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
Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, some people (see "RIDICULE THEM" post below) believe that Nothing much happened in 2010.

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2011 6:21 PM
But jk thinks:

And so believe all Americans who turn to TIME for breaking news and hard hitting political punditry.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2011 10:38 AM

Buffy Results

Seven hundred responses were collected to the Buffy survey we discussed, and the reults are in.

Interesting. The main conflicts seem to match those of ThreeSourcers.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

December 30, 2010

Ridicule Them!

I have not been sure how to respond to Ezra Klein. He is on video and in the WaPo promulgating his gravely mistaken views of Constitutional principles.

Blog friend SugarChuck comes to my aid, emailing this link from Iowahawk.

Sometimes, ridicule is the only valid response.

But johngalt thinks:

Klein does have one good point. One that I wondered all by my poor little ol' 2.97 GPA engineering school self: What difference does the GOP think a Constitutionality citation will make? The clause from Obamacare will just be applied to everything: "It's the commerce clause, stupid!"

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2011 6:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Not to say Klein lacks any good points. People do tend to us the Constitution when it suits and look aside when it does not (Louisiana Purchase anybody? Bueller?)

But I disagree vociferously (as would a vociferous) that the citation requirement is not a big deal. First, it will remind the 535 folks most in need of reminding that their powers are limited. Secondly, it will force a discussion.

Sure they will trot out the perfunctory (like a perfunctor) Commerce Clause, and Gouverneur Morris's preamble will be twisted into silly shapes. But opponents can cite Lopez and Madison's interpretation of "general welfare," and if the individual mandate ObamaCare® is overturned, the opinions can be mined for substantive retorts.

Not a silver bullet, but I think it is a very big deal.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2011 10:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Your positive spin is appreciated. I'd rather have it than not, and the "reminder" bit is worthwhile. You'll have to excuse that my pessimistic pragmatism was showing.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2011 12:04 PM

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.

Meanwhile, the city has no fewer than 14,530 workers spending $8.4 billion on social services, up about $1 billion and 500 employees from 2007. There are 6,100 public employees working on environmental protection and another 12,100 at the housing authority, plus 6,400 devoted to "health and mental hygiene." Oh, and the city's pension contributions are climbing to $7.49 billion in fiscal 2011, from $4.7 billion in 2007.


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:
snow101230.jpg


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

PLEASE STOP!

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.


Coffeehousin'



Coffeehouse

What are you Doing New Year's Eve?


"Reprised from 2009 -- Happy New Year Everybody!"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


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...)

We'll have a few special events in 2011 and I'll let you know here or through the Coffeehouse Facebook page. Thanks for all the support!

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Our "weekly shot" will be missed! Just have to live with "best of" archives, I guess.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 30, 2010 4:34 PM

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."

So there!

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Lisa M thinks:

Don't feel bad jk. Down here in Philly, "redemption" means a quarterback in town that may finally bring us a Superbowl Championship. Especially when uttered by Ed Rendell.

And speaking of our illustrious Guv, his "wussy" remarks almost universally fell flat here as we watched whiteout conditions where the game was supposed to be played Sunday night. Nanny state liberals only care about the "wussification" of America when it interferes with them watching real men play a manly sport from the comfort of their heated and catered club boxes.

Posted by: Lisa M at December 29, 2010 9:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Long as you're not offended...and I think Brother ac is on the boat. I think I got away with this one.

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2010 10:32 AM

December 28, 2010

Go Browns!

The Greatest Letter Ever Printed On NFL Team Letterhead

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.

It's kind of depressing. Very few American businesses--and certainly no NFL teams--would dare send that sort of liberated, common-sense response today.


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.

As the leader of the Cornucopians, the optimists who believed there would always be abundant supplies of energy and other resources, Julian figured that betting was the best way to make his argument. Optimism, he found, didn't make for cover stories and front-page headlines.

No matter how many cheery long-term statistics he produced, he couldn't get as much attention as the gloomy Malthusians like Paul Ehrlich, the best-selling ecologist. Their forecasts of energy crises and resource shortages seemed not only newsier but also more intuitively correct. In a finite world with a growing population, wasn't it logical to expect resources to become scarcer and more expensive?


These markets and innovation thingies have just got to run out someday...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

DAWGON Good

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.

But jk thinks:

Awesome. Of course, now I'll be up all night worrying about falling sea levels!

The part I dug was "if you want a grant for a research project in climatology, it is written into the document that there 'must' be a focus on global warming. ... That is really bad, because you start asking for the answer you want to get." It vexes me that a scientist who gets any funding from an oil company is tainted -- yet a researcher who would be working at Taco Bell if his global warming grant evaporated is considered pure as the driven snow that they used to have in Britain and Philadelphia.

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2010 12:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh -- and props for the headline -- nicely played!

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2010 12:48 PM

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 clean, articulate... but my complaint is that he has chosen to write a long piece on something he cannot comprehend. I don't mean that he is stupid, but he just cannot philosophically empathize with the odd creatures he studies. Beam and I had the same book:
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.

Jillette might choose his words differently today. Everyone knows going through airport security sucks, even without "porno- scanners." But few dispute the need for some line of defense. More-efficient, less-intrusive security would be great. But none at all? Jillette’s tract is a good example of how libertarianism ventures down some fascinating paths but usually ends up deep in the wilderness.


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.

UPDATE: Arnold Kling is a little closer to my camp (Hat-tip: Everyday Economist):

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.]

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The first WHAT? Duuuude! (Reference your paragraph starting "Gigot & Co"). Freudian much?

Nitpicking typos notwithstanding, I see, and to some degree sympathize with, the WSJ point of view. With so many Federal overreaches during the last two years from which to choose, this one is one that will allow the MSM to caricature her as making Michelle Obama's concern over childhood obesity a disproportionately large concern. After all, IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN! And if the extent of her involvement were hectoring indulgent parents and Ronald McDonald for allowing bad choices, I'd say more power to her - Heaven knows how many of the fat little urchins that waddle past my house every day on their way to the local school might be improved by shedding a few pounds, to say how much nicer my front lawn might look without all the Ho-Hos wrappers and empty soda cans that their mothers pack them off with for breakfast.

I'd have no problem with using the bully pulpit of the Presidency - or in this case, the First Ladyhood, even though Dolley Madison's name (minus the "e") is besmirched by a carb-laden snack cake manufacturer - to push Americans into consciousness of our corpulence. I just hate when it becomes an order.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 27, 2010 4:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I've heard this from a few sources, none I trust more than the WSJ Ed Page or Brother Keith, but I remain unsold. I still see pictures of a signing ceremony for the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act" and FLOTUS assuring us that it is "a national security issue."

Yup, there are more egregious intrusions, but I don't think that gives the First LaDy a pass.

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2010 5:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Br'er jk: you won't find me disagreeing with you; hence my tepid "to some degree sympathize with" choice of words. I agree with you; but I also understand this issue is easily caricatured by her opponents, along the lines of "I can see Russia from my house!" We know what the truth is - but try persuading the electorate, which has the attention span of a ferret on crack cocaine and gets its news from CNN, the AP, Jon Stewart, SNL and HuffPo.

If you'll pardon me, there are some fat schoolkids on my lawn, and I want to show them my impression of Clint Eastwood.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 27, 2010 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

The really fat ones probably smoosh down the grass worse...

I'll agree with everything you say, and even suggest that her comment -- I actually heard it on the show before reading about it -- was off base. But I am surprised to see the WSJ Ed Page call her out on it. And I can't help but feel it is a warning shot.

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2010 6:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "Just Say No to Creampuffs" campaign is not "for the children" or to create a young legion of "Obamatons" but it is, in the Progressive mind, necessary for collectivized health care. I'm sure that Palin sees the link but a more pressing reason for opposition is the depth and breadth of state intrusion on personal choices. They'll be choosing our underwear style soon at this rate.

And it still boggles the mind that they think we poor dumb rubes aren't to be trusted with free choice while using a cafeteria tray, but may do whatever we'd like with those pesky unwanted pregnancies.

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2010 12:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Don't laugh at the headwear thing, JG. If Junior doesn't wear a hat and catches a cold, he might go to school and give it to others. Some of those others may infect others, who may in turn give it to a soldier, who may miss his deployment due to illness. Headwear is a matter of national security!

Excuse me, the phone is ringing... I think it's Janet Napalitano with a job offer... "Hello..."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 29, 2010 3:27 PM

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.

That wearying routine ended in February when the family sold some animals to buy a small Chinese-made solar power system for about $80. Now balanced precariously atop their tin roof, a lone solar panel provides enough electricity to charge the phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches.


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

A Two-Fer

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.

But foundational beliefs like an aversion to federal overreach into local decisions cannot be disposed of because kids happen to be part of the equation. And if Huckabee believes there's nothing wrong with the federal government controlling local school lunches and instituting national smoking bans, how many issues will he believe are more important than federalism?


It's two, two, two posts in one! Hat-tip: Instapundit

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Huh:

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."

"You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection."


I did not get my vote in

WaPo asks readers to descripbe Speaker Pelosi in one word, then publishes a word cloud.

pelosi.jpg

Hat-tip: James Pethokoukis

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Could your word have been published?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 23, 2010 1:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Maybe not the first, impulsive, suggestions ;)

Thinking it through, I would have said "collectivist."

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 2:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

looter

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2010 2:21 PM

"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.


