I mentioned in a recent comment that I'm re-reading Atlas Shrugged, this time in audio book form, to enjoy some of the references that just couldn't have any meaning to me until I'd first, read the book! The version I received for Christmas from my father-in-law was read by Christopher Hurt. Amazon lists used copies for about 80 bucks. But a new (2008) reading by Scott Brick is much less monotonic, at least in this sample from the book's introduction. (Said sample fades out halfway through my oft-used "Reason is not automatic" quote.) The Scott Brick reading is listed for about $38 - new. [If you consider buying it be advised that the CD audio version is a 50 disc set, while the MP3 version is 4 discs.] Either way, the ability to listen to this masterpiece while commuting is what I call "progress."
UPDATE: My sister has enlightened me to the existence of audible.com, where the Scott Brick version may be downloaded in one of 4 quality levels for 21 bucks. Mega-progress!
George Will introduces us to a Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate, who might be of interest to ThreeSourcers:
Before what he calls "the jaw- dropping" events of the last 19 months -- TARP, the stimulus, Government Motors, the mistreatment of Chrysler's creditors, ObamaCare, etc. -- the idea of running for office never crossed Ron Johnson's mind.
He was, however, dry tinder -- he calls Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" his "foundational book" -- and now is ablaze, in an understated, upper-Midwestern way. This 55-year-old manufacturer of plastic products from Oshkosh is what the Tea Party looks like.
He gets much of his meat from The Wall Street Journal's opinion pages
And a pro-life Lutheran to boot! Before you weep, jg, read that he wishes "Atlas Shrugged" were longer.
I'm going to claim this as another huge benefit of the TEA Parties. It has been said that "you guys are just yelling and waving signs" but these people and ideas have infiltrated GOP apparatuses
I read Peter Robinson's "It's My Party" a few years ago. He documents the difficulty of recruiting Republican Candidates. He says every Unitarian Minister and school board boss wants to be a Democratic Congressman or Senator, but the good GOP Candidates, like Johnson, can make ten times the money with one-tenth the b******t (sorry, I've been watching Penn & Teller...) in the private sector.
After all, only two MMS employees were doing drugs and it’s not like they were pounding crack or acid. Just a little coke and meth. And in any case, they both pinky-swear that they never did drugs while they were actually on the job. As for the work porn, the investigation period covered four years, during which there were only 314 instances of porny emails and videos found on the computers of 13 employees. And the IG refuses to divulge any of the relevant details: Are we talking Cinemax Presents: Naughty Beach House 11—or Shemale Scheiss Überrashung?
On the heels of Charles Krauthammer's King Canute reference, [third comment] Mark Steyn fills us in on the background.
In the age of kings, we were taught that kings were human, with human failings. Now, in the age of citizen-presidents, we are taught that government has unlimited powers over "heaven, earth and sea." Unlike Canute and Alfred, the vanity of Big Government knows no bounds.
You won't be sorry if you read it all. He even takes a whack at the Euro.
No I wrote a very clever finish to that sentence featuring the words "spleen" and "cesspool." But I deleted it for a modicum of seriousness. Matthews has gone over the port side, but I have read several of his books and used to watch his show and he truly loves this nation. His suggestion that this is "more important than the Presidency" is significant.
UPDATE: Party like it's 1999! jk links Chris Matthews and Peggy Noonan! Our Margaret is a tad overwrought, but the headline and lead catch a mood that I think will harm this President.
He Was Supposed to Be Competent
I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.
UPDATE II: But Kim Strassel still trumps Our Margaret. Wise words:
As for conservatives who think there is black gold in politicizing this (Mrs. Palin), think again. Right now the story line is President Obama versus the Oil Spill, and that hurts him. Those hurling accusations threaten to turn it into President Obama versus the GOP, a fight the White House would prefer. Beltway politicking during a crisis just annoys the public.
Insty links to a post that shows that a teacher who complained in a town hall meeting makes more than $100,000 (86K + benefits). Teachers are throwing away a few hundred years of goodwill as they choose the part of union thug over educator.NJ.com.
In an astonishing fall from grace that has taken only months, teachers have gone from respected and beloved members of the community to some of the most reviled. In a blink, they have trashed years of good will.
Once the patient darlings who nurtured our kids, teachers now look like insensitive, out-of-touch, can’t-think-for-themselves union robots who, when forced to face economic realities, clung to an insulting sense of entitlement, heartlessly sacrificed the jobs of colleagues, called the governor naughty names and used students as political pawns.
All while blaming everyone else.
At Saturday’s rally in Trenton, teachers wondered when the Earth started spinning in the other direction.
A Facebook friend highlighted several grammatical errors and misspellings in his son's first grade report card. As said son was being chided for, you got it, grammar and spelling. Another satisfied customer!
Having access to ThreeSources, I've become deeply disturbed at the Rand Paul imbroglio.
We allow ourselves to discuss about anything. I may occasionally step over the line by say cussing out a beloved spiritual leader -- but the table is open around here. And (as the DC cops are learning) if you don't step over the line once or twice, you lose sight of where the line is.
David Harsanyi has a great piece in Reason about what childish nonsense this is in a time when we have real problems.
If you were a convention delegate in 1778, would you have voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States?
If the answer is yes—and you don't hate America, do you?!—it's only fair we conclude that you support restricting voting rights to male landowners exclusively. Surely, from your position, we can also deduce that you support slavery.
Now, if the answer is nay on ratification, we will take this to mean that you oppose a document that provided the infrastructure for more long-term liberty and prosperity—for all races—than any other in history.
Creating racists is really no problem at all.
The truth about Rand Paul is that the other side has won before the players take the field.
Politicians have succeeded in whittling down the small square of what is permitted to talk about.
Raise the retiring age for Social Security? You can't talk about that! Privatization? Market Solutions? They're too far out of the mainstream for an electable candidate to mention.
And how's that working? We have 536 elected officials who all fit into that teeny little box. None can think that perhaps private companies should be allowed to do very vile things and face market instead of Federal resistance. This country's being run by the folks who fit into that little box. And let me answer my own rhetorical; question -- it ain't working at all.
I'm a Goldwaterite and sympathetic to the pre-refuted Rand Paul position, as is John Stossel.. Likewise, I have heard many thoughtful comments that say he is (was) wrong.
Fine and good. But, Jupiter Savage, why can we not discuss it? All a TV pundit or opponent has to do is to solemnly intone "he doesn't even support the Civil Rights Act" and sadly roll his eyes.
We get the government we deserve, and if we're going to continue staying within the ever shrinking box, we're going to get the same results.
In a recent post we examined popular disapproval of a well-known Ayn Rand quote: "So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."
But money is often confused in popular culture with the things that it can purchase and the peaceful and sustainable methods for creating money are far from understood. Exhibit A - G Unit's 'Money Make the World Go Round.' Here's the chorus:
Money make the world go round, you better get it;
Money cause hatred, as soon as you get it;
Money makes whores, money cause wars;
Money make the world go round, so get yours.
Little wonder, then, that money is so reviled. Now, here is the artist's more introspective take on the subject [@ 2:35]:
I love that money, I need that money;
It gives me shelter, it's there when I'm hungry;
It feeds my kids, it fills my fridge;
It pays my bills and the mortgage on the crib.
It keeps me icy, it makes ho's like me;
It gets me seats at The Garden next to Spike Lee;
It made me rich, It made me change;
I seen a lot of places, I bought a lot of things.
You got me hatin' it, you got me drama;
It paid for the lawyers, it paid for the llamas; (?)
You make niggas goners, you rule on the corners;
When somebody die you gotta pay the mourners, mourners, mourners...
None of this implies we'd be better off without money, does it? Just without some of the ways that we get money. Hating money for the crimes committed to acquire it is like hating electricity because of the electric chair.
Taxprof provides a tabular look at ten sample families, comparing their tax bill, in $$ and as percentage of income, under Bush tax policy (before expiration of the 2003 tax cuts), Obama policy (including expiration) and what they'd have been had pre-Bush policies continued.
It is interesting and informative. But it strikes me that President Obama could make a commercial out of it. Poor people get more money back, the rich pay more! It's Hope and Change, Baby!
True, it will not convince ThreeSourcers, but they have probably written off most of our votes in 2012.
A toast to Brother AC: Apple tops Microsoft in Market Capitalization. WSJ:
Apple — for now — is the new king. At the close of trading, a small decline in Apple shares combined with a 4% drop in Microsoft’s stock to leave Apple’s market value ahead — at nearly $223 billion compared with about $219 billion for Microsoft.
PowerLine and ThreeSources are clearly not going to make a story out of SEIU thuggery. The media have decided that there's "nothing to see here."
PowerLine suggests you look at the picture one more time:
But I got a kick out of the ad accompanying the story. Gay Thug Dating at GayThugDating.com. The ad says Join 100% FREE. My dad used to say free is the magic word in advertising. And yet, I'm thinking I'll pass...
"The more [President Obama] talked, the more he got upset," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said. "He needs to take a valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans and just calm down, and don’t take anything so seriously. If you disagree with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re attacking their motives -- and he takes it that way and tends then to lecture and then gets upset." -- Politico
Don Johnson at People's Press Collective writes that Tom Wiens decision to withdraw from the CO race for US Senate and endorse Ken Buck may be seen as a "third strike" against Norton.
On Saturday, Buck gained a lot of publicity and momentum at the GOP state assembly.
Satuday night, Sarah Palin failed to endorse Norton as widely expected ...
And today, Wiens drops out, forcing Norton to figure out how to stop Buck.
But he didn't mention Jane's fourth strike, namely that her chief campaign argument has now been dismantled by the latest PPP poll. Jane has been claiming that she is the best, or only, candidate to beat Michael Bennet in the general election. Trouble is, that's no longer the case. Either Bennet or Romanoff now lead either Norton or Buck by a few percentage points. (Summary courtesy of RealClearPolitics.com's May 19 page)
A look at the internals shows that Norton's personal favorability has been slipping, from 25/35 to 20/32 (favorable/unfavorable) but so has Buck's, from 21/17 to 19/24, and Romanoff's, from 45/15 to 31/26 and Bennet's, from 57/21 to 34/44. The biggest differences appear to be in the undecideds:
As the only candidate with less than 50% name recognition (nearly 6 in 10 have no opinion of him!) Buck seems to have the greatest ability to make a move past the others (or, of course, fall further behind.) And then there's the factor of PPP being a Democrat polling firm.
I guess my once-a-month Facebook political fight for May has been chosen. My perhaps favorite Ayn Rand quote came up on the Ayn Rand page.
"So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."
I passed it along and mentioned it as a favorite. An unusual confederacy of friends chose to register disapproval.
I think it is funny because I find it one of the least controversial things she ever said. I suggested that the same point was made pretty effectively in Penn & Teller's B******t "World Peace" episode (Season Six, Ep 8). I've got one mad-lefty who is offended by money in all forms, but my truther friend, a good friend of this blog, and even a drummer friend who never comments on politics have all come out against. Maybe it's the way I tell it.
Border porosity advocate that I am, even I have come around to the swelling admonition, purported fearlessly on these pages by Brother jg, that opponents of the Arizona Immigration statute should read the law's text before opining. And I will if somebody agrees to diagram the previous sentence.
