December 31, 2010
Quote of the Day
We saw the Reform Party with Ross Perot in '92, and that was kind of John the Baptist to this real genuine arrival [...] the only real sign of hope I have seen in my lifetime in terms of reversing -- not just stopping -- reversing this inevitable, cyclical decline of civilization. -- Bill Whittle, celebrating "the TEA party" as Trifecta's person of the year
Interesting. The main conflicts seem to match those of ThreeSourcers.
December 30, 2010
Blog friend SugarChuck comes to my aid, emailing this link from Iowahawk.
Sometimes, ridicule is the only valid response.
New York Snow
An early exposure to practical, municipal, politics was seeing the popular and long time Denver Mayor William McNichols turned out of office because of inadequate snow removal. I got snowed in at the lovely girlfriend's parent's house for the Christmas Blizzard of '82. In '83, the lovely girlfriend became the lovely bride, and Federico Peña became Mayor.
Mayor McNichols had sent the garbage trucks out to tamp down the snow, leading to the witticism: "What has four wheels and flies? A McNichols's Snowplow!"
Not sure if Mayor Bloomberg of New York will get the same fate, but the WSJ Ed Page points out that the great metropolis spends a lot more establishing a progressive utopia than making things go:
[The City Council] should look in the mirror of their own priorities. According to figures compiled by the Citizens Budget Commission, in fiscal 2011 the city has 9,419 sanitation workers, who also do snow removal. That's down about 500 employees from three years earlier, though spending is up about $200 million.
This is Tea Partyism writ large, is it not? The established, legal and Constitutional products of government are corrupt and inefficient, while the providers want more resources and more authority for nannyism.
UPDATE: Maybe I am just jealous. While our friends in Minneapolis and Philly are postponing football, we have had no measurable snowfall until today. And it's not exactly '82:
John Stossel pleads: Stop helping Us! "...the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act. It was supposed to really end the alleged abuses perpetrated by the credit card companies. The law forbids some penalties and interest-rate increases on existing balances."
Finally! Protection! A new bureaucracy will stop greedy credit card companies from unfairly penalizing you. And it won't threaten the credit business. Yippie!
Of course, the companies tightened credit on marginal customers (I thought myself outside the margins but my favorite card tightened my limit from $32K to $2500 and forced me into the plastic arms of another card). Less fortunate lost credit and turned to payday loans (how's 500% sound?). States have come down on payday lenders, driving their customers to loansharks ("Time, Spike, is what turns kittens into cats...").
Whole definitely read thing.
The New Year will see cessation of weekly postings to the virtual coffeehouse. It has accomplished some goals (been a blast) and failed at others (that "sell the site to Google" thing isn't looking so good...)
December 29, 2010
Et Tu Gigot?
Reachin', jk, You're reachin'...
As promised, the WSJ Ed Page defection is indeed being used to discredit Governor Palin. A WaPo editorial concatenates Governors Mike Huckabee, Hailey Barbour, and the Journal Ed Page to whack Governor Griz in "Some GOP stalwarts defend first lady's anti-obesity campaign from Palin's shots."
The dessert debate has offered the conservative establishment, wary of the tea party flag-bearer's chances in a general election, an opportunity to create some daylight between Palin and more moderate Republicans.
What's more: "More than one in four people in Alaska is obese, a rate that has grown almost two percentage points in the past year."
Quote of the Day II
So laugh away at the global warmists. And don't even feel bad that they're right about the weather-climate distinction. After all, they forget about it every summer. -- James Taranto
Quote of the Day
Reading about the [Japanese] government's behavior reminds me of the worst accounts of compulsive spenders on the verge of personal bankruptcy--a sort of "What the hell, we're screwed anyway, so let's not think about it and maybe go to Cabo for the weekend." The budget's structural position is what is known technically to economists as "completely hosed" -- Megan McArdle
Walkin' The DAWG
Think this might go over...
Is it Tuesday Yet?
Governor Ed Rendell made a superb appearance on Kudlow & Co. last night. The main topic was his "wusses" tirade against the postponement of the Iggles-Vikings game on Sunday. Kudlow enjoys great relations with the former DNC chief and pressed him to expand his belief in self-sufficiency to free market economics. It was respectful and fun: two Kudlow trademarks.
Larry dove into the Michael Vick controversy, talking about his and Mrs. Kudlow's great love for dogs. The Governor said "we believe in redemption" and that Vick has paid his time. And that those who've done time are encouraged to return to the legal aspects of their lives. Larry reflected on the part redemption has played in his life. And I was forced to confront my unformed opinions on redemption. It was a great moment. I also know we have some dear friends in the City of Brotherly Love.
...but in the end, I was really happy to watch Vick get his ass kicked. I guess I'm a very bad man.
December 28, 2010
Hat-tip: Jonathan V. Last, who points out:
Viewed contemporaneously, the two letters show a glimpse at America's past and into America's future.
Malthusian Proven Wrong
Ho, hum. Dog bites man. Once again, a gloom-and-doomer has to pay off a bet:
Five years ago, Matthew R. Simmons and I bet $5,000. It was a wager about the future of energy supplies -- a Malthusian pessimist versus a Cornucopian optimist -- and now the day of reckoning is nigh: Jan. 1, 2011
The noteworthy elements are one, that it appears Simmons will actually pay up. Most of those guys are welchers. And, two, that it was reported in The New York Times. John Tierney. I have the occasional disagreement with Tierney, but he is something of a Stosselesque figure at the Times. I wonder if MoDo hides his coffee cup.
I took him up on it, not because I knew much about Saudi oil production or the other "peak oil" arguments that global production was headed downward. I was just following a rule learned from a mentor and a friend, the economist Julian L. Simon.
These markets and innovation thingies have just got to run out someday...
If there's one thing that unites ThreeSourcers, its whipping the DAWG. Larry Bell, writing for Forbes.com, presents some excellent facts and uses them to expose the media's DAWG training. The Refugee has no insightful opinion to add, but if you want some more facts for the next time you get into a debate with a DAWG lover, read the whole thing.
Maybe I'll Be a Big-L Lib after All...
Destroy them, join them? Destroy them, join them? So hard to choose a path.
When I see a scurrilous thrashing of something I share beliefs with, my response is to defend. This works for Governor Palin, and it may be redeemable today by those wacky libertarians.
A good friend of the blog sends a link to a story in New York Magazine by Christopher Beam: "The Trouble with Liberty." My first reaction was to dismiss it out of hand. It's full of snarky tone, pejorative descriptions and strawman arguments. Strawman may be too strong, there are certainly factions that believe everything he rails against, but he does not take on central ideas of limited government and refute them.
He opens with the issue that everyone knows is central to liberty theory: TSA procedures. It seems the libertarians got into cahoots with FOX News and the left and made a big deal outta nuthin'!
Maybe it was inevitable that the National Opt-Out Day, when travelers were going to refuse body scans en masse, failed to become the next Woolworth's sit-in (how do you organize a movement that abhors organization?). It turned out most Americans actually supported the body scanners. But the moment was a reminder of just how strong, not to mention loud, the libertarian streak is in American politics.
The surprising thing is the seriousness that real Libertarians are giving this article. Radly Balko gives it higher marks than I do:
The first two-thirds of the article are a sort of tour guide of libertarian personalities, factions, and general philosophy. It comes off a bit like Beam describing to Manhattanites some exotic new species discovered in Madagascar, but I suppose that probably is how libertarians come off to people outside the politics/policy/media bubble.
Matt Welch splits the difference, offering an extended excerpt and criticizing, like Balko, the end of the story.
Beam's piece ends on an extended Big But, in which we hear warnings about doctrinal purity, extreme Randian selfishness, Brink Lindsey leaving Cato, and minarchy being "an elegant idea in the abstract." In the real world, not bailing out banks "would have unfairly punished a much greater number" of homeowners, and so on. Plus, that one Tennessee house burned down, and: Somalia!
Balko opens that he has met Beam and finds him nice, intelligent, curious
W hen I was in high school, I owned a book by Penn & Teller called How to Play in Traffic. It's mainly a series of jokes, gags, and madcap yarns by the magic-comedy duo. But it also channels the libertarian id of Penn Jillette. "I sincerely don't want to offend any of our readers, but I've got something to say," he writes. "It's very simple, but a bit controversial: The United States of America does not have a problem with terrorism. We just don't." Airport security is not worth the hassle, he continues: "Hey, we're alive, there's risk. Some planes are going to go down like falling twisted burning human cattle cars and there's no stopping it. No one can make any form of travel 100 percent safe. We'll take our chances. As for the victims of a security-free transportation system? Let's consider those terrorism victims heroes," he writes. Let's say they died for freedom. They didn't die for us to have our phones tapped and have our time wasted at airports." He then describes a prank where you create a screensaver for your laptop that looks like a countdown to detonation.