Elevator Talk Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I like your unoriginal but effective elevator speech. And for those "in the know" I can sum the whole thing in a single word: Miranda.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2010 2:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahaha. My second comment miscontruction this week. I thought you meant Miranda v Arizona and I was to claim being conflicted. Yes, that Miranda.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 4:06 PM
But dagny thinks:

I do not disagree with the dichotomy. However, I would take it a step further. Those who see no reason, "to limit the effectiveness of government," fail to acknowledge that all government resources come from taxation at the expense of individuals. I submit that it is IMMORAL to allow it to encroach beyond the limited constitutional purposes of government because all such encroachment benefits some citizens at the expense of others.

This is not an original argument either but one that I rarely see presented.

Posted by: dagny at December 24, 2010 6:48 PM

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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 7:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

Layers and Layers of Fact Checking

CBS News airs phony cover to President Bush's book.

desision_points.jpg Whether or not it was intentional, CBS News made a poor "desision" on Sunday when it broadcast a fake cover of former President George W. Bush's new memoir, "Decision Points," during a book special.

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?"

But jk thinks:

The President and me. I accept the repeal of DADT as a consolation prize for enduring two years of Democrat rule.

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2010 4:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think you missed my point. I'm not opining on DADT, but on the President's revision of the Declaration of Independence's "all men are created equal" to falsely assert that men and women are also "created equal." At least, I thought it was false.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2010 7:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair enough, though I don't expect you would accept legislation to codify Vive l'Difference!

The Bull & Bush used to be one of my favorite places to play. Another poster in the series has young "Bush" telling young "Bull" "With one of these, I can get as many of those as I want!"

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2010 7:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Truer words wuz never spoke.

I remember B&B from a matchbook cover when I was a kid. I was a bit surprised to see it's still around. I'll need to pay a visit next year.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2010 2:32 PM
But jk thinks:

My Brother-in-law and sister go often on Sunday mights when they feature Dixieland Jazz. The Bull and Bush started brewing their own beer a few years ago and it is quite good.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 3:00 PM

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."

Three gasps of recognition greeted the voice, but nobody had the power to notice them among the sounds of the crowd, which were beyond the stage of cries. One was a gasp of triumph, another -- of terror, the third -- of bewilderment. Three persons had recognized the speaker: Dagny, Dr. Stadler, Eddie Willers. Nobody glanced at Eddie Willers; but Dagny and Dr. Stadler glanced at each other. She saw that his face was distorted by as evil a terror as one could ever bear to see; he saw that she knew and that the way she looked at him was as if the speaker had slapped his face.

"For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing -- you who dread knowledge -- I am the man who will now tell you."


Huck a Whack

Ho, ho, ho, it's almost 2012, And I am feelin' the spirit:

Huckabee takes sides in the Michelle v. Sarah food fight.

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.

Now... is it true that Michelle Obama isn't "trying to tell people what to eat" and "not trying to force the government's desires on people"? Is it true that she's only "stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country"? I don't know why Michelle Obama looks better if she's simply "stating the obvious" fact that there are a lot of fat people in this country. If it's so obvious, why point it out? And it's rude to do nothing more that point out that people are fat.


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

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."

Yet, like a rural voter clinging to his guns, the Obama administration brushes aside the experts because - well, who knows why? Perhaps subsidizing electric cars helps a Democratic administration make corporate welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy seem progressive. It's possible President Obama feels bound by his grandiose campaign promise to put a million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015.


Did somebody say misallocation of capital? Bueller?

But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the dying breaths of the 111th really are quite noxious.

But really, he cites the National Academy of Sciences? Those ivory tower guys are such obvious shills for "Big Oil."

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2010 3:15 PM

December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas

Brian Aitken is home. DId I mention Governor Christie is a total hoss? He is.

Hat-tip: Insty

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.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 6:58 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This will help Christie's bona fides with respect to gun owners, as he has expressed support for some gun control measures in the past.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 22, 2010 1:28 PM

Census Data

Very cool access to historical and current census data:

2010.census.gov/2010census/data/

Colorado & California & Minnesota stay even, PA loses a seat, NY down 2. (TX is +4!)

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

But then I watched his farewell address -- or as he called it, his "closing argument."

The former Republican and Democratic Senator showed why he was called "Snarlin' Arlen": His closing argument was an angry, petty, mean, self-serving screed that betrayed a total lack of self-awareness.
[...]
Speaking of Bork, this was where Specter showed his petty meanness. He gratuitously brought up Bork in his speech, saying, "Justice Bork -- excuse me ... Judge Bork."


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.

Specter's speech stood in stark contrast to the soaring, valedictory odes to the Senate that Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and other veteran legislators have delivered in recent weeks. And it was not lost on anyone that, unlike Dodd and Gregg, Specter - who earned the nickname "Snarlin' Arlen" - is not exiting on his own terms.

Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | What do you think? [12]
But jk thinks:

Whoa. Dude. This argument is happening on two different threads. At the same time!

I would cite diffraction patterns as proof of an aspect of quantum mechanics that troubles you. The best example is in David Deutch's "The Fabric of Reality" (five stars), but a decent version is on Wikipedia:

The most baffling part of this experiment comes when only one photon at a time is fired at the barrier with both slits open. The pattern of interference remains the same, as can be seen if many photons are emitted one at a time and recorded on the same sheet of photographic film. The clear implication is that something with a wavelike nature passes simultaneously through both slits and interferes with itself — even though there is only one photon present. The experiment works with electrons, atoms, and even some molecules too[citation needed].

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2010 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't suggest the universe to be infinite in size or mass. I suggest a potential of an infinite number of universes. Theory yes, but the product of mathematics, not LSD. And many phenomena predicted have been shown to be true.

Quantum Theory actually reduces the number of infinities (undefined results) in other cosmologies. And as strange as it is, it provides theoretical reasons for many of the A is A empiricism you like. I suggest the stability of matter and Hercules' catching the turtle require it.

One thing I appreciate about Once Before Time is the humility of the cosmologists. Bojowald freely admits that the mathematics of Quantum Loop gravity exceeds current skills, and that the theory is in its infancy.

The book details savage competition among scientists and a quest for truth. Curiously, none mention a UN resolution or plebiscite to settle the science.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 11:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I caution that mathematics is a tool for understanding reality, not a synonym for it. An infinite number of universes necessitates an infinite mass of universes, unless the mass of every universe is zero.

I don't think most people really grasp what "infinite" really means. It isn't just the inverse of your chances of winning powerball, or of President Obama signing a flat-tax bill. It essentially means, "greater than anything and everything, ever." (And forever is a looooong time. Even more than 13.7 billion years.)

Infinity, like forever, is a value that can exist only in theory.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2010 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

There are an infinite number integers, perfect squares, triangles, &c. ARe these things not real?

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 3:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Integers and squares and triangles are real. An infinite quantity of them existing in the material realm is not. Meaning, slips of paper with the integers written on them or cut into squares or triangles.

Quoting Wikipedia again, "In mathematics, "infinity" is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: "an infinite number of terms") but it is not the same sort of number as the real numbers."

This is what I mean by "existing only in theory." It can't exist in the material realm, but only in man's imagination. This is my working theory. I'm still looking for any contradiction of it.

Posted by: johngalt at December 24, 2010 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

[I do love ThreeSources. Where else does a post on Sen. Arlen Specter engender a fierce debate on Quantum Mechanics?]

Fair enough, but I purport that Quantum Theory eliminates far more infinities than it creates. Without it, there is a real, empirical infinite number of lengths between Hercules and the Turtle in Zeno's Paradox.

Infinite to me is without limit. There may not be an infinite number of cardboard triangles, but I can always cut one more. You say there's not an infinite amount of cardboard (I buy everything from Amazon, so I'm not sure). But I say I can cut an infinite number of triangles from one piece of cardboard. And you'll need Quantum Theory to prove I cannot.

Mathematically, however, it is the same. Bojowald suggests a potential universe on the other side of every black hole. You may say there is a finite number of black holes because there is finite mass to create them. I say you're right but there is always one more. Always one more integer, always one more perfect square, always one more triangle.

Always one more universe, with a potential Santa.

Posted by: jk at December 25, 2010 12:29 PM

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,
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sounds like she's describing the EU.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 21, 2010 12:23 PM
But jk thinks:

'Course, the Iron Lady gets Quote of Forever for: "The trouble with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

Posted by: jk at December 21, 2010 5:02 PM

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!"

"But that's not possible!" The cry came from behind Mr. Thompson and they all whirled in its direction, startled by its note of peculiar terror; it came from Dr. Stadler. "There's no such thing! There's nobody on earth to make it!"

The chief engineer spread his hands out. "That's it, Dr. Stadler," he said wearily. "It can't be possible. It shouldn't be possible. But there it is."

"Well, do something about it!" cried Mr. Thompson to the crowd at large.

No one answered or moved.

"I won't permit this!" cried Mr. Thompson. "I won't permit it! Tonight of all nights! I've got to make that speech! Do something! Solve it, whatever it is! I order you to solve it!"

The chief engineer was looking at him blankly.

"I'll fire the lot of you for this! I'll fire every electronic engineer in the country! I'll put the whole profession on trial for sabotage, desertion and treason! Do you hear me? Now do something, God damn you! Do something!"

The chief engineer was looking at him impassively, as if words were not conveying anything any longer.

"Isn't there anybody to obey an order?" cried Mr. Thompson. "Isn't there a brain left in this country?"

The hand of the clock reached the dot of 8:00.


Hybrid Chic

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:

mcd.jpg

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.

More than 48 hours after Britain's last snowfall, some furious passengers with boarding passes for Monday flights were not even allowed into London's Heathrow Airport. Inside, piles of garbage grew and some people slept on terminal floors.