BUT -- I'd rather our legislators and executive branch officers read WHITHER FANNIE AND FREDDIE? A PROPOSAL FOR REFORMING THE HOUSING GSES.. Professor Mankiw links to this superb -- and very accessible -- paper from Donald Marron and Phillip Swagel. It suggests a realistic plan for privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, It provides for a continuation of secondary mortgage securitization by a clearly private Fan & Fred. The open ended exposure of a government put does not disappear, but it is clarified, managed and mitigated.
It might not be a libertarian dream, but it would be great to awaken from our present nightmare into such a system.
Based on this evaluation, we believe that the reformed Fannie and Freddie should continue to play a central role in the securitization and guaranteeing of mortgage securities, but as purely private companies with competition from other private companies. Structured correctly – including with fees paid to the government in return for an explicit guarantee – the firms can provide significant benefits to American homeowners with manageable risk to taxpayers and the financial system. Competition from other firms will help ensure that any government subsidy is passed on to homebuyers and people looking to refinance their mortgage. Allowing entry into the market for government-backed mortgage securities will also spur innovation, and make it possible for one or more of the firms to fail without raising the possibility of a substantial adverse impact on the broad economy.
Conversely, we do not believe that the new Fannie and Freddie should have a significant role in the other three activities for the foreseeable future. The multi-trillion dollar investment portfolios amassed by Fannie and Freddie were the primary source of moral hazard in their operations as GSEs. At the same time, the widespread bank ownership of the GSE debt used to fund the portfolio activities posed a systemic risk to the financial sector. In July and September 2008, taxpayers had to stand behind the GSE debt to avoid the possibility that losses in the event of a default would force banks to recapitalize en masse at a time when markets were already under stress. The risks to taxpayers and the economy from large portfolios overwhelm any potential economic benefits from the incremental liquidity they might provide to the mortgage market.
Well worth a read -- get a full cup of coffee first.
One thing in the back of my mind was expecting this "teenage boy" was perhaps getting a little guff in the classroom for a published magazine story that he was at home "frightened." I don't know his exact age, but suspected that his friends (and enemies) likely made a few references.
Honda’s R&D chief thinks he may at least be in his underwear.
What Honda knows about electric cars is considerable. But what Honda, as one of the world’s leading manufacturers, knows about the car business is even more considerable. And as to the electric part of that business, Kawanabe says “We lack confidence” in it.
“We are definitely conducting research on electric cars,” he recently told Bloomberg News, “but I can’t say I wholeheartedly recommend them.”
Why? As a leading engineer for the builder of some of the world’s most popular cars, Kawanabe’s answer is right to the point. “It is questionable whether consumers will accept the annoyances of limited driving range and having to spend time charging them.”
Kawanabe is not saying anything new, but he is saying something that is either ignored or has yet to sink in with electric enthusiasts. EVs—including the very best of them—don’t go very far. They go even less far if they go fast. They go even less far if they contain passengers or any significant cargo. Or if it is very cold. Or if it is very hot.
I think that Honda has a good gift for planning strategically and taking the long view. The electric car fanatics are developing a technology that is years away in popular availability and adoption. The article suggests that 10% of the market in ten years is optimistic.
I'd suggest that predicting as faddish a trend as 'letriccars five or ten years into the future is pretty difficult. A little caution looks wise. Tesla is sui generis, the Chevy Volt is appealing to the firm's political owners, Nissan is free to bet on the Leaf. But all of these will come out of other R&D, and the 2013 Honda line might show a company that made the right pick..
L Gordon Crovitz gets it. This is important because -- dearly as I love the WSJ Ed Page for Philosophy, Policy and Style -- they can be a bit Grandpa Simpsony on technology.
But Crovitz nails the Facebook-privacy imbroglio today:
The latest push to regulate the Internet wants to save people from what they say about themselves on social media sites. But with Facebook approaching 500 million users, the people have spoken. Whatever our views about privacy used to be, social media sites have radically changed our expectations.
Privacy advocates this month filed a complaint against Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission, but would-be regulators need to recognize something unusual about privacy expectations on social media sites: The entire reason to use these sites is to trade privacy for other benefits.
It's a constant push against the rounded-scissors brigades, but I always try. You can look at Facebook for 40 seconds and accurately surmise the level of privacy it offers. If you don't want it, don't sign up. When a friend invites to compete in an IQ test and the first page asks for your cell phone number, consider yourself Passed if you clicked "No Thanks."
I know a couple of grownups and a few minors who operate under a nom-de-fasbooke, several who will not touch it. It's all a fair trade, nobody's forcing you. And I'll concede that founder Mark Zuckerberg does not come off as the most wholesome cat who ever started a dot-com. But, let's not regulate it -- it is voluntary.
I'll repeat that, skeptical at first, I've come to like it a lot. It's the USA Today of your friends: a mile wide and an inch deep. Yet it is a way to keep up with a lot of people at your own level of intimacy and time. I'd as soon they did not blast my email address or cell phone number across the Internet, but there is nothing vitally private of mine up there.
Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that -- in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action -- makes his family fair game.
Waving signs denouncing bank "greed," hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer's steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer's teenage son Jack -- alone in the house -- locked himself in the bathroom. "When are they going to leave?" Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.
Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly "outed" him, and slipped through his front door.
"Excuse me," Baer told his accusers, "I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened."
Like me, you'll be glad to hear that police were on the scene. Like me you may be a little disappointed that they were D.C. cops, there to escort the protesters with no jurisdiction to enforce Maryland law. But had the frightened young man lashed out at the 500 thugs, the police would have been ready to protect the thugs. Breitbart:
Montgomery County was not given a “heads-up” concerning the planned protest. Although a protest permit is technically required in Montgomery County, in practice no citation is issued if the protestors disperse when requested to do so by the owner of the private property they occupy.
The primary role of the Washington cops in this event was to protect the protesters. The D.C. officers had no authority to act to disperse the protesters even had the homeowner been present and asked them to vacate the private property. The event ended as a “dash one”– no arrests, no citations […]
Dolmades are good, and what's that baked cheese that they light on fire? That's good stuff.
UPDATE: Beat to the punch on the segue, though I still hold court with the cuisine references...
You might object that the SEIU goons weren’t representatives of the State, while the Greek rioters are supposedly an “anti-government” mob. The truth is that American labor unions, and angry Greek pensioners, have become de facto arms of the State. They are the feral vanguard of a collapsing system, using violence and intimidation to make it clear those not favorably connected to the political power structure will be sacrificed to preserve it, for as long as possible.
UPDATE II: No, wait! Greece will be fine! The Prime Minister has <blackaddervoice>A Cunning Plan!</blackaddervoice>
Now the Prime Minister has a new idea on how to save Greece: Government subsidies for “green” energy.
I've made it well known around here that I consider the anti-abortion plank of the Republican Platform to be an electoral albatross. I know a vast majority of Republicans disagree with me, but now at least they're being asked the question. Among the 59 Resolutions which delegates were asked to vote on, sandwiched between #31: It is resoved that Colorado Republicans support overturning Roe v. Wade; and #33: It is resolved that Colorado Republicans oppose the use of public funds for destructive embryonic stem-cell research; was this gem:
32) It is resolved by Colorado Republicans that pregnancy, abortion, and birth control are personal private matters not subject to government regulation or interference.
Just ponder that for a minute. Republicans are being asked if Americans are actually capable of taking care of their own lives and decisions without assistance from a nanny-state government. What a concept.
At least one delegate was greatly offended. He fashioned a hand-written sign on a stick that read "VOTE NO ON 32!" and sat in his chair on the floor of the hall and waved it rhythmically. I let slip a wry grin.
But the greater significance of this question, to me, is that some Republican district somewhere in Colorado must have passed this resolution by majority vote for it to appear on the statewide resolution list. Glory be.
Some years ago I wrote at some length about an EU regulation that was infecting the electronics industry worldwide, causing higher costs, greater ecological damage and more importantly, less reliable electronics.
Fast forward to last Friday, where my blogging from a Colorado political event was hamstrung by battery charging difficulties. (I did have an extra battery, I just couldn't charge either of them!) We've been struggling with the charging plug on this laptop for months if not years. This morning I finally concluded that the issue was inside the computer and not the charging adapter. I removed about a million dinky screws and opened roughly half a million teensy snaps to gain access to the main board. The solder joints on the charging socket did appear suspect. Under magnified inspection I deduced that repeated mechanical flexing stress had cold-worked the terminals where they passed through the solder barrels in the PCB. The solder, with the tell-tale dull satin finish of lead-free, had opened up into little funnel shapes around each of the 5 pins on the connector. The electrical connections were reliant upon faith and good fortune (and you probably know how much of both we have around here.) I reflowed all 5 connections with good old tin-lead solder (like our grandpappys used to use) and put the well used laptop back into service.
I can't help but wonder how many fewer electronic devices would be clogging our landfills if this idiotic enviro-nonsense had not been foisted upon mankind in the name of keeping hazardous materials out of landfills.
"Republicans put TEA Party Activist Dan Maes on Top of Their Primary Ballot
That's the way Fox News reported Colorado's GOP Convention vote today. I have the vote totals below and yes, Lynn Bartels did beat me to press with this one, but she only gives the share of the vote for each candidate, not the total votes. In my defense, I conserved my battery until the convention ended and powered up to look for wireless but it was pay to play and that is ten bucks that could be better spent on a Dan Maes campaign contribution.
The GOP state treasurer nomination goes to JJ Ament, with 2,788 votes to 690 for Ali Hasan. Hasan's 20% showing was below the 30% threshold to get him on the primary ballot.
The senate race was a little closer with Ken Buck's 2,701 votes surpassing Tidwell's 522, Greenheck's 56 and Barton's 35. Only Buck was voted onto the primary.
And then there was the governor's race. This one came down to the wire and the close finish was, I suspect, the reason it took nearly 2 hours to count and recount and verify and reverify the vote totals (after state party chair Dick Wadhams estimated 30 minutes.) Dan Maes drew 1,741 votes and party insider and long-time front runner Scott McInnis tallied 1,725. (YJ Mager received 21.) By a 16 vote margin the upstart "people's choice" candidate took the top position on the primary ballot. With 49% and 48% respectively, Maes and McInnis will face off in the primary election in August.
There is no picture of Scott McInnis because he and his family left before the voting ended to attend the wedding of Scott's eldest daughter in Estes Park. A campaign staffer made some cursory remarks to that effect.
In acknowledging his first-place finish Maes told the few of us remaining in the hall, "This is not about me. This is about you, the people, standing up and making yourselves heard. (...) We're just getting warmed up! (...) And to all of you Republicans in elective office out there, don't block me. This train is leaving the station and it's time to get on board. (...) The next step is to start sending in those contributions. It's time to start raising the money necessary to take this campaign to the next level." (Or something along those lines.)
UPDATE: Here's an interesting list of winners and losers from the Republican State Assembly
2. Dan Maes: Edging out the party establishment’s favorite Scott McInnis, even by the narrowest of margins, gives an added boost to his campaign. Having given a great speech and recorded a strong showing today, Maes knows he has a lot of ground to make up in fundraising. But he’s in the game at least until August.
3. Ken Buck: Once Jane Norton decided to skip the assembly and petition on, a Buck victory was a slam dunk. But the Weld County D.A. put on an impressive showing of 77 percent despite the undervotes and protest votes. Primary race? Game on.
4. Cory Gardner: Clearing the 4th CD Republican field with 60 percent is a big relief for Gardner, as the GOP unites strong in its best chance to take back a Colorado Congressional seat from the Democrats.
