of oil, will continue to play a vital role as we seek greater energy and economic security.

According to a recent CERI study, the economic impact of Canadian oil sands development is expected to lead to 342,000 U.S. jobs between 2011 and 2015, and an estimated $34 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 and $42.2 billion in 2025.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Many answers to our economic woes are easy to find; if government hacks really intended to fix the economy they would do it.

March 4, 2010


My little scheme of broadcast and Internet only Television comes to an end tomorrow. In November 2008, I posted

Unless the Avs make a run for the Cup this year, I think I am cool. You can place your bets on how many Kudlowless days jk can take.

No worries on the Avs last year. but if you picked "469" or "1 year, 3 months, and 12 days" you win the pool.

My motives were pure, but I missed quite a bit of sports and political commentary. I'm actually looking forward to having it back. My intro rate goes 12 months. We'll see how it works out...

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

Satellite or cable? Honestly, I thought you'd make it longer than that.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2010 2:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Several stations went dark for me when they went all digital. Odd, because I was watching them all in digital format.

Sports is the killer. Almost everyone I've heard going back has been for sports. I wouldn't call myself a sports fiend by any definition, but there's NO Avs and no Monday or Thursday night football. After the SOTU, no FOX news panel scrum...

For entertainment it is a no brainer, but sports and cable news sing their siren song.

Cable. My condo points the wrong way for satellite and that is the root node of the problem. Cable sucks so extremely bad compared to satellite it's depressing. I would've kept my DishNetwork going the whole way without a second thought.

Tonight, my very first Glenn Beck! Hope it's a good one and he really gives some clot-head liberals the old what for!!!

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2010 4:36 PM

Not Safe For Anywhere Really

I take it back, Ann McElhinney is not strident enough. My truther friend posts this on Facebook:"

It starts out kinda good... This is for folks who think Bill O'Reilly is too professorial

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

Liberals, Atheists More Highly Evolved

You may have heard the news that "Smarter people more inclined to nontraditional values, study suggests." This post is mostly just to say, don't believe it.

Kanazawa's theory is that intelligence—particularly our ability for on-the-spot problem solving and reasoning—arose as an adaptation to deal with the unusual and unexpected, such as a sudden forest fire.

Since disasters like that are rare in daily life, responding to them wouldn't likely be something our ancestors were hard-wired to "know" how to do. Surviving the fire required both the ability to think up a new behavior, and the willingness to try it out.

But intelligence has no role in classifying certain new behaviors as worthless? And our ancestors were unable to teach their offspring what they had learned? Did this researcher attend Berkeley?

The new study is intriguing, if speculative, other psychologists say.

"Kanazawa has done interesting work, but there are other hypotheses out there for the evolution of intelligence that are equally interesting," said Douglas Detterman, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and editor of the journal Intelligence.

For instance, other researchers have advanced the theory that intelligence arose as a way of competing for sex. If that's the case, Kanazawa's conclusions only make sense if, say, being liberal or atheist also makes you more sexually attractive.

You could probably convince me that competition for sex motivated our ancestors to solve problems.

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 4:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Snow Babe"

Proof that urban Americans live too close together.

But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, that's really tastefull with the clothes...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 4:57 PM


Great stuff from Reason TV:

Colorado is looking to close offices, layoff teachers, and auction off elk herds on eBay to fill a budget gap, but the BillionDollarFasTraxBoondoggle is sacrosanct! If we have only $3 left, we're going to waste it on light rail.

But HB thinks:

Funny, I thought of this:

Posted by: HB at March 4, 2010 11:26 PM

An Anniversary Worth Celebrating

March 4, 1801: The Marine Band performed at a Presidential Inauguration for the 1st Time for President Thomas Jefferson

Hat-tip: @SemperFiHank (And y'all ought to be drinking his coffee!)

Why Pass an Unpopular Healtrh Care Bill?

Because once you get people feeling entitled...

