November 30, 2010

The Ben Bernank and The Goldman Sacks

I could be wrong ... I may have missed it ... but I don't think any ThreeSources post explained "The Quantitative Easing" (I or II) as well or as in-context as this.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Clearly, the people over at the Treasury Department have decided that waiting for Nicholas Cage to find where the Masons hid all the Founding Fathers' gold is no longer a viable strategy to revive the economy. This was Plan B.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 30, 2010 6:15 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

OMG--I can't believe you guys posted this. I stumbled across this last week while working on an assignment for my Econ class. My professor, who is complete Keynsian tool and BEA employee to boot, asked us a question on a topic we never covered in class---quantitative easing--- for an exam. I googled it and this was one of the first hits. AWESOME. I learned more from this video than I have all semester.

Posted by: Lisa M at November 30, 2010 9:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A friend posted this on his FB page. That's where I found it.

So this liquidity injection - it doesn't all go to the government? For their stimulus spending? Some can legitimately be given as unearned profit on these fairly simple, bulk transactions?

Finally, KA: You mean "the Nicholas Cage?"

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2010 12:44 AM
But jk thinks:

The Nicholas Cage indeed.

They got the money. If Ben's Helicopter is broken, how do they get it to the little peoples?

The FOMC buys bonds from banks, increasing their reserves against which they may lend. That's the root function of the Fed, the only real difference of Quantitative Easing is expanding the Fed's balance sheet to other asset classes because they have gone about as far as they can with traditional methods.

If you pay yourself to mow the lawn, your kid is still broke.

In the spirit of Facebook, let me introduce two great friends of this blog: Lisa, you should spend a little time at Josh Hendrickson's The Everyday Economist. It is a great source for monetary policy. And, unlike your professor, you won't have to check your free market principles in at the door.

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2010 10:17 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hey, all you folks that understand economics better than me: I was just reading that the United States is moving to bail out the euro (link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/40454469). This may be a week bit naive, but - we have more unused money just lying around? We're borrowing from the Red Chinese as it is. Did someone just give the administration a shiny new AmEx card I didn't know about?

I may be just a poor dumb country boy, but this seems pretty deep in Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-Interrogatory territory. I mean, if this was a deliberate and premeditated plan to destroy the entire world's economy, it would make perfect sense.

Oh, wait...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 1, 2010 3:20 PM
But jk thinks:

The Ben Bernank is going to need a refueling helicopter.

Umm, can you check the link?

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2010 5:18 PM

She Has That Vacant, Mohammed Atta Look in her Eyes...

A bunch of right wing crazies are saying that the TSA has never caught a single terrorist, and that we should not meekly submit to TSA "Authoritah."

Well, hah:

Clearly this woman was going to bring down the aircraft with her highly exothermic lactal secretions, but the TSA stepped in and all those lives were saved.

But johngalt thinks:

The tree of liberty is indeed drooping, and we are both now on a federal watch list.

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

There is no defense for this treatment, but as to explaining our submission, I wonder whether this is truly government.

Yes, it's the TSA, but we've learned that airports do have the authority to opt out. Passengers are willingly boarding a private company provided flight, and this is a foreknown cost.

It exemplifies Federal overreach and none can question the perfection of metaphor, but I don't know that I can place this on the same level as the no-knock raids we've enthusiastically discussed on these pages.

The Fourth and Fifth Amendments are in full force at your front door. Are they at the airport?

Posted by: jk at November 30, 2010 3:39 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

I ranted at length about this topic last week at PAWatercooler and linked a Philadelphia Inquirer writer whose TSA buddy dared the public to "bring on" the protest--in other words, if they protested he threatened to assert his petty authority to inconvenience and thus force into submission holiday air travelers.  Anyhow, the Inky guy was upset at the conclusions I drew about his conclusions and told me to "get my facts straight" about the Fourth Amendment.  He sent me this here link, which is indeed chock full of facts, but doesn't quite explain get to the heart of the matter, which is: just because a court sanctions it does not mean it is not government overreach, something these libs at the Inky who slobber over authoritarian excess when the Dems never seem to get.  Anyhow, thought I'd pass it along to add to the discussion.  Doesn't change my mind about the searches though:  I still think they are an egregious breach of the Fourth. 

Posted by: Lisa M at November 30, 2010 9:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Airports can "opt out" of the TSA but they can't opt out of TSA procedures. No free market defense there.

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2010 12:40 AM
But jk thinks:

But you can not fly. Shh. Calm. Go to your beach.

It is a great imposition not to fly, but I tire of hearing the left compare the ObamaCare® mandate to car insurance. You can not drive, you can drive the car on private property -- you can avoid the insurance mandate. Does not the quest for a logical, coherent philosophy dictate that I see this the same?

Again, I see the government harming private business with ham-fisted intrusions into the private sphere, but I do not see this as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. For those who disagree, I saw on FB yesterday some undergarments that display the 4th when scanned. Clever.

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2010 12:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good for the free market. My idea was to make such undergarments that read: F U

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2010 8:34 PM

Literary Hour

Prof. Ann Althouse does a nice riff on incandescents and incandescence, including a line from Tennessee Williams:

Look, Mother, do you think I'm crazy about the warehouse? You think I'm in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that - - celotex interior! with -- fluorescent tubes?! Honest to God, I'd rather somebody picked up a crow-bar and battered out my brains -- than go back mornings! But I go! Every time you come in yelling that Rise and Shine! Rise and shine!! I think how lucky dead people are! But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams and the Laniers are the illustrious wing of my family, including Tennessee, the poet Sidney Lanier, and even Red Barber. And their great-great nephew is not going to live under CFL tyranny. I am going to fill the garage with incandescents before the calendar turns 2011.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Keep your laws off my lightbulbs!

(Bummer that they don't have a T-shirt version.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2010 11:32 AM

Socialist Hell

From my biological brother, via email:

George dies and goes to hell. He notices one sign that says "Socialist Hell," and another that says "Capitalist Hell." There's a long line waiting for socialist hell, but no one waiting to get into capitalist hell. George asks the guard, "What do they do to you in socialist hell?"

They boil you in oil, whip you, and then put you on the rack," replies the guard.

"And, what do they do to you in capitalist hell?", George asks.

"Same thing," says the guard."

"So then," asks George, "why is everybody in line for socialist hell?"

"Because in socialist hell," the guard explains, "they're always out of oil, whips and racks."

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 29, 2010

Cause for Optimism

I took a couple whacks for cheering on the President's Federal pay freeze and suggesting some plusses in the Simpson-Bowles report. But we optimists are impervious to adversity.

For supporting evidence, let me share this:

Last year, Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" -- his far-reaching plan to restore long-term budget balance through tax and entitlement reform -- was the subject of relentless attacks by those favoring a larger government role in American life. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called Ryan the "Flimflam Man" in a widely cited opinion piece in which he tried to dismiss the Roadmap as not a credible solution to the nation's budget problems. The congressional Democratic leadership followed up with an organized campaign aimed at demonizing the plan as a callous assault on Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Their clear intention was to use the Roadmap to damage scores of Republican candidates for House and Senate seats by association.

None of it worked. In fact, not only did the Roadmap survive the 2010 mid-term campaign, the election results -- and the dominoes that have fallen since -- have made it far safer politically for Roadmap proponents to advance the plan's ideas in the public square.

That the political and policy landscape has started to shift, and rather dramatically, became apparent just a week after the election when the co-chairs of a commission appointed by President Obama, on which Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, also serves, offered draft recommendations on how to close the short- and long-term budget deficits. President Obama had appointed former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., to chair the 18 member group earlier this year, and he asked them to report back by Dec. 1 -- after voters were given a chance to decide the make-up of the 112th Congress.


Even a symbolic freeze by the President attests to this change in the terrain.

Hat-tip: James Pethokoukis

UPDATE: And, hey, how can you not appreciate sometghing that cheeses off "lefty bloggers." Don Surber reports: Libs freak out over Obama's meaningless spending freeze

From TPMDC: “The early reviews of President Obama’s plan to freeze federal worker pay are in — and it gets a resounding “F” from just about everybody outside of GOP leadership. Michael Linden, a budget expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, said the plan is small potatoes that risks driving away valuable civil servants with little budgetary upside.”

From Echidne of the Snakes: “So why pick one particular group only? Or is this a beginning of some larger cutbacks of freezes in, say, Social Security payments? Is Obama courting the tea-party section of the Republicans?”


Quote of the Day

I expected the opposition, but the quality of prose around here once again surprises to the upside:

In other news, the WHO has announced efforts to cap the amount of blood that leeches suck from humans. For two years. -- Perry Eidelbus

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Thank you, I'll be here all week. :)

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 29, 2010 4:27 PM

Simpson-Bowles, the Winners and Losers

Prof Mankiw links to a great overview of the Simpson - Bowles debt reduction plan. It's a political plan, so one must ask: "Who are the winners and who are the losers?" Charles Blahous answers:

A complete answer would be fairly complex given the broad array of Social Security's distributional patterns by income level, sex, longevity, birth year, marital status and other factors. I will instead simplify and focus on three obvious categories of winners:

1) Low-income workers;

2) Fiscal conservatives concerned with the growth of taxpayer burdens;

3) Advocates of bipartisan problem-solving.

And, three categories of losers:

1) Advocates of a solution based primarily on tax increases;

2) Advocates of improving intergenerational equity through funded savings accounts;

3) Senior-scaring political opportunists.

It's notable that each of these groups of three winners/losers includes one thought of as being on the philosophical left, one on the right, and one more removed from philosophy or ideology. (This simply happened; I didn't purposely select to produce this result).


Well worthy of a whole thing reading...

But johngalt thinks:

OK, I'll read the whole thing, but for now I'm not buyin' that fiscal conservatives are "winners" in this plan. The changes to SS appear to be minor and quantitative without abandoning the defined benefit. And while advocates of closing the deficit primarily with tax increases may be losers this plan clearly intends to increase tax rates and/or categories. The vaunted Clinton "surplus" resulted from tax rate cuts yet the Simpson-Bowles wizards somehow seemed to forget that.

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

Three Cheers for President Obama!

AP/Yahoo:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has announced a two-year pay freeze for federal employees, saying the step is necessary to help bring the federal deficit under control.

The freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees but would exclude military personnel.

Obama says the sacrifices of limiting government spending must be shared by government workers.


It's a start. With a slim but nonzero possibility of setting up a virtuous cycle, where Congress and the Executive Branch compete to show who's more serious about cutting spending.

UPDATE: The Heritage Foundation is not too bashful to ask for more:

But while President Obama should be congratulated for this small step toward fiscal sanity, a federal pay freeze is not enough and far more than $5 billion could be saved be reforming federal worker pay.

UPDATE II: I'm serious about the fulsome praise. No, $5 Billion is not going to solve everything, but I love a concrete first step. Many on the left and right are quick to dismiss any spending cut (earmarks, anybody?) because it's too small. But you gotta do something. The French are not going to fix their pension system by making workers slave awy until they are soixante-deux, but the first steps are hard. They should be celebrated no matter how small.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

In other news, the WHO has announced efforts to cap the amount of blood that leeches suck from humans. For two years.

So don't be too happy, don't have too much wishful thinking just yet. This isn't even a start. For two years, they're merely maintaining what's already a velocity of insanity. There's no mention about what they'll do afterward. Say, salary/bonus increases to compensate for the 24 months, as mandated by union contracts?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 29, 2010 2:32 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

English translation: kicking the can down the road to the next administration.

We've seen dozens of articles in recent weeks documenting how government employees are vastly overpaid compared to their private-sector counterparts. What he's done is lock this in for two years. Guaranteed reckless spending for two years doesn't save a dime. I have a hard time counting this as a "first step;" when someone has walked past the edge of a precipice, staying Wile-E-Coyote-like in place isn't helpful; only steps backwards to terra firma are going to be useful.

Perry is right; two years in the future are likely to see compensatory increases to "make up for" the suffering. It is the historical pattern. The only solution is to dial wages and French benefits back severely, coupled with attacking the Federal org chart with a machete to reduce the number of drones dining at the trough.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 29, 2010 2:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This isn't a first step for this regime, it's the only step they intend in the area of government payroll reduction. And not a substantive one at that. (It affects only COLAs, not promotions, not merit raises, not new hiring.)

But worse, it is political sleight-of-hand. "Watch me 'freeze' salaries but pay no attention to the overhead or other fringe benefit expenses," like defined benefit pensions that pay government workers the lion's share of their highest career salary for the rest of their lives - while they're no longer even going through the motions of 'working' for us.

Color me outraged that he thinks the public is this dumb (and that so much of it actually is.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2010 11:39 AM

Airport Security Non-event

The Refugee trepidatiously embarked on the nation's air transportation system last week, wondering how the new TSA procedures would affect the experience. After taking into account ThreeSourcer's split decision regarding pat down versus scan, he decided to try the combination microwave/Cuisinart device on one segment and the full-body grope on the other. T'was not to be. In neither case did the TSA see fit to administer either torture upon him. In fact, the lines were amazingly small both Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, supposedly the busiest travel day of the year, he walked straight through Midway Airport securty without having to wait for a single person.

The news was not all good, however. In Denver International Airport, the man in front of The Refugee did get selected for the grope. This gentleman appeared to be in his 70's and could not walk or stand without assistance, nor breathe without oxygen tanks. Wow - if al Qaida is reduced to recruiting men who can neither walk nor breathe without medical intervention, surely we've won the war on terror. Sadly, it is more likely we who have lost - lost our minds for thinking this system is a fair trade of personal liberty for safety.

Nanny State Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:12 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Glad for the Refugee. Your fellow traveler's story put me in mind of the great letter Taranto shared yesterday:

Recruiting elderly white women from Iowa to conceal high explosives in their body cavities to blow themselves up aboard an airplane is far more difficult. Even assuming elderly white women from Iowa are more technically proficient than the Muslim male shoe bomber and underwear bomber, and are not grounded by a fear of flying, some inducement would have to be offered to persuade elderly white women from Iowa to undertake suicide missions.

Unlike the Muslim male candidates offered 40 awaiting virgins in paradise, elderly white women from Iowa presumably are not Muslim and have no need of virgins. Nor is ideology a likely incentive, since al Qaeda makes few provisions for women's rights, senior citizen discounts, or the extension of Medicare benefits. This means that the only incentive an Al Qaeda recruiter can offer elderly white women from Iowa is cash, which has limited utility to someone about to commit suicide.

Posted by: jk at November 29, 2010 1:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ahh, but Taranto misses one powerful incentive for undertaking a suicide mission: Never again having to endure a TSA security check.

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2010 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Give James a runner-up QOTD as well:

[Amanda] Marcotte [writing in The Guardian] gropes for a position on the Transportation Security Administration's new procedures but ultimately comes up empty-handed

If I wrote just one sentence like that, I'd die a happy man...