5. Tea Party / 9-12 Project: The growing influence and focused energy of these groups was on display in Loveland. Besides the medium-sized sea of red shirts for Dan Maes, how else do you explain Bob McConnell winning 45 percent to make the ballot in CD3 and Dean Madere finishing a respectable second in CD4? Fiscal conservatism is alive and well and ready to rear its head in Colorado.
6. Republican Party unity: I think this point may be lost on some, especially on the other side, who are wishing for the opposite to happen. But despite (or maybe because of) heated primary competition, there was less dissension and infighting evident than at any of the past three state assemblies.
1. Negative campaign tactics: Ali Hasan banked a lot of his success on attacks suggesting fellow treasurer candidate J.J. Ament is a “fiscal liberal.” The delegates — whom no one could describe as anything but right of center — weren’t buying. Meanwhile, non-participating gubernatorial candidate Joe Gschwendtner bombarded delegates with robo-calls before the Assembly urging them to vote against Dan Maes saying he can’t win, a strategy that appears to have backfired. (See #2)
2. Joe G: Gschwendtner’s campaign spokesman told Lynn Bartels earlier in the day: “After Dan doesn’t get his 30 percent, it will be McInnis and Gschwendtner.” Whoops. The late-entry campaign would have a steep enough hill to climb in a two-way race, but McInnis’ party establishment backing and Maes’ outstanding grassroots showing leave very little political oxygen.
4. Establishment backing: Many delegates this year seemed to be looking for candidates of integrity who have fire in the belly, candidates who send signals of running on principle rather than being handpicked by the powers that be. It’s certainly a reason Scott McInnis missed top line on the ballot, and it helps to explain why SD 16 candidate Tim Leonard was able to garner 70 percent support and avoid a primary with Mark Hurlbert.
Maes has won despite dismal fundraising and a few stumbles along the way. Putting some 70,000 miles on your car in less than 12 months while attending hundreds of political events can pay off. I think he comes off as being a bit smarter and more honest than McInnis, and he's willing to talk to both supporters and critics while McInnis is a glad hander who tries to avoid talking issues with supporters or, especially, the media and critics.
At 4:15 pm MDT the speeches are over and the voting has begun. While waiting my turn I pulled out the laptop to write a few notes. Tom Lucero walked by and asked "are you just on the computer, playing around?" "I'm bloggin' man!" said I. So, ThreeSourcers, Tom Lucero says "Hi."
McInnis and Maes both received strong applause during their speeches but many more people rose from their seats for Dan than for Scott. Dan talked about his three point plan to take back Colorado: Reduce the size of government, cut taxes, and make real progress to stem illegal immigration. The details on immigration were to enforce existing Colorado law that is "much like the Arizona law," require all employers to use E-verify, and require unalterable photo-ID when appearing for social service aid.
Gotta runand vote!@
UPDATE- Just finished voting for Gardner for congress and Sue Sharkey for CU Regent. Now back to the report.
In case you were wondering, the gubernatorial and senate votes are tomorrow but those candidates spoke to our, and the other, congressional district assembly here at the Embassy Suites in Loveland.
Scott McInnis tried to sound tough. Tough on immigration. Tough in taking on Hickenlooper. Tough man, tough. His best line was his last: I can't wait to get to Denver and start the fight against Hickenlooper. Hey Hickenlooper, little buddy, I can't wait!
Low battery so I'm saving, just in case....
Jane Norton, who isn't even on the Convention ballot tomorrow (she's petitioning instead, hmm) and Ken Buck both spoke. Jane told us she is a pro-life, pro-business, pro-freedom, pro-2nd amendment, pro-10th amendment conservative. Polite applause. She said she's running for the senate because "Washington is broken" and she wants to go take it back. Polite applause. She even said she wants to repeal Obamacare. This is a flip-flop if memory serves, since she's said before that complete repeal is a bridge too far.
Here are the election results, as they're announced:
590 total votes (177 threshold to get on the primary ballot)
I think I may have scooped Lynn Bartels with the speed of my reporting! :)
I wasn't terribly surprised that Lucero didn't make the 30% threshold to get on the primary ballot, but I don't think anyone expected Dean Madere to out poll Tom Lucero.
More later. Off to the barbeque.
UPDATE- I've renamed this post Midway/Final because the election results mark the end of the 4th CD Assembly. The next event we're attending is Dan Maes ice cream social this evening, then the State Convention tomorrow morning. I'm going to see if I can get Dan's thoughts on the recent PPP (Democratic) poll showing Hickenlooper and Ritter tied at 44% each. The poll didn't ask about Maes. After tomorrow, I predict they'll have to start.
LEE SMITH says Lebanese-American Rima Fakih, this year’s Miss America winner, isn’t necessarily a fully Westernized Muslim just because she wore a bathing suit. She may well be what her admirers say she is, but to know for certain you’d have to look into her head and her heart, not at her body or clothes. The same is true for any other beauty pageant contestant, but there’s something else, too: Some bikini-clad women in Lebanon, believe it or not, support Hezbollah, just as a small number of Middle Eastern doctors perversely become terrorists.
We all have to start somewhere if we're going to all get along. And I am ready to offer Ms. Fakih the benefit of the doubt.
1:50 pm MDT: Sitting in the front row of the 4th CD Assembly in Loveland, CO wearing my Cory Gardner T-shirt. I'll try to post a few tidbits that may be of interest. So far:
Collected a Ken Buck T-shirt in exchange for my promise to wear it to the State Convention tomorrow. Huzzah!
Found a fellow Maes/Buck supporter who said "I'm a Republican but I'm for limited government and individual rights, which really makes me a liberal." He is against the drug war and prohibition of abortion. Sorry though, JK, he's also anti-illegal immigration.
Talked for about 10 minutes with Dan Maes. Asked him how I should respond to the next McInnis supporter who says Dan was pro-amnesty on the first version of his website. Dan said he has never said anything of the sort on his website or anywhere else. He told us he had lunch with Tom Tancredo to get the lowdown on the immigration issue and that Tom seemed to come away from that meeting with the sense that Dan isn't "tough enough" on immigration. That impression, after working through the grapevine, became "Dan's for Amnesty." Dan also told us a Post reporter asked him if he, himself, is hispanic. "Maes is a hispanic name" the reporter said. Well, Dan's eldest daughter with his first wife, whose father was from Chihuahua, Mexico, is part hispanic. Perhaps that's where that rumor started from. Dad and I were both very impressed with Dan. He looked me square in the eye. He also suggested asking McInnis supporters what Scott's articulated position is on ANY issue. That gibes with my sentiment. Scott is commitment-phobic.
"Still I am a Marxist," the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.
"(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits," the Dalai Lama, 74, said.
Ann Althouse links, suggesting "'[...] only how to make profits.' Only. Only improving the lives of millions."
I had always put Mister Lama into the "mostly harmless" bucket, that his calls for a more spiritual existence were nicely balanced by his high moral standing attacks against Chinese repression of Tibet and laogais. Let him chant, he's not hurting anybody.
Well now he is hurting people, championing the political system that enslaved his country and outlawed his religion, over the one that feeds the world and provides a foundation for human liberty, dignity, and prosperity. Thanks, ThreeSourcers, I don't know anywhere where I can say this: "MISERABLE, FUCKING DALAI LAMA!!!"
Why did the DJIA drop 376 points yesterday? Perry and I insist it is an aggregate and attempts to oversimplify are antithetical to what a market is.
Why did "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" pass at ThreeSources without pictures, firebombing, or beheading? Well, it's an aggregate. I was slowed but not stopped by thoughtful appeals from respected friends in the 3src commentariat. As a hack of an artist, I was concerned that the respectful image I was planning (a light pencil sketch to be screened back over Arabic verses) would not be guaranteed to connote my intentions. And, I had to meet a job candidate over a long lunch and my time was limited.
As promised, blog friend Terri shared her letter (but not the image) she sent to revolutionmuslim.com.
But I was blown away by the winners of Reason's "Everybody Draw Mohammed" contest. Masterful work. Mine would have been so far behind these, I am glad I did not participate. Brilliant!
UPDATE: No, I can unequivocally deny that I was interviewing, Rep Sestak.
I promised this once. This is from a $9 CDROM drive I bought to load a new OS on a netbook. Sadly, the second disk was a DVD so I ended up having to spend a whole $15. But I think the nine bucks was worth it for the last sentence of #6 (#2 isn't so bad either.)
Another Word the Administration Doesn't Understand
I suggested to Regulator Czar (do not hold your head higher than the Regulatory Czar's!) Cass Sustein that "voluntary" was not as complicated a term as he thought. In my indefatigable effort to augment the Administration's vocabulary, I suggest the word of the Day be "Innovative."
When property rights are protected, companies will find innovative (Inn-oh-vay-tiv) solutions. Case in point, an American Pharma firm "licensing" counterfeiters in India:
Nonetheless, Gilead, a pharmaceutical company based in Foster City, California, continued in its efforts to make money as well as increase access to medicines. Even without an Indian patent, it negotiated with 13 Indian companies to make its anti-HIV drug, TDF. This way, Gilead retains its innovator patent rights in rich countries, but helps Indian companies make TDF to sell in the poorest countries. Today, Gilead’s most successful Indian partner is Matrix Laboratories. In 2009, Matrix sold more TDF than Gilead, producing treatments for more than 420,000 patients in the developing world. Matrix’s production costs are about half those of Gilead, allowing the company to make a profit at a far lower price—around $8 per month per patient versus Gilead’s $17.
This Administration reflexively goes for the top-down bureaucratic solution. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but look what can happen when you let innovation flourish.
Earlier today I mentioned the Colorado governor's race in a comment to a post on nasty politics. I speculated that Johnny-come-lately Joe Gschwendtner, whose attacks on the impressive grass-roots candidacy of Dan Maes conspicuously fail to target Scott McInnis, is a stalking horse for the McInnis campaign. Now I can offer evidence that my amateur conspiracy theory is conspiracy fact.
Fellow state delegate Joe Harrington (whom I've never met) shared my suspicions and apparently investigated the phone number that the Gschwendtner calls are coming from (208 515 7472 in my case) and found that McInnis calls have come from the same number!
Here is Harrington's letter:
I have received several calls in the last few days from the Joe G campaign pushing negative information about Dan Maes. I went back and researched the phone number that this campaign is using to call all the State delegates and it is the same number as McInnis used in early March to call us about the caucuses. In talking to the Communications Director of the Gswhentner Campaign (Joe G) this morning he admitted that they didn't have a chance but were merely trying to knock Dan Maes out of getting the Assembly 30% threshold to be on the ballot in the primary.
At the same time information came out recently indicating that McInnis was pro-abortion rights during his term as Congressman (google Republicans for Choice McInnis to see more). It is apparent to me that this is a coordinated counterattack to try to deflect the heat from McInnis right before Assembly onto the Maes Campaign.
Whether you support McInnis or Maes this type of dirty politics should be exposed for what it is, and let the light of day in to show the truth to those of us who cared enough to give up our evenings and weekends to try to honestly assess who should lead our Party in November. Joe G isn't for real - he is a prop candidate set up to try to tear down Maes and that is all he is at this time.
I write this because I don't want any of us to allow negative campaign tactics and smear campaigns discourage us from voting on principle for who we think is right for our State in either the Governor's or Treasurers races as both of these races seem to have fallen into the gutter recently.
Please forward to other delegates that you may know who might want to see this.