Students at the University of California’s flagship Berkeley campus took to the streets on Friday night, vandalizing university buildings, burning trash cans and clashing with police in the latest expression of frustration over cuts to the educational budget in California.

A 32% Fee increase! Hand me the gas can!!

Tuition has doubled in the last 10 years! I'd suggest the young lady take a math class, that's a 7% average annual increase. She might also consider an economics class: I don't see where riots and vandalism are going to help patch budget shortfalls. But you know, them CU Berkeley kids are rilly rilly smart!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You have no idea how humiliating I find it, every time I am reminded that I received my degree there. The school that gave the world The Naked Guy, People's Park, protesters with room-temperature IQs living in trees, and where Code Pink feels comfortable denigrating the uniformed Americans who secured their freedom to put their stupidity on public display...

Gaaaaah. And yet, I wrily sympathize with the protestors in one regard: clearly, they (or more accurately, their parents and the taxpaying public) are paying more for their education than it is accurately worth. The ultimate rebuttal to these pinheads would be for the chancellor to meet them in public, checkbook in hand, and say "you're right; if we have any part in making you this stupid, we're failing as educators, and we clearly owe you a rebate..."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2010 2:13 PM
But jk thinks:

But you gave us UNIX (and, as the old joke goes LSD -- and they're not entirely unrelated) so all is forgiven.

Many many reasons to be angry but the earnest young lady interviewed doesn't care about any of that -- it's the fee increases that are riot-worthy.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 3:41 PM


My Cousin Syd sends in a great guest video this week of the old blues song "Corina, Corina." And I have an instrumental version of my signature "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."


How much fun is that?

March 3, 2010

Umm, Not Exactly

C. L. Gray is not an investment banker, but he is "an internist based in Hickory, N.C." and "president of Physicians for Reform" whatever that means, and he's written an editorial for that purports to explain "Why Obama Can't Give Up On Reform."

Gray's thesis is this: "It may be that the president believes the inalienable rights of "We the People" come from government, not from God. Driven by this worldview, the attempt to place health care under government control will continually re-emerge."

This is likely correct, but it better explains why Obama won't give upon reform, not why he can't. The latter reason, it seems to me, is that he expects large numbers of Democrats to be flushed down the electoral toilet at every opportunity given voters to pull the chain. They may as well have something consequential to show for it when their 60-vote majority is a distant and infamous memory.

But looking deeper into Gray's analysis I couldn't ignore the following passage.

Sen. Harkin's statement reflects the worldview behind the French Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789, not the American Declaration of Independence of 1776.

The last sentence of the opening paragraph of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man reads: "Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen."

By appealing to an unknowable, deistic Supreme Being, the rights of man rested on the generosity of the State. A change in political power opens the door to a change in the rights of man. Man cannot confer inalienable rights.

In stark contrast, the American Declaration of Independence appealed to a knowable, personal God — the Creator of life itself. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

According to the Declaration of Independence, inalienable rights do not arise from men, but from God.

Maybe it takes a non-theist to notice this but what exactly is the difference between "the Supreme Being" and "God?" According to Gray's analysis, the entire defense of an individual's right to his own life rests on this difference. If it arises from the "knowable" and "personal" God the question becomes, knowable and personal to whom? This is no more concrete and objective than the French Rights of Man he rightly criticizes, for it rests on the opinion of the democratic majority and gives no defense to heterodox individuals.

But where in the Declaration of Independence does the word "God" appear? The word I see is "Creator." The beauty of that word is that it makes no difference whatsoever who or what an individual's creator is because the fact of his existence is de facto proof that he has one. In essence, "I am, therefore I have rights." Magister dixit.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"howcum the anti-theist French and Russian revolutions made such a hash of things, when the relatively devout American succeeded?"

Francis Schaeffer probed that very question in his book "How Should We Then Live?" and makes a strong case for the difference being explained by the dominant views in each case of the nature and value of man. Oddly enough, I don't have a copy of it with me at the moment.

