June 30, 2010


Oh, nothing. Amazon bought Woot, Inc.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Obama Attacks GOP. Must be Tuesday.

Obama attacks GOP over vision for the country

More broadly, Obama said of Republicans: "Their prescription for every challenge is pretty much the same — and I don't think I'm exaggerating here: basically cut taxes for the wealthy, cut rules for corporations and cut working folks loose to fend for themselves."

Oh, I think he might be exaggerating just a bit, don't you?

I have tried to -- personally -- give him the benefit of the doubt. I did not politically, but feel he was pretty clear in not subscribing to the same theories of governance as I.

But today's quote of the day and this honorable mention have put me over the top. He demonizes anybody who, well is not actually named Barack Obama, and makes these incredible strawman arguments. "You know, some people say we should be killing puppies and throwing the carcasses in a volcano to get out of our present difficulties -- I'm just not one of those people!"

A thousand disturbing things about our current Chief Executive, but his unwillingness to engage portends most poorly for addressing the challenges ahead.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You're far more charitable than I ever was. From the start, I assumed (and have been proven correct, time after time after time) that he's a liar and a thief. He is utterly without shame.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 11:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Mister Nice Guy, that's me! Noemie Emery is a bit tougher

When and how then does this president's intellect shimmer? At meetings.

He does seem a genius at chairing a forum, as at the "nuclear summit" in April, where the Washington Post claimed that he shone as a teacher, "calling on leaders to speak, embellish, oppose, and offer alternatives," coaxing consensus and forging agreements among 45 countries at hand.

The problem was that the value of these things was limited, as the attending countries weren't menacing anyone, while Iran and Korea, who were not in attendance, went on happily building their bombs.

He isn't a sphinx, he's a seminar leader who's out of his element. And more and more out of his depth.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2010 11:36 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But let's actually take what he's saying. He wants to:

1. Seize more of people's private property to redistribute to everyone else.

2. Tell the owners of "private property" what they can and can't do, though they're not harming anyone.


"cut working folks loose to fend for themselves"? But they're not working -- they're getting unemployment, and one of the few things Republicans are doing right is refusing to extent the jobless benefits. Maybe Obama is talking about people getting laid off, but in that case he case he ought to consider the huge tax burden he'll allow to settle on businesses starting next year, not to mention all the health insurance requirements.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 11:42 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The problem was that the value of these things was limited, as the attending countries weren't menacing anyone, while Iran and Korea, who were not in attendance, went on happily building their bombs."

This is sadly too true. It's easy to deal nicely with nice people.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 11:49 AM

"This election was Jane Norton's to lose. And she may have just lost it."

Those are the words of "ari" at People's Press Collective, who gives the most concise coverage of the story behind Jane Norton's new negative campaign ad against fellow Republican Ken Buck.

For the time and interest challenged I'll excerpt from the quoted words of Independence Institute's David Kopel, who pretty much sums up my own reaction:

Now Ken Buck violated the protocol by talking about it outside the office. And I agree that was a violation of the U.S. Attorney’s protocol.

But when you say, when is a guy going to make a mistake, I like a guy who makes a mistake on behalf of someone who was being unfairly, unjustly, and politically persecuted.

And then for Jane Norton to turn around and say this is some terrible issue against Ken Buck — well, it just reminds me that Jane Norton’s husband was the guy who before Strickland came into office, probably had the worst record in Colorado history of being an abusive, out-of-control, way over the line, United States Attorney, Mike Norton.

Like Kopel, I think Ken should wear this "ethical violation" as a badge of courage.

CO Senate Posted by JohnGalt at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This Norton ad reminds me of the trashing that Mark Holtzman did to Bob Beauprez in the 2006 CO GOP gubanatorial primary. That trashing, in The Refugee's opinion, poisoned Beauprez's chances in the general. Beauprez would have been a fantastic governor, and instead, we got Ritter. I've will never forgive Holtzman for it.

JK, if you need a reason to vote for Buck, I would offer this attack as Exhibit A.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 30, 2010 6:43 PM
But jk thinks:

I was already there on my good friends' good words. This solidified it.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2010 7:07 PM

JK's Dark Thought of the Day

-- now there's a potential franchise!

I have had this in the back of my mind on occasion, but it was punctuated last night. Watching Kudlow, all the Bulls and Bears were in full agreement that the economy is going to heck in early 2011 when the Bush tax cuts expire. Our beloved nation will be pushed to the very edges of the Laffer curve. I'd add that invoices for the regulatory arm of Obamanomics will start coming due at nearly the same time.

Bad stuff, huh? What else will be happening next January?

Why the new, overwhelmingly Republican, Tea Party, tax cutting, limited government, fiscal responsibility 112th Congress will be installed. The one we've been dreaming of around here. Whom will the media blame for this? Wait a minute, let me think about that a while...

Now, I don't recommend losing -- and there is every chance we night. And there might be some hope that business feels the burden of uncertainty lifted and releases that $1.5 Trillion sidelined on corporate balance sheets. But it is numerically impossible to gain enough seats to fix what's broke. Aren't we in huge danger of being at the wheel when all the tires fly off?

Apologies for the metaphor count and the use of the plural first person, kimosabe. But I’m distraught.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | What do you think? [3]
But T. Greer thinks:

Oh, more than just the tax rates bodes ill for next year's economy.

For what it is worth, my friends on the left are also predicting another recession next year. Following the lead of Mr. Krugman, they are placing the blame for it on insufficient stimulus. Funny how that works, isn't? We are already arguing over the cause of an economic downturn that has not happened yet.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 30, 2010 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear you, tg, but there are always gloom-n-doomers ("predicting 14 of the last three recessions...")

A range of different folks last night on Kudlow -- yet none could see how we will establish growth in 2011. The tax cuts will take 2-3% off GDP growth and we may not have 2-3% to spot them.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2010 5:33 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This theory/prediction has wide currency. To TG's point, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough people believe it. However, it's hard to see how the fundamentals don't point to seriously rough water ahead, to put it mildly.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 30, 2010 6:34 PM

Quote of the Day

In fact, President Obama summoned a bipartisan group of senators to the White House on Tuesday to discuss his climate change legislation. When Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander suggested that any such energy meeting should include a focus on the oil spill and BP, Obama responded: “that’s just your talking point” and refused to discuss the crisis. -- Heritage Foundry Blog
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But it's fine for Obama to cite the oil spill as evidence that we need a new energy policy focusing on clean fuels. Just when you thought his hypocrisy and hubris couldn't be bigger.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 30, 2010 12:29 PM

Caption of the Day

The Photo:

The Caption:
Greek debtors discussing repayment terms.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

That police officer in the foreground - the one preparing to exit, stage left - has a good counteroffer to the bid that the debtors have put on the table. For some unknown reason, the officer has chosen to leave that counteroffer, unused, in its holster.

In my experience, it's a take-it-or-leave-it kind of counteroffer, but it IS usually persuasive.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 30, 2010 11:38 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Clearly the protestors are intolerant of anyone, especially public employees on duty, doing The Robot so badly.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 30, 2010 12:31 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I don't get it. Here we have a police officer with a riot helmet, a face shield, heavy boots, shin guards, tactical gloves, what I'm assuming is at least a 9mm on his right hip, and whatever else is in his various and sundry pockets and belt clips - fleeing in terror from two unprotected, skinny emos armed with nothing more than what looks like a wooden closet rod (tied with a pretty lavender bow!) and a flag from my junior-high cheerleading squad. At the very least, taze them, bro.

Unless the constable has just realized he's standing in the field of fire of a partner off-camera who's about to open a can of full-auto whoopass on the emos, I'm revoking his man card.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 30, 2010 1:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No way man, he's just bucking for a medal!

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2010 2:44 PM

On the Total Hossness of Justice Thomas

Ashby Jones (that's a family name, I wonder if we're related -- no, not "Jones!") has a post on the WSJ Law Blog suggesting Justice Thomas's Concurrence in McDonald is his Finest Hour.

I think -- for those who weren't paying attention in Raich v Gonzales -- it separates Thomas's philosophical devotion to originalism versus Justice Scalia's attempt to shape a conservative society.

But in a separate concurrence, Justice Thomas boldly went where no justice has gone before: to the arms of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. He wrote:
[T]he text of the Privileges or Immunities Clause . . . command[s] that “[n]o State shall . . . abridge” the rights of United States citizens . . . the Clause establishes a minimum baseline of federal rights, and the constitutional right to keep and bear arms plainly was among them.

The rationale didn’t carry the day, but many legal commentators were thrilled by Justice Thomas’s concurrence. “He’s sticking with the text of the Constitution,” said Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett, to the Law Blog. “At the same time, nobody voices disagreement with Justice Thomas. And that’s because they can’t.”

It also explains the arguments and methods of 14th Amendment Incorporation in words a drop out hippie guitar player can understand.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

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

This is a great place for me to express how much relief I feel to be able to leave the coverage of 2nd Amendment issues in the more capable hands of someone other than myself. (At least here on ThreeSources.) Justice Thomas is most certainly a hoss, but not the only one.

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2010 2:49 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I like Thomas' attempt to reason, but I have three problems with it. First, it justifies my dislike of codified law: justice is no longer a matter of right and wrong, but what's codified and interpreted.

Second, and this is more with Jones, citing the 14th Amendment (anything beyond the original 10) is actually not being an originalist, but a textualist. There is a clear difference between the two. The 14th Amendment was contrary to the Constitution's original intent, which was that people were citizens of their states or of the "United States" (meaning parts of the United States not part of any state, like D.C. and territories, where the federal government had jurisdiction). It wasn't until the 14th that Congress had clear authority over citizens of the several States, and companies that did not participate in interstate commerce. This was the gateway to federal taxation of individuals, of federal control of companies.

Third, the "privileges and immunities" clause is erroneous at best in what it attempts to protect. In a century, the philosophy of the American Revolution had been lost. Very well, so "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" -- but wait, what are those, precisely? They're things that are given to you by government. Rights are not given. You have them, end of story. Therefore, the right to keep and bear arms is not a "privilege" nor an "immunity."

"But I cannot agree that it is enforceable against the States through a clause that speaks only to “process.” Instead, the right to keep and bear arms is a privilege of American citizenship that applies to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause."

If Thomas had based his opinion that gun control is depriving people of their right to liberty and property, and the right to life in the case of individuals who purchase guns for self-defense, then I'd have been impressed.

Barnett's a good guy, but IMO he doesn't go far enough. (That's just the nature of the anarchist: everyone who isn't is not sufficiently extreme, by definition.) When I met him not too long after R. v. G., he disagreed with my comment that he was a pallbearer for the 10th Amendment (I believed in the Constitution then), and he also disagreed that ultimately it takes only five black-robed tyrants to decide the course of this country. But what was the Kelo case, then, if not five people who asserted their will over 300 million?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 1:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry, I was spellchecking my response when my computer died (yes, it was really that good).

I am very sympathetic to your "first ten" argument. The original doc and the Bill of Rights is a better governmental blueprint than what we got.

The problem is the lack of #13. You can say that is an historical anomaly, but I am not certain. Researching a book I hoped to write (and may someday) I read pretty heavily in antebellum politics and jurisprudence.

I'm convinced that slavery is more than a blot on the Constitution; it truly is more along the lines of original sin. The Fourteenth is our atonement and repentance.

I've long thought you could rewrite the 14th and somehow fix it. But I don't believe that anymore. Taney's majority opinion in Dred Scott v Sandford was perfectly rational (if in dicta) in a "first 12" Constitutional order. It required the 14th to right it and us to live with the consequences.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2010 10:57 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The problem is the lack of #13."

Oh, definitely. That's why a literal "originalist" intent necessarily sanctions slavery. That's no small part of why my friend Billy Beck says the Constitution is nothing like the Declaration of Independence. And he is correct.

And yes, even Jefferson owned slaves. However, I look to his words as things he aspired to live up to but could not, being a product of his time.

So what's the solution, to accept the 14th, which "guarantees" slaves' liberty at the cost of enslaving everyone to the federal government? And as good as it seems to some, it was rammed down the southern states' throats (read up on the post-war military occupation when they refused to ratify it). Or do we recognize that rights do not need to be codified in law?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident..." is what made the American Revolution so distinctive. Not "Our laws declare..." or "We lay down these truths in our laws," in the style of the French "Revolution" that traded one master for others.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 7, 2010 11:26 AM

June 29, 2010

All Hail Whittle!

I don't know if Bill Whittle is y'all's cup of tea. He can be a little over the top and no one would call him anything but fiercely partisan. He has a populist bent that I'd run away from if it came from Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

But the man hits it out of the park today. His "afterburner" video is 15:27, but I'd recommend it highly. I ended up watching it twice as the lovely bride caught the end and wanted me to replay it.

We're on the Titanic. But Captain Whittle has a plan...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Everything is Something"

The answer to the Dr. Pritchett post, from Part One, Chapter VI: "The Non-Commercial-

"Why, hello, Professor!" said Francisco, bowing to Dr. Pritchett.

There was no pleasure in Dr. Pritchett's face when he answered the greeting and performed a few introductions.

"We were just discussing a most interesting subject," said the earnest matron. "Dr. Pritchett was telling us that nothing is anything."

"He should, undoubtedly, know more than anyone else about that," Francisco answered gravely.

"I wouldn't have supposed that you knew Dr. Pritchett so well, Seńor d'Anconia," she said, and wondered why the professor looked displeased by her remark.

"I am an alumnus of the great school that employs Dr. Pritchett at present, the Patrick Henry University. But I studied under one of his predecessors—Hugh Akston."

"Hugh Akston!" the attractive young woman gasped. "But you couldn't have, Seńor d'Anconia! You're not old enough. I thought he was one of those great names of … of the last century."

"Perhaps in spirit, madame. Not in fact."

"But I thought he died years ago."

"Why, no. He's still alive."

"Then why don't we ever hear about him any more?"

"He retired, nine years ago."

"Isn't it odd? When a politician or a movie star retires, we read front page stories about it. But when a philosopher retires, people do not even notice it."

"They do, eventually."

A young man said, astonished, "I thought Hugh Akston was one of those classics that nobody studied any more, except in histories of philosophy. I read an article recently which referred to him as the last of the great advocates of reason."

"Just what did Hugh Akston teach?" asked the earnest matron.

Francisco answered, "He taught that everything is something."

It's not Easy Being Green

If you've never cared for the song (or if you have) I recommend Sophie Milman's version. But I digress.

Two Insty posts deserve a reciprocal segue:

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS ABOUT THE PLUG-IN PRIUS: “So far, the Inside Line team has racked up more than 500 miles in the plug-in Prius and the experience has to be considered somewhat of a let down. The team has averaged 62 miles per gallon, a good number for sure, but one that many drivers of the more conventional Prius have easily achieved on a regular basis. . . . Given the plug-in’s slightly improved efficiency, one would have to drive 215,100 miles to make up for the additional cash laid out to start

ECO BOOST: Ford Mustang V6 Gets 48.5 MPG Around Bristol Race Track.

Okay, Tangerines and Tangelos. But Look at Gallons per 100 mile:
  • Super cool, fun, babe-magnet* Mustang: 2.06186

  • Doofy, expensive, pretentious Prius that has to be plugged in at night and which will require multi-thousand dollar battery replacements at regular intervals: 1.6129

So, every 100 miles, the Plug-in Prius owner saves almost a half a gallon of gas. Seventy five gallons in a 15,000 mile year.

*Granted, the women in Brother Ka's life require the V8, but let’s race the V6 against the Prius...

But Keith Arnold thinks:


The woman (singular, take special note) in Brother Ka's life is happy driving the 232 V-6, so long as it's the ragtop. Mrs. Ka felt at the time that the V-8 was a trifle peppy. And inasmuch as she drives just like I do, I'll put serious money on her behind the wheel of her Mustang - and she'd probably spot the sissy Prius a hundred yards in a quarter-mile dash to prove her point.

As for the Mustang's environmental impact:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 29, 2010 5:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the Prius' impact, on the other hand...

"To compare, the Toyota Prius involves $3.25 per mile in energy costs over its lifetime, according to CNW, while several full-size SUVs scored lower. A Dodge Viper involves only $2.18 in energy per mile over its lifetime. The Range Rover Sport costs $2.42, and the Cadillac Escalade costs $2.75."

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 5:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not so loud, jg - or someone will cite you as proof positive that the Prius deserves a taxpayer-funded subsidy to put it on an equal footing. The'll demand eighty cents a mile in subsidy to make it competitive with the Range Rover.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 29, 2010 6:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

DUDE! Where've you been?

Federal Tax Incentives

(Thanks for the hanging curve ball.)

But seriously, yes they can always ask for another subsidy... because this one is clearly not big enough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 7:46 PM
But jk thinks:

You guys makin' me laugh!

At the same time: Tesla Raises $226 Million in IPO, Stock Gains 40% on First Day

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2010 1:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JG, I am definitely not, NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT clicking on that link.

Coulda been worse, I suppose. It could have been a Helen Thomas as an example of a liberal "babe"!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 2:00 PM

McDonald Gets Better and Better

I think it was Randy Barnett who started my concern that the Privileges and Immunities clause was not finding favor with the high court in the oral arguments for McDonald v Chicago. Yesterday I thought victory was flawed because of the narrower scope of using 14th Amendment Due Process.

Barnett himself sees the sun shining on P&I today. In a guest editorial, he praises Justice Thomas's majority-producing concurrence.

The deciding vote was cast by Justice Clarence Thomas, whose concurring opinion rested solely on the Privileges or Immunities Clause. While agreeing "with the Court that the Second Amendment is fully applicable to the States," he did so "because the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment as a privilege of American citizenship."

Furthermore, nothing in the plurality opinion by Justice Samuel Alito cast any doubt on Justice Thomas's analysis. Instead, in three terse sentences, Justice Alito simply "decline[d]" to revisit Slaughter-House or even address the original meaning of the Privileges or Immunities Clause.

Justice Thomas's analysis summarizes and reflects a consensus of legal scholarship that the Privileges or Immunities Clause does protect at least the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights against state interference. Because his interpretation of the clause was necessary to reach the outcome in McDonald v. Chicago, it is now very much alive. Put another way, there is no longer a majority of the court willing to use the Due Process Clause in a case in which the Privileges or Immunities Clause is the right clause on which to rest its decision.

Also a great reminder of what a complete hoss Justice Thomas is. I know Scalia is the Conservative darling, but he was wrong on Raich and started the derisive comments in the oral arguments of McDonald.

None should forget either then-Senator Biden's disingenuous and cruel treatment of him in his confirmation hearings nor the (no I won't apologize) racist attack on Thomas's intellect by Senate Majority Leader Reid. He claimed his opinions were poorly written and then could not name one.

Barnett claims that Thomas has delivered the goods.

By declining to take issue with Justice Thomas's impressive 56-page originalist analysis, the other justices in effect conceded what legal scholars have for some time maintained—that the court's cramped reading of the clause in 1873 was inconsistent with its original meaning. Yesterday the lost Privileges or Immunities Clause was suddenly found. And some day it may be fully restored to its proper place as the means by which fundamental individual rights are protected under the Constitution against abuses by states.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 28, 2010

McDonald v Chicago

John Stossel had Otis McDonald and Alan Gura on his show last week. Today he celebrates their victory.

UPDATE, 2:30 pm: A lawyer who argued the case, Alan Gura, tells me, “This is a fantastic day for freedom in America. This is going to save lives. This decision is good nationwide... People will be able to rest easily knowing they can access firearms if they need to defend themselves.”

Otis McDonald tells me he plans to have a handgun in his home as soon as he can: “I have a handgun, but it’s out-of-state. As soon as I get the paperwork straightened out, I’ll bring it in.”

I'd've loved to see a Privileges and Immunities victory as much as the next guy, But a win is a win. And 14th Amendment incorporation, while voodoo to me, might be valuable against different types of political districts claiming special jurisdiction.

A fantastic day, indeed.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 5:45 PM | What do you think? [0]


One of the cool features of my electronic copy of Atlas Shrugged (and of virtually everything else Rand wrote) is the ability to search by keyword. Today's quote is inspired by this passage from the Merle Hazzard Monetary Policy song:

Investment banks make billions, While factories turn to rust.

The quote that follows made an indelible impression upon my first reading of the book. I have recounted it personally to many, many friends. From Part One, Chapter IV: The Immovable Movers (keyword was "rust")

On her way through the plant, she had seen an enormous piece of machinery left abandoned in a corner of the yard. It had been a precision machine tool once, long ago, of a kind that could not be bought anywhere now. It had not been worn out; it had been rotted by neglect, eaten by rust and the black drippings of a dirty oil. She had turned her face away from it. A sight of that nature always blinded her for an instant by the burst of too violent an anger. She did not know why; she could not define her own feeling; she knew only that there was, in her feeling, a scream of protest against injustice, and that it was a response to something much beyond an old piece of machinery.
But jk thinks:

So you would object to any loss of profit to protect the living conditions of livestock. but we're going to get all weepy over a lathe?

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2010 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's a very narrow reading of the QOTD. Not "weepy" but angry. Not at the condition of the machinery but at the neglect that caused it - and that this neglect was of a product of man's mind by the selfish greed of second-handers and their code of "equality" - equality by bringing down any man whose achievements exceed their own.

Living conditions of livestock? What makes you think the livestock cares? But a wise man cares because a well kept herd is healthier and more productive. 'Animal Husbandry' is a college course, not a crime.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I'm narrow minded.

I was struck by the juxtaposition. I read your curt dismissal of animal rights a minute before the QOTD.

I do not endow animals with Lockean birthright liberty but am uncomfortable saying that a living being does not enjoy "a right" to treatment better than that enjoyed by many critters in our food chain. It is not an issue that I devote much time or thought to, but one to which I am very sympathetic.

I don't claim the capacity to channel dead immigrant women, but I'd suggest that Rand might well have purposely meant the comparison against misplaced empathy for sub-Galtian creatures. Out of bounds?

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2010 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not sure I understand...

Rand might have purposely meant "the comparision against misplaced empathy for sub-Galtian creatures."

What does this mean?

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 4:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I was suggesting that perhaps she was purposefully ridiculing the anger many would feel on seeing an ill-treated worker (or an ox), suggesting that one should be more concerned about ill-treatment to capital expenditures.

I thought it was a flyer when I wrote it, but rereading, I am pretty certain I am right. The reaction of Ms Taggart (the antecedent to "she?") would be considered quite normal upon finding a neglected person or animal.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2010 4:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I think I see where you're going now. Answering you thoroughly on what Rand may have meant will require more thought, but I can tell you that my personal reaction was similar to when I find a well made and barely used tool rusting in damp grass. If I know it is there because of carelessness I am angry. Similarly, when I see tragedies befall animals or other people I am just as angry if I know they were the result of another's carelessness.

You say Rand may have intended to suggest a greater concern for ill-treatment of capital expenditures. I submit that the capital expenditure had nothing to do it. She was lamenting the ill-treatment of intellectual capital, as the tool was the product of the mind of man. And that the ill-treatment was at the hands of other men - men who lived by the same code as animals, i.e. survival of the fittest.

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2010 3:17 PM

Monetary Policy Explained

By Merle Hazzard:

Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

I'll object to "We pay for Wall Street's sin." There's some truth in it but what gets remembered is "greedy capitalists" did this to us. It's analogous to the Robin Hood example.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2010 3:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jk and jg: at the risk of dipping again into country music, I'll add John Rich (he of "Big and Rich") and his song "Shutting Detroit Down." The takeaway from hit song is that the poor, hardworking, honest rank-and-file workers were the innocent victims of the greedy CEOs and other executives. No share of the blame is apportioned to greedy unions, competition, a crappy business model, failure to build what the public was buying, or line workers making $58.50 an hour to bolt the left rear seatbelt to the frame and passing that cost onto the consumer.

I mean it down to my country core when I say "shut up and sing, boy."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 28, 2010 3:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I generally like John Rich ... quite a bit even, which is surprising since the first song of his I ever heard was 'Wild West Show' which I took as criticism of the Iraq war.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2010 3:51 PM
But jk thinks:

This is not Hazzard's best. I wince at a line or two, but even South Park isn't perfect. One gets a laugh when one can. (Especially a lonely old guy who stays up late commenting twice on his own soccer posts!)

But Hazzard has something nobody else can claim: a duet with Art Laffer!

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2010 4:44 PM

June 27, 2010

Those Angry Tea Partiers!


The roving band of protesters torched four police cruisers and shattered shop windows with baseball bats and hammers for blocks, including at police headquarters, then shed some of their black clothes, revealing other garments, and continued their rampage.

Police used shields, clubs, tear gas and pepper spray to push back the protesters who tried to head south toward the security fence surrounding the Group of 20 summit site. Some demonstrators hurled rocks and bottles at police.

The vandalism occurred just blocks from where U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders were meeting and staying.

Oh, no. Wait... I guess these "activists" are protesting the G-20 Summit. My Bad.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Giggle T thinks:

I don't really care if they were a bunch of Tea Partiers or a clown troupe. These people need to understand that vandalism and/or violent protests will never give them the credibility to actually have their voices heard.

Civil protests and contacting leaders in a polite manner will go so much farther than torching cars.