I've seen Dan Maes at Colorado TEA Parties. He's personally called me on the phone. He took a massive share of the March caucus support from the monied establishment candidate Scott McInnis - 46% to 52%. He is right on the issues and well qualified to lead our state back from the costly failures of the phoney "New Energy Economy" to a healthy reality of innovation, sensible regulation, and prosperity.
McInnis supporters strongest argument over the past months has been "only Scott can beat Hickenlooper in the general election." I had strong doubts on that count to begin with but the controversies that continue to accumulate around McInnis only weaken his position. In this anti-establishment climate I personally believe Dan is better positioned to beat the popular Denver democrat than is Scott. At this Saturday's Colorado Republican Convention this delegate will vote for, and campaign for, Dan Maes for Governor of Colorado.
Megan McArdle asks whether it's time to shift your investment strategy toward shoving Krugerrands under the bed and stocking up on water and ammunition. I'll not comment, though the headwinds always seem pretty strong against Larry Kudlow's V-shaped recovery.
But I have to credit her lead paragraph as a "Media and Blogging" item:
I loathe those neat little summary headlines that purport to tell you why things sold off--"Dow Drops 100 points on unemployment worries" and so forth--as if the journalist surveyed all the millions of people who bought and sold stocks and found out why they did what they did. So any attempt to fully explain this morning's ugly market behavior in terms of one factor or another is bound to be deeply flawed.
These guys on TV wouldn't know a naked put from a shot put, and they are always willing to go twice as far as an actual analyst. Whatever. I bet they'll all buy the wrong water and ammunition as well.
UPDATE: Rereading this, it is not clear that the bad jokes about "time to shift your investment strategy toward shoving Krugerrands under the bed and stocking up on water and ammunition" come from me and not McArdle. She's worried, but it's your beloved correspondent flying off the handle.
I've been upholding the sacred honor of short sellers. Somebody's gotta do it.
Thw WSJ Ed Page suggests I give a quick danke schön that great-grandpa left the Fatherland:
Americans who think Washington is out of control should look on the bright side: You could live in Europe, where the political class is confronting its sovereign debt crisis by shooting the messengers and imposing new taxes on an almost daily basis.
German regulators on Tuesday decided to ban certain kinds of short-selling on euro-zone government bonds and credit-default swaps, as well as on the shares of 10 large German financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. European stock markets promptly sold off because investors don't much like it when politicians decree that stocks shouldn't fall in price. The silver lining is that the proposal wasn't coordinated with other governments, and the French (bless them) quickly said they won't go along.
There are problems with Miley Cyrus themed jewelry from Walmart*
LOS ANGELES – Wal-Mart said Wednesday it is pulling an entire line of Miley Cyrus-brand necklaces and bracelets from its shelves after tests performed for The Associated Press found the jewelry contained high levels of the toxic metal cadmium.
In a statement issued three hours after AP's initial report of its findings, Wal-Mart said it would remove the jewelry, made exclusively for the world's largest retailer, while it investigates. The statement was issued along with Cyrus and Max Azria, the designer who developed the jewelry for the 17-year-old "Hannah Montana" star.
I've come across that meme a time or two today. Now that centrist (establishment) candidates have fallen to more ideological contenders in the primaries, get ready for the sweetness and light to dissipate.
Taranto makes a great point about niceness in politics -- and then ends it with a mean swipe at a departing Senator. Both are worthy of consideration:
It is possible to disagree agreeably, and sometimes political disputes turn vicious and personal because the sides have no ideological basis for their opposition to each other. Anyway, it's hard to imagine that Washington will become more unpleasant when Arlen Specter departs.
A better delineated debate might be higher in tone.
In a post below, Perry and The Refugee jested about the White House being smarter than all of the rest of us and therefore in a position to make decisions for us. Were it only jest. This, from David Harsanyi's column titled "Enlightened Tyrants" in today's Denver Post:
It seems that the negative externalities of our freewheeling ways have become too much for some of the enlightened to bear. Progressivism is the belief that we have too much freedom with which to make too many stupid choices.
Professor Mankiw risks faculty wrath by linking to this Commentary post criticizing his employer. I heard Speaker Gingrich on FOXNewsSunday, inquire why Saudi Money was pure as the driven snow, yet the US Military's was tainted by homophobia:
This is a very good point for GOP senators to press Ms. Kagan on during her confirmation hearings. Apparently, accepting the money from a repressive government where sodomy is punishable by death is hunky-dory, but the military, in carrying through on the Clinton administration’s policy, deserves to be singled out for condemnation. (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a “moral injustice of the first order,” according to Kagan.) How exactly does one explain the different Indignation Meters at Harvard Law School?
Fun to whack at Hahvaad whenever possible, but I hold my view that "The General" is as good a nominee as we'll see from this President.
Cass Sustein is likely a lot smarter than me. He landed a job as "regulatory czar" in the Obama Administration -- and even got a lot of libertarian defense against conservative attacks. I dunno.
And yet, he suggests "the word 'voluntary' is a little complicated." He thinks ThreeSources should voluntarily link to Kos so you could see another side. Voluntary is swell and all, but Czar Sustein seems ready to call a midnight SWAT raid of jackbooted Internet thugs if we demur.
A lot of words are complicated. I find "Prolegomenon" (somebody's been reading about President Wilson...) very difficult to pronounce; it's on my white board so I can practice it (what a loser!) But, no, Mister Sustein, "voluntary" is quite straightforward.
Those of us who lived through the '70s and actually remember them (refer to the discussion of recreational drug use below) recall the dire predictions. Pollution was causing artificial cloud cover that would shade the earth, thus causing global cooling. The next Ice Age was just around the corner. Then came along Al Gore and the doomsday scenario du jour (no pun intended) became global warming.
Well, we've apparently come full circle. Dr. Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University now believes that we are in for a period of global cooling.
“Rather than global warming at a rate of 1 F per decade, records of past natural cycles indicate there may be global cooling for the first few decades of the 21st century to about 2030,” said Easterbrook, speaking on a scientific panel discussion with other climatologists. This, he says, will likely be followed by “global warming from about 2030 to 2060,” which will then be followed by another cooling spell from 2060 to 2090.
It is important to note that Dr. Easterbrook indicates that this is part of the normal pattern. But don't tell Congress - they've got important Cap'n Tax legislation to pass while the time is still ripe.
Hat tip: 20th Century Fox, the owner of this picture, from "The Day After Tomorrow."
Note: Speaking of recreational drug use, while he has no personal knowledge, The Refugee suspects that the above picture is best viewed while on acid.
The most satisfying outcome across all parties and ideologies was arguably Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak's comfortable victory over Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary. In defeating the 80-year-old Mr. Specter, voters showed there is at least some limit to partisan opportunism and thus committed an act of political hygiene. -- WSJ Ed Page
I have not been able to contact my Muslim friends about "Everybody draw Mohammed Day" and confess I was suaded by SC and Terri's appeals to my Better Angels.
But Nick Gillespie has a powerful post today on why Reason will be participating (they will publish their contest winners. I will link and likely grab a respectful image or two.
And at the heart of the liberal project is ultimately a recognition that individuals, for no other reason than that they exist, have rights to continue to exist. Embedded in all that is the right to expression. No one has a right to an audience or even to a sympathetic hearing, much less an engaged audience. But no one should be beaten or killed or imprisoned simply for speaking their mind or praying to one god as opposed to the other or none at all or getting on with the small business of living their life in peaceful fashion. If we cannot or will not defend that principle with a full throat, then we deserve to choke on whatever jihadists of all stripes can force down our throats.
Our Draw Mohammed contest is not a frivolous exercise of hip, ironic, hoolarious sacrilege toward a minority religion in the United States (though even that deserves all the protection that the most serioso political commentary commands). It's a defense of what is at the core of a society that is painfully incompetent at delivering on its promise of freedom, tolerance, and equal rights. It's a rebuttal to the notion that we should go limp in the clinches precisely because bullies and bastards can punch or blow us up.
John Stossel's show that night will be "on free speech and Islam."
Sadly, I am souring on all my Central American locations for our new hospital.
But word comes of potential staff. As they are already in Texas, they won't have as far to relocate.
Texas doctors are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates, frustrated by reimbursement cuts they say make participation in government-funded care of seniors unaffordable.
Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren't taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.
“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn't fix Medicare soon, there'll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress' promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.”
But, jk, they aren't leaving medicine -- just government medicine. Check your calendar.
Congratulations to AEI’s Michael Barone, who has just been named a winner of the 2010 Bradley Prize. This prestigious prize is awarded by the Bradley Foundation to individuals who exemplify the foundation’s core values: “promotion of liberal democracy, democratic capitalism, and a vigorous defense of American institutions.” -- American
UPDATE: Mercy! Being a snob is fun and all, but I have rejected 80% of the music that fueled my youth (and most of my music career). But, damn, "Exiles" is a fine record. The remastering really puts a little air around it. And several of the extra tracks and alternate takes are very strong. I'm on my third run through and give it five stars! Warning, the iTunes package is $20, but if you had a passing taste for Exiles I think you'll be happy with it. I’m fifteen again.
UPDATE: Here’s a video produced by [Rep. Mark] Souder’s office in which the congressman explains his passion for abstinence-only education. The woman interviewing him in the video . . . is his mistress. -- SWAT FREE, from Radley Balko
Ilya Somin is not a big fan of the Comstock decision. It's an interesting post, a bit over my pay grade in parts, but I really appreciated this:
I also agree with most of the strong critique of the majority opinion in Justice Thomas’ dissent (joined by Justice Scalia). Scalia’s support for Thomas’ position in this case suggests that he may be having second thoughts about the very broad view of the Necessary and Proper Clause that he embraced in Gonzales v. Raich.
One can hope. I have great respect for Justice Scalia but have never come to terms with his vote in Raich. My lefty friends use it to point out that the Conservative wing of SCOTUS are no less "interpretive," they just have different goals.
Reading Somin's piece, I'd say Comstock certainly does not shut the door on a successful ObamaCare® challenge. I think that has been overstated.
I added this as an update to the post below, but that wasn't cathartic enough.
Let me get this straight -- you're assessing an extra fine if I give a job to a poor person? I guess if you accept that it's okay to fine an employer for providing a job to anybody, that only makes it a bit weirder.
UPDATE: Unintended consequence of side effect: Now you have to tell your employer your family income! Privacy anyone?
Under the new law, health insurance premiums charged by employers to employees must not exceed 9.5% of their household income. As many as 38% of employers may be at risk of violating the unaffordable coverage provision, [a Mercer] study concluded…
Mercer partner Tracy Watts said, “Lawmakers did not take into account that employers don’t have access to information on employee household income. Employers question how they are going to get that information and…what happens if an employee’s total family income changes during the course of a plan year?”
We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi
I'm confidant in the timelessness because this quote opens two stories today. Both James Taranto and the Washington Examiner Editorial Page see fit to open columns reminding readers of this curious phrase.
Taranto references Senator Patty Murray's concern that "An obscure part" of the law restricts abortion.
"Implementation of this reform should be about increasing access to health care and increasing choices, not taking them away," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of the Senate leadership. "Health care reform is not an excuse to take rights away from women."
Taranto provides the inconvenient truth that her vote for cloture cleared the biggest hurdle to enact this bill as law. Dang.
And the Examiner uses to the Speaker's words to highlight what happens when you read Section 1334, pages 97-100,
That section gives the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — which presently manages the federal civil service — new responsibilities: establishing and running two entirely new government health insurance programs to compete directly with private insurance companies in every state with coverage for people outside of government.