That's weather, not climate you trogs!

But johngalt thinks:

On the parting shot in the Xtranormal vid: Snap!

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2010 2:42 PM

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: [...]

And:
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."

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

The desire was not directed at the unknown thug who had sent a bullet through the boy's body, or at the looting bureaucrats who had hired the thug to do it, but at the boy's teachers who had delivered him, disarmed, to the thug's gun -- at the soft, safe assassins of college classrooms who, incompetent to answer the queries of a quest for reason, took pleasure in crippling the young minds entrusted to their care.

Somewhere, he thought, there was this boy's mother, who had trembled with protective concern over his groping steps, while teaching him to walk, who had measured his baby formulas with a jeweler's caution, who had obeyed with a zealot's fervor the latest words of science on his diet and hygiene, protecting his unhardened body from germs -- then had sent him to be turned into a tortured neurotic by the men who taught him that he had no mind and must never attempt to think. Had she fed him tainted refuse, he thought, had she mixed poison into his food, it would have been more kind and less fatal.

He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly -- yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child's education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think.

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!"

Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival -- yet that was what they did to their children.

Armed with nothing but meaningless phrases, this boy had been thrown to fight for existence, he had hobbled and groped through a brief, doomed effort, he had screamed his indignant, bewildered protest -- and had perished in his first attempt to soar on his mangled wings.
But a different breed of teachers had once existed, he thought, and had reared the men who created this country; he thought that mothers should set out on their knees to look for men like Hugh Akston, to find them and beg them to return.


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 .

Take an online survey.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

I would not for a second suggest Buffy as being commensurate with ThreeSources's thinking. There's no shortage of pop progressivism, it's anti-gun, and the fundamental premise of the early seasons is long on duty and short on free will. As they mature, I enjoy watching free will catch up to duty.

For all its heterodoxy, however, the series has a huge following among Libertarians and Conservatives. Virginia Postrel wrote a famous essay when she was editor or Reason, Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard pushed me over the line. Most all the crew at NRO is hooked which surprises me because of the general promiscuity and slaps at religion.

There is a rock solid devotion to core enlightenment values that keeps people attached even when it strays from their beliefs. All the right wing blogosphere that do not watch somehow ended up here. I remember a post at Samizdata (I think Perry de Havilland) was in a train station in Prague and started humming one of the tunes from the musical episode, Once More with Feeling. An Australian girl jumped in singing and that attracted another lad from somewhere else who joined in. Globalism writ large.

So I answered the survey, and strained to give actual answers based on the show's values and not my own.

Got Netflix Instant Queue? All the Buffy, Angel and Firefly episodes are available any time. You should jump ahead and try Season Two of Angel or Season Five of Buffy. Watch 3-5 and if you don't dig it, I'll leave you alone.

Posted by: jk at December 19, 2010 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

No, don't have pay-internet yet. I'm still stuck in the last paradigm: pay-tv. Will put Buffy 5 on my Christmas wish list though.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2010 2:46 PM
But jk thinks:

If infinite quantum Santa fails to oblige in this dimension, I can now spare my DVDs for extended periods and watch on Netfilx.

Posted by: jk at December 20, 2010 3:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Infinite." "Quantum." "Dimension." NED, you really know how to hurt a guy. :)

Posted by: johngalt at December 21, 2010 11:02 AM
But jk thinks:

Every one of those words refers to empirically provable phenomena. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: jk at December 21, 2010 11:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll bite: Prove, not theorize, that the universe is infinite in either size or mass.

Prove, not theorize, that an elemental particle can be in two different locations at the same instant of time.

(I'll leave it there for now.)

And Merry Christmas to you too brother.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2010 3:04 PM

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.

NOTE: The Denver Post has been involved in some Righthaven suits of late. The Post helpfully provides a link to Terms of Use which this post clearly constitutes. If not, I trust you'll bake me a cake with a file in it. Still, I don't want to over-excerpt. Read the whole thing. At the Post.

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

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.

But this fight is extremely important, and could have long term implications for the GOP. It's the first clear sign that the GOP base's seemingly absurd obsession with earmarks is going to have a direct impact on how the Republican Party will approach future political fights over government spending, which are expected to be central to the next two years.

It's easy to dismiss the GOP base's earmark obsession, as I did the other day. But yesterday's defeat of the spending bill signals clearly that the GOP base may have some success in holding the Republican Party to its pledge to bring down spending -- which could ultimately hamper the recovery.


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?
[...]
Forget private-property rights or the rumblings in your belly. In Obama's America, you will no longer be allowed to freely make economic and nutritional decisions about how to feed yourself and your family. Somebody else -- the city, the state, the first lady -- will do that for you. After all, it's a matter of national security.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

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:"

Word_Graph_Communism.jpg

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quantum Santa

The Randians don't say that there is necessarily no Santa -- they just want proof.

Quod Erat Demonstratum.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I can't necessarily speak for any other "Randians" but this one has no evidence that anything in existence is infinite.

Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2010 1:24 PM

Friday Fun

My überConservative brother emails:

"Hi. This is Sarah Palin. Is Senator Lieberman in?"

"No, governor. This is Yom Kippur."

"Well, hello, Yom. Can I leave a message?"



Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I take it as dictum that one of the differences between most progressives and most conservatives is that we and the latter group can laugh at a clever joke, even if it's at our own expense. I'm a big fan of Mama Grizzly, but I'd wager even she'd laugh.

That being said, I'll see you, and raise:

Gov. Palin: "Thank you so much for inviting me to lunch, Sen. Lieberman, and introducing me to some of the traditional foods of your heritage. This is really delicious soup."

Sen. Lieberman: "It's my pleasure, Sarah, and I'm glad you like it. It's a family recipe."

Gov. Palin: "If I can ask just one question: do your people eat any other part of the matzoh?"

They say mountain oysters are an acquired taste, especially when the donor is caribou...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 17, 2010 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Kinda ironic (or is it just hypocritical) that the crowd who lectures "It's just not cool to joke about gay" has no problem insinuating that those who disagree with them are dum dums.

Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2010 1:14 PM

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.

The effect of this dope -- just sitting there, begging for a quick inhale -- on earmarkers was immediate. Two seconds into the sweats and shaking hands, nine Republicans let Mr. Reid know they'd be open to this bill.


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...

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Don't be too hard on yourself; your strategy made a lot of political sense. Both sides if this were looking at the same goal - getting and keeping genuine fiscal conservatives in charge of saving the national economy - and it was merely an issue of which form of kung fu would achieve that end.

Now, to change the subject to something a little more mirth-inducing: the Strassel quote. Referring to "crack cocaine," "dope," and the general jonesing and withdrawal symptoms in a quote that specifically highlights Lisa Morecokeski? Some sympathy, please - she's reeely trying to deal with it, and the added pressure isn't helping...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 17, 2010 1:17 PM

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:

Eew and Heh.

But WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has some embarrassing documents in his own past he would rather the world didn't know about.

A series of emails detailing his 'stalkery courtship' of a teenager are revealed - two years before he founded his notorious website.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | What do you think? [0]

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)
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:45 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

The only thing you had to say to get me to watch this was "S.E. Cupp is in it."

Some of these people can't possibly take themselves seriously. "The war on terror" is the greatest threat to free speech in this country? Look up "non-sequitur" mister 'The Onion' contributor.

Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2010 1:10 PM

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.

Think of this as a political version of the final scene in "Animal House," when the boys from the Delta frat react to their expulsion by busting up the local town parade for the sheer mayhem of it. Bluto Blutarsky (John Belushi) did go on to be a U.S. Senator in the film, and a man of his vision must have earned a seat on Appropriations.


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?

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If Republicans block the omnibus and call it a "2000 page, trillion dollar abomination in the dead of night," it will ring of all that people hated about the healthcare bill and the 111th. If we can get the dead duck, er, lame duck RINOs to hold ranks one more time, then Harry and Nancy will have no choice but a continuing resolution.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 16, 2010 4:52 PM
But jk thinks:

@ka: Ask President Gingrich.

@br: One is reminded of the Republicans in the 85th who kept sending President Cleveland bills to give $25 to Civil War widows. He repeatedly vetoed them and seemed to pay no price (ahh, Nineteenth Century liberty...) I think Chairman Ryan -- likin' the sound of that -- could yank a dozen of these porcine earmarks into a weekly cut that would be difficult to oppose.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 4:55 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Although 52 bills highlighting aggregious earmarks would be entertaining, it would be symbolic, at best. Even if all earmarks are repealed, we're talking just north of $8 billion. Not chump change and worth attacking, but insignificant in a $1.1 trillion budget. We need real reductions, not symbolism.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 16, 2010 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

How about $200 billion in cuts the first week, as a down payment, and then $8 billion a week for 52 weeks? I figure if you put Energy, Education, HUD and a half-dozen other agencies into the chipper-shredder, followed it with the ethanol subsidy as a chaser, and then just kept going through the org chart with a chainsaw, we could probably have a balanced budget by next October or so.

That wouldn't be merely symbolic.

By the way, I nearly forgot that today is the 237th anniversary of an obscure act of anti-regulatory civil disobedience. Happy anniversary, everyone...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 16, 2010 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup -- happy Tea Party Day, everyone. Raise a toast to Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Roger Ailes tonight for making it all possible!

I think you've got me, br. If the omnibus dies, I'll be 100% contented. If it lives, I suggest we view its r3ecision as a challenge.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 7:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Br wins! Insty points out we pulled a billion out of Obamacare.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 10:28 PM

"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?"

