Mike Littwin, a liberal columnist at the Denver Post, is normally a reliable mouthpiece for Democrat talking points. But, in an apparent effort to prove the broken clock theory, Littwin expresses one of the most realistic views regarding Libya in today's edition.
If this is a humanitarian mission, we can't leave until Khadafy is gone. That much is obvious. Pull out the missiles and the bombs, and if Khadafy's still there, he can do whatever he likes to whomever he pleases.
If this is a tactical mission — reinforcing the Arab Spring by springing Libyans from 40 years of tyranny — we can't leave until Libyans are, in fact, free of Khadafy because otherwise the mission would be, yes, unaccomplished.
No matter what Obama says, this is necessarily a regime change effort. The Refugee recommends that you read the whole thing. Mark the event on your calendar.
Dishing out some tough love to a room of big money GOP donors, "he told them they would be judged by their children and grandchildren on how they acted going forward."
"Will we allow ourselves to be assuaged by creature comforts and ignore the problems of this nation," he said. "Will we allow ourselves to think we are too small, and our problems too big for us to solve them?" The governor said that today's tough times demand that a question be asked of everyone of means who worries about the country: "Are you a patriot, or are you a patron? We will be judged at this moment of crisis. We must stand up, tell the truth, do the difficult thing."
Chuck's email tagline reads: "Notice: It's OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago." -- Allman Brother and Tree Farmer Chuck Leavell
ColdFusion's Numeric type maps to a double in the automatically generated RPC WSDL. Consuming this in ColdFusion is not a big deal, but interfacing with more highly-typed environments, there are many times you want to return an int. How do you not return 2 + 2 as 4.0?
1. Write your own WSDL.
Save your CFC and capture the RPC generated WSDL by pointing your browser at http://mysite/mypath/myCFC.cfc?WSDL Grab the source, or clean up all the - added by your browser. Make sure there is no white space before the <?xml version tag.
Find the xsd:double in the Response message and change it to xsd:int.
2. Specify the WSDL in your component.
Add the wsdlfile="mywsdl.wsdl" attribute with the filename and add the attribute style="document" which is required for user-defined WSDLs.
3. Bind the webservice to the WSDL
ColdFusion does this automatically -- but it caches them. When a WSDL changes, you need to restart the service or go to "Data & Services -> Web Services" in CF Administration and refresh the service.
4. Change your cffunction to return "Any" instead of "Numeric"
5. In your cfreturn, instantiate a Java Integer
<cfreturn createObject("java","java.lang.Integer").init(JavaCast("int",myvalue)) />
There it is! You've just gotten rid of ".0" in only five steps. This also works, mutatis mutandis, for accepting ints as input parameters (see sample). Sample cfcSample wsdl
What is this?
Political hacks: my life is enriched by finding small things like this on the Internet to save time figuring out what somebody has already done. I'm just trying to give back...
Tech hacks: this is a mostly political blog. Poke around if you are so inclined and not easily offended.
In the continuing dialog over the judgement and temperment of 2012 candidate Bachmann the congresswoman has given me another reason to sing her praises. Michele Bachmann appeared on the Today Show with Matt Lauer Wednesday. The full transcript and video are here on Newsbusters, including a few times when she seemed to be the experienced interviewer and he the neophyte candidate. But the bottom line was this:
"And we also have not identified it an American vital international interest. That must be done before the United States can intervene in another nation's affairs."
Principled strength. Our armed forces are not at the world's beck and call but she's also not calling for a Libertarian's Fortress America. By implication she would be willing to intervene in another nation if there were a vital American interest.
I'd excerpt more for the entertainment value but I don't want to dilute the message: This woman makes decisions based on objective principles, not emotion and feelings. Or for the cynics among you, she's at the very least trying to make it look that way, which is more than you can say about the President of the United States.
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 opens in a good lineup of Colorado Theaters. I'll probably go to the Westminster Promenade, but it would be fun to brave the belly-of-the-beast, and see it at the Century16 in Boulder. If only I could ride a train. Maybe Englewood or Lakewood would be close to "light rail..."
Brother jg suggested that I might enjoy a turn shooting down the moronic idea of energy independence. My usual response is to admit to my interlocutor that I am completely dependent on the grocery stores for food. How do I know that King Soopers likes me? This is my family's life we're talking about...
For too long, the United States of America has been at the mercy of foreign interests -- and nations in faraway lands that are often at odds with our core values -- when it comes to the production of perhaps the vital resource that drives our economy. We remain far too dependent on this imported commodity that could, in the time of emergency or international political crisis, be denied to us and thus cripple our productivity and reduce us to quivering masses of migraines in a matter of hours. The time for change is now.
I speak, of course, of our complete dependence on coffee that we are importing mainly from Brazil and Colombia. It's time to wean ourselves from this harmful addiction. My "Coffee Independence" proposal is the key first step.
We may constitute only 5 percent of the world's population, but we consume fully a third of the planet's coffee. This nation runs off coffee, most all of it from a sketchy continent. Should we be cut off by one of these sources, for our caffeine fix we'd be forced to drink Coca-Cola for breakfast as well as 10 other times a day.
His solution? I'll just say that involves Detroit...
The big news here is the source: ABC News with Diane Sawyer has recognized crony capitalism:
When the White House announced the federal government would loan $465 million to Tesla, a California start-up company with plans to develop an all-electric sedan, President Obama called it an "historic opportunity to ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America."
The loan also represented a lucrative opportunity for Steve Westly, a major investor in the car company who had raised more than $500,000 for the president's campaign. Since President Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Energy has given more than half a billion dollars to companies backed by Westly's California venture capital firm.
President Obama will soon call for a one-third drop in oil imports. He never seems to tire of these soviet five year plans: "a 47% crunchier frozen pizza crust by 2041!"
On this, he and the WaPo admit that every president has failed:
In 1973, Nixon called for a "Project Independence," an effort he said should summon the spirit of the Apollo space missions or Manhattan Project and achieve self-sufficiency by 1980. Instead, the United States was importing more oil by that time.
In January 1975, President Gerald R. Ford said that "Americans are no longer in full control of their own destiny, when that destiny depends on uncertain foreign fuel at high prices fixed by others."
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter called the energy challenge "the moral equivalent of war" and proposed conservation, alternative energy, higher gasoline taxes, ethanol fuels and wider use of nuclear power. He too set a goal of reducing oil imports by a third, to 6 million barrels a day by 1985 from 9 million a day in 1977.
That target was surpassed by 1982, thanks to a rise in Alaskan oil production and the virtual end of the use of oil by electric utilities and manufacturers. But soon imports resumed their relentless climb as a share of U.S. oil needs. By 2006, Bush was calling on Americans to end their "addiction" to oil , warning of "danger and decline" if the country continued to rely on "unstable" countries. He urged a 75 percent reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025.
But President Awesome is on the case now! Time to short the tanker stocks...
Obama also touted a so-called Clean Energy Standard, and by "clean energy" he means politically-favored, economically-questionable, and highly-unreliable windmills and solar panels. Of course, the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. You can't run a modern economy without affordable coal, oil, and natural gas. Countries that have tried -- like Spain, Germany, and the U.K. -- have ruined themselves economically. (And of course green groups will sue to block "clean energy" the same way they sue to block everything else.)
Senator Schumer tells the caucus what to say, unaware that reporters are on the line.
After thanking his colleagues -- Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut -- for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. "I always use the word extreme," Mr. Schumer said. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week."
So, guys, here it goes -- and this is straight from Corporate: when asked about the Senior Senator form New York, portray him as an "asshole." I always use the word "asshole." that's what we're supposed to use this week.
Not gifted with The Refugee's brevity, I will go on a bit about "the speech."
1. Donald Sensing nails it with "There is no Plan A.' After a week's whining that there were no tangible objectives, Our Commander-in-Chief offered hope and change.
2. I was once more amazed at the lack of luster. Where is that guy who lit up the stage in '04 and '08? Larry Kudlow saluted him for a dramatic and strong finish, but I was half asleep in my frog pajamas* by the end. Zzzzzzzz.
3. For structure, I get it, Mister President, it was very multilateral and the UN was in on it. But, umm, isn't Libya on the Committee for Human Rights in the UN? Seems like we wouldn't have to use Tomahawks and sorties to prevent their massacring "hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians." And, if not, is their approval truly the gold standard?
4. This partisan hack viewed every line through the prism of his opposition to Iraq. Just replace Libya with Iraq and Qaddafi with Saddam and everything works. This president has always been at war with Eurasia I suppose**.
* Apologies to Tom Robbins
** Apologies to George Orwell
UPDATE: 5. It isn't an Obama speech without a strawman and he delivered early. There are those who said we couldn't possibly stand up to the fierce Libyan Air Force and there are those who suggested nuking the whole country. But I -- Mister Reasonable Guy -- have chosen a more moderate path... It reinforces the idea of a thin-skinned executive who cannot abide any criticism without assuming that it lacks seriousness or credibility.
UPDATE II: Prof VDH says the same thing, unsurprisingly better.
I was worried that Rep. Tom Tancredo (Convenient -White) would be bored after ruining the Colorado Gubernatorial race, but he's got a job:
Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., an anti-illegal-immigration border hawk, dismissed Flake's conversion as "a load of baloney." In a Friday e-mail to supporters, Tancredo declared that defeating Flake will be a top priority of his Team America political-action committee.
Flake is finding his inner hawk as he prepares for a Senate race in 2012. I will withhold judgment until I see how far he "clarifies."
But anybody who ever thought that Tancredo would ever put liberty or limited government ahead of eradicating Mexicans needs to accept that it's "a top priority" to defeat the longest and most dedicated opponent of government spending and intrusion we've ever had.
Teachers' Unions hit a PR gold mine with classroom size and student/teacher ratios. This allows them to masquerade teachers' and unions' needs as the students'. Brilliant!
My inner PR executive is impressed, but when I look at Salman Khan's TED talk, I wonder if we could not perhaps use technology more effectively and boost productivity -- as we have in every other aspect of American life.
James Pethokoukis links to a charter school boss who presents a different look:
At Harlem Success Academy Charter School, where we’ve gotten some of the best results in New York City, some classes are comparatively large because we believe our money is better spent elsewhere. In fifth grade, for example, every student gets a laptop and a Kindle with immediate access to an essentially unlimited supply of e-books. Every classroom has a Smart Board, a modern blackboard that is a touch-screen computer with high-speed Internet access. Every teacher has a laptop, video camera, access to a catalogue of lesson plans and videotaped lessons.