Quoting the new law, former OPM director Donald Devine notes that it makes the OPM boss a health care czar, with power to set “‘profit margin premiums and other such terms and conditions of coverage as are in the interest of enrollees in such plans.’ That’s open-ended. You can do anything.” Dan Blair, another former OPM director, calls the new program “nothing but a placeholder for the public option.” Indeed, the OPM head is also given the authority to “appoint as many employees” as needed to run the program, and to spend “such sums as may be necessary” to establish and administer it.
Huh. Public option, abortion restrictions -- if only there were some way to find out what was in a bill without enacting it into law! You'd think Madison would have thought of that.
UPDATE: Don't tell Harold and Kumar! White Castle analyst points out perverse mechanism against hiring poor people. You really can't make this stuff up!
The actor will be part of the White House Office of Public Liaison, which is run by Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Penn will be primarily involved in dealing with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts community.
Last week the Attorney General of the United States was asked if he has read the Arizona immigration law that he had said could result in people being "picked on" because of their appearance. The law that so concerns him and his boss that they are reviewing it for openings to a federal legal challenge. The law he says may have consequences "we have to try to avoid at all costs." Uhhh, no sir Representative Poe, I haven't.
"I've just expressed concerns on the basis of what I've heard about the law. But I'm not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people are doing the review, exactly what my position is," Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee.
I wonder if he takes his case to the Supreme Court, will the Justices make their rulings without reading the "unfortunate" law too?
I guess she has more important things to spend her time on, like telling reporters the law is "misguided." From the same story: "Holder said he plans to read it before determining whether it's constitutional." No word on whether Napolitano plans to read it before refusing to cooperate with Arizona authorities on implementation.
Congress is moving to enact far-reaching changes in the financial regulatory system. We need far-reaching changes. The problem is that we don't need many of the specific far-reaching changes we're about to receive. --Harvey Pitt
To be fair, Mister Pitt was not my favorite guy when he headed the SEC. But this is a good quote, and I do not hold a grudge.
Our foray into militarized SWAT raids quickly devolved into an interesting discussion on drug laws. I'm all for it.
But back to the original question of the suitability of using paramilitary tactics on US citizens, I have to link to (those hippies at) Reason. Radley Balko gets a letter from a "US Army officer, currently serving in Afghanistan." I'll cede some selection bias in that he is writing to Reason Magazine, but this officer suggests that rules of engagement are far stricter in a war zone fighting suspected Taliban than in Missouri fighting US citizens who have a Constitutional presumption of innocence:
For our troops over here to conduct any kind of forced entry, day or night, they have to meet one of two conditions: have a bad guy (or guys) inside actively shooting at them; or obtain permission from a 2-star general, who must be convinced by available intelligence (evidence) that the person or persons they're after is present at the location, and that it's too dangerous to try less coercive methods. The general can be pretty tough to convince, too. (I'm a staff liason, and one of my jobs is to present these briefings to obtain the required permission.)
Oh, and all of the bad guys we're going after are closely tied to killing and maiming people.
UPDATE: Balko is cutting out the middleman and guest blogging at Instpundit this week. I fear It's going to be a long week for the conservatives around here. Y'all might want to join Glenn and take the week off...
First, Professor Mankiw relates Ben Bernanke's telling an anecdote about Abraham Lincoln.
I am reminded of a story about Abraham Lincoln. According to the story, Lincoln was riding with a friend in a carriage on a rainy evening. As they rode, Lincoln told the friend that he believed in what economists would call the utility-maximizing theory of behavior, that people always act so as to maximize their own happiness, and for no other reason. Just then, the carriage crossed a bridge, and Lincoln saw a pig stuck in the muddy riverbank. Telling the carriage driver to stop, Lincoln struggled through the rain and mud, picked up the pig, and carried it to safety. When the muddy Lincoln returned to the carriage, his friend naturally pointed out that he had just disproved his own hypothesis by putting himself to great trouble and discomfort to save a pig. "Not at all," said Lincoln. "What I did is perfectly consistent with my theory. If I hadn't saved that pig, I would have felt terrible."
Then Jay Richards expounds on Capitalism and Egoism. Like me, he is comfortable with a Randian (yes he used that word, not just me and Whittaker Chambers) morality of self interest but worries that it is a tough sell in a Judeo Christian country.
I’m not of course saying that there’s only one way to defend capitalism. I’m not saying that an egoist can’t mount a coherent defense of capitalism. But I am saying that if we want to provide a persuasive moral defense of capitalism to people who doubt its virtues, we need to appeal to the moral principles that most people actually hold. If, to defend capitalism, we have to invert the moral intuitions of 95 percent of the skeptical target audience, then we’re in serious trouble.
"I will not tolerate more fingerpointing or irresponsibility," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by members of his Cabinet.
Fingerpointing was pretty good when the Administration was digitally suggesting BP's culpability. But now that some fingers are pointing toward the Obama Administration...well, it's time to stop. Pafreakingthetic.
Partisan hackery aside, I suggest "Permitgate" should be soft pedaled by the GOP. I'd rather continue domestic production than whack at the President.
Hire one guy to mess it up, hire another to fix it! Awesome
Sheltering Arms Senior Services won a contract worth $22.3 million in stimulus funds to weatherize homes of low-income families in Houston, but a new report from Texas Watchdog reveals the work performed was so shoddy that 33 of 53 homes will need to be fixed.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! If Bastiat had known about this, it would have changed everything! (HT: Instapundit)
Elsewhere today, thanks to [Gov. Chris] Christie’s support, the Jersey state senate pushed through a school voucher bill over the objections of the teachers union. Quote: “Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the committee chairman, then ordered the hearing held on the Annex steps in front of hundreds of cheering private-school students who had been bused in to rally for the measure.”
President Wilson moved to the Presidency after a year as N.J. Governor. Just sayin'...
Enjoyed Stossel last night. Not only is it interesting, but one gets to see print journalists and pundits that are rarely on TV. He has folks from Reason and Cato on and I have been able to see Matt Welch, Veronique de Rugy, and last night James Surowecki from the New Yorker (I even learned how to pronounce their names; yeah, I had Matt Welch right).
Last night was a call to legalize gambling. I don't want to over summarize an hour show but he hit the popularity of poker, the power of prediction markets (Surowecki's "Wisdom of Crowds"), the regressive nature and horrible odds of State lotteries, government incompetence that the State of New York loses money at bookmaking, and -- Dearest ThreeSourcers -- he even got in a John Stuart Mill quote.
All of which got me wondering whether the rest of libertarian cant is accepted around here. I guess I am guilty of the whole thing. Prostitution, gambling, drugs and porn might all be very bad things. I find prostitution and pornography deeply dehumanizing, I am completely missing the gambling gene, and the only drugs that interest me anymore are rouge treatments for MS.
But I don't think any of these have been helped by prohibition. A quick glance through the free weekly newspaper suggests that prostitution has not been wiped out. Yet it has been made dangerous to both the buyer and seller.
Bans on gambling (except the State suckers bet!) have kept American businesses out of a multi-Billion dollar industry and closed a VFW in Texas.
Porn has been protected on first Amendment rights. We have decided that our rights outweigh our distaste (huh, imagine that).
So ThreeSourcers I give you the magic legislative wand, do you make any of these legal? Or increase the penalties?
This is something to worry about. Pat can whip Arlen, but Sestak is the new boy on the block and isn’t saddled with a lot of the anti-incumbent animus that hurts Specter. He can plausibly portray himself as an agent of change. That can be decisive in the Fall. Most people are not going to vote for a conservative like Toomey because of the principles he represents. They will vote against the incumbent because they are fed up with the government in general and Pat has been on the Pennsylvania stage for a while. He’s not the fresh young face he was six years ago.
"Another wrong-door drug raid terrorizing an innocent grandmother"
An elderly Polk County woman is hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a heart attack when drug agents swarm the wrong house. Machelle Holl tells WSB her 76-year-old mother, Helen Pruett, who lives alone, was at home when nearly a dozen local and federal agents swarmed her house, thinking they were about to arrest suspected drug dealers.
I should refrain from the topic until I've read the Prohibition Works section of Wikipedia, But you cannot expect me to let this one slip.
No, not a new ThreeSources franchise, but I like Tim Cavanaugh's style:
Why Isn't the Government Hiring Short Sellers?
'Cause when we put them all in jail, who's going to tell us the market is going to crash?
It is a seriously magnificent piece accompanied by a seriously evil photo of Senator Dodd (that must've takes some time -- probably a Photoshop!)
Former Paulson analyst Paolo Pellegrini -- who is best known for providing information to the Securities and Exchange Commission and for somehow being rich -- discovered where the biggest bubbles had grown and which were in the process of blowing up. His bets against these bubbles, of course, turned out to be right.
Pellegrini figured all this out using information that was readily available to anybody who was sufficiently motivated. You would think somewhere in the United States government there might be such motivated people. After all, we have an SEC, a Federal Reserve Bank, a Treasury Department, the formerly government sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Census Bureau, many data collection and analysis agencies, and too many congressional committees. All of these entities have the stability of the economy as part of their job description. Yet all of them combined could not manage your money as intelligently as one short seller from Rome managed John Paulson's.
The Dodd bill, of course, aims to restrict derivatives. Wouldn't want that information ruining our wonderful capital markets now, would we?
A smarter regulatory approach would be to encourage the creation of these crazy derivatives and complicated bets against the market, because these contain information that the market needs and regulators could pay attention to. At the very least, Dodd's financial regulatory bill should not be doing more to suppress the information that bears, short sellers and other "speculators" provide.
Needless to say, the Dodd bill takes a different approach. It also continues to get worse. Yesterday Senate Democrats stripped out one of the few sensible things in it -- an amendment to wind down the failed GSEs. (If you're keeping score at home, keeping Fannie and Freddie on life support has cost your grandchildren another $40.1 billion just in the last ten days.)
A new lawsuit against ObamaCare® takes a more expansive view of its unconstitutionality.
In the complaint, the material about the interstate commerce power and the tax power is fairly standard. What makes the lawsuit significance is a well-developed argument (subject, of course, to the caveat that a complaint is not a brief) on medical privacy issues. Primarily, that the compelled disclosure to insurance corporations and insurance agents of private medical information (as well as urine or DNA samples and so on) is a violation of Fifth Amendment liberty, and of the constitutional right of privacy. Further, coercing individuals to associate with insurance companies and insurance agencies is a violation of the right of association, a right derivative of the First Amendment, but, as developed in later case law, not at all limited to classic First Amendment associations such as political or expressive organizations.
Disturbingly Interesting Suggestion from Dani Rodrik.
Deep down, the crisis is yet another manifestation of what I call “the political trilemma of the world economy”: economic globalization, political democracy, and the nation-state are mutually irreconcilable. We can have at most two at one time. Democracy is compatible with national sovereignty only if we restrict globalization. If we push for globalization while retaining the nation-state, we must jettison democracy. And if we want democracy along with globalization, we must shove the nation-state aside and strive for greater international governance.
My beloved Habs are in a game 7 right now, but I did not want this link to get away.
UPDATE: Sorry west-PA friends, but the Canadiens were my team since childhood. Fun to see the habs in a run.
As far as the post, I can only hope that Rodrik is Rong (that's the kind of intellectual commentary that keeps people coming back.) Sovereignty of the Peace of Westphalia style nation-state is challenged by both Democracy and Globalization. But is it truly incompatible?