"Sure" said Rearden easily. "If it's production that you want, then get out of the way, junk all of your damn regulations, let Orren Boyle go broke, let me buy the plant of Associated Steel -- and it will be pouring a thousand tons a day from every one of its sixty furnaces."

"Oh, but … but we couldn't!" gasped Mouch. "That would be monopoly!"

Rearden chuckled. "Okay," he said indifferently, "then let my mills superintendent buy it. He'll do a better job than Boyle."

"Oh, but that would be letting the strong have an advantage over the weak! We couldn't do that!"

"Then don't talk about saving the country's economy."

"All we want is -- " He stopped.

"All you want is production without men who're able to produce, isn't it?"

"That … that's theory. That's just a theoretical extreme. All we want is a temporary adjustment."

"You've been making those temporary adjustments for years. Don't you see that you've run out of time?"

"That's just theo …" His voice trailed off and stopped.

"Well, now, look here," said Holloway cautiously, "it's not as if Mr. Boyle were actually … weak. Mr. Boyle is an extremely able man. It's just that he's suffered some unfortunate reverses, quite beyond his control. He had invested large sums in a public-spirited project to assist the undeveloped peoples of South America, and that copper crash of theirs has dealt him a severe financial blow. So it's only a matter of giving him a chance to recover, a helping hand to bridge the gap, a bit of temporary assistance, nothing more. All we have to do is just equalize the sacrifice -- then everybody will recover and prosper."

"You've been equalizing sacrifice for over a hundred" -- he stopped -- "for thousands of years," said Rearden slowly. "Don't you see that you're at the end of the road?"

"That's just theory!" snapped Wesley Mouch.

Rearden smiled. "I know your practice," he said softly. "It's your theory that I'm trying to understand."

He knew that the specific reason behind the Plan was Orren Boyle; he knew that the working of an intricate mechanism, operated by pull, threat, pressure, blackmail -- a mechanism like an irrational adding machine run amuck and throwing up any chance sum at the whim of any moment -- had happened to add up to Boyle's pressure upon these men to extort for him this last piece of plunder. He knew also that Boyle was not the cause of it or the essential to consider, that Boyle was only a chance rider, not the builder, of the infernal machine that had destroyed the world, that it was not Boyle who had made it possible, nor any of the men in this room. They, too, were only riders on a machine without a driver, they were trembling hitchhikers who knew that their vehicle was about to crash into its final abyss -- and it was not love or fear of Boyle that made them cling to their course and press on toward their end, it was something else, it was some one nameless element which they knew and evaded knowing, something which was neither thought nor hope, something he identified only as a certain look in their faces, a furtive look saying: I can get away with it. Why? -- he thought. Why do they think they can?

"We can't afford any theories!" cried Wesley Mouch. "We've got to act!"

"Well, then, I'll offer you another solution. Why don't you take over my mills and be done with it?"

The jolt that shook them was genuine terror.

"Oh no!" gasped Mouch.

"We wouldn't think of it!" cried Holloway.

"We stand for free enterprise!" cried Dr. Ferris.

"We don't want to harm you!" cried Lawson. "We're your friends, Mr. Rearden. Can't we all work together? We're your friends."

There, across the room, stood a table with a telephone, the same table, most likely, and the same instrument -- and suddenly Rearden felt as if he were seeing the convulsed figure of a man bent over that telephone, a man who had then known what he, Rearden, was now beginning to learn, a man fighting to refuse him the same request which he was now refusing to the present tenants of this room -- he saw the finish of that fight, a man's tortured face lifted to confront him and a desperate voice saying steadily: "Mr. Rearden, I swear to you … by the woman I love … that I am your friend."

This was the act he had then called treason, and this was the man he had rejected in order to go on serving the men confronting him now. Who, then, had been the traitor? -- he thought; he thought it almost without feeling, without right to feel, conscious of nothing but a solemnly reverent clarity. Who had chosen to give its present tenants the means to acquire this room? Whom had he sacrificed and to whose profit?

But jk thinks:

That's the trouble with fiction. Like any of this stuff could actually happen...

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 4:38 PM

Say, Wha...?

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.


So, according to Media Matters, if you present both sides of a debate, then you're biased.

"Paging Mr. Orwell, Mr. George Orwell. Please call your office."

Media and Blogging Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:41 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

That made the WaPo afternoon political email yesterday. They truly thought this was some great smoking gun. I thought "call me when they tell their people to say something that is not true."

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 2:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Taranto's all-in:

What Gore and MediaMutters characterize as "bias" is precisely the opposite: a determination to be fair to all sides of a complicated controversy. That's what journalists are supposed to do. Gore and the MediaMutters munchkins aren't journalists and thus are free to be as unfair and unbalanced as they want. But as media critics, they are utterly inept, lacking the most basic understanding of the newsman's job.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 3:42 PM

We're Number One!

CATO:

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.

tax_rate_number1.jpg

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

For the US to have any tax rate in excess of the corresponding rate in Sweden seems insane.

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2010 2:43 PM

Christmas Coffeehousin'



Coffeehouse

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


"Brooke is back in the Coffeehouse -- and gets to wear the hat!"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com




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):
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:46 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Quote of the Year nominee?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 16, 2010 10:55 AM
But jk thinks:

No argument here. I was thinking of a T-shirt with Don's picture and the quote.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 2:07 PM

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.

The Terminator came into office ostensibly to reform California politics, reduce taxation and "blow up the boxes" of the state's bureaucracy. He failed on all three counts. The California political system--particularly after the GOP's November Golden State wipeout--is, if anything, more dominated by public employee unions and special interests (including "green" venture capitalists) than when Gray Davis ruled. Taxes, despite efforts by members of Schwarzenegger's own Republican Party, have steadily increased, mostly in the form of sales and other regressive taxes. The bureaucracy, with its huge pension costs, continued to swell until this year even as state unemployment climbed well over double digits.


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.

California Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Recovery is a 12 step process. Step 1: "My name is The Refugee and am a Schwarzenegger supporter..."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 15, 2010 4:14 PM

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 --"

"Cut it, boys. I didn't come here to help you pretend that I'm not in the position I'm in and that any halfway is possible between us. Now come to the point. You've prepared some new gimmick to spring on the steel industry. What is it?"

"As a matter of fact,"' said Mouch, "we do have a vital question to discuss in regard to the steel industry, but … but your language, Mr. Rearden!"

"We don't want to spring anything on you," said Holloway. "We asked you here to discuss it with you."

"I came here to take orders. Give them."

"But, Mr. Rearden, we don't want to look at it that way. We don't want to give you orders. We want your voluntary consent."

Rearden smiled. "I know it."

"You do?" Holloway started eagerly, but something about Rearden's smile made him slide into uncertainty. "Well, then --"

"And you, brother," said Rearden, "know that that is the flaw in your game, the fatal flaw that will blast it sky-high.


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.

Was that not sufficiently polite? I hope it was, because if I've learned anything from the civility police at No Labels, it's that there's nothing as vital to the health of democracy as good manners. In conscientious tones, No Labels speaks for the average American. Yes, you only think you're upset with your elected officials for being scoundrels with pliable morals. Actually, you're just pining for more centrism.


If you don't read the whole thing, you're not worthy of broadband.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"No Labels" reminds me of the name of our little rock 'n roll band back in Junior High: The "No Name Band."

I'll give their little group a name: The "Pay No Attention to Those Men Behind the Curtain" movement. But the dirty little not-so-secret is that there is nothing new about this movement. It is belied by their motto, "Not left, not right, forward." They are Progressives. They just don't want you to notice.

JK has the internet segue machine. I have the Atlas Shrugged Quote of the Day.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2010 3:52 PM

Not Worth it.

The Whedonesque Blog (you're surprised?) links to a Daily Show segment

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.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I thought they just laughed when the "LAUGH" sign lights.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2010 3:14 PM

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.

Insty links to this Cathy Young piece in Reason. And Professor Reynolds provides a great excerpt:

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Don't forget that "that Palin woman" is a Creationist! (At least, that's what a friend told me his sister read on Facebook.)

Seriously, I tried to check up on Ms. P using the candidate "positionograph" that Brother Keith linked recently. A bazillion politicians I've never heard of are indexed but, curiously, not the former Governor of America's largest state.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2010 3:12 PM

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.

While the deal extends unemployment benefits for another 13 months for people currently receiving it, millions of unemployed workers who've struggled the most and been out of work more than 99 weeks -- since the giant Wall Street banks wrecked the economy -- will get no help at all under the deal.4 It's a gamble that there will be jobs in the next 13 months when the insurance runs out, but the tax cuts will go well beyond that. Better to just pass a stand-alone unemployment extension to help all struggling Americans.


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.

When Couric said to her guest during an "HBO History Makers Series" interview, "Documentaries have been made about how intelligence was incorrectly analyzed and cherry-picked to build an argument for war, and memos from that time do suggest that officials knew there was a small chance of actually finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Rice stopped the host dead in her tracks


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:24 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Sorta makes one want to ask Ms. Couric what she reads. The New York Times, perhaps.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2010 4:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Talk about putting Katie through school. I love how Condi would not even entertain the 20/20 hindsight thing. This is required viewing for every "Bush lied" moonbat.

How 'bout Christie-Rice 2012? He would have to be at the top of the ticket or it would sound like a breakfast cereal.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 14, 2010 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

My brother br and I are the same page. She would provide the foreign policy bona fides to any of the new tough domestic govs: Christie, Daniels, (last choice) Pawlenty.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2010 5:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Talking about taking candy away from a baby! Then again, it staggers the mind to contemplate asking Condie to take on one someone "her own size." Seriously, who could measure up, no matter their seam size?