Posted by: Giggle T at June 27, 2010 6:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm in full agreement with Giggle T of course, but I think the point is that popular news outlets frequently refer to TEA Party goers as "angry protesters" but the word angry never seems to appear in these reports about routine instances of political vandalism. Instead, the "black-clad youths" are apologized for: "Despite the violence, no serious injuries were reported..."

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2010 8:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I think our friend gt might be more interested in getting us to click on a malware link than engaging us intellectually.

I have kept both your comments, Giggle T, but have removed the links. If I am wrong, please email me.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2010 10:04 AM

June 25, 2010

U S A U S A !

I'm not above showing the other side:

Posted by John Kranz at 6:59 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

I watched all the extra time of the US - Ghana Match and think the point holds. Ghana scores 10 minutes in, and the announcers pretty much give up. If you've got a one goal lead in a Stanley Cup final with 40 seconds, it ain't over; but 20 minutes is considered insuperable in soccer.

Two other thoughts: have I just spent too long in multicultural Boulder? Does anyone else have a hard time cheering for the United States to beat poor Ghana? These folks have a $1400 estimated GDP (that was 2007, perhaps they've made great strides).

The other thought comes from my brother via email. He forwarded the WH response to the loss:

If that damned Texas cowboy had paid near the attention to our poorly-performing Soccer team and less to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, I wouldn't have inherited this mess.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2010 10:48 AM
But jk thinks:

Sadly, a small throw pillow fell from the headboard while I was watching the game. I tried to duck, but it came crashing down on my collarbone. I called 911 and they sent some guys out in yellow rainslicks to carry me out in a stretcher...

I think Bill Whittle's complaint about "drama queens" is part and parcel of the lack of scoring. As regulation scoring becomes nigh-on-impossible, the penalty kick skyrockets in value, and you get the ridiculous farce of top form athletes collapsing in pain when the breeze knocks them down.

That is more than a nuisance -- it is a serious flaw in the game. In May you watch hockey players shake off missing teeth and broken bones to keep playing for Lord Stanley's cup. In July, courage is redefined as you watch 180 cyclists ride 24 punishing stages across France in 27 days -- ignoring injuries and bouncing back from crashes. To spend June watching a bunch of trained athletes look like they could not survive ten minutes in a schoolyard is disturbing.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2010 11:50 AM
But HB thinks:


You hate it so much and yet you cannot get enough of it. (You are commenting on your own post! Alone!)

Posted by: HB at June 28, 2010 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He's not alone anymore now, is he? Way to go HB. :)

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2010 3:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly a cry for help.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2010 4:51 PM

"Libertarian Paternalism?"

I heard this term on the radio recently and thought it sounded like a threat to liberty in the same vein as 'neo-conservativism.' According to the Mises Institute's David Gordon I was right.

Given these uncontroversial characterizations of the two positions, is it not obvious that they cannot be combined with each other? To devise a libertarian paternalism seems no more promising an endeavor than to construct a square circle. Our eminent authors, though, are not convinced: libertarian paternalism is exactly the position they wish to defend.

Amongst "our eminent authors" is Cass Sunstein.

Clearly, I Was Wrong

Mea Maxima Culpa and all that, I suggested that:

Media Rushes To The Defense Of Nobel Prize-Winning Sex Poodle
Would enjoy a spot of Headline for the Day for "a few days." Then, I look at my Yahoo Page and see:
Naked gunman on I-80 causes chaos in Wyoming

Prediction is such a suckers' game.

Profit: A Moral Directive

In rebuttal to Josh Tickell's involuntary assumption that profit is not a moral directive I give you Miss Dagny Taggart addressing Eugene Lawson, past president of the failed Community National Bank of Madison, Wisconsin, the "banker with a heart" who then took a job in Washingon in the "Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources." Part 1, Chapter X: Wyatt's Torch

"Good day," she said.

She had turned to go, when he said, his voice jerky and high, "You haven't any right to despise me."

She stopped to look at him. "I have expressed no opinion."

"I am perfectly innocent, since I lost my money, since I lost all of my own money for a good cause. My motives were pure. I wanted nothing for myself. I've never sought anything for myself. Miss Taggart, I can proudly say that in all of my life I have never made a profit!"

Her voice was quiet, steady and solemn:

"Mr. Lawson, I think I should let you know that of all the statements a man can make, that is the one I consider most despicable."

* * *
Eugene Lawson sat at his desk as if it were the control panel of a bomber plane commanding a continent below. But he forgot it, at times, and slouched down, his muscles going slack inside his suit, as if he were pouting at the world. His mouth was the one part of him which he could not pull tight at any time; it was uncomfortably prominent in his lean face, attracting the eyes of any listener: when he spoke, the movement ran through his lower lip, twisting its moist flesh into extraneous contortions of its own.
"I am not ashamed of it," said Eugene Lawson. "Miss Taggart, I want you to know that I am not ashamed of my past career as president of the Community National Bank of Madison."
"I haven't made any reference to shame," said Dagny coldly.
"No moral guilt can be attached to me, inasmuch as I lost everything I possessed in the crash of that bank. It seems to me that I would have the right to feel proud of such a sacrifice."
"I merely wanted to ask you some questions about the Twentieth Century Motor Company which—"
"I shall be glad to answer any questions. I have nothing to hide. My conscience is clear. If you thought that the subject was embarrassing to me, you were mistaken."
"I wanted to inquire about the men who owned the factory at the time when you made a loan to—"
"They were perfectly good men. They were a perfectly sound risk—though, of course, I am speaking in human terms, not in the terms of cold cash, which you are accustomed to expect from bankers. I granted them the loan for the purchase of that factory, because they needed the money. If people needed money, that was enough for me. Need was my standard, Miss Taggart. Need not greed. My father and grandfather built up the Community National Bank just to amass a fortune for themselves. I placed their fortune in the service of a higher ideal. I did not sit on piles of money and demand collateral from poor people who needed loans. The heart was my collateral. Of course, I do not expect anyone in this materialistic country to understand me. The rewards I got were not of a kind that people of your class, Miss Taggart, would appreciate. The people who used to sit in front of my desk, at the bank, did not sit as you do, Miss Taggart. They were humble, uncertain, worn with care, afraid to speak. My rewards were the tears of gratitude in their eyes, the trembling voices, the blessings, the woman who kissed my hand when I granted her a loan she had begged for in vain everywhere else."
"Will you please tell me the names of the men who owned the motor factory?"
"That factory was essential to the region, absolutely essential. I was perfectly justified in granting that loan. It provided employment for thousands of workers who had no other means of livelihood."
"Did you know any of the people who worked in the factory?"
"Certainly. I knew them all. It was men that interested me, not machines. I was concerned with the human side of industry, not the cash-register side."
She leaned eagerly across the desk. "Did you know any of the engineers who worked there?"
"The engineers? No, no. I was much more democratic than that. It's the real workers that interested me. The common men. They all knew me by sight. I used to come into the shops and they would wave and shout, 'Hello, Gene.' That's what they called me—Gene. But I'm sure this is of no interest to you. It's past history. Now if you really came to Washington in order to talk to me about your railroad"—he straightened up briskly, the bomber-plane pose returning—"I don't know whether I can promise you any special consideration, inasmuch as I must hold the national welfare above any private privileges or interests which—"
"I didn't come to talk to you about my railroad," she said, looking at him in bewilderment. "I have no desire to talk to you about my railroad."
"No?" He sounded disappointed.
"No. I came for information about the motor factory. Could you possibly recall the names of any of the engineers who worked there?"
"I don't believe I ever inquired about their names. I wasn't concerned with the parasites of office and laboratory. I was concerned with the real workers—the men of callused hands who keep a factory going. They were my friends."
"Can you give me a few of their names? Any names, of anyone who worked there?"
"My dear Miss Taggart, it was so long ago, there were thousands of them, how can I remember?"
"Can't you recall one, any one?"
"I certainly cannot. So many people have always filled my life that I can't be expected to recall individual drops in the ocean."
"Were you familiar with the production of that factory? With the kind of work they were doing—or planning?"
"Certainly. I took a personal interest in all my investments. I went to inspect that factory very often. They were doing exceedingly well. They were accomplishing wonders. The workers' housing conditions were the best in the country. I saw lace curtains at every window and flowers on the window sills. Every home had a plot of ground for a garden. They had built a new schoolhouse for the children."
"Did you know anything about the work of the factory's research laboratory?"
"Yes, yes, they had a wonderful research laboratory, very advanced, very dynamic, with forward vision and great plans."
"Do you … remember hearing anything about … any plans to produce a new type of motor?"
"Motor? What motor, Miss Taggart? I had no time for details. My objective was social progress, universal prosperity, human brotherhood and love. Love, Miss Taggart. That is the key to everything. If men learned to love one another, it would solve all their problems." She turned away, not to see the damp movements of his mouth. A chunk of stone with Egyptian hieroglyphs lay on a pedestal in a corner of the office—the statue of a Hindu goddess with six spider arms stood in a niche—and a huge graph of bewildering mathematical detail, like the sales chart of a mail-order house, hung on the wall.
"Therefore, if you're thinking of your railroad, Miss Taggart—as, of course, you are, in view of certain possible developments—I must point out to you that although the welfare of the country is my first consideration, to which I would not hesitate to sacrifice anyone's profits, still, I have never closed my ears to a plea for mercy and—"
She looked at him and understood what it was that he wanted from her, what sort of motive kept him going.
"I don't wish to discuss my railroad," she said, fighting to keep her voice monotonously flat, while she wanted to scream in revulsion. "Anything you have to say on the subject, you will please say it to my brother, Mr. James Taggart."
"I'd think that at a time like this you wouldn't want to pass up a rare opportunity to plead your case before—"
"Have you preserved any records pertaining to the motor factory?" She sat straight, her hands clasped tight together.
"What records? I believe I told you that I lost everything I owned when the bank collapsed." His body had gone slack once more, his interest had vanished. "But I do not mind it. What I lost was mere material wealth. I am not the first man in history to suffer for an ideal. I was defeated by the selfish greed of those around me. I couldn't establish a system of brotherhood and love in just one small state, amidst a nation of profit-seekers and dollar-grubbers. It was not my fault. But I won't let them beat me. I am not to be stopped. I am fighting—on a wider scale—for the privilege of serving my fellow men. Records, Miss Taggart? The record I left, when I departed from Madison is inscribed in the hearts of the poor, who had never had a chance before."
She did not want to utter a single unnecessary word; but she could not stop herself: she kept seeing the figure of the old charwoman scrubbing the steps. "Have you seen that section of the country since?" she asked.
"It's not my fault!" he yelled. "It's the fault of the rich who still had money, but wouldn't sacrifice it to save my bank and the people of Wisconsin! You can't blame me! I lost everything!"
"Mr. Lawson," she said with effort, "do you perhaps recall the name of the man who headed the corporation that owned the factory? The corporation to which you lent the money. It was called Amalgamated Service, wasn't it? Who was its president?"
"Oh, him? Yes, I remember him. His name was Lee Hunsacker. A very worthwhile young man, who's taken a terrible beating."
"Where is he now? Do you know his address?"
"Why—I believe he's somewhere in Oregon. Grangeville, Oregon. My secretary can give you his address. But I don't see of what interest… Miss Taggart, if what you have in mind is to try to see Mr. Wesley Mouch, let me tell you that Mr. Mouch attaches a great deal of weight to my opinion in matters affecting such issues as railroads and other—"
"I have no desire to see Mr. Mouch," she said, rising.
"But then, I can't understand … What, really, was your purpose in coming here?"
"I am trying to find a certain man who used to work for the Twentieth Century Motor Company."
"Why do you wish to find him?"
"I want him to work for my railroad."
He spread his arms wide, looking incredulous and slightly indignant. "At such a moment, when crucial issues hang in the balance, you choose to waste your time on looking for some one employee? Believe me, the fate of your railroad depends on Mr. Mouch much more than on any employee you ever find."
"Good day," she said.
She had turned to go, when he said, his voice jerky and high, "You haven't any right to despise me."
She stopped to look at him. "I have expressed no opinion."
"I am perfectly innocent, since I lost my money, since I lost all of my own money for a good cause. My motives were pure. I wanted nothing for myself. I've never sought anything for myself. Miss Taggart, I can proudly say that in all of my life I have never made a profit!"
Her voice was quiet, steady and solemn:
"Mr. Lawson, I think I should let you know that of all the statements a man can make, that is the one I consider most despicable."

But johngalt thinks:

Actually, I thought of another statement men often make that is almost equally as despicable:

"There ought to be a law...:

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2010 9:04 PM


Our Taiwanese friends turn to animation to explain the allegations against VP Gore.

My word... HT: @bdomenech

But Keith Arnold thinks:

My gosh, I will never be able to get those images off my cortex - not without a paint scraper and a good heat gun, anyway.

As an aside, I would never in my life have described Gore as "animated." He was always as wooden as a hitching post. The joke always was that he made his Secret Service detail look lively by comparison. At long last - the ManBearPig episode of South Park notwithstanding - Gore is, in fact, animated.

If you need me, I'll be at the hardware store, in search of two gallons of brain bleach.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 25, 2010 4:17 PM

A Day in my Life

Really, it's just like this:

Hat-tip: qahatesyou.com/

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

I stay out of the global warming dispute, and I mean completely. I don't argue that we need to do things because the world is coming to an end or going to shift because we have endangered ourselves. I mention global warming in the movie but don't focus on it, and the reason is because I think it's a red herring. If we focus on money, and the bottom line, and we look at what kind of cost savings and profits can be gained through energy efficiency, it makes the global warming argument look like people who just don't understand where the value is. We need to focus on value, because the major change for the green revolution has to happen at a business level.

If you don't provide businesses with value, they won't ever change. They don't care what's happening to the world. Corporations aren't run with a set of moral directives. They are run with one thing in mind, and that's profit. For me, for my work, even for the Fuel film, the question was always: How do we get away from these didactic arguments that just go around in circles and leave people with less understanding, less information, less ability to make informed decisions than they had when they began? How do we give them really clear, insightful information that they can use to actually better their lives? It's great that it betters the planet as a result. And it's great that it improves the air. Of course it's going to reduce carbon emissions. Because at the end of the day, it's an efficiency equation. -- Josh Tickell, the director and star of the award-winning documentary, Fuel

But johngalt thinks:

I call BS:

"Corporations aren't run with a set of moral directives. They are run with one thing in mind, and that's profit."

To the contrary - the profit motive IS a proper moral directive.

Do you see how even men who are favorably inclined to capitalism are defeated by the ideas of altruism without even knowing it? (Not that Mr. Tickell is necessarily or even slightly one of those men.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2010 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

MISTER TICKELL! I missed that. It sounds like a product VP Gore orders on the internet late at night from one of his lonely mansions...

Each can decide the credit he or she wants to extend Tick, but I was pretty impressed that a documentary filmmaker (I think about Spurlock and Michael Moore) would push profit motive and market value as the goal for alternative energy sources. You read it as anti-Rand, I read it as pro-Milton Friedman (a Corporation’s only goal is to provide value for its shareholders).

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2010 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Half-empty... half-full.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2010 12:42 AM
But Giggle T thinks:

I agree. You have to give businesses and corporatios financial incentives to go green. It has to be practical for them to really they their ways of doing things.

Posted by: Giggle T at June 27, 2010 6:55 PM

Headline of the Day

Not gonna beat this for a few days:

Media Rushes To The Defense Of Nobel Prize-Winning Sex Poodle

Jezebel, hat-tip: Insty

Coffeehousin' with Great Guests, Deux

Another great guest video this week. Coffeehouse friend Cousin Syd sent in a couple from the historic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Be sure to scroll down to hear Tom Manning's touching "Rusty Metal Box."


Oh, yeah, and I do "Girl from Ipanema." Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com.

June 24, 2010

Quote of the Day II

Hayek would probably have shared Mr Beck’s concerns about government banks and car companies. But even if he supported some of right-wing America’s attacks on "liberals", he would certainly have objected to its choice of words. As he wrote, "I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium."
From a short and interesting Economist piece on Hayek and Glenn Beck.
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:17 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I like it - in fact, I eagerly await each day's QOTD offering - but I just read something that, while lengthier and harsher, captures both everything that's wrong with "green jobs" AND references Bastiat's Parable of the Broken Window. Submitted for your consideration:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2010 8:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, Bastiat and Mel Brooks references from the same post. Sweetness.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 8:29 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sounds like The Mob is getting its fingers into the Green Economy.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 25, 2010 10:40 AM

Recognzed for Snark in Five Counties.



Mom must be so proud.

But AlexC thinks:


Posted by: AlexC at June 24, 2010 6:46 PM

All Hail Stossel!

Animal rights activists are for some odd reason displeased with a Mesa, AZ restaurant serving lion burgers. John Stossel wonders

But why? Lions are listed as “threatened.” The best way to save threatened and endangered species is to…eat them.

The American bison are the best example. A hundred years ago, they were on the verge of extinction. They were hunted almost to extinction because no one owned them. It was the Tragedy of the Commons . No one owned the bison, so no one had an incentive to protect them.

Then ranchers began to fence in the bison and (gasp!) farm them. Today, America has half a million bison. We don’t have a shortage of chickens, either.

But T. Greer thinks:

GGS has its good points and its bad. I am uncomfortable with the level of geographic determinism it subscribes, to however, particularly when Diamond moves out of prehistory and starts discussing things like Chinese unity and European capitals. But on the broad scale - why was technology spread quickly in the Old world, but unable to spread in Africa or the Americas, for example - I think Diamond is right. (Not that he was the first one to say any of it. The best parts of that book were ripped straight from Alfred Crosby's Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 , which, despite the title meant to draw in lefty academic types, is one of the best written and well argued history books I have read. I will never understand how Diamond managed to steal Crosby's thunder.)

In any case, I have seen little evidence that Diamond was wrong concerning domestication. One does not see many veal farms around.

As for the free markets bit - This is really a debate of semantics. No market has beaten nature. Understand that the nature I speak of is not the Mother Nature of wants and fears that environmentalists like to talk about. Nature is the unliving system that surrounds it. And that system works with rules we can't break. We may fly, but we do not break gravity. We may dam rivers but we do not break the laws of thermodynamics.

Markets do use nature quite a bit, of course. And in the future we may use our knowledge of the laws of genetics to produce Lions and Deer and Musk Ox that can be readily domesticated. But that lies beyond our capabilities - and that of the market - for now.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 25, 2010 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

At some small risk of oversimplification, markets ARE nature. Nature is a synonym for reality, which markets interact with unapologetically. It is therefore misguided to debate whether markets "beat" nature. But nature does make some things economically unviable and therefore only as plentiful as the number of men willing to meet their expense.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2010 2:21 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

JG wins.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 25, 2010 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, but don't ever tell him.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2010 4:04 PM
But Terri thinks:

"But nature does make some things economically unviable and therefore only as plentiful as the number of men willing to meet their expense."

For now of course.
But the expense part is the part that is always a bit more subjective.

It's X expensive to come up with a lion farm. In cold hard cash.

What is the expense to the lion?

Yes we run the earth - that doesn't mean we should own everyone who lives on it.

Posted by: Terri at June 25, 2010 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Everyone?" That term applies only to humans.

Animals can neither grasp the concept "rights," nor live by it. It simply does not pertain to entities that survive by brutally devouring one another, rather than by production and trade. If animals have rights, then man's right to live is negated. For he is then unable to hunt or fish. He cannot clear land for planting, because he disturbs numerous bugs in the process. He cannot even rid his life of disease-causing germs because he is violating the rights of microorganisms.

This does not mean that it is moral to treat animals inhumanely but there is a bottomless chasm separating kindness and respect for life from the lowering of humanity to parity with the animal world.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2010 2:53 PM

"We must control men in order to force them to be free"

I've been recommending to people who aren't sure whether they're prepared to read such a "huge" book (still less than half as long as the healthcare bill and far more engaging) that they begin with chapter 6 and see if that inspires them to read more. Today's excerpt is from that chapter.

From Part 1, Chapter VI: The Non-Commercial

A young man asked hesitantly, "But if we haven't any good concepts, how do we know that the ones we've got are ugly? I mean, by what standard?"

"There aren't any standards."

This silenced his audience.

"The philosophers of the past were superficial," Dr. Pritchett went on. "It remained for our century to redefine the purpose of philosophy. The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life, but to prove to them that there isn't any."

And a bonus:

A businessman said uneasily, "What I asked you about, Professor, was what you thought about the Equalization of Opportunity Bill."

"Oh, that?" said Dr. Pritchett. "But I believe I made it clear that I am in favor of it, because I am in favor of a free economy. A free economy cannot exist without competition. Therefore, men must be forced to compete. Therefore, we must control men in order to force them to be free."

Click continue reading to see both quotes in context.

UPDATE: Read Francisco D'Anconia's rebuttal to Dr. Pritchett here.

"Man? What is man? He's just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur," said Dr. Pritchett to a group of guests across the room.
Dr. Pritchett picked a canapé off a crystal dish, held it speared between two straight fingers and deposited it whole into his mouth.
"Man's metaphysical pretensions," he said, "are preposterous. A miserable bit of protoplasm, full of ugly little concepts and mean little emotions—and it imagines itself important! Really, you know, that is the root of all the troubles in the world."
"But which concepts are not ugly or mean, Professor?" asked an earnest matron whose husband owned an automobile factory.
"None," said Dr. Pritchett. "None within the range of man's capacity."
A young man asked hesitantly, "But if we haven't any good concepts, how do we know that the ones we've got are ugly? I mean, by what standard?"
"There aren't any standards."
This silenced his audience.
"The philosophers of the past were superficial," Dr. Pritchett went on. "It remained for our century to redefine the purpose of philosophy. The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life, but to prove to them that there isn't any."
An attractive young woman, whose father owned a coal mine, asked indignantly, "Who can tell us that?"
"I am trying to," said Dr. Pritchett. For the last three years, he had been head of the Department of Philosophy at the Patrick Henry University.
Lillian Rearden approached, her jewels glittering under the lights. The expression on her face was held to the soft hint of a smile, set and faintly suggested, like the waves of her hair.
"It is this insistence of man upon meaning that makes him so difficult," said Dr. Pritchett. "Once he realizes that he is of no importance whatever in the vast scheme of the universe, that no possible significance can be attached to his activities, that it does not matter whether he lives or dies, he will become much more … tractable."
He shrugged and reached for another canapé. A businessman said uneasily, "What I asked you about, Professor, was what you thought about the Equalization of Opportunity Bill."
"Oh, that?" said Dr. Pritchett. "But I believe I made it clear that I am in favor of it, because I am in favor of a free economy. A free economy cannot exist without competition. Therefore, men must be forced to compete. Therefore, we must control men in order to force them to be free."
"But, look … isn't that sort of a contradiction?"
"Not in the higher philosophical sense. You must learn to see beyond the static definitions of old-fashioned thinking. Nothing is static in the universe. Everything is fluid."
"But it stands to reason that if—"
"Reason, my dear fellow, is the most naive of all superstitions. That, at least, has been generally conceded in our age."
"But I don't quite understand how we can—"
"You suffer from the popular delusion of believing that things can be understood. You do not grasp the fact that the universe is a solid contradiction."
"A contradiction of what?" asked the matron.
"Of itself."
"How … how's that?"
"My dear madam, the duty of thinkers is not to explain, but to demonstrate that nothing can be explained."
"Yes, of course … only …"
"The purpose of philosophy is not to seek knowledge, but to prove that knowledge is impossible to man."
"But when we prove it," asked the young woman, "what's going to be left?"
"Instinct," said Dr. Pritchett reverently.

But johngalt thinks:

I shared this one with a few people via email. There were several reactions. One thought it was actually making a case that "there isn't any" meaning of life. Another asked, "With what evidence do you support that the dominant position in most institutions of 'higher learning' is don't bother trying to explain or understand ... anything?" And then wrote, "There is no one universal Meaning of Life ... it is for each to decide his own meaning of life."

This may refer to one's "bliss" or other such preferences, but the book passage referred to "standards" by which concepts can be judged as "ugly" or otherwise. It is such objectivity that gives life meaning. Without it we might find ourselves making statements like:

"Personally, I pity anyone who thinks there is no meaning, and I may disagree with what some think is the meaning, but him thinking there is none does not make him wrong."

So in this view, the good Dr. Pritchett is pitiable but not "wrong." Would there also be pity for one who thinks there is a meaning of life and it is opposite of yours? If so, are you then not also pitiable? The answer is that by the moral code being practiced with these statements there is, indeed, no answer. Under the philosophy of Relativism being taught "in most institutions of 'higher learning'" it is useless "trying to explain or understand ... anything."

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2010 3:41 PM

Quote of the Day

There are several well understood advantages inherent in capitalism that make it superior to any other system for organizing economic activity. It has proven to be far more efficient in the allocation of resources and the matching of supply with demand, far more effective at wealth creation, and far more conducive to high levels of freedom and political self-governance. At the most basic level, however, capitalism has become the world's economic ideology of choice primarily because it demonstrably unlocks a higher fraction of the human potential with ubiquitous organic incentives that reward hard work, ingenuity and innovation.
Guess the author and win a prize! Why, it's Vice President Al Gore and his partner David Blood in a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal. (It goes downhill a bit from this strong lede...)