Now you can decide what you think of Jillette's language or concepts, but I will bet $1,000 that a) Beam's card is the Three of Clubs, and b) that Mister Jillette would likely not "choose his words differently today."
This article does not deserve the seriousness of responses it engendered.
I think that Beam is fairly confident that his readers will nod their head in agreement when he says that libertarianism obviously cannot work. He takes the view that government programs exist because markets fail. But the fact that markets fail does not mean that government solutions work.
December 27, 2010
WSJ to Gov. Palin: Drop Dead!
[Note: the headline was created by an overzealous ThreeSources Editor. I certainly did not say that, nor is that premise supported in the post or linked editorial.]
I suspect the WSJ Ed Page delivered a message to the Palin Camp today. Perhaps I read too much into today's editorial. But perhaps I do not.
Gigot & Co, pointedly take the First Lady's side in the "food fight."
No one hates the nanny state more than we do, but Mrs. Obama isn't exactly ordering up Lenin's Young Pioneers. Adults do have an obligation to teach children how to live, and that includes adults who are role models by dint of their national prominence. JFK asked kids to do chin-ups for the Presidential Fitness Award, and Nancy Reagan asked them to "just say no" to drugs.
I most heartily disagree. And no, I have not gone all soft for Governor Griz even though I have been enjoying her TLC show. For starters, I don't suggest that Mrs. Reagan's JSN! campaign should be held up as an example of executive branch humility. I'll let JFK's chin-ups pass without comment, but his most famous line is asking "...what we can do for our country."
The First Lady addressed the crowd at a signing ceremony and her husband quipped that he would "sleep on the coach" had it not passed. This is not about providing a role model and good parental examples. It may not be Lenin, but it is legislation.
I believe that this was a message: run if you want, Governor, but do not expect the support of the WSJ Ed Page. And that is fair on several levels. But I think they picked the wrong topic on which to take a stand.
UPDATE: Humorous typo repaired. Our editors should be proofing the text and not writing overzealous headlines. ["The First Lay's" has been corrected to "The First Lady's" -- ThreeSources apologize's for teh error.]
What Prosperity Looks Like.
Gotta Facebook friend. Brother jg and I had a 100+ comment thread trying to convince him that fossil fuel was not evil. I won't dredge it all out, but I used a favorite contrarian thought: celebrating "robber baron" John Rockefeller (boo! hiss!). Rockefeller brought nickel-a-gallon kerosene to families that could not afford dollar-a-gallon whale oil. Suddenly they had light. Their day did not end when the sun went down. (Don't think the whales minded too much, either.)
What an evil bastard he was, bringing heat and light to the poor. Then giving his money away to philanthropy. Rapscallion!
I fear my friend cannot grasp the pre-kerosene days and finds my "freezing in the dark" comments melodramatic. Well, Ms. Ruto is not perhaps freezing in Africa, but the NYTimes reports that she is digging light:
Every week, Ms. Ruto walked two miles to hire a motorcycle taxi for the three-hour ride to Mogotio, the nearest town with electricity. There, she dropped off her cellphone at a store that recharges phones for 30 cents. Yet the service was in such demand that she had to leave it behind for three full days before returning.
My friend will be happy that it is solar, but I have terrible news. She will educate herself, and then want a car.
December 26, 2010
It's an "All Hail Harsanyi!" -- no, it's a "Quotidian Huck-a-Whack!" It's a dessert topping...
David Harsanyi whacks Governor Huckabee today.
As for Huckabee, his history of intrusive legislation and alarmism over the crumbling salubriousness of the nation is obviously driven by his own experiences. And if you want to nag us or explain the ramifications of obesity, feel free. Certainly, potential presidents should have the ability to compromise, avoid ideological rigidity and be cognizant of national problems like obesity.
It's two, two, two posts in one! Hat-tip: Instapundit
December 24, 2010
Libertario Delenda Est
I can appreciate a principled, libertarian, non-interventionist foreign policy. Why use coerced tax dollars for "foreign adventures?" It's my most heterodox position in the [l|L]ibertarian community, but I still hold that the prosperity and freedom of globalism is worth the price of a little "world-policing."
What I cannot appreciate is the failure of the Reason gang to admit the faintest correlation between US leadership and results. Steve Chapman delivers the bad news today:
The world is freer and more democratic than it was then. But advances have been stymied by dozens of repressive regimes. The human rights group Freedom House said in January that the previous four years made up "the longest continuous period of deterioration" in the nearly 40 years it has kept tabs. This year brought no evident turnaround.
Four years ago, huh? If it weren't Christmas Eve, we could probably look at the papers from four years ago and see if there were some event that might affect a "world freedom agenda." Hmm. Late 2006 -- ring a bell for any of you guys?
Again, I can dig the we're-not-the-world-police argument -- but I think it suggests a concomitant shutting up. Reason was trumpeting the folly of Bush's adventurism four years ago, ridiculed McCain's candidacy, and now feigns surprise that Sharanskyism is in tatters.
It's as if The Weekly Standard did stories on the lack of the poor's access to health care.
December 23, 2010
The Free Market Can't Possibly...
Two very bright and well intentioned friends have assured me that gub'mint intervention is required to transition from fossil fuels because "the infrastructure is not in place" to support biofuels, electric, what have you.
It’s the first McDonalds to have a Level 2 Electric Charger in the U.S., though Cracker Barrel is adding EV chargers to 24 restaurants in Tennessee. The idea of filling up your belly and your electric vehicle at seems to be catching on with Americans and American companies. The company that revolutionized fast food could have a dramatic impact on EV charging, should it so decide. Imagine if all of the more than 12,000 McDonalds restaurants in America had charging stations? You’d have a hard time arguing that the infrastructure for electric vehicles aren’t in place.
Now I happen to remain unconvinced that plug-in hybrids and electrics are the answer, but I love the idea of McDonalds and Cracker Barrel and Walmart* providing this elusive infrastructure as a way to secure customers. Instead of tax revenue.
Why is Ricky Gervais an Atheist?
Another question I didn't know I needed the answer to is, "Who is Ricky Gervais?" But the internet dropped it in my lap so I read it. There are some funny lines. Like this:
So what does the question "Why don’t you believe in God?" really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking "what makes you so special?" "How come you weren’t brainwashed with the rest of us?" "How dare you say I’m a fool and I’m not going to heaven, f--- you!"
Not necessarily as deep as Christopher Hitchens but more fun.
The World Crisis - Part 2
It is a moral crisis - not of failing to behave morally, but of failing to define morality.
Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking"
"Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster. In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty."
I did not get my vote in
WaPo asks readers to descripbe Speaker Pelosi in one word, then publishes a word cloud.
Hat-tip: James Pethokoukis
"This business of centralization"
Hundreds of years of arguing, and it strikes me that the key philosophical/political difference is devilishly simple. I think I can describe it fairly and succinctly:
Progressives envision the good that government can do, and see no reason to limit its effectiveness. ThreeSourcers see the evil that government can do and see no reason to allow it to encroach unless necessary.
Two hundred twenty four years, billions of dollars and shed blood for elections -- is it really more than that? This not particularly original insight was focused by Damon Root's piece in Reason: "The Never-Ending 'Business of Centralization.'"
Root opens with Schechter Poultry Corp v United States, the "sick chicken case" Amity Schlaes discusses in "The Forgotten Man."
But the Supreme Court wasn't having it. The NIRA must fall, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote for the majority, otherwise there would "be virtually no limit to the federal power, and, for all practical purposes, we should have a completely centralized government." Progressive Justice Louis Brandeis, usually a hero to the New Deal set, was equally blunt, informing White House lawyers Tommy Corcoran and Ben Cohen, "This is the end of this business of centralization, and I want you to go back and tell the president that we're not going to let this government centralize everything."
The Four Horsemen fell to the Three Musketeers, Hughes was replaced by Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone, and the absolute brake on centralization fell to Wickard v Filburn...and y'all know the rest.
But there is a chance in the ObamaCare fight that the raw question will come out and that there might be a discussion of limiting federal power. Maybe.
