January 31, 2011
The First Guy to Tell You the Truth
Still putting the Christie stuff under "2012."
At 5:20: "Don't be angry at the first guy whio came here and told you the truth."
Hat-tip: Joe Collins of PA H20 dS/dt > 0, who rightfully labels it "Your Chris Christie pr0n of the day."
Mandate Struck Down!
YEAAAY! The individual mandate is struck down and Reason clucks that this video is referenced in the opinion:
Why are We Paying for This Again?
Professor Mankiw embeds a ten minute PBS Religion and Ethics video in which he appears. And, yes, he looks dashing, Had I been interviewed, you can bet I'd've posted it.
But the topic is tax fairness. And it examines religious values vis-a-vis taxation. It's tedious and awful, though I should credit them for putting Mankiw and Pete Werner on to present the non Communist side of the argument.
But the Elephant in the room is all the tax money they have taken from the rich, not to spend on the poor, but to produce this ten minutes of drivel. The free market is clearly capable of producing more and better drivel without subsidy. And without seething contempt for the state of Alabama.
I suspect Speaker Gingrich is not the leading candidate for the WSJ Ed Page endorsement in 2012. I don't know that for certain, mind you, I just inferred it from reading between the lines in their editorial today, entitled "Professor Cornpone."
The former Speaker blew through Des Moines last Tuesday for the Renewable Fuels Association summit, and his keynote speech to the ethanol lobby was as pious a tribute to the fuel made from corn and tax dollars as we've ever heard. Mr. Gingrich explained that "the big-city attacks" on ethanol subsidies are really attempts to deny prosperity to rural America, adding that "Obviously big urban newspapers want to kill it because it's working, and you wonder, 'What are their values?'"
I have a tortured relationship with the Speaker. I salute him for his 1994 Contract With America, and I much admire him for his historical knowledge and service to freedom. But one cannot help but feel those are in the past and that Gingrich was complicit in DeLayism and big government Republicanism. So thanks for 1994 Mister Speaker, but I'll be looking elsewhere in 2012.
And I suspect the WSJ Ed Page will too:
Some pandering is inevitable in presidential politics, but, befitting a college professor, Mr. Gingrich insists on portraying his low vote-buying as high "intellectual" policy. This doesn't bode well for his judgment as a president. Even Al Gore now admits that the only reason he supported ethanol in 2000 was to goose his presidential prospects, and the only difference now between Al and Newt is that Al admits he was wrong.
Worst Person in the World?
Now that Keith Olberman is gone -- NO, I just can't do it. Nope, execrable as he is, there are indeed worse people in the world than Senator Charles Schumer.
All the same...
ALBANY, N.Y. -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York says he wants the federal government to ban new designer drugs known as bath salts that pack as much punch as cocaine or methamphetamines.
Graphing myself versus Sen. Schumer in the Nolan Chart or comparable two-axes political distribution would show true opposites. Schumer is authoritarian on personal liberty issues and confiscatory/collectivist on economic.
Add his capacity for demagoguery and, well, if he didn't have such a great personality...
Quote of the Day
We are now in the season when the media tells us over and over again that "weather is not climate" and that the natural variations in the temperature do not, repeat not, affect the credibility of climate change. I actually believe this, although in just a few months the fiddlehead ferns will be poking up through the forest floor and the media will be back to reporting each and every hot spell as conclusive proof that climate change is already here.
January 30, 2011
Pennsylvania is NOT a Third World Country
I knew I would have to post or link to that provocative headline before I read the column. Post reado, I will post but not tease.
The line comes from the grand jury report investigating Kermit Gosnell's abortion practice.
"Pennsylvania is not a third-world country," the grand jury felt compelled to insist in its brutal 261-page report, and it's a bad sign when you have to preface your description of an American medical office with those words
This supports my "Pro Choice, anti-Roe" position. State regulation is an important defense against third worldism. Yes I did just take a pro-regulation position. State government's enforcement of minimum standards for medical and veterinary facilities is an appropriate exercise of State power.
We're used to Federal intrusion as being more restrictive and onerous than State. But it is clearly as harmful to prevent a State from exercising its rightful functions.
January 29, 2011
The revoltionary unrest in Egypt is bound to cause a spike in world oil prices, even if Egypt's 2 million barrels per day continue to flow. The reason is fear. Fear that any slight disruption in the flow of oil through the stages of refinement and distribution will cause shortages. And that fear is well founded. Recall the story I posted in Autumn '08 highlighting how tightly the world oil supply is controlled to match demand.
The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."
So what does "oilman" T. Boone Pickens tell us about the situation in Egypt? Speaking with FNC's Cavuto this morning-
Pickens: "What this is gonna do, let's go over to the United States. We have "resources" in America that we should be using. And we shouldn't be sittin' here when somethin' like this comes up, here we're all runnin' around sayin' what in the hell is gonna happen to us, ya know, how's this gonna affect America and everything else. When we should be getting on our own "resources." Uh, it's just, it's the saddest thing in the world that your leadership doesn't take you in the direction of independence."
I scare-quoted resources because Pickens never explained what he meant by the word. Certainly he can't mean wind power, which he declared "dead as hell" early in the first year of the Obama administration. He might be thinking of natural gas, of which America does have huge a domestic supply.
But we also have massive domestic reserves of oil and coal. If everyone could be free to risk his own investment in developing the energy source he thinks best then the marketplace would enjoy a full supply of every known energy source and could pick and choose from them as needed at any time, accomodating any crisis. America does not need government "leadership" in this area. In fact, government leadership invariably goes in the wrong direction. What is needed for energy independence is economic and regulatory independence. That America doesn't have or demand this is what's really "the saddest thing in the world."
Should Have Listened in 2005...
Hat-tip: Verum Serum (via Insty)
January 28, 2011
Quote of the Day
Or is it an All Hail Harsanyi? You decide:
How do we deal with this daunting future? Obama says that "none of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from." And by "none of us," he means you. Because Obama proceeded to give a speech that laid out exactly what needs innovating, which sectors will be innovative, where new jobs will be found and how we are going to get to those jobs. Can you say high-speed rail? The president can. He mentioned railroads six times, because how else are we going to win the 19th century back? -- David Harsanyi
Iraq, Afghanistan -- Hell, I could never tell 'em apart!
The Commander-in-Chief gets two major theatres of war confused. No biggie.
Ira Stoll suggests that the same error from President Bush or Reagan would have engendered a bit more media attention,
The Bloom is Oficially Off the Rose
The President has lost the last two "Conservatives" in Manhattan. David Brooks was negative on the SOTU, leaving me to wait all week to see what "Our Margaret" would say. I actually thought she might like it. Nope:
The State of the Union speech was not centrist, as it should have been, but merely mushy, and barely relevant. It wasted a perfectly good analogy--America is in a Sputnik moment--by following it with narrow, redundant and essentially meaningless initiatives. Rhetorically the speech lay there like a lox, as if the document itself knew it was dishonest, felt embarrassed, and wanted to curl up quietly in a corner of the podium and hide. But the president insisted on reading it.
And that is one of the nice paragraphs.
I don't put much stock in the Brooks-Noonan Axis. But it is an important fig leaf to some. When it was a wave with
At least they have a McLaughlin Company alumnus to set things straight. FOX should hire Pat Buchannan to spar with him.
Familiar Sounding Name...
There are probably thousands of AlexCs...