But, how could a cash-strapped institution possibly pay for all that modern technology?
Outfitting a classroom this way costs about $40,000, or $13,500 amortized over three years. That’s how much New York charter schools receive per pupil annually, so we can afford this by just increasing class size by a single student. .. In other words, a 19th-century school can be transformed into a well-managed 21st-century school by adding just two students per classroom.
Pity the Kindle, the Smart Board, and the broadband don't pay dues.
A school will pay $5 million in salaries to teachers who end up wasting time writing on blackboards because the school has run out of paper that costs a penny a page. (Don’t believe me? Ask a teacher.)
Beginning at the (4:15) mark in the video to the left Bachmann proposes implementing a tax system that would encourage "family formation." The context of Bachmann's remarks make it clear that she would like to either give tax credits, or lower tax rates to people who are married as opposed to those who are single. Given Bachmann's past statements on gay rights, the lower tax rates and/or tax credits would also only apply to heterosexual couples. If implemented, single mothers would likely be taxed at a higher rate than mothers who are married.
Colmes trumpets "Michele Bachmann Would Punish Single Mothers By Giving Tax Breaks For 'Family Formation.'"
The charge is significant. In the video, Rep. Bachmann gets off to a great start, riffing on light bulbs, and yelling in her lovely Minnesota accent that "Iowans are to be trusted on the choice of their own light bulbs -- they're really smart people!" Good stuff, but five minutes in, she has suggested a tax code that "prefers family formation and the building up of families." Others call for a truce on social issues, but she says (4:50) "I would highly disagree with that because social conservatism is fiscal conservatism."
Speaking for myself, I'm with Gov. Mitch Daniels who called for the truce. Let's let "the other guys" do social engineering with the tax code.
Over the past year I've seen big billboard advertisements for "Dave's" cigarettes in Seattle and Denver. These are folksy ads; one of them features a tractor. The message is that ""Dave's" is a folksy brand of cigarette, produced by a down-to-earth, tractor-driving guy named "Dave" for ordinary people who work hard and make an honest living, at least until they start coughing up big folksy chunks of trachea. -- The one, the only, Dave Berry
(The title could be upgraded to a category someday...)
Kenneth Green thinks "Two recent studies might end the great grocery bag debate."
The traditional, thin plastic bag, though increasingly demonized and taxed, has better environmental performance and is likely to be considerably safer for human health than alternatives.
Yeah, let's all put $100 in the pot and bet on when environmentalists will read the studies and realize that plastic grocery bags really are best. I'll even consent to storing the money in my account while we wait to pay out.
The article is interesting and well worth a read in full; but I do not share Green's optimism.
Righthaven has had a bad month, and I am going to risk a three paragraph excerpt from The Denver Post:
The extraordinary influence wielded by the craft brewers was made clear in hundreds of documents obtained by The Denver Post detailing e-mail exchanges among Hickenlooper's staff, craft brewers, the Department of Revenue and the Division of Liquor Enforcement.
The ultimate outcome was Hickenlooper's office directing Revenue officials in early March to nix a rule on alcohol-content testing that state regulators had been working on for months with the liquor industry.
The rule in question was the result of a law passed last year aimed at requiring the state to enforce existing laws prohibiting restaurants, bars and liquor stores from selling beer with less than 4 percent alcohol by volume or 3.2 percent by weight.
My blog brothers begged me not to vote for the Democrat, but I had no idea he was in the pocket of "Small Beer."
UPDATE: Segued only by the deracinated, ADD of my inbox, a friend sends this link to Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
This gambit, handled as it is now, exposes Pawlenty not only to liberal ridicule, but to the risk that he will be perceived in the end as a Wizard of Oz--a nebbish pretending to be a world-historical figure via the use of smoke and mirrors and amplification. Yes, in theory, he could win the nomination much as McCain did, through a demolition derby that incrementally eliminates his opponents.
As Kilgore points out, GOP primary voters who are concerned about their nominee being lampooned in the liberal press should think twice before pulling the lever for Pawlenty.
And then there are his amazing Web ads--part Transformers, part Triumph of the Will--which are designed to convey the sense that Pawlenty's campaign is part of a gripping national drama comparable to the country's other great turning points. These ads have become hilarious fodder for Stephen Colbert:
Fair warning: Reading this story made me want to throw up.
Since sometime in the '70s Boulder County, Colorado voters have been approving tax hikes on themselves (and their neighbors) for the purpose of buying farmland between cities and towns to prevent its development and create an "Open Space buffer." In my youth I thought this sounded like a good idea. Over the decades I saw Boulder County become the largest single landowner in the county and the price of land there go through the roof. Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that read "Colorado is full - go home?" They were printed in Boulder.
Not even close to admitting maybe they've done enough already, the Boulder County Open Space Department has negotiated a purchase of 756 additional acres west of Longmont for the "not a dime less" price of $30,000,000.00. Thursday night the rubber-stamp Open Space Advisory Board unanimously recommended that the purchase proceed. But what really makes me sick are some of the quotes.
Seven people spoke during the advisory committee's hearing on the proposal. All but one backed the purchase.
"I very strongly urge you to buy it," said former Boulder County Commissioner Paul Danish.
Danish, who's now a Longmont resident, said one of his few disappointments in nine years as a commissioner was that he didn't get a chance to vote on buying the property, which he said has both environmental and urban-shaping values.
Purchasing the AHI Property would continue longstanding municipal and county government efforts to use open space buffers as a way of keeping the county's cities and towns from growing together into urbanized blocks, Danish said.
Try re-reading that last sentence and replace the words "the county's cities and towns" with "municipal governments." They need to spend $30 million to keep themselves from doing something they don't want to do?
Or this from "Hygiene Road resident" Nancy Dayton.
"I would hate to see the city of Longmont ever annex across 75th Street" and allow development there. "It's critical that we get it" in county ownership said Dayton, a former county Parks and Open Space Department staffer who noted that had been the county's goal as well when she worked there.
Of the seven people who spoke at the advisory board hearing, at least two of them were former goverment functionaries who strongly support the Open Space mission. Open government at its finest. But at least they have a really, really good reason for spending $30 million of other people's money - because Nancy Dayton "would hate to see" it be otherwise.
And next week these same people will wring their hands over the lack of "affordable housing" in Boulder County.
I had heard of the Free State Project and considered it an interesting, if moderately crankish, idea.
The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government, to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.
John Stossel had a couple of representatives on his show last night. I confess I was swayed into serious consideration -- and the lovely bride is packing and taping up boxes.
With the comment period now closed on its proposed rule, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) is getting ready to outline the terms for deciding which nonbank financial institutions might cause instability in the U.S. financial system if they fail. As its staff works away on decision criteria, they should be offered one word of advice: stop. -- Peter J. Wallison
"Mitt Romney: tea party favorite" screams the headline of Chris Cillizza's "The Fix" blog post this afternoon.
Rilly? Governor RomneyCare®? I clicks:
Mitt Romney is the choice of nearly one in four of those who agree with the tenets of the tea party, according to a new Pew poll, a surprising result that suggests the former Massachusetts governor's support heading into 2012 may be broader than previously assumed.
Among tea party supporters, Romney took 24 percent to 19 percent for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, 15 percent for former House speaker Newt Gingrich and 13 percent for Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, long considered the tea party's 2012 candidate-in-waiting, took just 12 percent -- another piece of evidence that the 2008 vice presidential nominee's support is fading even among members of her own party.
While Sarah Palin forges international relationships worthy of a president-to-be, Michele Bachmann seems to be the one who is serious about 2012.
"It's not America's role to be out and about nation building and telling other countries how to live," said Palin.
Fresh from her two-day "trip of a lifetime" to Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palin told Van Susteren that America needs to "be even stronger in our commitment to help secure Israel."
Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee in early June, according to a published report.
Sources told CNN the move could come even sooner, allowing her to participate in early Republican presidential debates in New Hampshire, South Carolina and California.
"She's been telling everyone early summer," one of the sources told CNN's website. "If \[debate sponspors\] come to us and say, 'To be in our debates, you have to have an exploratory committee,' then we'll say, 'Okay, fine ... I'll go file the forms.'"
As I wrote last month, I like them both. I'm beginning to suspect that Palin will not run in '12, choosing instead to remain on the scene and possibly run in the future - or not. Bachmann has many plusses compared to Palin: Her negatives are not as high; she still holds a national elective office; and she's shown she can deliver the one-liner:
"So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire. It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it."
I happily condemned James O'Keefe's guerilla videos. Interesting that he has collected the scalps he has, but I am still not ready to sign on with his tactics. Both the ACORN and npr stings included outrageous comments, but I am not ready to fire someone because they failed to confront an objectionable loony.
I have to applaud his choice of targets. ACORN is an execrable organized crime organization. And npr...well, npr is an execrable but damned fine news and entertainment organization. Calm, reasoned, stentorian morning voice Steve Inskeep takes to the WSJ Ed Page today to defend his employer. He opens with the classic we're really swell and your mother wears Army boots tactic:
Emails show that NPR refused the money, and the conservative website The Blaze discovered that the executive's remarks were repeatedly lifted out of context. Nevertheless, the executive and his CEO were dismissed.
I congratulate Mr. O'Keefe for upholding his values: faith in the power of video to mislead. As columnist Michael Gerson noted in the Washington Post, by selectively misquoting the executive's words, rearranging events, and other devices, Mr. O'Keefe made him sound sympathetic to Islamic radicals and unfairly tarnished NPR with "an elaborate, alluring lie."
Liberal? Us? NO -- conservatives listen for chrissakes! His boys are risking their lives to bring you the facts in Libya!
Sorry to make light, but his defense is completely devoid of facts. I'd suggest his discrediting remarks are more out of context than anything Mister O'Keefe presented. His audience at the WSJ Ed Page was likely far more interested in the appropriateness of federal funding than Inskeep's assertions of swellness.
The Refugee has become confused lately and is in need of enlightenment. Liberal talking heads have justified the current military action in Libya as "sanctioned by the international community." Just who the hell is the "international community?" When GWB entered the second Gulf war with three UN resolutions behind him and the support of the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Poland, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and others, he was a "cowboy" acting alone and without support of the "international community." Now that Obama is bombing Libya after a single UN resolution and in concert with a half-dozen nations, he is doing so with the support of the "international community."