Still, that was a satisfying crunch.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 20, 2010 10:57 PM

FLOTUS

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.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

My answer to that video:

http://tinyurl.com/27hs4dk

Would that every free American would articulate that toward DC.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 14, 2010 1:18 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wow - thanks for the warning, but even at that some slow, deep breathing was necessary by the end. That's the first time I've ever hear childhood obesity described as a national security threat. By FLOTUS' logic, asthma, nearsightedness and flat feet should also be matters of national security.

I have an idea - let's send all the fat kids to Gitmo. Of course, after mixing with the al Qaeda prisoners, they might bring new meaning to the phrase, "eating a greasy gut bomb."

When the day arrives that gubmint can compel any action based on the commerce clause and parenthood is usurped in the name of national security, we need a Constitutional convention because the current document is meaningless.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 14, 2010 1:35 PM
But jk thinks:

@br: Flat Feet! We'd better pass Schumer-Lugar or all learn to speak Russian!

@ka: Hope Santa does not see that link of yours...

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2010 2:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

@br: I only disagree with you in one regard: the need for a Constitutional convention. With the exception of a couple of Amendments, I like the Constitution we have just fine. Best case scenario, a Con-con would re-enact a Constitution pretty near to the original, with some language clarifying the Commerce clause and some other points; worst case scenario, the moochers and the looters would have plenty of room to work their mischief. In your eyes, how would a Constitution that satisfied all of us on this website differ from the one we have? If I may hazard a thought, I might guess that in large part, we here would mostly want to see the Constitution we already have simply obeyed by our government. Or am I wrong?

@jk: I just finished telling an eight-year-old that Santa was shot down over Phnom Penh in '68. It makes me feel old when I have to explain to them and to their parents what that means. By the way, if you haven't seen it, search YouTube for "Santa Shrugged". Santa would tell Michelle to MYOB.

The link I posted reminded me of a story I read a long time ago: "And Then There Were None" by Eric Frank Russell. Anyone here read it? Before there were Browncoats, there were Gands.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 14, 2010 6:20 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

KA, my point about the Constitutional Convention is that if the events that I describe occur, the current document is no longer operative.

Yes, my ideal is the current document with clarification and stronger language to keep courts from emasculating it. A supplementary document of intent would be nice as well.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 14, 2010 7:32 PM

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.
Quote of the Day Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

drivin' my ethanol truck, wearin' my mohair suit, eatin' my gub'mint cheese...

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2010 11:31 AM

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!

Hat-tip: Instapundit


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."

grassley_harkin.jpg
Roll Call/Getty Images

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.

Discredit also goes to the environmental lobby and its running game of bait and switch. The greens have turned on ethanol because of its carbon emissions, but their tax bill support has also been purchased with extensions of such energy subsidies as a Treasury grant program for wind and other renewable projects that were part of the stimulus.


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...)


ALI II

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.

At this point, no District Court judge dare turn his back on the ignoble and unprincipled decision in Wickard. But Virginia did not ask for radical therapy. It rather insisted that "all" Wickard stands for is the proposition that if a farmer decides to grow wheat, he cannot feed it to his own cows if a law of Congress says otherwise. It does not say that the farmer must grow wheat in order that the federal government will have something to regulate.

It is just that line that controls this case. The opponents of the individual mandate say that they do not have to purchase insurance against their will. The federal government may regulate how people participate in the market, but it cannot make them participate in the market. For if it could be done in this case it could be done in all others.


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.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.


Philosophical Woot!

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...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

December 12, 2010

NFL

I think the playoff picture will solidify when we know the winner of the Broncos-Cardinals game.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Were you, like me, wishing that the Broncos scheduled opponent yesterday had been the Vikings instead of the Cardinals?

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2010 2:17 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Minnesota: their season is crashing down like the roof of their stadium. The Vikings, I understand, are playing in Detroit, so Lions fans can root for the home team without the obligatory paper bags over their faces. The Vikings will be entering the stadium wearing shirts that read: "Detroit: Your Upgrade Has Arrived."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 13, 2010 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Watchit, the Lions beat Green Bay 7-3! I've cheered on worse Bronco teams, but I have not watched a second half in four weeks -- my productivity is inversely proportional to the Donkies'...

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2010 3:42 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, there is no team inept enough to make Denver look good.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 13, 2010 4:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I read jg's comment as his hoping it were an away game and postponed for snow. Guess we'll never know.

I've been in what Brother sc calls "The Dumpty Dome" -- as his guest it happens -- a couple of times to watch the Twins. It was something to see the roof collapse, but I expected the hearty Minnesotans to rip the rest of the roof off and play a new ice bowl.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2010 5:21 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

My bad for not catching the reference! The validity of the statement, however, still stands.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 14, 2010 9:56 AM

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 sick pedophile gifted filmmaker Woody Allen started banging his kin.

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)?

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The Sequel: KA vs. Justice Breyer.

Breyer, in his semi-infinite wisdom, announced this weekend that he's discovered out of thin air that Madison included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights solely as a gimmick to get the States to ratify the Constitution, and therefore, he feels no obligation to uphold the Second Amendment right for civilian to own firearms.

Behold the fords of the Rubicon River.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 13, 2010 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I watched the same interview (surely FOXNewsSunday is required viewing for the VRWC).

I writhed in visceral pain at several of his answers. Yet it confirmed my appreciation for the legislative branch and its possible role as a backstop to the erosion of liberty.

I went on Amazon to buy his book but some of the Publisher's notes cooled me. I may or may not and would love reviews from the stronger willed.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2010 2:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In an unguarded moment of flippancy I would say the Columbia professor is guilty by the fact that he is a Columbia professor.

OK, I'll bite.

So you are saying Scalia was wrong to conclude it is in the interest of the state (one of the fifty, not federal statute) to "promote a majoritarian sexual morality?"

I disagree. (Yes I, of the "don't legislate morality" school.) At least, that is, to the extent of publicity - obscene acts in private are no longer obscenity. But then we have bigamy blurring the line. In effect what results is "don't ask, don't tell" in private behavior. If one (or more) of the consenting adults has a change of heart and decides to make a legal case against another the court should throw it out as hearsay. But if the neighbor sees you through an unobstructed window, it's obscenity and the court may act.

It's a tenth amendment issue. If you don't like sex in Texas, have sex somewhere else. As a federal law, however, the Constitution can only be read to allow individual freedom on this non-enumerated-power issue.

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2010 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

The Internet Segue machine, in the person of one Glenn Reynolds, tries to tie these threads together. Ridiculing Justice Breyer's suggestion that DC sportsmen get on the subway to enjoy their Second Amendment rights in Maryland, Insty says:

Wow, that solves all sorts of problems. You want an abortion, or a school without government sponsored prayer? Get on the subway! Desegregated schools? Same thing! (Why didn’t the Supreme Court think of that in Bolling v. Sharpe? — Oh, right, no subway back then. See, this is why people oppose mass transit. It’s an end-run around the Bill Of Rights . . . .)

With the obligatory heh, that's why I must line up against you and Nino. I would not ask Ms. Loving to move out of Virginia so she can marry a white feller, I am not going to ask Big Gay Al to leave the Lone Star state.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2010 3:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Would the voters or the legislatures of Virginia or Texas, or any other state, outlaw interracial marriage or open homosexuality today? No. But would federal prohibitions have stopped those states from doing so back in the day? The American Civil War tells me no on that count too.

I get the double standard over federal prohibition of some state laws and not others. Where to bifurcate? I tried to do so at the point of my neighbor's nose. I still think that holds up:

Legal abortion as an NFL halftime show? No way. In a private clinic? Check.

"Brotherly love" with a few barnyard animals mixed in to spice it up on a Times Square sidewalk? Call the cops! In your own soundproof apartment with the curtains drawn? If you say so.

"Playing house" with more than one "wife?" Consenting adults. Asking for a family insurance policy to cover more than one of them? One per customer, mister.

Can't bring your guns out of the house with you? Now you're getting on the wrong side of MY nose.

Here's a test for you: What is the recourse of your system for blatantly obscene acts in public parks, for example - grin and bare it? ("Don't look kids. You'll only encourage them.") I guess we could all gather around and point and laugh, but wouldn't that eventually be called a "hate crime?"

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2010 3:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not talking about public display at all: private, consensual behavior. (I do not extend consent to the barnyard or to offspring, tough).

Incest and polygamy are always held up as the decrepit endpoints of the slippery slope, but I share your conviction that a truly consensual arrangement is okay.

Loving v Virginia was decided in 1967 and I think it is an important codification of the recognition of more liberal values. I'm similarly hard-pressed to disagree with Lawrence.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2010 4:43 PM

Tweet of the Day

ted_nugent_bday.gif

A model for us all. Happy Birthday, Ted.

But johngalt thinks:

Ted was one of the biggest reasons I watched the one-star rated 'Beer for My Horses' movie on CMT recently. Ted was a mysterious, unspeaking Sheriff's deputy with unconventional methods and skills, like using a hunting bow in gunfights with drug gangsters. There was a decent, if transparent, plot and some of the dialog by the lead character played by Toby Keith was endearing. Add in the doobie doo of Willie Nelson and I give it a solid two-stars.

Plus a guy has gotta love a rock star who ever wrote and performed a song called 'Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.'

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2010 2:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No one's touchin' this one, huh? It's OK. I understand. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2010 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps you said all there is to say.

I'm saddened to confess, now that I have come to appreciate him personally, that I really never appreciated him musically. Just not my genre

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2010 4:53 PM

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.