I bow to no man in my respect for Locke - whose work I trust is highly valued among ThreeSourcers - but consider how heavily Locke draws on the foundational work of Samuel Rutherford. While it oversimplifies to say that Locke secularizes the principles Rutherford found in theologic terms, that's a workable thumbnail sketch.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2010 1:19 PM
But jk thinks:

No more posts like this, jg, clearly nobody around here is very interested or has deep feelings bout this. Nice try, though.

Interesting book, ka, and available on Kindle for $9.99. Reading the reviews, I am clearly not their target demographic, but is good, no? A good friend of this blog turned me onto Michael Novak's "Spirit of Democracy which I adored." Recommend I hit [OK] ?

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 3:49 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jk: I'm a firm believer in test-drives. I'll bring it tomorrow, violate a few copyright laws by scanning a sample (gaaaah! Anarchist!), and you can decide for yourself. Truth in advertising: I will confess to having read it while at Berkeley (see adjacent post, and I read it for pleasure, not as an assigned text), thirty-some-odd years ago.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2010 4:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Might lead to some interesting discusion -- but as far as protecting my $9.99, don't worry. Its being a Kindle book, one can order a free sample and usually get TOC and the first chapter or so. The sample is on the way.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 5:02 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"howcum the anti-theist French and Russian revolutions made such a hash of things, when the relatively devout American succeeded?"

The outcomes were different because the cultures were different. It wasn't really that one group believed in God while the other two didn't, but that one believed in unalienable rights from God while the other two were based on rights from the state.

The American "revolutionaries" were colonials who, by the time of the revolution, had become accustomed to 150 years of being left alone. This was enough time for notions like the divine right of kings to dissipate while people earnestly believed new ideas, revolutionary ideas, such as "A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

The French and Russians had no such desire to be left alone as individuals, no tradition of liberty. It's a romantic notion that the poor masses forced the rulers to abdicate, but it's not the entire story. The masses were rightfully angry at their respective aristocracies for centuries of abuses and oppression, but the anger of the former was focused by self-serving tyrants who seized the opportunity for power.

The French masses were pleased with the idea of a strong government to give them the "rights" that they needed to recognize they already had. The Russians weren't quite sure, and the Bolsheviks happened to have enough force to turn the second revolution into a lasting government.

I haven't read Schaeffer's book and probably won't, but this is my answer.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 4, 2010 10:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In answer to jk's question, pe is right. It's a case of correlation and not causation. First, the statist revolutions in France and Russia were not merely "anti-theist" they were anti-individual in every respect. Second, the American government isn't at all "devout" but her citizens are free to be so, or not. The key distinction between the revolutions you set out to compare and contrast is not theism but statism - the first two started out with statism while we've only just come 'round to it in the postmodern era.

Incidentally, this is why I distrust and oppose statists (secular or devout) far more than the theists per se.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 3:11 PM

Ann McElhinney, Avatar, Public School Curricula

Ann McElhinney, the director of Not Evil Just Wrong and Mine Your Own Business speaks about anti-development bias in James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar and about environmental indoctrination in public schools.

A little strident for my tastes but I am a huge fan of their films. And I love her energy.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 2:09 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Is it strident to refer to James Cameron as an idiot if it is true?

Posted by: johngalt at March 3, 2010 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, you found the line that bugged me. James Cameron has created two movies in the top five grossing of all time. (Some right wing scolds have pointed that in real dollars, neither is top 20, but that's quibbling.)

So, no, I am not comfortable calling someone with that achievement under his belt an "idiot" because I disagree with his politics.

Posted by: jk at March 3, 2010 4:24 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And on the other hand, would I be considered strident, were I to point out that Cameron benefits from capitalism, technology, and the freedom to keep a significant part of the profit derived from his labors and investment, even as his creative product is a screed against those very principles?

That would be like pointing out that Michael Moore has grown fat, dumb and happy as a recipient of corporate largess, as a direct result of railing against corporate America.