December 22, 2010
Worse Than You Think
The big news here is the admission (and Jimmy P's descriptive wrapper):
Uncle Sam runs his books like he's operating a hot dog stand rather than a $14 trillion economic superpower. It's cash in (revenues), cash out (spending), forget about the future costs of Social Security and Medicare. But what if government bean counters acted like they worked for USA Inc., instead? The numbers would come out just a bit differently, accordingly to a little noticed Treasury Department report that didn;t escape the notice of my Reuters colleagues:
Not sure Mister Pethokoukis is completely fair to hot dog stands, here -- I'm sure they're less a stranger to GAAP than the Federal Government is. But the point stands -- cash accounting does nothing but hide the perfidy of our fleecers.
Layers and Layers of Fact Checking
CBS News airs phony cover to President Bush's book.
The legacy of Murrow & Cronkite have a perfectly valid explanation: we just pull stuff off the Internet and put it up as news. Stunning.
The Gender Identity Act of 2010
That's "identity" in the sense of being identical, not what gender one thinks he is. (Qualitatively, not numerically, identical.)
I now understand why President Obama considers open homosexuality in the U.S. Military to be a non-issue, since he told me in this morning's "DADT Repeal Act of 2010" signing ceremony, "We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal."
To which I have to reply, "What do you mean we Kimosabe?"
A Report on the World Crisis
Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking:"
"Ladies and gentlemen," said a voice that came from the radio receiver -- a man's clear, calm, implacable voice, the kind of voice that had not been heard on the airwaves for years -- "Mr. Thompson will not speak to you tonight. His time is up. I have taken it over. You were to hear a report on the world crisis. That is what you are going to hear."
Huck a Whack
Ho, ho, ho, it's almost 2012, And I am feelin' the spirit:
Well, he's not running for President against Michelle Obama. He's running (potentially) against Sarah Palin. Ironically, Sarah Palin is the one who's thin.
Sky Blue, Sun Rises in East
After some sunny days cheering Tea Party wins on tax and spending, the news-skies have turned a bit grey: net-neutrality (read John Fund's devastating look at the forces behind it), continuing ethanol subsidies, wind subsidies, executive power grabs under the auspices of ObamaCare®...
Permit me a moment of the famed jk understatement. We really have not won yet.
Not even rising to five worst list? "Obama's Electric Car Cult." Here's Charles Lane in the WaPo:
Last year the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council concluded: "Subsidies in the tens to hundreds of billions of dollars. . .will be needed if plug-ins are to achieve rapid penetration of the U.S. automotive market. Even with these efforts, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are not expected to significantly impact oil consumption or carbon emissions before 2030."
Did somebody say misallocation of capital? Bueller?
December 21, 2010
Brian Aitken is home. DId I mention Governor Christie is a total hoss? He is.
UPDATE: And a couple clicks in, a shot at a QOTDIII:
The safest course for Christie is to let Aitken out without actually exonerating him. In other words, at the risk of sounding sizeist, Governor Awesome is having his cake and eating it too.
Very cool access to historical and current census data:
Colorado & California & Minnesota stay even, PA loses a seat, NY down 2. (TX is +4!)
Stay Classy, Arlen!
One for our Keystone State Brothers and Sister. Timothy P. Carney wasn't really impressed by Senator Arlen Specter's farewell address;
While I rooted heartily for his defeat in 2004 and 2010, I consider him to be stubbornly independent of special interests, which is a rare and laudable thing in Washington.
Don't let the door hit your giant ass on the way out, Senator (see, I can be classy too!)
UPDATE: Not just the Examiner -- WaPo piles on:
"Eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism," Specter added.
Quote of the Day II
Oregon raised its income tax on the richest 2% of its residents last year to fix its budget hole, but now the state treasury admits it collected nearly one-third less revenue than the bean counters projected. The sun also rose in the east, and the Cubs didn't win the World Series. -- WSJ Ed Page
Quote of the Day
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had it right when she scorned consensus as "the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner 'I stand for consensus'?"Steven F. Hayward in a very worthwhile piece on the difference between bipartisan progress and consensus,
December 20, 2010
"I Order You to Solve it"
This one also has a personal meaning to me. My PhD electrical engineer father tells a story of his university's chancellor making a quip during technical difficulties prior to a speech he was about to give to the faculty, including the entire electrical engineering department: "We ought to be able to get this problem fixed with all of these electricians here in the audience." None of them moved to help him.
Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking:"
In a moment, he went on, his voice oddly solemn: "It looks like a wall of radio waves jamming the air, and we can't get through it, we can't touch it, we can't break it.... What's more, we can't locate its source, not by any of our usual methods.... Those waves seem to come from a transmitter that ... that makes any known to us look like a child's toy!"
Q- What do you get if you build a car with two motors (a gasoline-electric "hybrid") and let the driver use both of them at the same time?
A- Honda's new CR-Z "sport hybrid."
So market forces can even conquer the hair-shirt principle of the eco-mobile. Young buyers value "green" cars but still care what they look like when cruisin' Main Street. No surprise there. How long until the modifier "hybrid" is as non-descript as "GT?"
Worth mentioning: Honda's commercial (bottom right corner of linked page) for the new kid-rod, which implies that fire and ice can coexist. "Complete opposites, in complete harmony."
North Korea is still Dark
Perhaps it's time to redo the logo:
Every McDonald's in America -- courtesy of Business Insider.
Hat-tip: James Pethokoukis
Dr. Popper, Call your Office!
John Hinderaker at PowerLine reprises a ten year old article in The Independent suggesting the end of snowfall in Britain: "Children just aren't going to know what snow is."
Then, PowerLine helpfully posts several pictures of road closures, digging out, and even some sweet little British urchins enjoying snow.
It's fun to ridicule the warmists because they are so often wrong, but their errors are in fact significant: a scientific theory that implies predictions that turn out to be wrong, is false. A principal feature of climate hysteria is its proponents' unwillingness to be judged by the standards that govern real science.
Predictive power, babies, predictive power.
UPDATE: Don Surber piles on with an xtraNormal vid.
UPDATE II: Supporting the "parting shot:"
LONDON – The Christmas travel season turned angry and chaotic Monday as British officials struggled to clear snow and ice that paralyzed rail and air links and spawned cancellations and delays stranding thousands around the world.
That's weather, not climate you trogs!
December 19, 2010
Quote of the Day
George Will compares the mushiness of "No Labels" to the clarity of Judge Henry Hudson's assertion of Constitutional limits in Virginia v Sibelius.
Although the people promising to make No Labels into a national scold are dissatisfied with the tone of politics, they are pleased as punch with themselves. If self-approval were butter, they could spread it across America, if it were bread.
And no less than two honorable mentions:
But [NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, addressing the No Labels confabulation, spoke truth to powerlessness: [...]
No Labels, its earnestness subverting its grammar, says: "We do not ask any political leader to ever give up their label -- merely put it aside."
December 18, 2010
The Crippling of Young Minds
If there is a passage in this monumental tome that strikes a stronger personal chord within me than this one, I have yet to find it.
Part III, Chapter 6 - 'The Concerto of Deliverance:'
[Read slowly, with reverence. "He" is Hank Reardon.]
He walked, as if this were his form of last tribute and funeral procession for the young life that had ended in his arms. He felt an anger too intense to identify except as a pressure within him: it was a desire to kill.
From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness. "Don't ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!" -- "Who are you to think? It's so, because I say so!" -- "Don't argue, obey!" -- "Don't try to understand, believe!" -- "Don't rebel, adjust!" -- "Don't stand out, belong!" -- "Don't struggle, compromise!" -- "Your heart is more important than your mind!." -- "Who are you to know? Your parents know best!" -- "Who are you to know? Society knows best!" -- "Who are you to know? The bureaucrats know best!" -- "Who are you to object? All values are relative!" -- "Who are you to want to escape a thug's bullet? That's only a personal prejudice!"
Quote of the Day
It is the president's favorite rhetorical pose: the hectorer in chief. He is alternately defiant, defensive, exasperated, resentful, harsh, scolding, prickly. He is both the smartest kid in class and the schoolyard bully. -- Michael Gerson
Buffy Family Values
What are the values expressed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
This survey is designed to measure what you perceive to be the important values and forms of social support in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought it would be a neat idea to see what people think the values of the series are. It is one way of quantifying your perceptions of the meanings of the series. It's called a Rokeach Value Survey .
All Hail Harsanyi!
Not all my Facebook friends are Communists. One posts a link to David Harsanyi today:
To this point, we've authorized Washington to micromanage our "economic activity" per the commerce clause -- which, technically speaking, means everything. We've permitted government to set up elaborate bureaucracies to keep us safe from drop-side cribs and artificial sweeteners. From our investment decisions to the snacks we're allowed to feed our kids in the schools we're forced to enroll them in, government makes choices for us in the name of the public good. What we haven't done is force people to buy stuff.