MORE STILL: Reader Alex Charyna writes: "You would turn on your HF ham radio and listen. Hopefully there is someone out there able (and with the balls) to talk out to the world. The ham radio guys are big on emergency preparedness. In this case, it's govt caused. But if you look at what hams did on 9/11 and the Haiti earthquake, you would be surprised. I don't have a HF rig handy but if I could, i'd certainly give a listen."
UPDATE: Can't keep our Keystone State blog friends down! LisaM scores an interview with Ambassador John Bolton.
January 27, 2011
Finally! Da Recognition dey Desoive!
Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!
UPDATE: I am guessing Thomas Edison is spinning in his grave. However, if he is wearing a ferrous belt buckle and there is a magnetic field...
James Pethokoukis ponders crony capitalist links among the soi disant Republican Jeffrey Immelt and his new Democrat boss:
Sure enough, wherever Obama has led, GE has followed. Obama has championed cap and trade in greenhouse gasses, and GE has started a business dedicated to creating and trading greenhouse gas credits. As Obama expanded subsidies on embryonic stem cells, GE opened an embryonic stem-cell business. Obama pushed rail subsidies, and GE hired Linda Daschle -- wife of Obama confidant Tom Daschle -- as a rail lobbyist. GE, with its windmills, its high-tech batteries, its health care equipment, and its smart meters, was the biggest beneficiary of Obama's stimulus.
NOTE: The quote is from Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner, as excerpted in Jimi P's post.
Also via Pethokoukis, Jerry Bowyer:
The fact that Immelt is a Republican is as beside the point as the fact that Daley is a Democrat. Increasingly our nation is divided, not between Rs and Ds, but between TIs and TBs: tribute imposers and tribute bearers. The imposers are gigantic banks, agri-businesses, higher education Colossae, government employees, NGO and QUANGO employees and the myriad others whose living is made chiefly by extracting wealth from other people. The bearers are the rest of us: the people who extract wealth from the earth, not from others.
You Can't Make this Up
The Denver Post reports that Colorado State University biologist, June Medford, has developed a plant that can detect the presence of explosives by turning from green to white. Isn't it wrong to expose innocent plants to toxic fumes? Where are the People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants when you need them? Moreover, aren't are these "Frankenplants" a menace to the environment? And get this: the plant's name is "arabidopsis." Does that mean it is profiling for Arabs? Somebody call CAIR.
"If you take something into Denver International Airport, like an explosive for a plane, my plants are going to turn white," said Medford, 52. "That's going to get the security guys on you."
Kidding aside, Homeland Security envisions the plant to be so ubiquituous that it can detect explosives at the point of manufacture.
"Because you could engineer these plants any way you want, you could make them highly selective," said Doug Bauer, the Homeland Security explosives research program manager in Washington, D.C.
Is The Refugee the only one who listens to this and thinks, "Are you all insane? Even if the plant works, are the bad guys so stupid that they won't be able to find a locale without a nearby arabidopsis or just pull the damn things up? Are these people smoking the produce?"
So far, this little experient has cost the US taxpayer 10 million greenbacks. But the really bad news is that it takes the plants three hours to change colors... and you thought the airport security lines were long now...
Word of the Day - "Investment"
OK, this should have been Tuesday's WOTD, but whatever...
There are 12 dictionary definitions but what it boils down to in my mind is what I read in Robert Kiyosaki's 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' - an investment is an asset for which money or something else of value is traded. This asset is meant to be held and traded again later, preferrably for a higher value than you started with. Other types of spending - labor, food, charity - are defined as consumption.
So can government spending be an "investment?" I think this line from the Wikipedia entry on investment is most telling:
"The word originates in the Latin "vestis", meaning garment, and refers to the act of putting things (money or other claims to resources) into others' pockets."
Yep. In that case, virtually all government spending is an "investment."
A Tight Weld
An extensive article in today's Denver Post profiled Weld County as the only county in Colorado without a dime of long-term debt. (Weld is home territory for JK, JohnGalt/Dagny and The Refugee). Whereas neighboring Boulder County has more than $564 million in debt and Denver has $8.7 billion, Weld provides its services without debt, without a sales tax or use tax and hasn't raised it's mill levy in more than 30 years.
Still, despite lower tax revenue, Weld was able to recently complete a $17 million jail expansion. "We put away $1 million here and then a million there over the years because we knew we had to expand the jail eventually," Kirkmeyer said. "We pay as we go."
What a concept: save money for things you know you'll need and don't spend it just because you have it. It's perhaps worth noting that nearly every elected official in Weld County is a Republican.
The Refugee moved to Weld County from Boulder because of its strong property rights. He would like to propose a tagline: "Weld County: The Anti-Boulder." Kinda catchy.
Props to the Prez!
Quote of the Day
High-speed rail and solar shingles? If that's the president's idea of meeting our Sputnik moment, then Houston, we have a problem. -- Dan Henninger
January 26, 2011
Whither the Tea Party Resonse
The SOTU is kind of Christmas for political geeks. But we neglected one topic that interested me: Rep Michelle Bachman's "Tea Party Response." I did not watch it. After the President and Rep Ryan's response, I found myself full up on speechifyin' And I was anxious to get John Stossel's response (he did a whole show with David Boaz and Rep. Ron Paul -- awesome).
So maybe she soared. Maybe it was great. But I think it was ill advised. Does Rep. Ryan not represent the Tea Party enough? It sends a message of disunity that disturbs the blog pragmatist.
Anybody see it? Me wrong?
Quote of the Day
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -- Hugh PratherHat-tip: My darling bride on Facebook.
NPR Word Cloud
Democrats, Republicans agree: the SOTU was about salmon. New Civility reigns!
Hat-tip: Bryan Preston
CATO on SOTU
UPDATE: And put down Reason's Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy as a "no:"
Instead, he served up the equivalent of a microwaved reheating of the sentiments of his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush. That's some sort of groovy, space-age technological feat, for sure, but we shouldn't confuse left-over platitudes about cutting wasteful spending on the one hand while ramping up publicly funded "investment" on the other for a healthy meal.
Chump in Chief
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh brought to light a deep insider insult to Obama and America in general during the recent state dinner for China. Chinese-American pianist Lang Lang closed the program with a solo of "My Motherland," supposedly a simple Chinese song. The problem is, that it is actually a Korean War era anti-American anthem well known to the Chinese populace at large. Nicholas Eberstadt, writing for AEI's "The American" explains fully:
"My Motherland" is not a "Chinese song" in any ordinary meaning of the term. Instead, it is a Mao-era propaganda classic: the theme from "Triangle Hill" (Shangganling), a film in which heroic Chinese forces fight, kill, and eventually beat Americans in pitched battle during the Korean War.
To be fair to the POTUS, The Refugee and nearly every American would have been equally clueless. But assuming the program was pre-published and approved, someone at State should have caught on.
Eberstadt goes on to explain the implication of this incident for the future of Sino-American relations. The Refugee cannot do it justice - you'll just have to read the article for yourself. Very enlightening.
One Person, One Vote, Er, Something Like That
Marxist SOTU - Part Deux
The Pollyanish cheerleader-in-chief has had his say. I liked his "we will defeat you" line to al Qaeda. He didn't actually use the word victory, but that is the only explanation for "defeating" one's enemy.
But this was about the only praiseworthy part of his effort. I noted a few of the more obvious hypocrisies in the comments to JK's excellent political feng shui post. But the overarching theme of the speech, the tag line for which was "Winning the Future" was economic growth. Not that any of the policies he espoused will lead to that, but that is what he implored Americans to achieve, in spite of him.