By the way, I admit this is lowbrow, but I loved "An American Carol." I can't seem to get the line "I'm the angel of freakin' death, you turdhead!" out of my mind...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 3, 2010 5:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

McElhinney says you have to see it but I don't think I can bring myself to pay for the experience. I think I'm more likely to see the latest movie by Cameron's ex wife.

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2010 1:49 AM
But jk thinks:

I figured I'd put it on my Netflix Queue when it came out. My lovely bride informs me that I'll be watching it alone...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 11:22 AM

Jim Bunning's Finest Hour

The horror! Senator Bunning asks the US Senate to follow the rules it proudly trumpeted:

Throughout his Hall of Fame baseball career, Jim Bunning was famous for the brush back pitch: a fastball inside to a batter crowding the plate. Now Mr. Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky who is retiring after this year, is throwing a political brush back in the Senate on behalf of fiscal responsibility.

And all hell has broken loose. Mr. Bunning has dared to put a hold on a $10 billion spending bill to extend jobless insurance and fund transportation projects. Mr. Bunning says he won't yield until the Senate finds a way to pay for the new spending with cuts somewhere else in the $3.5 trillion budget. For this perfectly reasonable stance, Mr. Bunning has become the Beltway and media villain of the hour. We'd call it his finest hour.

Every time Washington wants to spend money, the Senate Majority Leader asks for "unanimous consent" to authorize the funding, and in the collegial Senate everyone falls in line. But when Harry Reid wanted consent last week for that $10 billion, Mr. Bunning broke the old-boy rules by shouting: "I object."

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Here's another good take on the situation for those of us who don't (or no longer) subscribe to WSJ Online. From

The Democrats' argument for not following PAYGO comes down to strategic procrastination. They've left it to the last minute to keep vital programs alive and workers on the job, so there's no time to work out a proper PAYGO solution.


This is a clever tactic, and it's far from new. The big spenders know that they can usually get their way by delaying the tough decisions on tradeoffs until too late, when the collateral damage of cutting programs is just too great for either party to accept. Stall long enough and the fiscal conservatives will face a choice between starving the jobless and letting the red ink rise a bit more.

Faced with those options, only a soon-to-retire senator in a mad-as-hell mood would go to the mat for budget sobriety.

He's not the only one who's mad as hell. This isn't even the first bill since "PAYGO" that violates the requirement. It's time to bring the Senate up on Contempt of Congress charges.

Posted by: johngalt at March 3, 2010 3:17 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Horatio Bunce would be proud of Senator Bunning.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 3, 2010 6:13 PM

March 2, 2010

Random Thought

When I hear politicos refer to the country as ungovernable, it makes me smile. Why? Because it usually means that some type of government expansion has failed.

Government Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of Next Tuesday!

We reject the conventional wisdom that Washington is broken. Our view is that Washington would do a lot less damage if it were broken. But an honest assessment of our own ability and motivation leads us to the conclusion that we are not the man to break it. -- James Taranto
Posted by John Kranz at 5:31 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Hey now, I'm tryin' not to step on your "Quote of the Day" franchise. That's why I title my entries in pig-latin. I'm not sure my little brain can cope with a 7-day temporal shift, particularly into the future.

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2010 6:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for Washington, it may not be broken but it is absolutely defective and I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2010 8:01 PM



But in Washington Post-ABC News polls during his tenure, residents of the nation's southern states -- particularly whites -- have expressed broad doubts about the effectiveness of the stimulus package and Obama's leadership.

Peckerwoods! Support for the stimulus has fallen from 43 to 35% in six months.

In the South.

With a lot of white people.

Clearly, they can't handle the idea of an African American wasting a trillion dollars of their money. I'm frankly embarrassed.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Exactly the argument being made by the likes of Leonard Pitts, Jr.

If you want an exercise in contorted logic, this is a pretty good read.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 2, 2010 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Mmmmkay. But I defend the Miami Herald and Pitts as they are clearly presenting an editorial. My WaPo email leads today with this paragraph:

"In Washington Post-ABC News polls during his tenure, residents of the nation's southern states -- particularly whites -- have expressed broad doubts about the effectiveness of the stimulus package and Obama's leadership.."