As near as The Refugee can tell, the "international community" is "other liberals who think like we do." Perhaps that's what they meant when they said Obama was a "community organizer." Please help.
Well, it's actually Congress' stash. Under the cute but misleading headline Government Has $1 Trillion In Untapped 'Piggy Bank' Investor's Business Daily reports on past government spending (appropriations) that have never actually been allocated (doled out.) This amounts to a Congressional slush fund of over a Ta-Ta-Trillion dollars.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., recently introduced a bill to eliminate $45 billion in unobligated funds.
"The Senate actually adopted unobligated funds as its way of paying for eliminating the 1099 provision in ObamaCare," he said. "There is no reason why we can't simply cancel unobligated funds to reduce the deficit."
We've seen a much higher frequency of Atlas Shrugged comparisons to current events since President Obama took the helm. Here's another one that should, but doesn't, in a brief compendium of Obama Cronyism.
For those who don't click through the upshot is this:
If there's any pattern here, it's that of a president who makes a clear decision only if it's to help someone who can help him — or who already has.
That's not leadership. That's cronyism, and history is a harsh judge to such leaders.
Good NewsEarth and it's inhabitants need more, not less, CO2.
More CO2 means:
- More Plant Growth
- Plants need less water
- More food per acre
- More robust habitats and ecosystems
CO2 is Earth's greatest airborne fertilizer. Without it - No Life On Earth!
** For additional peer-reviewed scientific references and an in-depth discussion of the science supporting our position, please visit Climate Change Reconsidered: The Report of the Nongovernmental Planel on Climate Change (www.climatechangereconsidered.org), or CO2 Science (www.co2science.org).
The site also presents this nifty graph of observed vs. UN IPCC predicted global temperatures since 2001.
Some years ago, a little girl was born with a serious heart defect: Her aorta and pulmonary artery were reversed. Without immediate intervention, she would not have survived.
The infant was rushed to another hospital where a surgeon performed a procedure at 1 a.m. that saved her life. Eight months later, when her heart was the size of a small plum, an incredibly dedicated and skilled team of medical professionals surgically reconstructed it. Twenty-seven years later, the young woman is now a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit where she is studying to become a nurse practitioner.
She wasn't saved by a bureaucrat, and no government mandate forced her parents to purchase the coverage that saved her. Instead, her care was provided under a run-of-the-mill plan available to every employee of an Oshkosh, Wis., plastics plant.
I don't think it's the height of spoilerdom if I tell you the girl is his daughter.
I like to argue facts and philosophy. And it bothers me to no end that, in the House debates, every Democrat's speech started with a story. "Old Mamie Rodgerpickle, of Asbury Heights can't get insurance and has a terminal hangnail..." But sometimes you have to bring it home to people.
Johnson's daughter, my darling bride. Saturday will be six years since her stroke. I have always been amazed, like Johnson, at the full tilt boogie, failure is not an option care that a middle class couple in a small city in Colorado received. And, like Johnson, neither of us has ever had a doubt that she would not have survived in a socialist medical system.
The first hospital could not save her. It would have been easy to say that nothing could be done. Instead, a helicopter took her to a different hospital. There, it would have been easy to say that the damage was too extensive. But three and a half hours of surgery, twelve weeks of ICU and rehab hospitalization, and -- mostly -- six years of determined dignity, have brought her back.
Perhaps little good is served from personalizing the debate. But I vow to do what I can to leave that particular blessing of liberty to posterity.
Under the original headline Obama Has 'No Doubt' US Can Transfer Command to Coalition
Bloomberg reports that President Obama is intent on "transfer[ring] control of this operation" in Libya to someone else. This isn't the only tacit admission that the intervention in Libya's civil war is an American operation. "Obama said the U.S. took command at the start of the campaign because of the "unique capabilities" of its military for the attack on Libyan air defenses." "We did it because we could" he seems to be saying. And what is the "coalition" that the President wants to dump this responsibility upon?
The allies are considering a proposal, backed by France, to create a political steering committee that would oversee military operations using NATO's command structure. It would consist of the 12 nations that have committed to participating, according to a Western diplomat familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sarkozy, one of the most vocal proponents of the no-fly zone, said full command by NATO risked prejudicing non-NATO Arab forces. Germany and Turkey, two NATO members, have opposed putting the alliance in charge.
In the 1960's France succeeded in handing off its war in the French colony of Vietnam to the United States. This may be America's revenge with a similar shameful abrogation.
Sen. Claire McCaskill's admission that she owes nearly $300,000 in back taxes on a plane she co-owned with her husband is the latest in a series of revelations regarding the aircraft that have complicated the Missouri Democrat's already-difficult path to reelection in 2012.
The tax revelations come roughly a week after McCaskill acknowledged using the plane for both official travel and purely political business while charging taxpayers for the flights.
I mean, who among us has not occasionally failed to remember to make a $287,000 tax payment? And why shouldn't we pay for her fuel and maintenance? She's just working so hard to take care of us!
Whether it is Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, or Franklin Raines, or Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, or "Wall Street" who is really to blame for the 2008 mortgage crisis that launched the current recession, the silver lining is that we've seen what harm can be done by lending large sums of money to people who can't pay it back and the government will certainly put an end to that dubious practice, right? Umm, no.
The Federal Government has a home loan program specifically for federally enrolled tribal members, on or off reservation land.
• 30 year fixed rates with NO PREPAYMENT PENALTY
• Maximum loan amount $544,185
• Minimum down payment 2.25% (in some cases 1.25%)
• Seller can pay up to 6% of your closing costs
• No credit history required
• Flexible underwriting for credit issues
• No history of receiving per capita required
• No monthly mortgage insurance required
• Single family, 2-4 units, condos, manufactured homes
• Purchase loans
• Rehab loans
• Construction loans
• Homebuyer counseling service available for all clients
When the SWAT team came for Richard Paey in 1997, officers battered down the front door of the Florida home he shared with his wife and their two children. Paey is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair after a car accident and a botched back surgery. He also suffers from multiple sclerosis. Paey was accused of distributing the medication he used to treat his chronic pain, even though there was no evidence he had sold or given away a single pill. Thanks to Florida's draconian drug laws, he was eventually convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Queue the ThreeSources chorus of "well, mistakes are made and we cannot discontinue enforcement because of one bad [Judge | Cop | Prosecutor]..."
The problem, as Radley Balko explains is that the prosecutor in question still brags about this case and is now a candidate for Judge in Florida and is so far running unopposed. The good news is that Governor Charlie Christ (Weasel - FL) pardoned him after "only" four years.
NOBODY was harmed. The absolute worst thing that possibly happened (and it is disputed) is that an MS-suffering paraplegic in chronic pain after a car crash and botched back surgery may have forged a prescription to get pain medication. Thankfully they got prosecutors in the Sunshine State who are not afraid of the tough cases,
I see no reason that a man in this condition should be denied his medication or his freedom.
I've been a big fan of George Mason Economist Tyler Cowen (what do they put in the water at GMU?) so I took a flyer and ponied up $3.99 for a Kindle version of his essay "How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better"
That's an uneconomical title, but an interesting essay, and an interesting sales model: publishing directly to econ fanboys like me. The problem with the model is that I have to summarize the piece to discuss it. Thankfully, the extended title helps. According to Cowen, we have achieved astounding growth and productivity gains because we have taken advantage of "low hanging fruit." And, according to Cowen, much of the current malaise is the absence of easy gains.
This runs counter to everything I believe. I confess that if I did not respect the author I would have discarded it halfway in. I'm one of the right wing zealots Cowen dismisses who thinks we can just lower taxes and return to historical growth. Not really, he is dismissive of those who feel the Laffer Curve will provide for huge spending increases. I ain't one of those.
Yet Steve Forbes (and I) think some better policies in Washington would unleash a little animal spirits, and that animal spirits will climb the tree if they need to find fruit (pardon the metaphor mash).
Reagan came into the White House facing an economy as troubled as ours--one that had even higher unemployment, catastrophic interest rates (18% for mortgages) and a stock market that in real terms had fallen 60% from its mid-1960s levels. When he left office eight years later, the U.S. had become an economic miracle: 18 million new jobs had been created; Silicon Valley had blossomed, becoming a global symbol for innovation; and the stock market was experiencing a bull run that, despite dramatic ups and downs, didn't end until the turn of the 21st century, after the Dow had expanded 15-fold. The expansion of the U.S. economy exceeded the entire size of West Germany's economy, then the world's third-largest.
I do not discard Cowen's theory. We need to recognize the headwinds we had. Free land, smart uneducated kids, game changing innovation in communication and transportation set up some easy growth scenarios. But if we could get Washington "the hell out of the way," a little Postrelian Dynamism would put us back on track.
We honor enough politicians and economists around here. Blog friend Sugarchuck sends word that one of his influences has passed: steel player Ralph Mooney.
As per usual with sc's recommendations, I had never heard of him -- sc sez: "There is no video with this but some beautiful excerpts of Ralph's playing that show clearly that he was reason tele pickers try to sound like steel players."
Now that I've got that off my chest I'd like to share some complimentary words about Sarah Palin that were written and printed in, New York City. -redneckvoice- New York Sit-eee? -\redneckvoice-
Not only was she first to call for the inevitable Libyan no-fly zone (three weeks ago) she advocates policies that "contrast sharply with the foreign policy being conducted, if that is the word, by President Obama." Yes, you read that right - foreign policy by the Alaskan joke-magnet. Writing in the New York Sun, Benyamin Korn calls it "the growing outline of what might be called The Palin Doctrine."
Mrs. Palin also continues to link America’s energy policy — a realm in which she has experience — and U.S. foreign and anti-terrorism policies. She recognizes that the ongoing transfer of billions of U.S. petro-dollars to unstable or even hostile Mideast regimes has, since the mobilization in 1973 of the Arab oil exporting countries, been an drain on U.S. financial resources.
In a critique of Mr. Obama’s energy policies published yesterday at about the same time the Arab League was adopting her prescription for a Libya no-fly zone, Mrs. Palin laid out how the president’s “war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump, endangered our already sluggish economic recovery, and threatened our national security.” Nor is Gov. Palin’s insight into complex international issues limited to areas of her immediate expertise.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin — certainly no knee-jerk advocate for Sarah Palin — wrote just a few weeks ago that Palin turns out to have been correct in the prediction she made to Barbara Walters, in a much-noted November 2009 interview. Palin stated she was opposed to Obama’s opposition to Israel’s settlement policies because “[m]ore and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.” Now, as Rubin noted, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics confirms that the pace of immigration to Israel rose 14% to 16,633 from the level in 2009, most coming from Russia or America.