UPDATE: John Stossel takes him on point-by-point.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Unable to read the rest of the piece I'll venture a guess that this is the old "yes, capitalism is best, but ..." line of argument.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2010 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:


For these reasons and others, markets lie at the foundation of every successful economy. Yet the recent crisis in global markets (following other significant market dislocations in 1994, 1997, 1998 and in 2000-2001), has shaken the world's confidence in the way modern capitalism is now operating.
Pound head on monitor one time...
Moreover, glaring and worsening systemic failures—such as growing income inequality, high levels of unemployment, public and private indebtedness, chronic under-investment in education and public health, persistent extreme poverty in developing nations and, most importantly, the reckless inattention to the worsening climate crisis—are among the factors that have led many to ask: What type of capitalism will maximize sustainable economic growth?
Pound head on monitor, repeat as needed... Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Gee, what a perfect segue into today's Atlas QOTD! (Algore rarely disappoints.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2010 3:38 PM

Those Were the Days

Now that's respecting the Second Amendment!


Hat-tip: my biological brother via email. This was the first of a set that includes smoking Olympians, subservient wives, and African American butlers. Holler if you want me to forward the email.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Ah yes, those were the days when lawyers were as rare as honest politicians.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2010 2:53 PM

June 23, 2010

Dept. of Redundancy Department

KGW.com: The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office confirmed on Wednesday that the DA's office was briefed by Portland Police in late 2006 and January 2007 on allegations brought by an attorney representing a woman who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore.
Is the word "unwanted" really necessary? Eeeeuuuh!

Not Quite a Convenience Store

But the next best thing:

Colorado's Independence Institute Announces 8th Annual Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms Party, Featuring Nick Gillespie

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

The symbolic meaning of "Robin Hood"

Okay, maybe there won't be one every day, but I'll try...

We've been discussing the new Robin Hood movie here and here. This is what Rand had to say on the subject in Part 2, Chapter VII: 'The Moratorium on Brains'

This is the horror which Robin Hood immortalized as an ideal of righteousness. It is said that he fought against the looting rulers and returned the loot to those who had been robbed, but that is not the meaning of the legend which has survived. He is remembered, not as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity. He is the man who became the symbol of the idea that need, not achievement, is the source of rights, that we don't have to produce, only to want, that the earned does not belong to us, but the unearned does. He became a justification for every mediocrity who, unable to make his own living, had demanded the power to dispose of the property of his betters, by proclaiming his willingness to devote his life to his inferiors at the price of robbing his superiors. It is this foulest of creatures—the double-parasite who lives on the sores of the poor and the blood of the rich—whom men have come to regard as a moral ideal. And this has brought us to a world where the more a man produces, the closer he comes to the loss of all his rights, until, if his ability is great enough, he becomes a rightless creature delivered as prey to any claimant—while in order to be placed above rights, above principles, above morality, placed 'where anything is permitted to him, even plunder and murder, all a man has to do is to be in need. Do you wonder why the world is collapsing around us? That is what I am fighting. Mr. Rearden. Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive."
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 11:11 AM

If Only...

If only he had criticized the last guy's handling of the war.

Obama Administration Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Smackdown Indeed

The WSJ Ed Page is impressed by the pointedness of Judge Feldman's (loved him in Young Frankenstein!) "legal rebuke" of the Obama moratorium on deep water oil drilling.

Oil-services companies brought the case, which is supported by the state of Louisiana, arguing that the White House ban was "arbitrary and capricious" in exceeding federal authority, and Judge Feldman agreed. He noted that even after reading Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's report on safety recommendations (which included the ban), and Mr. Salazar's memo ordering the ban, "the Court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium."

Quite the opposite, said the judge, "the Report makes no effort to explicitly justify the moratorium." It does "not discuss any irreparable harm that would warrant a suspension of operations" and doesn't provide a timeline for implementing proposed safety regulations. There is "no evidence" that Mr. Salazar "balanced the concern for environmental safety" with existing policy, and "no suggestion" that he "considered any alternatives." The feds couldn't even coherently define "deep water." Ouch.

Ouch indeed! Whole read the thing.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | What do you think? [0]


Christie-Haley! You heard it here first (Did you mean Christie Healey?)

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Christie-Jindal had occurred to me. I like the way Bobby is handling the oil spill.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2010 6:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Governor J has rocked all right. What is the statute of limitations on that horrible SOTU response he gave?

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2010 6:42 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I think both of us who watched it have already forgotten. Take his teleprompter away and he's good to go.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2010 7:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I've forgiven if not forgotten. But we need to see if he can articulate the benefits of liberty. He was on my short list to GOP stardom before the speech. And I think I even tried to defend it on these pages. But time wounds al heels and I shudder at its recollection today.

The left has the option of "Hope and Change" but the forces of liberty require a Reagan. It's comical that the right keeps looking for "another Reagan" but our ideas need to be explained clearly over the media's heads. Christy can; if Bobby's learned I would be happy to have him aboard.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 10:40 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Let Haley govern first. We know she is smart. We do not know if she is a leader. It is not fit for us to have spent so much time two years ago criticizing Obama for his lack of experience and then turning around and talking of nominating a newbie.

I do think Jindall is a leader. He just needs create another opportunity to prove that he has the speaking skills needed to survive in media saturated Washington.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 25, 2010 1:47 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Agree with TG. Grabbing Haley in 2012 could be Sarah Palin Part II. Jindal has shown his leadership and ability to handle a crisis and will have six years of executive experience by 2012. Remember, he would be second on the ticket, so he'd really have to be articulate for only one debate. Other than that, he simply needs to be a credible bat off the bench, if I may use a metaphor from yesterday's baseball discussion. We're learning that he's very good at addressing the media ad-lib.

Christie would not have much more executive experience than Palin did by 2012, but he's been doing it very prominantly in the harsh media frenzy of the New York area rather than the forgotten hinterlands of Juneau.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 25, 2010 10:50 AM

All Hail Harsanyi!

As Brother jg pointed out, none of our political leaders can make a good case against President Obama's shakedown of BP for a political slush fund. (I apologize for using the word "shakedown," that was most untoward of me.)

Luckily David Harsanyi can nail it in a brief, send-it-to-your favorite lefty, column.

To minimize lawsuits against the company is the function of Kenneth Feinberg — with imperial experience as auto bailout "compensation czar" — who went on to say that "I will have to make an offer — 'You take this amount in full satisfaction of your claim, but only if you waive your right to future litigation.' "

If BP had independently begun to offer similar ultimatums to Gulf-area citizens, rest assured Ken Salazar would have unleashed one of his boot-to-the-throat smackdowns as he faced off against imaginary enemies near and far.

Awesome on stilts (Hat-tip: Instapundit)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

World Cup Update

Masterful! Bill Whittle's "Hater's Guide to the World Cup."

I will come out of the closet as one of them knuckle dragging 'mercans who is not sophisticated enough to enjoy a good game of what James Taranto calls "metric football." I even tried watching it in Britain to no avail (Gaelic rules football, however is very cool).

Somebody on the Internet (Jonathan Last maybe?) nailed it. The problem is not so much the boredom of nobody ever scoring, the problem is that there is really no chance of a comeback. If you're down 0-1 it's probably over, you might pull off a miracle and tie: woohooo! At 0-2, fuggedaboutit, nobody ever scores two whole goals. The lynchpin of sports is the comeback and the threat of the comeback. There are no comebacks in games where nobody ever scores.

A good friend of this blog asserts on Facebook that the only reason Americans don't love soccer is that we don't win the championships. I disagree. I think it lacks strategy and excitement. I don't question their athleticism or skill, that is self evident. But to compare the sport to Baseball, American Football, or even globally-appreciated cycling, the game comes up short.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [12]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Soccer is fun to watch when my kid is in the game.

With the speed and physical nature of hockey, there is no comparison between it and soccer. I'll second JK and JG's sentiments on baseball and hockey.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2010 6:45 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

You know mates, I have had a complete 180 on this. Soccer is great.

I happened to be in the home of an immigrant today, a man from Uganda who has been here less than two years. Quite naturally he brought the love of his childhood sport with him here to America. The topic of the world cup was brought up, and the man just lit up. All of the sudden he was up on his feet, exclaiming how amazing a game he had just watched, how close and exciting it all was, with intricate explanations and gestures for each brilliant play, all to conclude how happy he was to see his country do so well.

And he was talking about America.

There aren't any baseball games - any that matter - where you get to root for America.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 23, 2010 10:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I dunno, TG, I kinda like it whenever we open a big ol' can of Whoop-ass when playing the Cubans.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2010 9:47 AM
But jk thinks:

No, no, no! You may certainly change your mind and accept the wonders of the game and try to explain the subtleties that I am missing. But everybody in Boulder feeds me this claptrap of the World Cup as the UN with a ball.

My non-American-friends all assure me that their superior athletes would dominate in American football except they're way too tough to put on those sissy pads. Yeah.

On hockey, I had some staircase comment-wit last night. I wished I had mentioned that the NHL has twice changed its rules to provide for more scoring. Purists like SugarChuck, the Refugee, and I screamed bloody murder. They were ruining the game to capture fans who didn't understand! Decriminalize the two-line pass? Heresy!

In the end, I think they got it right. I'll never understand that ^&*^@# goalie trapezoid thing. But they got rid of a lot of the 1-0 games and it is better for it. (Now when you have one it is special.)

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 10:51 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK, you never should have gotten me started...

I generally like the changes that the NHL has made, making it more like college rules. The two-line pass makes for some pretty exciting break-outs.

The trapezoid thing, or the "Brodeur rule" as it is also known, is intended to keep the goalie from turning the puck back up ice quickly - a mistaken rule, IMHO. If the goalie becomes part of the attack, it's really exciting. However, I think that anytime the goalie is outside the crease AND playing the puck, he should be fair game for getting hit. (Sorry, JK).

I also don't like the way the NHL moved the blue lines back. Yes, it makes it more likely for the attacking team to keep the puck in the zone and score, but it's the sudden changes in direction and odd-man rushes that are most exciting.

I'm also not a big fan of touch-up icing, prefering the automatic icing of college. Having guys fly into the corner and 60 mph just to not play the puck seems to risk injury for no good reason, although I'll admit that the 1-in-a-hundred times the attacking teams gets there first is pretty exciting.

I'll also go against conventional wisdom about fighting in the NHL. I again prefer college rules: drop the gloves and you're out this game and the next one. Hey, just play the damn game! College hockey is plenty physical without two or three long stoppages in play per game.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2010 12:05 PM
But jk thinks:

I truly thought dropping the two line pass spelled the end of the trap and thus the end of the pro game. But the loved-hated-feared defense has adapted and held up well.

Actually forgot about the larger defensive zone -- that somewhat balances the two line in a way, does it not? My point was that I don't miss the old rules, except the goalie trapezoid -- and I like your solution to that just fine.

While we're in the weedy minutia, I'll give rare props to the NHL for the best replay system and for killing the inane guy-in-the-crease rule. That was way worse than the trapezoid.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 1:05 PM

June 22, 2010

JK Proposes a New Government Benefit.

I have a suggestion for a Federal Program. Tell me where I am wrong.

Before you roll out the full Hell’n’Maria, accept my agreement that I wish the Federal government were not on the hook for millions of home mortgages. But, kids, that train left the station, 3:20 minutes ago, heading west at 65 miles per hour.

Why not allow holders of FHA mortgages to refinance based on the original appraisal of their property? Make some reasonable limit on what can come out to cover closing costs, but allow the holder to take advantage of a lower rate, lowering the payment and the risk of default.

There's a certain moral hazard here as it gives the FHA loan a retroactive advantage not likely offered by other loans. But it is a retroactive amnesty that should not counted going forward. In return for this, we get lowered risk of default, lowered blight of foreclosures, and some increased buying power by strapped homeowners who may suddenly have a lower payment.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:35 PM | What do you think? [9]
But jk thinks:

I'm not at all convinced this is a good idea. Yet I have yet to hear the reason that it isn't.

Earth to ThreeSources: home prices have indeed depreciated. Quite a bit in some areas. You might have seen it, as it was in all the papers.

Say Joe Jones, a hardworking and honest White, Protestant-American bought a home in 2007. Joe got an FHA mortgage, based on his skin color and credit score and an appraisal of $350,000. Joe borrows 310K at 6.375.

Joe's mortgage banker calls up Joe and says "Joe, buddy, I can get you into a loan at 5.125% -- you could save $400/month!" Joe's credit score is still good, but the appraisal comes back at $260,000.

Obviously on a new loan, this represents risk a responsible lender would not make. BUT, the FHA is already backstopping Joe's first loan. It does not increase their risk to backstop the new loan. In fact, it represents less risk because Joe will have a lower chance of defaulting at the lower payment.

All the FHA has to do is notify lenders that it will insure refis of existing FHA mortgages based on the property appraisal of the first note.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2010 7:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Who's this imposter and what did you do with my friend JK?? I'm calling the cops to file a missing blogger report...

Ok, here's another scenario... I buy a new car and drive it for 500 miles. As soon as I do, it is no longer a new car. Thus, it depreciates 20%. Should I be able to refinance it for the appraised value and leave the bank holding the bag for the other 20% (already paid to the dealer)? Hell, I'd just refi every month and follow the depreciation curve down.

Just because Joe's property has dropped in value does not mean that he cannot make the payment and inherently deserves a lower payment. Presumably, Joe has not lost his job and his wages have not been slashed. If they have, and Joe is on the verge of default, then perhaps the bank may find it in their best interest to renegotiate rather than foreclose. But, it's their money and their say-so - not the government and not the taxpayer.

One mistaken notion that mortgagees have is that the house is "theirs." It's not "theirs" until they pay it off. Until then, it belongs to the bank, or best case, has shared ownership. But if the value is less than the principle owed, then the bank owns it lock, stock and barrel - the occupant is in a "rent to own" contract. What business is it of the government to take the bank's property and give to anyone else?

Under this rationale, why not have the FDIC guarantee everyone's 401(k)? If it drops in value, shouldn't I be able to retire anyway?

If I take out a student low and my job out of college doesn't pay as much as I thought it would, should I be allowed to renegotiate the loan balance and leave the gov't to pay the difference?

If you're not finding any of these arguments persuasive, then I'm done. Let's go back to arguing the war on drugs.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 7:59 PM
But jk thinks:

As the kiddies might say, ROFL br. I know deep down that I deserve a few whacks for this. Yet, like you in our War on Drugs imbroglio, I'm not certain my opponents understand my position.

Your examples are persuasive but none fits the situation I describe. I want to limit the amount to what's owed, possibly plus closing costs. Nobody's yanking cash out, nobody's getting further into debt.

Your other examples suggest government's taking on additional risk. I may be out of character here, but it is still me -- those are strawmen that I am not suggesting.

A very good argument against me is that I am denying the holders of the first loan their contracted interest income. Yet I suspect most would applaud a plan that would stir up activity and help potential defaulters.

Of course you're right that the borrower signed a contract and is 100% liable. No argument there. But this plan cannot be used to preempt or mitigate default.

I'd love to shutter the FHA and pull the government put from Fannie and Fred. Outside the IBD Ed Page that is not on the table. This is a plan that could help responsible borrowers (already guaranteed by Uncle Sugar) with little government expense and very little moral hazard.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2010 10:23 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

After thinking hard (almost hurt myself) I think I can see your point. You're basically asking the lender to accept a lower interest rate on an existing loan. I have to imagine that the lender could do so if they wanted to. Of course, a competitive lender would only lend on the actual value and not the original appraisal which would eliminate them as an option for practical purposes. But again, in a situation where a borrower is not in financial distress, I just don't see where the government should get off fiddling with an arms-lenght commercial transaction.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2010 6:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

One other point: If Joe want so refi at a lower rate dispite the lower appraisal, he can always bring enough cash to make up the difference, assuming he has the much cash at hand. If he'll save more in interest than he'll spend in cash, he should do it, also considering the income he could earn investing the cash. It's a purely economic decision, but when we bring in the government, it's usually out of some sort of aggreived emotion.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2010 9:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Or he could sell off a Rembrandt or two and write a check to pay off the loan. I’m helping the poor, br! This is jk, the champion of the underprivileged!

Perhaps I am overstating the extent to which the FHA makes the lender whole in the event of default. I am imagining it to be high but I will join you in hoping that it is low. Even though it ruins my new government benefit I have planned.

What does the FHA pay the lender if Joe defaults? I am thinking that, since they are already on the hook, they just agree to indemnify the new lender and the old lender is paid from the new loan. If the FHA guarantee is not worth that much then, no, a new lender won't be interested.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 11:38 AM

Judicial Slap-Down

Not so fast, Barack: Judge Rules Against Obama Drilling Ban

Judge Feldman noted in his decision that the Supreme Court has explained an agency rule as being arbitrary and capricious "if the agency has relied on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider, entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence before the agency, or is so implausible that it could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the product of agency expertise."

"That rationale resonates in this dispute," Judge Feldman wrote in his decision.

Translation: You did ALL of these things you jackasses!

The Republic strikes back.

But jk thinks:

Huzzah for Judge Feldman and huzzah for tripartite government!

Larry Kudlow mentioned the injunction last night but I was not at all optimistic.

Makes one proud.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2010 5:02 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Aw, you guys are missing the point on this one. The judge saved the Obama Administration from itself. Hizzoner took an ecological disaster and expanded it to an economic disaster as well. Had the judge not made this ruling, Obama & Co. would have held the bag for the whole catastrophe. Now, Obama has the political cover with his Leftist base, but won't suffer the consequences of the decision. Somewhere Barry and Michele are fist-bumping.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 7:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No. I think not. This Reagan-appointed judge made an objective reading of the law and concluded that the administrative branch can not "arbitrarily and capriciously" deem a legal business to be illegal, even temporarily.

Without rulings like this Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez would be fist-bumping.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2010 7:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Don't get me wrong, I think it was the right decision as a matter of law. But, I don't think that you can deny that the judge saved Obama from himself, politically.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 8:05 PM
But jk thinks:

President Obama has a plan: he's going to put fifteen judges on teh Fifth Ciruit in time for the appeal.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2010 11:03 AM

Six Stars

That's what I'm giving the new Ridley Scott "Robin Hood" film that JK rated (unseen) at 5 stars. It isn't just "a rousing love letter to the tea party movement" but a must see inspiration.

I also hereby nominate Ridley Scott to direct a film version of Atlas Shrugged, after reading How 'Nottingham' Became 'Robin Hood' and Robin Hood - Whose Fault Was It?

In Hollywood, the director is always considered to be the ultimate author of a movie. The director is always right, and the bigger the director, the less likely anyone will shoot down their crazy whims. So what happens, Martell asks, when the director is wrong? If Universal/Imagine had taken Robin Hood away from Scott when it started to go off the rails and had handed it to a younger, cheaper director -- one interested in actually making the script that Imagine had bought -- then it could have been delivered on schedule, wouldn't have cost a reported $200 million-plus, and might have actually been good.


This might not come as a welcome thought for fans of Loxley and the gang, but it was about half-way through the film that I realized that the 'origin' of Robin really isn't all that interesting. When it comes down to it, the tale of Robin Hood doesn't really get exciting until he's Robin Hood -- you know, robbing from the rich, giving to the poor. But in Hood, so much time is devoted to creating a supposedly 'realistic' setting around the myth that you kind of wish they would just get to the good part.

Yep, that explains why so many of these reviewers thought it was boring and too long and terrible - He never did get around to "robbing from the rich, giving to the poor." Instead, he protected the weak from the strong. (Dang, what a LOOOOOOZERRRR.)

On Corpulent Executives

ThreeSources's hero, Governor Chris Christie, won a smashing victory yesterday as the minority Republicans held his veto of "the Millionaire tax." Larry Kudlow mentioned that "the first 115 tax increases over the last eight years did not balance the budget, what made them think the 116th would?"

My man Gene Healy says it's time we looked for somebody who could fill the Oval Office a bit more. Like me he's a big fan of Taft and Cleveland.

America might do better with a fat president. After all, some of our best have been big fellows, and lately the trim and ambitious types haven't served us so well.

"Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much. Such men are dangerous," Shakespeare's Julius Caesar comments to Marc Antony. "Let me have men about me that are fat ... such as sleep o' nights."

The author of "Cult of the Presidency" reminds -- again -- what's it's all about:
Celebrity culture has infected American politics. Since the advent of television, we've reliably opted for the taller candidate — those with receding hairlines need not apply. We seem to have forgotten the purpose of the office. We're not casting a chick flick here — we're picking a constitutional chief executive.

The Framers never saw the president as a glamorous tribune of the people. They wanted someone solid enough to stand firm when Congress and the public demanded things they shouldn't have.

UPDATE: For those keeping score, I have chosen this as my Monthly Facebook Political Post. Think this will anger my thin and lefty friends?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

Now That's Just Mean!


“President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.”

From Kristinn Taylor at BigGovernment, who notices that the statement has been edited a time or two. We've always been at war with Eurasia!

UPDATE: In the same vein, speaking of mean.

June 21, 2010

eReader Price War

Inter'stin. WSJ:

Barnes & Noble Inc. cut the price of its Nook e-reader to $199 on Monday. Hours later, Amazon.com Inc. responded by slashing the price of its standard Kindle e-reader to $189. Both models had been $259.

Barnes & Noble also unveiled a new Wi-Fi-only model of the Nook, lacking a connection to cellular networks, that costs $149. All three moves show that competition over electronic-book readers is turning to a new battlefront: price.

I have not seen the Nook yet but I tell every new entrant to check it out. I have a Kindle and a SONY eReader. I like them both as the Kindle accesses Amazon's considerable book offerings and connects directly to the store through their Whispernet™ wireless.

The SONY is slick hardware and provides access to Google Books: tons of free public domain content.

The Nook displays Google Books and connects to the Barnes & Noble catalog. It is sadly the largest of the three but we're talking ounces and fractions of inches. A WiFi one for $149 sounds pretty tempting. Less cool in an airport, but for most people a good deal.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 3:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

Today's ThreeSources Storage News

David Ricardo, call your office.

A few of us are vets or current participants in the computer storage industry. Sorry to bore the rest, but Amazon has a sale today on a 1.5 TG disk drive: $75.99. A hair under a nickel a megabyte.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 AM | What do you think? [6]
But AlexC thinks:

I distinctly recall being the first in HS to get a 386DX40. WIth 20 MB ram and a 120mb hard drive.

"Wow, you'll never fill that!"

Posted by: AlexC at June 21, 2010 1:34 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Ah yes, and in the summer of 1995, $300 for a 1-gig drive was a great price.

What command do you type to turn a 386 into a 286?


Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 21, 2010 1:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"My god, it's full of data..."

My first: a 386SX-16, maxxed out with 4MB (that's not a typo, and I paid extra to get all the way up to 4MB) and a 40MB hard drive - running a copy of SuperStor that had shipped with DR-DOS 6.0, giving me a whopping 80MB to play with.

My reaction mirrored Alex', right up to the day I loaded Borland Quattro Pro and Borland Paradox from diskettes. Installing Quattro Pro went fine, but I ran out of hard drive space about halfway through the Paradox diskettes.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 21, 2010 2:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not bad, not bad. But an Exabyte still costs, $33,333 at that rate. Still some room for improvement. :)

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2010 2:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Nothing like a tech post to turn ThreeSources into the Four Yorkshiremen "When I was a lad, we did data processing with a stick." "We dreamed of having a stick..."

My turn and this is all Gospel truth: My high school had a teletype with an acoustic 300 baud modem. We called into the DEC PDP-8 at the Colorado School of Mines, stuffed the phone into the modem cradle, and logged on. I stored my programs on paper tape.

But you tell kids today...

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2010 3:11 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"You had ones and zeroes? Ha - count yourself lucky; when I started, the zero hadn't been invented yet, and we had to improvise..."

I think it was Penn Jillette who said "all I ask for is a tower case the size of a Datsun pickup truck, a hard drive big enough to stuff a small poodle into, and one of those big 19" monitors that, when you stay up late at night, you can see all the way into the Twilight Zone with." Of course, we can watch that show and his on Hulu now. Whoda thunk it?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 21, 2010 3:52 PM

June 19, 2010

Enjoy the view, Governor

I am not going to post the picture. Y'all have seen it. Governor Crist is walking down the beach in Gubernatorial slacks and shoes, and the camera catches him glancing at a young woman in a thong bikini.

I accept that he is the antichrist to Tea Partiers and I offer my most fulsome endorsement for his opponent, Marco Rubio. But the right wing blogosphere has turned into the Christian Temperance Union. I think what started as gentle ribbing (you're not looking for baby oil, gov!) is turning into serious criticism. I say let the left and the Taliban do righteous indignation when man dare to look at woman.

The boys at Powerline look real hard to see if the photo was really taken the same day. No problem with being investigative, I suppose. To be honest, I hadn't noticed that the Governor was wearing pants, much less the color.

But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. For my money the more damning images of Governor Charlie Anti-Crist are the ones of him walking on the beach with President Obama. Slightly behind, in proper deference, Barack waves to the press... Charlie waves to the press. You could almost see his nose up the president's a$$.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2010 11:53 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll second that motion. Crist as Obama's sycophant, sucking up to the man whose policies are hard at work destroying America's economy, would be the more damning image - if the issue were reason and policy.