I don't understand the phrase "particularly whites." The data displayed are not broken down by ethnicity. The WaPo story the WaPo blog post links to not only doesn't highlight race -- it says:
Republicans have significantly narrowed the gap with Democrats on who is trusted to deal with the country's problems and have sharply reduced several of President Obama's main political advantages, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

There is no justification for the racial remark except a lazy pathological bias on the part of the writer.

I mean, what other events could have precipitated a dip in the President's poll numbers? I can't think of anything.

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2010 3:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sure, but that's simply the narrative of the liberal left. Whether in news reporting or in opinion, they simply can't think of another logical reason, either.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 2, 2010 5:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's refreshing to read that the establishment press version was predominantly bias-free. The honkey-bashing came from their blog, but what do you expect from a bunch of @#$*-ing bloggers?

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2010 6:35 PM


University of California researchers have determined that "yotta," or 10^24 is no longer a number sufficiently large for scientific precision. Thus, they are proposing 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 10^27 be named. The current favorite on Facebook is "hella" as in "a helluva lotta zeros."

In separate news, the White House denies that the need for a larger number is the result of the President's recent budget proposal.

Science Posted by Boulder Refugee at 1:02 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Can't argue with Hella.

There's a great old Isaac Asimov article about the transition from primitive people's lacking the numbers to count physical things ("One, two, three, many") to modern folks with numbers (googolplex) greater than the number of things in the universe to count.

A great piece but -- as you mention -- written long before the 111th Congress.

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2010 2:14 PM

One More

Bret Stephens ties together my props to Milton Friedman with more factual information to compare the Chile and Haiti earthquakes. The headline of his lead editorial is, bluntly: "How Milton Friedman Saved Chile"

It's not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick—and Haitians in houses of straw—when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down. In 1973, the year the proto-Chavista government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile was an economic shambles. Inflation topped out at an annual rate of 1000%, foreign-currency reserves were totally depleted, and per capita GDP was roughly that of Peru and well below Argentina's.

What Chile did have was intellectual capital, thanks to an exchange program between its Catholic University and the economics department of the University of Chicago, then Friedman's academic home. Even before the 1973 coup, several of Chile's "Chicago Boys" had drafted a set of policy proposals which amounted to an off-the-shelf recipe for economic liberalization: sharp reductions to government spending and the money supply; privatization of state-owned companies; the elimination of obstacles to free enterprise and foreign investment, and so on.

No good deed unpunished, of course:
For his trouble, Friedman would spend the rest of his life being defamed as an accomplice to evil: at his Nobel Prize ceremony the following year, he was met by protests and hecklers. Friedman himself couldn't decide whether to be amused or annoyed by the obloquies; he later wryly noted that he had given communist dictatorships the same advice he gave Pinochet, without raising leftist hackles.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [0]


Harold Ford, Jr., who had considered following Hillary Clinton from the South to carpetbag his way into the Senate from New York, has decided not run after all. In an op-ed in yesterday's NYT, Ford explains why. If The Refugee may be so bold as to summarize, his reasoning goes something like this: "The Senate and the Democrats are in big trouble and New Yorkers are clamoring for change. The current Democrat establishment that created the mess needs to be swept out or nothing will change. That's why I'm not running so that the current Democrat establishment can maintain the status quo."

Wow. With courage like that, who needs heroes?

Politics Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Huh indeed. Ford has always been one of my favorite Democrats. I agree that he does not get a "Profile in Courage" award for dropping out, but it's hard to phrase that so you do (ask Gov Palin...)

I had heard the news but did not read the editorial until you linked. It's clear that the NY Dem machine -- with a vintage that includes George Clinton, Tammany Hall, Martin Van Buren, Chester Arthur and the Roosevelt's -- said "No!"

I'd add one line to your paraphrase:

"New York Democrats are clueless, corrupt, and completely out-of-touch. Other than writing about it in the NY Times, I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their electoral success."