December 17, 2010
And now for something completely different...
Greg Sargent, blogging at WaPo's The Plum Line has a very different take on the not so tragic demise of the omnibus bill.
At first glance, given the tiny percentage of the bill that's devoted to earmarks, all the drama might seem silly.
Huh? What was that last bit?
Yes, Sargent thinks that eliminating -- let's be fair here -- completely wasted kickbacks to fatcat campaign donors is going to hurt the economy and diminish the President's re-election chances. I read it twice (you should too) that is really what he says.
Liberalism vs, Liberty
Okay, so it's a screed -- it's a damn good screed! Michael A Walsh suggests "What this country needs is a crop of healthy, hunger-free kids -- and now, thanks to the hectoring of Michelle Obama and the terrible swift presidential pen of her husband, it has one: the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. No more fat kids is now the law of the land: Eat the broccoli; leave the cannoli."
From a land of yeoman farmers, not subjects but independent citizens of free will, the national ideal has been transformed by the left and its media stooges into a mewling aggregation of victimized, helpless special-interest groups. At what point will Americans finally rise up and say, "Enough!" to the political class of both parties?
May Etymology Rule
Blog friend tg plays with Google's Ngram, to trace the popularity of a word over time against the (substantive) Google corpora. I thought ThreeSourcers might dig "Communism:"
The Randians don't say that there is necessarily no Santa -- they just want proof.
Quod Erat Demonstratum.
My überConservative brother emails:
"Hi. This is Sarah Palin. Is Senator Lieberman in?"
Mea Maxima Culpa
To paraphrase Captain Mal Reynolds: it takes a great man to admit he was wrong...and I'm allright...
Brothers br and Keith objected sternly to my "fix it in the 112th" plan for the omnibus porkfest. It is clear today that they were right and I was wrong. K-Lo suggests it is a tea party victory, and Jennifer Rubin calls it Leader Reid's Dunkirk:
After exposing his party, the White House and himself to an avalanche of bad press and bipartisan criticism over the earmark-stuffed omnibus spending bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a sort of political Dunkirk moment, gave up and fled. Just moments ago, he fessed up that he did not have enough votes for cloture on the omnibus spending bill. So instead, as the Republicans had demanded, there will be a continuing resolution, and the Republicans will get their shot to manage the budget next year.
It's better in every way to kill this bill, but -- had any question remained -- the additional feeding of the ObamaCare® bureaucracy make this a major victory.
UPDATE: All hail Kim Strassel:
Yet to this legislative Frankenstein Democrats carefully attached the spenders' equivalent of crack cocaine. To wit, omnibus author and Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye dug up earmark requests that Senate Republicans had made in the past year (prior to their self-imposed ban) and, unasked, included them in the bill. He lavished special, generous attention -- $1 billion worth of it -- on some reliable GOP earmark junkies: Mississippi's Thad Cochran got $512 million; Utah's Bob Bennett, $226 million; Maine's Susan Collins, $114 million; Missouri's Kit Bond, $102 million; Ohio's George Voinovich, $98 million; and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, $80 million.
UPDATE II: Heratige:
Last night's victory could not have happened without the Tea Party. Earlier in the day, Tea Party-defeated outgoing- Senator Robert Bennett (R - UT) was working "actively to round up as many as nine potential Republican votes" or the omnibus bill stuffed with 6,000 earmarks worth $8 billion. But then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R - KY) worked the phones all day twisting the arms of those nine Republicans, many of them members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to drop their support for the bill.
Toooo bad Bennett lost. What a shame...
The Private Emails of Mister Assange
I still don't have much of an opinion on WikiLeaks: more correctly, several opinions too conflicting to be coherent. But I think we might all agree:
But WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has some embarrassing documents in his own past he would rather the world didn't know about.
December 16, 2010
Quote of the Day
"We say 'Give me liberty or give me death!' But the minute that death approaches, we're willing to sell out liberty down the river and take our chances..." -- Megan McArdle (~3:10)
Fix it in the 112th
There's an old recording adage/joke. You ignore errors and move on, saying "we'll fix it in the mix." Kevin Mahogany did a funny song about it.
I suggest we try that in Congress, firmly putting myself in the Bill Kristol camp. Why not let the 111th pass this porkfest and split town? Then the 112th can come in and rescue us in January. HB 1, Kristol suggests, rescinds spending from the 2011 budget.
The WSJ Ed Page is pretty concerned about the omnibus:
The 111th Congress began with an $814 billion stimulus that blew out the federal balance sheet, so we suppose it's only fitting that the Members want to exit by passing a 1,924-page, $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill. The worst Congress in modern history is true to its essence to the bitter end.
I suggest the GOP sit on their hands and let it go through. Beyond Kristol's (and Jennifer Rubin's) appreciation of opening the session with a huge spending cut, I suggest that the GOP will be hard pressed to show big cuts in two years. Considering a Democrat Senate and White House plus impure appropriators on Team Red, there is a danger of 2012 ads saying that the Republicans did not trim much. Why not start from a high baseline?
"A Temporary Adjustment"
Part III, Chapter 6 - 'The Concerto of Deliverance:'
"We can't theorize about the future," cried Wesley Mouch, "when there's an immediate national collapse to avoid! We've got to save the country's economy! We've got to do something!" Rearden's imperturbable glance of curiosity drove him to heedlessness. "If you don't like it, do you have a better solution to offer?"
"That's just theo …" His voice trailed off and stopped.
This morning's Denver Post reprinted a WaPo story by Paul Farhi in which the liberal Media Matters group alleged that Fox News is biased in the matter of global warming. Apparently, Media Matters obtained a memo from Fox's Washington bureau chief, Bill Sammon, in which he directed reporters to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies."
Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters' head of research, said the latest e-mail showed that Fox News was attempting to create a false impression of the climate issue by giving a "fringe" minority of global-warming skeptics equal weight with those who have concluded the planet is growing warmer.
"Paging Mr. Orwell, Mr. George Orwell. Please call your office."
We're Number One!
Japan has announced that it will cut its corporate tax rate by five percentage points. Japan and the United States had been the global laggards on corporate tax reform, so this leaves America with the highest corporate rate among the 34 wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
December 15, 2010
Quote of the Day
"There is no problem in the world that cannot be solved if you let someone get rich doing it." -- Don Luskin (~0:44):
One I Picked Wrong
I don't have the stomach to search and read old posts, but I'll come clean and admit I was very excited when "Ahhnold" rose to gubernatorial greatness in the Golden State. He liked Reagan. And Milton Friedman. And he bragged to Arianna Huffington that he drove a Hummer. An Austrian's Austrian.
But it did not end well. Joel Kotkin:
Schwarzenegger never grew beyond the role of a clueless political narcissist. As the state sunk into an ever deeper fiscal crisis, he continued to expend his energy on the grandiose and beyond the point: establishing a Californian policy for combating climate change, boosting an unaffordable High-Speed Rail system, and even eliminating plastic bags. These may be great issues of import, but they are far less pressing than a state's descent into insolvency.
Yet another reminder to put your faith in philosophy and not leaders. The ideas that he read from his script remain valid, even though he has failed as a leader.
Hat-tip: Instapundit -- and, no, I won't blame it on Maria Shriver.
The "Radical Center"
Part III, Chapter 6 - 'The Concerto of Deliverance:'
"Can't we all stand together for the sake of the country in this hour of emergency?" said Dr. Ferris. "Can't we disregard our differences of opinion? We're willing to meet you halfway. If there's any aspect of our policy which you oppose, just tell us and we'll issue a directive to --"
All Hail Harsanyi!
No Labels has no chance:
The answer, my friends, is always in the muddled but inspirational middle. And partisanship "is paralyzing our ability to govern" -- because, as you well know, Washington didn't spend trillions and reform a significant sector of the economy in just these past two years.
If you don't read the whole thing, you're not worthy of broadband.
Not Worth it.
The Daily Show uses Buffy as an example of ideal government infrastructure. Jon Stewart and Co. suggest that instead of a Big Brother government, we should consider having a big sister. Buffy goodness starts 5:52 in.
Click if you must, but I'll warn: there is a lot of Stewarty badness for a small amount of Buffy goodness. If you've got six minutes you'll never get back, remind yourself how sanctimonious this guy is in service to statism.