We do big things.
So the American economy will grow through the aggregate efforts of "ordinary people" with unbridled ambition - except that our ambition is choking on the restrictions of a burdensome government. But instead of removing those chains the president tries to motivate us to work ever harder, in return for less. This is the same sentiment, and is borne of the same mentality, as is represented in this bit of fictional prose:
"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!"
January 25, 2011
Last Word on SOTU Seating Chart
Steven Hayward: Save the Kumbaya Seating for the UN
After the British House of Commons was bombed in WWII, PM Churchill wanted it built just as it was, eschewing plans to "modernize." Hayward explains this was not done for tradition, but because he understood "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."
The main political point of the oblong House chamber that has the two parties facing each other is that it offers a stark clarity of choice between opposing political platforms. This, he argued, “is a very potent factor in our political life. The semi-circular assembly, which appeals to political theorists, enables every individual or every group to move round the centre, adopting various shades of pink according as the weather changes
How did they know, before there was any evidence?
...That the Arizona shooting was the TEA party's fault? "I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions by not accusing them."
I'll be a lazy blogger today and just share this pointed and incredibly sarcastic xtranormal vid.
Quote of the Day
Bret Stephens, giving props to Keith Olberman:
All this matters in an era in which the greatest threat to public discourse isn't "incivility," as was so preposterously claimed after Tucson. Just compare the tedium of U.S. congressional debate with the rapier exchanges in Britain's House of Commons, the catcalling in Israel's Knesset, or the fist-fights in Taiwan's parliament.
January 24, 2011
And the Women Shall Save Them
I'd love to see Sarah Palin as President. I'm not sure I think she's the best nominee from a winnability standpoint but we could and may well do worse in a future Commander-in-Chief. But even if she never achieves that office she has had and continues to have a profound impact on American politics. Why? I liked this extended analysis by City-Journal.com's Kay Hymowitz - 'Sarah Palin and the Battle for Feminism'
However excessive their frothing, feminists had good reason to be in panic mode. Palin may have lost her bid to become vice president; she may have failed to appeal to such prominent conservatives as Peggy Noonan, George Will, and Karl Rove, as well as to lesser right-of-center mortals like this writer; but by leading a wave of new conservative women into the fray, she has changed feminism forever. In fact, this new generation of conservative politicas -- having caught, skinned, and gutted liberal feminism as if it were one of Palin's Alaskan salmon -- is transforming the very meaning of a women's movement.
And the old-fashioned women's movement was ripe for the transforming. Ironically, in large part due to the success of that old-fashined women's movement in making the corporate and governmental realms so accessible to women. But at its core, the difference between progressive feminists and TEA movement gals is philosophical.
But the Palinites have drawn big question marks around language like this. What does "equality" mean? Is it equal opportunity, as the newcomers would probably say? Or equal results, as many feminists appear to believe? Does it mean women's choosing how to run their lives, just as men do? (Grizzlies.) Or does it refer to absolute parity between men and women? (Liberals.) How can both sides claim the feminist mantle with such different understandings of government's function and of women's progress?
Hymowitz closes her piece by citing a "marriage gap" in electoral politics, where "married women were far more likely to vote Republican than single women in 2010." She says this is "more evidence that feminism is up for grabs." I say it's evidence that women who do well in the competition for men in the social marketplace are less likely to want the government to mandate some sort of "absolute parity" with their sisters.
Redskins fan and WaPo columnist Jason Woodmansee took Jay Cutler's NFC Championship performance yesterday as an opportunity to repeat his pleasure that the Redskins didn't make a trade to acquire the "jerk" Cutler. But that isn't the only thing he said. I think you'll get the gist by merely reading the title of his column: The assassination of the coward Jay Cutler by everyone. I've never been a professional athlete but I am an amateur and I have to agree with those who say they'd have to be chained to a bench to keep them out of a game of this magnitude. (I still recall Steve Yzerman trying to skate pre-game on a broken leg prior to a playoff game. "Yep, it's still broken." He didn't play. But he TRIED. He WANTED to.) Jay didn't seem to have the same feeling, or even much concern for his teammates still trying to go to the Super Bowl. Say it with me: "Super ... Bowl!" I'm with Woodmansee on one thing: I'm glad Cutler isn't a Bronco anymore either.
While we're on the subject of sports, some also consider the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony a diva. His contract expires after this season and he hasn't signed the multi-million dollar extension that the team has offered. Word is he's intent on signing with the Knicks who play near his supposed home town of Brooklyn. Let me be clear [guy thinks he's Barack Obama now] - I have no complaint about pro atheletes marketing their services to the highest bidder, or even to a favored bidder for whatever reason. And as a fan of the Nuggets I don't want to see any player on the team if he'd really rather be somewhere else. It would be nice if the Nuggs could get some compensation when he leaves but even if they don't, he's free to leave.
But there's another way to succeed in pro sports. In stark and refreshing contrast to the 'Melo situation is the developing long-term nucleus of the Colorado Rockies. Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and 5-tool outfielder Carlos Gonzales have both signed long term deals with the mid-market Rockies because they love the team, love the city, and want to lead by example to their teammates that there are values in sports higher than dollars - commitment and cameraderie. And these values lead to teamwork, which leads to - winning. They may not win a World Series as a result but they'll be competitive and they'll sell lots of tickets. (I know I'll be in the stands as much as I can.)
So Denver sports fans, take heart - We don't need 'Melo, we've got Tulo, Cargo and ... Tebow!
Having Killed the Golden Goose...
...the government puts on a goose costume and hopes nobody notices.
Blog friend Sugarchuck sent this link yesterday. Comment seems superfluous (not that that'll stop me.)
The Obama administration has become so concerned about the slowing pace of new drugs coming out of the pharmaceutical industry that officials have decided to start a billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines.
Six years after the Democratic VP nominee vowed, in his precious North Carolina accent, that he and President Kerry "would fiiiight the drug companies," I think we can say they won.
They may not have won the election but their ilk destroyed one of the most innovative and productive economic sectors of all time. One dedicated to saving, extending and improving life -- all for the crime of profitability. And for anybody who is not paying attention, this is clearly the model for the rest of health care: regulate and tax it to death, then swoop in to save the industry by a Federal takeover. It doesn't hurt when a clever New York Times reporter blames their "increasingly suspect" business models.
With apologies to Mister Eliot, This is the way the free world ends -- not with a bang but a whimper.
January 23, 2011
I once promised to upload some Llama pictures in a pale but hairy imitation of Terri's badly-missed Friday Calf Blogging. They have been a little bashful, but were out in full force yesterday. Pardon the resolution of cell phone pix:
January 22, 2011
The Blog Optimist Caves
It's all over. Hopeless.
The Denver Post (short excerpt used for illustration with attribution and link) calls this story the most commented and shared of the day.
Poor children who eat breakfast at school for free will have to pay 30 cents a meal for the last few months of this school year after Republicans on the legislature's Joint Budget Committee refused to provide additional funding for the growing program.
It was on teevee news this morning. A grandmother added the poignant political comment that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." (When did I join the anti-breakfast party?)
NED forbid that parents could cough up $0.30 -- a buck and half a week -- to help the State provide the most important meal of the day. Where's the closest school? I was thinking the lovely bride and I would go enjoy a 60¢ repast. Hell, I'd even leave a nickel tip.