I posit that the tension between sovereignty, democracy, and globalization might provide a balance for each, along the lines of tripartite government -- limiting the excess of each.
Throughout our history, Americans have always challenged the definition of liberty, and this has allowed us to progress as a society. Harris argues that this debate is good and necessary, and that we must take this new populist uprising seriously if we are to defend our founding principles. A masterly and visionary work that weaves current events with philosophical investigation, The Next American Civil War rethinks Americans' most elemental ideas of freedom in order to enable the people of the United States to face the challenges of our times.
Harris has penned other titles that, were I a more prolific reader, I'd likely have read by now. Civilization and It's Enemies explains that historical amnesia leaves the west unprepared to defend itself from the barbarism of al-Qaida (and the sneeringly dismissive review of the book by Publisher's Weekly is reminiscent of the vitreol once reserved for the likes of Ayn Rand). The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West carries the theme further and "offers strategies by which liberal internationalism can defend itself without becoming a mirror of the tribal forces it is trying to defeat."
But The Next American Civil War apparently concerns a different threat to western liberal internationalism namely, liberal internationalists.
Not to reignite debate (though I am always here...) but Radley Balko has a magazine-length story on the Colombia, Missouri drug raid discussed on these very pages last week. The video has "gone viral" and we are not the only folks discussing it, though I am so proud of ThreeSourcers of late I'm certain ours was the best.
Balko provides a lot of background for the actual raid and contextualizes it in the growing number of these raids. Here I am again agreeing with the Libertarians I am sworn to destroy (Libertario Delenda Est!), but Balko nails my point perfectly:
Repeat the mantra that we're at war with illicit drugs often enough, and the cops on the front lines of that war will naturally begin to think of themselves as soldiers. And that's particularly true when you outfit them in war equipment, weaponry, and armor. This is dangerous, because the objectives of cops and soldiers are very different. One is charged with annihilating a foreign enemy. The other is charged with keeping the peace.
The officers in that video aren't rogue cops. They're no different than other SWAT teams across the country. The raid itself is no different from the tens of thousands of drug raids carried out each year in the U.S. If the video is going to effect any change, the Internet anger directed at the Columbia Police Department needs to be redirected to America's drug policy in general. Calling for the heads of the Columbia SWAT team isn't going to stop these raids. Calling for the heads of the politicians who defend these tactics and promote a "war on drugs" that's become all too literal—that just might.
Blog Brother jg beat Professor Mankiw by at least a day in linking to this Robert Samuelson piece, I agree with the idea of "The Welfare State's Death Spiral."
But I firmly disagree with Samuelson and many others who are piling on the common currency.
Euro coins and notes were introduced in 2002. The currency clearly hasn't lived up to its promises. It was supposed to lubricate faster economic growth by eliminating the cost and confusion of constantly converting between national currencies. More important, it would promote political unity. With a common currency, people would feel "European." Their identities as Germans, Italians and Spaniards would gradually blend into a continental identity.
Strong words from a smart man, but I humbly disagree. The Euro has been an incredible success by many measures. And though it is in peril, the strong members of the EU who use it would be best to continue so to do.
Samuelson correctly identifies anti-growth policies for anemic growth, but cannot calculate whether it would have been worse had they kept Kronas, Deutschmarks, Lira, and Drachmas. The common currency facilitated free trade and free trade is an unalloyed good.
Secondly, currency critics are correct to complain about labor mobility among Eurozone nations, but incorrect to claim that the Euro did nothing to help. We recruited all across Europe for our Ireland-based business and were not the only ones.
Most importantly, the Euro allowed Ireland's low-tax system to restrain tax growth in other EU nations. Suddenly there was a competitor -- and thanks to the common currency, it counted.
No, the Euro did not fix or counteract Socialism. But I think it was a net gain and should be preserved. By making it an exclusive club, which I believe is actually in the Maastricht Treaty. Don't bail Greece out, kick them out! Require and enforce ratios of reserves to debt and debt to GDP. This will force the "PIGS" to clean up their act before bankruptcy. They will be forced to clean house to avoid being dropped out of the Euro club.
I think European Socialism has been a failure. But the Euro (still trading at $1.26 after a massive beating) has been a success by almost any metric.
Maybe there is too much sarcasm around ThreeSources lately. But when you see this, how can you avoid it?
Health overhaul law potentially costs $115B more
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's new health care law could potentially add at least $115 billion more to government health care spending over the next 10 years, congressional budget referees said Tuesday.
If Congress approves all the additional spending called for in the legislation, it would push the ten-year cost of the overhaul above $1 trillion — an unofficial limit the Obama administration set early on.
The Congressional Budget Office said the added spending includes $10 billion to $20 billion in administrative costs to federal agencies carrying out the law, as well as $34 billion for community health centers and $39 billion for Indian health care.
The costs were not reflected in earlier estimates by the budget office, although Republican lawmakers strenuously argued that they should have been. Part of the reason is technical: the additional spending is not mandatory, leaving Congress with discretion to provide the funds in follow-on legislation — or not.
Joshua Gans alerts me to a minor brouhaha over Neil Gaiman (a fantasy and science fiction writer) charging a library $45,000 to give a talk. Mr Gaiman apparently understands the concept of opportunity cost (principles number 2 in my favorite textbook). Here is how he explains his fees at his website.
Contact Lisa Bransdorf at the Greater Talent Network. Tell her you want Neil to appear somewhere. Have her tell you how much it costs. Have her say it again in case you misheard it the first time. Tell her you could get Bill Clinton for that money. Have her tell you that you couldn't even get ten minutes of Bill Clinton for that money but it's true, he's not cheap.
A Poll: Neil Gaiman is:
a) a douchebag.
b) an artist.
c) a rational participant in economic reality.
Althouse does not show her cards. But Mankiw seems to be doing well; as of this writing 86% of the poll respondents chose "c."
It would appear that Elena Kagan's total lack of judicial experience is her greatest asset to Obama. She will not be burdened by trivialities such as the law and Constitution when applying "social justice" to cases brought before the Court.
In a perverse way, however, her presense on the Court may benefit in the long run. She will reliably vote for liberal principles, but she is replacing a reliable vote for those principles anyway, so no net gain for the Libs. Her added value to the Court (from the Left's perspective) would be to attract moderate justices to her way of thinking. But with a total lack of experience as a jurist, she may surely be seen as nothing more than a legal light-weight. Even moderate justices generally care about the law and the Constitution. As such, she may not factor into many decisions.
Wishful thinking? The Refugee has committed worse offenses.
Fannie Mae is the Cal Ripken of bad real-estate deals, reliably pouring taxpayer money into the housing market. Granted, Fannie faces tough competition from its toxic twin, Freddie Mac, which last week announced its own request for another $10.6 billion from taxpayers. -- WSJ Ed Page
Pass along my apologies to Representative Doctor Ron Paul for my past comments. I might be swinging around.
I've had the unfortunate task of advancing the banner for "fiat money" 'round these parts against principles of liberty and empirical history. All the same, I have thought that just because we suck at it, does not mean it is intrinsically bad. The dual mandate of the Fed and its complete non-independence have forced errors.
But that doesn't mean Central Banking is doomed. Why look at Jean Claude Trichet!
Or don’t. Trichet blinked yesterday, and while the stock market liked it, I fear it proves that a Central Bank can never be independent. And if that dog is to be wagged by the tail of politics, it really is nothing more than "fiat money."
I would still prefer a Milton Friedman computerized FOMC to Gold, but it's game over for central banking. Here's the WSJ Ed Page's take:
In a sense, Europe has decided to TARP itself. German taxpayers have undertaken to underwrite the spending of Southern European governments, with Greece playing AIG, and Portugal starring as Citigroup. Spain, we suppose, is Goldman Sachs. Perhaps it will all work. But our guess is that Germany and France will have a harder time shedding responsibility for the fiscal policies of entire nations than the U.S. Treasury has had selling shares in bailed-out banks.
It was funny to watch my poor Prosperitarian hero last night. Larry Kudlow was happy to see the DJIA go up 400 points, and declare "contagion is off the table, the V shaped recovery continues." And yet, Kudlow also admitted that "we just bailed out Socialism."
UPDATE: Larry's leaning away from the deal in the bright light of day:
Oops. What the European leaders really meant to do with their big-bang, trillion-dollar sovereign-debt rescue was to save the euro currency, not to bury it. But with the cave in by European Central Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet (formerly a hard-money man and closet gold watcher) to use the “nuclear option” to buy up dubious sovereign debt, the euro is likely to keep depreciating.
When central banks buy bonds they pay for it with new cash. That’s almost always negative for currency values. Ben Bernanke bought a ton of new mortgage and Treasury bonds last year, and until the Greek crisis came along, the dollar sunk like a stone. Get ready for more euro declines.
And then you wonder if the European leaders came to save welfare socialism rather than bury it. The mere fact that this rescue package will provide loan guarantees to the very countries that boast the largest welfare states and can’t afford to pay for them probably suggests that the loan guarantees will guarantee more welfarism.
Perry was sick (hope you're better) It was probably some un-USDA inspected meat or something...
Kidding! But while he was away, a post went off the page in which some commenters directly questioned facets of his governing philosophy. Fairness dictates that I give his comment a wider exposure:
You're confusing "anarchy" with a complete lack of social structure. Most people do, but the two are not necessarily overlapping. Anarchy does not mean throwing pipe bombs, raping and pillaging the weak, or any sort of societal chaos. Anarchy simply means there's no authority that forces people in what and what not to do -- but that in no wise means there's no moral basis for people to use when acting. If neighbors want to get together voluntarily (Bastiat defined law as the common force to protect individuals' rights and enforce justice), then fine, let each person join voluntarily. But when my neighbors decide to form a government so a few of them can profit from building roads at my expense, and the policemen and judges infringe on my rights, where is my opt-out button? The very nature of government is that there's no opt-out: you are as forced into it as anything else. Thus any amount of government is still coercion and hence not true freedom.
In the absence of government, I couldn't possibly be robbed any more than I am today. Every two weeks, I'm regularly robbed of a rather significant chunk of my paycheck that would make Tony Soprano envious. But at least if I defend myself against regular thieves and murderers, my neighbors will understand. With "government," if I defend myself, then my neighbors will say I was at fault for not being a good citizen. "Good citizenship" has been perverted into meaning "giving up your sovereign individual rights to life, liberty and property to the whims of your neighbors."
If I'm the homeowner no one wants to mess with, then by definition no one will want to mess with me, right? Right now the government is the thief that no one wants to mess with, because it guarantees the peaceable citizen will go down while his sheeple neighbors watch.
I also think his position is a good opportunity for small and micro-government folks to ponder true public functions in which we'd consent to be governed.
In your absence, Perry, I got in a little trouble with the law-and-order wing of ThreeSources. I suggested that providing increased authority to the police for drug offenses was a bug and not a feature of narcotics legislation. As a disabled-American, however, I am happy to delegate significant parts of self-defense and order to the local constabulary. Comparative advantage dictates that I have more productive pursuits that being the badass that nobody wants to mess with.
A clear, all but unalloyed good of government is bankruptcy court, with probate ranking highly as well. You cannot privatize bankruptcy court because it must have authority over multiple counterparties, none of whom likely signed on in advance to an arbitrating body. Yet modernity and a prosperous society dictate an opportunity for clearing and forbearance when an individual or organization hits terminal illiquidity.