The mine will produce metallurgical coal that will primarily be exported to Asian countries, including Japan, Korea and China.

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.

caps_lock.jpg

Good for Google, daring to rethink the legacy of the manual typewriter.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

My gosh, jk, the horror! What blasphemy will you dare next? Sacrificing the Pause/Break key? The Scroll Lock? Have you no respect for history?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2010 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I must fess up. I have a KVM to switch between my development machine and test server. It uses the scroll lock to change: Scroll-Scroll-UpArrow. So, no, I'm usin' that.


Posted by: jk at December 12, 2010 11:28 AM

December 10, 2010

On the other hand...

James Pethokoukis gives Gov. Palin's editorial a much better review than I did:

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.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Well, at least she's saying them. Whether she wrote it or not, whether or not it was someone else's strategy to take this position, she's taken it. It is now associated with her. Let her be the Milli Vanilli of GOP politics, as long as she keeps singing the same tunes.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2010 10:57 PM
But HB thinks:

I have come to the opinion that a Palin primary candidacy is a very good thing, but a Palin nomination is not.

Palin is very popular with the base, but I think that many share jk's fear -- I myself confess to being one of them. Nonetheless, her candidacy should at least force the other candidates to advocate positions, especially on economic policy, that the base would love.

Posted by: HB at December 13, 2010 11:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

P.S. I watched a few episodes of the new TLC series "Sarah Palin's Alaska" over the weekend and I came away impressed. Who could be more likely to understand and promote competitive free-market, self-reliance, and private charity ideals than someone who has many life experiences in the Alaskan wilderness, where humans don't get to be at the top of the food chain by merely "wanting" to? Instead, it requires intellect and WORK.

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2010 2:24 PM

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!"

"You are? Go on, then, collect your claim."

"Uh?"

"Collect your job. Pick it off the bush where you think it grows."

"I mean..."

"You mean that it doesn't? You mean that you need it, but can't create it? You mean that you're entitled to a job which I must create for you?"

"Yes!"

"And if I don't?"

The silence went stretching through second after second. "I don't understand you," said Philip; his voice had the angry bewilderment of a man who recites the formulas of a well-tested role, but keeps getting the wrong cues in answer. "I don't understand why one can't talk to you any more. I don't understand what sort of theory you're propounding and --"

"Oh yes, you do."

As if refusing to believe that the formulas could fail, Philip burst out with: "Since when did you take to abstract philosophy? You're only a businessman, you're not qualified to deal with questions of principle, you ought to leave it to the experts who have conceded for centuries -- "


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?

But jk thinks:

Two words: Chuck. Grassley.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I've been called out by name a couple times today. I still think that the Obama/Boehner deal would be good for the economy: avoid a new year's tax increase and year end tax selling. Offer a down payment on better policy in the 112th and, for NED's sake, send our 535 elves home for Christmas.

But Mutual Forbearance is me and Mister Van Buren. I offer to compromise on today's WSJ Ed Page position (that Brother br linked). This, but no more:

Republicans would be fools to give Democrats a single new concession, even a token one. They certainly shouldn't let Mrs. Pelosi think she can get away with such blackmail in the next Congress. If Democrats defeat the current deal in the House, Republicans can return as a majority in January and write a bill that is better tax policy and more popular with their voters. Democrats will have been responsible for the tax increase, and Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will have much less leverage. That's why we think the Pelosi Democrats are really hostage fakers and will fold if their bluster is called.

Apart from the near-term economic damage, the stakes in this debate are highest for Mr. Obama. In November voters repudiated the policies of his first two years, but the polls show a reservoir of respect for him as a leader. If he can be pounded into retreat by a soon-to-be-former Speaker whose approval rating is barely north of 10%, Mr. Obama is headed for the unhappy resting place for failed Presidencies known as Carterville.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 5:08 PM

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.

California Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

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...

But johngalt thinks:

Don't fret over Time Mag's circulation. Ninety percent of the copies are on autosubscribe for decorating waiting rooms across the nation. Readers probably average about 90 seconds between the covers, thus explaining the need for headlines like "Where are America's Smartest Cities" and "Where do America's Most Attractive People Live." It's eye candy for the easily amused.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2010 2:30 PM

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:

Condi 2012

And I am all in.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Put me in the "wince" column. She's not the candidate we need. http://tinyurl.com/25o43ar

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 10, 2010 12:10 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I love Condi, but presidential material? Well, by all means, prove yourself, ma'am...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 10, 2010 12:13 PM
But jk thinks:

-- None better on Guns. Her parents used them to protect themselves and their freedom in Jim Crow Alabama. Not a duck-hunters' 2nd Amendment.

-- Sharanskyite foreign policy.

-- Squishy enough on Abortion: hard to demonize


I started in Jan 2005. and called Condi '08 in March 2005 "Vision, strength, principle, and the chance to beat Senator Clinton while breaking forever the Democrat's 90% share of the African-American community."

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 12:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Madam Secretary wrote a very smart piece on the START treaty. The primaries are more than a year off and I'll lose my heart a dozen times before the Iowa caucuses.

My point was to compare Sec. Rice as a credible candidate to Governor Palin. I'm not turning on Governor Griz like Christopher Buckley, but her last two forays onto the Journal Ed Page have turned me away rather than brought me closer.

Her jumping in on monetary policy and today's denunciation of the Bowles-Simpson debt reduction plan seemed too carefully calculated to present her as a serious thinker (she's like William Jennings Bryan -- with Lipstick!) But both were populist positions. I'm not saying she does not oppose expanding the Fed's balance sheet or see the dangers in the debt plan. Yet neither rang with Palinesque conviction,

She can find capital-T truth in supporting the troops or American values. Her opposition to QE2 and Bowles-Simpson (in which she inserted the phrase "death-panels") was like listening to a tourist describe the wonders of the place she stayed last weekend -- when you lived there for six years.

One must choose sides. And though I respect the Governor and roll-eyes at her incoherent detractors, I will be looking elsewhere for a candidate in 2012. And I would not mind the Secretary one bit.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 1:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good case jk. Can't dispute a word of it. No buts - I'm not wincing.

As a single woman she also avoids that awkward "first man" issue.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2010 2:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Totally agree with your assessment of the former governor from our 49th state. I mainly like the way she exposes the often deep hatefulness by some on the Left; fun to watch them froth at the mouth.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 10, 2010 2:55 PM

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.

[...]

The two percentage point cut in the payroll tax is only for one year and gives no incentive for businesses to hire because it only affects what employees pay. It is merely another demand-side Keynesian gambit to temporarily lift consumption. As for the increase in business expensing for 2011 (at 100%) and 2012 (50%), this will bring investment forward in time but do little to change overall business spending.


As with most WSJ editorials, this is worth the full read. It is also outside the castle walls, so access is free.

111th Congress Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

And this Reason cartoon is germane as well.

As the blog proponent, I think we might be facing a Joni Mitchell moment. If it does fall apart, I'll suggest y'all did not know what you got till it was gone.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 11:40 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I would suggest that such sentiment applies to the Dems. I would hope that if the problem is kicked to the 112th, the House Republicans would strip some of the give-aways from the deal, i.e., another 56 weeks (!) of unemployment benefits on top of the current 99 weeks. This deal seems generous to the Dems and I don't see how holding out will get them more concessions.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 10, 2010 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think that judgement applies well to the once overtly Marxist President Obama. Now that he's triangulating he'll be harder to dislodge.

But the tax deal? If you still feel this way after all that BR and I have already said I'm not sure anything more could sway you.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2010 2:49 PM

December 9, 2010

How Economics Saves Christmas

Art Carden updates the tale:

He asked and he questioned the whole thing's legality
Then his eyes brightened: he screamed "externality!

He reached for his textbooks; he knew what to do
He'd fight them with ideas from A.C. Pigou
This idea has merit, he thought in the frost
A tax that was equal to external cost
At the margin, would give all the Who girls and boys
An incentive to stop all their screaming and noise
Failing that, an injunction to make them all cease
And they'd have to pay him to have their Roast Beast.


Good stuff -- hat-tip: Mankiw

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

www.milehighvaulters.com

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?"

I never turn down a request.


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.


Hat-tip: Instapundit

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.

As a result, prices are going up for these specialized "orphan drugs," some of which are also used to treat more common 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!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:38 AM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin' in a Hat!



Coffeehouse

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!


"Just the basics: me, an acoustic guitar, a Sammy Cahn tune, and a Santa Hat!"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com




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:

1. DeMint thinks America needs a "permanent economy," not a temporary one. Milton Friedman would agree. Uncle Miltie's Permanent Income Hypothesis says short-term changes income don't change spending habits, changes in long-term expectations do. PIH has been backed up by numerous studies (such as here and here and here) and argues for permanent tax cuts, not ephemeral ones.

2. The much-hyped payroll tax cut is not a supply-side cut. The Institute for Policy Innovation nails it:

One of the proposed provisions in the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts is a temporary 2 percentage-point reduction in the Social Security payroll tax, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. Tax cuts that stimulate real economic growth operate at the margins--affecting an additional dollar of income, or an additional dollar of savings and investment--not the first dollar of income. Supply-side tax cuts encourage additional production by stimulating additional work, saving and investment.

A payroll tax cut is not a supply-side cut and won't have much impact on economic growth. Rather, it embraces the Keynesian idea that the economy is stimulated by putting a few hundred dollars in people's pockets so they can consume more. ... If there has to be a payroll tax cut, it actually makes more economic sense to give it to the employer half of the payroll taxes than to the employee. That would at least mitigate some of the risks of hiring new employees that have been imposed by Obama administration policies.