Posted by: jk at November 29, 2010 7:45 PM

November 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

U.S. / SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS: Michael Yon just got there. If I were Korean, I'd consider that a bad portent. . . . -- Glenn Reynolds
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I hope this situation will not lead to a shooting war. That being said, it seems to me that the South Koreans are facing an ugly choice. In North Korea, you have a very hungry northern aggressor, led by a poofy-haired, mentally defective madman, who is pushing an unprovoked assault on their peaceful nation; said madman has probably a six-pack of working nukes, and is nuts enough to pull the trigger. If this conflict goes hot, the South Koreans have no reason to believe America and the Obama administration will honor our national commitments to aid in their defense, and the Red Chinese are doing nothing to rein in their proxies. Their choices may come down to (A) facing the Norks alone, or (B) becoming their vassals.

It says something when nearly three-quarters of their population is prepared to go to war if there is another unprovoked attack, in light of this reality.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 27, 2010 6:07 PM
But jk thinks:

One again, we find ourselves missing President Clinton who suggested wiping the country off the map.

Sorry to take it lightly, but I expect we will once again buy them off, and the poor North Koreans can go back to privation and darkness until Junior abdicates.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2010 10:20 AM

November 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Popular Mechanics tries to explain the 99 MPG EPA fuel rating on the all 'lectric Nissan Leaf:

Or maybe they're claiming the number is infinite, but the spreadsheet they used will only display two-digit integers, so 99 was as high as they could list. (Programmers are funny that way: 99=infinity, but only for very large values of 99, and other stuff like that.) -- Mike Allen

That never gets old. Hat-tip: Instapundit


'Bout that rational thing...

Enjoyable as it is pounding on the TSA, I do not intend to develop a sudden aversion to the radiation produced by the body scanners. Fourth Amendment, yes, Junk science, no.

But Ann Althouse suggests an interesting comparison. We (us 'Merkuns) refuse to accept irradiated food products that are proven safe, yet we accept irradiated us.

Is it that we are not only irrational, but we are also irrational in our choice of what to be irrational about? I don't think so. Food radiation was something that businesses were permitted to do, but they stopped because we avoided buying the product. The government isn't asking us whether we want our bodies irradiated if we want to travel by plane. It's not like going to the grocery store and picking one package of hamburger instead of another. We still get our hamburger. We don't have a choice of flying with radiation or without radiation. The only choice the government gives us is not to fly or to accept a groping.

A commenter suggests 4000 Americans die every year of food poisoning. Looking up that alarming number before I pass it along, the CDC claims 5000:
To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.

We're comparing apples to Tonka® trucks in the moral realm here, but just to look at the numbers, we could safely prevent a 9-11 every year and don't. Yet we provide the TSA, who have yet to catch a terrorist or knowingly foil a plot with a much more questionable tool.

It's a mixed up, muddled and shook-up world 'cept for Lola...

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well I'm not the world's most rational guy...

Sorry for the riff. I wonder whether this is the sign of the willingness of the masses to be led by the nose. One self-appointed expert declares that irradiated food is so dangerous that we need to allow the government to step in and protect us from it, and they fall into line. Another tells us that we should gladly trade away our freedom in return for a symbolic bit of theater that pretends to protect us from crazed persons blowing our airplanes into scrap metal, and the masses' eyes glaze over as they nod their approval. We are dependent on the mommystate. We know this because the mommystate tells us so.

I miss those days when we were freedom-loving people, don't you?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 26, 2010 12:54 PM
But jk thinks:

A hundred points for the allusion...

You have to be careful what you wish for. Rejection of the safety of irradiated food comes from free people abandoning rational thought. It's like following Jim Carrey's lead and eschewing vaccinations. Or buying a hybrid. Or liking Phil Rivers. Some human behavior cannot be explained.

Posted by: jk at November 26, 2010 1:42 PM

November 25, 2010

Open on Holidays...



Coffeehouse

Freight Train


"By Elizabeth Cotten"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com




Happy Thanksgiviing!

From Reason.tv

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well done, JK - I've always been a fan of Bradford's solution, but this drives the point home well.

A joyous Thanksgiving to you and to all the ThreeSourcers; our exchanges on this site are something high on my list of things for which I am grateful...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 25, 2010 11:18 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks I'm quite thankful for y'all as well!

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2010 10:19 PM

November 24, 2010

This IS Serious

The State of Utah could be completely cut off:

SALT LAKE CITY -- A hectic, hard-hitting storm shut down highways in Idaho and Wyoming and threatened much of Utah with a blizzard Wednesday as travelers in the Rockies dealt with canceled flights and windy, snow-covered roads on the day before Thanksgiving.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

There's an adaptation of an old joke. A BYU grad and a University of Utah alum are walking together on the beach when they find a magic lamp. The genie grants them each one wish.

The BYU grad immediately says, "I want an invisible wall around the border of Utah County, 10 miles high and completely impenetrable. This will protect us from the outside world and keep our good people in."

The U. man stands there thinking for a bit, then asks the genie, "So you can really build this wall that strong for him?"

"Yes. So what's your own wish?"

"Fill it up with water."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 26, 2010 10:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Your intrepid 3Sources roving reporter here to say that yes indeed, there were blizzard conditions on Utah highways Tuesday night. We drove from Denver to L.A. on Tues. instead of the previously planned Weds. to avoid forecast blizzards in the CO Rockies that day. Our plan was to get as far as Cedar City before the storm hit but it caught us before Richfield (near the I-15 merge) and left us driving steep mountain roads at night in borderline whiteout conditions. 25 mph with 4-ways flashing for visibility during the entire descent into Salina, UT. Level ground at lower elevation brought less wind and snow so we continued to Richfield before parking for the night around midnight. Didn't see anyone go off the road, though.

Headed back to the Rockies tomorrow. Wanted to try for another rendezvous with the Arnold clan but time didn't allow.

Posted by: johngalt at November 26, 2010 9:42 PM
But jk thinks:

All these feats while pulling a horse trailer? Yipes!

Stay safe. It's beautiful on the front range today.

Posted by: jk at November 27, 2010 11:10 AM
But johngalt thinks:

No horse trailer this time. Just the family in a minivan for Thanksgiving dinner in sunny L.A. As a bonus we saw half a score of dolphins feeding just off Redondo beach. (And this despite environmentalists warnings that dolphins were becoming extinct due to tuna fishing and the seas are becoming uninabitable due to petroleum exploration.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2010 2:56 PM

November 23, 2010

Leon Kass, Call Your Office!

A Sponsored link on Facebook:

pet_pacemaker.gif

Excuse me? The link goes to Denver Channel 7 news, which (so far) says "This is a placeholder for Pet Pacemaker."

Yeah, I gave Rover a Kidney -- he's a good boy!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Kidney? My dogs prefer giblets.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 23, 2010 5:24 PM
But Terri thinks:

If I didn't know you better I'd this sounded a little snarky about where people are choosing to spend their money and um parts.....But I know you better.

Posted by: Terri at November 24, 2010 12:12 PM
But jk thinks:

They still have not posted this story. I am genuinely intrigued. If it is an expensive human pacemaker, I am all for it (they'll probably start making them for 69.99 if this transpires). If it is actually transplanting human tissue, even I'm a bit queasy.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2010 1:04 PM
But Terri thinks:

Here you go. I heard the teaser about it for the news last night.
They've been doing these for awhile now.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/25610263/detail.html

Posted by: Terri at November 24, 2010 5:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, cool. And as advertised.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2010 6:55 PM

Quote of the Day

What's fascinating about [Rep. Paul Ryan (R - WI)] is that he keeps saying things that should get him into political trouble, but they don't. He wants to rework Social Security. He wants to restructure Medicare. He thinks a cheaper dollar is a bad idea. And he won reelection with 68 percent of the vote in a district that Obama carried by four points. Good ideas expressed well and with conviction are powerful things. -- James Pethokoukis

Dousing IPO Fever

I loves me an IPO! Animal sprits! Innovation! Capitalism!

But I join Paul Ingrassia in a little skepticism of the Gub'ment Motors shares:

This week the euphoria has given way to the task of making the new GM successful again. I'm optimistic, though with a cautionary note. I was in Detroit on the company's coming-out day and was surprised by the level of local skepticism among people who have every reason to root for the new GM.

One man, a retired components-company executive, told television interviewers that unionized auto makers can't compete over the long term with their nonunion counterparts. Another retiree, who worked 40 years for GM, said he decided not to buy IPO shares when the company announced sponsorship of an Indy Car racing team. A sure sign, he told me, that cost discipline is being tossed aside for dubious and ephemeral marketing benefits.


I was thinking the same last night watching a commercial about how GM was planting trees to sequester carbon. If any new data were needed to prove that this crony union behemoth is not serious about competing in the actual automotive marketplace, there it is.
Another key cultural indicator will be whether Detroit's managements can resist believing their own hyperbole. Exhibit A is the Chevy Volt, GM's new plug-in hybrid vehicle, which is setting records in miles per gallon and in hype per mile. The Volt runs mostly with electricity. But it will be sold mostly with enormous federal tax credits--$7,500--to defray a price of around $42,000.

It's outrageous, really. America is running trillion-dollar budget deficits. The taxpayers have shelled out tens of billions of dollars to rescue GM. And the company's accumulated tax-loss credits could shield it from paying federal income taxes for years. So why are we also paying people to buy GM cars, or any brand of alternative-fuel vehicle for that matter? If GM thinks a lower price is necessary to sell the Volt, it should cut the price itself.



Reason Gets One Right

It's Tuesday. Thanksgiving is on the way. It's about time I said something nice about the Libertoids over at Reason.

I was surprised to see the WaPo story Most support full body scanners

Nearly two-thirds of Americans support the new full-body security-screening machines at the country's airports, as most say they put a higher priority on combating terrorism than protecting personal privacy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Once again, they didn't poll ThreeSources. But the outrage is a blogospheric phenomenon. Media outlets are covering the controversy, but it appears the editorial side drives the story.

Matt Welsh, gives props to his peep Radley Balko and nails it in "Editorial Boards to the Little People Complaining About the TSA: Bend Over and Take it Like a Man!"

More evidence for Radley Balko's thesis that the media is more statist than liberal (and for my contention that the unsigned newspaper editorial should go the way of the dodo bird):

Conservatives make a huge mistake attributing all the media sins to bias. The media are lazy, incurious, uncourageous, elitist, and biased. Without understanding all their flaws, crying "bias" does not fit all the symptoms and sounds black-helicopterish. Time to add statist to the flaw list.


Rational Self Interest?

Why do we watch football? Is the marginal benefit of winning greater than the marginal loss of losing? I paid for four Super Bowl victories in one game last night. Considering the actual time investment, I really do wonder.

Like Mister Sinatra at 0245, you gotta listen to me until I've had my say.

If I hear one. single. additional. nice word about Chargers Quarterback Phil Rivers, you're going to have to call 911. The entire announcement team last night went on the most extensive and disturbing man crush I have ever seen (and I watch Buffy on the Gay Channel). "Phil Rivers cured Cancer." "Phil Rivers established world peace and ended African poverty." "We should fly Phil Rivers into Afghanistan to catch Osama Bin Laden."

I get it, he's good. But he went 15-24, for 233 yds and his team is 5-5 in what has sadly become the worst division in the NFL. And the team he beat is 3-7. I guess they didn't have much else to talk about, but...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

He's arguably good, but he's not a first-tier QB. File the man-crush under the heading of "slow sports night," and add a skosh of "not the best sportscasters on the planet." Madden and Summerall wouldn't have descended to this.

In related news, both Mannings lost (and look how many interceptions between them!), and to the Patriots and the hated Eagles - and Dallas has won two straight. Favre went down in flames. It's like we're living in an alternative sports world.

"On any given Sunday, any team in this league can beat any other team." Even the Raiders, the Bills, and the Lions occasionally win one. That's why they make the teams actually play the game and not just compare the stats; sometimes, the team that shouldn't win, does.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 23, 2010 12:48 PM
But jk thinks:

My hat is off to the hated Chargers. They were the better team and they played with spirit and discipline last night -- two things I usually chide them for missing.

The Rivers mancrush, however, extends beyond the MNF team; I hear it enough to make me sensitive. The boooooring game exacerbated it, but when I see #17, I always say "look -- there's the world's greatest quarterback!" His frat boy swagger may be endearing if you're on his side but (where did I put that "Decision Points" review again?) he's an easy target for a Denver lad to dislike. Yet all the sportscasters (a dubious lot) over-extol his virtues.

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2010 1:19 PM
But HB thinks:

You can take solace in the fact that Denver does not play in the worst division in football. That would be the NFC West:

Seattle 5 - 5
St. Louis 4 - 6
San Fran 3 - 7
Arizona 3 - 7

And those records probably don't reflect the lack of talent.

Posted by: HB at November 23, 2010 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, hb, I feel a lot better.

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2010 4:07 PM
But jk thinks:

My team is in last place in the second worst division in the NFL!

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2010 6:26 PM

November 22, 2010

Review Corner

I think all ThreeSourcers will enjoy President Bush's Decision Points.

No doubt we differ in our opinion of 43 (who also liked to refer to presidents by ordinal), but Decision Points offers Bush's own view on many of the issues we have beat up on these very pages. You want to hate him for TARP or Medicare Part D, it is certainly your prerogative. I found I could go along with about any of his explanations -- you've heard me make most of them -- but I cannot join him on "when people hurt, government must act." He never questions that. He's essentially a market guy, but lacks Reagan's (and our) skepticism of government. For all of Senator McCain's blather, George W. Bush is the modern day's Theodore Roosevelt. And I do not mean that in the nicest way.

But after two years of his successor, it is hard not to feel nostalgia for his decency, probity, and patriotism. Without saying the present occupant of 1600 Penn lacks these, a few hundred pages of President Bush (and Laura's which I read right before) refreshes because he wears his love of country, freedom and our nation's military on his sleeve.

A mixed bag indeed. Of the 14 chapters, the one I found most difficult to accept was the penultimate on "The Financial Crisis." "Wall Street had a party and we all got the hangover" not only lacks nuance, but also connection to reality. He spins around and expresses cogent thoughts on Fannie and Freddie and comes close to questioning whether Federal largesse should subsidize minority home ownership, but he won't say a word against Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and one is left -- at the very end of the book -- with the thought that he doesn't get it.

I quibble, and you will too. But it is a fun, interesting, and informative read. ThreeSourcers will know the policy but will enjoy the anecdotes. Four solid stars -- plus a quarter for pissing off Jacques Chirac again. One last time.

UPDATE: Shelfari invites users to create "Ridiculously Simplified Synopses." Someone submits:

"Red State: Texas hero arrives in Washington making brilliant decisions that save the world from terrorism."

"Blue State: Texas warmonger water-boards the US into hurricanes and economic doom."


Are you thinking of truth?

Rand's words of fiction resemble non-fiction more and more with each passing day of the Obama Administration.