But the comments split up perfectly between the purview of the state versus starving, breakfastless kids on the other. That's an argument we're never going to win.
I'm going back to bed (after a delicious breakfast) all hope is lost.
UPDATE: Some FB comments:
@Mikhail this is the only meal some poor kids get all day. I can't believe you are so rude...its children we are talking about here...not like they can help if their parents are poor!!!!!
How awful...just in time for CSAP Season. Children should come to school satisfied and ready to learn...not on an empty stomach. This amazes me...and not in a good way.
God forbid we raise taxes on millionaires to relieve budget problems! Instead, let's cut programs for the needy! Can you say Bass Awkward? Sure you can its synonymous with Republican.
January 21, 2011
The Wonders of Socialized Medicine
The Wall Street Journal Europe Edition has a great editorial on The Myth of Free Health Care
More fundamentally, the resources available for caring for the sick or injured will still be treated as a commons, in the tragic sense. Every consortium will be obligated not to exceed its budgets in the course of a fiscal year, and it's all too easy to imagine the rush of procedures as doctors kick off the period in April flush with cash, along with the anxious moments in midwinter as budgets run low. "Don't get sick in March" could be the gallows humor coming to a doctor's office near you.
Nice. Perhaps there is some lesson we can learn from the cradle of liberty?
More than anything else, the Cameron government's reforms reflect an acknowledgment that only price signals of some sort can act as a check on the demand for, and cost of, supposedly free health care. The reformed NHS would put a price on almost everything the NHS offers or does—while maintaining the myth for consumers themselves that, when it comes to their health, money is no object.
I've no plans to dive into cost vs. benefits on "Tiger Mothering." It is not my beat.
But, I stumbled across an interesting list from Nick Schulz:
Raja Ratna Murthy Ayyagari
Montgomery County, Maryland students who were named as semifinalists in the prestigious Intel National Science Talent Search competition.
Then We Can Subsidize Them
Great News, you'll soon be able -- through your tax dollars -- to help Wall Street Fat Cats® buy $70,000 automobiles:
Mercedes-Benz' AMG models pound the pavement. The AMG lineup consists of vehicles that can dash from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a flash and exceed legal speed limits with ease. In short, AMG models have always been, and will continue to be, focused on performance. However, it appears as though even they aren't immune from the drive to improve fuel efficiency that's sweeping the automotive industry.
Then they'll get the tax credit. Cool, huh?
That's "Duh, Esquire!"
[Joselph] Moron is described by police as a 5-foot, 9-inch white man, weighing about 205 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. They say he's known to frequent the area of Buckley Road and Iliff Avenue in Aurora.
I don't know how deep we want to go down this road. I have my last day of a week long training class today (EST, class starts at 7am: okay for you farmers...). Pretty heavy for a Friday.
I first saw this on blog friend LisaM's Bluftooni. I respect her pro-life position, but did not know that this horrible situation should be extrapolated to impugn more responsible providers.
Shannon Love captures my sentiments pretty closely in a long and thoughtful post.
Again, I am pro-choice but this tragedy occurred because the left violently resisted even the least regulatory oversight of even the most extreme late term abortions. The left has made abortion the highest good that trumps every other concern, and the resulting real-world policies border on the surreal.
If you make it to the update, Love really does capture my sentiments -- becoming "pissed-off" at both sides. One side cannot bring itself to denounce casual infanticide with scissors; the other freely denounces the removal of a dead fetus after a miscarriage. A pox on both indeed.
A very thoughtful piece, well worth a read. Feel free to avoid comment.
January 20, 2011
Sen. Jim DeMint and Reps. Jim Jordan and Scott Garrett (all Republicans) penned an op-ed in The Washington Examiner on how to cut $2.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. Basically, this involves returning to 2006 spending level and implementing a "hard freeze" at that point.
Whether Americans realize it or not, we are all running together in a race against time. Unless Washington takes swift action to cut spending, we will chain our children to debt and rob them of opportunity to reach for the American Dream. On its own, passing the Spending Reduction Act will not get us over the finish line -- but we will get a $2.5 trillion head start.
First of all and with all due respect, given a $14 trillion debt, $2.5 trillion does not sound all that aggressive over 10 years. Yes, Federal receipts could grow to reduce the debt with an expanding economy and a flat budget. Maybe that will be enough.
More problematic, however, is that this proposal falls into the same old beltway trap. Do DeMint & Co. really believe that future Congresses would honor this spending discipline for 10 years? The Refugee finds that to be wishful thinking. Any 10 year projection regarding either fiscal savings or spending cuts is inherently crap. Moreover, this proposal does nothing to address the unfunded liabilities of entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid just as boomers enter retirement.
The Refugee would like to further point out that there is no such thing as a "finish line" unless these fine gentlemen are forecasting the end of our Republic or the disbanding of Congress. This is a never ending battle of "how much to spend and where to spend it." Fiscally responsible Congressmen cannot win this battle in the long term. As soon as the economy gives a hint of recovery and Federal revenues peek up, the Democrats and enough RINOs will vote to restore the "draconian cuts" - and up the ante - right before an election.
Although spending seems to be a problem, it is really a symptom. We cannot win the "where and how much" game until we solve the "how" game of goverment funding. Constitutional limits on spending, ending the entitlement money-grab and Constitutionally changing the way revenues are generated are the only ways to restore sanity to a Congressional spending system that inherently defies logic.
Bad Idea of the Day
The problem with the TEA party movement, is that they are very susceptible to
I know dozens of people who would go for GOOOH. Most all of them -- look at the issues in the video -- would be pulled away from supporting a Tea-party-limited-government-Republican. One can ask Senator Buck from Colorado or Senator O'Donnell from Delaware about successful "real people, citizen legislator" campaigns against professional political machines.
Secondarily, what will these folks believe? Will they all be as attached to border enforcement as the founder? Will they have a better feel for the Constitution? (No amendments? Binding future Congresses?) Will all 435 want to abolish the D of Ed?
Lastly. Umm, the Senate? Four hundred thirty five naifs (we sent Paul Ryan and Ron Paul home -- yipee!) against Chuck Schumer and Dick Lugar? I think there might be a President around, too.
He seeks to divert 500,000 informed citizens away from other limited government candidates -- I sure hope he does not get half.
Hat-tip (VodkaPundit) Stephen Green, who links approvingly.
Jobs in CO-4 Destroyed by Obamacare ... Already
My new congressman voted to repeal Obamacare yesterday. He also rose to make some remarks on the matter.
Sorry to keep rubbing it in, JK. Maybe the 4th CD will include you after redistricting. Most likely not, however. You could always move a bit further east.
Honesty and Morality in Taxation
I didn't do so well in yesterday's effort to find a potent list of federal regulatory reforms for our ersatz "pro-business" president. Fortunately, blog brother JK was there to bail me out with the Armey/Kibbey article. But today I think I've done better.
Anyone who's been here more than a week knows that I believe taxation is moral issue, i.e. taking money from people against their will is theft, even if done by our "democratic" government. If I'm right, thinks I, then there's probably a high proportion of taxpayers who do whatever they can to lower their tax burden and consequently, limit how badly they are robbed.
This Freakonomics Quorum from 2009 includes some data related by University of Michigan economics professor Joel Slemrod:
About two-thirds of all underreporting of income happens on the individual income tax. Of that, business income -- as opposed to wages or investment income -- accounts for about two-thirds.