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2010 12:01 PM

All the Crazies Come Together!

A couple of my more "out there" Facebook friends highlight the same story. Bill Gates wants to "use vaccines" to lower the world population by 15%

Stating that the global population was heading towards 9 billion, Gates said, “If we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services (abortion), we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”

The first link was posted by my truther friend. I suspect he hides in the basement for fear that someone might immunize him against some disease. This was clearly an aha! moment where the 12 billionaire families who meet in Germany and plot all the recessions and baseball playoff results have admitted to eugenics through immunization. (I should be less snotty -- I realize all my other friends on fb look at me the way I look at s -- I should make common cause)..

Then I saw a link from the "Climate-Gate" folks. They are famous on these pages for claiming that Glenn Beck believes in DAWG. Man, it's only a matter of time before Linus Torvaldi, Larry Ellison, and Scott McNealy demand an apology.

Clearly, he's referring to success at "reproductive health services" lowering population and not the scourge of immunizations. I'll clear him of advocating murder.

But, I am disappointed at how quickly Gates the philanthropist has "gone native." Our modern day robber baron -- whom I've spend much time defending, is clearly aiming to do as much damage giving away his money as he did good making it.

I was able to roll eyes when he chose nets and not DDT to fight malaria. But if he's going to go all Malthusian on us, it's over. Bill, if you want to help poor nations, don't kill the ones who will lift them out of poverty.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:44 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

My theory on this is he was a philosophical tabula rasa and was nurtured into the "guilty" capitalist nee altruistic savior role by a cadre of service oriented folks. Unfortunately for him, and for us, nobody ever motivated him well enough to read Atlas Shrugged.

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2010 2:42 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

The author of 'A Simple Solution to Many of Our Problems' dropped by to defend the reputation of his intellect in our comments section. CA invited us to peruse his essay on Health Care Mythology, which I did, and found this comment on the pre-tax treatment of employer provided health insurance:

I certainly agree that this structure raises costs, but if you have a simple problem like this, you fix it, you do not say "hey, let's try communism."

Did anyone watch Obama's Health Care Summit? Did any of the geniuses there point this out? Didn't think so. Not in so many words, anyway.

CA's 'Health Care Mythology' is well structured for emailing to our "innumerate" (good word CA) relatives but I couldn't find a direct link to the individual essay. Maybe someone can help me here. In closing, I enjoyed the hockey references and erudite humor but alas, found it sadly lacking in Heinlein quotes. [Be patient -it's in there.]

But jk thinks:

Centennial State ThreeSourcers now have to login before 1AM (MST) to get a shot at QOTD. Wow.

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2010 12:30 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Pretty soon it's going to be Quote of Tomorrow!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 2, 2010 12:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I suppose I should have titled it 'Otequay of Esterdayay.'

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2010 2:37 PM

March 1, 2010

More Bad News for Jane Norton

And good news for TEA Partiers.

Not only is former CO state senator Tom Wiens now running the first radio ads of the primary campaign against Norton, a national PAC has drawn a bullseye on her too. This is the first I've heard of the Declaration Alliance (as in Declaration of Independence) but for the most part, I like what I see. I definitely like the ad.

They're also targeting Schwarzenneger and Crist.

My Last Toyota

Bravado or bluster? I wince at serial apologies, but this is about boycott worthy:

BEIJING—Akio Toyoda said a key reason for Toyota Motor Corp.'s quality problems was an excessive focus on market share and profits among "some people" in the company, some of his bluntest words yet in assessing the flaws that led to widespread safety recalls.

I think somebody needs to read a little Milton Friedman -- or at least watch a little South Park.

Yeah, Tiger is sorry, Mr. Toyoda is sorry. I'm sorry. My dog is sorry...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Team Canada is sorry...

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2010 2:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I had hoped to never stoop to this level of debate on this blog, but O! M! G! They won the ^&@#*& Olympics! And I'm sure that was the 18 year old Canadian hockey player's first beer.