But reason is hardly the best weapon - consider the 52% on America that voted for Obama in the first place. Too many voters decide based on feeling and emotion rather than reason. The opportunists in the media - old and new - will fan whatever flames will agitate voters on their side. If an image of a leering Crist will spur outrage where they want outrage, they will use it. It would be wise for people to remember that there are plenty of players on both sides of the aisle who, as Jimmy Carter so famously put it, have lust in their hearts. It's not the most important issue.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 20, 2010 9:50 PM

June 18, 2010

Putting the Vanity in Vanity Fair

Penn Jillette tweets "I did this interview for Vanity Fair. He attacked me on a lot of uncomfortable stuff, but . . . I really liked him "

I'm glad he did, because I find the VF author, Eric Spitznagel, to be one of the smarmiest cats I have read in a long time. But the article is worth it because a) Penn is awesome, b) it's good to be reminded that lefties have a rightful claim to overlap on Penn and libertarianism in general. Spitznagel opens the article by sharing how upset he is at Jillette's appearance on -- wait for it -- Glenn Beck.

But oh no, my liberal friends assured me, it was nothing like that. Jillette drank the Kool-Aid and joined the Dark Side. He and Beck were like old chums, giggling about Obama's attempts at health care reform and envisioning a world where guns are available to anybody with an itchy trigger finger. As if that wasn't horrific enough, he'd also gone on Larry King to defend the Tea Party from accusations of racism. It felt weirdly like a betrayal.

I don't up my Lithium when Jillette goes on Bill Maher, but he's up to the task of intellectual battle with a VF writer. He relates the story of his fight with Tommy Smothers (but it's better to watch the PennSays video). He isn't a big fan of Beck or Keith Olbermann, but makes a nice riff on it:
But I think it’s important. I may be the only person who goes on Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck and says the exact same shit. I am so much more socially liberal than Olbermann will ever be. You can’t believe how pro gay and pro freedom of speech I am. I’m way out beyond anyone on the Left. And as for fiscal conservatism and small government, I’m so much further to the right than Glenn Beck. Nobody is further left and further right than me. As I’m fond of saying, if you want to find utopia, take a sharp right on money and a sharp left on sex and it’s straight ahead.

Vanity Fair has a great track record of great writers. Christopher Hitchens called it home for many years, as did Tony Blankley. Reading this guy, I think I'll pass.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the video I mentioned And this follow up I had not seen until I went hunting for the first one.

But johngalt thinks:

Wow, that's some damn vulgar discourse there. That makes it more genuine and heartfelt and "with it" right? Lost count at 6 or 7 f-bombs.

But I did agree with most of what Penn said. Except I don't agree that Glenn Beck is a "hardcore Christian show." It's hardcore Constitutionism, but the Christianity is pretty low-key. (And that's coming from a fellow atheist, Penn.) And I wouldn't believe in the kind of change Penn closed with.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2010 10:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm with you. I'd certainly settle for heartfelt apology myself.

The second PennSays I linked to interested me. These lefties are so fragile, if we all yelled "boo!" they'd hide in their basements and we could eliminate the capital gains tax.

If I "got sick" everytime somebody I liked was on Bill Maher or Jon Stewart I'd weigh 145 pounds. Yet these folks can afford to throw their friends over the side (under the bus?) if they dare to appear on FOX. Startling.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2010 10:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The second the angry left accedes any legitimacy to FNC their entire house of "consider the source" cards falls apart. Then they'd have to start debating issues with logic and reason, unless they could invent something else to replace their old stand by, ad hominem.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2010 12:01 PM

Missing John Stossel

-- or, probably not.

I signed up for the ABC 20/20 weekly email spam when Stossel was on to see what libertarianism he could sneak in between celebrity sex scandals.

He, of course, has moved on to FOX Business. I should unsubscribe to the email, but it is a weekly reminder of what some people are watching to "stay caught up on current events." This week, why of course it's The Mind of Joran van der Sloot

  • Exclusive: Van der Sloot's Ex-Girlfriend on Dutch Playboy's Other Side

  • Joran's Mom Speaks

  • What Awaits Joran Van der Sloot in Jail?

  • Alexa Ray Joel Opens New Chapter With New Album

Nobody notices that the guy with the moustache who used to actually think is gone.

Hey, I just unsubscribed and it asked for a reason. "I miss John Stossel," sez I. Power to the people!

The NRA and DISCLOSE, Reload.

Kim Strassel comes out tough on the NRA's capitulation in the DISCLOSE act.

As for the bill itself, even some Democrats have admitted it is likely unconstitutional. But the goal here isn't lasting legislation. The goal is to have this in place for this midterm election, when Democrats are at a low point, and when an empowered union base and a silenced corporate presence could make the difference between keeping the House and losing it. If the Supreme Court strikes it down after that, so be it. Cynicism at its finest.

The NRA's worst nightmare is that the courts strike down its blatant carveout and leave other parts of the bill intact. The group would then get to live under the same restrictions it helped imposed on the rest of the country. Until then, the organization can wake up each morning knowing it handed a bazooka to the unions that exist to elect Democrats who oppose everything it believes in. Some deal.

I added a comment to our previous discussion: word is, the Speaker is pulling the bill. While that is certainly the best outcome for those who love liberty, I remain disturbed by the NRA's actions. According to Gene Healy and Ilya Somin, the organization was a hindrance to the lawyers' pushing for certiorari on DC v Heller and have likewise not been onboard for McDonald v Chicago. My first thoughts were "fair enough, they thought the timing was wrong and we all miss one now and then." (I saw a Tweet yesterday of a guy who published a buy recommendation for BP on April 20 -- oopsie.)

But now I am becoming more concerned that the NRA is more concerned about preserving the NRA than our Second Amendment rights. Harsh words from a guy who wants to disband the Libertarian Party and remodel it after the NRA. Their model is correct but their institutionalism frightens. And how much junk mail can you send? (Okay, that's piling on...)

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney sez 'NRA Isn't the Villain in the Free-Speech Fight.'

The NRA's objection derailed the bill just before it was expected to pass.
So the NRA lobbyists were now faced with a bill that neither regulated guns nor regulated the NRA. Just as the NRA doesn't take a position on cap-and-trade measures or abortion bills, it decided it wouldn't take a position on the DISCLOSE Act.
The right exploded in anger. Other nonprofits felt abandoned. Some NRA board members felt betrayed. The conservative rank-and-file felt an ally had behaved selfishly to the detriment of the movement.
But the center-right is not some monolithic force with identical interests. The Chamber of Commerce supported the stimulus and cash for clunkers. National Right to Life didn't oppose the House health care bill. ATR was silent on the partial-birth abortion bill.

Kim Strassel painted the NRA as willing participants in the carve out, but Carney credits congressional democrats' fear of doing battle with the NRA.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2010 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

More information is always better. But I was going to point out that the NRA statement linked to was still pusillanimous.

But the article you linked says it better -- may I add an excerpt?

But even faced with these valid arguments the NRA's walking away from this fight is hard to swallow. As NRA board member Cleta Mitchell puts it, the First Amendment is a principle, not merely an issue.

Also, Van Hollen's deal is so clearly unfair, and the NRA, by dropping its objection to the bill, is indirectly using unfair means to protect gun rights.

NRA lobbyists say they are just looking out for their members. In this case, that means abandoning friends.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2010 5:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I saw those qualifiers too. Let me answer them in order:

The NRA solicits contributions for protecting the Second Amendment. Not being a government agency, their funds are not limitless.

This is a stretch. Everyone who doesn't oppose a bill is therefore in favor of it?

I venture to guess there have been far more times when First Amendment advocates kept their powder dry during a Second Amendment throwdown.

I say this is a tempest in a teapot. "Hey, all you "conservative" groups... did you notice that the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress are systematically dismantling the Constitutional Republic?" Maybe we should concentrate on something else.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2010 7:35 PM
But jk thinks:

All good. JK bends to JG's logic and reason. Next topic. (Although you should ask about the junk mail next time you're in a directors' meeting.)

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2010 8:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have it on good authority that we get dirt cheap rates on that targeted bulk mail, and the money we raise through badgering more than makes up for it. (Besides, without junk mail imagine how many postal workers would be looking for work with unmarketable job skills.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2010 9:42 PM

Are You Angry Yet?

Blog Brother LatteSipper recently surfaced on Facebook. I think we chased him away from here with my partisan hackery.

But I am thinking I might use my June quota of FB politics on this one. It's Volume CXLII of "explaining those crazy tea partiers to sensible NYTimes readers." But this one is by a Philosophy professor. He's going to use metaphysics to explain why we're so angry.

I'll warn prospective clickers that it's long for a blog post, but I suggest it. You get bonus Hegel references and get to watch the Professor try to stay professorial as he is so clearly befuddled at what we is and what we be so angry about.

Hegel’s thesis is that all social life is structurally akin to the conditions of love and friendship; we are all bound to one another as firmly as lovers are, with the terrible reminder that the ways of love are harsh, unpredictable and changeable. And here is the source of the great anger: because you are the source of my being, when our love goes bad I am suddenly, absolutely dependent on someone for whom I no longer count and who I no longer know how to count; I am exposed, vulnerable, needy, unanchored and without resource. In fury, I lash out, I deny that you are my end and my satisfaction, in rage I claim that I can manage without you, that I can be a full person, free and self-moving, without you. I am everything and you are nothing.

This is the rage and anger I hear in the Tea Party movement; it is the sound of jilted lovers furious that the other — the anonymous blob called simply “government” — has suddenly let them down, suddenly made clear that they are dependent and limited beings, suddenly revealed them as vulnerable.

To be fair, that's the worst bit but I'll let you decide if that vindicates...

I do respect that he arrives at birthright liberty -- even if it's from the wrong side. And even if he does not recognize it when he finds it.

I am so startled by the attribution of anger. I guess some town halls got more contentious than usual. But I attended a couple of rallies and remember grannies and grandpas waving Gadsden flags. Cops walked their bikes through the crowds in shorts and chatted with the participants. How is this group "angry" and not the riot-gear devastation I see in collectivist marches?

And why can't they take a few of us at our word? Again, the antiwar marches have all sorts of fringe elements, yet they generously attribute the purpose to the central group. The people I saw clearly wanted limited government. Tenth Amendment stuff.

I can't walk into a room and agree with everybody (look at us!) I certainly do not expect that everybody on the West steps of the Capitol agrees with me.

Unsettling. Worthy of a response, I don't know. But if you want to understand those mysterious and angry collectivist lefties, It's worth a read.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 7:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 17, 2010

GOP Apologizes for Spine: "Won't Happen Again!"

Jeeeburs! GOP Leadership has, well, I'll let the AP tell it:

WASHINGTON – Who's sorry now? Rep. Joe Barton, that's who.

The Texas Republican, the House's top recipient of oil industry campaign contributions since 1990, apologized Thursday for apologizing to the chief of the British company that befouled the Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill.

His double mea culpa plus a retraction, executed under pressure from fuming GOP leaders, succeeded in shifting attention from the tragedy, BP's many missteps and the stoic British oil chief at the witness table, to his own party's close connection to the oil industry.

My Facebook friend is right -- he is a p***y! Like Rand Paul, the GOP is sworn that no candidates will show any principle that cannot be explained to a Freshman PoliSci class.

But T. Greer thinks:

One needs only look at what our friends on the left are saying to understand why the GOP was so quick to jump on this one.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 18, 2010 7:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Part of my point is that backpedalling just plays into their hands. "If they're not guilty as charged then why do they run away from their indefensible statements?" Tell the truth. Explain why it's the truth. In the end, a protracted public debate of the subject will do more good than harm.

Part of the significance of the TEA Party phenomenon is that everyday folks are both more engaged and less likely to bend over. Coincidentally, eco-primativists and other Marxists are proclaiming this as "the last chance" to (fill in the blank) and in several other examples, generally having existential meltdowns. For my money we're at the collectivist apogee and the time to raise our hands over our heads and yell "wheeeee!" is nigh at hand, as the roller coaster comes back down the other side at a high rate of speed.

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

A-dangnabbit-men, Brother (see, I am trying to improve the language 'round here...)

Backpedaling is blood in the water. This morning AP leads with "After a day in the spotlight, Texas' Barton takes cover" including Republican Rep. Jo Bonner demanding that he step down.

When we cannot have a rational discussion yet, it is not time to yell "wheeeee."

BTW: I must give props to Larry Kudlow. He was trinitrotoluene last night. He has less love for BP than the Sierra Club, based on business they do with Iran. But he insisted that the rule of law and The Constitution must be honored as we pursue recourse. It was awesome.

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

"When we cannot have a rational discussion yet, it is not time to yell "wheeeee."

We might be able to have a rational discussion, if those on one side of the debate weren't so busy apologizing for being on that side of the debate. Senator McConnell was on Fox News Sunday this morning, still apologizing for what Joe Barton said. Thank NED Kentucky Republicans chose Rand Paul over whatever puppet this guy was backing.

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2010 4:39 PM
But jk thinks:

My heart sank, my stomach twisted, and my spleen oscillated when I heard that.

Rising to Senator McConnell's position takes a certain amount of conventional thinking and politicking. I will not, however, stand idly by if McConnell is vilified around here ala Senator McCain.

McConnell has been a five star advocate of free speech, fighting a popular flag-burning amendment and taking McCain-Feingold all the way to the Supreme Court. Yup, he's the adjudicant in McConnell v FEC. It's one of SCOTUS's worst decisions ever but it was a profile in courage to proceed against media and bipartisan incumbency.

He's not a Ron Paul purist but he held Collins, Snowe and Voinovich in caucus to ensure that ObamaCare could not come back to a Senate vote after reconciliation.

And he's married to Sec Elaine Chao.

The dude remains a hoss. He knows when to be pragmatic and when to be conventional. He picks his battles pretty damn well. Only ThreeSourcers would appreciate a principled stand behind Rep. Joe Barton. If you stayed long enough to watch the panel, Barton did not even get the support of any of the pundits.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2010 10:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A good defense, and agreed all 'round. Just one question: What's the difference between "pragmatic" and "conventional" in politics? I don't think I could remember a time when they weren't the same thing.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2010 2:59 PM

How Cap and Tax will be Passed ... THIS YEAR

For several months now I've taken scant comfort in the belief that "after the healthcare disaster there's no way that congress or the American people will allow the energy tax bill to pass." Then I read this analysis by RCP's Jay Cost:

The only reason to pass such a major piece of legislation during a lame duck session is because the proposal is unpopular. If Democrats could sell the bill to their constituents, they would pass it before the November elections then campaign on it. Party leaders must also expect that the political will for this bill will not exist in the 112th Congress after the voters have spoken in November. In other words, the new representatives coming in are not going to vote for it - so Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama had better get the representatives who were just fired to support it before they're forced into early retirement.

But Jay says the president would be wise to use caution, lest he hurt his own chances for re-election in '12:

Passing health care reform over howls of popular protest then jamming energy reform through a lame duck Congress might solidify the impression that this President is a bully who doesn't care what the people think. That would hand the Republicans a great valence issue for 2012. Nobody likes a bully, after all.

But if the president has already acquiesced to a belief that his re-election is doomed anyway...

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Obama's energy tyranny was legislatively stalled. The oil rig exploded when Obama needed such a thing the most, and the timing couldn't have been better if Obama's goons had planned it. As Rahm Emanuel said, never allow a crisis to go to waste.

Meanwhile, the American people are stupid enough to swallow the guff about "offshore drilling," when it's federal regulations that prevent them from safe, plentiful drilling on land and in shallow waters.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 17, 2010 3:52 PM

The Road Is Uphill

Time for a good right wingnut crank rant about media bias? Good, I thought so too.

I saw this story on -- mirabile dictu -- Facebook.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A senior US lawmaker apologized Wednesday to BP chief Tony Hayward for what he described as a White House "shakedown" that led the firm to create a 20-billion-dollar Gulf of Mexico oil spill fund.

"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Republican Representative Joe Barton told Hayward as the embattled energy giant's top executive faced his first public grilling by angry US lawmakers.

"I apologize," said the Texas representative. "It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a 20-billion-dollar shakedown."

The poster says "OMG. Actually holding someone accountable and this idiot is apologizing for it? What a pussy... You can tell where he gets his campaign contributions from!!"

I followed his link to a local news site report. and was pretty unsurprised to see no context, nuance, or clarification. The AP story I excerpted just hit my Yahoo/AP feed. Surely they would do better. Yeah right.

The poster is not interested in clarification so I won't bother. But how are the forces of light going to get their message out when the forces of darkness own the airwaves?

But johngalt thinks:

This deserves its own post but time is money...

Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman says "As the Spill Expands, So Does Presidential Power."

David Pettit of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is not exactly an apologist for polluters, says the pitch from Senate Democrats to BP is: "We'd like you to escrow $20 billion, with a 'b', and we'll take over claims processing. So we'll write the checks, and it will be your money that backs them up, and you're out of the loop. If I were BP, I'd have some problems with that."

Bypass longstanding legal procedures that protect everyone in favor of granting unchecked discretion to the president? BP is not the only one that should have some problems with that.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2010 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Nice link. I always thought of Chapman as "a Reason guy" but it's the same dude.

The WSJ had a perfect editorial on it a few days ago as well as a Holman Jenkins column.

But who's gonna read that p***y stuff? The AP and the TeeVee news have spoken: some mean old Republican doesn't think BP should pay the "little people

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2010 4:03 PM

Quote of the Day

If we send Dale Peterson to the Alabama coast, the oil may turn back and flee in terror. -- @jimgeraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

Free Speech for Me, Not for Thee

Now it is my conservative buddies on Facebook (yes, I have two or three), beating up on The NRA.

In shades of blog friend TG's "instrument versus institution" I am disappointed to see this fine and important organization choose self-preservation and aggrandizement over liberty. It's statement does little to assuage.

On June 14, 2010, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged that H.R. 5175 would be amended to exempt groups like the NRA, that meet certain criteria, from its onerous restrictions on political speech. As a result, and as long as that remains the case, the NRA will not be involved in final consideration of the House bill.

The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment from the attacks we face in the local, state, federal, international and judicial arenas without the ability to speak. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced while the national news media, politicians and others are allowed to attack us freely.

The NRA will continue to fight for its right to speak out in defense of the Second Amendment. Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.

I know the NRA has some staunch defenders around these parts and I am all ears to contrasting opinions. But they folded on the DISCLOSE Act because they got a special exemption.

This will make them, not only the premier but really the only 2nd Amendment defense organization of consequence. As we've seen in their missteps in the McDonald and Heller cases, that will not do.

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

I don't know any more about this than what you've written but let me just throw out a consideration of perspective. In cases of emergency one is forced to choose and to act in ways he might not otherwise do. The confluence of the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress most certainly constitute an emergency "of the first proportion."

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2010 3:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

One might say that you can't fight every battle, but even as a big proponent of the NRA, I won't give them a pass on this one. The NRA defends the Second Amendment by using the First. They have to protect both.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 18, 2010 9:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Hopefully moot? Pelosi pulls the bill.

It still remains that they were AWOL on freedom. Well said, Brother BR!

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2010 10:48 AM

Coffeehousin' with Great Guests

Fun week at The Virtual Coffeehouse. I pull up an old do-wop tune for a solo number: "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye."

But be sure to scroll down one for the guest video this week. Coffeehouse friend Cousin Syd sent in a couple vids of his friends performing at the historic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. He sent one heartfelt and beautiful ballad, plus one which is raucous and ribald. Needless to say, we'll get to the serious one next week...


June 16, 2010


I'll have to agree with Ilya Somin. I'd love the idea of Clarence Thomas running for President. But I am not so keen on President Obama replacing my favorite Justice with Maya Angelou.

I have to hat tip and correct Professor Reynolds, however. He asks "who gives up a Supreme Court seat to run for President?" I thought I remembered, and the story checks out:

Hughes was offered the vice-presidential nomination in 1908 by William Howard Taft but declined. In October 1910, Hughes was appointed by Taft as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Hughes resigned from the Supreme Court on June 16, 1916 to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States in the U.S. presidential election, 1916; after losing the election he returned to the practice of law, and he re-entered government service as United States Secretary of State under President Harding.

Herbert Hoover, who had appointed Hughes' son as the Solicitor General in 1929, appointed Hughes as the Chief Justice of the United States in 1930, in which capacity he served until 1941.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 6:52 PM | What do you think? [0]


Obama's Katrina? Marc Thiessen says don't give him the compliment.

Like President Bush’s Jackson Square speech following Hurricane Katrina (“We will do what it takes”), Obama declared “we will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes.” But that is where the similarities end. Unlike Obama, Bush took responsibility for the failures of the federal response (“Four years after the frightening experience of September 11th, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency. When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution”). He went on to lay out concrete actions his administration was taking to deal with the storm, and made a series of specific commitments to the people of the Gulf Coast—measurable benchmarks by which his administration could be held accountable. Bush announced measures to move people from shelters into long-term housing; bring in additional doctors and nurses and medical supplies to help with medical care; get unemployment benefits to displaced persons; help people register new addresses so they can get their mail; get drinking water and waste treatment systems operating again; remove hazardous debris; reunite separated families; rebuild infrastructure; rebuild the levees; and rebuild impoverished minority communities “better and stronger than before the storm.”
In Jackson Square, Bush called on Congress to pass, among other things, legislation creating a Gulf Opportunity Zone, an Urban Homesteading Act, and $5,000 Worker Recovery Accounts. Obama called for Congress to pass… climate change legislation. This should have been an address that focused on helping the people of the Gulf Coast, not an opportunity for Obama to push his agenda in Washington. A carbon tax is not going to help Gulf Coast fishermen who have lost their livelihoods.

Must See TV

Stossel's Thursday show will be on The Drug War:

40 years ago, President Nixon declared a war on drugs, but what has it achieved? Police forces that increasingly resemble paramilitary forces, breaking down doors, holding families at gun-point, killing the family dog...over small amounts of marijuana. Drug gangs are funded by the high profits that come from black market smuggling. All to stop people from getting stoned?

On my FBN show tomorrow (Thursday @ 8pm & midnight ET), I'll debate some of that with Fox News' Sean Hannity. In my syndicated column today, I explain why I think that drug laws cause more harm than drug use.

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 4:35 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Please let us know if you hear any new arguments from either side.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2010 3:36 PM

Quote of the Day

It's the shrimp and religion combo platter. Yummy! -- Ann Althouse, not entirely impressed with the President's Big Speech.
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent value on the click-through. Nice post Ann! Speaking for myself, I get very nervous every time I hear this president use the word "sieze" in any context.

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2010 2:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen and Shrimp to that!

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2010 3:52 PM

Philosophy Corner

Sagacious counsel from my biological brother, via email. He suggests that we all "Keep this in mind the next time you're about to repeat a rumor."

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely
lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher
came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly
and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about
one of your students...?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell
me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called
the Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's correct," Socrates continued.

"Before you talk to me about my student let's take a
moment to test what you're going to say. The first
test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what
you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know
if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test,
the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me
about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me
something bad about him even though you're not certain
it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because
there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you
want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell
me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell
it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher
and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why Socrates never found out that
Plato was banging his wife.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Oh sure, let's make fun of Socrates. ;)

If you think about it though, I think this joke is a fantastic illustration of how modern Facebook hipsters can't relate to we "middle-aged white males, balding" and vice versa. We (or at least I) see the first 14 paragraphs as an insightful parable teaching the vile nature of gossip, and the punch line as a vulgar extraneousness. They consider the first 14 paragraphs to be "some shit you gotta say to tell a really funny joke [dude!*]"


It's a really good object lesson. Please thank your brother for me!

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2010 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I keep trying to drag my brother over here. He and I are fighting over immigration today. No doubt you and The Refugee and AlexC and Keith and Terri and SugarChuck would like some help.

Here's my point: the first 14 ppgs perform their full effect even with the punchline. And it will see a far wider distribution thanks to #15.

But your point is taken. I laugh a bit because my brother is older and just as white. But I am certainly "balder." I'll send your regards and tell him you called him a "modern Facebook hipster." I think he'll like that a lot.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2010 3:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, you are right. Had it been posted under humor I'd likely not have bristled.

And your brother is certainly a hipster if he's been using Facebook longer than I, and I only signed up this week!

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2010 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

JG on FB? OMG!

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2010 3:47 PM

June 15, 2010

Mister Orwell, Call your Office!

...perhaps all circuits are busy.

Instapundit linked to this this morning. I don't know the source. But on the assumption it's true (I did read it on the Internet!), I don't know why we're not hearing more about it.

Last week, with little fanfare, among the ever deteriorating oil spill crisis, the White House quietly noted the issuance of an executive order "Establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council", in which the president, citing the “authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America” is now actively engaging in "lifestyle behavior modification" for American citizens that do not exhibit "healthy behavior." At least initially, the 8 main verticals of focus will include: smoking cessation; proper nutrition; appropriate exercise; mental health; behavioral health; sedentary behavior; substance-use disorder; and domestic violence screenings.

'Scuse me? What was that again? I was afraid you had said that
President Obama’s sweeping plan to enforce “lifestyle behavior modification” is chock full of open-ended target areas, especially when it comes to issues of “mental” and “behavioral” health, “proper nutrition,” “sedentary behavior,” and “appropriate exercise.” The President’s Executive Order is a blatant and forceful attempt to adjust the way Americans young and old think, behave, eat, drink and whatever else free will used to entitle our nation’s citizens to enjoy as prescribed by the Founding Fathers.