Hat tip: My well-informed country neighbor, Nancy.
House Democrats held a birthday party last week for passage of the health-care law. Just as we looked at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's floor speech noting the milestone, we will now examine some of the claims made by Democrats.
McConnell framed his speech in negative terms, citing data to back up his language. Both Democrats and Republicans can pick and choose numbers and studies to make their case, but we found that generally McConnell did not exaggerate or use bogus figures. In fact, he correctly described a Congressional Budget Office analysis suggesting a potential reduction in employment of 800,000 jobs (technically, one-half of 1 percent of household employment in 2021) that other Republicans have misrepresented.
By contrast, House Democrats appear to show little hesitation about repeating claims that previously have found to be false or exaggerated. So let’s take a tour through the numbers.
Forbes' Patrick Michaels called General Motors a liar for the claim that their Volt hybrid is an "all-electric vehicle" and the onboard generator is only to extend its range. That's a serious charge, considering the huge federal subsidy to buyers of the car is based on that dubious premise.
"It's not a hybrid! It's an electric car with a range-extending, gas-powered generator onboard." That was the party line during most of the masterfully orchestrated press rollout of what we've been promised will be the most thoroughly new car since, what, the Chrysler Turbine? The Lunar Rover? Well, the cat is now out of the bag, and guess what? It is a hybrid, after all. Yes, Virginia, the Chevy Volt’s gas engine does turn the wheels. Sometimes.
The salient difference between the Volt and the Prius is that the Prius' gas engine turns on at 60 mph and the Volt's at 100 mph. Motor Trend explains this as a second electric motor giving the Volt its top-end boost but glosses over the fact that the second motor, called a motor-generator, doesn't appear to recharge the battery through regenerative braking as the Prius does. In their diagram they show only "power in" from the engine and motor-generator of the Volt.
So is the Volt better or worse than the Prius? Or even really that much different?
It's amazing how modern politics resembles scenes of Ayn Rand's best-seller Atlas Shrugged.
Like the one in which a high-ranking government official pumps millions of dollars into a failing railroad company. The grateful railroad CEO rewards the government official by renovating his hometown train station and naming it after the government official. The renovation costs $5,700,000 more than expected.
Then comes the ribbon cutting ceremony. The CEO gets on one of his trains to go to the ceremony, but it breaks down. No surprise there: One out of every four trains his company runs is late. The CEO, chuckling at the irony, abandons the train and takes a car to the ceremony.
Unfortunately, that wasn't a scene in Atlas Shrugged. It happened this weekend.
The government official is Joe Biden.
By the way, the first of three Atlas Shrugged movies opens next month, appropriately on April 15th.
In other Biden news, the Daily Caller reports that the Wilmington, Del., Amtrak station was rechristened the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station on Saturday. Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman was there, but no thanks to Amtrak. He was on a train from Washington that got stuck in Baltimore, so he got off and went by car. Sounds like something right out of "Atlas Shrugged," doesn't it?
The first time around it's like lightning in a bottle. There's something special about it, because you're defying the odds. And as time passes, you start taking it for granted that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama is president of the United States, but we should never take it for granted. -- President Barack Hussein Obama.
The Review Corner you've ALL been waiting for! I wonder what jk thought of "Making Peace with the Planet" by Barry Commoner? Well...
For those who missed the story, I made a bargain with an intelligent yet überprogressive friend. He will be feasting on the superb "Future and Its Enemies" by Virginia Postrel. In return, I would read a book of his choosing and landed MPWTP.
I was initially disappointed and concerned. Yet the quality of writing, and occasional heterodoxies made it an interesting read. In the spirit of sharing ideas, I would like to start with the book's good points. The writing, as I mentioned, is well done, but most of the plusses are what the book is not:
It is not Malthusian. It is not as dynamic as I'd like, but for an "environmentalist" tract, it allows for growth and population. He joins Postrel in taking some swipes at Kirkpatrick Sale for Luddism and Paul Erlich for Erlichism.
It is not misanthropic. A peer suggests "we should send atomic bombs to overpopulated nations, not feed them." Commoner is correctly appalled. He does not, like many, see humans as the problem. He also makes fun of those who would confer personhood on cute, furry, vertebrates and worship Gaia.
It is not anti-modernity. Commoner is not a back-to-the-caves guy. He admits that "a symphony performed in an urban concert hall has a majesty that cannot be replaced by a shepherd's hornpipe."
It does not reject economic incentives. Commoner shares a study that shows economic growth as a superior method of population growth than a birth-control regimen.
In spite of all the great things that the book is not, the problem becomes what the book is. The first edition was released in 1975. He has revised it a few times between then and 1992 and I must assume that he stands by all that is left in the most recent edition. But it is full of references to high compression engines and leaded gasoline, CFCs, PCBs, acid rain. These are intermingled with global warming concerns even though they were supposed to cause global cooling at the time.
I guess that's fair enough, but he takes a snapshot at the nadir of world environmental stewardship. I was around in '75. We were gonna die from killer bees and the ozone hole and global cooling, and smog, and leisure suits, and acid rain, and fallout from atmospheric atomic bomb tests. Contra Postrel, he makes no allowance for innovation or improvement. We have made huge improvements in almost every problem he describes. But it's always 1975 in Commoner land.
Most seriously, though, and most contra Postrel, he provides an authoritarian, top-down, static solution. The book ends with a bold plan to commit $500 Billion a year (in 1992 dollars, one presumes) for "at least ten years" to enact all of his fixes. The only mentions of freedom in the book reference it as an obstacle to doing what needs to be done. A sort of hopeless American nostalgia for capitalism.
Commoner ran for President in 1980. His candidacy for President on the Citizens Party ticket won 233,052 votes (0.27% of the total). * Yet, he feels empowered to spend more than $5 Trillion on his plan. Electric trains, retirement of third-world debt, government purchases of non-economic items like electric cars [check!] and photovoltaic cells, that will allow the providers to scale up production to make their products affordable.
You may guess that I won't be recommending the book for its Economics. For my last point, I will quote Ludwig von Mises instead of Postrel. He refers several times to the "capitalist flaw" that the producers dictate to the consumer. LvM makes that the central point in his superb "Socialism." The flaw under public ownership of the means of production is that the producers dictate what is produced. Under capital ownership, the consumers dictate and capital forces the producers to supply what will provide the best return.
Two and a half stars. You'll recognize many ideas from friends and relatives, and it is assembled pretty well.
NED bless Netflix. Not being a big movies guy, there are a lot of great ones that I have missed.
"The Dish" (2000, IMDB) showed up in a red envelope yesterday and I was enthralled. If you missed it, or have not seen it in awhile, put this on your queue.
NASA needs a radio telescope dish in the Southern Hemisphere to communicate with Apollo 11. The best choice for receiving TV signals is in Parks Australia. This brings the town to notoriety and the small town mayor to political attention.
The characters are interesting and well played, but I recommend it to ThreeSourcers for celebrating the Apollonian side of the Moon landing. I was nine at the time and, just like the mayor's son, I could rattle off specs and decipher all the acronyms. But I remember, and did not really share, my father's sense of awe. It was all on schedule for me. I knew the missions and this one was planned for '69. This film connected me with the awe of completing that mission with that technology. Five stars.
As we endure our personal "pioneer decade" living in a 1913 home with 1913 size and slightly better amenities while first improving the rest of the property, we've been inattentive to the condition of the cookware in our miniscule kitchen with a paucity of storage space. One day last week I finally noticed the thoroughly worn-out condition of our, at one time, non-skick skillets. "Would you look for some new skillets the next time you're out shopping" I asked my dear dagny.
Her first shopping venture thereafter was to Costco, second only to WalMart as a purveyor of Chinese goods. She returned with a set of three heavy aluminum skillets with non-stick coating. When I asked what she paid I was told, "Twenty-four dollars." "Must be Chinese" said I. Au contraire! "This cookware was proudly made and assembled by U.S. workers." The fine print: "Cookware vessels made in U.S.A. Handles made in China. Designed, assembled and packaged in U.S.A."
All of this as entre to the popular myth that "everything is made in China now." Even the people who repeat this realize that America is still a manufacturing nation but believes that other nations, particularly China, produce more than America does. This November '09 blog post using 2007 data shows otherwise.
It's interesting that U.S. factories produced almost twice as much output in 2007 as China, and the U.S. produced an amount equivalent to the total manufacturing output of the four BRIC countries combined (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
But as I said, that was 2007 data. According to this data, linked from an Answers.com page, the 2009 manufacturing output of China was $2.05 trillion US dollars, of a total GDP of $4.98 trillion. By comparision, the manufacturing share of the US economy is $1.78 trillion of a $14.1 trillion total economy. (And that mfg. number is down slightly from 2008.)
So the big story is not just the incredible growth rate of Chinese manufacturing versus the meager growth, or even recession, of US manufacturing output. But that China has now, apparently, surpassed America in output of manufactured goods.
Perhaps a $14 trillion economy should be expected to produce more durable goods than a $5 trillion economy? The irony of course is that the nominally communist nation embraces capitalism with some vigor while the nominally free country villifies capitalism in many, many circles.
I will not double-dip and complain that the commander-in-chief plays golf or predicts basketball. Our humble, Constitutional Chief Magistrate Presidents Taft and Cleveland were criticized for golfing too much. I'd suggest that all of our presidents do the least damage on the links. A few divots can be fixed; ObamaCare?
The wrong lesson from the tragedy is that nuclear power is unsafe. And we have learned that one completely.
The right lesson ... let me let Jeopardy champion, frequent Kudlow guest, and Reuters columnist James Pethokoukis say it:
You never know when a black swan will float your way. And when your credit card is nearly maxed out, dealing with emergencies can be tricky. A massive rebuilding effort may stretch Japan to its financial limits. Politicians in Washington should take note of the warning for several reasons:
The famously scary Administration budget proposals are predicated on rosy growth scenarios. One doesn't have to be too dark to envision a natural or "Man made" disaster and the potential difficulty to simultaneously watch spending and deal with it.
Anyone who doubts my "wrong lesson" needs to read blog friend LisaM's take.