Part III, Chapter 3 - Anti-Greed:

[Dr. Floyd Ferris:] 'Robert Stadler' is an illustrious name, which I would hate to see destroyed. But what is an illustrious name nowadays? In whose eyes?" His arm swept over the grandstands. "In the eyes of people such as you see around you? If they will believe, when so told, that an instrument of death is a tool of prosperity - would they not believe it if they were told that Robert Stadler is a traitor and an enemy of the State? Would you then rely on the fact that this is not true? Are you thinking of truth, Dr. Stadler? Questions of truth do not enter into social issues. Principles have no influence on public affairs. Reason has no power over human beings. Logic is impotent. Morality is superfluous. Do not answer me now, Dr. Stadler. You will answer me over the microphone. You're the next speaker."

(...)

"I am proud," Dr. Stadler read into the microphone and into the attentive silence of a nation, "that my years of work in the service of science have brought me the honor of placing into the hands of our great leader, Mr. Thompson, a new instrument with an incalculable potential for a civilizing and liberating influence upon the mind of man …"


Proud to Be a Republican!

From John Fund:

House Republicans announced last week that they plan to force a floor vote on defunding NPR in response to the firing of analyst Juan Williams last month. House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colo.) said that cutting funds to the publicly subsidized news organization was the winner of the conference's weekly "YouCut" contest, in which the public votes online on spending items they want eliminated. "When NPR executives made the decision to unfairly terminate Juan Williams and to then disparage him afterwards, the bias of their organization was exposed," the two Republicans said in a statement.

Defunding NPR: awesome! Having a weekly "You Cut" contest: Super awesome!

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If they had stopped at "defunding NPR" without tying it to a single thing, that would have been cool.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 23, 2010 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

I loved this part: "NPR says it's 'imperative' that the organization continues to receive federal funding, which is passing strange since NPR also claims it gets no more than 3 percent of its total budget from taxpayers."

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2010 11:31 AM

The Saddest -- and Truest -- Thing You'll Read All Day

Bill Gates, may God's mercy shine always upon the holy prophet, was pretty famous for not spending a lot of dough on lobbying. I paraphrase but "Let them run their business and I'll run mine" is pretty close to an actual quote. Then he met a fellow named Joel Klein who worked for a fellow named Clinton...

Both men are wiser now. Klein has stood up courageously to the Teachers' Unions in a bid to free NYC schools from their evil aegis. Sadly, Gates and his successors learned their lesson as well. Nobody escapes Washington for long. All of Silicon Valley has lawyered up and lobbied out. Adam Thierer at CATO is rightfully disappointed:

I don't know if it would make him smile or grimace, but someone should give T. J. Rodgers a prize for his predictive powers. Back in 2000, Rodgers, the president and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, penned a prescient manifesto for the Cato Institute with a provocative title: "Why Silicon Valley Should Not Normalize Relations with Washington, D.C."

"The political scene in Washington is antithetical to the core values that drive our success in the international marketplace and risks converting entrepreneurs into statist businessmen," he warned. "The collectivist notion that drives policymaking in Washington is the irrevocable enemy of high-technology capitalism and the wealth creation process."

Alas, no one listened. Indeed, Rodgers's dystopian vision of a highly politicized digital future has taken just a decade to become reality. The high-tech policy scene within the Beltway has become a cesspool of backstabbing politics, hypocritical policy positions, shameful PR tactics, and bloated lobbying budgets.

Perhaps we shouldn't find it surprising that so many players in the tech policy arena now look to throw each other under the Big Government bus to gain marketplace advantages.

After all, that's the story of many other industries that got under the covers with Washington. But the sheer rapidity with which this sorry state of affairs has unfolded in the tech policy world is shocking, even to the most jaded among us.


Hat-tip: Insty, who suggests you read the whole thing. I'm going to demand it and there will be a quiz in our next session. It's everything that is wrong: our most innovative companies find a better return on legislative investments than R&D.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

It seems that Moore's Law applies to federal regulatory lobbying just as effectively as it does to CPU speed.

Wesley Mouch, call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at November 22, 2010 2:47 PM

1-900-TSA-JUNK

I haven't laughed this hard at Saturday Night Live in a long, long time.

But johngalt thinks:

I vote scanner. (And no, not because I want to see the .jpg posted here.) You could do both, though. Just fly the bird on both hands while posing for the peep pic. Then they'll show you who's the boss.

When I fly for Christmas if they single me out for "handling" I plan to "baaaaa" like a sheep. If I have to act like a sheep I want to make it a convincing performance.

Posted by: johngalt at November 22, 2010 2:39 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

KA, I assume you're talking beans and cabbage the night before? Just as the inspector slides his hand up my crack...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 22, 2010 2:54 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BR: there are lots of good candidates for that diet plan, including dinner at Pepe's, Home of the Six Pound Beef-and-Bean Burrito. Order the red salsa with extra jalapenos, and wash that baby down with a couple of beers. Other contenders are kimchee, asparagus, onions, garlic, and anything with eggs.

Other ways to embarrass the frotteur include loud, passionate moaning, making farm animal noises, and asking the handler for his cellphone number and what time he gets off work to continue the relationship. I've read a story from a guy who plans to wear a kilt - in the official Scottish style - and I've seen a picture of a guy in the TSA line wearing a Speedo and a skin-tight crop-top shirt. I make no recommendations as to your choices, mind you; I only relate these options in a public service capacity.

A year ago, who would have guessed that it would be airline security that would turn out to be the Rubicon our overseers would cross?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 22, 2010 3:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I guessed it the day they made airport security agents government employees. The only question was, "when?"

To quote Dr. Robert Stadler,moaning "with increduluous despair: 'In a civilized century, Ferris, in a civilized century!"

It's only a few short steps from here to the gas chambers.

Posted by: johngalt at November 22, 2010 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Facebook friend just back from LAX says it was confusing which line was which. They obviously need "GROPE" and "RADIATION" signs...

Posted by: jk at November 22, 2010 8:08 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I vote for the grope over the radiation.

I have read more than a few reports now of TSA employees trying to embarrass those who opt out of the scanners so as to convince other travelers to go through them. I can't think of a better way to fight this tactic than doing your best to make the pat down as uncomfortable as possible for the TSA employee performing it.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 22, 2010 8:59 PM

November 21, 2010

I *heart* Coal

I've been desirous of an "I love Coal" T-shirt for quite a while now, probably since Climategate hit the news - possibly in response to Colorado's legislature voting to subsidize coal's competition. I've been a denier since before it was cool, but now it's cool! I thought I would have to design and print my own. False.

I%20heart%20coal.jpg

Anyone who wants to join me can use this refer-a-friend link and reward me with a $10 Cafe Press credit (because you're so thoughtful.)


The FDA has a rival

Economist Steven Horwitz findsthat more Americans will die travelling because of the TSA:

As the nation readies for one of the busiest traveling holidays, Steven Horwitz, a professor of economics at St. Lawrence University, told The Hill that the probable spike in road travel, caused by adverse feelings towards the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) new screening procedures, could also lead to more car-related deaths.

"Driving is much more dangerous than flying, as you are far more likely to be killed in an automobile accident mile-for-mile than you are in an airplane," said Horwitz. "The result will be that the new TSA procedures will kill more Americans on the highway."


I'm uncomfortable saying that the FDA or the TSA is "killing" Americans. I think that charge requires mens rea. But unintended consequences that result in needless fatalities need to be recognized.

But johngalt thinks:

Washington's 'wizards of smart' will dismiss the unfortunate victims as being foolish not to just stay home in their caves.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2010 12:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

After posting my comment to your link over at Facebook, I figured you probably mirrored it here. I'll merely settle for duplicating my own reply:

I'd file this under "unintended consequences," if I had any reason to believe it was unintended.

I'm most intrigued by the paragraph starting "Thompson also said that the TSA should have told people about the techniques..." As if the solution were to politely sell us on the frottage and the pornscopes. Unconsidered is whether our federal government has ANY justification for these unreasonable searches and seizures of innocent Americans in the absence of probable cause and due process.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 21, 2010 7:31 PM

November 19, 2010

The Online News War

The newspaper business is clearly caught in a conundrum between providing free online content and making enough money to operate a business. That is ostensibly why the Denver Post and other Colorado newspapers recently threatened a local political blog with "injunctive relief" action if they fail to "cease and desist from any and all unauthorized literal copying..."

It seems the blog had a "gentlemen's agreement" not to exerpt more than two paragraphs from a story it linked, but routinely lifted as many as eight paragraphs.

A ThreeSources post this brazen is indeed rare. If you wanted to "whole thing, read, now" you'd click through, right?

But Keith Arnold thinks:

This is like the Righthaven shakedown. At what point did newspapers discover there was more money to be had in copyright lawsuits than in publishing a newspaper?

In the movie "Get Shorty," Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) says "I once asked this literary agent what kind of writing paid the best. He said, 'Ransom notes.'" Clearly, he wasn't far wrong; extortion letters from lawyers are probably closely related.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2010 5:37 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Consider these famous words: "This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent, is prohibited."

So I'm standing at the water cooler Tuesday morning with my partner who missed the previous night's Chargers game, and I am telling him about the game. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this process server appears...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2010 5:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Righthaven. You can ruin my day with one word. I got the forms all filled and am ready to send my $105 Goram dollars in. I can list other sites for $30 each -- anybody want in for their blogs?

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2010 11:07 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JK: There's an add-on for the Firefox browser called BlockSite that I've installed, and set it up to prevent me from accidentally visiting any Righthaven websites. Cheap insurance. You can't quote what you don't see.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 20, 2010 11:38 AM
But jk thinks:

And I might be able to avoid their high quality media sites as well, ka. The scary part to me is the comments.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2010 11:36 AM

November 18, 2010

IPO Pops 13%!

No, not that one. LPL Investments, which chose to have its Initial Public Offering today.

Even other IPOs that chose to go public earlier this week had the shadow of GM’s massive offering looming ahead. While Booz Allen Hamilton’s CEO Ralph Shrader felt that the auto maker’s deal didn’t distract potential buyers during his discussions—“investor groups we talked to were focused on us while we were there”—people certainly did mention that GM executives had been visiting the day before, or were expected later in the afternoon.

Shrader's daughter will probably get married the same day as William & Kate...Well done!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'



Coffeehouse

Kindhearted Woman Blues


"By the one and only Robert Johnson"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com




Citizens or Subjects?

No doubt brother br will chime in in support of the authorities, here. They were just doing their job, most milk patrol officers are good people, goat bites can be extremely painful, and drinking raw milk is not a victimless crime -- children may have to smell it if you get sick.

But for the rest of us, can we start with a little John Stuart Mill? I rolled my eyes at announcements that the FDA banned caffeinated alcoholic drinks. Not sure that's a good idea (I mean what would you drink to sober up?) but the wholesale theft of our sovereignty is deeply disturbing.

Clearly, the answer is subjects.

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 10:54 AM | What do you think? [14]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If you ever want a good laugh, by the way, walk into the produce section of a California grocery market, and stand next to the "organic" tomatoes. Say, to no one in particular, "so, what the hell are those over there supposed to be? Plastic?"

One of two things will happen. Either every recycled hippie within earshot will be horribly embarrassed and slink away, or one self-righteous one who has never seen Penn and Teller will start a lecture on the superiority of the organics (justifying the triple price differential).

Let them talk for about a minute, and then say, "so, it's the paraquat that does this to your brain, right?" Try to keep a straight face when you do that, too.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 18, 2010 5:18 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If The Refugee were to ever enter an organic California market he would immediately be recognized as an imposter and banished as a heretic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 18, 2010 5:39 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BR: the credit you give Californians for situational awareness is unwarranted. Ey're-thay ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray, ifyaknowwhatimean.

Listened to the video at home last night, and I'm completely with the Rawesome folks. If the authorities were making this kind of raid on a meth lab or a chop shop, that might be a bit different - but the guns-out assault on a dairy cooperative goes well beyond just stormtrooper level.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2010 12:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like I said, "dairy lobby."

BR, brother, yer confusin' me. No moonbats voted Tancredo for governor. Not a single one.

With as much humility as I can muster, I think y'all are missing the main point of my "liberalism has jumped the shark" commentary. The point is that Liberals are not liberal. Think of it this way: The old-fashioned establishment liberals (jk's Progressives) are merely plastic, preservative-laden facsimilies of pro-freedom independent thinkers. Today's healthy "organic" Liberals are TEA Partiers.

And I think this may subconsciously be why leftists mock the TEA Party movement so zealously. While the TEA Party message gets to be anti-government, the leftists are stuck defending the state, the man, the status-quo. From an individual liberty perspective, the TEA Party is cool and the left-statists are the true "Party of No." (No SUVs. No internal combustion. No cheap electricity. No private health insurance....)

Or is this all just so obvious that it isn't a novel idea?

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2010 2:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG,

"I smell Federal Dairy Lobby" was just a wonderful pun - gave me a good laugh. And, quite likely true.

I was also poking some fun at myself for suddenly finding me defending state intervention. Trust me, that's been a rarity in my life. It dawned on me that I'm likely the left wing member of this illustrious cadre.

I understand where you're going with the definition of classical liberal and entirely agree. The definitions over time have been turned upside down. "Statist" and "individualist" or "self-reliant" likely are better labels, but not likely to catch on soon.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 19, 2010 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We all need to keep in mind that the raison d'etre for the philosophy of Postmodernism is to destroy the meaning of the word "objectivity." If enough things are explained in enough different and contradictory ways then people who value consistency, reason and facts will throw up their hands in disgust and abandon the field to the babblers, who then will be free to shape outcomes in their desired image. We've seen this in education, climate "science" and the whole liberalism/statism conundrum is its manifestation in politics.

We mustn't worry about what might "catch on" but we also can't abandon the field of politics to politicians any longer. Just keep using the words that you know have meaning: Liberty, individual, freedom, human, dollar.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2010 1:13 PM

November 17, 2010

Headline of the Day

Topless Woman Masturbating In Van Arrested On Gun Charge -- Buster
So many rules and laws, it's tough to keep track of them all... Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong
Posted by John Kranz at 4:30 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

If she were gay or Muslim the ACLU would already have her cleared of all charges.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2010 7:37 PM
But jk thinks:

I found the grin in her mug shot a little disturbing...

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2010 10:03 AM

Warm Clothing for Afghan Children

I've given small amounts to Spirit of America over the years. They raise money to provide our troops with items to distribute to families in Iraq and Afghanistan. School supplies. playground equipment and the like go a long way toward improving the communities and showing what our military represents.

I was moved by this request. The lovely bride and I decided that a more generous than usual donation was to be our Christmas present to each other this year.

Captain Jensen writes: "Right now we have four schools, and children are flooding into the schools by the hundreds, no exaggeration. These people haven't had a school open since the Soviet invasion of '79, so they are determined to send their children to school even though the Taliban are taking steps against it. Anyways, with winter right around the corner, the head elder here expressed his concern that the children have no cold weather clothes (coats, boots, gloves, beanies, etc.)."

A fleece jacket is $12 and a fleece blanket costs $6. Our goal is to provide 1,000 of each to the Marines in Garmsir to help the Afghans there. If we can buy before Thanksgiving, we should be able to get them there by Christmas. We'll use clothing from the drive mentioned last week to do even more. Your help matters.