No doubt it has been carefully crafted to ensure the Executive Branch was confined to a strict, Constitutional purview.
(g) carry out such other activities as are determined appropriate by the President.

Think I'll go get another cup of coffee while I still can!

But T. Greer thinks:

It is on the White House website. This is real.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 15, 2010 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, I don't think so. As Dr. Simon Pritchett taught us, "We can never be completely sure of anything. It has been scientifically proven, beyond any doubt." There's no more reason to believe this White House pronouncement is true than to believe that anything can ever be true.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2010 3:23 PM

Me and the Gipper!

I'm proud to stand with a conservative, America-loving, free-trader, Californian hero of mine on the issue of immigration.

My arguments are economic but I do enjoy, on occasion, throwing some juicy quotes from President Reagan at my conservative interlocutors. So I sent today's editorial by Peter Robinson to my (biological) brother and brother-in-law today. I'll sit back and wait for the thanks to come pouring in.

Robinson wrote a superb book on our 40th President, What I Learned from President Reagan. I highly recommend it. The book is about applying Reagan’s beliefs and principles to everyday life, and curiously, I read it in the hospital after my MS diagnosis and left it there (In Boulder that may or may not be a mitzvah).

Robinson worked for and carries a deep appreciation for President Reagan. As in his book, he assembles quotes, actions, and anecdotes to portray a belief. He starts with Reagan's signing -- dare I use the word? -- Amnesty!

Anyone who retains a high opinion of Reagan, whom John McCain himself has described as one of his heroes, can hardly help wondering. In 1986, Reagan signed legislation granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Instead of denouncing the undocumented, Reagan invited them to become citizens. If Reagan was right then, isn't Sen. McCain wrong now? To attempt an answer, I've listed what we know for certain about my old boss and immigration. Then I've done my best to figure out what each item tells us about where Reagan would have stood on the issue today.

What we know for certain, item one: Ronald Reagan was no kind of nativist. In a 1977 radio talk, for instance, Reagan dismissed "the illegal alien fuss," arguing that we need immigrant labor. "One thing is certain in this hungry world," he said. "No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters."

If that story is behind wicked Rupert's pay wall, let me know -- I'll be happy to email it to you.

You're welcome.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Senator McCain's name is not held in high esteem ‘round these parts. I found this the most disappointing. He stuck to his guns against incredible adversity for years. And he lost far more GOP votes on immigration than on McCain-Feingold or opposition to the 2k3 Bush tax cuts,

I used to suggest that you had to respect his dedication to principle even if you disagreed. Whoops. I guess one more Senate term is worth more.

Of course, tg, there is a real danger in a Populist movement becoming Populist. Yet after the primaries so far, the record number of candidates, and the newfound sophistication of a newly engaged electorate, I retain my pride in the Tea Party movement more than ever and ask you to rethink your position.

Not perfect, but the last chance. Rep. Paul Ryan said that if we fail this time, there may not be another chance. I'd upgrade the may not to will not.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2010 7:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JK, so that we have 111 million more voters whose representatives in D.C. will sap the already sapped wealthy states?

Remember that reunification wasn't such a great deal for West Germany.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 15, 2010 9:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry: German reunification is a perfect parallel and should be studied closely before proceeding. Are you certain, totaling the seen and the unseen that it was a bad deal for the West?

As to your first point, this idea was big for me when Barack Obama was that young guy who gave a great speech at the convention. The exponential rise of government since has cooled my ardor for expansion. I would also suggest that there are Mexican Texases as well as Mexican Californias.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2010 11:44 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Absolutely sure. West Germany was doing fine on its own. Imagine adopting and having to care for a long-lost sibling who was always down on his luck (and who was released only because his kidnapper was too broke to keep him). The Soviet Union was in its last days, broke because of the arms race and from trying to sustain (militarily and economically) its puppet states.

After reunification, the East German communists simply joined with West German social democrats, and why not? Two sides of the same coin. So what was East Germany started getting subsidies and welfare programs at the expense of West Germany. This is exactly the kind of "equality" that socialism seeks: the bottom is brought up by a bit, the top is brought massively down.

Annexing Mexico would be exactly the same: we'd be doing nothing but adopting their poverty, violence, and widespread belief in "social justice" (fueled by a resentful belief among poor Mexicans that the government should tax the evil rich). Do we want another 100 million people on our welfare programs, another few dozen senators who'd demand a "fair share" of federal highway funds that they'd barely pay into? Most Mexicans are so poor that under our tax system, they'd be getting huge tax credits. So then we'd adjust tax rules for ex-Mexico, right? As if that would happen! Their Congressmen and Senators would, no doubt in broken English, accuse their new "Anglo" countrymen of racism.

And then consider that suddenly the U.S. would be bordering Guatemala and Belize, whose millions would suddenly find it much easier to come to the U.S. and achieve their dreams of anchor babies. In the county north of me is one town in particular that's been all but taken over by Guatemalans in the last decade. 10 or so years -- they come here despite the difficulties of going through Mexico. But if we annexed Mexico, millions in Central America would find it easier to come here and achieve their dream of anchor babies.

So, no thanks. It's bad enough to have a bad neighbor down the street, but even worse to buy the house next door before realizing that it borders his garbage-filled lot.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 16, 2010 4:34 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

On a slightly different note, I don't think the United States has the cultural capacity to assimilate 100 million Mexicans on the fly.

Don't get me wrong - America is a very good with assimilation. I roll my eyes at the demagogues who declare that the current batch of Hispanic immigrants refuse to become American. But that number is but a tenth of Mexico's entire population, and a self-selected one at that.

Imagine what would happen. Millions of Mexicans would move northwards - 'specially when American labor standards put them out of a job - in search of a better jobs. Odds are that they would get many of them too. And how does your average American react to that? What does your average American do when a bunch of foreigners who can't speak English come into his town and take "his" job? The country would turn into a great tinderbox.

And in this future either the government fails to manage the huge amount of internal migration and inter-racial strife and American society falls apart, or it gains the capacity to manage both of these things and the iron hand of the state becomes all the heavier.

Neither option sounds like an America I want to live in.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 16, 2010 9:01 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

This we definitely agree on. It isn't a matter of their skin color or genetics, but that they're coming from a culture without a foundation of individual liberty. It is impossible for this land of the semi-free to adopt another nation whose history for at least the last 1000 years has revolved around entirely around central authority and warfare. To envision such a future, consider the hordes of Muslims who are effectively invading France. They riot because it's the government's fault they're poor -- they're poor because they don't have jobs, and they blame the government for not training and creating jobs. They riot and burn synagogues regularly.

But wait a minute, rioting over not having jobs (and ones they like, at that), blaming the government, and anti-Semitism? They fit right in with the native French!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 17, 2010 4:12 PM

Quote of the Day

The American flag carried that truth through a forest of muskets and bayonets, into all the shackled corners of the world, past the frozen forests of Europe and the graveyard islands of the Pacific, and to the grey dust of the Moon. It passes nightly over the communist squalor of Cuba and North Korea, the butchers of Tiananmen Square, and the high priests of the Middle Eastern death cult. Let none of them ever look upon the Moon without remembering that free men walked there first. No slave or suicide bomber will ever leave a footprint beside the one Neil Armstrong made. -- Doctor Zero

June 14, 2010

I'm From the Government and I'm here to Help!

John Stossel brings word that Senator Chuck Grassley (R - C2H5OH) is going to watch out for us on the college football realignment:

"Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) ... said his staff is exploring options through nonprofit and antitrust laws to approach the realignments.

'I'm concerned about what's happening the Texas universities and the PAC 10 and what would possibly be leaving some Big 12 teams out in the cold,' Grassley said in a Wednesday conference call. 'All I can tell you is my staff's looking into what can be done from a non-profit, anti-trust standpoint.

What a relief! I was afraid that was going to continue with little or no Federal oversight.

Sovereign Debt is sooooo hot!

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese women are seeking men who invest in government bonds, according to an advertisement being run by the Ministry of Finance.

“I want my future husband to be diligent about money,” a 27-year-old woman says in an ad being run in free magazines promoting a fixed-rate, three-year note that Japan started selling last week. “Playboys are no good.” She’s one of five women featured in the page, which says “Men who hold JGBs are popular with women!!”

The ministry commissioned the ads to appeal to citizens for money at a time when record government borrowing threatens to outstrip demand. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who took office yesterday, said he doesn’t have an instant fix to rein in the world’s largest public debt.

And don't get me started on chicks with naked puts...

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Talk about smart. These women want to hook up with men whose investments will be funded by, uh, those men's tax dollars. The more they make, the bigger their share. And the more the men invest in these bonds, the more they encourage the system to keep borrowing and spending.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 14, 2010 10:03 PM

30 Best Buffy Eps

I know at least two ThreeSourcers who have been getting in touch with their inner RuPaul fan since the Logo network has been running "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I did not grab that Logo was the gay network, but it only takes about three commercials until you realize you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto (not that there's anything wrong with that -- or Kansas...)

They allowed their fan base to pick the 30 best episodes for a weekend "fan favorite" marathon. Jarett Wieselman of the NYPost is not pleased with the list.

Looking at the third choice -- "Something Blue" -- my jaw drops, heart sinks and mind shatters. This was the episode where a lovelorn Willow accidentally puts a spell on Buffy & Spike, making them think they're in love. It's mostly a throw away episode to those of us who aren't Buffy/Spike 'shippers. Which is what many of the episodes on this list feel like.

It doesn't match my list but I am not nearly as despondent as Wieselman. Save you the click:
30. Buffy vs. Dracula
29. The Prom
28. Who Are You?
27. Graduation Day, Pt. Two
26. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
25. Primeval
24. Grave
23. Halloween
22. Surprise
21. Band Candy
20. Tabula Rasa
19. Touched
18. Innocence
17. Becoming, Pt. Two
16. Out Of My Mind
15. Doppelgangland
14. The Initiative
13. The Body
12. Gone
11. Intervention
10. The Gift
9. Beneath You
8. Crush
7. The Wish
6. Lovers Walk
5. Chosen
4. Fool For Love
3. Something Blue
2. Hush
1. Once More, With Feeling

Besides, he doesn't even like "Beer Bad." Who'd listen to him?

Television Posted by John Kranz at 4:31 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Agree with Wieselman that Passion is an irresponsible omission. I'm surprised that "Normal Again," "Conversations with Dead People" don't crack a top thirty. At the same time I see a bunch I would not have picked that are very good.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2010 5:12 PM

Quote of the Day (with video!)

"Capt Kickass has his new sidekick."-- commenter lorien1973

UPDATE: "Hunter-Killer Teams?" He asked him a question.

But T. Greer thinks:

Eh, it is about time congressmen start showing some backbone somewhere.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 14, 2010 5:48 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Would that they were as aggressive toward our enemies, or in their defense of the Constitution as written, as they are toward their constituents, or toward citizens with legitimate questions!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 14, 2010 6:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

---- that ------- -------. Where are the police, the warrant for this SOB's arrest?

Oh, he'll just plead "no contest" to a misdemeanor and receive a suspended sentence, probation, and "anger management" counseling (at the taxpayers' expense). A regular Joe would certainly get at least a month in county lockup for violently grabbing a person by the back of the neck.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 15, 2010 1:36 PM

Really Strange Bedfellows

Fairness dictates that I share a movie review with my ThreeSources brothers and sisters.

On the recommendation of my truther buddy, I put "How Weed Won the West" on my Netflix Queue. Wasn't sure what to expect, but I took a flyer. Watching their argument for the decriminalization of marijuana, I am tempted to call up Bill Bennett and sign up. "Mister Secretary, I'm joining the war, where do I start?"

It was a paranoid-left version or reality that asserted that pot was illegal to enrich the corporations who run private jails, and that pharmaceutical firms were onboard because they can't patent it and it cures everything and makes all other "medicine" obsolete.

We are enlightened to all this by one bombastic talk show host, but mostly by a bunch of stoners who are always smoking onscreen out of giant bongs and wearing T-shirts with their favorite varieties. A few gang members and a professional female wrestler break up the monotony. No John Stuart Mill, a few bows to the possible revenue streams from a taxed and legal product, but basically two hours of naive losers. I give it a half star (and that's for the wrestler).

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

WSJ Ed Page:

But Ms. [Rep. Maxine] Waters and the House are hunting bigger game—to wit, the political allocation of credit. They want to put a network of operatives at the highest level of government who are responsible for making sure that regulators put the hiring of, and lending to, minorities at the top of their priority list. The House provision makes that very clear by making each diversity officer a Presidential appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate. The post, says the bill, will be "comparable to that of other senior level staff."

The law says this diversity czar will "ensure equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic and gender diversity" of the work force and senior management of these institutions. More ominously, this creature of Congress and the White House will also be charged with "increas[ing] the participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the programs and contracts" of each agency and conducting "an assessment" of stated inclusion goals.

Yeah, that sounds like financial reform to me.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Afghan Land Rush

For millenia, Afghanistan has been trapped in a cycle of tribal subsistance without the natural resources as a basis to lift it into an industrial economy. The result has been a backward society largely based on drug smuggling that created a petri dish for radical militants that neither the British, Russians nor (so far) Americans have been able to transform.

That may be about to change. A recent discovery of major mineral deposits have been announced. US officials estimate about $1 trillion in copper, cobalt, gold and lithium. Afghan officials have estimated it at more like $3 trillion, which may be wishful thinking. Either way, this would be a huge, transformative discovery for a country whose 2008 GDP was $10.6 billion. Afghanistan may become the "Saudi Arabia" of lithium.

We certainly know from the Middle East experience that wealth does not necessarily reduce radicalism. However, without an industrial base, there is little chance of having the education, jobs and infrastructure needed to lift the populace out of abject poverty.

Here's hoping that this is the catalyst needed to break the cycle, give the population an alternative and turn Afghanistan into a success story.

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:51 AM | What do you think? [8]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Good one, JG!

JK, I assume that you mean "mineral wealth is contrary to liberty" as "mineral wealth can be contrary..." It is not inherently contrary, as we see in examples such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc. A few will become fabulously wealthy while most will see their lot significantly improved.

The problem in Saudi Arabia an other Middle East countries is that the wealth is owned by a monarchy which hoards it. That's not the case in Afghanistan, though it will likely be state owned. Afghanistan's biggest problem is the official corruption that will stymie the proper flow of capital, wages and industry. On the plus side, that may leave little room for the Taliban.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 14, 2010 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

No, I meant it in the absolute sense, but I meant it in terms of land-mass or nation.

I hold that it was great luck that what is now New England lacked mineral resources (cf. Disney's Pocahontas), leaving it of little interest to Spain. I look at the gold rich counties of Latin America and the oil rich countries of the Middle East and see centuries of despotism. I look at the empty sand lot that is Israel, the barren Isle that is England, and I thank the stars that North American mineral wealth required the discovery and development of a Carnegie or Rockefeller.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2010 3:46 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The only solution: property rights. If it's on your property, you own it. Unfortunately that's unlikely to happen. Only in recent years has Afghanistan started to buck 5000 years of tribal tradition, and catching up to the West's last two centuries is naturally slow. It doesn't help when the West is going backward.

So which will happen first, the Taliban stops fighting because they realize it's better to mine lithium and trade, or they redouble their efforts to conquer so they can control the lithium?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 14, 2010 10:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

BTW, JK, ancient Israel was indeed a land of milk and honey. The Mount of Olives wasn't just a wishful name, but because of what grew so abundantly there. But after the Jews were scattered, the Arabs for centuries didn't take care of the land, which became large areas of desert.

Arabs initially didn't care when the Jews started returning in the 19th century. The Jews settled in the worst plots of land that no Arab wanted, and the first thing they did was plant trees to control erosion. Once the land was restored, suddenly the Arabs wanted the Jews to get out.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 14, 2010 10:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Property rights would require rule of law and I do not see that coming to our Afghani brothers too soon.

I would love nothing more than to see the Taliban take up bearded mining but they have chosen religious wackoism over money. They could have sold the 3000 year old Buddha statues for "a bob or two" but they chose the sledgehammer. The Taliban will figure how to get a few million out of a trillion dollar deposit so that they can continue jihad.

Fertile agricultural land is not the curse of mineral wealth because it attracts those who would develop it. Oil, Gold, Lithium, what have you encourages a more rapacious cycle. This former NMIMT student is not running down the profession of mining -- just the added allure to bad government that mineral wealth creates.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2010 10:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

When a primitive land discovers material wealth that could lead to bountiful prosperity for each and every one of her citizens, where does it start? What is the first step? How is it possible to apply these newfound resources in beneficial ways?

PE is right: Private property rights are a prerequisite. But before that is required an even more elemental value - Reason. While Iraq has shown some promise in this regard, who can reasonably expect the Afghanis to follow a path charted by reason when even the land of Neil Armstrong has largely abandoned it?

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2010 2:48 PM

June 13, 2010

Another reason for Buck over Norton

This one is tactical. Incumbent politicians are rarely challenged in subsequent primaries. If a senator or representative from your own party disappoints you the most realistic chance to replace him (or her) is after losing to the nominee from the other party (and enduring 6 or 2 years of "worse still.") Even in this time of historic activism and interest says AP's David Espo...

Little noted in all the upheaval is that with an exception or two, the loudest tea party uprisings have come in Republican primaries without incumbents on the ballot. Angle's come-from-behind senatorial success in Nevada; Marco Rubio's rise in Florida, and Linda McMahon's surge in Connecticut are among them.

And Colorado Republicans will have a chance to add Ken Buck to that list. Espo's article is titled 'Incumbents Fine, Establishment Hurting.' The Democrat establishment is easy to recognize - labor unions. For the GOP it's a collection of lobbyists and senior legislators with cozy relationships they'd like to keep in place. So when John McCain's PAC and the NRSC back a candidate facing a primary challenge by another who calls himself "the grassroots choice" it might just be the kiss of death.

Espo also has words for those who worry about national support in a general election should the "outsider" candidate become the party nominee...

Republican establishment officials react to each defeat with a rhetorical pivot, insisting that the candidates they didn't initially favor will lead the GOP to victory in the fall.

What else would they do... cut off their nose?

CO Senate Posted by JohnGalt at 4:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 12, 2010

New Categories for Colorado 2010 Campaigns

I've been invited to a Ken Buck volunteer coordination meeting next week. One suggested volunteer activity is blogging. We do that a little bit around here already so I created new categories where new readers might find our best work regarding the local political contests.

CO Senate will cover first the primaries, then the general election to replace Senator Obamacare Bennet.

CO Governor is for primaries and general to replace Democrat Governor Bill Quitter.

By my count there are a dozen archived posts available in the Senate category and two in the Gov. Check them out, share them with friends, and contribute at will.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

USA - England

Yes, it's the World Cup. Yes, it's soccer "football." But it isn't only a sporting event, it's an international clash of two of the greatest nations on Earth. USA v England in soccer is like USA - Canada in Olympic hockey: A nation that lives and breathes the sport competing against the one that has the spirit and the resources to attempt excellence in every sport. Go USA.

Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 2:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Unfettered" Capitalism

JK recently invoked a long-standing theme put forth by Blog Brother Silence: That without government guidance a capitalist economy necessarily results in an extreme gentrification of society, or a "Dickensian" world if you will. I noted in the comments that "it is not only the wealthy who can create wealth. At every level of the economic ladder, when value is traded for value wealth is created." A more thorough explanation of this fact is offered in a Wendy Milling essay: 'No Thomas Friedman, Capitalism is Perfect.'

Some degree of economic malady exists and will continue to exist under any system, including capitalism. It is not the responsibility of capitalism to eliminate, and it is not a feature of capitalism, but of a special facet of reality: Man's free will.

Individuals must perform mental and physical work in order to attain material values, but this requires an act of free will. The existence of free will means that some people will choose to have a different value system, and some will choose not to have values at all. In a pure capitalist system, the opportunity to achieve whatever prosperity level desired is available to everyone.


It is not the proper purpose or function of a politico-economic system to override the free will of man, and any attempt to do so is immoral. It would be an attempt to violate the rights of the virtuous for the sake of those who reject virtue, because in reality, the only way to start equalizing results for people who have chosen to reject effort is to rob from those who have not. To insist that people who demonstrate no commitment to achieving material values, value the materials anyway-and then blame capitalism for their not having them-is to border on the psychotic.

Now, what Wendy has described is only valid in a special place we like to call "reality." Opponents of capitalism can't prevail in the face of these facts using reason. In fact, many deny that reason exists. Instead, as Wendy writes, "they rely on obfuscations, equivocations, and an attitude of militant evasion. One trick is to make inappropriate demands of capitalism, then stomp and pout and denounce capitalism when those demands are not met." She calls this approach "crybaby metaphysics." That is apt teminology, and the reacton to the BP oil leak by President Obama casts him as Crybaby in Chief. ("Just plug the damn hole!")

Milling concludes by answering Friedman's sneering taunt, "But what say the tea partiers today? Who will step forward now and demand that the ‘energy market' be rescued from regulatory bondage?"

Observe that the government, beholden to an insane environmentalist ideology that views nature as an intrinsic value and superior to human beings, forbade oil companies to drill nearer to the coast line where there were shallow waters. In the shallow areas, an oil leak could be directly accessed. Instead, companies were only allowed to drill in areas too deep for current technology to address.

The liability risk in deep waters was too great for the oil companies to accept. This is an example of the inherent safety features in a free market. However, because we need the oil for our economy, politicians had to entice companies to drill there by capping liability limits on accidents, legally shielding them from the consequences of failure they would bear under a capitalist system. It is government that removes the safety controls and engenders unacceptably risky situations.

There is no regulation that can override the reality of a fundamentally flawed set-up like this, which is why the statists do not offer to explain why such regulations were not already in place in one of the most heavily regulated sectors of the economy.

It is also an open question what the actual economic damage will be, what it would be were the federal government not interfering with local authorities' attempts to mitigate the spill, and what adaptations the private sector will make to counter the new adversities.

Thus, if it were not for government interference, there might still have been an accident at some point, but there would have been no "disaster." Statism was the problem, and laissez-faire would have prevented this situation.

Capitalism is not to blame for the flaws of our mixed economy, the do-gooders' "fettering" is.

Norton on the attack

The Jane Norton campaign team has read the poll results on the wall and decided they need to do something dramatic.

"We can't wait for 2010 to stop Obama. (...) We need to repeal Obamacare, yank it out by the roots, and end all bailouts."

I agree, of course, but as I mentioned while blogging the Colorado GOP Assembly, Norton has previously said that it's not possible to repeal it, at least while president O is still in office.

"Well, realistically, I don't think you can repeal it, with the makeup we're seeing right now, and even if we were able to put in place conservatives in all the seats, you wouldn't be able to repeal it because of the President's veto power. There's two ways that you can approach it. One is not funding those 16,000 new IRS employees that it's going to take to implement and then police this. And then, also, insuring that each component of that 2,700 page bill is indeed constitutional."

But to be fair, she was for repeal before she dismissed it and then started campaigning on it again.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

This could well be the catalyst for a new American Revolution. The GOP can't save us; they're admitting so right here!

It's going to take every American opposed to tyranny to refuse to obey this law. Only then will we have enough numbers to make it impossible to jail us all.

"We must all hang together..."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 14, 2010 10:37 PM

June 11, 2010

Colorado Abortion Politics

Speaking of the Colorado GOP Assembly, the results are in on the 59 Platform Resolutions put to the 3300-odd delegates. I was interested to see the talies for the Resolutions I blogged about right afterward:

#30: It is resolved by Colorado Republicans that life begins at conception and is deserving of legal protection from conception until natural death.
79% YES, 21% NO

#31: It is resoved that Colorado Republicans support overturning Roe v. Wade.
78% YES, 22% NO

#32: It is resolved by Colorado Republicans that pregnancy, abortion, and birth control are personal private matters not subject to government regulation or interference.
74% YES, 26% NO

#33: It is resolved that Colorado Republicans oppose the use of public funds for destructive embryonic stem-cell research.
82% YES, 18% NO

#34: It is resolved that Colorado Republicans oppose the use of public funds for abortions.
94% YES, 6% NO


While 4 of 5 Colorado Republican delegates support reversal of Roe v Wade, a similar majority believes that life begins at conception and is deserving of legal protection but not from the mother, whose pregnancy (or abortion or birth control) is none of the government's business.

What these delegates also denounced was public funding of abortions or stem cell research. Note the common thread - public ... funding ...

And finally, you can now tell all your Facebook friends that 3 out of 4 Colorado Republicans believe that abortion is a personal private matter not subject to government regulation or interference.

2010 Colorado Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Terri, you've pretty much hit the crux of the argument spot-on. First of all, we can all agree that murder is wrong. So, it comes down to when life begins. You believe that it begins at that moment of fertilization. Others believe that it begins with the first breath outside the womb. This is fundamentally a theological question (even for non-theists, I would argue), so who's theology should reign supreme?

In a secular society, I believe we need to take a non-theological approach. Because we define death as the absense of brainwaves, can we therefore define life as the presence of brainwaves? A fetus begins emitting brainwaves at about 12 weeks and the event is medically binary; they are present or not. Such a definition would allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, etc., and would give women a limited time "to choose." But, it would prohibit the beastly practice of partial-birth abortion.