So when taxpayers know they are being watched, they are honest, and when they know they are not, 53.9 percent of them are not. But how can this be? In the next paragraph Slemrod wrote, "In a recent survey, 96 percent of people mostly or completely agreed that 'It is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes;'"
So 96 percent of us believe that paying "their fair share" is his duty but only 46 percent report all of the income that isn't traceable. Is there a better case to be made that roughly half of American taxpayers don't consider their tax rate to be representative of "their fair share?"
January 19, 2011
Fouad Ajami saw -- for a short time -- the reincarnation of President George W Bush as Secretary Clinton. Neither Ajami nor I are holding out much hope.
Thus the word went forth to the despots in the region that the American campaign on behalf of liberty that Mr. Bush had launched in 2003 had been called off. A new Iraqi democracy, midwifed by American power, was fighting for its life. The Obama administration would keep Iraq at arm's length.
Without US leadership, that small flame of liberty has been extinguished. Sec Clinton may see it -- but I do not think her boss does.
Federal Regulatory Reform
President Obama issued an executive order yesterday that "requires Federal agencies to design cost-effective, evidence-based regulations that are compatible with economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness." This is not quite the "reform" language that was peddled in the press but that is ostensibly the goal: Start to get government out of the way of private sector job growth, at least a little bit.
On the same day, Politico reported that Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), incoming chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, sought input from the private sector on what sorts of reforms would be helpful. This led to predictable outrage at HuffPo that Issa intends to mount a "purely partisan crusade" aimed at "protecting big corporations instead of creating middle class jobs." As if it is inconceivable that private sector job growth is the purview of corporations and trade associations.
I found this story while searching for reform ideas. Since I didn't find any I will start, as a public service, a group-sourced list of suggested reforms. My first entries are as follows. Please pile on in the comments.
- Abolish the federal minimum wage.
- Abort EPA efforts to regulate CO2 emissions.
- Eliminate all federal mandates for health insurance coverage and eliminate any federal restrictions on writing policies across state lines.
- Eliminate oil and gas severance taxes and expedite leases on so-called "public" lands outside of the National Parks system.
The "New Tone" of the Left
Joe Lieberman announced his intention to retire from the Senate at the end of his current term. Slate's Emily Bazelon shows her newfound respectful approach with political foes in Good Riddance, Joe Lieberman - Why I Loathe My Connecticut Senator.
"Why do I loathe, loathe, loathe my 68-year-old four-term senator? My feelings are all the stronger for being fairly irrational."
Geez, they even wear their irrationality on their sleeve, like a badge of ... something.
Not much more is worth quoting but she uses the terms "hate" and "failed to bury" and "kill the Democrats' proposal." She described a Connecticut cocktail party game called, "I hated Joe Lieberman before you hated Joe Lieberman." But what really, really chapped her, um, hide, was when Joe did something good.
"And then, most infuriating of all, Lieberman ended the last Congress by doing something good. He resurrected the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in the Senate last month."Tough room indeed.
January 18, 2011
Now He Thinks He's Taranto
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledged Tuesday that his party has not succeeded in selling the public on the benefits of the national health care overhaul, noting that polls indicate that opinion remains divided on the law.
If only they had a rilly rilly good speaker in the White House. Then, he could have made a few rilly rilly good speeches.
It boggles the mind that they still blame the packaging. But that is not why I excerpted. I just thought ThreeSourcers would enjoy the phrase "House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer."
Who is "Responsible" for the Tucson Shooter?
(This is not a court of law, so I need not include the superfluous term "alleged.")
From Atlas Shrugged, Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking"
"Man's life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man -- for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life."
Like the mysticism of fundamentalist Islam teaches the Jihadi, one of the western mysticisms taught a young Jared Loughner that his life on earth is not of value to him, that existence on earth should not be his goal, or that such an existence does not depend on his choice of actions. He was not prepared to live a happy and prosperous life. He was "a metaphysical monstrosity."
"Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain."
Why is it so common to find a man who is depressed and confused and desperate to discover some "meaning" for his life? Because those who purport to give him that meaning do nothing of the sort. Whether the self-described "moralists" tell man that he needs no morality or that self-sacrifice is morality's greatest virtue, they do so in contradiction with reality. When man's rational faculty attempts to resolve this contradiction it must either abandon faith, abandon reason, or self-destruct.
Otequay of the Ayday
"I mean, there really shouldn't be any difference between a man and a woman, but there is."
UPDATE: Corrected to the exact wording: There "really shouldn't be" instead of "is really no reason for there to be..."
Quote of the Day
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was a political overreaction to the 2002 scandals. It did nothing to prevent the financial crisis of 2007-2009. So we now have a similar overreaction in the Dodd-Frank Act, which I call the "Faith in Bureaucracy Act." The vast bureaucratic outpouring it commands will generate excessive cost and damage to U.S. competitiveness. -- Alex Pollock
January 17, 2011
Elected Officials are Idiots
Of the sample size, [over 2500 adults] 164 identified themselves as having been successfully elected to government office -- whether federal, state or local positions -- but the subset performed even poorer than the national average on questions about the government.
"Overall, the average score for officeholders on the civic literacy test was 44 percent, compared to 49 percent for those who have not held an elected office." I scored 91 percent without even being careful.
I think ThreeSourcers would enjoy Ed Driscoll's "Left Wing Creationism." He links and excerpts a NY Observer review:
Mr. Mnookin was discussing pediatric health with a new parent in his early 40s who explained that he and his wife had decided to delay their child's vaccines. On what sources had he based this weighty decision? Questions along these lines were met with murk. "I don't know what to say," the man replied. "It just feels like a lot for a developing immune system to deal with."
Driscoll goes on to suggest that some on the left take an anti-scientific position on climate, including a photo that's worth a click.
January 16, 2011
The "TEA Movement" is More Popular Than a "Big-Tent"
Comity? Who needs comity?
Jared Rhoads of The Lucidicus Project (Helping medical students understand free markets) agrees with me (and Robert Tracinski) that limited government is not merely a practical issue, but a moral one.
I used to think that Republicans did stand for individual rights on principle, but that they shied away from moral arguments because they deemed it better public relations to be "big-tent," inclusive, neutral. Well, over the past two years, the Tea movement has demonstrated that pro-individualist moral sentiments are popular and effective. We are still waiting for the Republicans to catch up.
January 14, 2011
Atlas Shrugged Video Contest Winners
Yaron Brook and John Stossel handed out the check on this show last night (I'm, of course, yelling at the TV: "MAKE HIM SHARE THE PRIZE WITH #2!!!")
The top three are all worth a watch.
Waste? What Waste?
From the Sacramento Bee:
But remember, there is no waste to be cut. < /sarcasm >
Too Tough a Room
The whining continues unabated.
The Republicans have been in charge of one house for a couple weeks and there is still a deficit? Yeah, I know they took one of those weeks off for the memorial. But still...
I groused a little when Reason did it but that seemed par for their course.
John Stossel's weekly column and title of last night's show is "Same as the Old Boss." He ridiculed Speaker Boehner and beat up a couple GOP Congressmen.
Today Kevin Williamson at NRO is on the prowl.
Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas has proposed some reductions in federal outlays -- hoorah! -- that amount to . . . not much: about $44 billion in the next fiscal year, and about $156 billion over the next five years. Okay, fine, do it: Go ahead and cut foreign aid and the Robert Byrd memorial scholarship, and collect those billions in unpaid taxes from federal workers. That, along with some military-spending cuts, covers, oh, about 1 percent of the expected 2011 spending. Which is to say, Brady-s bill eliminates in one year about half of the national debt the geniuses in Washington piled upon us in the month of December alone.