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2010 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't you find it interesting that this Minneapolis TV news reporter managed to find two hockey moms and a hockey dad at a girls hockey tournament who found it "obviously inappropriate" but none who would defend the celebration? There's some "first-class" investigative reporting fer ya.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2010 3:25 PM

A Tale of Two Quakes

I did some broad brush strokes on this topic in a comment. I like mine in that I saluted the ideas of Milton Friedman. But in every other way, I must admit that this short WSJ editorial is superior. I've lifted the whole thing so ThreeSourcers can read it without subscription (your move, Rupert!)

Chile's 8.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday did fearsome damage, with 708 dead as of this writing and more to come as collapsed buildings and roads are excavated. Yet for a quake that was the fifth biggest ever measured, and several hundred times larger than the one that killed more than 220,000 in Haiti, the destruction could have been much worse. It's worth asking why it wasn't.

One reason is luck, as the quake hit offshore and away from populated areas, save for the city of Concepción. But even in that city of one million, the death toll might have been worse. That it wasn't is due in part to Chile's stricter building codes, which have been developed over long experience with quakes along the Eastern Pacific fault line. Chileans have prepared well for the big one.

But such preparation is also the luxury of a prosperous country, in contrast to destitute and ill-governed Haiti. Chile has benefited enormously in recent decades from the free-market reforms it passed in the 1970s under dictator Augusto Pinochet. While Chileans still disagree about Pinochet's political actions, they have not repealed most of that era's economic opening to the world. In the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, compiled by the Heritage Foundation and this newspaper, Chile is the world's 10th freest economy. Haiti ranks 141st.

Those reforms have allowed Chile to prosper, while many other Latin nations like once-wealthy Argentina have stagnated under the burden of Peronism. Wealthy nations have the resources to invest in safer buildings, modern health care, telecommunications and search-and-rescue capability.

The political and moral necessity of economic growth ought to be a commonplace observation, yet it is too commonly forgotten by those who have only known its benefits. That includes many in America who want government to impose limits on growth because growth often brings with it the tumult of disruptive change. They think prosperity is guaranteed, when in fact it must be earned every day and can vanish over time under the wrong policies and corrupt governance.

The rich can usually find a way to protect themselves, but it is the middle class and poor who suffer most when growth flags and nations stagnate. Sometimes it takes a tragedy like an earthquake to relearn that lesson, as we've been able to see in Chile and Haiti.

UPDATE: Don Boudreaux's letter to the WaPo: (hat-tip John Stossel)
You report that experts give much of the credit for the relatively low death toll of Chile’s recent earthquake to “the nation’s enactment and enforcement of stringent building codes” – codes that were largely absent in Haiti (“Chile reels in aftermath of quake, emergency workers provide aid,” March 1).

With a market-oriented economy, per-capita income in Chile is more than ten times higher than is per-capita income in Haiti. One result is that Chileans demand and can afford better-constructed buildings – buildings designed by more-skilled architects, made of stronger materials, and erected (and maintained) by better-trained and more highly specialized workers.

Chile has – and enforces – tough building codes because it can afford them. Building codes of equal stringency in Haiti would be dead letters because Haitians simply cannot afford the level of safety that Chileans now enjoy.

Credit Chile’s low death toll not to what its politicians do, but rather to what they don’t do: meddle excessively in the market.

Donald J. Boudreaux

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:27 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Boudreaux probably had to edit for space. In other words, government cannot mandate what people can already capable of doing for themselves. A government can impose a standard of 40-hour work weeks once when the people finally became productive enough to work just 40 hours. A government can mandate air bags and other safety devices only once people can afford to pay more for safer cars.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 3, 2010 11:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I once wrote about Don Ho, who had to go to Thailand for a stem cell procedure because the FDA wouldn't allow it here. It gave him another year and a half, precious time indeed.

The FDA was going to let him die, because after all, that treatment could kill him!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 3, 2010 11:28 PM

Mexican Mayo

"I think they call it 'Salsa, jk...'"