Is this a compromise that would satisfy both sides, I wonder? Probably not - more likely to piss off both of them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 11, 2010 4:55 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

It is a better compromise than we have now, and it has some logic behind it. I would accept this compromise, though it is not my preferred stopping point.* I doubt others would be so reasonable.

*I said this in an earlier argument (with JK!), but it works well enough to explain my reasoning here:

I would place my line at implantation -- blastocysts need not apply. The reason I support this line is twofold: 1.) For every implanted embryo, you have a dozen blastocysts that fail to implant. If the destruction of zygotes is equivalent to murder, then every Mother's body is a serial killer. 2) On a slightly related item, the majority of multiples seperate before implanting, making implantation a fair line for marking the creation of individual beings.
Posted by: T. Greer at June 11, 2010 11:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Personally, I'm with the 74%. (Never thought I'd ever get to say that.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2010 11:53 PM
But Terri thinks:

Actually I am for a woman's right to choose all the way up to the latest date of viability. (I realize this can be fuzzy)
I am against using public funds for any of it.

Posted by: Terri at June 12, 2010 9:07 AM
But jk thinks:

Put me down as a yes for "The BR compromise." And put me down as a yes for numbers 31, 32, 33, and 34. And, no, I don't see any contradiction.

I do have a pragmatic (natch) concern with the timeline. Bear with me as I was never a parent nor was biology my strong suit. But the BR plan -- while philosophically consistent -- provides a very short window between knowing you're pregnant (~8 weeks?), getting a medical evaluation, making an informed decision, scheduling surgery (12 week wait under ObamaCare). Is it realistic?

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2010 11:18 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I agree with BG (yep, brainwaves), and think the sensible, real world compromise that should be sought is at the half-way point of the pregnancy. 18 weeks should be plenty long enough to find out and decide.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 13, 2010 10:35 PM

Buck Leapfrogs Norton

Shortly after the May 22 Colorado GOP Assembly JK commented that he didn't "see one position where Buck is clearly favorable." But Colorado voters in general seem to be more impressed with Ken's landslide victory at the state convention (where Norton chose not to participate.) In a recent Magellan Strategies poll via RealClearPolitics Buck now leads Norton by 10 points. Looking at where he's come from it is even more impressive.


As I suggested in my May 25 post, as more people get to know Ken they seem to like his message. Interestingly, the Buck and Norton lines cross almost exactly at the Assembly date.

But jk thinks:


I would drop it, but if you are volunteer blogging for the candidate, I suggest you get something more substantive than "his wife thinks he's really tough."

Salacious? Geraldo? I'm a self professed tea partier who's sick to death of the establishment Republicans. I’ve begged two of his supporters for two months to give me one thing. Yet I've heard no issue where he differs (I disagree with both on Immigration but maybe mean old Senator McCain will intimidate her into a guest worker program).

BR, I confer with your hunch, but in her favor she has held statewide office and the establishment GOP connections I decry will help her fund and staff a good campaign. I fear you've been away from Boulder too long if you think a GOP win is any kind of a gimme.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2010 7:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, you did imply you were bored by the subject. If it doesn't mean anything to you that the business-as-usual establishment Republicans want Norton and a bunch of average Joes crawled over broken glass to support him at a convention one fine spring Saturday I'm not sure what kind of substantive difference you want. Buck wants a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Norton half-heartedly repeats TEA Party priorities. But I'll ask at the volunteer gathering on Monday and see if I can get you your "one thing."

And if you want me to rise to the bait on Maes you'll need to flesh out what you meant by "I don't hear anything" from us about him. I thought I'd made myself clear in covering Maes' Assembly performance, but maybe I was too objective. I really like the guy and think he'll be a stronger candidate vs. Hick than McInnis would.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2010 1:34 AM
But jk thinks:

Certainly not bored, I might be coming off grouchy but the Geraldo comment stung a little...

We prize ideas around here and -- dare I use the term -- objective reason. I'll dial my grouchy knob down to four if you'll hear me out.

1. Nominating Buck is a risk. Norton has the money machine and experience to be, on paper, a more formidable candidate in the General.

2. Nothing wrong with backing a candidate who matches your principles more closely. Again I support this and am especially sympathetic at this time.

3. But when you take a risk, you have to know risk/reward. I have spelled out the risk. The reward has been pretty touchy-feely: Norton "seems" too establishment; my brother "thinks" Buck is the tea party candidate; Buck's wife "says" he will be more principled.

The highway dollars differential was good; Norton will always be tainted by support for Ref C & D (but she was part of the Owens Administration so I give her 3/4 of a pass); and a good whack at the sclerotic Colorado GOP has some value on general principle. But I am on both of their email lists and Twitter feeds and I have yet to see any empirical difference in their positions.

What are these people crawling over broken glass for?

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

Put simply: An end to Republican politics as usual. If a candidate even SMELLS establishment, that's strike one. Dad thinks the candidate with less money actually has an advantage with voters this year. Hard to argue.

I read through Buck's website a bit more this morning. I don't think I've mentioned here that Buck claims to be "the only candidate for the U.S. Senate to sign the Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge mean[ing] that I promise not to vote for tax increases as Colorado's U.S. Senator." If true (which I say only because I haven't looked it up myself yet) then that is a differentiator. How big depends on how big tax and spend are as issues for you. For me... BIG.

Ken believes strongly in HSAs as federal health policy. Jane mentions them too, along with a list of other good ideas, but concludes with a promise to "bring that same record of success to the Senate." But her record of success is incremental at best. Where's the passion? Ken talks about replacing employer sponsored health insurance with individually tax-deductable purchased policies. (Shouldn't health insurance receive the same favorable treatment as a home mortgage?)

I think the reason you haven't seen a great divide between the two Republicans is that they're both being careful not to hurt each other. Each contrasts his or herself with Bennet. Give them both credit for that. And if you're chief concern is electability, well, that's what the graph that prompted this post was all about.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2010 2:16 PM
But JohnGalt thinks:

I've looked it up. Norton has signed too.

Posted by: JohnGalt at June 14, 2010 10:53 AM
But jk thinks:

Nope, you had me -- I'm all in!

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2010 3:57 PM

Norton vs. Buck

Today's Denver Post published the responses from the state's US Senate candidates regarding what should be done about traffic congestion on I-70 in the mountains. For those outside Colorado, Jane Norton and Ken Buck are in a primary for the Republican nomination.

Jane Norton responded, "We should seek more federal money but the final decision should be left up to state and local officials." Ken Buck said, "We should not seek more federal dollars. The state should solve its own transporation problems."

Interestingly, Norton's position is in line with the Democratic candidates, Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff. All three think we need to get more federal cheese.

'Nuff said. Mark The Refugee in the Buck camp.

CO Senate Senate Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:08 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

For the record, BR and I did not collude on our back-to-back Norton/Buck posts. (I did a double take when I went to confirm my post was up - "Hey, that's not what I wrote!") Nice scoop BR, and good answer Ken!

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2010 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I prefer Buck's answer. And I thank you for the first differentiating position I have seen in months of campaigning.

I'll make no friends with this question, but it's the Prisoner's Senate Dilemma: knowing 99 other Senators are clawing for more Federal Jack, do you knowingly vote for the one Senator who will not? Reducing your tax liability by 1% and your State's revenue by 50%?

Candidate jk says "I'll fight to send less on transportation and devolve power to the States, but you can count on me to get every dime we deserve."

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2010 3:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee would vote for Jeff Flake in a NY second.

Sorry, candidate JK, you're too moderate for me. I'll have to find someone else with better bona fides...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 11, 2010 4:12 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

PS, I admire Texas Gov. Perry for turning down stimulus dollars and wish our governor had done so as well, even if it meant fewer government services.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 11, 2010 4:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, I've always felt that moderation was the weakness of my political career...

Totally agree on Flake and Perry. I offer in my humble defense Rep. Ron Paul. Doctor Purity brings home Federal Jack to his district with the best of them and is no stranger to earmarking. Our hero, Jeff Flake, is a stranger to earmarking but I am not convinced that he does not spend time ensuring that his district gets a fair shake through the regular appropriations process.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2010 11:45 AM

Everything I Believe

Well, except to always play a flat ninth when the charts call for a dominant seventh...

The rest of what I believe is that prosperity begets labor satisfaction. My great friend Silence likes to talk about "unfettered capitalism" and claim that government action took us from the American-Dickensian 19th Century to the middle-class distribution of the 20th.

A U of Maryland Professor was on Stossel's show last night, bravely taking the anti-Milton Friedman argument in front of a hostile studio audience. He had the same pitch: "Do you want to return to the nineteenth century?" (I hear the ThreeSources Cognoscenti yelling "Heck Yeah!") "Children working for a dollar a day?"

But the problem with the world of the Vanderbilts and Goulds and Rockyfellas was not the distribution. There just was not enough wealth to go around. Evenly dividing all the so called robber barons' money among the populace would not have made everyone rich.

What got kids out of sweatshops in Dickensian England and post-bellum America was a growth in prosperity, not a growth in government power. And now the Milton Magic is spreading into China:

The supply of Chinese migrant workers from the countryside, once thought to be endless, is running dry, and that is giving workers leverage to demand bigger pay packets. The brief drop-off in orders brought on by the global financial crisis provided a respite, as did a recent drought in southwest China that spurred extra migration to the coastal factory zones. But shoe manufacturers are the canary in the coal mine. An American industry association recently polled its members and found that 88% saw a labor shortage in China, and almost as many had experienced late deliveries as a result.

As these workers turn into consumers, that will lift free societies in Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Elevator Talk Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I heartily agree with your premise that as more wealth is created, more people can be prosperous. But lets also emphasize that it is not only the wealthy who can create wealth. At every level of the economic ladder, when value is traded for value wealth is created.

And what gets kids (and anyone else) out of sweatshops is ingenuity, automation, and electric power not least of the uses for such include air conditioning.

Every new gerrymander of wages and benefits simply raises costs, making everyone proportionately poorer. Want to help people prosper and rise up the ladder? Leave them alone!

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2010 11:10 AM
But jk thinks:

Glad to see brother jg joining the Ricardians! Yes, every worker can contribute to wealth creation by exercising his/her comparative advantage.

Now will you join me in facilitating the importation of more low income workers from Mexico?

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2010 12:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You know I'm on board for that brother, given workable protections against social service consumption, illegal voting and language and cultural corruption of our public schools.

Of course, they're all moot for so long as our betters in Washington continue to outlaw low-wage labor. Getting into the country isn't the only thing migrant workers do illegally.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2010 3:16 PM

June 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

Five thirty Mountain and no QOTD? Let's go with an Althouse commenter:

Barry, Barry, he's our man!
If he can't do it, it's all Bush's fault! -- Paul Zrimsek

Very Cool Graphic

Heights amd depths. And an interesting perspectoive of the Horizon Deepwater well.

Hat-tip: Terri

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:10 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Here's another perspective: the two relief wells being drilled must connect with the main well, which is about one foot in diameter, 18,000 feet below the surface. Precision drilling, that.

This information comes from an excellent special about the efforts to cap the well on Discovery channel last night (if it's on Discovery, it must be true). The show actually did a great job of showing the Herculean efforts going on by BP to cap the well. It did not make light of the ecological catastrophe in the making, but it did not show BP as the bumbling, don't-give-a-damn-I-live-3000-miles-away fools that the administration has tried to paint. These are very bright, dedicated engineers trying to solve an unbelievably difficult problem. Their mitigation projects, which would normally take many months to develop, are being compressed into weeks with unimaginable logistics. There were plenty of mistakes and poor contingency planning, but these people are working very hard to get the oil stopped.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 11, 2010 11:41 AM

jk [Heart] Glenn Beck II

SOLD OUT OF HAYEK: “I just got off the phone with Stephanie Hlywak of the U. of Chicago Press and it’s official — the U. of Chicago Press is SOLD OUT of copies of Friedrich Hayek’s classic The Road to Serfdom after selling over 13,000 copies in less than 24 hours, after the broadcast of Glenn Beck’s show on Hayek and his timeless book.” -- Glenn Reynolds
My Brother-in-law called and told me to watch (I didn't). Both John Stossel and Gregory Mankiw have also highlighted the effect on sales. Still not my cup of tea, but I can't say anything bad about a guy who puts Hayek on top of the charts.
But nanobrewer thinks:

His show on the progressives was a bit over the top, but extremely well researched and historically accurate (major kudos, in this day & age).

I cannot recommend his _Common Sense_ however, to 3S'ers: it's not bad, but the word banal comes to mind. It did not grab me at all, unlike Hayek and even Levin's _Freedom & Tyranny_.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 13, 2010 10:40 PM


On the Sunny Side of the Street. That's how we roll at The Virtual Coffeehouse


June 9, 2010

Facebook Escapades

And no, I am not involved. Two friends-of-friends who both work at my company got each other's FB credentials yesterday and started making gag posts in each other's names.

"I Love X," says X posing as Y, "not as a colleague but more in a Brokeback Mountain way!" Well, the bidding is on and things got worse from there until...

Until Y gets on X's account and "likes" the Sarah Palin PAC Page. This is a bridge too far. Nukes were used. Their friends are ROFLTAO but the belligerents realize it's got to stop.

Friends, that is the Second Congressional district of Colorado in a nutshell.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Better metaphor: welcome to the world of California's newly-minted Proposition 14, resulting in open primaries. Democrats can vote in the Republican primary to pick who their guy gets to run against, and vice-versa. It's like two guys creating mischief with each other's Facebook status messages, but with a more potent flavor of mischief.

"Operation Chaos" on steroids, I say.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 9, 2010 4:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I have wondered about that. My nephew moved from Michigan and was pretty upset when he was unable to vote in the (Democratic) primary in 2008.

To be honest, Keith, I am not sure that voters in general are that strategic. Or that wise -- do I consider a Democrat able to pick the less electable Republican six months before the election?

On the other hand I'm disturbed that the State of California can dictate a political party's rules. I think parties are distinctly evil unless you consider them private corporations.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2010 5:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've got two words for you: John McCain. Blessed by the MSM and lobbied for by them in the primary as "the most reasonable Republican," and assisted in a number of states by party-crossers to knock out more conservative candidates.

I've also heard at least one pundit wondering how that would apply at the national level, and 2008 turned out to be a runoff between Hillary! and Obama after multiple Republican candidates split the vote on their side.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 9, 2010 5:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK once blogged Michael Barone's 'Hard America, Soft America.' Facebook is the embodiment of Soft America.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2010 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Mister Zuckerberg has much to answer for, but I don't know that you can blame him.

Perhaps I make too much of an unscientific cross section, but FB and 3Src are frequently opened in adjacent browser tabs (wsj.com generally chaperones...) and it us like coming out of the Finnish Sauna into the icy sea.

Just a reminder -- if CO-2 vote totals do not suffice -- that we are the exotic critters in the cages.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2010 4:59 PM

Quote of the Day

"Labor isn't an arm of the Democratic Party"

-- Eddie Vale, spokesperson for AFL-CIO

That is the funniest thing I've heard in years. I will be sure to look for the R's on the next union voter recommendation card.

2010 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:02 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And technically, Vale is speaking the truth. It's the tail wagging the dog - the Democrat party is an arm of organized labor.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 9, 2010 1:59 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It was the Ku Klux Klan that was an arm of the Democrat party. That's why people are confused.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 9, 2010 2:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Either way, we must always remember: "You can't hug a party with nuclear arms."

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2010 5:36 PM

Tilting at Windmills and Repeal

This one is for blog friend TGreer. He produced a thoughtful post on a topic once near and dear: repeal of the 17th Amendment.

[New York Magazine's Jessica] Senior seems surprised that the Senate has become a second House of Representatives. She should not be. We have thrown out the institutional checks the framers designed to prevent the Senate from becoming slave to 'popular fluctuations.' It was only a matter of time before the norms that maintained the Senate's dignity were also discarded.

The institutional check I refer to is the original method by which our senators were chosen. While the members of the House of Representatives were chosen directly by the people, the senators were chosen by the legislatures of the states they represented. Senators were not thought of as representatives of the people, but as delegates from the states. Not unlike today's diplomats, the only link between these statesmen and the people they represented were the governments the latter had elected.

One of my present day heroes takes up the banner today and salutes the Tea Partiers who have re-raised the issue. Gene Healy, author of "The Cult of the Presidency" and a vice president at the Cato Institute, joins tg and I in preference for the original:
"Let the state legislatures appoint the Senate," Virginia's George Mason urged at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, lest a newly empowered federal government "swallow up the state legislatures." The motion carried unanimously after Mason's remarks.

So it's probably fitting that it's a George Mason University law professor, Todd Zywicki, who has done the best work on the 17th Amendment's pernicious effects.

Zywicki shows that selection by state legislatures was a key pillar of the Constitution's architecture, ensuring that the Senate would be a bulwark for decentralized government. It's "inconceivable," Zywicki writes, "that a Senator during the pre-17th Amendment era would vote for an 'unfunded federal mandate.'

Healy shares my pessimism that repeal would be effected and effective. The Progressives -- led by a call from one of tg's heroes, but I hate to rub it in -- established popular election in many states prior to ratification. I don't think we're going to unwind this string cheese.

And, while I'd support repeal, I'll stand by my comments to tg's post: the amount of government influence and control is more problematic than the mechanism. The $20 million that goes to TV ads for a Colorado race would just go to individual legislators and create 100 opportunities for 100 Blagojeviches.

But we can miss it and dream.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | What do you think? [1]
But T. Greer thinks:

Thanks for the shout out.

You might be interested in a NYT op ed that leads with the following passage:

After gaining control of much of the world’s copper supply, the 19th-century robber baron William A. Clark set out to buy a seat in the United States Senate. Openly, he went about bribing Montana legislators, $10,000 a vote, the cash paid in monogrammed envelopes.

Mark Twain called Clark “as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag,” but the senator did not show any shame. “I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale,” he said.

It was corruption such as this that led to the 17th Amendment, which allows direct election of senators by the people, not state legislators. And it was stone-hearted, Gilded Age titans like Clark who prompted this populist movement in the West.

Corruption and money was just as big a concern before the age of big government as it is now.

The difference, however, is that the type of corruption displayed by Gilded Aged senators is clearly illegal and punishable by law. The influences of lobbyists and out of state money machines is not. (Nor should it be, for liberty's sake.)

We have advanced in some ways over the last 100 years. No longer are we afraid to prosecute public officials. And in this the comparison with Blagovich is apt - he was indicted. I see no reason to think that the same would not happen with the 100 Blogovichs you fear would arise once the 17th came down.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 11, 2010 11:46 PM

The White House Alien

Dorothy Rabinowitz tends to go over the top a bit too much for my sensitive tastes. But she has the skill for language and courage to ask difficult questions to earn her spot on the WSJ Editorial Board. No doubt.

Today, she claims the President is "not one of us." Not that he wasn't born in Hawaii in 1961, but that he is the first White House occupant of the chattering classes, of the faculty lounge. And that is why he is finding it difficult to connect with the people on the oil spill. Before I comment, I have to give her paragraph of the day for this jewel:

One of his first reforms was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill—a gift from Tony Blair—by packing it back off to 10 Downing Street. A cloudlet of mystery has surrounded the subject ever since, but the central fact stands clear. The new administration had apparently found no place in our national house of many rooms for the British leader who lives on so vividly in the American mind. Churchill, face of our shared wartime struggle, dauntless rallier of his nation who continues, so remarkably, to speak to ours. For a president to whom such associations are alien, ridding the White House of Churchill would, of course, have raised no second thoughts.


Is he not one of "us?" I don't know. He is clearly "one of" my Boulder friends. When I'd ask what they so disliked about President Bush the first word was always "arrogance." The Middle East apology tour Rabinowitz decries was a refreshing change to those who walked the same hallways as Ward Churchill for four years. (Maybe the President could put up a bust of Ward Churchill, instead?)

And yet, I think Rabinowitz is right. He's not President of the University of Colorado, he's an unusual President of the United States. Wilson and Garfield could claim the "Professorial" mantel, but neither were dissevered so much from the people they represent.

But johngalt thinks:

Someone joked that while she was visiting the White House, Arizona Governor Brewer deported the president.

Boulderites and Facebookers see arrogance in Bush for defending the lives and property of Americans, but have no problem when Obama rams through bill after bill in the face of unprecedented public opposition and rage, or willfully ignores the limits imposed by the Constitution he swore to uphold. Arrogant? How about, "I'm more important than the Constitution of the United States?"

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2010 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Those who lack for self esteem rarely get inaugurated. I'd suggest an arrogance scale would start at +20 and got to +100. And, yup, I'd place President Obama in the 90s for certain.

But would you agree that when Dorothy Rabinowitz says "he's not one of us" that her us does not include Boulder? I think they see him as belonging.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think even they are less thrilled with Obozo now than before he had to actually execute in the executive branch. They deny reality then get pissed when it gets in the way of the change they hoped for.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2010 1:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Yes. jg, the rabid, progressive, connected left is disappointed. But there are folks that pay attention to politics every four years, and I think we overplay their angst.

I think my Facebook friends are still pretty much all in. A popular new group is "Lets Stop Blaming Obama for Everything Bush Did."

On the other hand, did you see Jon Stewart's Mister President, it looks like the ass is kicking you? I submit that Obama's presidency is not in BP's hands, it is in Jon Stewart's. If he keeps piling on you will be proven right.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2010 10:15 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

I will play the dissenters part on this one.

Not one of us? I would claim the opposite. I have held for quite a while that the main reason President Obama was elected was because a larger part of the nation felt that Obama was one of 'us'.

I came to this conclusion six or so months ago. I was in an international relations class, engaged in a discussion of the tools available to a President to try and influence other leaders and international audiences. Several students offered various things up along the lines of "charisma", "good relationships with foreign leaders", "the way he articulates the American dream", ect. No one said what seemed to me to be the single largest factor in determining the cooperation we get from foreigners: the policies the President chose to pursue.

In this moment it kind of dawned on me that my fellow students - most of them 'independents', though this being BYUH, a few conservatives were thrown in as well - did not see the President as instrument in the hands of the people, the head of the executive branch, or anything governmental at all - they saw him through the lens of a personal relationship. What mattered most is not what he believed or what his leadership style was. What mattered is what kind of person they thought him to be. In the end, a vote for the President is a vote for the person you would be able to tolerate sitting next to at the dinner table. It is a vote for who people think they can trust, for the man or woman the most people think is one of 'us'.

Last election that person happened to be Barrack Obama.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 12, 2010 12:03 AM

Sobriquet of the Day

Captain Kickass has nothing to say to a guy who potentially holds the fate of his presidency in his hands? Even after yesterday’s hair-raising Times piece claiming that BP’s effort to cut the leaking riser may have actually increased the flow of oil many times over? I thought this was supposed to be the new, improved, “engaged” Hopenchange. -- Allahpundit

June 8, 2010

Huh? What?

Ten minutes before the close, the DJIA is up 111 and "The Nazz" is down "A Finn."

Is this all because Steve Jobs screwed the iPhone4 demo up so badly? Did I miss something?

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

And the Lord Obama looked upon the markets, and cursed those that produced the fruit of profit, for verily they are the wicked who produce jobs and goods and services for willing.

And the Lord Obama blessed those mutual funds who short the corporations, yea even the evil giants Apple and General Electric. Verily are those funds are filled with the Holy Spirit of Social Responsibility, and the Lord Obama saw that they were good.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 10, 2010 12:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nicely done brother PE!

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2010 4:17 PM

Quote of the Day

Perhaps anticipating trouble, the online Census explanation for Question 9 informs the reader that questions about race have been "asked since 1790"—the first census. That's true. Of course, the reason the 1790 Census broke down the count into racial categories ("free white males" over 16, other free persons, slaves, etc.) is because of a compromise that allowed three-fifths of a slave to be counted toward a state's representation in Congress. -- Bill McGurn, on one of my favorite topics.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:28 PM | What do you think? [0]


Reading up on our 31st President, the theme from "All in the Family" kept running through my brain. "Misteh we could use a man like Hoibut Hooveh again..." Put me down as a "no."

But, it occurs to me that he would be the best man in charge at the time of the BP Oil leak. Obviously, his background as a mining engineer would pay some dividends. But I read a hagiography by a good friend of his written long before he was elected. It discussed his part in the Belgian relief during WWI and Eastern European relief and rebuilding after the Armistice.

The dude was a serious hoss. And this is not only his friend's appraisal. More skeptical and modern biographers of Wilson and Coolidge acknowledge his role and public standing. Everybody knew he would be President, they just didn't know which party, so both recruited him.

But providing Belgian Relief was easily as intractable as a mile-deep well leak. He had to handle politics with the Central and Allied powers, raise money, procure foodstuffs (in a world with little surplus), transport them (through hostile waters with a paucity of available shipping), distribute, audit to ascertain that no belligerents were getting the resources, and return the transportation.

It was a truly superhuman feat. Any of those problems could have easily led one to say "there's just nothing we can do." And any single failure would stop the whole process. Yet he did it, leading through sheer will. It was a heroic effort and Hoover's picture hung in many European homes. I suspect he could have done some damage on the leak.

But the leak is an anomaly. It hit me that Hooverism is the fundamental flaw at the foundation of the GOP's governing philosophy. The crooked cornerstone that Nixonism, BobDoleism, and GeorgeBushism is built on.