I know we would all like some bold cuts. But the blog pragmatist is concerned that the perfect will be the enemy of the good. If the libertarians and tea partiers are disappointed with anything less than a return to 1880, it will play into the hands of collectivists, either with third party challenges or just general disillusionment (cf 2006, 2008).
"Green Job" Flight
In President Obama's first year in office there was a major push to create "green jobs" in the U.S. In October of that year his Commerce Secretary said, "Building a green economy isn't going to be easy, but if government and businesses work together, America can and will be a world leader in clean energy."
Oops. Evergreen Solar to Shut Down U.S. Manufacturing, Move to China
CEO Michael El-Hillow commented: "While overall demand for solar may increase, we expect that significant capacity expansions in low cost manufacturing regions combined with potential adverse changes in government subsidies in several markets in Europe will likely result in continuing pressure on selling prices throughout 2011. Solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry. While the United States and other western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint."
"Low cost manufacturing regions..." and their "low manufacturing costs" put the U.S. at a "disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint." Perhaps there are forces at work here other than generous government subsidies for preferred sectors. Maybe it's just too damned expensive to hire employees in the U.S.
“These new numbers show that even though global wage differentials are narrowing, policy-induced costs in the United States, especially corporate taxes, continue to undermine manufacturers’ ability to compete with our largest trading partners,” Duesterberg said.
January 13, 2011
I'd Get a New Tag Line...
UPDATE: On the other hand...
Should Have Waited for Double Dog Dare...
The Woodward Fire Department was called around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after a teacher called to report that an 8-year-old boy's tongue was stuck on a pole.
I must confess, I am starting to enjoy The PJ Tatler.
Quote of the Day
The logic here may be even harder to follow than the reasoning that links the Tucson murders to Sarah Palin. A man bent on assassinating a member of Congress, a man who thinks nothing of gunning down a 9-year-old girl, is not likely to have compunctions about carrying a firearm without a permit.-- Jacob Sullum
Two Wings of the Same Bird of Prey
How may a nation, "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" long endure when it is afflicted with a moral code such as this:
Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking"
"You have heard no concepts of morality but the mystical or the social. You have been taught that morality is a code of behavior imposed on you by whim, the whim of a supernatural power or the whim of society, to serve God's purpose or your neighbor's welfare, to please an authority beyond the grave or else next door -- but not to serve your life or pleasure. Your pleasure, you have been taught, is to be found in immorality, your interests would best be served by evil, and any moral code must be designed not for you, but against you, not to further your life, but to drain it."
Did Somebody say "Christie 2012?"
WSJ Ed Page: Say No to Us!
"Say no to us in terms of more money," said Mr. Christie. "We've got to walk the walk as Republicans . . . and now that we've got 29 Republican Governors, we shouldn't be lining up with our hands out saying, 'We know what we said, but come on, give us a little help here.'" It isn't every day that a politician asks that someone not send him money.
January 12, 2011
Jonathan V. Last finds a different angle to the Tucson shooting story:
So President Obama seems to have honed in on how the executive branch is supposed to respond to local crises--which is great! His answer: Dispatch FBI Director Robert Mueller to Arizona and force him to stand around as a prop and then . . . wait for it . . . have the FBI set up a dedicated task force on the case involving "hundreds of FBI agents."
Man's got a point. He continues "Guess we don't have to worry about jihadis anymore!"
The Strike of the Human Mind
The final entry of 2010 told us why we have an ongoing world economic disaster. The new year begins with a description of "the strike." Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking"
We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.[Italics in original]
One for my brothers: 'Brown' Energy Brings Prosperity
Quick--which state produces more oil: Alaska or California? That’s easy. Alaska, du-uh. And that's wrong. California passed Alaska in daily oil production in June last year (561,000 bbls per day for CA; 533,000 bbls per day for AK).
But Alaska and California are both restricting extraction, sending the prosperity to...North Dakota.
January 11, 2011
I thought I was hearing things
I heard this on FOXNews Sunday. When I went to blog, I thought I might have misheard -- and I did not want to add the violent, hate filled rhetoric that poisons our political discourse. But CATO's Gene Healy heard it too. Congressman James Clyburn's take away from the horrific tragedy in Tucson is that he should not have to stand in the airport security line with the hoi polloi he represents.
For his part, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., called for beefed-up congressional security and special treatment by the Transportation Security Administration at airports (currently available only to top congressional officials, like the speaker). Clyburn complained that "we've had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else" -- easily the most positive news I've heard about the TSA since its inception. Flexibility is in order here, Clyburn argued, because Congress is "held to a higher standard in so many areas."
What a fine American Rep. Clyburn is. I wish nothing but the kindest regards for him for this extremely helpful suggestion.
It's The Recession's Fault
How can you not go crazy and kill a bunch of people when you come from a land of such deprivation (CAUTION: horrific images). WaPo
This was the dream - a quiet and peaceful block tucked within the suburban sprawl of northwest Tucson. It drew working-class settlers over the past 15 years in search of a fresh start. A construction worker came because there were thousands of kitchens to remodel. An aircraft mechanic came for the sunshine. A nursing home worker came because everything was cheap - land, gas, groceries.
I think the Santa thing is a metaphor of some type. Not sure about the three tier plaster fountain...
Quote of the Day
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik suggests Arizona has "become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
Jonathan Last counters:
Umm, isn't Mecca kind of the mecca for prejudice and bigotry? I mean, Mecca won't even allow non-Muslims inside the Mecca city limits. They have road blocks and religious police on the lookout for intruders and everything. Just saying.
Word of the Day
Minatory -- menacing or threateningUse it in an essay: Claire Berlinski
January 10, 2011
ABC kicked off its portion of the Television Critics Association midseason press tour by breaking a little news: The network has officially renewed six series -- Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, Modern Family, The Middle and Cougar Town -- through next season.
Don't think it was much in question; he has a hit on his hands. If anybody does not watch Castle, I would advise you to try it. It may not be Buffy-good or Firefly-good, but it is a very good show.
SIgn Me Up
Jason Richwine calls Liberty Air a thought experiment. I wish it were a business plan.
Let us imagine there were a major airline that could opt out of all TSA regulations. Call it "Liberty Air." Liberty Air openly advertises that it takes zero safety precautions when it comes to screening passengers and baggage. Would you fly on this airline?
Richwine does not address the negative externality of a terrorist flying a plane into a building or nookyular plant, but I think we could figure it out.
To seriously return to the thought experiment, I relate it to the FDA. No rational person would advocate such an overly conservative approach to drug approvals, but that is the bias of the organization and oversight. Same with the TSA.
Some Civil Political Discourse for Y'all
My blog brother has ably and aptly illuminated the folly of those using the Arizona tragedy to curtail gun rights. I am equally (okay, more) concerned about free speech.
My buddies at the WSJ Ed Page shut this down effectively from an intellectual standpoint:
Ponder the implication of this. A deranged soul shoots a public figure and we are supposed to change our political discourse and rule certain people and opinions out of bounds based on whatever incoherent ramblings Mr. Loughner published on his website?
But I am imputing reason on the other side of this debate, which might be unwise. I received a link last night from a person I barely know to an article on "Return to Civil Discourse."