They do awesome work.


Not the best visual

GOP frosh: Where's my health care?

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.

Yeah, I could defend this if I had to. But you can understand how much one of my infamous "Facebook Friends" is enjoying this...


Ari Armstrong Agrees with jg

Armstrong is pretty blunt:

Ken Buck's anti-abortion stance cost him the U.S. Senate seat in Colorado.

True, Buck had other problems. He made a few gaffes, as when he jokingly said he should win because he doesn't wear high heels (a response to his primary opponent's many references to gender), and when he likened homosexuality to alcoholism. The left unfairly attacked Buck for his prosecutorial work on a gun case and a rape case. Moreover, the Democrats did a good job getting out the vote for Michael Bennet.

But Buck's anti-abortion position made more difference than any of those other things, alienating many women and independent voters. And it was only in the context of Buck's perceived antagonism toward women's right to control their own bodies that the "high heels" comment and the claims about a mishandled rape case gained traction.


Hard to make a forceful argument against. "Rape and Incest" is not a compelling part of the abortion question 'round these parts, but it is indicative of an "extreme" position. Match that with a call to repeal the 17th Amendment, and a principled or quirky suggestion starts to appear darker.

Without the gaffes, I still think he had a run. It took the biggest expenditure of Demagogue I mean Democrat cash in the country to beat him narrowly.

CO Senate Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

And I think he thought his positives from being up-front about his beliefs would outweigh the negatives of those beliefs. But it wasn't much of a stretch for Bennet to equate the name "Ken Buck" with the perception "misogynistic troglodyte." As a Buck supporter I really, really, really hoped he would leave his abortion views as a bullet point on his "positions" page rather than wear it on his sleeve. Alas.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2010 7:44 PM

And I Complained About Colorado

Rep. Debbie Halvorson will not be seated in the 112th Congress. She lost her Illinois seat to that young whippersnapper who is stealing our money from the elderly.

Hat-tip: Jim Treacher who says "Please remember this the next time somebody calls you a fearmonger."

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 16, 2010

It Would be Wrong to Laugh

Neil Young warehouse blaze started in hybrid 'LincVolt' car

The three-alarm blaze that caused $1.1 million in damage to a warehouse filled with rock legend Neil Young's music equipment and memorabilia appears to have started in a one-of-a-kind hybrid car stored at the site, a fire official said Monday.

Flames began in a 1959 Lincoln Continental dubbed LincVolt, which runs on electric batteries and a biodiesel-powered generator, and then spread to the warehouse at 593 Quarry Road in the early morning of Nov. 9, according to Belmont-San Carlos Fire Marshal Jim Palisi and a website devoted to the car.


Quit snickering in the back! Somebody could have been hurt!

Hat-tip: Blog friend Sugarchuck, who adds "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy."

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Lisa M thinks:

At times like these, words can't adequately express my feelings. Then I go here.

Posted by: Lisa M at November 16, 2010 9:19 PM

Otequay of Esterdayay

... Since I didn't get a chance to post this yesterday, but I think it's good enough for belated honors.

A male caller to Mike Rosen's radio show in yesterday's 9 o'clock hour, who claimed to be a school teacher with over 20 years of experience, regarding the culpability of administrators for the failures of America's public education system:

"I don't think it's [administration] part of the problem, I think it's eighty-five percent of the problem."

Here's hoping he doesn't teach math. Or grammar. Or logic.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

In fairness, he may have meant to say "I don't think it's just part of the problem..." He didn't have the advantage of a teleprompter, you know.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 18, 2010 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Based on the context I can tell you he had intended to say, "it's the whole problem" but realized before he said it that it wasn't true. Then he was stuck with making up some high percentage figure estimate.

You are right that this was extemporaneous speech but with the caveat that this man is a school teacher, I think this ranks up there with the teacher who asked me what "statist" means.

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2010 2:38 PM

The Other Side of QE2

Port, or starboard?

A lot of my economic betters are okay with the Fed's increasing its balance sheet. Don Luskin parries with "King Dollar" Kudlow, Alan Blinder's WSJ column was superb, and the list goes on.

Ramesh Ponnuru warns the right not to get too invested in monetary policy.

Maybe Bernanke’s critics are right. Certainly there are a lot of smart monetary economists who agree that QE2 is a bad idea, and the skeptics include many of the people on whom I usually rely to form judgments about economic policy. But I find the economists on the other side of the argument–I’ve started reading these three economists daily–more persuasive.

"These three" includes a link to blog friend Josh Hendrickson, The Everyday Economist.

I'm one of Helicopter Ben's last remaining fans, so I'll go $600Billion further. But the most compelling cases on the other (starboard?) side include commodity price inflation and -- more importantly -- the idea that monetary policy is being asked to compensate for abysmal fiscal policy. We can't cut taxes, we can't cut spending, we can't stop overregulating -- so let's trash cash and force investors into riskier investments. If the fiscal side were not completely broken, I'd be more likely to accept the monetary side.

But johngalt thinks:

Here's one convincing explanation from EE's list of "Welcome NRO Readers" suggested articles - 'Inflation is a Monetary Phenomenon, But This Isn't Inflation:'

Ultimately, the money multiplier (M1) has fallen from around 1.6 prior to the recession to .93 as of June 17. At the beginning of January 2008, the monetary base was roughly $848 billion. Given that money multiplier, this would suggest that M1 was around $1.356 trillion. Thus, given the current money multiplier, this would suggest that the monetary base would have to be about $1.458 trillion today to maintain the same money supply — an increase of roughly 72%. Given that we are currently in a recession, this suggests that the Fed wants to increase the money supply rather than simply maintain the earlier level. Given that the monetary base is about 90% higher than it was at this time last year, this would suggest that the Fed is expansionary, but hardly over-expansionary given the circumstances surrounding money demand.

With that being said, the Fed must be careful and begin pulling money out of the economy when this demand for base money subsides and the money multiplier begins to rise again. A failure to do so would result in a substantial period of inflation. However, at the current time, the evidence suggests that the massive increase in the monetary base is justified by the increase in the demand for base money. Thus, the increase is in the monetary base doesn’t suggest that massive inflation is on the horizon … yet.

Expanding the money supply by 90% would most certainly have caused inflation by now if the effects EE describes were not happening. And he cautions the Fed to reduce the monetary base, i.e. "burn" dollars, as the demand goes down. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2010 3:31 PM

ThreeSources Dance Segment

A Facebook friend says "Absolutely incredible not only what the human mind can conceive, but what the human body can achieve."

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Impressive. Truly, genuinely praiseworthy. I'll even forego any quip about state sponsorship. If there is such a thing as individual pride in a collectivist state, this is an example of it.

(Any truth to the rumor that Kim Jong Il has already ordered the kidnapping of the pair?)

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2010 3:38 PM

Now for Something Completely Different...

A good friend reads The Nation so I don't have to. Between the Caddell piece I linked last weekend and this piece of contrarian thinking from William Greider at The Nation, our blog friend things he may be in trouble. In colorful terms: "...might as well get back on the plane to Kenya now."

The problem, Greider explains, is that the President is just too doggone nice:

There is a cloying Boy Scout quality in his style of leadership--the troop leader urging boys to work together on their merit badges--and none of the pigheaded stubbornness of his "I am the decider" predecessor, nor the hard steel of Lyndon Johnson or the guile of Richard Nixon.

Or the competence of President Carter...but I digress.
Republicans, who are masters of deceptive marketing, seized on Obama's most appealing qualities and turned them upside down. Their propaganda cast him not as soft but as a power-mad (black) leftist, destroying democracy with socialist schemes. The portrait was so ludicrous and mendacious, the president's party hardly bothered to respond. Egged on by the Republican Party and Fox News, right-wing frothers conjured sicko fantasies and extreme accusations: the president is not only a black man (bad enough for the party of the white South); he is not even American. The vindictive GOP strategy is racial McCarthyism, demonizing this honorable man as an alien threat, just as cold war Republicans depicted left-liberal Democrats as commie sympathizers.

These Republican guys sound pretty nasty -- glad there are none around me on the Upper West Side.

I suggest that Caddell really never got on the Wonderland Express. Not being a regular Nation reader I cannot say for sure, but I think his left flank has been problematic since Jan 21, 2009. I am not certain how real this defection is -- but there is certainly the whiff of blood in the air.

UPDATE: More color:

Caddell didn't surprise me but Wapo running with it did. Greider isn't surprising either in a way, but the fact that his own text lays out a perfect argument for Obama as worthless and then walks things back, suggesting Obama is too nice or principled is astonishing. It's like he's Kerouac writing on Benzedrine and refusing to proofread.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The thing about McCarthy is...he was right. He may have been a statist, but there were indeed commies all over. But few dared to believe him.

Today, few dare to believe Obama is a socialist, and an African Marxist to be more specific. It's Obama who deserves to have shouted at him, "Have you no decency, sir!"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 18, 2010 10:35 AM
But jk thinks:

McCarthy was right that there were commies in the Truman Administration and McCarthy was right to pursue them, but McCarthy did not afford due process to his inquisitees.


At the risk of taking this tangent on a tangent, Robert Caro has a section in "Master of the Senate" that details the electoral intimidation "Tailgunner Joe" used on fellow Senators who would dare oppose him.

McCarthyism -- as I understand from Hollywood -- is the worst sin of our nation's history, but it was enabled by the 17th Amendment. Without direct election of Senators, his colleagues would have quietly redirected his energies.

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2010 11:41 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

He was not in a position to give "due process," though. He was not a judge or prosecutor, and ultimately he was just a speechmaker. He was so feared that 67 Senators still banded together to censure him, you know. Much of the maligned "McCarthyism" was actually done by the House Un-American Activities Committee, whose roots began in 1918, and whose investigations were those that created blacklists.

There were far worse sins and sinners, like FDR harboring commies and commie sympathizers in his own administration, and later FDR betraying Eastern Europe.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 19, 2010 11:52 AM

November 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

The important point is that Progressives are never wrong. Top-down reform is the only way to fix the health care system. Anthropogenic global warming is scientifically proven, and its solution requires strenuous exercise of political control over individual behavior. Deficit spending is necessary and sufficient to create jobs. Technocrats can make banks too regulated to fail. Markets without technocratic control are like adolescents without adult supervision. Individual happiness can be improved by political authorities using scientific knowledge. Concentrated political power is the wave of the future, and it is good. -- ThreeSources Favorite, Arnold Kling
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Physics. Economics, Remain Unappealed

Rant alert. Skip to the next topic for reasoned, informed commentary...

I have a new most-hated commercial. After bravely defending Toyota in the Christine-Prius imbroglio, this proud owner is ready to file off the logo from his MR2. Anybody who watched football this weekend (how 'bout them Broncos?) probably saw it a few times. A young man drives around in his Toyota Hybrid with a young child. Precious as can be the driver (not the four year old, mind you) suggests that Toyota's regenerative braking should be employed on the roller coaster "to create a self-sustaining amusement park."

At last! Perpetual motion is discovered! The Second Law of Thermodynamics is repealed! You capture energy from the descending coaster and use it to send it back up! And light the lights! And make the popcorn! And power nearby communities!

There's a web site where you can post your own sanctimonious ideas, irrespective of any knowledge of physics or chemistry.

Or economics! In a similar vein, Kenneth P. Green (It's the eponymy, stupid!) says I Told You So California...

Despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, will close one of its manufacturing plants, lay off 40 permanent and 150 contract workers, delay expansion plans of a new plant largely financed with the government-guaranteed loan and scale back production capacity more than 50 percent.

Despite the hype and tax money, Solyndra seems unable to compete with Chinese manufacturers, whose prices are lower.


Did California listen? No, they've got a plan to put generators on roller coasters...

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Toyota's plan will work if they just outfit the roller coaster with a gasoline engine.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 15, 2010 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I blame the President, who told us we could drive hybrid cars all day and then plug them in at home to make our meters run backwards.

But what's with Solyndra? The China problem is easy: Bigger subsidies! After all, "China is dumping solar panels in the US market. Tariffs! Domestic incentives! Quick!" [yawn]

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2010 3:31 PM

On The Asia Trip

I thought Charles Krauthammer and I were going to have a big metaphorical gimpy guys group hug. Insty linked to his WaPo editorial defending President Obama's Excellent Indian Adventure.

I winced when I first heard the cost, but it was not the First Lady's vacation, it was an official Presidential visit to the most important emerging economy in the world. When he championed their inclusion to the UN Security Council, I thought he had paid the bar tab for the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel a few times over. I must now admit my first impulse was wrong.

Dr. Krauthammer defends the trip as well. Starting with the "American Exceptionalism" defense:

It is protested that Britain's prime minister took a British Air flight when he traveled here in July. So what? To be blunt about it: A once-imperial middle power flies commercial; America flies colossal. Why do you think we built that 747 flying palace emblazoned with the presidential insignia - if not to land to awestruck crowds wherever it goes?

There was grumbling about the White House taking over every room at Mumbai's five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel. What is the Secret Service to do? Allow suites to be let to, say, groups of Pakistani madrassa instructors?


Instead, however, of continuing that future free trade would pay for the trip, K goes off into China bashing. I'll let you read the link but his acceptance is predicated on breaking sino hegemony, I would advance US-Indian relations.

Either way, I'd call the Indian success worth the cost. I'm distraught that all the King's horses could not put together a bilateral trade deal with South Korea, But -- with this President -- I was happy to win one.

But johngalt thinks:

Y'all haven't mentioned the President's latest example of hypocrisy: If the British Prime Minister can fly British Airways then mister "no world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed" can fly British Airways.

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2010 3:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't wish to question the veracity of tg's sources, but I would like to recruit ideas for a project.

Snopes is a gift from the Internet Gods and it seems both heretical and churlish to question it. But it is clearly not well staffed enough to be 100% accurate, and it has a decidedly leftward (pro-collectivist) bias.

I think Snopes needs a competitor. Really, everybody I know questions facts when I cite the NYTimes or the Wall Street Journal -- yet Snopes.com, with its 1994 web graphics is sacrosanct.

I envision a crowdsourced competitor with users logging in to vote and provide alternative viewpoints ("No, President Obama is not a Muslim, be he is a real git sometimes...")

Ideas?

Posted by: jk at November 15, 2010 5:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"somebody who does not want to pay for courts."

No, you have that all wrong. I don't want to be forced to pay for courts.

"Trade and diplomatic relations with India are hugely important to me."

You cite Lal, but even he never went as far as you claim. Again, if you think it's important, then YOU are perfectly free to put up your own money. Leave my pocketbook out of it.

Trade is all fine and dandy, but who is paying for it? Will I really benefit? And if so, why must I be coerced into paying taxes for it?

Remember the simple test: if it's such a good idea, why must people be forced into it? It's because, as in all cases with government, someone doesn't want any part of it, but everyone else can't do it without seizing his property to help pay for it.

"But if this trip promotes trade, I'm in."