3. All of these temporary tax cuts will do little to lower policy uncertain among business and investors. There is still plenty of reason to worry about taxes and spending in the near future. Business is already sitting on a mountain of cash, and even Goldman Sachs wonders if the expensing provision will do much in this environment:

The proposal includes expensing of business investment in 2011, similar to the policy that the president proposed in September. This should reduce corporate taxes by about $100 billion next year if enacted, but would increase corporate tax liabilities in future years. Given low interest rates and significant spare capacity, this proposal is likely to have a limited effect on corporate behavior.

4. The 13-month renewal of emergency unemployment benefits will almost certainly keep the unemployment rate higher than it would otherwise be. Research from the San Francisco and Chicago Federal Reserve banks suggests the unemployment rate would be 0.4 percent to 1.7 percentage points lower if not for the extended unemployment benefits.

Republicans didn't own the Mega-Stimulus. They will own Mega-Stimulus 2.0 in the eyes of the public. Before they sign off, they may want to seek a second opinion Dr. DeMint.

But johngalt thinks:

Whoops - she highjacked my 'remembered personal info' again. That was me agreeing, not dagny.

My first impression of the "compromise" was positive - at least the first derivative of tax rates wasn't positive. But if R's let D's get away with just "not raising" taxes after the biggest rejection of big government in American history then the D's will have dodged the injury that should have come with their insult.

The first derivative of tax rates needs to be a negative number in order to: Restore a healthier market economy; Demonstrate that lowering tax rates is a chief factor in doing so.

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2010 9:05 AM
But jk thinks:

As they say in my country: tough room.

Are you both suggesting that the Republicans should not support the deal a'la Senator Jim DeMint? Or are you just disappointed that I'm so danged happy about it?

Posted by: jk at December 9, 2010 10:27 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK, neither one, really. I'm just not ready to party like is 1999. The Bush tax cuts revived the economy post-9/11, because they represented a real improvement in rates with eight years of certainty. However, they are now the status quo and the status quo has gotten us a muddled economy over the past 18 months. What would lead anyone to believe that no change will suddenly jump-start economic activity?

The 2% FICA reduction will be no more stimulative than the $1200 per family "stimulus" that Bush gave (two seperate $600 checks, if you recall). In fact, it may be worse - the amount is about the same, but the FICA scheme trickles over 12 months. Moreover, you have to be a Keynesian to think it will work, and Keynesians are pretty rare in these parts.

At this point, the problem is not marginal tax rates - it is out-of-control government spending. (Although raising marginal tax rates would be a disaster.) Nothing good can happen until Congress significantly reduces spending to allow the private sector to use those resources productively. Lowering the corporate income tax would stimilulate the economy more than personal tax rates. Companies that are not making money aren't paying taxes anyway - give 'em a kick start!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 9, 2010 12:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It never bothers me to see you happy, brother. But DeMint has the right idea - don't compromise to give more Keynsianism in return for merely no-change to tax rates, especially if you don't have to. The surviving D's aren't going to raise taxes in a recession. Why give them more of the statist economic poison they've pumped into the US economy for the past 2 years in return for ... zip?

Lowered tax rates will unequivocally result in higher tax revenues. Thomas Sowell explains it has been proven over and over for 80 years.

How can that be? Because high tax rates on paper, that many people avoid, often does not bring in as much tax revenue as lower tax rates that more people actually pay, after it is safe to come out of tax shelters and earn higher rates of taxable income.

The investors do this because it makes them better off, on net balance, even after they pay more money in taxes on incomes that have gone up. More important, the economy benefits when there is more investment in things that create more jobs and rising output.

But the public doesn't know this because the D's are better demagogues than the R's are leaders. Robert Reich explains the situation as a choice between "extending benefits for jobless" versus giving "tax cuts to the rich" who "don't need the money." Whether intentional or not, Reich obscures the fact that letting the "rich" keep more of the money they earn and invest it without fear will result in more tax revenues AND more jobs for the jobless.

So DeMint is the lone R voice in Congress saying we shouldn't be happy with this deal. In the new year the 112th Congress will bring many more who will join him. I'm happy that the Democrats canceled the vote on the deal. The best scenario is for it to fail now (as D's cut off their noses) and also to be seen as the Democrats' fault. Then we get a principled tax reform in the new year. Bully!

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2010 2:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Summarizing The Refugee's plan for economic recovery: reduce spending (going to 2008 levels is a nice start) and reduce the corporate income tax to 20%.

Mr. Preznit, if you're listening, this is your roadmap to the renewal of your lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, even with Obamacare weighing heavily on the economy.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 9, 2010 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We will soon see just how much Obamacare actually winds up weighing on the economy. The 112th will repeal, in full or in part.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2010 10:57 AM

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:

Nope.


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.

In particular, green plants can be expected to grow as they find it easier to harvest carbon from the air around them using energy from the sun: thus introducing a negative feedback into the warming/carbon process. Most current climate models don't account for this at all, according to Bounoua. Some do, but they fail to accurately simulate the effects -- they don't allow for the fact that plants in a high-CO2 atmosphere will "down-regulate" and so use water more efficiently.

But johngalt thinks:

Jeez, brother. I know you're the master of understatement but this is a prize winner of the genre.

Let's try, "doubled CO2 could raise temps by JUST 1.64 degrees Celsius."

And let's add this teensy little excerpt written by the UK Register's Lewis Page:

It now appears, however, that the previous/current state of climate science may simply have been wrong and that there's really no need to get in an immediate flap.

QOTD?

Quantitatively, the new study shows that the current annual increase of 2ppm per year would take centuries to double from 390 to 780 ppm, at which point the theoretical global temperature would still be less warm than the UN IPCC target of 2 degrees Celsius or less - with NO CARBON CONTROLS WHATSOEVER.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2010 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Mondo heh.

Agreed on the gobsmackedness of the assertions, but unclear on the standing of the study and source. I'd like to read about it in an article that didn't use the term "NASA and NOAA boffins" several times.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2010 3:37 PM

December 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

"A hero is somebody who understands the responsibility that comes with their freedom." -- Bob Dylan
Courtesy of juststrings.com
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

Don't Tell Me You're Not Having a Little Fun

The President self-distructs in his press conference?

Pete Wehner:

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.

John Podhoretz:
bipartisanGuy.gif

But johngalt thinks:

Yes. I admit it. The 112th Congress has not even been seated yet and I hear news reports like "Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says he thinks this [higher taxes for high earners] is a fight that Democrats can win." Remember how recently we wondered if there was any fight that Republicans could win?

As for the president, he says that he "doesn't want to play games with the interests of the American people" or some such, then says, "To my Democratic friends I would just remind them that this is a long game, not a short game." Maybe it's just his Basketball Jones talkin'.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2010 10:52 AM
But johngalt thinks:

An update to my prior comment: The KOA radio news report I heard actually used the words "Tea Party Senator Bernie Sanders..." I was sure I had just heard incorrectly so I wrote "Vermont Senator" above. But on a later rotation of the same story I heard it again - "Tea Party Senator Bernie Sanders..."

Who could write this? Who could read it unquestioningly? Dang!

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2010 2:37 PM

"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."

"Which?"

"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."


Meritocracy

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...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I'm sure McD will be pleased to learn that he has a fan in this area - you may be the only one. This team is just flat headed in the wrong direction.

Yes, they may be in for rebuilding (which is what they're doing anyway), but with a decent coach, an owner willing to open his wallet and free agency, it need not take excruciating years.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 1:11 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"...with a decent coach, an owner willing to open his wallet and free agency..."

Stealing a page from the Clippers' head office manual?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 7, 2010 1:17 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

With due respect to the Clippers organization, the Broncos owner has a bit better history!

With regard to McDaniels, it's one thing to be arrogant, but another to be arrogant and suck.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 2:19 PM

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.

Compared to what I expected to happen, the deal announced last night is pretty good.

In other words, grading this package depends on your benchmark. This is why reaction has been all over the map, featuring dour assessments from people like Pejman Yousefzadeh and cheerful analysis from folks such as Jennifer Rubin.

With apologies to Clint Eastwood, let's review the good, the bad, and the ugly.



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."

Obama%20dollar.jpg

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.

But jk thinks:

Ummmmm, I don't want to end up as an example of right wing hate on Kos or anything, but isn't that usually for *ahem* dead presidents?

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 12:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The campaign theme look has a nice tie-in to buying votes with other people's money.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 12:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Holy hell. Money printed in that same shade that Crayola will soon be calling "Obama Campaign Blue"? They all but added the seal of the "Office of the President-Elect" to this. That hope-and-change graphic outline doesn't help, either.

BR, looks like you and I had the same destination on this one: permanent campaign mode. JG, take note: the dollar sign does not seem to appear anywhere on the new bills, nor the word "dollar"!

And the Bill of Rights appears on the ten-spot. This audience could run up a dozen comments just on that delicious bit of irony.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 7, 2010 1:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Just to add fuel to the fire: since Obama is our post-racial President ushering in a messianic period of ethnic harmony, can we expect that we will no longer refer to our currency as "bucks"? JG, you may have to edit the title of the post; many genteel Southerners will recognize the obvious reference...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 7, 2010 1:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Ohhh, KA, don't even go there...

Since the color would change, should be go from call them "green backs" to... nope, not goin' there, either...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 2:23 PM

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.

Quote of the Day Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:00 AM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

I was wondering how to get one. But it's not really an upside down picture or "United Stites" or something that is visible. That seems to dampen supra-numismatic value, doesn't it?