There was a horrific New Yorker story about a woman in Dubai whose husband had lost it all. She was living in designer clothes in her Range-Rover, which is an amusing summation, but this woman was completely and tragically screwed. She could not leave, find work, sell assets -- until she came up with money.
I've gone further with you that courts in general represent something I don't complain about paying for. I'll whine about outcomes, decisions, and remedies. But the hierarchical, district based court system we enjoy seems like a pretty good buy. How can you have that without government?
So Kagan may well be the perfect nominee for him. She's a cerebral academic who fits Washington's definition of a centrist: She's likely defer to government on both civil liberties and regulatory and commerce issues. And though libertarians allegedly share ground with Republicans on fiscal and regulatory issues and with Democrats on civil liberties issues, neither party cares enough about those particular issues to put up a fight for them. Which is why Kagan sailed through her first confirmation hearings, and is widely predicted to sail through the hearings for her nomination to the Supreme Court. -- Radley Balko
Nothing substantive, but pretty engaging. Hat-tip: Instapundit
Side point. I don't troll the briny depths of the Internet for foul commentary, but is there any place worse than YouTube? If you click to watch it on the YouTube site, the first dozen or so comments are anti-Semitic, personal, and foul mouthed. You have to get quite a ways down the page before someone mentions the content.
I have a few Larry Kudlow, President Reagan, and Speaker Pelosi videos up at my old (pre-coffeemusiclive) account, and every few weeks I'll get an email of a vulgar rant on one side or the other, but I do not recall ever getting an interesting, respectful of even germane comment on any of them.
This is a long twilight war, the struggle against radical Islamism. We can't wish it away. No strategy of winning "hearts and minds," no great outreach, will bring this struggle to an end. America can't conciliate these furies. These men of nowhere—Faisal Shahzad, Nidal Malik Hasan, the American-born renegade cleric Anwar Awlaki now holed up in Yemen and their likes—are a deadly breed of combatants in this new kind of war. Modernity both attracts and unsettles them. America is at once the object of their dreams and the scapegoat onto which they project their deepest malignancies.
No suggestion is made of how the struggle may be ended, however. Just let me add one more tactic that won't work: More welfare. (And this last message is as important as any of the rest.)
The welfare state's death spiral is this: Almost anything governments might do with their budgets threatens to make matters worse by slowing the economy or triggering a recession. By allowing deficits to balloon, they risk a financial crisis as investors one day -- no one knows when -- doubt governments' ability to service their debts and, as with Greece, refuse to lend except at exorbitant rates. Cutting welfare benefits or raising taxes all would, at least temporarily, weaken the economy. Perversely, that would make paying the remaining benefits harder.
OK, sez I, then cut welfare benefits enough that paying them becomes easier. That's not so difficult to imagine, is it? The "draconian" austerity measures the Greeks have been forced to impose (in order to get the IMF bailout) are an 11% cut in pension benefits and 14% cut in government wages. Please! The Greek government retirement age is fifty-two! Cut their pensions by 50 percent and make them "work" another 13 years. They'll be no worse off than their private sector neighbors.
Anyone remember my mention of the Senate Conservatives Fund? It was just before our little foray into drug legalization so I'll understand if you missed it. Here's part of Jim DeMint's endorsement of Weld County (CO) DA and GOP candidate for the US Senate Ken Buck:
"There are certainly other good Republicans in this race," said Senator DeMint, "but I believe Ken Buck is a conservative standout who will fight the establishment in both parties when he gets to Washington."
Music to my TEA Party ears.
"The purpose of the Senate Conservatives Fund is to help elect strong candidates who are overlooked by the Washington establishment," said Senator DeMint. "Ken Buck is one of those candidates, and I'm confident he will win if he gets his message out. My goal with this race is to partner with freedom-loving Americans in Colorado and across the country to help level playing field and give Ken Buck the support he needs to win the primary in August and defeat the Democrat in November. I am not trying to tell the people of Colorado how to vote; I am asking for their help because we need Ken Buck to save our country."
We did it! The Club for Growth PAC defeated big-spending Sen. Bob Bennett today in his bid for renomination by Utah Republicans. It was the first time in Utah history that an incumbent Republican Senator has been denied his party's nomination.
Bennett's defeat also marks the first time the Club's PAC has defeated an incumbent Republican senator. It will set off a political earthquake in Congress.
Bennett's defeat came at the Utah Republican nomination convention this afternoon when Bennett did not even make it to the final ballot, eliminating his chance to run as a Republican for reelection. Under state law, Bennett is also barred from running as an independent.
Bla bla bla, give us some money et cetera et cetera...
Larry Kudlow showed a clip this week of Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed El-Erian and all of Kudlow's guests thought he was too pessimistic about contagion. Of course, that was before:
The Markit iTraxx Financial Index of credit-default swaps on 25 banks and insurers soared as much as 40 basis points to 223, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The index closed at 212 basis points March 9, 2009. Swaps on Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy rose to or near all-time high levels.
Interesting and concerning. But the accompanying picture of El-Erian in the Bloomberg story was worth a thousand words or two:
I applaud the ThreeSources commentariat for the thoughtful and intelligent discussion on drug laws. Even though you don't agree with me and are clearly a bunch of snarky, redneck authoritarians, I have enjoyed hearing your views.
Here is my problem. It's not about weed for me, it is about the FDA. It is that the government has set itself as the arbiter of what we may and may not buy, sell, and ingest. As Governor Palin might say, "How's that [...] workin' out for ya?"
In May of 2007 two unique cancer therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer and osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) came under review at the FDA on the same day. Both the new agent for prostate cancer, Provenge, and the new agent for osteosarcoma, Mepact, had shown the ability to prolong lives to a significant degree. And both drugs were summarily rejected. Provenge and Mepact were tossed back to the companies developing them with the directive to do more clinical studies.
This was easy enough for Provenge, due to the return on the risk of investment possible with a new prostate cancer drug and the large number of men with the disease available for another clinical trial. The Dendreon company, makers of Provenge, worked as quickly as possible to redo their already successful trial. The results of the new trial turned out the same as the original, and the drug was finally approved by the FDA last week.
In the three years that it took to duplicate what was already known, upwards of 80,000 men lost their lives to prostate cancer. This is equal to the number of men killed in combat in the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars combined.
The rest of the guest editorial points out that while the one compound eventually was approved (let that word sink in, liberty lovers) the other one could not find enough trial patients to repeat the trial. So the 900 patients with osteosarcoma can simply die rather than take a drug that the government has not "approved."
Citizens or subjects? If I have to ask Mom before I eat anything, I'm not an adult.
"[T]hink of what's happening in countries like Spain ... where they’re making real investments in renewable energy. They're surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in these new industries," declared then-President-elect Barack Obama back in January 16, 2009. -- Ron Baily
A meta-QOTD today, the whole post is superb. (HT: Instapundit)
I know many of my blog brothers and sisters think that the consequences of drug use compensate for our loss of liberty as we proscribe them.
I'd ask you to continue to blog friend tg's for a post with embedded video of a SWAT Raid that yielded "some marijuana." The video is a LOT more disturbing than the vulture cuisinart. I wish I had not watched it. But -- as tg says -- we have to.
In the high-stakes, low-speed world of national politics few individual politicians risk bucking their party organization until it is clear they're being left behind (see "Crist.") A refreshing contradiction to this rule is South Carolina's Senator Jim DeMint.
DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed four other candidates with contested GOP primaries, but only two of them are at odds with the national party. In Colorado, he's backing Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck instead of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. In California, he's endorsed Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, instead of former Rep. Tom Campbell or former HP CEO Carly Fiorina. His support is likely more likely to affect the result in Colorado.
DeMint seems to hear what the 24% of America that calls itself "TEA Party" is saying. There's a decent chance that insight will take him around the outside and past better known GOP wannabes for the 2012 presidential nomination. And the thing to watch for 2010 will be, are the GOP candidates members of the DeMint or the McCain caucus.
Silly Mayor Bloomberg thought that the Times Square bomber was "upset about health care." Jeez, what a dope. The real issue was aid to homeowners.
This guy is like string theory for the media: He brings together the seemingly incompatible stories that drove the past decade. That said, you of course don't want to speculate on why someone "really" did something. The hearts of men are opaque, and motives are complex. But it's a reminder that foreclosures generate an enormous amount of misery and anxiety and depression that can tip people into all sorts of dangerous behaviors that don't make headlines but do ruin lives. And for all that we've done to save the financial sector, we've not done nearly enough to help struggling homeowners -- Ezra Klein.
But not in her circle. To Ms. [Contessa] Brewer, these are simply the sentiments of a thinking, caring, decent, fair-minded person. If you react otherwise, you’re a squinty-eyed Bubba who thinks this here country started goin’ downhill (spit) since we started lettin’ Veetner-mesians (spit) come in and run restaurants. Not saying they don’t make good rice because they do ‘n all, but this all here’s a Christian nation. And ah say that in full reee-cog-nition of the Deism of some Founders, inasmuch you can place Deism outside of the bound’ry of angnostercism and link it to yer monotheistic assumptions. -- James Lileks
WASHINGTON – Rep. David Obey, a leading liberal Democrat and chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, intends to retire at the end of his term this year, Democratic sources said Wednesday. It is another blow to Democrats defending their majority in an election season of voter discontent.
First elected in 1969, the 71-year-old Mr. Obey is one of the House barons who have steered the Democratic Congress to its current level of public esteem. As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, he turned the stimulus into a 40-year spending wish list that focused on transfer payments like Medicaid and food stamps and created few new jobs.
Mr. Obey has long been more liberal than his northwestern Wisconsin district, which is home to middle-class Catholic deer hunters. He's kept his seat with union support, a populist streak and by outspending opponents, but this year he faced a serious challenge from Sean Duffy, the 38-year-old Ashland County district attorney who has raised more than $500,000. Mr. Obey may be retiring before the voters do him the honor.
Jeff Jacoby hits it out of Fenway on charges of "price gouging" after the water main break.
“We have begun hearing anecdotal reports of the possible price gouging of store-bought water,’’ Coakley announced Sunday. “Businesses and individuals cannot and should not take advantage of this public emergency to unfairly charge consumers . . . for water.’’ Inspectors were being dispatched, “spot-checks’’ were being conducted, and “if we discover that businesses are engaging in price gouging,’’ she warned, “we will take appropriate legal action.’’
Do yourself a favor and buy two copies of Russ Roberts's "The Price of Everything." Read one and give both away.
Roberts and Jacoby both know that without "gouging" buyers will have incentive to hoard and there will be shortages. No water is always better to these demagogues than water at a high price.
Yet there is never a shortage of foolish politicians. Hat-tip: Mankiw
Watching FOXNewsSunday last week (required viewing for the VRWC), Chris Wallace ended the interview with Sec Janet Napolitano by forcing her to disavow interest in the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. My old Senator and current Interior Sec Ken Salazar was not afforded the same dignity.
I got to thinking that I should start a Salazar SCOTUS boomlet. President Obama gets to make "an Historic nomination of the first Hispanic with male body parts." And we get a nominee who is likely better than anything else we'll see from this Administration.
Not sure it's not still a good idea, but Insty links to some cold water. Brian J Noggle reads the Secretary’s comment that "“Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum" and is reminded of Orwell:
But always— do not forget this, Winston— always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.
"He was very disappointed that he wasn't getting his house sold," Mr. DelVecchio said.