Obama could have easily stayed at the White House and announced a lifting of all restrictions on Indian-American trade, instead of jetting around to "impress" the world. How about unlimited visas for Indians, who'd then send money back home, allowing them to buy more American-made goods? Or building more call centers with that new capital?

There's absolutely nothing a government can do to "promote" trade, except by leaving people free to do the trade. Businesses in both countries already know what they'd like to do, and all too well what they can't.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 16, 2010 10:41 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

TG, take anything from Snopes with a grain of salt when it comes to their defense of any leftists. Maybe it didn't cost that much, but then how much did it? Even if you accept the concept of a government that will steal your bread so Louis XVI can eat, why aren't you demanding an accounting?

Don't you find it curious that the White House won't release dollar figures, though a general "Security costs" could certainly suffice? What's so secretive that they can't even reveal that?

Clinton's trip cost $4000 per person, 12 years ago. Double that because of fuel costs, simple inflation, and the Obamas' expensive tastes in "impressing" everyone. This is YOUR money, MY money, not Obama's. Let him pay his own damn way instead of forcing the rest of us to put up so much as a plug nickel.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 16, 2010 10:52 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Snopes sites their sources (including a pair of bemused WSJ journalists and Fox News) so I am fine standing by them. Snopes was also the website that pointed towards the 'fore mentioned GAO reports.

I would love to see precise dollar amounts as to the trip's cost. But then again, I would like to see precise dollar amounts for many things the government spends my money on. I can think of two dozen weapons systems (not to mention liberty-stripping homeland 'security' systems) whose are also hidden, and all together they will not provide half the value of this trip.

Better not to spend effort 'demanding an accounting' on this trip before TARP and stimulus funds have been audited. The GOP should have been pushing for a TARP audit for a year now.... in the event that it happens there will be enough scandal and corruption to keep democrats ducking for cover for a good election season.... and such an expose might be just what is needed to shame politicians into never doing such a thing again.

The same applies to Stimulus money, though I imagine public outrage will be less.


To sum it up: Obama's trip is a small matter compared to other cases of largess and corruption. Our means and time are limited. Better to catch the big fish than get distracted by the small ones.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 16, 2010 6:21 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The discussion didn't start with TARP, so don't try changing the topic just because something's worse. It started about a trip that even that idiot Krauthammer excuses, because according to him it impresses the world. Apparently it was so impressive that Obama failed to achieve any of his goals...which turns out wasn't such a bad thing. The trade with India, big deal. American companies only needed the feds to get the hell out of the way.

I refuse to excuse any of it. Fish of all sizes are caught in my net: if it's such a good idea, why must I be forced into it? But such is the nature of the state.

You may not mind paying for the military, but I do now. I likewise mind paying for everything else I'm coerced into. This is hardly an "alliance," no matter how much you'd like to sugar-coat it. If I offered to contribute to a military you wanted in exchange for you contributing to a social program I wanted, it's different so long as it's all voluntary. But what we have, because it's a government, is that I'm forced to pay for all these things I don't want, because others couldn't have them if they paid for it themselves. Ergo I and others must be forced in.

It's that "voluntary" word that you and JK just don't seem to get.

"such an expose might be just what is needed to shame politicians into never doing such a thing again."

Good luck with that. How do you think Murkowski's write-in campaign was so successful? Politicians know they can get support from all those who suckle at the state's teats, and "the people" by and large don't care about the corruption, so long as they get a share of other people's taxes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 18, 2010 11:00 AM

The Three Worst Words in Computing

1990: Abort, Retry Fail? 2000: Blue Screen Death 2010: Java Update Available
Technology Posted by John Kranz at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 14, 2010

A Racist Joke for Y'all

My opinions stand, but one must appreciate a good joke:

The day it all started was March 6, 1836.

On that fateful day, Davy Crockett woke up and rose from his bunk on the main floor of the Alamo.

He then walked up to the observation post along the west wall of this fort.

William B. Travis and Jim Bowie were already there, looking out over the top of the wall.

These three great men gazed at the hordes of Mexicans moving toward them.

With a puzzled look on his face, Crockett turned to Bowie and said...

"Jim, are we having some landscaping done today?"


HT: My (biological) brother via email.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

Obama himself once said to Diane Sawyer: "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." He now has the chance to deliver on that idea. -- Pat Caddell, WaPo Ed Page
Ow! That's gotta sting! Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: I thought this was a WaPo Editorial (corrected) and was, to use a technical term, gobsmacked. Caddell is a moderate and it is much less of a shock coming from him. I will not rescind QOTD honors, it's still a good line!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

How about "really crappy one-term president"? Was that listed as an option anywhere?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 13, 2010 9:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't care what kind of one-term president he is.

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2010 3:47 PM

November 12, 2010

I See QE2 being pulled out of Mexico by six Tugs...

Professor Mankiw (and I) posted this on Nov 2, but I fear I got lost in election season.

So -- on the big day -- I'll spin it once more for Helicopter Ben and all the dudes and dudettes out there in listener-land. Curtis Threadbare, babies:



November 11, 2010

Damn That Independent Connecticut Jew!

Gotta give WaPoWünderkind Ezra Klein credit. He pens a reflection on the 2010 election I have not heard before: It's all Joe Lieberman's fault!

The health-care law doesn't really kick into effect until 2014. There are a couple of reasons for that. The most legitimate is that it takes some time to properly set up exchanges and subsidies, to dialogue with the industry and advocacy groups so the regulations work for both consumers and providers, and to give the various stakeholders time to adjust to the new rules and transition smoothly.

The less legitimate -- but perhaps more important -- reason was that self-described moderates in Congress (and eventually the President of the United States) arbitrarily decided that the bill shouldn't spend more than $900 billion over its first 10 years, no matter whether the bill cut and taxed its way to deficit neutrality. But for the system to work, it would have to spend more than that implied on a per-year basis. So the legislation's architects simply delayed its start. That way, the 10-year price tag was only capturing six years of spending. That got them to a per-year number that could actually work.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

Heartless

I completely lack the gift of empathy:

SAN DIEGO – A disabled cruise liner inched into San Diego Bay on Thursday after three nightmarish days adrift on the Pacific, sparking cheers from passengers who disembarked and described limited food, backed-up toilets and dark cabins.

Nightmarish? Hell, I have much worse nightmares than backed up toilets on a cruise ship.

The humanity.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Backed-up toilets at home are bad, but at least you can drive to a hotel or stay at someone else's place. At least you can drive to a restaurant with power when electricity goes out at home.

It could have been even worse. They could have been bused 50 miles through Mexico, as originally planned. Gee, how smart of Carnival to name where they were going, so that the drug gangs could plan massive holdups. Remember "The Gauntlet" with Clint Eastwood?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 12, 2010 11:17 AM
But jk thinks:

No. The lovely bride is our house's Eastwood fan, but she's bringing me up to speed.

I see your point, Perry, it's not that I was wishing I was there. But the media coverage I've seen has highlighted the horror of this. I'll go as far as uncomfortable and inconvenient. But read Jack Dunphy's story about the six year old shot in his backyard on Halloween, or consider our soldiers in Afghanistan, a Chinese political prisoner, or a citizen of Cuba.

A bunch of middle class folks who had a cruise experience go south doesn't trip my tragedy threshold.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2010 11:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That is because you take a larger world view than does the media. In our "land-o-plenty" if you have to endure empty grocer's shelves you've been mistreated.

Put in a more academic perspective: If Adam Smith were alive today he wouldn't write about the unique conditions that created "The Wealth of Nations" but the myopia that continues to nurture "The Poverty of Nations." [Credit for this expression to the Hillsdale College professor on Mike Rosen's show today.]

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2010 2:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I was in no way arguing there aren't worse things, but "There are worse things" is generally a nonsensical argument, and it's not applicable here anyway.

A child shot on Halloween: it's probably par for the course for that neighborhood.

Soldiers in Afghanistan: that's what they signed up for.

China and Cuba: normal, expected life.

This was a situation that no amount of money could have extricated the passengers from. Families can move out of bad neighborhoods. Soldiers at least have a fighting chance, generally speaking. Cubans escape on boats. Chinese flee into the jungles. "Okies" during the Depression traveled as far as California and New York, packing up whatever they could in their cars. This is having just a bedroom, no electricity, limited cold food, and backed-up toilets, no matter what you do.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 13, 2010 11:26 AM

Otequay of the Ayday

From a WSJ story on the unofficial proposal floated by the President's deficit commission today:

Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) said he wouldn't vote for it, saying that "there are things in there that I hate like the devil hates holy water."

Interesting choice of analogies for this tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.

But jk thinks:

Sen. Durbin (D - Undead) might well be a Vapmire -- he's got the complexion and the conscience.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2010 12:00 PM

Short Everything!

...except bottled water and ammo, of course...

A great friend of this blog emails this link adding only the comment "Heaven Help Us."

Who will replace Larry Summers as the director of the National Economic Council? One well-placed source of mine claims it is likely to be Jared Bernstein, currently VP Joe Biden’s economic guru.

Jared is wonderful guy whom I frequently debated on CNBC when he worked at the Economic Policy Institute. But he is definitely a pro-union, pro-tax liberal whom business would frown upon. I would guess he, like Christina Romer, also would have preferred to have seen a bigger stimulus package in 2009.


The CNBC debates Mister Pethokoukis alludes to are guest appearances on Kudlow & Company. Bernstein was the go to guy to hear the conventional collectivist opinion on an issue. Anybody who has watched much Kudlow will not be sleeping well with the threat of Bernstein's having a policy role (VP Biden's Economic Advisor was a cartoonish enough post, I don't think it scared anyone).


Coffeehousin'



Coffeehouse

That Old Black Magic


"How can you not close out the Halloween medley with Johnny Mercer's 'That Old Black Magic?'"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


Very special guest this week! Be sure to scroll down and see Larry Henley singing his #1 hit "Wind Beneath My Wings."

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Catchy tune!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 11, 2010 11:51 AM

November 10, 2010

Political Salesmanship of the Income Tax

New commenter "PoppaGary" (welcome!) explains that Washington State's defeated "income tax for the rich" was distrusted, in part, because "in Washington, most initiatives can be changed after 2 yrs by a simple majority of the Legislature" and "based on their past behavior, in 2 yrs they would have forced it on everyone." This reminded me of the way the federal income tax was foisted upon Americans in 1913. It was justified as a tax "only on the rich."

I did some crude analysis based on data for income tax rates and brackets [Table 1.] and using an inflation calculator:

Beginning in 1913 the income tax was levied against "adjusted gross income" as it is today. Considering just the personal exemptions the tax was zero on the first $3000 of earnings for single persons or $4000 for married couples. Adjusted for inflation from 1913 to 2010 these tax floors are equivalent to $66,193.64 and $88,258.18, respectively.

The tax on adjusted incomes up to $20,000 ($441,290.91) was just 1 percent, or a maximum of $200 ($3,750.97).

The top tax bracket was for adjusted incomes over $500,000 ($11,032,272.73) and was just 7 percent.

These numbers make today's argument that individuals earning over $200,000 are "the rich" pretty da_n laughable: $200,000 today is equivalent to $9,064.32 in 1913 dollars, resulting in a tax of $90.64 ($1999.93.) I don't make anywhere near 200K but I'd gladly trade my tax burden for that of 1913's version of "the rich."


Next Thing, They'll Say We Can't Eat Babies!

I guess it is admirable for the WSJ Ed Page to post content outside its preferred ideological framework. They don't want to be MSNBC.

But I do not miss Thomas Frank (or really even Al Hunt). The occasional responses from an elected Democrat or former statesman are always worth a read, but presenting the other side just to say you did provides unfulfilling content.

Case in point, Zoltan Hajnal, an associate professor of political science at U.C. San Diego. His piece today states that the GOP should be concerned because amid its victories, the party relied on higher concentrations of white voters, And that demographic shifts threaten the party's future. Pretty good stuff so far, huh? Then some facts showing that the partisan percentages of minority votes remain pretty constant. Interesting -- but what's a party to do?

Republicans thus face a real dilemma. They may be able to gain over the short term by continuing their current strategy of ignoring or attacking minorities. But that is short-sighted.

Don't get me wrong (Associate) Professor Hajnal makes a valid if not particularly original point. Surely the GOP will have to make better inroads into the minority community, One hopes that Tea Party principles and high profile minority candidates like Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio will help. But the faculty-lounge wisdom of "ignoring or attacking minorities" adds nada to the debate -- and makes one wonder if any of Hajnal's books go back before 1965.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Happy Birthday, USMC

I can think of no better way to celebrate than by ordering some Devil Dog Brew coffee.

devil_dog_15percent.gif

Our friend Hank is offering 15% off today's orders -- Semper Fi, Hank!

But jk thinks:

Okay, my Christmas shopping is done...

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2010 11:59 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Foxnews.com has an article today titled, "Which Animal has the Largest Testicles?"

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/10/animal-biggest-testicles/?test=latestnews

My immediate thought was "A United States marine." Semper Fi!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 10, 2010 12:13 PM

Three Cheers for the ACLU!

If this story does not chill you...

Jameson Hospital, where Isabella Rodriguez was born on April 27, has a policy of testing expectant mothers' urine for illegal drugs and reporting positive results to LCCYS, even without any additional evidence that the baby is in danger of neglect or abuse. LCCYS, in turn, has a policy of seizing such babies from their homes based on nothing more than the test result. Unfortunately for Isabella's parents, Elizabeth Mort and Alex Rodriguez, Jameson sets the cutoff level for its opiate test so low that it can be triggered by poppy seeds, which is why two caseworkers and two Neshannock Township police officers visited their home the day after baby and mother returned from the hospital. LCCYS seized the three-day-old girl and put her in foster care for five days before conceding it had made a mistake.

The ACLU does not get a ton of love on these pages, but hip-hip-hooray, baby!

What kind of world lets a government take a new baby from her parents? Based on a goddam drug test? Even if the test was not a false positive -- hands up those who think the child is better in foster care. Mandatory drug tests for parenthood?

I've only one question mark remaining: Citizens or Subjects?

UPDATE: The PA-ACLU Case

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [24]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The issue isn't that complex. The fundamental problems are only two. The first is that there's the political contraption called "the state," which has the absolute authority to determine arbitrarily that it can seize our children. The second is that most people today are cowards, lacking the will to act.

By what authority did the government seize Isabella? None, really, but people accepted that the government had it, never questioning why. Look at this state-worshippers' tripe, in which he begs his own question. Essentially his argument is that government is needed for order, for virtue, for prosperity, because he says only government can provide them. It's because of such blindness that government can impose its will via raw force, which is how other criminals commit violence anyway.

So Isabella was to be taken away for her own good, and there was nothing the parents could have done. Unless they wanted to get themselves killed, that is, because to defend their daughter and themselves, they'd have ultimately needed to use deadly force to fight off the "authorities" so empowered to kidnap their child. Meanwhile, all the hospital staff, and probably everyone else, would have just stood there.

This ties into the second, that most people are cowards. It's easier for hospital staff to assume, "Well, they're police, they must have good reason," than. It's easier for police to seize a newborn, than for them to be good neighbors and march upon someone's house when they're pretty sure.