With apologies to Mister Twain, the truth of a disturbed and irrational assailant is pulling its pants up; the lie spreading around the world is that we need to reform our rhetoric. That is, we need to put the rhetoric police in charge of what we may or may not say. After all, children could be hurt.
Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania told The Caucus he plans to introduce a bill that would ban symbols like that now-infamous campaign crosshair map.
And I'd rather be free than not. Thanks, Congressman.
January 9, 2011
"America's Gun Culture," Driven by TEA Partiers, "Claims It's Latest Victims"
It was predictable that frustrated gun-grabbers would leap at the opportunity to villify handguns provided by the tragic shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and numerous bystanders yesterday. But they're making it a two-fer by blaming the TEA Party movement at the same time. The first such conclusive leap I saw was posted on the same day as the shooting - 'Lock and Load and Lost in Tucson Today: What's the Matter with My Arizona?' Wherin Jeff Biggers cites Gregory McNamee-
"What is clear to me, at this chaotic moment, is that no one should be surprised by this turn of events. The bullets that were fired in Tucson this morning are the logical extension of every bit of partisan hatred that came spewing out during the last election, in which Gabrielle Giffords---a centrist, representing well and faithfully a centrist district---was vilified and demonized as a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a job-killer, a traitor, and more.
And Biggers himself-
Now in Arizona--and the nation--do we have the courage and wisdom to deal with our gun laws? To stop the hatred from finding its all-too-easy expression through the barrel of the gun?
The Huffpo headlines are even more inflammatory today:
'Giffords Shooting Is an American Tragedy We Need to Urgently Address' by Paul Helmke (President, Brady Campaign)-
"While we are all still learning details about this shooting, and particularly the 22-year old responsible for this horrendous act, we should find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence."
'Congress Must Rein in Gun Industry in Response to Giffords Assassination Attempt' by Josh Sugarmann (Exec. Dir., Violence Policy Center)-
"America's gun culture claims its latest victims."
Perhaps worst of all is this, from former Colorado Senator Gary Hart who I have to believe truly knows better: 'Words Have Consequences'-
"Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. (...) We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.
January 8, 2011
Had the great fortune of finally meeting the proprietor of Devil Dog Brew and part of his wonderful family last night. I gave some for Christmas gifts this year and every recipient is hooked.
If you have not tried it, I highly recommend both the Devil Dog Brew and Snipers Brew. Great coffee from great folks, and sales support those who wear our nation's uniform.
Semper Fi, Hank!
UPDATE: Brother jg, sister Dagny, the lovely bride and I had dinner last night with The Everyday Economist who was in town for the ASSA meetings. What a great time.
I'm still surprised that some of these people on the Internet have an actual corporeal presence. I wonder if The Boulder Refugee may even be real...
UPDATE II: Bing® to the rescue, jg. Urban Dictionary:
Single Digit Midget: Primarily used in the military to refer to someone who has been on an extended deployment and now has less than 10 days left before going home.
January 7, 2011
Tweet of the Day
MSNBC's Jansing: Const authority citing req "complicated". No, but time-consuming for Dems searching for "b/c we said so" clause -- @fredthompson
236 - 118
If you're not enjoying the 112th Congress, you're not paying attention!
Providing for consideration of H.R. 2, to repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; and providing for consideration of H.Res. 9, instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law
UPDATE: Felecia Sonmez of the WaPo calls it "a mostly party line vote" while Jim Hoft @ Gateway Pundit is dancing in the streets to get four D's.
UPDATE II: Two Republicans vote "present."
The rule passed 236-181-2, a key test vote of next Wednesday's scheduled vote to repeal President Obama's bill.
No need to be married to your work I guess.
"Quite a contrast to they way they treated me."
If you have six minutes, watch Juan Williams's interview (on FOX) about the firing of Ellen Weiss, who fired him.
If you don't, read Ann Althouse's summary.
January 6, 2011
All Software has Defects
Waitress Lindsay Garvey "takes full responsibility for being late. And the only person she's mad at is Steve Jobs. (~1:10)"'Cause her iPhone alarm failed to wake her up at 10:30 on New Year's Day when she had been out until 5:00 and she was fired.
I take full responsibility for my weight. And the only person I'm mad at is Sara Goddam Lee...
UPDATE: Forgot to hat-tip Insty, who's not a lot more sympathetic than me...
Here Comes John Galt
To the big screen.
Many of my trepidations about making this story into a movie have been salved by this interview with executive producer and financier (read: owner) of the film, John Aglialoro.
Ranked by Forbes Small Business as the 10th richest executive of any small publicly-traded company (revenues under $200 million) in 2007, Aglialoro is one of those rare corporate executives who fully "gets" the philosophical message in Atlas Shrugged.
So the storyline should be safe. The scope of this movie is Part I of the book, which readers can review key points from by reading those entitled entries in Three Sources' "Atlas Shrugged QOTD" archive.
And the casting appears excellent as well. In my mind's eye I can envision Ms. Schilling walking through an abandoned factory, or consoling her poor, misguided young sister-in-law. And the movie's Hank Reardon, played by Grant Bowler, seems a perfect fit. I can easily see him telling Tinky Holloway that his game is up.
But we'll have to wait for the second sequel for that scene. I've heard that the intentions for Parts II and III of the book are to be separate sequels, each following about a year after it's predecessor.
Judging by some of the scene photos the setting of the movie will be decidedly modern. Apparently it will be set in our time, not in that of the book's writing. This is as it should be. The uninitiated youth will be more captivated than with a more faithful portrayal of the book. And, more importantly, we are closer to the events of the story becoming reality today than at any time in history.
Another Look at Christopher Beam's Article
Like Reason (and unlike me), he is not dismissive. "Beam did his homework." "Didn't set out to write a hatchet job." "Interviewed the right people (Douglas French of the Mises Institute)." "Gave props to Murray Rothbard." I guess I will agree with all of those accolades.
Like Reason (and like me), he gets very queasy toward the end.
In any event, the problem with Beam's critique is that he reduces it to a popularity contest. In other words, Beam isn't arguing here that Jillette is wrong; rather, he's saying that few people would agree with him. More generally, Beam's critique of libertarianism is that it "ends up deep in the wilderness," i.e., far away from the conclusions reached by most other thinkers. That may well be true, but nobody denies that libertarians are currently in the minority.
Unlike me and unlike Reason, Lew Rockwell's lads are ready to go to the mat to defend the purest and most out there precepts of libertarianism. I don't think I'll join them there, but I enjoyed it.
An analogy will make things clearer. Suppose someone in the 1830s wrote an article called, "The Trouble With Liberty," and discussed the "extremist" views of the abolitionists. Such a writer might argue, "For these radicals, it's not merely that slavery is an unproductive use of labor. No, these firebrands go further and compare it to kidnapping. Most Americans agree that whipping a slave to death is going too far, but to totally abolish slavery? That's a bit much."
Dodged a Bullet
Not only is Scott Brown a capable Senator from the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts ("Commonwealth," harrumph!), but this lady is not:
Today the Bay State is a liberal bastion, so you might think that "Banned in Boston" is an anachronism. But on Thursday the state's highest court will consider a case involving censorship of truthful speech. The target of state Attorney General Martha Coakley and this modern Watch and Ward Society: financial information disseminated to the general public by a hedge fund.
For those of you who have not given Sir Rupert his tribute this year, the problem is that, while hedge funds are limited to $1Million+ clients, the website was out there on the Internets, where a poor person or a minority -- or even maybe a child -- could see its investment advice.