Igor Djuric, a broker who showed Mr. Shahzad the 1,356-square-foot home he eventually bought, said he remembered that Mr. Shahzad was quiet about himself, but was openly critical of President Bush in the aftermath of the Iraq war.
"I didn't take it for anything, since a lot of people didn't like Bush," Mr. Djuric said, "but he was a little bit strong about expressing it."
The only thing strange about Mr. Shahzad that next-door neighbor Brenda Thurman could remember was his habit of going jogging at night wearing all black. He told her he didn't like the sunlight, she said.
At home, he sometimes wore ankle-length traditional Muslim garb, said Ms. Thurman, who lived next to Mr. Shahzad for more than three years, but he wore a shirt and tie to work. He would leave the house in the morning in a burgundy Nissan and come home in the evening.
Always have been proud to be a direct descendant of Charles Darwin. Yet:
Darwin dynasty's ill health blamed on inbreeding
After Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, they had 10 children, three of whom died as children. Three of the others married but remained childless, suggesting infertility problems. And Darwin himself, who suffered unremitting ill health following his epic trip on The Beagle, was the product of an "inter-Wedgwood" union, his maternal grandparents being third cousins to each another.
Before Mayor Giuliani took to Larry Kudlow’s program to become the Apostle of supply-side economics, I had already had a moment of swoon for Hizzoner. We've discussed his authoritarian history and I am not brining up the argument again.
But I was not the only one who heard this line. John Podhoretz recalls it today, and Ramesh Ponnuru links and excerpts:
[G]overnment officials believe it is their role to provide reassurance even when they cannot do so. And they’re simply wrong about that. The American people are far more sophisticated about these things than those officials appear to believe, and they can be talked to like adults. That was the lesson, in part, of the immediate aftermath of September 11, when Rudy Giuliani simply said that the “number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear, ultimately.” He sugar-coated nothing. And that is the truth of crises and crisis management.
Without question, that was the best thing I ever heard a politician say. All the journalists were trying to feed their headline writers by getting the mayor to suggest a casualty figure on 9/11. Giuliani said "more than we can bear." I can still see and hear it.
The U.S. isn’t the only country with ridiculous lawsuits. The UK Telegraph reports:
[QUOTE STARTS] A teacher with a phobia over rabbits is suing a 14-year-old pupil for compensation after she drew a bunny on the blackboard. The teacher, from Vechta, Germany, says she was traumatized by the drawing, and claims the girl knew it would terrify her…
"We did it for fun and out of curiosity", one of the girls told a court, adding, "We wanted to see if she would really freak out."
…the teacher is seeking compensation for her terror and her loss of earnings, her lawyer Manfred Bormann told the court. [QUOTE ENDS]
It sounds like a fake news story from “The Onion,” but German papers like Der Speigel also reported the story. My question: will the students sue the school for giving them such a hysterical teacher?
Germany, like most civilized countries (except the USA), has a “loser pays” rule. I’ve argued that “loser pays” reduces the number of frivolous lawsuits. But clearly, it doesn’t eliminate them.
No, but she's got a little skin in the game. Stossel generally contends "loser pays" is all the tort-reform you need, and that it is a much more "libertarian" solution than limits on awards. Hard to argue.
We recently had some side chatter about the efficacy of the UN and NGOs in relation to the Noocyulur talks that President Obama had led.
I was yelling at my Kimdle® over the weekend. As President Wilson and "The Major" are pursuing the League of Nations, I'm yelling "No! Don't do it!"
I heard about this yesterday but was waiting for a detailed look from a credible source. The WSJ Ed Page delivers:
Greetings, comrades. World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan has returned from Pyongyang with wonderful news. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is making great strides in health care, with one "household doctor" for every 130 households. Thanks to on-the-spot guidance from Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, North Korean doctors selflessly choose not to emigrate and have even conquered the decadent West's problem of obesity!
All right, we exaggerate. But only the part about the Dear Leader. Ms. Chan's surreal statements last Friday, as reported by several wire services, really did include praise for North Korean health care and the lack of obesity. "They have something which most other developing countries would envy," the global health administrator gushed. In her guided tours, she saw few signs of malnutrition, and the people in Pyongyang were the same height and weight as other Asians.
That's hardly consistent with the reports of other visitors, or the accounts of North Koreans fleeing starvation [...]
What is the value of supporting and offering legitimacy to an organization that would deliver such a report? Why, I've a good mind to ask the Iranian delegation on the UN's Women's Rights Committee to look into this and see if these stories are legitimate...
Where partisan hackery meets limited government: should ThreeSourcers blame President Obama for an insufficient response to the oil spill?
I'm going to say no. My idea of Executive Power was best expressed by Randy Newman in his song Louisiana. I'm not sure one of my favorite songwriters meant to complement one of my favorite Presidents:
President Coolidge come down on a railroad train.
With a little fat man with a clipboard in his hand.
President Coolidge says "Little fat man, ain't it a shame.
What the river has done to this poor cracker's land?"
Generally, I consider that a great response, but concede that the government has a larger role in the oil spill versus the 1927 or 2005 hurricanes.
All the same, the complaints suggest a super-sized version of executive power, do they not?
I love a whack at the President as much -- okay, maybe a lot more -- than the next guy. But I have decried the arrogation of power to the Executive and am pretty squeamish about asserting expectations here.
UPDATE: Interesting addition: John Fund says that the government is obligated by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990:
The Obama Administration has tirelessly pushed the line that it has employed every available tool to fight the Gulf oil spill from "Day One." Well, it's certainly true that every media resource is being deployed to squelch comparisons with the slow-footed 2005 Bush administration response to Hurricane Katrina.
But as for having actual oil-spill fighting technology on hand before the crisis, as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires, the administration was clearly caught unprepared.
After the Transocean rig blew up two weeks ago, it turns out the federal government didn't have a single fire boom on hand in the Gulf to enable a controlled burn of the oil slick, according to The Press-Register of Mobile, Alabama. Instead, the government quickly purchased the only fire boom that an Illinois-based manufacturer had in stock, and then asked the company to call its customers around the world to see if the U.S. government could borrow their booms.
No, I won't torture everyday. But I'd like to dedicate this to any Randians out there. This is, you'll not be surprised, the same person who confuses President Obama with Buddha.
From the "What can it hurt?" department: There is apparently a valve that is stuck open on the Deep Horizon oil well and is causing the spill... Here's the plan to use the collective power of our minds to stop this spill: Everyone please visualize the valve getting unstuck and stopping the spill.
More Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Illegal Immigration
This one takes a more worldly view, looking at similarities between American (illegal) and European (condoned) mass immigration. As an example of over-the-top hate speech, author Mark Steyn tells us what English grandmother Gillian Duffy said to PM Gordon Brown which prompted him to say of her, in an unguarded moment, "She's just this sort of bigoted woman." Gillian had lamented that "you can't say anything about the immigrants."
The quick 3-page piece is packed with Steyn's trademark humor which is it's own reward so I'll just plagarize the dry conclusion:
A dependence on mass immigration is not a gold mine nor an opportunity to flaunt your multicultural bona fides, but a structural weakness, and should be addressed as such.
The majority of Arizona's schoolchildren are already Hispanic. So, even if you sealed the border today, the state's future is as a Hispanic society: That's a given.
Maybe it'll all work out swell. The citizenry never voted for it, but they got it anyway. Because all the smart guys in the limos bemoaning the bigots knew what was best for them.
I am not complaining, perhaps Professor Mankiw's reader has improved it. Besides, I clearly put it in the public domain in 2003.
I wrote an essay, on my old Berkeley Square Blog, about "A Free Market Solution to SPAM."
I set up my mailbox to accept only mail from people in my address book and from “Joe’s Trusted Relay Service.”
Now, all my friends can email me because they are whitelisted. Somebody who wants to reach me can pay Joe’s the nickel or dime he charges. A business can contract with Joe’s to send to real email addresses and get through. If Joe’s sends me too much junk I don’t like, I will stop accepting from him and will sign up with Fred’s. Fred charges a little more, so I get less junk. Market forces now enable senders and receivers to control SPAM volume. And the first to drop out will be the shysters and purveyors of illegal products.
I also get the chance to pay a dime to write a popular journalist or blogger and have more confidence that my message will be received. Maybe a magazine will whitelist subscribers and bloggers will whitelist those who donate. I’ve created a new business, a solution to an intractable problem, and the new, international currency of whitelisted email.
"A. Blog Reader" (funny name, isn't it?) uses the same idea for a ---wait for it -- Pigouvian Tax.
I think an excellent Pigouvian tax would be a tax on emails. Many emails involve a negative externality (I don't really want to receive them) and almost all the ones I really want to get are worth much more than a penny or so to the sender. So a penny tax (say) on email would probably generate large amounts of revenue, mitigate an important negative externality, and have minimal inefficient disincentives. Since email servers are necessarily centralized and networked and all email senders are ipso facto connected to an ISP who is charging them for access the transactions costs and evasion problems seem low.
'Course, I still prefer my free market idea to his government revenue stream, but Mankiw improves both ideas with a simple suggestion:
Even better, if possible, might be to have the recipient set the price! I would happily raise mine to a dime, and let the government use the revenue to fix the long-term fiscal imbalance or cut other more distortionary taxes.
Yeah Pigouvian Schmagoovian and all, but the receiver's setting the price is a good suggestion.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, at his news conference yesterday afternoon, said he would not rule out the possibility that the Times Square attack could be related to the recent threats against the creators of the comedy TV series "South Park," who have been threatened online for allegedly defaming Muhammad. The bomb-filled SUV in Times Square was parked next to the headquarters of Viacom, the parent company of "South Park." That coincidence needs to be thoroughly pursued. -- WSJ Ed Page
'Scuse me? Has anybody else heard this? I think this is huge -- but it does not "fit the narrative."
Just a reminder what we're up against. Here's a Facebook thread:
[Some guy I don't know]: Buddha once said that hatred is never ended by hatred but by love, and understanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, and diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s point of view.
[A woman I used to work with]: Sounds kinda like Obama's way of doing things...
[Buddha Guy]: YOUR Killing me!! LOL
[Obama lady]: I'm totally serious. He's tactful, diplomatic and conciliatory even in debate. I can only guess at his desire to see other points of view, but given his demeanor, I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
[Buddha Guy]: So he tactfully, or was in conciliatory, rammed his health care down our throats, knowing that the vast majority of Americans wanted a reasonable approach. I wonder how Buda felt about being taken from behind by those in power??
[Obama lady]: You mean when Congress passed the bill (full of regurgitated Republican ideas) by due legislative process? Yes.
No, I am not diving in now way, no how! I just wanted to share it with you.
Some superb discussion continues on the righteousness and efficacy of "Draw Mohammed Day." Thanks for all the thoughtful comments.
One thing that I did not mention is my belief that this is not a fundamental, axiomatic part of the Muslim faith. This is a brand new thing for CAIR types and the never got a date crowd at RevolutionaryMuslim.com to be offended about. There have been many respectful depictions of the prophet through time by devout Muslims.
This is not a central tenet, it is a new, post-Qutb, Taliban thing (I first heard of the Taliban when they were mashing up millennia-old Buddha statues). The Internet Segue Machine comes through again: a collection of Mohammed images, from the respectful to the Matt&Trey.
I'm softening due to appeals to me better angels as well as general disbelief in my "Spartacus Defense." But I still think these folks are whacked.