My John Stuart Mill argument for ending drug prohibition did not, as I recall, win over all ThreeSourcers to full legalization based on self-sovereignty.
I might try one more time on a more pragmatic matter. I had linked to Blog friend tg's CATO video "Ten Rules for Dealing with the Police" notable more for exposing perceptions about the police. John Stossel had John McWhorter on his show last night. McWhorter's belief is aligned perfectly with mine: take away the job of selling drugs on the corner.
My conversion, I admit, came not from some great libertarian tome, but from Richard Price's novel "Clockers." I wanted -- like McWhorter -- to expunge that profession from the face of the earth. Stossel writes a column on McWhorter's column in the recent CATO letter.
McWhorter sees prohibition as the saboteur of black families. "It has become a norm for black children to grow up in single-parent homes, their fathers away in prison for long spells and barely knowing them. In poor and working-class black America, a man and a woman raising their children together is, of all things, an unusual sight. The War on Drugs plays a large part in this."
He also blames the black market created by prohibition for diverting young black men from the normal workforce. "Because the illegality of drugs keeps the prices high," he says, "there are high salaries to be made in selling them. This makes selling drugs a standing tempting alternative to seeking lower-paying legal employment."
I invite the many who disagree to read McWhorter's complete column (pdf) and consider it in tandem with the video.
If we truly want to get past race in this country, we must be aware that it will never happen until the futile War on Drugs so familiar to us now is a memory. All it will take is a single generation of black Americans growing up in a post-Prohibition America for us to get where we all want to go. The time to end the War on Drugs, therefore, is yesterday.
The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.
This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.
Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.
Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board?
The Denver Post gets Headline of the Day for "Bill to put Colorado on permanent daylight saving time springs ahead."
Sen. Greg Brophy [Wray Republican] deliberately timed his bill to be heard this week when, he said, he knew people would be cranky about having to adjust their body clocks once again.
"Are you tired? Are your kids' schedules upset? Isn't it crazy we go through this twice a year?" he asked the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. "I think it's time to stop this charade."
....And I don't just mean the relative competence and devotion to liberty of President Clinton.
Nossir, in '96 (that's how us old timers talk about the 20th Century), you could buy an inexpensive and effective washing machine. Anywhere.
In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good."
Thankfully, government stepped in to fix it.
By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."
In 2007, after the more stringent rules had kicked in, Consumer Reports noted that some top-loaders were leaving its test swatches "nearly as dirty as they were before washing." "For the first time in years," CR said, "we can't call any washer a Best Buy." Contrast that with the magazine's 1996 report that, "given warm enough water and a good detergent, any washing machine will get clothes clean." Those were the good old days.
My $200,000 Washer-Dryer came with a free condo. Moving in and showing the place, several folks commented on what a great washer we were getting. And it is. It gets clothes just as clean as the 1964 Maytag I left at the house. Yeah, it smells a little funny, but there are products you can buy that make the $1000 machine almost as good as the $50 one.
You know how in disaster movies, people on the street gather around electronic shops that have TVs in the display windows so they can stay informed with what is going on? In this digital age, that's what the Tokyo Apple stores became. Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones. Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world.
Anyway, I mention this not because I work at Apple now, or because I'm an admitted fanboy, but because I'm genuinely proud of the Apple Japan staff and their willingness to stay open to help people that day. And I'm also impressed with the way Apple's products (and yes, Google's, Twitter's, and Facebook's) helped them that day. Even after we had to close, many of the staff stayed outside the store to fixing iphones and teaching people how to contact family or stay informed via wifi.
While JK reads how to Make Peace With the Planet I am reminded of the strange dichotomy whereby "Progressives" oppose prosperity. For most of my life I took as a fact of nature that human prosperity is a necessary component of a happier and more rewarding life. For a long time it never seemed necessary to defend that idea, as it must certainly be universal held.
In Let it Grow, Daniel Ben Ami explains that the anti-growth agenda of Progressives is not merely a yearning for ecological preservation or social equality, but a reflexive response to what they viewed as the death of social progress.
Finally, and probably most important, is the demise of believing in social progress. For a long time, economic growth was closely linked to the more general idea of progress, including scientific and cultural advances. A more prosperous society was also seen as having the potential to be more humane. But as social pessimism has gripped America, the vision of the progressive potential of economic growth has also diminished.
What caused this social pessimism on the left?
This social pessimism has emerged over several decades. Its roots can be seen in the counterculture of the 1960s when the political Left, traditionally the most ardent supporters of social change, began to embrace green ideas. Rather than consider humans capable of reshaping nature for their own benefit, the outlook switched to one obsessed with natural limits.
The downbeat attitude was further reinforced with the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s. It was widely understood that this represented the death of socialism's traditional conceptions. Less commonly appreciated was the general acceptance that no form of improved society is possible. The "end of history" proclaimed at the time was really the end, at least for the time being, of the idea of progress.
Just as one America was going to the moon and inventing bioengineered crops and ever cheaper sources of energy, the other America viewed the death of the Soviet Union as the end of hope for a just society. For them, the vision of technological achievement no longer had any application. And if man can't even perfect his own social order, what business has he trying to perfect any other aspect of life on Earth?
In response I say, check your premises. What if socialism really isn't the perfect social order?
It is possible to fight a forest fire and not be distracted by how the calamity was caused, and whether the cause taints the integrity of the people who deal with it. But oil spills are saturated in blame and political confusion--and opportunity. There is a sense that they are not accidents but accidents waiting to happen, and thus acts of greed. As a result, oil-soaked birds and fish come to symbolize a reviled industry's heedless behavior. Every year, as many as four hundred thousand birds are killed in America by electricity-generating wind turbines, but they do not make the cover of Time. -- Raffi Khatchadourian on the BP oil spill in the New Yorker, March 14
I know. You're wondering what the typical professor of evolutionary biology and philosophy thinks about the tragic Japanese earthquake. Internet (via Insty) to the rescue:
Fortunately, the dead hand of Milton Friedman hasn’t pushed laissez-faire capitalism upon the Japanese, as it threatens the United States. The Chicago school of economics had nothing but disdain, for example, for building codes, arguing that the all-mighty market would simply discriminate against shoddy construction and that consumers, free to make their own informed choices, would reward builders who make safe and solid houses. Who needs a “nanny state” when the market is free to work its magic? In fact, we all do!
This from David Barash of the University of Washington, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education. See, Japan did better than Haiti (no codes) and China (codes not followed due to corruption). Ergo, only Japanese imperviousness to Austrian economics saved them.
I should be a professor...I could write this stuff all day. I look good in a tweed jacket with elbow patches. I already wear glasses...
I thought I was reading "trash." After a long bout of non-fiction, punctuated by a few bits of serious fiction (and a children's book I received for Christmas), reading a pop mystery novel is fun but feels a lot like slacking.
My brother -in-law recommended the Millennium Trilogy and I am three-quarters-through "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." It's fun, but I confess that I was going to finish the first book, then watch all three movies and move on.
But now I find out that I am reading "a libertarian parable for the ages."
The Objectivist with the Dragon Tattoo
Indeed, there are moments when the books seem to stop dead in their tracks so that one of Larsson's characters can deliver an NPR-style bromide on a subject dear to the liberal heart.
In the midst of all of this, Lisbeth Salander explodes like a grenade tossed into an ammunition dump. Ferociously individualist, incorruptible, disdainful, and suspicious of all forms of social organization, and dedicated to her own personal moral code, Salander often seems to have stepped into Larsson's world from out of an Ayn Rand novel. She despises all institutions, whether they are business corporations, government agencies, or the Stockholm police. Rejecting all forms of ideology, she is dedicated only to her own individual sense of justice. Relentlessly cerebral, she trusts only what she can ascertain with her own mind and her own formidable talents. She considers Blomquist a naive fool because of his belief that social conditions cause people to commit the horrible crimes he investigates.
I like it, but I miss the dark, dank, turgid prose of my 90-year-old economics books.
A NY Times editoral yesterday squeaked, "It's Not Over in Wisconsin." But I'm quite happy to correct them - as the WSJ notes, it really is. But what most interested me in the execrable Times piece was it's opening line:
Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have reversed half-a-century’s middle-class progress in the state by erasing collective-bargaining rights for public employees.
First of all, this explains why Progressives are so agitated - issuing death threats - calling for "class war" - with the democratically enacted legislation in Wisconsin. It took them fifty years to achieve the present state of their glorious people's state, yet in a few weeks a handful of Republican politicians have pulled out one card and the rest of the house-of-cards came tumbling down.
But what else does this seethingly indignant sentence say? Middle-class progress over the last 50 years is to the credit of - unions? Then why are unions such a minority presence in the private sector? But I digress. To fully understand what "progress" means for the middle-class one must first consider how the middle class has changed in five decades. The graphs at this Tax Foundation post show that the 1960 middle class consisted mostly of married couples, a large portion of whom had children. Fast forward to 2007 and that demographic is mostly represented in the top two quintiles of taxpayers. (You know, the "rich.") Today's middle class is single filers.
These demographic shifts have no doubt contributed to the perception of rising income inequality. When the so-called rich are increasingly couples with two incomes, they will naturally look wealthier than the vast number of single taxpayers who now populate the statistical middle.
But those single taxpayers aren't poor. They're now the middle class!
As for the nuveaux "upper class"...
Because of the progressivity of the federal tax code, these couples end up facing the highest federal income tax rates even though they live distinctly "middle-class" lifestyles.
As lawmakers look for solutions to the economic challenges facing today's "middle-class" but upper-income families, they would do well to consider the way in which taxes--federal and local--are contributing to the problem.
And that, boys and girls, is what is driving the events in Wisconsin. To borrow from the SEIU mob vernacular, "This is what middle-class progress looks like!"
The repercussions of the 7th largest earthquake in recorded history are just being understood but there's still time to take a shot at the happiest city in America and one of her sacred cows - windpow .. pow .. poof.
Whilst driving my one-ton diesel pickup (by myself) to pick up a lunch burrito I happened to pass Boulder's swank new "multi-use" development that occupies the old Crossroads Mall site. It's called Twenty-Nineth Street. (No, not 29th Street, "Twenty-Nineth Street.") On the most prominent corner of the property, 28th and Arapahoe, they've installed one a them newfangled "wind turbines." "Free energy from the earf" I think they call it. And on a day when wind had whipped a "controlled burn" out of control in the mountains, the weather reports warn of "60 mile per hour gusts" and the average wind speed at Atlantis Farm has been 15 mph or higher all morning the wind turbine is - not spinning. It twists in the wind alright, and the blades aren't completely frozen but if it completes a full revolution in a minute I'd be surprised.