If I were beating my children, then by God my neighbors should do something about it themselves, instead of waiting for the gummint. I'm not talking about old-fashioned discipline when a child deserves it, but what happened to Nixzmary Brown. (It was big news in NY. Google her name and see if you can read through the whole Wikipedia entry without crying.) Wouldn't you try to intervene, as Moses did when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, when someone's committing a wrongful act upon another?

People throw around "Don't take matters into your own hands," when in fact that's the courageous thing to do. You're not waiting for someone else to get his hands dirty, to risk his life, to enforce some arbitrary set of statutes and behavioral codes. You're using your own mind, your own physical ability, to enforce what's right. And what is right? Well, can't we judge for ourselves? Didn't God give us brains?

Moreover, you're entrusting the task to only yourself, instead of hoping "the system" will work. We don't have a justice system, only a judicial system. A court is not concerned with what's right, but with what is "according to the law." It doesn't dispense justice, only verdicts and punishments according to its arbitrarily interpreted procedures.

And should someone wrong me grievously even though he thought he was doing right, he'll find himself burning to death in his own house. It comes down to being damn sure before you commit an act that you can't take back -- what a pity the government doesn't do that, huh?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 12, 2010 1:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sorry, Perry, I don't think it's that black-and-white. But I will give you this: you have shown an element of caring for the child that has been lacking from any other counter-argument. All of the other arguments have said, "The child is ALWAYS better off with a parent," which your example clearly illustrates is not true. Thousands of such examples exist.

I will also agree with you that individual people must step up, and the more they do so, the less we need government. Our family has taken in a young lady thrown out by her parents and helped her finish high school. I have also taken in a homeless, alcoholic friend to try to help him get back on his feet and beat the addition. None of this with was with government interference nor compenstation.

I will also agree that neighbors should step in to bad situations. However, this is where we will disagree. Yes, private parties should step up when possible, but there are not always willing people (including family members) to do so.

Now, the real disagreement: Should neighbors step in according to their own dictates or according to some rule of law? I say rule of law. For example, I would not want my neighbor to take away my child because I swatted him on the butt, even though that fits my neighbor's definition of "abuse." Moreover, let's define "neighbor." Governments are not amorphous objects. They are made up of people, who are our neighbors. We need to elect decent, common sense people who appoint decent, common sense judges who can then act as appropiate "neighbors" when private efforts fail.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 12, 2010 1:47 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, I don't argue that every situation is black or white, but that the basic principle is. Each situation must be judged according to its particular circumstances. A child may not necessarily be better off with either party. Perhaps a boy is being whipped brutally at home, but it's a pedophile neighbor wishing to "save" him.

Like I said, the situation must be thought through. Carefully. The police and courts don't, because they're too busy with "the law" and not what's just and proper, they're rarely held accountable for their mistakes, and it's not their money anyway. Something we didn't even get into, but what I've talked about before, is that I and every other unwilling taxpayer help fund the tragedies, whether it's paying police who kidnap children or fail to save others. When I'm not coerced, I have my own resources to devote to what I think needs a dose of justice.

When it's your life, your fortune, your sacred honor on the line, you're going to fight even harder. You're also going to question yourself before doing a thing: is this worth it? Say the kid next door is beaten every night, because you can hear him. The wife regularly has black eyes, her arm's now in a sling, and she says she keeps falling down. What do you do?

Well, the father's a real redneck, and his inbred cousins often come over. You know they all have weapons. What do you do?

As Bastiat defined law, "It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense." Are there enough people of enough courageous to do what's right? To keep themselves sufficiently armed so they can do what's right? Or will they leave it to someone else?

"but there are not always willing people (including family members) to do so."

That is where people fail twice: firstly because of their cowardice, and secondly because their cowardice spawns government. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, right?

You talk about "rule of law." Which law, and written by whom? The law that makes good people wait two years to adopt a baby, but allows greedy bastards to become professional foster parents? I knew the latter, and I knew the facts because I unfortunately knew the mother. They'd take in foster child after foster child because it was profitable, spending a portion of the monthly stipend on themselves. Child Services probably still hasn't caught up with them.

"Neighbor" was defined well in Luke 10:25-37. "Neighbor" comes down to whosoever is courageous enough to do something. The priest, i.e. the legal authority of the Jews, ignored him. So did the Levite, of the tribe who administered the Law of Moses. It was the Samaritan, of a people not regarded at all, who stopped to help.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

"We need to elect decent, common sense people who appoint decent, common sense judges"

Good luck with that. I sooner trust to my own judgment.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 13, 2010 4:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

BR Wrote:
"your solution is to never take a kid away from the parents?"

Easy now, 20, 19, 18....

No, I didn't say that. I agreed with JK, and he didn't say "never take a kid away." I thought we were discussing the case of an undeclared blood test being shared with a state agency w/o disclosure. THAT's what I'm agin... also the idea that substance abuse that causes a child to be underdeveloped is considered an after the fact crime (aka, willful endangerment).

Yes, I think the state can step in, but only when the kid's current safety are at risk. Yes, I realize how hard this is to prove, and thereby why some State agencies therefore are more proactive than the letter of the law allows.

In Issie Rodriguez's case: I'm 110% with JK, and the state should be smacked back. I hope the little one is OK, and is back with her parents.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 14, 2010 12:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Not never. Safe, legal (due process), and rare.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2010 12:01 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Yes, I think the state can step in, but only when the kid's current safety are at risk."

But the problem is that Neshannock Township police did just that. They said the daughter was in danger, and the nature of the state is such that no one, NO ONE, can question it.

This was a case of kidnapping, and every goddamn pig involved deserves a slow death.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 15, 2010 1:30 PM

November 9, 2010

Something for Everybody

Mother Jones author Chris Lehmann disses Ayn Rand on Reason.tv: enjoy

But johngalt thinks:

Lehmann doesn't think that "unions are all powerful" and "class warfare is the order of the day" today. I think there is far too much of both of these political-economic poisons.

And no, the point in Atlas Shrugged was not that the geniuses were "misunderstood" but that their contributions to society were handed over by the geniuses for little or no compensation - voluntarily - coerced by altruistic guilt. The crucial "misunderstanding" was in the minds of the geniuses themselves.

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

You're remarkably calm. The Jacket is being polite, but I'd suggest this as the final coffin nail in Brink Lindsay's "Liberaltarianism." At the end of the day, there is so little convergence between Lehmann and, well, sentient individuals.

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2010 3:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can afford to be calm these days. I'm reading her book! (again)

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2010 2:56 PM

Who watches this?

There is nobody I'd listen to on culture more than Virginia Postrel. Even if she refuses to allow Dennis Miller to call her "Ginny." (Anybody else see that?)

Today she opines in the WSJ (and Insty links) on the cultural significance of the TV show "The Big Bang Theory." She suggests that our heroes used to be the guys who stole lunch money, but in a post Gatesian-Zuckerbergian world, the lowly geek is now the star.

The characters on "The Big Bang Theory" offer a welcome alternative to the cultural politics of elitism and populism. They neither eat arugula nor follow Nascar. They regularly frequent the Cheesecake Factory, where their pretty foil Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is a waitress. They've hit Las Vegas. But they also build fighting robots, have equation-filled white boards in their living room and know (to the degree anyone does) what dark matter is.

Ginny's column is suburb as usual. I wonder if any ThreeSourcers number themselves among the 15 million who watch this show.

I have had quite a few intelligent and trustworthy friends recommend it to me, assuring that I'd love the little physics and math quips in the dialogue. I watched once and was unimpressed. Last week Eliza Dushku was guest starring so I gave it another shot. But I simply cannot handle the sitcom format. The pacing, production and laugh track make me want to slit my wrists.

I feel comfortable snobbishly deriding it, but several people of whom I think highly dig it. Now including Ms. Postrel. Any fans 'round these parts?

Television Posted by John Kranz at 9:51 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I may have heard the name somewhere, and that's about it. Good thing I never wasted my time on it. It sounds like a TV equivalent of "Moulin Rouge": one of the worst movies I've ever seen, but most who rave about it are merely poseurs trying to seem cultured and sophisticated.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 9, 2010 11:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's the show with Doogie Howser in it, right? I've never been tempted to tune in. Sitcom aversion: check. Too many shows on my DVR schedule already: check. Already know that geeks are cool: double-check.

Here's my question... How many of them do their own auto repairs and home handyman jobs? Renaissance men - those are my heroes. (When Kaylee wasn't around Mal could still work on the Firefly's power plant.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2010 3:04 PM
But Terri thinks:

I'll admit to watching it. I like a short mindless sitcom and it's enjoyable to see tv people who are not afraid to quote Star Trek or bow to Joss Whedan.
It's a geek parade of people who want to fit in soemwhere, though in reality they fit right in with their group of friends.

Guest stars of course always suck, and Eliza did it no good.

Posted by: Terri at November 9, 2010 3:48 PM

Special Guest @ liveatthecoffeehouse.com

Coffeehouse

Wind Beneath my Wings

"All my guests are special at Live at the Coffeehouse.com and all my special guests are number 1.

But Cousin Syd caught Lenny Henley singing a sweet version of the beautiful #1 Billboard hit he co-wrote with Jeff Silbar, and I am pleased to bring it to you in this week's guest slot."


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com



November 8, 2010

I [HEART] AMAZON!

Somewhere in some computer migration, I mislaid the files to Renee Olstead's brilliant sophomore album, Skylark.

I was afraid I had bought it on iTunes, but no -- I purchased if from AmazonMP3. So, I go to my library and download another copy of DRM-free MP3s that play anywhere.

They lack the selection of el Diablo del Cupertino, but it is worth checking there first. (BTW, The Renee Olstead album gets five stars)

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 7:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Not a Fight We Need

Color me tired of the leadership fight between Reps Michelle Bachman and Jeb Hensarling of TX. This is ginned up in the media (and my Daily Dick Viguerie email) as an important signal that the GOP is embracing the Tea Party.

Merciful Frozen Zeus on a Stick! I mean, I love the work Michelle did with The Guess Who, and some of the BTO stuff is good, but this is a fight we do not need at a time we don't need it. It's not like Hensarling is Jerry Lewis or Ted Stevens. He's a proven leader whom I trust to be very good on spending and limited government.

UPDATE: Maybe it was Randy Bachman who was in The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner-Overdrive. Sorry, I get those guys confused all the time...


Quote of the Week Last Week

I missed this gem on the third:

No matter what happens, for now, we can look forward to two glorious years of hyper-partisan acrimonious gridlock: Washington's most moral and productive state. -- David Harsanyi

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Maddow, Glass Houses, Rocks, etc.

I hate 24-hour news networks. Two talking heads yelling at each other and usually eschewing the main points of whatever issue they are discussing. Nevertheless, apparently liberal talk show host Keith Olberman was suspended for donating money to Democratic candidates. Rachel Maddow responded by basically saying that the folks at Fox air direct political advertisements on their shows. Unfortunately for Maddow, somebody actually watches MSNBC and compiled some video clips. Hilarity ensues:

Television Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 3:49 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I watched a little MSNBC on election night, because the livebloggers were enjoying the obvious turmoil and overheated rhetoric. I generally pretend they do not exist, and from the ratings, I don't think I'm alone.

No love lost for Ms. Maddow or the guy who wasn't even smart enough to call football, but it saddens me to see Chris Matthews. I have enjoyed a few of his books and his contribution to cable news punditry should not be forgotten. Sad to see.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2010 6:03 PM

Voters for Property Rights

In last Tuesday's election 1,339,522 Washington State voters chose not to "demand the unearned" when they rejected Initiative 1098 by a whopping 2-1 margin. What did this Democrat-leaning state find so objectionable? I-1098 proposed a new state income tax on people making $200,000 per year or more (adjusted gross income.) A chief advocate for the proposal, Bill Gates Sr., said "Our tax code is unfair" and "Poor people and middle-income people are paying too much to support the state and rich people aren't paying enough. That's the starting point for me." Is it also unfair that poor people get exactly the same number of votes as rich people - one per person? Why then is it unfair that everyone pay an equal share of the cost of running the state?

Michelle Malkin uses the Washington result to urge "outing" the White House's "war on wealth."

I-1098's promoters tried to disguise their wealth-suppression vehicle as tax "relief" by tossing in a few stray targeted cuts. But they were called out by a judge and slapped with a court order to make the income tax burden explicit in the ballot title.

If only the taxmen in Washington, D.C., were required to do the same. Obama's budget proposal is a soak-the-rich scheme adorned with a few business tax breaks that would -- for starters -- impose nearly $1 trillion in higher taxes on couples making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000. Some "relief."

Now a few words on those who did attempt to "demand the unearned." The I-1098 campaign was naturally supported by donations from Bill Gate's Sr., in the amount of $600,000, but also by many thousands of unwitting supporters who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA.) These two unions were the measure's 1st and 2nd highest donors, respectively giving a combined $3.3 million. And they committed a moral crime by using union dues to lobby for this new tax against the wishes of doubtless thousands of members. In essence, the unions used unearned dues from coerced members to buy the megaphones they used to demand unearned tax dollars from productive Washingtonians.

But they failed. For their effort, however, I will thank them for the referendum that proves the unpopularity of their "fairness" scheme. Hope for liberty still flickers.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Now there's an idea - let's get someone to sponsor a Constitutional amendment whereby each citizen gets one vote per dollar of federal income tax paid. It would go nowhere, but the resulting uproar from the left would graphically highlight our inequitable tax system.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 8, 2010 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

For a mere thirty pieces of silver, you can read a good piece in the WSJ Ed Page today as well:

So what's the matter with Washington? Clearly, its middle-class residents understand an economic reality that eludes Mr. Gates and many other already-rich advocates of higher taxes: The absence of an income tax has been Washington's greatest comparative advantage over its high-income tax neighbors in California and Oregon. Texas Governor Rick Perry even sent a letter to Washington state's biggest employers, inviting them to move to no-income-tax Texas.

The larger message, which also eludes the nation's leading proponent of soak-the-rich tax ideas--the fellow in the Oval Office--is that the average person simply doesn't believe that the taxers will stop with the wealthy. To protect both themselves and the greater economy outside their windows, voters prefer a tax system whose rates aren't rising--on anyone.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2010 4:27 PM
But PoppaGary thinks:

Part of the reason we voted this measure down was the fact that in Washington, most initiatives can be changed after 2 yrs by a simple majority of the Legislature. Based on their past behavior, in 2 yrs they would have forced it on everyone.
We had to re-implement the law requiring a super majority to pass tax increases after they repealed it once the 2 yr window was up. Their reason?: it was a fiscal emergency! BUT, if so, then they should not have had any problems getting a super majority (60%) to pass the increases as the PEOPLE wanted.
Gary

Posted by: PoppaGary at November 10, 2010 1:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for bringing that up, PG. (And welcome to our commentariat.) As I read about I-1098 I couldn't stop thinking about my father's explanation of America's first federal income tax: "It was a small percentage on only the highest earners and was gradually revised to soak the middle-class." It is no great conspiracy theory to suspect that I-1098 backers in Washington State had similar intent.