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 10:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

First we had, "Just plug the damn hole!"

Now we have, "Just print the damn cash!"

Posted by: johngalt at December 7, 2010 11:15 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Some of the sheets wrinkled in the press causing blank spaces in the bill. That would seem to generate a deal of numismatic uniqueness.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 12:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Teachable moment for the press (yeah, good luck with that...):

This is not a $110Billion dollar problem, this is a problem with $110Billion of denominated currency. I'd get a warm fuzzy feeling inside if I thought any of them understood the difference.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 2:02 PM

Elections Matter!

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.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 AM | What do you think? [9]
But jk thinks:

The news broke just as Kudlow was coming on, and I thought they were going to have to "tranq" him. I'd have preferred more cuts and I'd've preferred some spending cuts. No, this is not the end-all.

But without the November tsunami, we would be looking at huge marginal rate gains on the top earners. Instead, we got preservation of the Bush rates, plus 100% expensing and a payroll cut. Not to be the ThreeSources rent seeker or anything, but the expensing will be a huge boon to my employer and the payroll cut will be a nice hunk of malprinted Benjamins in my pocket.

Totally agree with you on '12. President Obama will have to campaign on a big tax increase or "four more years of failed Bush policies!" Yesterday was the greatest day for Republicans since Appomattox.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 10:35 AM
But jk thinks:

The difference to 2010, br, is that the economy is trying to recover and can look forward to reduced interference from Washington. And you don't have to be a Keynesian to think those QEn dollars will give us at least a temporary lift.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 10:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Also worth mentioning is the compromise on the reinstituted inheritance tax.

"Obama said he reluctantly made another concession to Republicans, concerning the estate tax. It would tax estates worth more than $5 million at a rate of 35 percent, a GOP goal. Democrats favored a $3.5 million threshold, with a 45 percent tax on anything higher."

But yes, I agree with JK: Obama is doing this because he intends to take credit for "saving" the economy. The good news is that, contrary to prior evidence, he apparently is NOT bent on destroying the USA if that is what it takes to wipe out capitalism.

Posted by: johngalt at December 7, 2010 11:13 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Nevertheless, I go back to my argument that this means things won't get worse, not that it is highly stimulative. Most businesses will take the more favorable tax treatment and return it in the form of dividends and bonuses. Not that that's bad, but no business will take a one-time tax break and turn it into a hiring event that is a long-term commitment.

The lowering of payroll taxes is also good, but someone making $75,000 per year will see about $60 per month more in their paycheck - not enough to really be stimulative of anything significant.

If Congress really wanted to stimulate hiring, they would lower the corporate income tax from 35% to 20% (or maybe zero). Business managers would then use the money to buy equipment and/or hire employees as needed. Now that would be stimulative, but good luck getting it past the most liberal president in history.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

One more try to bring my blog brother to Oabamanirvana with me: the slope of the curve.

I'm a math guy and think most things become clearer when you look at the first derivative. Yeah, it's a temporary -- and therefore gimmicky -- payroll credit. But the 112th Congress is going to look at rolling back ObamaCare and not rolling it out. There will be votes taken on lowering the corporate rate. Jeff Flake (R – Awesome) is going to sit on the Appropriations Committee! I can hire on this and think something better is on the way.

Lastly, the free market's natural disposition is to grow, especially after contraction. Government's impeding it just a little less may be all that is required.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 1:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"And you don't have to be a Keynesian to think those QEn dollars will give us at least a temporary lift."

If Keynesianism weren't such voodoo, even Austrians would admit its efficacy in short-term boosts. And we don't. The only possible "lift" is from spending dollars that didn't exist previously. It's paid for dearly by an increase in the public debt, and inflation that robs consumers and savers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 7, 2010 11:07 PM

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

So Busted

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:

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm geniunely surprised the Secret Service detail is willingly letting Prezznit Barry get within the blast radius of two guys with a known propensity for blowing things up.

But I'd pay serious money to see him make a matching guest appearance on Penn & Teller's show, and without a TelePrompTer. The verbal slicing and dicing would be worth the price of admission.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 6, 2010 6:54 PM

Dude's Seriously Lost Middle America

Hat-tip: Best of the Web


Clinical Trials

Interesting:

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.

More interesting:
...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...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

My guess is that they had a sample size of one: Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 6, 2010 6:00 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It was dueling stereotypes in my skull:

(1) Boy howdy - how many of my tax dollars went to funding this study?

(2) They were limiting their sample universe for a study on uncommitted sex to students on a college campus? It doesn't take a Statistics major to tell you there's going to be a skewed result compared to the real-world population. Where did they get their control sample? Were there enough Engineering and Math majors who weren't getting any, or did they have to add in the campus Dungeons and Dragons club too? Until I see a side-by-side double-blinded study done on regular World of Warcraft players, I'm calling BS.

Color me bemused.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 6, 2010 6:48 PM
But jk thinks:

It's science, dammit! How can you count pennies when there is so much to be learned?

Posted by: jk at December 6, 2010 7:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I keep forgetting: "The science is settled." And speaking of that phrase, perhaps this study will be Al "Sex Poodle" Gore's explanation for his insistence on getting his second chakra serviced.

Full disclosure: lest anyone think I'm a hater or takes umbrage at my references, I will confess that in my younger days, I spend an untoward amount of time playing Dungeons and Dragons, back in the day when it was played with 20-sided dice instead of computers. I even went to a gaming convention once - and no, not in costume.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 6, 2010 8:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By the way: @ BR: remember the good old days, when we thought Clinton was the one with the turbocharged womanizing streak, and Gore was seen as the sexless, passionless nebbish? Things were so much simpler back then...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 6, 2010 8:39 PM

Compassion Unmasked

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.

"Justice, Cherryl."


Threatened Subsidy

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.

Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu seems to have found the anti-ethanol religion. Speaking at the National Press Club last Monday, Mr. Chu said that "ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel" and that the government's focus should be "on ways that we can actually go beyond ethanol." Like most greens, he still supports so-called advanced fuels that aren't made from corn and also aren't commercially viable, but we'll take his partial conversion.

The ethanol industry is responding by predicting disaster if it loses its taxpayer feeding tubes, with the Renewable Fuels Association evoking massive job losses and another Dust Bowl. But what kind of business can't survive without subsidies when government also mandates that consumers buy its products? As the Senators dryly noted, "Historically our government has helped a product compete in one of three ways: subsidize it, protect it from competition, or require its use. We understand that ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support from the U.S. government at this time."


Hope. Change.

But johngalt thinks:

Rational news from D.C. on a Monday morning? Pinch me!

Posted by: johngalt at December 6, 2010 2:58 PM

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:16 AM | What do you think? [0]

December 4, 2010

Symbolic Vote

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.

A bipartisan group of 17 senators, led by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), say it’s time for these special-interest giveaways to go gently into the night. A broad coalition of environmental, taxpayer, hunger, free market, and food industry organizations are urging House and Senate leaders to let the VEETC meet its statutorily appointed fate.

An exciting prospect — for the first time ever, Congress may decide to put the general welfare of consumers and taxpayers ahead of the corporate welfare of the ethanol lobby.


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...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

December 3, 2010

Don't Bother

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.

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 1:19 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Okay. So there are three good ones...

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2010 10:28 AM
But jk thinks:

Four.

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2010 10:43 AM

December 2, 2010

Christmas Coffeehousin'



Coffeehouse

Santa Baby


"Dust off a great Kurt O and Brooke video from last year"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com



But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Fun!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 3, 2010 2:46 PM

Funny Money

Michael Ramirez nails it again.


But Keith Arnold thinks:

Clearly faked. Obama's not bowing.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 2, 2010 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK brother Keith, here's one just for you.
http://www.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=552353

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2010 9:10 PM

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.

Not that this bill in the name of food safety isn't a down payment. The Food and Drug Administration will gain new powers over the 2.2 million farms and 28,000 food producers in America--including federal standards for agricultural practices and food processing, transportation and storage--as well as the authority to mandate nationwide recalls.


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.

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | What do you think? [0]

It's called Article V

Professor Reynolds does a fine job whacking Dana Milbank today. Milbank owhines:

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."

Now he knows: He wants to be Madison's editor.


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?


But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The 10th Amendment: 28 words that that bleeping moron Milbank never understood. What a goddamn tool.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 2, 2010 1:35 PM

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.

Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 9:40 PM | What do you think? [4]
But T. Greer thinks:

Since we are sharing these xtra normal videos, I thought this one on the TSA was nothing short of hilarious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXDLQPfqc04

Posted by: T. Greer at December 2, 2010 3:17 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But haven't you heard, JG, liberals have told those of us who want a country of individual freedom to get out and make our own. It doesn't matter that we were here first and that they're the perverters of what was.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 2, 2010 1:37 PM
But jk thinks:

You mention variances in quality levels. I'm not certain that "The Goldman Sachs" and "I have to see you naked" aren't the only entertaining ones in the genre.

People need to learn to write for this medium. Current artists are using this to deliver very long monotone harangues.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2010 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

3:20 is the historic, market-based, prescription for the length of a hit song. It's probably a good starting point for the best length of an Xtranormal vid - at least an upper limit.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2010 2:53 PM

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.

"That's right," said Mr. Brubeck. "It means thank you. And I want to play this piece as thanks to the people of Poland for resisting Soviet Communism."

It wasn't possible to ask Mr. Brubeck as he left the stage whether he had seen the Katyn story in the news earlier that day. We guessed he had. At the time of that 1958 trip he said of the jazz scene in Poland: "No dictatorship can tolerate jazz. It is the first sign of a return to freedom."


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