Herbert Hoover was a fervent believer in the superiority of free markets. Several of his speeches wax passionately on it. You'd think you were listening to Hayek or Art Laffer, Grover Norquist.

But the heart of Hooverism -- as exemplified by his presidency -- is the idea of limits beyond which intervention is required. The free market is usually great, but this situation requires the engineer to take charge."

Mea Culpa, I did it for TARP I, but if a delimiter exists, the argument is where. To trust markets, you have to trust them all the way. Or else you'll end up signing Smoot-Hawley...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [11]
But jk thinks:

You make my point. The correct answer is "never" and that is not Hoover's. Nor is it the answer from typical GOP pols. Yet your haste to contradict any kind words about #31 does not allow you to see how close he was. Here's "ADDRESS OF MR. HOOVER AT HIS INAUGURATION AS PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF MINING ENGINEERS (NEW YORK CITY, FEBRUARY 17, 1920)"

The war nationalization of railways and shipping are our two greatest problems in governmental control awaiting demobilization. There are many fundamental objections to continuation of these experiments in socialism necessitated by the war. They lie chiefly in their destruction of initiative in our people and the dangers of political domination that can grow from governmental operation. Beyond this, the engineers will hold that the successful conduct of great industries is to a transcendant degree dependent upon the personal abilities and character of their employees and staff*. No scheme of political appointment has ever yet been devised that will replace competition in its selection of ability and character. Both shipping and railways have today the advantage of many skilled persons sifted out in the hard school of competition, and even then the government operation of these enterprises is not proving satisfactory. Therefore, the ultimate inefficiency that would arise from the deadening paralysis of bureaucracy has not yet had full opportunity for development. Already we can show that no government under pressure of ever-present political or sectional interests can properly conduct the risks of extension and improvement, or can be free from local pressure to conduct unwarranted services in industrial enterprise.

That displays a very enlightened view of free markets in 1920. My concern was not how far President Hoover was from a free marketeer -- the scary thing is how close he was.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2010 2:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Ducked a question: No, it does not matter that BP is HQed in the UK. It is the threat to the property of multiple states which suggests a Federal role. You caught me embellishing.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2010 3:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Per FNC this morning: 39% of BP shares are owned by Americans.

Also, it is Great Britain's largest corporation. As such, an English newspaper ran the headline: 'Obama's Boot on the Neck of U.K. Pensioners'

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2010 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Interesting Hoover quotes, particularly the second (indented) one. I would say that today, as compared to 1920, the "deadening paralysis of bureaucracy" has had much more time and nourishment to develop since its latest resurrection sometime around the Johnson administration.

"Ability and character?" If those things mattered to the public we'd have a different president, among others.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2010 4:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, jg, the first quotes were not really meant to appear (since corrected). If'n you can't get enough Hoov, the speeches are appendices to "Herbert Hoover" by Vernon Lyman Kellogg and it is available free on Google Books.

The paragraph to me is shades of Hayek, 40 years before "Constitution of Liberty."

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2010 5:23 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The correct answer is "never" and that is not Hoover's." Which means that Hoover did not believe in "free markets." If you believe in free markets, you believe that there is never a point at which government can or should step in. Hoover believed that there are certain points, and no matter how extreme he may have set them, it still means he did not believe in free markets.

As I said at the start, whatever Hoover said in speeches, his actions proved otherwise. Pretty-sounding speeches are no offset for the government interventions that he initiated or expanded, from regulations to public works projects. I don't see how you can ignore his actions and focus so much on his words. He was not a full-blown socialist, but he simply was no believer in laissez-faire. He believed in that impossible middle ground where the individual is guaranteed "opportunity" -- but for the government to guarantee anything for Peter means that Paul pays for it. If I must give opportunity to someone else, it means I'm not free to make my own decision that I didn't want to deal with that person. I didn't want to pay money for some government official to tell me to.

A free market necessitates the absence of government interference, which consequently means the absence of any form of government. Even if you accept the impossibility of a government that does nothing more than defend life, liberty and property, that government is still interfering because someone has to pay for it against his will. Remember that any government's existence and authority are forced upon the people, no matter how benevolent it is. I'm "free" to conduct commerce with you, as long as I pay taxes for some watchdog to set terms for our deal?

We in America, have had too much experience of life to fool ourselves into pretending that all men are equal in ability, in character, in intelligence, in ambition. That was part of the claptrap of the French Revolution. We have grown to understand that all we can all hope to assure to the individual through government is liberty, justice, intellectual welfare, equality of opportunity, and stimulation to service.
Does that really sound "free market"? He completely misunderstood both the American and French Revolutions. The American one never, ever claimed that all men are "equal" in that way, only that they are in their rights. In everything else, let a man make of himself what he can, and never at the unwilling expense of anyone else.

"It is the threat to the property of multiple states which suggests a Federal role. You caught me embellishing." OK, but you need to be more careful in your wording, then. You were talking about violent acts that obliged the federal government to step in to defend the several States. This isn't an act of war, or any other sort of violence, for that matter.

Even playing by your own rules, there's nothing "necessary and proper" for the feds to step in. Through even the end of the 19th century, this would have been considered a matter between BP and Louisiana, BP and Mississippi, etc.

Hoover may have seemed "enlightened" for his time, but classic liberals (and I'm not just talking about Bastiat) had pointed out the same things for over a century.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 11, 2010 12:37 PM

June 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

Not only is liberty a system under which all government action is guided by principles, but it is an ideal that will not be preserved unless it is itself accepted as an overriding principle governing all particular acts of legislation. Where no such fundamental rule is stubbornly adhered to as an ultimate ideal about which there must be no compromise for the sake of material advantages—as an ideal which, even though it may have to be temporarily infringed during a passing emergency, must form the basis of all permanent arrangements—freedom is almost certain to be destroyed by piecemeal encroachments. For in each particular instance it will be possible to promise concrete and tangible advantages as the result of a curtailment of freedom, while the benefits sacrificed will in their nature always be unknown and uncertain. If freedom were not treated as the supreme principle, the fact that the promises which a free society has to offer can always be only chances and not certainties, only opportunities and not definite gifts to particular individuals, would inevitably prove a fatal weakness and lead to its slow erosion. -- FA Hayek
Excerpted by Irving Kristol upon its publication in 1960. Hat-tip: Nick Shultz
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:58 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

What's this? A philosophy post? Mmmm.

In addition to "legislation" should be added "religion" as in: The ideal of liberty must be accepted as an overriding principle governing them. But the "ultimate ideal about which there must be no compromise for the sake of material advantages" in religion is not liberty, but deity and faith.

Curiously however, religion offers a promise of the unknown and uncertain in return for curtailment of freedom to enjoy tangible advantages in the immediate. (Islamism being only the most stark example of this bargain.) And yet it is still chosen willingly by a great many of us.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

And he probably should have said something about using sunscreen, as in: "a good 45 SPF or better will preserve liberty from dermatological catastrophes if used regularly within ten minutes of outdoor exposure."

I think the key word in your comment is "willingly." A is indeed A but Hayek's distributed knowledge allows for the individual to make his own choice about whether the trade you describe is worthwhile. Are you perhaps "centralizing" philosophy?

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not sure what you mean by centralizing...

I'm trying to integrate the similarities between these two threats to liberty, and finding some differences. (Susceptibility to sunburn not withstanding.) Of course, one has to recognize religion as a threat to liberty before he can appreciate the comparison.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 7:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I just don't see it. I generally agree with your premise. I don't think even clergy would disagree with "religion offers a promise of the unknown and uncertain in return for curtailment of freedom to enjoy tangible advantages in the immediate." You could have taught Theology in my Catholic High School with that. "You boys in the back – not so much tangible advantages in the immediate!"

But I cannot join you in equating the voluntary constrictions of religion with the coerced constrictions of government.

If you'll indulge my flippancy one more time "learning a musical instrument offers a promise of the unknown and uncertain in return for curtailment of freedom to enjoy tangible advantages in the immediate." And yet I just purchased a mandolin. Should the Objectivists storm Mel Bay?

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2010 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Religious constrictions are voluntary? Perhaps in the west but not, as I alluded, in Muslim lands. The effort to advance Sharia law is an attempt to make religion every bit as coercive as government.

I'll extend the integration to your post on Hoover, who thought using government to infringe on liberty "just this once" as you wrote, who led us down the primrose path from a benign outward-looking federal government as founded to the kleptocratic nanny state we see advancing all around us.

Liberty must be an ideal forming the basis of all permanent arrangements. A healthy and prosperous person must have complete freedom to eat, to work, to learn, to interact and to think as he pleases. Every new little infringement on this ideal accumulates toward those ultimate ends - totalitarian government or authoritarian religion (or both) - we see threatening humankind before our very eyes.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2010 3:11 PM

When Dew is outlawed, bro...

King of the Pigouvians, Professor N. Gregory Mankiw, has a great column in the Sunday NYTimes. He does not bring "the club" foursquare behind soda taxes -- or cigarette taxes. His consistent and well grounded position is recovering externalities. Even if you don't buy into Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe, Mankiw suggests that for every mile driven:

You make the roads more congested, increasing the commuting time of your neighbors. You increase the likelihood that other drivers will end up in accidents. And the gasoline you burn adds to pollution, including the greenhouse gases thought to cause global climate change.

He later concedes that cigarettes predominantly affect the user, and that medical costs are likely offset with a shorter life span. The question is then raised about what an emailer calls "internalities:" a deleterious effect on the user's future self. At the end, he does not buy in enough to champion the soda tax.

--- All of which got me thinking about our drug legalization imbroglio. And I've another way to defend my position. I wish to champion the cause of the child who (GASP!) can handle a can of soda. The construction worker who can work off the calories of a bacon-doublecheesburger, the guy who can have a couple beers, the lady who can tolerate occasional marijuana use, &c.

Freedom lovers, do you not admit that there are such?And that as long as there are, those users should have the John Stuart Mill personal sovereignty to be "permitted?"

To me, that's the fall of the soda tax. There are people to whom it is not harmful. I suggest that we can walk that theory up the evil scale and make a strong case against prohibition of many substances.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Mankiw can talk about "reducing congestion," but he has no political power. Those with political power use "reducing congestion" and "improving people's health" as smokescreens for the real motive: getting more money.

"Taxes don't make people healthier; diet and exercise do."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 8, 2010 10:43 AM

One Two, Futility, Three, Four!

ThreeSourcers who wish to extract an I-told-you-so can search for posts in which I argued against the European ('nuff said?) method of measuring fuel economy by the reciprocal: liters per 100 kilometers. Just a different scale said I.

And a logarithm is just a number and an exponent is just like a factor and -- what did you say your major was in school? Mea Maxima Culpa, I was "wrong as pants on a trout" to quote Mister Quint.

If you really want to see the effect on fuel economy, the reciprocal form conveys more important information. Y'all may be way ahead, but I had to play with some numbers. Imagine vehicles that get 10, 20, 25, 33, 50 and 100 mpg. The jump from 33 to 50 looks pretty substantive, as when I trade my MR2 for my sanctimonious in-laws' Honda Hybrid. But trading your 20 mpg truck for a 25 mpg hybrid or minivan. why bother?

We don't have to use metric, but let's look at those in terms of gallons per 100 miles. This is a measure of how much gas you'll buy and burn. 10,20,25,33, 50, and 100 equal 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 gal/100mi.

Little different, n'est ce pas? Moving from 20 to 25 has the same fuel savings as from 33 to 100 or 50 to 100. Or even 100 to zero!

And that's the significance of this story, claiming that "over half of the 130,000 hand-raisers for the Nissan Leaf, currently own a Toyota Prius."

That's a pretty significant signal to us. It tells us that there is a segment of eco-friendly consumers who are interested in going to the next level. They own a hybrid vehicle. But if the next step is available, they want to take it.

Well <southparkvoice>Good for You!</southparkvoice> But you're saving a marginally small amount of fuel.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: On the other hand:

UPDATE II: And, for those interested, 100 / 7 = 14.28, as in Ashton Kutcher's New Ride:


If Ashton were to upgrade to a Hummer...

But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, a few too many typos there to keep up with, but the point is a good one. So I'd like to offer an attempt at clarification.

Gallons per mile -> miles per gallon

5 -> 20
4 -> 25
3 -> 33 (and a third, but who's countin'?)
2 -> 50
1 -> 100
0 -> infinity

So, for a troglodyte like my brother to trade in his 20 mpg SUV for a 25 mpg one saves as much fuel as when Ed Begley gives up his plug-in hybrid for sandals.

More importantly, moving from a 10 mpg vehicle to one that gets 100 mpg cuts fuel consumption by 90%, and any further reduction from there is, by comparison, negligible. You can be the government will still be mandating it though.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2010 8:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Fixed (one) typo. And by the way. I think you mean "Gallons per 100 miles."

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 9:54 AM
But jk thinks:

But I'm not gonna make a big deal of it...

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 9:56 AM
But jk thinks:

Oh, and was that "you can bet the government...?"

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, per 100 miles, and yes, "bet" the government. Gee, this blogging thing is complicated!

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and I hear that Ashton drives his new ride when he goes to visit Al Gore's house.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:15 PM

All Hail Taranto!



But jk thinks:

Then again, I posted this before i saw the closing pun. Call us even, James...

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2010 1:38 PM

Nuke the Gay Whales for Jesus!

Silence's favorite political slogan comes a step closer to reality:

Environmentalists, already peeved with the administration’s handling of the Gulf oil spill, are accusing President Obama of breaking his campaign pledge to end the slaughter of whales.

The Obama administration is leading an effort within the International Whaling Commission to lift a 24-year international ban on commercial whaling for Japan, Norway and Iceland, the remaining three countries in the 88-member commission that still hunt whales.

Did'ja ever think the Obama Administartion would be this much fun?

The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc

A good friend of this blog emails a link to President Reagan's incredible speech June 6, 1984.

Sugarchuck says "no comment necessary." I'm going to have to agree.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Three Sourcers homework assignment: Compare and contrast this address from Reagan with Obama's first address to Europe. Extra credit: compare and contrast each respective president's address at the Brandenburg Gate. Ask yourself how we could have fallen so far.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 7, 2010 2:33 PM

June 6, 2010

Employers On Strike

How can a sentient being really be surprised by lackluster private sector jobs growth? The WSJ says "Employers on Strike:"

Almost everything Congress has done in recent months has made private businesses less inclined to hire new workers. ObamaCare imposes new taxes and mandates on private employers. Even with record unemployment, Congress raised the minimum wage to $7.25, pricing more workers out of jobs. The teen unemployment rate rose to 26.4% in May, and for those between the ages of 25 and 34 it rose to 10.5%. These should be some of the first to be hired in an expansion because they are relatively cheap and have the potential for large productivity gains as they add skills.

The "jobs" bill that the House passed last week expands jobless insurance to 99 weeks, while raising taxes by $80 billion on small employers and U.S-based corporations. On January 1, Congress is set to let taxes rise on capital gains, dividends and small businesses. None of these are incentives to hire more Americans.

Hmmm, somebody should write a book...

But johngalt thinks:

Life, meet art. Art, life. You two mingle a while ... I'm going for another martini.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 4:04 PM

June 5, 2010

That's Right, Ringo's the Libertarian...

Aw jeez, Paul -- I know that'll play well back home, but a) President Bush was married to a librarian and b) those who bother to look beyond the Guardian saw that he was a voracious and serious reader.

I'm thinking we get a big bonfire and we invite conservatives to come and through their Beatles records in. It'll be great -- we'll film it in Black and White!

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Ironic a slam about intelligence coming from McCartney, he being the genius who married Heather Mills.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 5, 2010 7:27 PM

jk [heart] Glenn Beck

Oh that one will be turned against me very soon.

But there is one thing I like about the bellicose host, and that is his call for his viewers to learn history and technical details of the Constitution. To be honest, I have not quite squared that with the personality's personality. But there is much of show business that has always escaped me.

Amity Shlaes has a special place in my heart for her magisterial The Forgotten Man and the very nice email she sent me in thanks for a good review on ThreeSources. She has a great and important piece today in RealClearPolitics comparing University professors to medieval guilds and the opprobrium they direct at Beck to the threat to their legitimacy.

The second explanation for Beck rage however involves the guild. For unlike other hosts, who tend to pick up and drop topics, Mr. Beck has begun to develop a new canon for adults. And unlike other hosts, but indeed like a professor, Mr. Beck tends to demand a lot of his viewers. For example, he recently devoted the better part of an hour to a biography of Samuel Adams by a historian without a Ph.D., Ira Stoll, whose book highlights the revolutionary firebrand's piety. Mr. Beck breaks other tv rules. He insists viewers read books by dead men - W. Cleon Skousen's work on the Constitution, the ``5000 Year Leap." It is all a long way from "Oprah," "The Newshour" or even much of public television. Mr. Beck's broadcast was barely over when Mr. Stoll's book shot up to the highest heights of the Amazon list, where it has resided ever since. Beck-recommended books sometimes sell as well as, heaven forfend, textbooks. I had the good fortune to experience some of this after Mr. Beck talked about my Great Depression history.

You'll want to read this coast-to-coast. She airs her own problems with Beck's style, but I think she is dead on with her comparison.

But johngalt thinks:


And as a special bonus I read one of the most hopeful and optimistic opinions I've seen since 9?11: "They [viewers] want a coherent vision, a competing canon that the regulated airwaves and academy have denied them."

Coherent. Consistent. Knowable.

A is A. Everything is something.

She's right, but the question which remains is ... do enough voters want it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As you know, I'm re-reading Atlas Shrugged (on tape.) In this morning's reading (chapter 7 I believe) Dagny went to see Dr. Robert Stadler, once a gifted scientist and professor at the Patrick Henry University but now, titular head of the State Science Institute. She wanted to know why Stadler had allowed the Institute to promote fictitious fears about Reardon Metal.

He said, in essence, after 13 years of work at the cost of $20 million in government funding with nothing of consequence to show for it the department of metalurgical science could not allow some private individual to "revolutionize the science of metalurgy. What will the public think?" He then said, "What then shall we sacrifice? An excellent piece of smelting or the last center of science left on earth, and the whole future of human knowledge? That is the alternative!"

The prospect of Mr. Beck's success is an existential threat to "the guild" of established academia, which in great measure rests upon a single logical fallacy: Argumentum ad verecundiam."

Whole future of human knowledge? Let's make it the whole future of human prosperity, for that is what is at stake.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:59 PM

June 4, 2010


When commenting today on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier regarding Obama no longer being viewed as a messiah, Charles Krauthammer had this to say:

"Not only can he no longer walk on water, when it comes to the Gulf, even the ducks can't walk on the water."

Obama Administration Posted by Boulder Refugee at 7:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bad Headline of the Day

It's all for a good cause but:

Bass guitar to be auctioned for Nashville flood relief

It's a six string Les Paul, with graphics provided by "NASCAR artist Sam Bass." Not a bass guitar so much as a Bass guitar.

I'm still regaining my balance. But it is a cool guitar and a good cause. And at least his first name wasn't "Fender.":

Posted by John Kranz at 6:20 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Please don't tell me that it's graced with a picture of a large mouth fish... That would make it "A Bass' bass bass." (copyright pending)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 4, 2010 7:32 PM
But jk thinks:

...and its pH reading is 8.7...

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2010 11:35 AM

Our Margaret

Read Peggy Noonan today and remember how sweet it was to read her column each week. She relates -- in the way only she can -- the story of a no-hotter she witnessed in 1983. The she finds the silver in the Galarraga--Joyce contretemps:

What was sweet and surprising was that all the principals in the story comported themselves as fully formed adults, with patience, grace and dignity. And in doing so, Galarraga and Joyce showed kids How to Do It.



In any sort of threat-focused reality, SEIU bosses would be tracked by Predator drones and union membership lists simply rolled over into terrorist watch lists. -- Confederate Yankee
Hat-tip: Instapundit. If you click, it is not so funny.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Like countless other government reports, [Michelle Obama’s White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report] prominently portrays obesity as a crisis; only inside the report do you find the admission that childhood obesity rates have shown “no significant increase in recent years.” (Page 4)

So how should the conscientious citizen respond to this on National Donut Day? I say, by eating two donuts—one for himself, and one as an act of civil disobedience. -- Sam Kazman

Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM | What do you think? [0]

Christie 2012!

Woodrow Wilson was elected NJ Gov in 1910 and President in 1912.

Hat-tip: JammieWearingFool (via Insty)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee is learning to love this guy!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 4, 2010 12:04 PM
But jk thinks:

And Gov. Mitch Daniels for VP! (Why? what did he ever do to you?)

Daniels destroys the treatment of the secured debt holders in the auto takeovers of last year.

Of all the things about which I have disagreed with the Obama Administration, this is the biggest, clearest, most unconstitutional act. It's a story I bore people with often, and I suggest others join me on the June 10 anniversary.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2010 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Rock ON Gov! Not only is he willing to stand against the looting union bosses he has the ability to defend that opposition on moral grounds that can be understood by the masses. He goes over the head of the media to communicate with voters. Sound like anyone you used to know?

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2010 3:40 PM

June 3, 2010

Quote of the Day

On the announced separation of VP Gore and Tipper:

Just for the record, I had the Clintons plus the points. -- Jonathan V. Last

Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Review Corner

I'm giving Robin Hood five stars just on David Boaz's review:

Robin tells the king the people want a charter to guarantee that every man be “safe from eviction without cause or prison without charge” and free “to work, eat, and live merry as he may on the sweat of his own brow.” The evil King John’s man Godfrey promises to “have merchants and landowners fill your coffers or their coffins….Loyalty means paying your share in the defense of the realm.” And Robin Hood tells the king, in the spirit of Braveheart’s William Wallace, “What we ask for is liberty, by law.”

Dangerous sentiments indeed. You can see what horrifies the liberal reviewers. If this sort of talk catches on, we might become a country based on antistatism, laissez-faire, individualism, populism, and egalitarianism and governed by a Constitution.

It seems all the lefty film critics are in full panty-wad mode over this "rousing love letter to the Tea Party movement."

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And I thought no one on this site would ever say anything good about Robin Hood.

Oh, you meant the movie?

The movie plays fast and loose with history, but at least this Robin Hood speaks with an English accent...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 4, 2010 2:15 PM
But jk thinks:

It's Friday, I'll take the bait: is Robin Hood intrinsically anti-capitalist? I'd suggest that "the rich" targeted by the merry men were government and church aristocrats, while "the rich" targeted by President Obama include many more legitimate wealth creators.

Reachin'? 'Cause I really like Russell Crowe.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2010 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are right of course, JK: Robin Hood "stole from the rich" monarch and "gave to the poor" whom said monarch had first stolen from via taxation. But what is remembered in popular culture is the part in quotes.

Robin Hood was beloved by the people, while Ragnar Danneskjold was reviled. Why? Because Ragnar gave not to "the poor" but to "the taxed." (And stole from the state, not from the "rich.") Ragnar also kept a very careful accounting of how much he returned to each, ensuring that it never exceeded what had been stolen from him by state taxation.

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2010 3:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I know there are many different versions of the Robin Hood mythos, but as I seem to recall from my tender years, the monies liberated by Mr. Hood were taxes imposed by Prince John (the same one who would one day be forced to sign the Magna Carta), which John pretended were to ransom Richard the Lion-Heart from his captors. John hoarded the money himself, and Robin set himself to thwarting that. Richard, of course, showed up at the end of the story in disguise, after having escaped his captors without ever having been ransomed.

It's just a little jarring to see 21st-century political sentiment projected onto 11th-century England. Pre-Rutherford, "liberty, by law" and Constitutional governance would be something of an anachronism.

I once got teased - politely - for invoking Robin Hood on this site, if only to offer to serve as Friar Tuck's stand-in (my Shepherd Book reference was better received, I think...) - hence my first comment. Nonetheless, I could not in good conscience resist Cary Elwes' smackdown of Kevin Costner, and I'm stunned not to have been ribbed for it. Happy Friday, friends...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 4, 2010 4:40 PM
But jk thinks:

I remembered who said it, but I forgot at whom it was directed. And yes, I remember your getting attacked for invoking the name. Happy days...

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2010 6:10 PM

"Fossil" Fuels: A Renewable Resource?

From a news article in Laser Focus World magazine:

Scientific evidence supports the origination of petroleum reserves from the decay of carbon matter such as ancient dinosaur and vegetation remains. However, researchers (...) have used laser heating in a diamond anvil cell (DAC) to demonstrate that high-temperature compression of natural elements in the upper mantle of the earth do indeed create hydrocarbons that could be transported through deep faults to shallower regions of the crust and contribute to petroleum reserves in an abiotic (having nothing to do with biology) process.

In other words, not coming from decayed dinosaurs or vegetation, hence the scare quotes in the title. (A more apt term would be geological, or geo-fuels.)

Naturally occuring subterranian gases, under extreme heat and pressure, appear to "partially reacts to form saturated hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, and butane), molecular hydrogen, and graphite. These hydrocarbons are a primary component of petroleum and were detected in the experiments using Raman spectroscopy."

I asked my PhD physicist friend, who sent me this article and told me that crude oil may well be a renewable resource, Would this mean that Peak Oil is a myth?


Update - June 09: A caller to Mike Rosen's show this morning asked Robert Bryce, author of 'Power Hungry - The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future' about the abiotic oil theory. He claimed that most of the oil company experts discount it, at least with regard to crude oil. Natural gas is apparently a better fit for the theory.