(See above soon for a post on the original income tax.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2010 2:44 PM

Christine O'Donnell

Chris Chillizza joins Senator Jim DeMint (R - SC) in speculating that Christine O'Donnell could have won her Delaware Senate race, "had she not been so 'maligned' by the national GOP."

I'll let the pollsters slice and dice the exit polls. But I must comment on media treatment in the very post discussing her chances. The lead paragraph starts "Over the weekend South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint suggested that marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell..."

Now. I've worked as a "Marketing Consultant" and hate to come across as maligning that important field of industry BUT, clearly Chillizza is denigrating her achievements. The modifier "political newcomer" could have communicated the idea less pejoratively.

And here is the photo his editors chose to decorate the post. After a lengthy Senatorial campaign, our nation's primary political newspaper does not have a less candid image in its photo files?

odonnell.jpg

I'll answer Chillizza: yes, she could have won but it would have required a moderately balanced press. So, no, she didn't have a chance.


Quote of the Day

Writing in today's New York Post, Michael Goodwin:

Obama's problems are magnified by Pelosi's daffy decision to try to become minority leader. Having led her House troops to a historic defeat, her announcement that "our work is not finished" reads like a parody.

Any more "work" of her kind and the country will be finished.


Quote of the Day Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:49 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

House minority leadership is pretty inconsequential, is it not? Only political insiders had any clue who Rep. Boehner was, which made their campaign to run against him pretty silly. I think a smaller, more insular, more collectivist Democratic House Caucus will be served well by Rep. Pelosi's leadership, And the GOP will be well served in 2012 running against her.

Win-Win!

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2010 11:12 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Minority leadership usually is inconsequential to the electorate, unless it is a high-profile personality with through-the-roof negatives.

Another money quote from Goodwin in the same article was this:

Because the president already ruled out dumping Joe Biden, the Dem lineup for 2012 is set: Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Reid. How's that for change?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 8, 2010 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Ike Skelton is gone -- completely different look...

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2010 12:19 PM

The Lindsay Lohan of States

You're pretty and all...

Instead, we're making bets on how long it will be before your next meltdown. Oh, wait--you're already melting down.

You've racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn't include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you'll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years.

Your government's run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they're not taxing or spending, they're creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren't for your sunny climate.


From Allysia Finley, a "lapsed Californian" on OpinionJournal.com.

I can't throw stones. Our fair state has looked at the other 49 Brandeisian laboratories of democracy, pointed to California, and said: "That One!' We're right behind ya...

UPDATE: My. Oh. My. Insty links to a list of California State agencies. Like John Stossel's boxes of Federal Regulations he keeps as a prop on set. The length of this list speaks to fiscal irrectitude.

More importantly, how free can anybody feel or be in a State with that many regulatory bodies?

California Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 6, 2010

Contented Tom Tancredo weighs his political future

Contented Tom Tancredo weighs his political future - The Denver Post

"I went to dinner at 6 o'clock and kept thinking 'This is really going to work,' " Tancredo said in an interview with The Denver Post on Thursday. "And of course it didn't. I'm content in the fact that it's part of God's plan. I just wish he wouldn't tease me so much."

I have a suggestion for your future, Mister Congressman...

CO Governor Posted by John Kranz at 4:18 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The scientific method requires that we look to reproducible results to test our hypothesis, so we need other instances of men who have run for office on the strength of their claims that God Almighty told them to run. There are two others I can recall: Jimmy Carter and Pat Robertson. The latter lost in his bid, while the former achieved the office only to prove to not be up to the task, thereby earning the title of "Worst President In The History Of The United States" - a ranking he held singlehandedly until January 20, 2009.

My conclusion, based on reproducible results, is this: when God calls upon a man to run for high office, it's probably not so much that he is a chosen leader, so much as he needs to be humbled. To date, I can recollect none who have listened.

Herein endeth the lesson.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 6, 2010 8:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Amen.

Tom said, "Unless there is some purpose, I don't know if I will go back to Republican."

Gee, I wonder if there is some purpose behind active participation in party politics...

"I hope you will join me in the Republican precinct caucuses in March, the county assemblies in April and then at the state convention in May. Besides supporting candidates who support the Contract with Colorado, help me lay the foundation for a generation of conservative leaders."
Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2010 9:09 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Beautiful, KA! Loved the comment.

I hope that Tom moves to that retirement home for kooky politicians, otherwise known as California (sorry, KA!). One kook, more or less, would go unnoticed.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 8, 2010 10:38 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

See, guys? I told you there was a reason y'all keep me around.

BR, on the notion of sending Tancredo here to California: I say go for it. He may be a kook, but we have a shortage of kooks at his end of the political spectrum here, and he might either balance out what we currently have, or his kook-fu might be safely diluted in our burgeoning political class. Who knows? The only danger is if he and Jerry Brown get too close to each other; Brown's kook-fu is strong. It would be like flushing antimatter through the warp nacelles, creating a catastrophic fission event, leaving a smoking crater where California once was.

All in all, I mean, that would be a net gain, right?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 8, 2010 12:36 PM

Error Message of the Year

YouTube stumbles a bit on the last edition of the Halloween Medley, yet who could complain?

best_500_evah.gif

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

November 5, 2010

V, Guy Fawkes and the TEA Party

I don't remember what precipitated the choice but I decided to make "V" my halloween costume this year. I watched the movie again and found it much more pleasing than on initial viewing (during the second term of the "atavistic, homophobic, warmongering" President George W. Bush.) Obviously I wasn't so defensive about possible hidden meanings this time around.

I reviewed past reviews and commentary on these pages and was reminded that we all instantly recognized that labeling V as a "terrorist" was false. (He never attacked innocent civilians, only the guilty accomplices of a totalitarian state.) While searching the web for character quotes I found this leftist review which, despite it's anti-conservative bias and failure to grasp the "terrorism" distinction, recognizes the liberty and freedom message of the film.

One of the most progressive aspects of the film is its attempt to inject optimism about political change in a world that is despairing. "Every time I have seen the world change, it was for the worse", Evey tells V, echoing the reality of an entire generation in the First World. V sets out to prove to Evey that "governments should be afraid of their people", and, despite the terrorist trappings, the film's fundamental message is that responsibility for political change lies with the mass of people, not institutions or politicians or stars.

Then why do leftists so despise the TEA Party movement, which seeks to restrict government and champion liberty via popular activism?


COEXI$T

COEXI$T

 

A well known but poorly attributed sentiment on free trade states, "If goods don't cross borders, armies will."

Frederic Bastiat wrote, "By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others."

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

All of these values are expressed through the brand new ThreeSources-dot-com bumper sticker: COEXI$T - Don't Demand the Unearned.

It stands in clear contrast to the popular "peacemonger.org" Coexist bumper sticker that promotes "religious freedom, tolerance and understanding." Not that any of these things are objectionable but they don't, in and of themselves, lead to peaceful coexistence. Free, voluntary, uncoerced trade does - and the symbol of trade is the sign of the dollar.

But johngalt thinks:

If any state capitol in the nation deserves that fate, none is more worthy than California's. Alas, it is only a bumper sticker.

Would you settle for "Its ideas are bulletproof?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2010 1:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That, or: "Its ideas are nuclear." Mine would be banned in California, while yours would merely be strangled by regulation.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 5, 2010 2:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


I want 3, but am not quite ready to set up PayPal. Soon, very soon...

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 7, 2010 1:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's the spirit - get one for each car!

I was surprised to learn that paying through PayPal, even with credit card, results in "signing up" for a PayPal account. It looks like it's mostly just to save your personal information and gain your consent to their user agreement (pages of legal jargon to protect them from the trial lawyers association.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2010 9:18 AM
But jk thinks:

NB -- I feel your pain. I have other reasons to need PayPal but it is a service that elite economists frequently describe as "icky."

I would happily intercede and pay brother jg out of my PayPal account and acept your personal check. Email jk [aht] three sources [dought] com if you'd like to pursue.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2010 11:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's where I thought it would be a good idea to have a PO box. Maybe when we're rich and famous. (Or just famous.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2010 1:37 AM

November 4, 2010

Hayek and Bacon

Not Selma and Francis Scott! Friedrich August and the porcine perfection that has taken this country by storm.

Professor Reynolds links to "A Tidy Tool fro Frying Bacon" on Amazon's Al Dente Blog. Take ten minutes and read the comments coast-to-coast.

One might think it ranks among the simplest of cooking tasks. Yet there are dozens of methods described using almost as many different tools. None include mine, which is to buy the strips prepackaged in a microwave bag.

Imagine if we were to allow Doctors the same creativity permitted to individual bacon chefs...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Is bacon still legal? Damn, I guess we've still got it pretty good in this country after all.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2010 2:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And for when things go bad, we've still got your bacon covered. After being unavailable for two decades, bacon can be had by survivalists:

http://www.campingsurvival.com/yocaba.html

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 4, 2010 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Plus, every can of that you have after the second Obama term can be traded for probably 100 rounds of ammo....

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2010 5:31 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jk, if this theoretical "second Obama term" of which you speak is as bad as some say, you'd be partially right. The ammo can get you the bacon, but don't think of it as legal tender as the medium of exchange. Think of it more like a credit card: you show the weapon, you get the bacon.

Apocalyptic jesting aside, don't be surprised if the next person to abandon the Obama administration is Hillary. The press could smell blood in the water at yesterday's press conference, and if they could smell it, the Hildabeast surely could. She's a shark par excellence, and if she senses sufficient weakness, she'll see 2012 as her biological clock's last call for a primary challenge.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 4, 2010 7:20 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, that prognostication just fell by the wayside. The Hildabeast announced she will not seek the Presidency in 2012.

Obviously, the Hildabeast reads ThreeSources, and felt the need to quash the rumor.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 5, 2010 6:07 PM
But jk thinks:

And a Clinton would never go back on his/her word. So that story's over.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2010 9:53 PM

Tea Party, Again

Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard makes an interesting observation over at NRO:


I'm not sure. I don't know what to make of the Tea Party. What is it? It's not an organization like the AARP or the AFL-CIO. There are no costs to claiming to be a member. It's not even like a political party, where you signal to the state that you belong to it. You can wake up in the morning as a tea-partier and go to sleep at night as a non-tea-partier. My feeling is that "Tea Party" has really been a way for fiscal conservatives to communicate with each other.

They've had to do that because the word "Republican" has been run through the mud. If one fiscal conservative says to another, "I'm a Republican!" that doesn't convey much information anymore. But say, "I'm a tea partier," and that is packed with information.

So my feeling is that if the Republicans in Congress redeem themselves over the next two years, fiscal conservatives will once again feel all right calling themselves Republicans, and the "Tea Party" label will fade. That would be a good thing, as it means that they have regained control over the Republican party.

2010 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

My other suggestion is to formally change the name "Republican" to "The Party of No."

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2010 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Party of NO" works for me. The problem with today's Republican party is that it's the "Party of Country Clubbers and Religious Righters and Whiny Libertarians who all used to be for smaller government." Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the effort to make it for smaller government again if it's still going to have all of that other baggage.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2010 2:23 PM

Allusion of the Day

The WSJ Ed Page: More Cowbell!

In a famous "Saturday Night Live" skit, Christopher Walken plays a legendary rock music impresario whose advice, his only advice, to a young band is "more cowbell." The actor Will Ferrell furiously pounds away on a cowbell but it's never enough for Mr. Walken, who ultimately shouts, "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!"

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke must be a fan of that skit because he is applying the same logic to monetary policy: The economy isn't growing fast enough, and the only prescription is more money.


But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

As I've been meaning to blog for a couple of weeks, but I keep getting sidetracked:

This "additional stimulus" is horse****. It's a smokescreen. Obama's puppy, Timmy, is running out of money again. China's tapped, as are Japan, South Korea and the UK. Ergo, the Fed needs to create new money, but it needs a cover story.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 4, 2010 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I remember that skit!

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2010 10:58 AM

Libertario Delenda Est

A comment to a linked piece gets promoted by Insty today. I thought it deserved the full force of ThreeSources:

I was a three term Republican Precinct Chairman from George W's first run for Governor until I retired from active politics due to my health. I say this because I have a certain amount of experience in working politics.

During those three terms I noticed who did what. The Country Club Republicans put up most of the money and provided meeting places. Important.

The religeous right provided a lot of work. It was they that walked precincts and they that worked phone banks. Very important.

The libertarians talked. The libertarians also complained. They were always too busy taking and complaining to do any work.

Perhaps things are different now, I don't know. I have been retired for twelve years. Yet from what I have read, it's still the same, the RR folks working, the CC folks contributing and the libertarians talking about how the other two groups are RUINING EVERYTHING!!!!!111!!!

I would like to say that this has changed for I have a pretty big "leave me alone" streak when it comes to politics. I got involved through my work with a shooting club, the 2A is my big issue. Yet I see no trace of a change. The libertarian wing will suck the hind tit until y'all stop talking and start working.

But johngalt thinks:

I've been talking about the RR part of this with a good friend, who tells me Christians are taught it is morally wrong to vote against their beliefs. (The key belief in question is over the competing values of individual liberty versus the life of unborn zygotes/fetuses/babies.] So until those beliefs change their votes won't either. I can see this happening, very slowly and with much consternation, and certainly much slower than the Progressive Left can adopt a completely new dogma.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2010 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

I think that is why Frank Meyers's Fusionism worked for many years. A good friend of this blog has teased me for years that the pro-lifers line up to vote when it's 40 below (not that this individual lives in Minnesota or anything...) when the pro-dope-legaization guys say "Dude, was that election yesterday? I was so gonna vote this time!"

The last great hope of this republic is that tea partiers or whatever you want to call them can work together for limited, Constitutional government. There's a chance. But the rights-based libertarians will not be running things.

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2010 3:41 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

"The Halloween medley continues (I think we can milk this for this week and next...)

Rodgers and Hart's Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

And Cousin Syd sends in a great guest video this week from the historic Blue Bird in Nashville. Scroll down one to see Tom Manning's sagacious legal counsel in "Prenup."

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Another one of my faves!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 5, 2010 10:00 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks Man!

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2010 10:36 AM

November 3, 2010

Buck Post Mortem

My blog brother jg suggested in a comment that LtGov Jane Norton would not have fared better than Weld County AG Ken Buck. Norton's staunch pro-life views would "still have been vulnerable to the well funded 'I just can't vote for that' ad campaign."

I'm not trying to be argumentative but it is important to ask whether the Tea Partiers cost the GOP a seat. I think the answer is clearly yes. Our buddies at The Denver Post suggest a turning point:

Buck appears to have lost his lead for good in a single week in late October, when he equated homosexuality with alcoholism on "Meet the Press," polls tightened up and key newspaper endorsements went to Bennet, said independent Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli.

My Facebook friends went nuts over that. Not that they were likely to vote Republican, but that was talked about more than anything else. I winced on these pages at the "I don't wear high heels" gaffe, that made it into a few ads. For better or worse, Conservatives will be portrayed as Neanderthals and need to be cautious about supplying ammo.