Usually, if I see him, it is recommended by a right wing source and somewhat fun to know that his audience has seen him bash a lefty. But those are the exceptions and this clip is the rule. A Federal Judge -- for the first time since Wickard -- asserts that some limit exists to the Commerce Clause. And Stewart considers this to be judicial activism. "Yes, Virginia, there is a Commerce Clause!" (You're really hip if you laugh at that one: for smarties only.)
Polls (provided by those who appreciate him) show that his audience is well informed, so maybe they're not getting all their information from The Comedy Channel. But I still fear for the Republic.
If Governor Palin's for Liberty...
Tell me I'm wrong. I have been pretty tough on the boys at Reason, so I am going to beat up on a female libertarian as a change of pace.
There are several reasons behind the backlash. One is that campaigns to promote healthy behavior have a way of escalating from friendly persuasion to ham-fisted propaganda and prohibitionism. The war on tobacco is an obvious example (though the case for harsh anti-smoking laws was based on claims about the harm of second-hand smoke). Anti-drug zealotry in schools has caused teens to get in trouble for such crimes as sharing an aspirin with a friend who had a headache. It's not completely unreasonable to ask if cookie witch-hunts are next.
Oh boy! Some FLOTUS bashing in Reason! I am so very much there!
But when you click through, the excerpted paragraph is the "yes, but" paragraph. As in "Yes I hate statism, but..." And the but in this column is "but I hate conservatives more."
Unsurprisingly, Sarah Palin has led the fray. In a radio talk show appearance in November, the former vice presidential candidate derided the first lady's "Let's Move" initiative--"the anti-obesity thing she is on"--as practically un-American: "She cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat." Earlier, on a visit to a private school in Pennsylvania, Palin assailed the state's planned school nutrition guidelines that would encourage healthier snacks and fewer classroom birthday parties; she brought a batch of 200 cookies to protest "a nanny state run amok."
Eeeew! Sarah Palin! I think the cookies are an awesome, magical stroke, making me think she deserves reevaluation on my part. And it is un-American, as it happens, to trust the state over parents. Am I on HuffPo? No, it's Reason.
Two years ago, Palin herself, as governor of Alaska, championed a state-level health care plan that included support for anti-smoking, anti-obesity, and pro-exercise efforts.
And there is no difference between a State program in the schools and a Federal one. What a hypocrite that woman is. And did you see she changed her hair?
Ms. Young also writes for RealClearPolitics, so maybe conservative-phobia is an odd claim. But the column cannot seem to decide whether to bash statism or opportunistic opposition.
December 14, 2010
MoveOn.org Quote of the Day
I know you guys are probably all on the MoveOn.org mailing list and pour through the site every day, but I wanted to be sure nobody missed this. Thankfully, a Facebook friend posted the "Top Five Problems with the Tax Deal." They're all rilly rilly good, but I especially liked:
Problem #4: Unemployment help is insufficient and inadequate.
Ninety-nine weeks plus 13 months -- then those heartless Rethuglicans want you to go back to work. O! M! G!
Did somebody say clarity?
One for my blog brothers on both sides:
UPDATE: Several right wing nutjobs have posted the video, but a little sleuthing was required to see when and where this interview transpired. Newsbusters:
On December 3, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave CBS's Katie Couric a much-needed lesson on why America invaded Iraq.
I have tried to go easy on the First Lady. It's an unusual position, where one is expected to "do something" while not asserting authority that does not exist.
But it is not within the consciousness of the current WH occupants to not turn their brainchildren into legislation. And Michelle Obama has decided that legislation is needed to combat a national security threat! "We can't just leave it to the parents." Ahh, the scourge of childhood obesity.
Warning: sections of this video may upset ThreeSourcers; viewer discretion is advised.
Quote of the Day
Since we've been taking some shots at the ethanol subsidies on these pages lately, this comment from Rich Lowry, writing in the New York Post and reprinted on RealClearPolitics.com, seems to sum it up the politics of it:
Too many people will have a vested interest in continuing the scam, and its supporters -- like Harkin and Grassley now -- will always argue that any change is too disruptive. We'll still be mandating ethanol long after the internal-combustion engine is obsolete.
Lush Wheaty Goodness!
I like to suggest, in a discussion on deleterious anthropogenic warming of the globe, usually after a beer, that we should let plants vote on carbon-dioxide reduction. "How would we," slurs I, "react if the plants floated oxygen-reduction legislation?"
Tim Blair takes the cause in the Daily Telegraph. Being Australian, I'm going to go out on the limb and suggest that he might have downed a Foster's or two before typing (I have no empirical proof of this scurrilous smear).
Climate change alarmists hate it when we refer to carbon dioxide as "plant food", even though the description is accurate. And what a food it is! Earlier this year, the ABC's Landline program reported on an experiment conducted by the Victorian Department of Primary Industry, which blasted a patch of wheat with higher CO2 levels:
The wheat liked it! Hey Mikey!
December 13, 2010
Told You So
Give me 40%. Discussing the Freddy Kruegeresque re-corporealization of the ethanol blending mandate, I said "Two words: Chuck Grassley."
The correct answer was "Five words: Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley."
The ethanol extension is the bipartisan handiwork of Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, who both regularly abandon their professed principles (fiscal conservatism for the Republican and equity for the Democrat) in the service of agribusiness.
Brother jg and I are involved in a soon to be three-digit Facebook thread. It started with the brit PSA blowing up the children -- 'member that? Our interlocutor considers it essential that we stop burning fossil fuels immediately. While he admits that ethanol is a waste and a boondoggle, he still expects the government to choose the right one next time. (No, pig, breathe from your diaphragm! Rounded tones...Maaa-may-meee-moo-muuuuu...)
This should be a comment to Brother jg's scoop on the Virginia challenge to ObamaCare®, but I am posting to enjoy better links and blockquotes...
Richard Epstein says that this decision will be tough to wish away, and details how it got around every freedom lover's bete noire, Wickard:
The key successful move for Virginia was that it found a way to sidestep the well known 1942 decision of the Supreme Court in Wickard v. Filburn, which held in effect that the power to regulate commerce among the several states extended to decisions of farmers to feed their own grain to their own cows. Wickard does not pass the laugh test if the issue is whether it bears any fidelity to the original constitutional design. It was put into place for the rather ignoble purpose of making sure that the federally sponsored cartel arrangements for agriculture could be properly administered.
He even ends with a boxing metaphor:
So how does it stand? If you know which way Justice Kennedy will vote, you have a pretty good shot of getting the final outcome. But if one plays the odds, this is a 12 round fight. As of today, ObamaCare is losing on rounds.
Ali lands a solid right on the jaw of Frazier
No, we can't yet quip, "Down goes Frazier!" but today's federal ruling in the Virginia Obamacare case was a necessary foundation for the defense of western civilization.
In his 42-page opinion, Judge Hudson wrote that "at its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance -- or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage -- it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."
To this obvious conclusion the statists reply like Washington and Lee University Law Professor Timothy Jost:
Washington and Lee University law professor Timothy Jost, an expert on the health-care law, said other judges who have upheld the law interpreted the Commerce Clause more broadly to cover economic decisions that are more passive -- namely, the refusal to buy insurance. Jost said that when people choose not to buy health insurance they are still making an economic decision and affecting the nation's commerce.
Yes, just like my decision not to purchase a new car every year affects the nation's commerce.
Blog friend Sugarchuck turned me on to Michael Novak's The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. Pardon if I have mentioned it too frequently, I enjoyed it on many levels.
I thought of it reading this superb column in The American by Arthur C Brooks and Peter Wehner: Human Nature and Capitalism.
The authors enumerate three views of human nature (Rousseau, Hobbes, Madison) and suggest that one's economic and political outlook will be indelibly colored by it. I'm not going to excerpt, it is short and powerful. If you read one thing today...
December 12, 2010
I think the playoff picture will solidify when we know the winner of the Broncos-Cardinals game.
jk Vs. Justice Scalia
Though I love the last chapter to FA Hayek's "The Constitution of Liberty," my last measurable appreciation for conservatism qua conservatism is affection for Justice Antonin Scalia, "Nino." He was majority wrong in Raich and minority wrong in Lawrence, but the humor, candor and intellectual rigor in his opinions make me hold him among the best who have ever worn the robe.