Could it be that these things require, not just subsidized installation but subsidized maintenance? Stop. Stop! You're killing me!
This be good. America's Socialist Senator is outraged to find Chinese Tchotchkes (hey, that's a good band name...) in the Smithsonian! Take it away, John Stossel and Don Boudreaux:
I like GMU economics professor Don Boudreaux's response to this:
Does Bernie Sanders believe that America's future is made brighter by having American entrepreneurs and workers spending their resources, creativity, and efforts making trinkets?
It's appalling that a U.S. Senator is so utterly uncritical in his thinking that he judges the state of American manufacturing from the trinket shops. It's appalling that he is so magnificently uninformed that he describes as "collapsed" the manufacturing sector in the country whose manufacturing output is the world's highest.
What has happened is that American manufacturing has moved up-scale. Here's a quotation from an article that appeared in 2009 in the San Francisco Chronicle:
" -- America makes things that other countries can't. Today, 'Made in USA' is more likely to be stamped on heavy equipment or the circuits that go inside other products than the TVs, toys, clothes and other items found on store shelves."
The wages that would be paid to Americans employed in manufacturing such trinkets would be abysmally low by American standards -- wages so low that, were today's unemployed blue-collar workers willing to work at such wages, they could likely today find jobs as clerks at fast-food restaurants or as baggers and grocery-cart fetchers at supermarkets.
The Smithsonian itself is something of an import: James Smithson was a Brit. Is America made worse because this non-American's resources are used to provide services to Americans?
These can be dark days for the forces of freedom and light. But can you imagine watching this video and having to take the position of Michael Moore over Mary Katherine Ham?
A National Resource. By Ludwig von Mises's correct definition of a Socialist, President Obama is clear (though he loses points for the GM bailout). But Moore falls right in. This is "Communal ownership of the means of production" writ large. Or in Moore's case, XXLarge...
We've now had two horrific earthquakes in as many weeks and we can be sure that the Lefties will not allow two tragedies to go to waste. Thus, it is just a matter of time before they blame global warming for these catastrophies. The Refugee would like to offer the bounty of a Starbucks to the first Three Sourcer who posts such a news item from the lame-stream media.
Wisconsin Assembly approves bill to slash union rights for public workers
Earlier Thursday, the Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin last month to try to stall a vote on the measure said they were preparing to return to the state capital and fight back against what one of them called "political thuggery in its worst form."
State Sen. Robert Jauch said the Democrats are discussing ways to overturn the legislation.
Slashing rights! Political thuggery in its worst form! Dang, maybe they should start having elections in the Badger State, and allow people to choose their representatives and leaders.
Interestingly, the average number of employed members of the civilian labor force in 2006 was 144,427,000. In 2010, the average number of employed members of the civilian labor force in the U.S. was 5,363,000 less, standing at 139,064,000.
So, in percentage terms of the change in total employment level from 2006 to 2010, jobs affected by the federal minimum wage hikes of 2007, 2008 and 2009 account for 41.8% of the total reduction in jobs seen since 2006.
Wait a minute. You outlaw jobs and have fewer of them? If only there were some branch of science that could advise these politicians on items like this...
One of America's greatest mandolin players, Kenneth "Jethro" Burns, is saluted on the anniversary of his birth in 1920. "The thinking man's hillbilly" even appears in a Kellogg's Ad celerating productivity and division of labor!
The Senior Senator from the Empire State is quoted in a Yahoo/AP story on the spending bills.
"We're looking for some give on the Republican side," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Citing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and first-term tea party-backed lawmakers, Schumer said Boehner "needs something to bring his ... freshmen into the real world."
A real world where Senator Schumer gets to spend as much as he wants to on anything he deems important. As Buffy might say: "Project Much?"
James Taranto's mixture of light fare, serious politics, and deep interest in Constitutional principles makes it my second favorite stop on the 'Net (your browser has, of course, found the first).
He's pretty serious today. And while he's touching a topic that could seem quite overwrought if union protests peacefully disperse, it is potentially serious:
But the threat of disobedience issued by that COP FOR LABOR raises a much more troubling possibility: that the police are aiding a political movement that is breaking the law in order to disrupt the legislative process. If that is the case, then what is going on in Madison is not so much anarchy as an attempted coup d'état--a challenge to Wisconsin's republican form of government by those who have been entrusted to safeguard it.
Nothing is more fundamental to the American system than republican government--in contemporary usage, please note, that's a small "r." As the New York Sun noted in a recent editorial, the U.S. Constitution provides that "the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government."
This provision, known as the Guarantee Clause, not only confers on the federal government the power to ensure republican government in the states, but imposes an affirmative obligation to do so
That he finds no time for levity on the day "How Men Lost Their Penis Spines" is published (HT: Insty on that'n), shows the gravity of the situation.
UPDATE: Not sure this is a coup d'état, but the Badger14 blog has evidence of selective enforcement of the law.
I almost did not click Instapundit's link to "Death Threats Against GOP Legislators in Wisconsin." To be honest, while there is of course a double standard, I don't want to see the forces of goodness and light adopting the victimology of the left: an African American Legislator was shouted at! Vapours!
But, umm, this I think qualifies as pretty much a death threat in most societies:
Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Rea below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.
WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and the people that support the dictator have to die.
It's not hard to understand the impulse here. Qadaffi is an evil sonofabitch mowing down his own people, and we have the most powerful military in the history of the world. There's a particularly rusty and nasty-looking nail sticking up right in the middle of the footpath, and we happen to have this marvelous hammer nearby. What kind of heartless and/or gutless bastard can stand idly by as the bodies pile up?
This kind: The one who worries about the myriad unintended consequences of war.
Look around the historic North African and Middle East uprisings of 2011, and what's missing? The Great Satan, that's who. The United States has such an outsized role in the world's affairs, and such an overwhelming military advantage, that it cannot help but massively distort any internal situation it gets involved in, and sponge up responsibility for the affairs of people who for too long have been spectators in their own lives. By mostly removing itself as the central protagonist of the Arab Spring, Washington is devolving that responsibility to the people who deserve it, and letting the focus remain instead on the brutal misgovernance of the region's dictators.
A pirate walks into a bar wearing a paper towel on his head.
He sits down at the bar and orders some dirty rum. The bartender
asks, "Why are you wearing a paper towel?"
"Arrr..." says the pirate. "I've got a bounty on me head!"
It's a Health Care Edition of the Internet Segue Machine...
I almost linked young Ezra Klein on his own yesterday. He is concerned that Dems' capitulation on an obscure clause of ObamaCare® could "undermine the Affordable Care Act." You should read the whole thing, not as an example of uplifting prose, but to experience the level of nonsense Klein is willing to tolerate before admitting that there's a problem. In the bill to repeal the bipartisanly-hated 1099 provision, eeevil Republicans are tweaking the prorating of partial years' poverty:
Under their proposed policy, a family with income at 225 percent of the poverty line who needed subsidies for the first half of the year but canceled them mid-year when the husband got a better job could get a bill for more than $4,500 at the end of the year.
A more worrying example goes the other way: Imagine a family where the breadwinner makes much more than 400 percent of poverty, but loses his job late in the year. He tries to apply for subsidies so the family can keep getting health insurance but is told that he shouldn’t bother -- because his total income that year will still be above 400 percent of poverty, he'll get a bill at the end of the year forcing him to pay back the money.
The Affordable Care Act, unfortunately, already includes a "payback" policy along these lines -- the House Republicans are just proposing to make it much, much worse.
Klein cannot see how ludicrous this new "tollbooth to the middle class" is. His concern is that it will "make people hate the Affordable Care Act for bait-and-switching them, and keep people from entering the exchanges because they've heard horror stories of huge bills."
Lemme get this straight, Ezra, other than this, you see no problem with the complexity and perverse incentives of the underlying program? If we make people from Louisiana and Nebraska exempt from these paybacks, it's okay?
A segue you were promised, and a segue you shall have. On a more reasonable side of the debate we have Professor Bainbridge and the WSJ Ed Page. Again they're, if I may mix metaphors, picking at a mote in somebody's eye when the house is on fire.
The concern is the new rules of flex reimbursements. Because those have been cut back, patients are exploiting a loophole, viz., if you get a prescription for that hangover medicine you can get reimbursed.
The result is that Americans are visiting their doctors before making a trip to the drugstore, hoping their physician will help them out by writing the prescription. The new requirements create not only an added burden for doctors, but also new complications for retailers and pharmacies.
"It drives up the cost of health care as opposed to reducing it," says Dr. Chung, who rejected much of a 10-item request from a mother of four that included pain relievers and children's cold medicine. ...
I cannot quibble with Bainbridge who closes with "It's clear that Obamacare was seriously botched. We need to repeal the damned thing and start over with a more modest, incremental, and carefully vetted alternative." I quibble with the flex account.
I have one of these and it makes the mohair subsidy look well thought out. I predict my outside of insurance medical bills at the start of the benefit year, and 1/26th is deducted from each paycheck. I then apply for reimbursement from the program manager, submitting receipts and filling out the form. In return, that sum escapes Federal income taxation.
That makes it worthwhile, but I cannot help see VP Albert A. Gore's face every time I fill out the form. He and President Clinton loved to talk about "targeted tax cuts." Chopping the marginal rate would take they and their cohorts out of power -- but I would not have to fill out a form and my company pay an administering firm so that I could get my own money back.
Yet all of this nonsense is accepted as the price of having government, or in lieu of a plague of boils, or something. The entire scheme (one of VP Gore's favorite words, if memory serves) of social control through the tax code must be undone.
The program in question, the CLASS Act or Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act, is a massive long-term elderly care entitlement program that was quietly tucked into Obamacare and never got anywhere near the attention it deserves.
Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, called the CLASS Act "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of." And then he voted for it. I suspect Bernie Madoff would be proud of Kent Conrad. -- Milton R. Wolf, M.D.
Really, without Ms. Giles in the microskirt, I find it difficult to watch a James O'Keefe video all the way through.
Is the (former) NPR exec "condescending and arrogant?" Well, yeah -- stop the presses! He seems to hold a low opinion of tea party folk and Republicans. Captain Renault was never as shocked as me.