Thankfully, Ms. Coakley was not seated in the 112th Congress and can protect the good people of Massachusetts.
January 5, 2011
And every third is "awesome."
Hat-tip: "Tea Party Patriots" on Facebook.
Bread and Circuses? James Pethokoukis brings an interesting graph from Dan Clifton.
Philosophy? Schmilosophy! Keep 51% fat and happy.
The WSJ headline and the Denver Post Facebook post point out "Starbucks Drops Coffee From Logo," but to be fair, they dropped Starbucks as well.
During a webcast meeting with baristas, the Seattle-based coffee giant showed off a simpler logo that no longer includes the green circle that says "Starbucks coffee." In addition, the mermaid inside that circle is now larger.
A Great Day
Madame Speaker gives the big gavel back.
More serious commentary available on the WSJ Ed Page: The GOP Opportunity
Review Corner (Bumped)
Usually, when the chattering classes send up a big cinematic celebration of the decade between Jack Kerouac's and KC & the Sunshine Band's, I run for the hills. Surely, they will celebrate the Dionysian and not Apollonian vision of The Sixties. When the producer is Richard "blow up kids who don't believe in global warming" Curtis, a bit of trepidation is warranted.
Yet, no, if you have missed the little British indie comedy Pirate Radio, run -- do not walk -- to your Netflix queue.
Sadly, the comedic genius we enjoyed from British television seems diluted at the very best. Brother jg's atheist friend, Ricky Gervais, delivered a very original character in "The Office," but most of what I have seen of late have been hampered by political correctness (Robin Hood) or just a race to the bottom versus America (Couples, &c.) And yet, British film has stepped up to take up the slack with great little indie films like "Kinky Boots," "Blow Dry," and now "Pirate Radio."
UPDATE: Another viewing stirs up more commentary...
1) ERRATA: It is certainly not an "indie flick." Richard Curtis is a big time producer and the film is not starved for budget: aerial shots, stars, special effects -- it's not "Star Wars III," but it's not "Return of the Secaucus Seven." To its credit, however, the film feels indie. It is fresh, non-formulaic, and relies on writing and storyline.
2) It does earn its R rating. The free love sixties are viewed up close and personal. Yet not a minute seems prurient. What happens happens and all the costs and benefits are there to see.
3) Best of all, the film seems very neutral. The lifestyle is laid out, as are the fashion trappings: equal parts silly, pompous and cool. Curtis -- who wants to tell you what light bulb to use and where to vacation -- remarkably does not tell you what to think. It's like the Buffy episode "Normal Again," the creators keep their thumb off the scale.
4) The part that is not fair is the attack on government. This is a sea-steading movie and the antagonists are a joyless bureaucrat who is happy to rip joy away from 25 million of his countrymen just to display control and nannyism -- and his assistant, who is actually named "Twatt."
5) What a soundtrack. I worshipped 60's music as a lad, turned away as an adult, then got into the jazz snob thing. But these tunes, if you'll pardon the pun, rock. Beyond the Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding stuff I knew I'd like, they pull up a bunch of great songs. "Judy in Disguise" was an oldie when I was a kid, but it sounds fresh in the movie (and I have been singing it for a couple days...)
I need a favorite movie. My bank asks me that every few months and I have to reset my account. I just don't have a favorite movie. This one might be it...
Animated Prosperity Index
This is fascinating. The per capita income and average lifespan of the citizens of 200 countries over the past 200 years animated in just 4 minutes. Fascinating and thought provoking.
Hat tip: Brother Russ
January 4, 2011
Starting to like these guys...
When House Republicans unveiled details of their plan to impose a 5 percent cut on funding for legislative offices and committees, it included an additional slash at the budget of the House Appropriations Committee. The appropriators asked for and received a 9 percent cut in their budget as part of the resolution, which is expected to be approved by the full House later this week.
I've Been Bested
I may have to quit "Review Corner." I can clearly not compete.
Blog friend LisaM embeds a three part review of Star Wars III. I confess I only made it through one part. It's as long as the movie. But, as lm points out, it's quite a bit better.
On the Other Hand
The Folks at Reason seem to be able to contain their enthusiasm before it completely boils over.
No way the new Congress is a sure thing, but it's the last hope (even Yoda says "another not there one is.") I just don't see any purpose to this smug defeatism, except to look like the cleverest of the frat boys.
Libertario Delenda Est!
UPDATE: Heritage is more sanguine. Lawmakers turning down the formerly plum Appropriations Committee assignment. GOP legislators "can't sell pork at home."
TS Eliot AND Global Warming
In one post! Kind of a segue unto itself, Steven Hayward sees the shifting anti-determinism of DAWG advocates in T.S. Eliot's "Burnt Norton:"
Time present and time past
UPDATE: Taranto mocks:
Great Balls of Fire
The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up really taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb.
Awesomest thing all year so far! Hat-tip: Instapundit
Cato's Roger Pilon has a great guest editorial in the WSJ today. I'd say he shares both our hopes and our fears about keeping Congress on a Constitutional track.
First, they'll have to keep the debate focused on the Constitution, not simply on policy or practicality.
Pilon provides interesting history from my beloved Madison quote that the President could not "undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Federal Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." He cites case law from the new deal and takes a good whack at 20th Century Progressives.
Only a negative reference to San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers could have made it better [leave it alone, jk, the season's over...]
January 3, 2011
When does illegality happen?
In a comment reminiscent of the claim that a tree falling in a forest makes no sound unless someone is there to hear it, Leo Laurence writes in the magazine for the Society of Professional Journalists that the term "illegal immigrant" does not apply to non-citizens. Why? Because of the Constitution, he asserts.
In an appearance on FNC's Fox and Friends this morning Laurence said, that an "undocumented immigrant" is not an illegal immigrant "until a judge says so." This is because of the Constitutional provision of innocence until proven guilty before a jury of one's peers. "No. No. They are not. The only person who can say someone is here illegally is a judge."
So the bank robber hasn't committed a crime until he is found guilty, according to this logic.
Laurence added that, "It's a very conservative issue because we're following our Constitution."
I attribute the smug, self-confidence of Mr. Laurence to a collision between the philosophy of subjective idealism and the TEA Party movement.
For what it's worth, Leo closed the segment by spelling out his telephone number and email address for those who want to discuss the matter with him. Repeated as a public service: 619 757 4909, firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 2, 2011
The Next Moral Crusade -- Capitalism
The piece reviews the 2008 GOP primary season, where Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee's early leads evaporated, for no apparent reason, to leave the field wide open. Tracinski attributes the cause to a "desperate desire" on the part of GOP voters to avoid the stark choice between a pro-defense, pro-markets and "not particularly religious" Giuliani and a "strongly religious, anti-abortion candidate who has nothing particular to offer on the war and denounces the pro-free-market Club for Growth as the 'Club for Greed."
"But in avoiding the choice between a religious agenda and a secular agenda, Republicans were forced to evade the substantive issues at stake in th election and focus instead on the personal qualities of the candidates. (...)
To my religious brothers and sisters I urge you not to read this as an indictment of your faith. Religious morality has much to offer in the realm of personal values. But as a universal guide for the conduct of civilizations it is too easily co-opted by the forces of World Socialism.
A defense of capitalism as the means for men to deal with one another is not only not an abandonment of moral values, it is the only moral crusade that can hope to ever have a peaceful end.