Nope, I am thinking of a Mexican Mayo Clinic (or perhaps Costa Rica) that will be an Atlas Shrugged facility for health care. We'll take money and we'll sell real Clifford Asness insurance. We'll hire providers who did not go to Med school to be GS-7 Government employees, or who don't want to join AFSCME.

Whatever happens up here it's gonna be bad. The full brunt of ObamaCare may or may not be avoided but look at Massachusetts:

Last month, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick landed a neutron bomb, proposing hard price controls across almost all Massachusetts health care. State regulators already have the power to cap insurance premiums, which Mr. Patrick is activating. He also filed a bill that would give state regulators the power to review the rates of hospitals, physician groups and some specialty providers. Those that are deemed too high "shall be presumptively disapproved."

Mr. Patrick ad-libbed that he had "a whole bunch of pals here who are in the health-care field, and I saw the color drain out of their faces." Little wonder. The administered prices of Medicare and Medicaid already shift costs to private patients while below-cost reimbursement creates balance-sheet havoc among providers. Now the governor wants to import these distortions to save the state's heavily subsidized insurance program as costs explode.

The feds will enact some pieces, more states will do more. And pretty soon -- if not now -- you'll be able to staff a whole hospital in a sunny modern hotspot with disaffected staff. I am guessing, like Atlas, that you will attract the best in every category.

Affluent Canadians go south to avoid the privations of socialism. I wondered where Americans would go. Why not South? I believe there is already quite a bit of medical tourism in Costa Rica for specialty items like dental reconstruction and joint replacements. Why not a whole hospital?

Vamanos muchachos?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Sounds like the beginnings of an excellent business plan. You didn't mention drug testing, however. What's your prescription there, pardon the pun?

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2010 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

We'd be subject to the stringent drug regulations of our host country.

I think India and Costa Rica do a lot of trials, that could be a good revenue source.

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2010 3:42 PM

Hockey Schmockey!

Look at the ass-kicking we're getting in banking!

I had been interested in how our friends to the north avoided the worst of the meltdown. Being the partisan hack I am, I assumed it was because they didn't have Barnet Frank and Franklin Raines up there. This article enumerates the differences -- many seem almost draconian to me. Full recourse, eh? I assume there is a bankruptcy process that mitigates this.

But partisan hack or no, one cannot help but look at their policies which do nothing-nada-zip to promote home ownership, and then look at their stability of pricing, banking and foreclosure. Correlation ain't causation but you'd have to be willfully blind to ignore it.

UPDATE: The Great White North looks better and better, eh? John Stossel reads Forbes and worries about The Next Crash:

It's not hard to imagine how the FHA's finances could deteriorate. The recently extended first-time home buyer credit gives buyers a subsidy of 10% of the home's purchase price, up to $8,000, in the form of a refundable credit (meaning people too poor to pay income taxes get a check from the government). The FHA allows buyers to put down as little as 3.5%. ... In short, the government will pay a family money to move out of a rental and into a home.

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

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

Well then, it seems that items 1 and 6 prove Canadians are racist, classist, bigotted homophobes after all!

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2010 3:06 PM

Quote of the Day

“President Obama hasn’t kicked the smoking habit, takes anti-inflammatory medication to relieve chronic tendinitis in his left knee and should eat better to lower his cholesterol, his team of doctors concluded Sunday after the 48-year-old’s first medical checkup as commander in chief.” Huh. I’ve never smoked, and my cholesterol is 163. But, of course, I lead the healthy law-professor lifestyle. In my experience, politics doesn’t foster healthy habits. On the other hand, a guy with high cholesterol who still smokes is ill-suited to play national Health Nanny. -- Glenn Reynolds
UPDATE: Maybe a better takeaway (from the same source) is that he had a "Virtual Colonoscopy" which most suspect would not be available to a 48-year old non-POTUS American under ObamaCare. It's more cost effective to go in there guns a blazin' in case something is found. But for some reason, when the choice is offered, most prefer the comfort of imaging. Not very damned patriotic of ''em...

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