I'm sorry, these are not fair. Posing as big donors, I think they can expect politeness from the folks in front of whom they are dangling $5 million. Mister Schiller doesn't come off well, but his interlocutors are operating under pretense and seeding the discussion with far more outrageous comments than anything their mark says. Most folks at NPR do feel that the "Muslim voice is not heard" and that "Zionists have too much influence in American Media." And that Republicans are stoopid.
Ann Althouse makes a fair comparison that the Koch Brothers spoof of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was overly enjoyed on the left. But if they feel intellectually superior, I can feel morally superior. Don't feed the O'Keefe's...
UPDATE: Yet he has a scalp. I have to give props for that. The solution is so obvious that the weasel in the video states it. Yank government funding and let them behave as they want. There, that was easy -- feel free to email your other intractable problems as they arise...
You can call me a fair weather Sharanskyite, but I'm not. It is not a fair cop, guv.
I still defend American missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the established residence of the perpetrators of 9-11. Iraq was far less directly tied to our national interest. A "War of choice" as is said. But it was geographically and politically important enough to count as a keystone in a Sharanskyite freedom agenda. The fact that it scared Moammar Gadhaffi (how are we spelling it this week?) into abandoning his inchoate nuclear program is particularly germane this month.
Yet, I am joining my CATO pal Gene Healy in advising caution and against a Libyan No-fly zone:
Our Constitution takes a narrower view. It empowers Congress to set up a military establishment for "the common defence ... of the United States," the better to achieve the Preamble's goal of "secur[ing] the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Armed liberation of oppressed peoples the world over wasn't part of the original mission.
America would be "the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all," John Quincy Adams proclaimed in a famous speech on July 4, 1821, but she would be "champion and vindicator only of her own."
One could make the Sharanskyite case for Libya and the Healian case against Iraq. Yet I contend that the risk/reward ratios are substantively different.
I had to get my Virginia Postrel Review Corner done before I linked to Megan McArdle's heartless, union-busting, attack on innocent teachers.
It's a Postrellian argument: you can't have improvement without firing teachers. Trial without error leads to sclerosis.
There's an all-too-human instinct to discount marginal change, especially when it imposes substantial costs on groups we like, such as teachers. But since there is very rarely a simple and cost-effective revolutionary change on the table, this biases our responses towards only ever trying things that won't cost any of the entrenched interest groups who currently benefit from the system. It's fun to be the guy who proposes universal pre-K or smaller class sizes--the taxpayer will whine, but no one is going to scream at you for being a heartless, teacher-hating union buster.
McArdle is more generous to the teachers than I (surprise!). I return to my old gripe that John Quincy Adams was rejected admission to Harvard. He was fluent in Greek, Latin, English, French, and Russian. He had travelled the world, was obviously bright, Dad was a pillar of the community, &c. But they wanted him to work on math skills for another year. I think he was fifteen.
Two hundred thirty years later, look at the developments in transportation and communication. Look at everything which cannot be compared because it did not exist in 1775. Yet, education -- with all these other achievements accessible -- has become magnitudes worse. How many finish a Bachelor's Degree at Harvard with the erudition young John had when his admission was denied.
I'll end with an anecdote. More than half of the burned out tech people I know would like to end their career by teaching (and about all of them would be great). Even though 80% of my family are professional teachers, I question the model. I'd rather have real world folks take it up as an Nth career. (Thank NED none of my family reads ThreeSources, I'd be home for canned peas on Thanksgiving!)
John Ranelagh writes of Margaret Thatcher's remark at a key Conservative Party meeting in the late 1970's, "Another colleague had also prepared a paper arguing that the middle way was the pragmatic path for the Conservative party to take .. Before he had finished speaking to his paper, the new Party Leader [Margaret Thatcher] reached into her briefcase and took out a book. It was Friedrich von Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty. Interrupting [the speaker], she held the book up for all of us to see. 'This', she said sternly, 'is what we believe', and banged Hayek down on the table."
CoL probably remains my foundational book as well, but it's been joined by a couple in 2011. With my Presidents project completed, I have caught up of a few things I always wanted to read: important books by favorite authors. The first was Ludwig von Mises's "Socialism" with its brilliant economic defense of liberalism.
But I thought of the Thatcher quote upon finishing Virginia Postrel's "The Future and its Enemies." Something tells me I am going to be buying a bunch of copies of this (holler if you want on the list). Without delving directly into too much economics or politics, Postrel makes an astonishing case for freedom. I could throw this book down at any of my Facebook friends and say "this is what I believe."
Yup, I could do that with Hayek or Mises, but they'd never make it. This book is very accessible. It's an easy read, yet it captures the philosophy that underlies much of the politics and economics I hold so dearly. What you really need from Smith's division of labor, Ricardo's comparative advantage, Hayek's spontaneous order or Schumpeter's gales of creative destruction is lovingly nestled, without a dry or dismal paragraph in the whole book. (I can't quite say that about Wealth of Nations or Constitution of Liberty...)
PBS NewsHour viewer "David the Writer" (if I hear it correctly) pens alternate lyrics for Simon & Garfunkel's 47th Street Bridge Song. Instead of "Feelin' Groovy," the lads are "Feelin' Lousy."
I'm not surprised the PBS viewer chose a 60s song, and I'm not surprised he lays every imaginable problem at the foot of Greedy Wall Street. I am surprised that the prizewinning song is so unclever. A dark day for the geniuses of Public Television.
Even as the energy sector necessarily diversifies, oil will continue to be a key piece of our national energy profile for many decades. And yet Alaska and the Gulf states have been blocked from developing America's oil by politically driven federal policy, much of it aided by misinformation. If Americans wonder what our economic Achilles' heel is, they need look no further than the federal regulatory system that delays permits for domestic exploration and production.
As we watch fuel prices rise, inflation take hold, and government debt reach record levels, Alaskans and those in other oil-producing states are frustrated. We wonder why the Obama administration is openly hostile to a sector of our economy that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, kept the country on an even keel even during the recession, and produces a global commodity we depend on every day.
Authored by the Governor of Alaska
(No, not that one.)
Researchers have uncovered the reason for this difference in how difficulty is interpreted, and it is simply this: More often than not, Bright Girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice."
"Innate and unchangeable." Doesn't this sound an awful lot like the difference in worldviews between labor union members versus TEA Partiers?
But that's just an aside. I think this information could help me find ways to better motivate my young daughters. I have seen this "giving up" behavior at times.
Facebook friend JC linked to a DOE report on energy subsidies in a comment to this post that is about to scroll off the page. I think he may have thought I'm a fan of oil subsidies, since I am an avowed supporter of oil and oil companies. But I want the market to decide, not my congressman. (Well, maybe if it was only mycongressman without the other 434, but I digress.) The linked report offers this nugget on the ability of subsidies to produce more product.
Notwithstanding the doubling of Federal energy-related subsidies and support between 1999 and 2007, and a significant increase in most energy prices over that period, U.S. energy production is virtually unchanged since 1999 (Table ES2). Basic economic principles suggest that higher real energy prices together with the significant incentives provided to various production segments of the energy sector would tend to raise domestic energy production. A variety of factors unrelated to prices or subsidy programs such as State and Federal statutory limitations imposed on onshore and offshore oil and natural gas exploration in environmentally sensitive areas, uncertainty regarding future environmental policies possibly restricting future emissions of greenhouse gases, and declines in future production from previously developed domestic oil and natural gas resources may have impeded growth in energy production despite modest growth in consumption.
[Emphasis in original.]
Did anyone else notice that none of the regulatory restrictions affected wind, solar, ethanol or biogas? Yet energy production was unchanged. Go figure.
Both Allahpundit and Insty are pleased by the President's new hobby. I am, too; it is impossible to not feel an affinity for a homebrewer. But this partisan hack will share some nasty words from Allahpundit:
Look at it this way: Unlike golf, at least this hobby keeps him in the building. Besides, given his track record, there are bound to be a few more hastily arranged damage-control "beer summits" before he leaves office. He might as well have his own supply.
I'm mighty curious to try it. I imagine it being a bit like him: Well packaged and frothy, but lacking substance and leaving a bitter, bitter aftertaste.
Victor Davis Hanson calls out President Obama for his "confused" foreign policy in the face of the Mideast unrest.
Until only recently this administration did not have a consistent policy of promoting nonviolent evolution to constitutional and secular government across the Mideast. Can't we oppose Iranian theocracy or Libyan thuggery with the zeal we showed in castigating the Mubarak dictatorship?
But despite the uncertainty we face as Middle East autocracy reshuffles the deck chairs, Hanson articulates the obvious path for America to take right now.
Meanwhile, to preserve our autonomy and options, we need to stop borrowing money and drill like crazy for oil and natural gas, as we fast-track coal and nuclear power. Anything less is near-criminal negligence.
Near criminal indeed. Those who call for the impeachment of President Obama over his birth certificate or the Defense of Marriage Act would better serve the future prosperity of the United States by refusing to stand by while oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy are throttled in the name of supposed economic viability for wind, solar, biogas, and sundry other "magical unicorn fart" energy make-believe.
A few excellent passages from a Mark Steyn IBD editorial on the "random" murder of US airmen in a German civil airport:
The strange shrunken spectator who serves as President of the United States, offering what he called "a few words about the tragic event that took place," announced that he was "saddened," and expressed his "gratitude for the service of those who were lost" and would "spare no effort" to "work with the German authorities" but it was a "stark reminder" of the "extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . ."
But relax, this fellow in Frankfurt was most likely a "lone wolf" (as Sen. Chuck Schumer described the Times Square Bomber) or an "isolated extremist" (as the president described the Christmas Day Pantybomber).
There are so many of these "lone wolves" and "isolated extremists" you may occasionally wonder whether they've all gotten together and joined Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves and Isolated Extremists, but don't worry about it: As any Homeland Security official can tell you, "Allahu akbar" is Arabic for "Nothing to see here."
Okay, why is a Muslim who wants to kill Americans holding down a job at a European airport? That's slightly easier to answer. Almost every problem facing the western world, from self-detonating jihadists to America's own suicide bomb -- the multi-trillion dollar debt -- has at its root a remorseless demographic arithmetic.
In the U.S., the baby boomers did not have enough children to maintain their mid-20th century social programs. I see that recent polls supposedly show that huge majorities of Americans don't want any modifications to Medicare or Social Security.