We have not discussed the Colombia Professor Incest case. Probably the rest of you lack my indecorousness. But the trends of freedom show at the margins and the clarity of philosophy is found in its extremes. So as the great legal scholar Johnny Mercer said, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
This case is creepy on steroids. But on what legal principle does one object? In ThreeSources parlance: what manner of sexual behavior are we prepared to let the state dictate? Ann Althouse quotes from Scalia's dissent in Lawrence to give him an amicus i-told-you-so:
Apart from the fact that such an "emerging awareness" does not establish a "fundamental right," the statement is factually false. States continue to prosecute all sorts of crimes by adults "in matters pertaining to sex": prostitution, adult incest, adultery, obscenity, and child pornography.
To be helpful, Althouse places bold face tags around every occurrence of "adult incest." And, to be fair, Althouse teaches Constitutional law; I post guitar videos on the Internet.
But I object because I cannot see valid "consent." A parent and child have a lifelong hierarchical relationship. It may moderate at majority, but it does not dissolve. Even without the question of blood incest, I made the same argument when the
The Columbia case is repugnant for incest, but it is wrong and legal prosecutable because of intrinsic coercion.
Slippery slopers are legitimate to present the reductio ad absurdum of the liberalities they oppose. And I am by no means ready to make a brave stand in support of non-coercive adult incest (nor am I ruling it out). But I am not giving Nino the victory lap on this that Professor Althouse is. We can keep our governmental noses out of bedrooms and still prosecute this particular twisted bastard.
UPDATE: Interesting thoughts from Eugene Volkh, who is much closer to the Constitutional Law Professor side than the Internet Guitarist Side of things.
(1) Should it be illegal, and, if so, exactly why? Is it just because it’s immoral? Because legalizing incest would, by making a future sexual relationship more speakable and legitimate, potentially affect the family relationship even while the child is underage (the view to which I tentatively incline)? Because it involves a heightened risk of birth defects (a view I'm skeptical about, given that we don’t criminalize sex by carriers of genes that make serious hereditary disease much more likely than incest does)?
Tweet of the Day
A model for us all. Happy Birthday, Ted.
December 11, 2010
"Addicted to Foreign Coal"
That's the future rallying cry of back-to-the-cave types in China, Japan and Korea. And the source of that "evil" "foreign" coal? Colorado.
The New Elk Mine was opened in 1951 by CF&I Steel Co. to provide metallurgical coking coal for its blast furnace iron and steel production plant in Pueblo. In 1981, Wyoming Fuels purchased the facility and operated it until 1989. The coal preparation plant continued operating with coal from other nearby mines until 1996.
No mention anywhere of a government subsidy or incentive. Just buyers and sellers. How quaint.
Google Catches Up to jk
No, not in market capitalization -- they passed by many magnitudes long ago.
But as a netbook aficionado, I have been interested in the Google Chrome Operating System. The Chrome browser is lightning fast, even on my underpowered Acer Aspire (it aspires to be a real computer someday!)
It's a return to the Scott McNealy-Larry Ellison idea of putting all the power on the network. Bill Gates won that war in the 90s because there was no network. Now even Windows commercials are touting The Cloud.
I'm just an interested observer -- we lost a lot of good men in the OS wars and I'm not prepared to go back. But one feature of the new built-for-Chrome laptops makes me want to cheer. NO CAPS LOCK KEY!! I MEAN REALLY!!! IT IS SOOOOOO STUPID, WHY DIDN'T THEY REMOVE THIS USELESS APPENDAGE YEARS AGO?????
My first act after bringing up a new computer is to pop off the Caps Lock and Insert keys. I used to remove more but I have learned to live with all the rest.
Good for Google, daring to rethink the legacy of the manual typewriter.
December 10, 2010
On the other hand...
With one op-ed piece in the WSJ, Sarah Palin has made a lasting impact on the dynamic of the upcoming Republican presidential race -- even if she doesn't run. (Though I think she will.) By strongly endorsing Rep. Paul Ryan's outstanding Roadmap for America's Future, Palin has set a floor for how radical and sweeping an agenda the 2012 candidates can offer. Anyone offering less will look timid and inconsequential and most un-Tea Party-esque. One of the big knocks against Ryan's plan is that few of his colleagues are supporting it. Now the most high-profile Republican in America has given it her seal of approval. The Ryan Roadmap is quickly becoming the de facto GOP economic platform. And if Palin does decide to run, she immediately starts out with a specific and coherent agenda. Candidates beware: Bullet points and platitudes aren't going to cut it.
Was it the long ball? Or was it a Hail-Mary? Nobody loves L'Audace! more than me, but I think she needs the Ryan Plan's seriousness.
Curiously, the first commenter is a Palin fan but says "[...]and I especially like the classic conservatism she espouses but, really, I just cannot shake the suspicion that all these writings have been ghosted. Please convince me that I'm mistaken." I think this speaks to my concern that her policy proclamations lack conviction. Even if she says them, they sound like others' words.
Mommy, Where do Jobs Come From?
Part III, Chapter 5 - 'Their Brothers' Keepers:'
Hank Reardon and his freeloading brother Philip conversing at Reardon's steel mill...
Philip's body drew a shade tighter together and his eyes became a shade more glazed, as if in fear of the place around him, in resentment of its sight, in an effort not to concede its reality He said, in the soft, stubborn whine of a voodoo incantation, "It's a moral imperative, universally conceded in our day and age, that every man is entitled to a job." His voice rose: "I'm entitled to it!"
The "Tax Bill" Christmas Tree
Blog patriarch JK thinks we "did not know what we got till it was gone" in the Obama/Boehner deal to not raise taxes on "the rich." For my part, I didn't make numerous treks to the capitol steps over the last two years and spend numerous weekends knocking on neighbors doors to sign up GOP absentee ballots just to keep taxes and spending at their 2010 levels.
And then, to make matters worse, there's this:
Despite opposition from academics, environmental organizations, libertarian organizations, editorial boards across the country, and dozens of other groups, the ethanol tax credit and resulting tariff is said to be locked into the tax bill that will be passed before the end of the year.
How many stakes must we drive through the hearts of Congressional Democrats to be rid of their Frankensteinian monsters?
Any Hope for LA at All?
Insty linked to this, suggesting "the last thing they need is new entry-level jobs."
I was appalled at the Orwellian assertions of the councilwoman that these bans were all about providing choice. I said "there's no hope! Game Over in LA!" and "Yes, I'd love another cup of coffee!"
But then, the local TV voiceover asks "but is it government's job?" (The odds of that question appearing on FOX31 in Denver is 0 out of 100.) Then, two of the three man-on-the-street interviews suggest freedom. And the third is ambivalent.
Liberty's not dead in South Los Angeles, but it has much to impede it.
They did not poll ThreeSourcers...
Time Magazine. I get less upset reading The Nation or Mother Jones. Who are these people who still read it? I know they're fewer every year, but probably still 100 times Reason's circulation.
A Facebook friend is pretty proud to be in Times' smartest city:
Colorado was the only state to take two spots in the top 10. The smartest city, Boulder, is home to the University of Colorado, which probably explains the high proportion of degree holders. Five out of every six people in Boulder have attended college. Many other top-ranked schools are college towns; Ann Arbor, Mich. is home to the University of Michigan, Durham, N.C. is home to Duke, and Washington has a handful of universities within city limits.
The criterion, for those stupidheads outside of Boulder and Larimer Counties who have not guessed by now, is education: "Portfolio.com took education data from America's 200 largest cities before ranking them by intelligence. The main criteria? The "collective brainpower" of the citizenry -- from those who dropped out before high-school graduation to those who attained a graduate or professional degree."
So, none but the largest 200 cities can play, and education equals smartz. And you add it all up and it's news. The next article down was "TIME Technology: Chatroulette, Justin Bieber and Haiti: Google's 2010 Year in Search." Somehow catches the whole thing.
But for those of us who've met people from Boulder...
She's Laying Groundwork for a Presidential Run in 2012?
No -- not her.
Another Republican woman took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal last week. And after a few years in obscurity, seems to be a little more visible, two years before a quadrennial. I know y'all are going to wince, but you heard it here first:
And I am all in.
More on the Tax Non-deal
Brothers JK and The Refugee have been trading points/counter-points regarding the efficacy of the tax rate extention deal between Obama and the Republicans. It may be a non-issue, as the liberal House Dems seem to be in full revolt against the deal. Today's WSJ has a seminal editorial on these developments. It also highlights some of the less-than-they-seem realities of the deal itself.
As for Republicans, they have already given up an enormous amount to get what is essentially the status quo on tax policy. They get a two-year reprieve against tax increases on capital and income, and two years of death taxes at 35% instead of 55%. This spares the economy from immediate tax harm while it is still emerging from recession, but this deal is nothing close to a genuine pro-growth, supply-side tax policy.