But jk thinks:

A Dogma de Fide tenet of ThreeSources truth:

April 19, 2008

July 27, 2009

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And here JK proves that johngalt's memory isn't worth 4 bits, but allow me to summarize. The 2008 post discussed a theory. The 2009 post hailed experimental evidence (the same evidence I linked). Today's post linking a May, 2010 magazine article about it shows that Laser Focus World is slower than Eureka Alert.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2010 7:20 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't expect anyone to remember much of the general nonsense I post, but this is a long time belief of mine (my conversion dinner would have been 1978 or 79).

It is just oddball enough that I am pretty sensitive. Watching a news clip on dispersion of the oil spill, the announcer said "Oil is biodegradable -- it is after all made from dinosaurs." My eyes rolled.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2010 10:07 AM

Why copy Europe now?

Much as this June 1 post made one ponder why America is so eager to emulate Canadian-style health care, Victor Davis Hanson muses about the example of Europe...

In short, as a reaction to the self-destruction of Europe in World War II and the twin monsters of fascism and communism, Europeans thought they could change human nature itself through the creation of an all-caring, all-wise European Union uber-citizen. Instead of dealing with human sins, European wise men of the last half-century would simply declare them passé.

But human-driven history is now roaring back with a fury in Europe -- from Mediterranean insolvency, to the threat of radical Islam, to demographic decline, to new international dangers on the horizon.

Only one question remains: At a time when Europe is discovering that its democratic socialism does not work, why in the world is the United States doing its best to copy it?

Both are good questions, and I have a single answer for both of them: If America doesn't follow suit quickly enough the "utopian" Euro-centric systems may crumble of their own weight before we get there.

The Progressives/Marxists/Euro-socialists will, of course, tell us that once America is integrated into the collective it will suddenly become sustainable. How, exactly, they never say. Nor do they explain our lack of recourse if, once the "bill is passed," we find it undesirable.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Or the explanation for why communism failed in the USSR: "It wasn't done right, but here we'll make it work! We won't make the same mistakes." This ignores that the entire collectivist "experiment" is one big gigantic mistake.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 4, 2010 10:57 AM

On Partisan Hackery

I shall not be supporting the candidacy of iconoclastic blogger Mickey Kaus in California.

It has been a long time since I was this tempted to send money to a "D," but I will, as George Will says about "liberal thoughts," just calm down and wait for it to go away.

I like the Mickster a lot, and though he agrees with the rest of ThreeSourcers on immigration, I see many other things his way. His TV spot was the best I've seen a long time. I sense a surprise between Kaus and Professor Reynolds that Internet fundraising has not exploded for his candidacy.

I hesitate to offer my reaction as majority viewpoint, but this time I think I can. Kaus is running as a Democrat with Republican ideas. This is not an original thought, I have seen Internet comments stating this rather forcefully. But he is asking for my help to beat Barbara Boxer (hey, I said I was tempted), but if he succeeds and gets elected, we'll have -- oh boy! -- another Blue Dog. And howzthatworkinoutforya?

The real story here is that the Blue Dogs again rolled over to abet their liberal party leadership. Early last week the Blue Dogs joined Republican complaints that the original "jobs bill" from Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin was too expensive at $191 billion. But instead of insisting on spending cuts to pay for unemployment benefits, farm subsidies and corporate welfare, House leaders cleverly split the spending and tax package into two separate bills so the debt totals would look smaller.

One more vote for Dem leadership and one more vote, when they need it, for the worst tax-and-spend policies. Sorry man, I'm sticking with partisan hackery.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

As Mike Rosen says, "Party trumps person."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 3, 2010 11:22 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've only been saying since November 2008 that the Blue Dog is a myth. Oh, when the Dems have enough votes, the "Blue Dogs" will be allowed to maintain a pseudo-conservative position for the sake of the next election. But when every vote counts...

Andrew Cuomo, the idiot son of ex-governor Mario Cuomo, is running for governor himself. He's talking like Ronald Reagan, for crying out loud: Albany is too big with too many agencies, spending too much, driving people out of the state. OK, and knowing he's a liberal's liberal like his father, what will he do?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 3, 2010 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It would be like voluntarily joining a labor union then refusing to honor strikes and negotiating your own raises as an individual. Preposterous on its face.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2010 2:43 PM

The Libertarian Dilemma

Mike Rosen has a very well articulated column in today's Denver Post regarding Rand Paul's dilemma to espouse his libertarian views or get elected - he probably can't do both.

The problem is that these principles often conflict with one another, at which point compromise is unavoidable. (Freedom vs. security, for example: We allow ourselves to be searched without probable cause at airports because we don't want to be blown up by terrorists.)

Practical libertarians (not always an oxymoron) vote for the lesser of evils between Republicans and Democrats, mostly for Republicans, recognizing that the best they can realistically hope for is to tug public policy marginally in their direction. Impractical libertarians don't care about election outcomes. The philosophical high ground is reward enough. They revel in their self-righteous purity of thought and wear their political martyrdom as a badge of honor. It'll be interesting to see how Rand Paul handles this dilemma.

This is not a new or controversial concept to Three Sourcers, but worth the read because Rosen articulates it so well. It is a good argument for JK's "Prospertarianism" as a better way to package practical libertarianism.

Politics Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:18 AM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Nice link! I should call Rosen's show and see if he's on board with "Libertario Delenda Est!"

I was a little disappointed to see Paul fold on private association. I suppose he "had to."

But the box gets smaller every two years...

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2010 11:15 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll have to dig up a letter that Bastiat wrote to the elders of a certain village, explaining why men of principle have a hard time getting elected. It's not online anywhere, that I know of.

"The problem is that these principles often conflict with one another, at which point compromise is unavoidable. (Freedom vs. security, for example: We allow ourselves to be searched without probable cause at airports because we don't want to be blown up by terrorists.)"

This is bullshit. Rosen simply doesn't understand the nature of private property rights, and how government intrusion into markets creates confusion when there needs be none at all. Even now, airplanes are private property. But airports are not. In a free market, you'd be flying out of someone else's private property, meaning the airport owner can set whatever standards he wants. Terrorists would then test various airports and use the ones with poor security, but then those airports (along with the airline) could and should be held partially liable for any terrorist attacks. Thus airports would compete with each other on the most effective safety methods, and such a free market would find the optimal balance between security and passenger happiness.

Instead, we have federal standards imposed on everyone that, nine years ago, we thought were pretty good. But they clearly weren't good enough couldn't stop the murder of 3000 people nine years ago. The tougher post-9/11 standards didn't stop two would-be bombers from boarding the planes and igniting their clothes; it was only other passengers' alertness that averted tragedy. In all of this, it wouldn't have mattered if an airport security chief complained about ineffective measures and tightened things up on his own: that would be violating somebody's rights, and he'd be fired.

Where a government standard is imposed, whether security or safe food handling, you get that standard assuming everybody's doing their job right, and when they are, you get that standard as a minimum, but also as a maximum. There's no competition to do better.

"They revel in their self-righteous purity of thought and wear their political martyrdom as a badge of honor."

I won't be too harsh on Rosen, who's on our side, but I take umbrage here. I'm absolutely purist in that I don't believe in forcing my political views on others, or using the power of government to force others to live my views. That's "self-righteous"? If Rosen wants to look at the "self-righteous", he'd better look at those who wield the weapon of government: voters, recipients of taxpayers' money (generally overlapping with "voters"), and elected/appointed officials of government. Those are the self-righteous people, because they're the ones who claim to know better by taking from us to spend on what we otherwise wouldn't have paid for. The very act of forcing me to give up money, even if it will be spent on me, is self-righteous.

Ask yourselves: do you want some liberty with prosperity, or would you rather have full liberty and take your own chances? This is what Samuel Adams was talking about, "the tranquility of servitude" versus "the animated contest of freedom."

To subscribe to the former is to say that you want to be mostly free, but with a master to ultimately guide you. It is to say you need government to help you beyond your ability to help yourself. To believe in the power of government is to believe it's ok to force your neighbors in certain ways they'd rather not (and for your neighbors to force you in the same manner), though no one is being harmed: bailouts, "regulated" markets, and taxation to spend on things that the taxed implicitly didn't want in the first place.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 3, 2010 1:39 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

To some degree though, Perry, I think you're making Rosen's point. Even if one concedes that you're right on all accounts, a platform based on privatizing airports, roads, police, fire, military, etc. is a non-starter politically. Even the easier-to-swallow libertarian principles of legalizing drugs and prostitution doom a national candidate to .5% of the vote - not even enough to affect the overall outcome. Bottom line, libertarians will be a more effective force by blogging than running for office. [grin]

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 3, 2010 4:19 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Even if one concedes that you're right on all accounts, a platform based on privatizing airports, roads, police, fire, military, etc. is a non-starter politically."

Oh, I don't deny that at all. It's exactly why there is no political solution for this. When your liberty is denied you by force, you won't regain liberty by asking nicely. Jefferson knew that:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

If the colonials had somehow won concessions, they'd have still been under rule of a tyrant. After a few years of good feelings and allowing anger to subside, George III and Parliament would have returned to their old doings. Perhaps slowly, but surely. Real liberty isn't won by politics, nor can it be. Politics is merely the bloodless mechanism of those who wish to rule others. Why should tyrants, collectivists, whatever you want to call them, bother with shedding actual blood when they can use "compromise" to negate any advances in liberty, and use "debate" to stall?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 4, 2010 1:40 PM

June 2, 2010

I Confess!

I was in cahoots with Grover Cleveland to offer Andrew Romanoff an unpaid editor position at ThreeSources.com.

The new revelation of a possible political trade again called into question President Barack Obama's repeated promises to run an open government that was above back room deals.

The Colorado episode follows a similar controversy in Pennsylvania. An embarrassed White House admitted last Friday that it turned to former President Bill Clinton last year to approach Rep. Joe Sestak about backing out of the primary in favor of an unpaid position on a federal advisory board.

The truth will come out soon enough, it's better to be in front of the curve...

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

They had to use somebody who was proved to be a liar in court to offer the job to Sestak? Heh, no wonder he didn't take the job.

Posted by: Bad Science at June 2, 2010 7:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For the real reason Sestak didn't take the "dangled" job, refer to the Examiner editorial I linked three posts down:

The reality is that nobody outside the White House gang and its congressional confederates is laughing about this one. It is simply illegal to offer a job to anybody in return for doing something designed to influence a congressional election, so the White House story fails both the legal and the giggle test. In the first place, nobody can seriously believe that a wizened con man like Bill Clinton would agree to offer such rotten bait to a deep-water fish like Sestak, a former three-star admiral. When the job offer was originally made to Sestak in February, it was done because he clearly represented a serious threat to Specter's bid for the Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial primary less than a year after turncoat Arlen bolted the Republican Party. It is ludicrous to believe that the prospect of a presidential appointment to an unpaid federal advisory panel of little stature and less consequence would persuade Sestak to give up his dream of moving up from the House to the Senate. Clinton must have known this beforehand.
Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 8:06 PM

Gulf Oil Spill - The Real Threat

"Could we really take over BP?" Robert Reich is apparently serious.

Q: But why should we expect government to do any better job than BP?

A: BP would still be at the job -- and its expertise, equipment, and other assets would continue to be utilized. But the federal government would be in overall control of the operation -- weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public.

Yeah. That'd work.

But jk thinks:

"weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public"

Yeah, the absolute sweet spot of government competence! You're re-reading Atlas, what page is this again?

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm in Chapter 6, 'The Non-commercial' which relates more to the MoDo column below. My guess is I'll get into more of this in chapter 7, 'The Exploiters and the Exploited.' Then of course there's chapter 12, 'The Aristocracy of Pull.'

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 4:22 PM

Quote of the Day II

When you've lost MoDo...

In "Dreams From My Father," Obama showed passion, lyricism, empathy and an exquisite understanding of character and psychological context -- all the qualities that he has stubbornly resisted showing as president. It was a book that promised a president who could see into the hearts of other people. But there’s so much you don't learn about candidates in campaigns, even when they seem completely exposed.

This president has made it clear that he’s not comfortable outside whatever domain he's defined. But unless he wants his story to be marred by a pattern of passivity, detachment, acquiescence and compromise, he'd better seize control of the story line of his White House years. Woe-is-me is not an attractive narrative.

Barone on "The Chicago Way"

Michael Barone has a fiercely conservative side (ask any McLaughlin Group watcher), yet he is usually pretty cerebral.

He comes out harshly against President Obama in an Examiner editorial.

To some it may seem anomalous that Obama, who began his Chicago career as a Saul Alinsky-type community organizer, should have taken to the Chicago Way. But Alinsky's brand of community organizing is very Chicagocentric.

It assumes that there will always be a Machine that you can complain about and that if you make a big enough fuss it will have to respond. And that the Machine can always get more plunder from the private sector.

The problem with Obama's Chicago Way is that Chicago isn't America. The Chicago Way works locally because there is an America out there that ultimately pays for it. But who will pay for an America run the Chicago Way?

Hey I didn't say he was wrong. HT: Instapundit

But johngalt thinks:

The growing scandal surrounding the attempted bribes of Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff to withdraw from their respective political races has highlighted one silver lining about Washington D.C. Despite all her flaws, that city is still not as corrupt as Chicago.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Harsh? Barone wasn't harsh. "And he [Obama] has brought the Chicago Way to the White House." That sounds pretty straight-up to me.

But the Examiner Ed Board is harsh.

So there is a real possibility of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct in addition to the original violation. This is the gang that can't come up with a plausible story, much less shoot straight.
Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought it harsh for Barone. Not over the top, but tougher than his usual mood. Dead on, but without the hedging try-to-see-the-other-side I am used to.

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2010 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair 'nuff. I've also read Michelle Malkin's preview of the Blago trial. As much as I'd hate to see Obama be let off the hook for a full 4-year failed presidency it's increasingly obvious that this president may seriously deserve impeachment before his 4th year is up.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 4:05 PM

'lectricars! Green Jobs!

Our story (a story on loan from Holman Jenkins, Jr.) opens in Sunny California. And it has cool cars, high livin' entrepreneurs, dreams-a-plenty, and I'll work in some bikini-clad blonde women if you give me some time.

Everybody's favorite $100,000 'lectricar is coming into production! Huzzah!

Tesla is the dreamchild of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, but not even Mr. Musk's ample bank account is capable of providing financing on the scale required to bring a car to market. Especially not when it's already being drained to finance his unprofitable space-rocket company and now a divorce. In February, Mr. Musk told a judge he's "out of cash" and living off loans from "friends."

Among the friends he didn't enumerate is the federal government, which under a law Mr. Obama keeps bragging about has become Tesla's biggest supplier of working capital, in the form of $465 million in federal loan guarantees. But there's a wrinkle: This money can't be used directly to put Tesla's new "Model S" into production, but will be available only after Tesla raises the necessary funds from private investors.

Bottom line: Tesla needs an IPO, even in today's inhospitable market and despite its unpromising business plan. Mr. Musk himself especially needs an IPO to refloat his lifestyle by converting some of his Tesla stake to cash.

Huh, that didn't sound too good did it? Well, no doubt it is going to get better because 'lectricars are THE thing now, and everybody agrees that the $100,000 Tesla 'lectricar is the coolest!
What we have here is a political kludge of the murkiest order. Tesla reportedly was within hours of closing a deal for a plant site in Downey, Calif., when the Toyota offer materialized, thanks in part to undisclosed state incentives orchestrated by Mr. Lockyer. ("Downey is awesome," Mr. Musk wrote to city fathers apologizing for the last-minute jilting.)

Hardly was the deal announced before White House aide Jared Bernstein was on a conference call urging Tesla to rehire laid-off UAW workers. And already scheduled was Mr. Obama's campaign, er, presidential visit to Northern California, in which he was pleased to take credit for the deal.

Within days too, a bipartisan cabal of legislators introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to ladle out fresh subsidies for electric cars, including $5 billion to reward "deployment communities" or "corridors" (in California, say) that sponsor local schemes to spur sales of electric cars.

Kudlow fans will know Jared Bernstein as the sweet, loveable but highly misguided lefty foil who can be counted on to oppose anyone with reason. He entered the Administration early as VP Biden's Economic Advisor (Big Bird was unavailable?) I guess he's running GM now.

Jenkins suggests that California and the US could use some business that might, um, if I can broach the topic, generate revenue instead of mop up subsidies. But no, this calls for a victory lap. 'lectricars! Green Jobs! Bankruptcy!

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

For an unvarnished review of the Tesla watch Jeremy Clarkson explain the obvious in his original style here. [Caution: advertising boondogle required for viewing.]

"...undisclosed state incentives organized by Orren Boyle, err, Mr Lockyer."

Question: Is "bikinied" a legitimate adjective?

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 3:08 PM

Quote of the Day

From memory. Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear is evaluating SUVs from BMW, Audi, and Land Rover with high performance engines. He concludes them all "rather silly" because the weight and sport suspension contravenes their off road capabilities. But, early on, driving a twin turbo V8 BMW X5, he sez:

Environmentalists couldn't like this car less if it were fueled by sliced dolphin.

God Save the Queen! God Save Jeremy Clarkson!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sliced dolphin... wouldn't that be a renewable energy??

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 2, 2010 12:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Unicorn -- the other white meat!

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2010 12:51 PM

June 1, 2010

Pretending we can measure...

Maybe I can make a blog franchise of this, but we make a lot of policy decisions based on parameters we cannot measure.

The classic would be global temperature. What's the temperature of the Earth today? The world has no rectum into which we can insert a thermometer (though I have claimed that many of the clubs I have played might qualify). So we construct an average of surface temp or satellite data or thousand year old tree rings. NASA has an algorithm, but will not share it with the taxpayers who funded it.

But that's hard, jk, Scientists are doing their best at a difficult problem. Fair enough -- a little humility would go a long way but I'll concede the difficulty.

We have no shortage of data about income, and yet we cannot or will not measure poverty. Alan Reynolds has done a yeoman job debunking historical comparisons of Income and Wealth.

Those who want to drive an agenda need not falsify data or leave their thumb on the scale. All they need do is design the metric. Today I read one more tale of Europe's attempt to replace the cold hard measurement of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a Goofy Kumbaya Index (GKI).

Invariably, suggestions about how to improve or replace the GDP metric come at the expense of the U.S. Mr. Sarkozy's commission would have the cooking and cleaning you do at home count in the aggregate output statistic, just as take-out food or maid service already does. Leisure time would be thrown into the scales as a positive, time spent in traffic as a negative. And so the output gap between Europe and the U.S. would conveniently disappear.

I don't think the GKI will spread, but a) it might; b) look at similarly bad metrics that do define policy. Robert Samuelson shows that the "poverty line" is bad:
It was originally designed in the early 1960s by Mollie Orshansky, an analyst at the Social Security Administration, and became part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. She took the Agriculture Department's estimated cost for a bare-bones -- but adequate -- diet and multiplied it by three. That figure is adjusted annually for inflation. In 2008, the poverty threshold was $21,834 for a four-member family with two children under 18.

By this measure, we haven't made much progress. Except for recessions, when the poverty rate can rise to 15 percent, it has stayed in a narrow range for decades. In 2007 -- the peak of the last business cycle -- the poverty rate was 12.5 percent; one out of eight Americans was "poor." In 1969, another business cycle peak, the poverty rate was 12.1 percent. But the apparent lack of progress is misleading for two reasons.

and efforts are underway to replace it with something worse.
The new indicator is a "propaganda device" to promote income redistribution by showing that poverty is stubborn or increasing, says the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector. He has a point. The Census Bureau has estimated statistics similar to the administration's proposal. In 2008, the traditional poverty rate was 13.2 percent; estimates of the new statistic range up to 17 percent. The new poverty statistic exceeds the old, and the gap grows larger over time.

Great post (Hat-tip: Mankiw) and worth a read in full.

Next week: the Body Mass Index...

Another Winning Appointment

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defends the President's choice of Dr. Donald Berwick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees Medicare.

Have some compassion for the poor Secretary. I don't think I could defend him either:

  • The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly.

  • ...any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, MUST redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is, by definition, redistributional."

  • I am romantic about the [British] National Health Service; I love it.

  • You cap your health care budget, and you make the political and economic choices you need to make to keep affordability within reach. You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too little of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.

Clearly, the "Absolutely Right Leader At This Time."

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Oh no, not another "large tragedy"

(Filed under DAWG 'cause really, what else does Algore do?)

Al and Tipper (explicit lyrics advisory) Gore are splitsville.

There is oil gushing into the ocean and people are killing humanitarian aid workers and the earth is still warming. (...) I didn't know I had any room at all to care about the Gores' relationship, but maybe because it's something so much smaller, so much more personal, a headline so much easier to absorb than the other larger tragedies playing out around the globe...
But jk thinks:

It made sad but perfect sense. "What else does Algore do?"

Well, the Vice President makes movies (at least singular). He just bought a seacoast mansion outside of Beverly Hills. He has an Oscar. VP Gore is an official "Hollywood guy" and is now bound by the ethos of tinseltown.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2010 4:18 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

So that face-eating kiss at the 2000 convention was all theater, and splitsville is - forgive me, I've got to say it - the inconvenient truth.

At least, for Tipper's sake, they didn't end the way their archetypes did in Love Story.

Yeah, these jokes write themselves...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 1, 2010 5:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Bush's Fault!

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2010 1:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, did Bush really just save America from the embarassment of its first divorced ex-president? We could'a been France!

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 3:01 PM

I Found Us a Spot!

For our new hospital! It's close, has a modern infrastructure, good security, banking system. Canada!

TORONTO (Reuters) – Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit -- an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery.

None of their hockey teams are very good, but we will have to make sacrifices to keep the lamps of freedom and medical innovation alive.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"...illegal user fee." ILLEGAL USER FEE?! Yeah, Obama Motors, aka 'GM' keeps insisting I pay one of those when I go in to get my next new car. Fascists!

(Challenge to reader: Spot the parts of this comment that are sarcasm and those that are not.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2010 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let's examine this interesting story more closely.

"There's got to be some change to the status quo whether it happens in three years or 10 years," said Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank. You mean, "change" to the "status quo" that was brought to you courtesy of the Progressive Movement decades ago?

Other problems include trying to control independently set salaries for top hospital executives and doctors and rein in spiraling costs for new medical technologies and drugs. The problem couldn't possibly be related to the lack of any "illegal user fees."

"Our objective is to preserve the quality healthcare system we have and indeed to enhance it. But there are difficult decisions ahead and we will continue to make them," Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told Reuters. Look for existing rationing regimes to become more severe.

"If it's absolutely free with no information on the cost and the information of an alternative that would be have been more practical, then how can we expect the public to wisely use the service?"

But change may come slowly. Universal healthcare is central to Canada's national identity, and decisions are made as much on politics as economics. There, in two sentences, is proof that altruism with democracy is a deadly mixture.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2010 3:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is fun! OK, one more to share an anecdote.

Just got off the phone with the medical insurer about the payment of a hospital bill for my daughter's broken leg last year. "Amount billed" was $1375 with "amount not payable" totaling $848.20. The "allowable amount" of $526.80 seems reasonable for the procedure - an x-ray and a plaster walking cast - delivered with excellent care and attention. So why not just bill that amount instead of starting with a 161% overcharge? Within the details of that explanation can be found a big portion of rising healthcare costs. (Most of the rest is in the aforementioned "illegal user fees.")

To make matters worse, the insurance company classified the procedure as "surgery" and charged us an additional "illegal user fee" (co-pay for us gringos.) Never mind the details of the procedure, say the provider and the insurer, the billing codes say it was surgery, so QED.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2010 3:19 PM

Porcine Choreography

We have some fans of Senator Fred Thompson 'round these parts. I suggest they and eveybody else will enjoy Glenn Reynolds's interview with him. Sixteen minutes of video, but it is very good.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

Smoot Schumer & Hawley Graham!

A good friend of this blog (rhymes with "squeegee") sends along this link and an admonition to read the comments if I really want to be depressed.

What's the key to economic recovery? Why less trade of course! (The title of this post is stolen from Larry Kudlow). To ensure that the crappiest jobs in the whole wide world are properly apportioned to 'Mer'cans, His Smootness think companies should be forced to disclose and pay fines on outsourced call centers.

Customers calling 800 numbers are often transferred overseas, and in such cases the bill would mandate that callers be told where their calls were rerouted.

Companies would also be required to certify to the Federal Trade Commission annually that they were complying with the requirement, and face penalties if they did not certify.

Schumer's bill would also impose a $0.25 excise tax on any customer service call placed inside the United States which is transferred to an agent in a foreign location. The fee would be assessed on the company that transferred the call.

My friend is right, The comments run five to one in approbation. I am less depressed about that as I discount every internet comment area outside of this domain. I guess some of those people vote but I do not expect they move a lot of minds with brilliant repartee.

You can see the Great Depression though. It is a vicious cycle of lower prosperity at home fueling the calls for protectionism, which in turn lowers prosperity et cetera et cetera...

The only cure is to have brave, wise leaders in the Executive and Legislative branches who will -- oh wait a minute, we are screwed.

UPDATE: A Tea Party Candidate to oopose him? I don't think I'd bet the farm, but I'd send him a few bucks...

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