But even with looming bankruptcy America still looks pretty sweet if you're south of the border.
And this last applies to Western Europe just the same.
So among other things we have some sobering news for your favorite, possibly marijuana-medicated, effete urbane egalitarian idealist who most likely calls himself "Progressive:" What killed the social welfare state, or at least hastened its demise? The sexual revolution.
And in bleak contrast with the western immigrants from Islamic regions who want to manage a 7-Eleven or drive a taxi or go to med school in the land of opportunity are the Islamic refugees looking for a free lunch. These are the ones most likely to, in Steyn's words, self-detonate. And what brought them to our neighborhoods? The social welfare state.
"Atlas Shrugged" is a lengthy parable about individualism and freedom. Set in the not-too-distant future, it depicts an America whose economy is falling apart under the weight of an overweening government run entirely by people with approximately the integrity, cognitive ability and humility of a New York Times editorialist. -- James Taranto
They are really going after us on this. I'm starting to fear for our franchise.
The Good Gov has looked over all the troubles in the world, and focused like a laser on the one that most frightens us all: Natalie Portman.
Huckabee's argument isn't an unfamiliar one for conservatives, but the example is somewhat odd.
Portman is, after all, marrying the father of her child. She didn't practice abstinence, as Huckabee advocates, but neither do scores of other celebrities. By embracing motherhood and marriage, she's taking a more conservative position than many of her peers.
Frank Meyers, call your office, the Libertarian-Conservative marriage is on the rocks. Pastor Richard Land takes to the WSJ Ed Page today to warn the GOP that the culture wars are not over and that Governor Daniels's call for a truce is falling on deaf ears.
The millions of social conservatives and tea party voters firmly believe that Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. They expect pro-life, pro-family legislation and they want deep cuts in federal spending, including an end to ObamaCare and its replacement with pro-life, free-market health-care reform. They expect commitments to this effect from their presidential candidates.
Here's my plan (and you ain't gonna like it). Run Captain Conservative in 2012. He'll get pasted by President Obama. We'll have four more years of Obama, but balanced by a GOP House and Senate. In 2016, we say. "We tried it your way, we got pasted!" And by then Governors Daniels, Christie, and others are seasoned and ready.
Because you wouldn't want to let the dying women to whom you're denying the drug have any input at a hearing. The Cruel FDA Rollercoaster
Can it get any worse than this? First you find out you have an incurable disease. Bad news. Then you find out there is a drug that may not cure you but at least keeps you alive. Great news. You take the drug and miraculously your disease is held in check. Miraculous news. Then the FDA tells you that despite your positive results, the drug does not work and they are pulling it off label. Nightmarish news.
However, as the drug is available for other diseases, you can still get the drug off label. Good news. But the drug costs between $56,000 and $96,000 per annum, and Medicare and private insurance companies often deny coverage for off-label prescription. Tough news. Maybe the drug company will make the drug available for free on a compassionate use basis. Hopeful news. But they can't because they are afraid of corporate and personal liability. Sad news.
Then the drug company applies to the FDA for a hearing to review their earlier decision. Positive news. The FDA announces that a hearing will be held June 28-29 in Washington, D.C., at the FDA headquarters. Encouraging news. But no patients will be allowed to speak. Insulting news.
Hot Women Serving Cold Fish Make for Raw Feelings in Tokyo
Like sumo and Kabuki, the traditional art of making sushi has long been monopolized by men. Until now. At Nadeshico (translation: ideal woman) Sushi, which opened its doors late last year, young women line up behind a 17-seat counter, meticulously crafting individual pieces of nigiri (or regular) sushi while bantering with the clientele, 90% of which is male. The restaurant's specialty: sushi rolls shaped like cartoon panda and frog heads, adorned with heart-shaped eggs.
It was bound to happen. There's tension in every administration.
I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I did criticize Governor Palin's call for a NATO No Fly Zone in Libya. I thought it bellicose: a little too much, too quickly. I'd like to see the US stand with dissidents in Libya (and Iran!), wish them well make it known that we support their cause and look forward to welcoming them into a community of Nations.
Then, pursue sanctions and diplomacy from a position of moral strength. I don't put too much credence in the efficacy of diplomacy and sanctions, but it is a proper starting place and a proper parking space. Our plans can stay static while we watch developments unfold. I'm still a Sharanskyite and would like to see the US stand for freedom. And yet, we cannot repeat the Marsh Arabs fiasco where dissidents expect us to come to their aid.
The Pentagon reminds today that a No-Fly Zone is not a casual endeavor. It is a serious military entanglement:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee that the U.S. military could establish a no-fly zone over Libya, but cautioned that doing so would first require widespread air strikes across that nation.
"If it's ordered, we can do it," Gates said. But, he added, it would be "a big operation in a big country."
Establishing control of Libyan air space would "start with attacks to destroy" Libyan air defense systems, Gates said. That kind of assault would require more U.S. military aircraft than "you would find on a single aircraft carrier."
As a taxpayer/shareholder, I am appalled that GM has sold only 281 Volts last month
Peruse Chevrolet's February sales release, and you'll notice one number that's blatantly missing: the number of Chevy Volts sold. The number -- a very modest 281 -- is available in the company's detailed data (PDF), but it certainly isn't something that GM wants to highlight, apparently. Keeping the number quiet is a bit understandable, since it's lower than the 321 that Chevy sold in January.
In my less-fiduciary role as an admirer of American spirit and human pragmatism, I am "plum tickled."
Leftist media has tried to draw analogies between the Wisconsin contretemps (jg loves the word contretemps) and popular uprisings against middle-east dictators. A parallel does exist, but not the one they've been suggesting.
Robert J. Samuelson writes on today's IBD Ed page, "What we are witnessing in Wisconsin and elsewhere is the death knell of Big Labor."
To members, unions exist to win higher wages and fringe benefits, and in this, they mainly succeeded. In 2006, union wages in the private sector were about 19% higher than those in comparable nonunion firms, estimates economist Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University.
The wage premium can endure if higher productivity (aka efficiency) justifies higher wages, or if companies can pass along costs to customers. The productivity advantages of unionized firms are scant, Hirsch says. The formula worked, because many heavily unionized industries were dominated by a few large firms with similar labor costs. These could be recovered in higher prices.
Or in the case of public-sector unions, higher taxes. But the election of President Obama and his cavalier attitude toward spending and taxing, galvanized the thoughts of most Americans that they were "Taxed Enough Already." And now, finally, there are some politicians in the Republican party who offer a competitive alternative to the status-quo big governmentism of the last half of last century. And the taxpayers are changing loyalties at the ballot box.
Traditionally, public-worker unions flourished in an alliance with liberal Democrats. But the huge loss of state and local government revenues has -- like new competitors for firms -- transformed the economic and political climate. Labor costs put upward pressure on taxes and downward pressure on public services.
The result is a dilemma that transcends partisan union-bashing. Striving too hard to protect existing wages and benefits will stimulate more political opposition, and not just from Republicans (see Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York). But sacrificing too much may trigger a revolt from angry rank and file.
Private-sector unions couldn't solve this dilemma; they never reconciled past successes with future survival. So Big Labor became Little Labor. If public-sector unions fail, Little Labor could become Mini Labor.
Did you know that those in the federal government--the folks who brought you $1.6 trillion of yearly deficits, brought you $14 trillion of debt, and make Elmo a reality--offer Americans 56 separate programs to help them better understand their finances? Where will these citizens go for sage advice if Washington shuts down? -- David Harsanyi
Michael Barone. And he is not quoting President Obama:
"Indeed Britain has taken on a leading role in coordinating the international evacuation effort. Our AWACS aircraft are directing international aircraft involved. And Brigadier Bashall, who is commanding the operation, has established a temporary joint headquarters in Malta.
"I have thanked the Maltese Prime Minister personally on behalf of the country. Not for the first time in our history Mr. Speaker, we must pay tribute to Malta and her people." -- PM David Cameron
The usual post includes my relating something my Facebook friends post, reminding my blog brothers and sisters that our high ideals of reason and informed debate do not necessarily extend across the entire nation.
But today, I bring you tidings of great joy. My most (rhymes with "soon, daddy") friend salutes, ahem, Walmart
In perhaps the boldest example yet of "retail regulation," Wal-Mart is stepping ahead of federal regulators and using its muscle as the world's largest retailer to move away from a class of chemicals researchers say endanger human health and the environment.
I commented that "Walmart* could easily replace the FDA, USDA, and clearly the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. We would be safer, richer and have far greater innovation" and awaited the onslaught...that never came.
One person I did not know said "I posted this elsewhere and the 'haters' still complain about walmart. Walmart haters are the 'birthers' of the retail world."
UPDATE: Odd side note. Looking for my stupid car link the other day, I went to Oct 2003 instead of Oct 2004, and tripped over this post announcing my MS diagnosis. The title of this post comes from that.
While the "right" of public sector unions to bargain collectively has been to focus of the recent kerfuffle in Wisconsin (The Refugee loves the word "kerfuffle"), Detroit New editor Nolan Finley ("All Hail Finley!") nails the real issue. That is, the Democrats refusal to participate in the legislative process jeopardizes our democracy.
American-style democracy holds together because no matter how nasty the political game gets, the players honor a few inviolable rules. We obey the laws, even the ones we disagree with. We respect the ballot box. And after even the most bitterly contested election, the loser accepts the results, works within the system and awaits another chance to prevail with voters.
But what's happening in Wisconsin and Indiana breaks that tradition and puts a crack in our democratic foundation.
Instead of staying on the field to defend their positions, Democratic lawmakers in both states fled to neighboring Illinois, where they hope to win with their absence what they couldn't at the ballot box — namely, the right to control policymaking.
The lawmakers in exile call this a defense of democracy. In truth, it's a step toward anarchy. If it catches on as a practice, it will officially end government by, of and for the people.
The Refugee could not say it better and won't try. Our form of government cannot function if one party of the Legislative branch buggers the law-making process. In a not-so-subtle shot at his blog bretheren, The Refugee will be so bold as to suggest that it cannot operate if the Executive branch buggers the rule of law by opting out of duly passed laws that it does not like, either.
[Plugin cars' reviewer Bard] Berman argues that the Prius' lack of an EV button that would "allow drivers to absolutely keep the gas engine off when they know it's not necessary" is a critical omission on behalf of Toyota.
I remain proud to motor fugally if exclusively on gas. But I hate to be caught so unhip on an acronym.