As with most WSJ editorials, this is worth the full read. It is also outside the castle walls, so access is free.
December 9, 2010
How Economics Saves Christmas
Art Carden updates the tale:
He asked and he questioned the whole thing's legality
Good stuff -- hat-tip: Mankiw
Vaulting Recital and Shopping
MILE HIGH VAULTERS, request the honor of your presence at their 1st annual Holiday Recital
Including Vaulting performances, shopping, a silent auction and a chance to try vaulting and take pictures with the horses.
When: Sunday, December 12 from 2 - 5pm
Where: Peaches Arena @ Atlantis Farms (Click the CONTACT US button to ask for directions.)
Why: The vaulters have all worked so hard and would love to show you, their family and friends, what they have accomplished.
Since you have the privilege of strength, I have the right of weakness
Part III, Chapter 5 - Their Brothers' Keepers:
Dagny Taggart's realization, after being scolded by her brother Jim: "You're the realist, you're the doer, the mover, the producer, the Nat Taggart, you're the person who's able to achieve any goal she chooses! You could save us now, you could find a way to make things work—if you wanted to!"
There was the goal of all those con men of library and classroom, who sold their revelations as reason, their "instincts" as science, their cravings as knowledge, the goal of all the savages of the non-objective, the non-absolute, the relative, the tentative, the probable - the savages who, seeing a farmer gather a harvest, can consider it only as a mystic phenomenon unbound by the law of causality and created by the farmers' omnipotent whim, who then proceed to seize the farmer, to chain him, to deprive him of tools, of seeds, of water, of soil, to push him out on a barren rock and to command: "Now grow a harvest and feed us!"
It's a Berkeley Square Christmas
Brother ac asks "Any chance you'll post the Berkeley Square Christmas collection to the 'net?"
SIng, Little Piggy, Sing!
I also posted this on Facebook. Sometimes I think we just need to remind the collectivists how much government tends to suck.
UPDATE: Special bonus track if you buy the box set:
WASHINGTON -- In an unintended consequence of the new health care law, drug companies have begun notifying children’s hospitals around the country that they no longer qualify for large discounts on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions.
I wish I could make stuff like this up. To extend discount drugs to rural clinics and political uses -- without breaking the bank -- we're going to take the money from sick children. Fell the caring! Feel it!
Coffeehousin' in a Hat!
December 8, 2010
Behind Every Silver Lining...
George Carlin, in the guise of Al Sleet, the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, reminded us that "Behind every silver lining, there's a dark cloud!" So, in fairness to Brother br, I link to James Pethakoukis's post on why Sen. Jim DeMint opposes and may filibuster the tax deal:
But if this new trillion dollar bullet doesn't work as promised, the power of the tax-cut message would be greatly undermined. And there is good reason to think the results will be disappointing:
Great Use for XtraNormal
Matt Welch of Reason wondered whether the second paragraph of Thomas Friedman's column would sound better if he made an animated robot say it:
New NASA DAWG Models
...suggest that doubling the amount of CO2 could raise temps by 1.64 degrees Celsius.
According to Lahouari Bounoua of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and other scientists from NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), existing models fail to accurately include the effects of rising CO2 levels on green plants. As green plants breathe in CO2 in the process of photosynthesis -- they also release oxygen, the only reason that there is any in the air for us to breathe -- more carbon dioxide has important effects on them.
December 7, 2010
Quote of the Day
"A hero is somebody who understands the responsibility that comes with their freedom." -- Bob DylanCourtesy of juststrings.com
Don't Tell Me You're Not Having a Little Fun
The President self-distructs in his press conference?
Mr. Obama has mastered the ability to look both unprincipled and graceless at the same time. There is also a touch of bipolarity in this administration that is doing a fair amount of damage to it.
"My Life is the Highest of Values"
Part III, Chapter 4: 'Anti-Life'
"Cherryl, what you've been struggling with is the greatest problem in history, the one that has caused all of human suffering. You've understood much more than most people, who suffer and die, never knowing what killed them. I'll help you to understand. It's a big subject and a hard battle - but first, above all, don't be afraid."
The look on Cherryl's face was an odd, wistful longing, as if, seeing Dagny from a great distance, she were straining and failing to come closer. "I wish I could wish to fight," she said softly, "but I don't. I don't even want to win any longer. There's one change that I don't seem to have the strength to make. You see, I had never expected anything like my marriage to Jim. Then when it happened, I thought that life was much more wonderful than I had expected. And now to get used to the idea that life and people are much more horrible than anything I had imagined and that my marriage was not a glorious miracle, but some unspeakable kind of evil which I'm still afraid to learn fully - that is what I can't force myself to take. I can't get past it." She glanced up suddenly. "Dagny, how did you do it? How did you manage to remain unmangled?"
"By holding to just one rule."
"To place nothing—nothing—above the verdict of my own mind."
"You've taken some terrible beatings … maybe worse than I did … worse than any of us.… What held you through it?"
"The knowledge that my life is the highest of values, too high to give up without a fight."
She saw a look of astonishment, of incredulous recognition on Cherryl's face, as if the girl were struggling to recapture some sensation across a span of years. "Dagny"—her voice was a whisper—"that's … that's what I felt when I was a child … that's what I seem to remember most about myself… that kind of feeling… and I never lost it, it's there, it's always been there, but as I grew up, I thought it was something that I must hide.… I never had any name for it, but just now, when you said it, it struck me that that's what it was.… Dagny, to feel that way about your own life - is that good?"
"Cherryl, listen to me carefully: that feeling—with everything, which it requires and implies—is the highest, noblest and only good on earth."
"The reason I ask is because I … I wouldn't have dared to think that. Somehow, people always made me feel as if they thought it was a sin… as if that were the thing in me which they resented and … and wanted to destroy."
"It's true. Some people do want to destroy it. And when you learn to understand their motive, you'll know the darkest, ugliest and only evil in the world, but you'll be safely out of its reach."
A good friend of this blog emails:
The Broncos ruined my fantasy football team's chances to make the playoffs with their anemic performance. The next day, Josh McDaniels was fired. You're welcome :)
I'm not sure I was ever on board with firing the winningest coach in the NFL, then chasing out two franchise players. And I got a little queasy when the new coach decided to fill the entire roster with quarterbacks.
But Mister B has made his choices, and I found myself liking Coach McDaniels and I certainly like Kyle Orton. I would have clipped McDaniels's wings a bit and removed some of his front office duties, but I have a feeling the kid will be a good coach someday. Sadly, my beloved donkeys are looking at years to rebuild.
The only good news is that Oakland beat San Diego. I never thought my intra-division enmities would flip, but the Dolts -- I mean Bolts -- are top. And that whiny KC Coach is starting to bug me...
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
Dan Mitchell at CATO offers a punchy and level-headed assessment of the tax deal:
Compared to ideal policy, the deal announced last night between congressional Republicans and President Obama is terrible.
The Obama Buck
Some creative Englishpersons have suggested a fresh look for US currency, and it includes replacing the image on the one dollar bill of America's first president, stodgy old white guy George Washington, with America's hip and worldly celebrated "First African American President."
As for the "reason" to redesign America's money:
Fast Company's Suzanne LaBarre praised the Dowling Duncan design, writing, "The Obama bill anchors their sweeping concept for redesigning U.S. banknotes ... The impetus: The greenback has an image problem. It has come to represent everything that's wrong with the American economy, and worse, with its cartoonish graphics and vaguely sinister styling, it actually looks the part."
That's right. The image above certainly isn't "cartoonish" is it? The president's ears can't possibly be as big as those in this caricature.
Snarky Quote of the Day
Apparently the new $100 bills are so counterfeit-proof that even the Treasury can't print them correctly. We now have $110 billion sitting in a Ft. Worth, TX vault waiting to sort the good bills from the bad. A Yahoo news report concludes with this gem:
The new bills are the first to include Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's signature. In order to prevent a shortfall,the government has ordered production of the old design, which includes the signature of Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. That, surely, is not the only respect in which the nation's lead economic officials would like to turn back the clock to sometime before the 2008 financial crisis.
The government plans to destroy the misprinted bills. However, The Refugee would bet that collectors all over the world would pay enough for these items to at least make a dent in the $120 million mistake.
I'm calling this the first scalp of the 112th: an awesome deal on extending the Bush tax cuts. Plus 100% expensing. Plus two points off FICA. I'm giddy.