No, I think Norton wins in a walk. That does not mean I have regrets -- the establishment clearly deserved thumpin'. But I think we need to be honest. I'm not gonna miss Mike Castle in Delaware and I would as soon have the write in winner in Alaska be "Satan" as Ms. Murkowski. But we may have made a mistake in Colorado.

CO Senate Posted by John Kranz at 6:30 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

As you say, "Fair cop guv." But if the Post is right that Buck lost the race with the "homosexuality is a disease" gaffe then it wasn't primary voters who made the fatal mistake, it was Ken himself.

Does Ms. Norton have a more enlightened view of homosexuality? Maybe, or maybe not, but she probably would have known better than to say so on network TV.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2010 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, she's certainly more enlightened about high heels...

'Xactly my point that she would be far less likely to make the gaffe. We chose am exciting amateur candidate over the professional. She had won two statewide elections and had more experienced management and handlers at her disposal.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2010 7:09 PM
But Boulde Refugee thinks:

While agreeing with The Post's analysis, The Refugee still has no regrets. TPM candidates did pretty well; a clean-sweep was highly unlikely. This process may draft a whole new generation of articulate Conservatives and embolden them to run just as the Reagan Revolution attracted people like John Kasich and JC Watts.

Having Norton and Castle in the senate would not mean that much in this term. The only really regrettable failure was not getting Reid. Angle seemed to have done herself in with bad press finesse three days before the election. Without two unforced gaffes, we might be celebrating Buck and Angle in the Senate.

In 2012, 22 Dem senators are up and 10 are vulnerable. Let's go get 'em with principles Conservatives.

Posted by: Boulde Refugee at November 4, 2010 2:39 PM

Keystone State

Club for Growth meets the US Senate.

Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 AM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

Awesome..... was a little tight there until the end... the Dem parts of the state reported first.

Posted by: AlexC at November 3, 2010 1:39 PM

November 2, 2010

Centennial State

When I vote D, there is no quarter. Hickenlooper wins handily enough that I coulda gone Maes. Karl Rove says they're still in line in El Paso County -- that'l be good for Buck.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

The Post just gave it to Bennet. Regrets anyone?

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2010 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If you mean "would Jane Norton have fared better" my answer is no. Jane was pro-life, like Buck, and would still have been vulnerable to the well funded "I just can't vote for that" ad campaign. The message was simple - don't forget to be single-issue voters you "enlightened" unemployed feminists.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2010 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Huh, we disagree (imagine that).

I posit that Ms. Norton would absolutely have won. The single issue is strong, but Colorado has and will elect pro-life folks. The DSCC successfully demagogued the "extreme," "odd," "out there-ness" of Buck. Norton would have been a more polished, stronger candidate.

My question was whether the rebuke of the party regulars was worth it. Accepting that it cost a seat, I'm still in.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2010 12:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm glad to hear that because I see only two resolutions to the problem of insurgent candidacies in the GOP: Either the involved, fed-up, activist conservatives stay home or the salaried members of the party get fully behind the party's primary winner. You know which one I recommend.

We rabble rousers are dejected but the party regulars must be doubly so. Want better candidates? Try helping to vet all comers instead of hand-picking the next-in-line insider.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2010 4:16 PM
But jk thinks:

ThreeSourcers will be glad to hear that my blue funk dissipated and I was able to enjoy the election very much. I have high hopes for a new critical mass of pro liberty Republicans. And I feel that those who expanded government were resoundingly rebuked.

But we must all remember that the monster never dies in the horror movie on the first kill. The GOP establishment has a good life and is not apt to give up power without a constant fight.

We deride the sclerosis of "next-in-line" but it is a 200 year old tradition that keeps the downticket candidates slaving away. Replace it with a popularity contest? What?

It is also -- sadly -- defined quite a bit by the integrity of the losing candidate, is it not?

LtGov Norton did nothing to impede Buck's candidacy. I don't know that she pulled out all the stops to ensure his success, but she did not go third party. I look at Senator Murkowski (R Daddy's Seat) and Rep. Tancredo (ACP - out of jokes) who could have learned from her example.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2010 5:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


I take heart, and mightily so. Not just in the quantity of GOP electees, but more so the quality. Our state can survive a Hick guv'nor; State House & Senate are now in GOP hands, right?

For the national picture, one Allen West is worth a regiment of RINOs and more than army of Armeys. For the PLine authors wondering, "where's our Daniel Hannan?" I say, Cantor, Pence, West, Pawlenty, Jindal... pick one.

Even the GOP suit I saw (RNC? NRSC?) on a quick CNN blurb from a Montreal hotel room noted: "Yes, we're glad to have the first A-A elected to GOP seats since JC Watts, but what we're even more pleased with is that they are both solid conservatives."

As far as poor candidates from GOP/CO, I say: get involved. Hannan said THE big difference between our democracy and those in the EU is open primaries. So the CO GOP has forgotten all that or is squishing innovation in order to reward the oldsters like McInnis or not able to offer the Norton's compensatory packages such that they support the people's choice. Either way, the best option is to get involved!

Don't live the libertarian stereotype: too busy complaining to do the work.

Grrreat video here of Mr. Hannan taking down Gordon Brown: "Prime Minister, you have run out of our money."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs

His "Uncommon Knowledge" show with Peter Robinson is amazing.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 5, 2010 2:43 PM

Golden State

Dang, sorry Keith. Sorry America.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Point taken, ka. You're exactly right but I have been a huge Carly Fiorina fan going back to the HP-Compaq merger.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2010 11:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Carly Fiorina - "Sanctity of life except in cases of rape or incest."

In California? Really?

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2010 11:27 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I was referring more to Jerry Brown (did we not learn the first time?) and the down-ticket races, which went straight-ticket-lefty. In a state where the voting public's average IQ was above room temperature, a candidate as bad as Brown would have lost to a toaster. California, sadly, is a unicorn of a different color.

The upshot is that we now have a federal legislature that is likely to block further bailouts which will point and laugh at California, which is dependent on a federal bailout to avoid becoming Zimbabwe. California voted for the Brown administration, and California had better be damned ready to own him.

Ross Perot was wrong. That giant sucking sound? That would be California, its unfunded civil-service pension crisis, its looming mass bankruptcy, and its slavish pandering to balkanized client voting blocks, about to go down the porcelain drain.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 3, 2010 11:54 AM
But Mrs. K.A. thinks:

Riding on Keith's comment, we're doomed, absolutely doomed.

Posted by: Mrs. K.A. at November 3, 2010 12:25 PM
But jk thinks:

So glad to have another optimist on board! Welcome!

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2010 7:14 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The eastern US seems to have gotten the memo while the west is still in denial.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 4, 2010 2:41 PM

Doubt Not The Power of Aqua Buddha!

Rand Paul wins in KY!

Dude was awesome on Kudlow last night! I'm starting to enjoy this...

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

Video of the Year

Elections count. But Larry Kudlow reminds that the Fed meeting tomorrow is important as well. I'm hoping for QE lite-to-non-existent myself. But "Curtis Threadneedle" is ready to go long:

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw


Otequay of the Ayday

Not from today, actually, but brought to us today by Thomas Sowell:

Guess who said the following: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work." Was it Sarah Palin? Rush Limbaugh? Karl Rove?

Not even close. It was Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of FDR's closest advisers. He added, "after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . And an enormous debt to boot!"



You Do Not Think Your Freedom is at Stake?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | What do you think? [0]

Obama = Keynesian?

OK, I stole this from Insty, but it is too good not to re-post:

Obama Administration Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Hahahahha! I missed that on Insty (odd...) thanks!

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2010 11:42 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh bleep me. It's that moron starting at 1:28 who gets me the most. He's the future of America.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 2, 2010 11:51 AM
But jk thinks:

And these are the rilly smart ones...

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2010 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep. I'm sure that every one of these geniuses knows "what the Boston Tea Party was about." And these folks are definitely "smart enough to be governed."

Posted by: johngalt at November 2, 2010 2:31 PM

November 1, 2010

This just in...

... on election eve. A high-profile endorsement in Colorado's governor's race. Michael Sandoval's entry covers every detail I would've hit so I'll just let him tell it.

But jk thinks:

Excellent. I've needed a good reason to distance myself from the endorser.

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2010 7:32 PM
But dagny thinks:

I am very sad to report that for the first time since we met jg and I have not cast identical ballots.

Posted by: dagny at November 2, 2010 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Not too sad, you prize your individuality, n'est ce pas?

Besides, he can't help it if he's a big lunkhead...

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2010 3:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

LOL! Jus' don't call me "backward" or "stupid."

Posted by: johngalt at November 2, 2010 4:48 PM

Quote of the Day II

"The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says [The Rolling Stones'] Keith [Richards], Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all. -- Forbes?
Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw, defending his assertion that incentives matter.
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I guess Keith Richards can kiss knighthood goodbye. I was beginning to think knighthood was being handed out like Nobel Peace Prizes. (C'mon: Sir Elton?)

What are the odds on Mick Jagger's knighthood being revoked retroactively, once the Her Royal Highness' Royal Exchequer reads that Sir Mick is a tax dodger?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 1, 2010 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

We'll make 'em both "Knights of Connecticut." Sprinkle a little Nutmeg, say the magic words...

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2010 7:04 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Then they'd be Connecticut Yankees from Queen Elizabeth's Court? Wicked good.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 1, 2010 7:19 PM

Et Tu, Dalmia?

Not nearly the headline of "Et tu, Tunku?" But I am twice as broken-hearted.

Shikha Dalmia has become one of my favorite writers, and no it is not solely because of her attractive profile picture by her Forbes columns. She is smart, principled, and a clear communicator.

Today she takes to the pages of Reason.com for a snarky, elitist, Tea Party bashing that is completely unworthy of her

Anyone who has not been living under a pumpkin lately knows that the single, biggest threat to this country's economic future is its gimongous (hey, if Sarah Palin gets to invent words, why not me!) entitlement state.

Bash Governor Palin, check -- hey this must be a very smart person!
Geithner has yet to encounter an economic woe anywhere in the world that a good dose of stimulus can't cure, its fiscal side effects be damned. He is to the cause of global stimulus and bailouts what Bush was to the cause of global democracy.

President Bush, check -- girl's on a roll!
[...]although a vast majority of Tea Party supporters favor smaller government, they don't want cuts in their Medicare or Social Security, a contradiction perfectly captured in a sign at a Tea Party rally: "Keep the Guvmint out of my Medicare."

They're so stupid!
In fact, setting aside the lapsed witch of Delaware, Christie O'Donnell[...]One is Joe Miller of Alaska, a man so unfamiliar with the First Amendment[...]

Two candidates who did what you wanted but still get a slap...

I don't know if it's better that she sees the flaw in her position and ignores it or not. Umm, why might some candidates be unprepared to make a bold stand to cut entitlements? Wait...I know this one...

To be sure, much of this backsliding is in response to attacks by Democratic opponents who are undoubtedly worse and shamelessly demagoguing the issue. Still, the fact of the matter is that instead of pulling Democrats in the direction of reform, the Tea Party candidates themselves are moving in the direction of the status quo. This wouldn't happen if these candidates could count on a strong and large constituency for reform within their own movement. Elections are a discovery process through which candidates find out what their base really wants. And what many of the Tea Party candidates have found is that when push comes to shove, their backers want to protect their entitlements as much as the next guy. In fact, much of the fury of the Tea Partiers against government stimulus and bailouts might have less to do with any principled belief in the limits of government and more to do with fear of what this will do to their own entitlements.

To recap: Angle, O'Donnell, and Miller are holding their ground and have turned "cakewalk" GOP victories into two nail-biters and an expected loss. Why won't the rest follow suit?

Breaking up is hard to do. I could have handled the analysis -- especially from Reason -- but to put it in a snarky, smarmy package like this is too much.


No, YOU'RE the Doo-Doo Head!

The week before last, Denver's David Harsanyi gave us a celebration of the TEA Party's "Stupid Stupidity." Last weekend his antipode, Denver's David Sirota, explains why they're 'stoopid' in "It's the Stupidity, Stupid." He starts out wondering how "red-baiting crusades by the plutocrats" are managing to get such traction with the electorate.

As Wall Street executives make bank off bailouts, as millions of Americans see paychecks slashed and as our economic Darwinism sends more wealth up the income ladder - it's surprising that appeals to capitalist piggery carry more electoral agency than ever.

What could cause this intensifying politics of free-market fundamentalism at the very historical moment that proves the failure of such an ideology? Two new studies suggest all roads lead to ignorance.

But since Sirota is "smarter" than Harsanyi he uses "science" to support his claims.

As Northwestern University's David Gal and Derek Rucker recently documented in a paper titled, "When in Doubt, Shout!", many Americans respond to convention-challenging facts not by re-evaluating their worldview. Instead, they become more adamant in defense of wrongheaded ideas.

So, for instance, we may be aware that our broken economy is creating destructive inequality; we may know the neighbor's opulence is underwritten by loans. We may even see the connection between our personal financial struggles and census figures showing inequality at a record high. But many of us nonetheless react by more passionately insisting our economic system sows equality.

Or we may write opinion columns asserting that free-market economics is a proven failure and that "equality" is somehow the panacea, and if you don't agree with us you are "stupid."

But jk thinks:

I'm going to hijack your post for a segue. I did not know what to do with this but it has captured my heart: The Rally to Restore Vanity.

It's far from perfect, as blog friend tg admits on Facebook, yet it has some important ideas. The most interesting to me was the Stewart/Colbert crowds' primacy to "not appearing stupid." Amid some generational psychoanalysis and some curious political generalizations, lives a superb point that to stand up at a Tea Party (or a Code Pink rally) is to take a stand and risk appearing stupid. Yes, you will be standing near a stupid person.

Yet to not say anything, not take a stand, and if you must stand up have it be at the gathering of those who are waaaay too hip to take a stand. That's cool, baby!

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2010 4:49 PM

Missing One's Market?

Interesting that the DSCC has been using a lot of blog ads. But am I the only one who gives a double-take to this ad on Reason.com?

reason_buck_ad.jpg

No doubt yer basic Reason reader would scoff at some "Buckisms." But the extreme views that cause such Strum and Drang in an anti-Buck ad are pretty mainstream in the lofty salons of Reason. "Tearing up the Constitution and taking away your right to vote for your Senator!" (Umm, we call it repealing the 17th Amendment and Article V [and the 21st] provides a good map.) "Putting Social Security in the Stock Market!" (Umm, that's called private accounts and your only chance to frighten a Reason reader is to make it too small.)

Just seems odd -- I mean clearly, they should have been advertising on ThreeSources!

UPDATE: NRO?

nro_buck_ad.jpg

(Including the link is a bit stupid, but it's a good piece on Paul Krugman.)

CO Senate Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

To be fair, it wasn't all one-sided. Stewart & Colbert did mock both sides: conservatives and Republicans! -- Jim Treacher

Don't click this. Comments (2)