WASHINGTON -- Brushing past Democratic opposition, President Barack Obama announced agreement with Republicans Monday night on a plan to extend expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes.
Maybe he will "pull a Clinton" after all. Did I mention the Korean trade agreement?
I'm all in on my 2009 IRA today -- I don't care if it's up a thousand. Happy Days, here again.
Yeah, I know about the unemployment benefits extension. The cost of doing business. The net is overwhelmingly positive.
December 6, 2010
Quote of the Day
The Seattle Times is somehow telling me with great authority that 128 millenia ago the oceans were 1.7 degrees warmer than they are today and they can't investigate voter fraud in King County? -- Matt Holzmann
The Mythbuster guys are big Obama fans (and opened the Jon Stewart "we're a lot smarter and better looking than Glenn Beck's fans" rally in Washington DC).
As the President is scheduled to guest appear, the gang at Reason.tv have a bit of fun:
Dude's Seriously Lost Middle America
Hat-tip: Best of the Web
Justin Garcia, a researcher from SUNY Binghamton took DNA samples from 181 college students and looked at the DRD4 gene and found a variable of a person's D4 gene makes them prone to one-night stands, infidelity and uncommitted sex.
...The researchers admitted they need a larger sample size to back up their findings. They said another study is planned.
And all I ever get are these dopey drug trials...
All of us have been taught that compassion is a moral human virtue, and it is said to be even more virtuous when that compassion is blind. But what is wrong with unearned compassion?
Part III, Chapter 4: Anti-Life:
"You know, Miss Tag--Dagny," she said softly, in wonder, "you're not as I expected you to be at all.... They, Jim and his friends, they said you were hard and cold and unfeeling."'
"But it's true, Cherryl. I am, in the sense they mean - only have they ever told you in just what sense they mean it?"
"No. They never do. They only sneer at me when I ask them what they mean by anything … about anything. What did they mean about you?"
"Whenever anyone accuses some person of being 'unfeeling,' he means that that person is just. He means that that person has no causeless emotions and will not grant him a feeling which he does not deserve. He means that 'to feel' is to go against reason, against moral values, against reality."
He means… What's the matter?" she asked, seeing the abnormal intensity of the girl's face.
"It's … it's something I've tried so hard to understand … for such a long time.… "
"Well, observe that you never hear that accusation in defense of innocence, but always in defense of guilt. You never hear it said by a good person about those who fail to do him justice. But you always hear it said by a rotter about those who treat him as a rotter, those who don't feel any sympathy for the evil he's committed or for the pain he suffers as a consequence. Well, it's true - that is what I do not feel. But those who feel it, feel nothing for any quality of human greatness, for any person or action that deserves admiration, approval, esteem. These are the things I feel. You'll find that it's one or the other. Those who grant sympathy to guilt, grant none to innocence. Ask yourself which, of the two, are the unfeeling persons. And then you'll see what motive is the opposite of charity."
"What?" she whispered.
The move not to renew ethanol mandates is chugging along like a John Deere on biodiesel. The WSJ page reports a broad right-left coalition:
Last week, no fewer than 17 Senators signed a letter calling ethanol "fiscally indefensible" and "environmentally unwise." Led by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Jon Kyl, the group said Congress shouldn't extend certain subsidies that expire at the end of the year, including the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline and tariffs on cheaper imports. Conservatives like Tom Coburn dislike this costly industrial policy, while liberals like Barbara Boxer and Sheldon Whitehouse are turning against the hefty carbon emissions that come with corn fuels.
End of a Journey
Close to President Obama's inauguration, I took some advice from Nicholas Nasim Taleb. In "The Black Swan," he suggests that people should read more books and less news. I knew the next few years of news would not be to my liking, so I allowed all my political magazine subscriptions to expire (I destroyed a rainforest with renewal offers).
I thought that I would read a book about each US President: 43 books and give myself a bright gold star. Finish up by the end of 2009. I had a plan and started with Joseph J Ellis's His Excellency: George Washington. (Five Stars!)
But the best plans have some flexibility and I quickly discovered both that I really enjoyed it and that I clearly needed to read more than one for each chief executive. So the one year plan was out the window. But this dropout actually connected with a multi-year intellectual exercise.
Last night I finished Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father. I'll give President O three stars for an interesting read and I'll recommend it to ThreeSourcers. You can see where he comes from. It disturbingly sets up his distrust of business as compared to his complete trust of government.
It belies campaign claims of a "post racial" America. He looks for his place among his family, the Luo tribe, and people of African descent. I know, I know. "I wouldn't understand" but...I don't understand.
December 4, 2010
Like the pay freeze, this can be derided as small potatoes (corn, actually...), but I would see it as a new dawn of freedom!
At the stroke of midnight on December 31 of this year, the 45˘ per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), commonly known as the blender’s credit, and the 54˘ per gallon tariff on imported ethanol, will expire.
Of course, maybe if you mix ethanol with mohair, you might have a cure for cancer. All of us free market types would be pretty sheepish then...
December 3, 2010
Whenever I find myself trying to reason with someone who holds a relativistic worldview I am reminded of the Ayn Rand quote, "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it. They cannot help you. Leave them alone."
Robert Heinlein said the same thing but, as usual, more poetically. I think from now on I may just end those frustrating conversations by linking to this.
December 2, 2010
Michael Ramirez nails it again.
They've done so well so far
Clearly, we should give the FDA more authority. Let's bring their hyper-regulation and risk aversion to more industries. Hell, they should manage all our food!
The Senate waved through the largest expansion of food regulation since FDR on Tuesday, 73 to 25, and maybe the bill won the votes of 13 Republicans because there was hardly any public controversy. These days, the government needs to take over entire industries to get anyone to notice.
This WSJ Editorial claims that the FDA regulates 25% of the US Economy. My leftist friends will be happy to see Cargill and ADM finally getting government oversight. But, as always:
Not surprisingly, this bill's main critics have been the small farms and local and organic food outfits that don't have the profit margins to comply with new regulatory burdens like the "risk-based preventative controls" that the FDA will soon enforce. The House version applies even to farmers markets and roadside stands. Naturally, agribusiness and the processed food industry (and their legal departments) couldn't be happier, and it's not the first time big business has leveraged government to weigh down smaller competitors.
The big guys can manage and mitigate -- they probably wrote most of the law in the first place. Sad days. Thirteen Republicans.
It's called Article V
Republicans gained control of the House last month on a promise to "restore the Constitution." So it is no small irony that one of their first orders of business is an attempt to rewrite the Constitution.
Egads! Like when they "Rewrote the Constitution" to provide for freedom of the press!, or end slavery! Or Inaugurate the President in January! Reactionaries! Like Eric Cantor (R - VA):
But it is another Virginia Republican who has the power to turn the Repeal Amendment into a serious issue - and that is the man who holds a seat in Congress that once would have belonged to the author of the Constitution. "James Madison IS the U.S. Constitution, and he provides such a role model," Cantor said at a Constitution Day event at Montpelier a couple of years ago. "Many days, probably most, I walk by the portrait of James Madison in the hall just outside the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, pinching myself, wondering what I'm doing here."
I'm just sore because the first Ken Buck attack ads were "he wants to rewrite the Constitution!" for a Chamber of Commerce speech two years ago. I wish he had campaigned on repealing the 17th Amendment.
I'm sure it focus-group-tested well for the campaign ads, but one might expect a little better in a WaPo editorial. Maybe?
December 1, 2010
TEA Partiers Explained by Pawz
Since the Xtranormal.com 'text to movie' is a free web app there are loads of these vids with varying degrees of veracity and intelligence. Here is a darned good one on the TEA Party. If you don't listen to the whole thing at least give yourself the treat of listening to the last minute and a half [starting at 8:00.]
The close is so perfect I just have to excerpt:
[Refering to President Obama] - "We do not like to be treated like children by a naive, Ivy-League intellectual who does not know what he is talking about. Tell him to move to Greece where they already have the economy he wants."
And just especially for JK I'll include this link to a conversation between a "Libertarian" and a "Tea Partier." I think the caricature of the Tea Partier painted here is more aptly called "Conservative" or "Traditionalist" but to the extent that individuals with these beliefs participate in the TEA Party movement it is a fair comparison.
Quote of the Day
Dave Brubeck at his 90th Birthday celebration:
After a visit to Chopin's home and being surrounded by "all these pianos," Mr. Brubeck composed a Chopinesque jazz piece with the Polish name "Dziekuje." Mr. Brubeck asked if anyone in the Blue Note audience knew what "dzieuke" means. "It means 'thank you,'" a lady called out.