March 31, 2011

A Liberal Who Gets It?

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.

Middle East Posted by Boulder Refugee at 6:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

QOTD: Gov. Christie Version

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."

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

Hoss. 2012.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 31, 2011 3:09 PM

I can be succinct, providing the conditions are right and the meaning is not obscured and ...

President Obama's Energy Speech:

"Drilling should be safe, legal, and rare."

Longer and Better: Kenneth Green's Same Silliness, Different Day.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

So that line is a JK original? Awesome.

Ken Green's laundry list of energy policy conflicts with reality is fairly complete. One observation I'd intended to make yesterday relates to the ironically named Green's 6th bullet: With his "100 percent alternative fuel or electric vehicle" mandate for federal agencies, the president has announced his own plan for a government shutdown.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2011 2:12 PM

Quote of the Day

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
Environment Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

How to return an Int from a ColdFusion Webservice

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 cfc Sample 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.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Evik James thinks:

Thanks so much for your awesome help! I spent (litterally) the last 14 hours on this. http://www.threesources.com/archives/009007.html

Posted by: Evik James at August 14, 2011 6:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Glad you found it! I remember a bit of grinding on this...

Cheers,
jk

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2011 10:30 AM

Bachmann on Libya: Hell no I wouldn't go

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.


March 30, 2011

Boulder, Huh?

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..."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:26 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

What? No screens in Colorado Springs? El Paso County residents [predominantly Republican] should demand free DVDs from [Democrat] Governor Hickenlooper!

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 7:35 PM

On Energy Independence

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...

But I'll do one better by outsourcing my response to Professor Allen Sanderson.

My fellow Americans,

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...

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw


Gambling at Rick's?

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Peabody! Give her the Peabody! I haven't seen such an expose since Woodward and Bernstein!

S'pose they finally got internet access over there at ABC?

Oh wait - it looks like an internet-only story by blogger Brian Ross. Keep us posted if Dianne actually covers this on-air. (And did anybody watch the sheepish attempt at "ambush journalism" on the part of ABC? "Excuse me. Mister Westly? If I could just ask ..." Fade to white noise.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 3:04 PM

But None of the Others Was So Awesome!

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...

UPDATE: AFP's Phil Kerpen was less than impressed:

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.)

But Keith Arnold thinks:

President Awesome was obviously not so awesome in his science classes back in junior high school. I'm fine with reducing dependence on foreign oil. Alternative energy, though, is limited by the laws of physics - and I canna change the laws of physics, Captain:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/2469/Understanding-E-=-mc2

Recent events in the news may have colored some opinions about the use of nuclear energy, and I totally understand. The only action, though, that can achieve that goal of energy independence is embodied in just four words: DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 2:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm sure JK will back me in declaring there is nothing wrong with importing oil, if that oil costs less than producing it domestically. What IS wrong is when government makes the cheapest sites for domestic production "off-limits" with regulations and restrictions.

This presidential "initiative" stands no serious chance of making any difference. It is just another sheet of paper in his re-election portfolio: "I've called for increased domestic oil production" he will boast, while his EPA, his DOE and his BLM do everything in their considerable power to stop it. What an asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 2:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If only we had someone running the country who would eliminate the EPA, the DOE, and the BLM! Then we'll have all the gasoline we need!

No disagreement from me on importing. As for your closing comment: again - Spaceball One.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep, you had that one covered... The problem with Corporate saying "portray him as an 'asshole'" is that the term applies equally well to so, so many government officials.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I seem to have loosened the metaphorical sphincter...such a nice blog we used to have...

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2011 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It is important to maintain decorum and reasonableness. Also, dagny advises that "asshole" is not a descriptive term and conveys no information about what is wrong with the President's actions. Given all of this I must revise and extend my prior missive: What a duplicitous asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 9:22 PM

But johngalt thinks:

The geek-police may be around to reposess my propeller beanie for so gleefully posting this 'toon but it is clearly true more often than not. From the first link in JK's post above:

In addition to political obstacles, Obama faces technical ones. Legislation signed by President George W. Bush in 2007 called on oil refiners to use minimum amounts of biofuels, including 16 billion gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol by 2022. Though substantial amounts of venture capital — and government subsidies — have gone into pilot plants, commercial viability has remained elusive.
Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 2:54 PM

Too Funny!

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.

Got it?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

For the Three Sources style guide: Charles Schumer, (Asshole-NY)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 30, 2011 11:39 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If we're seriously going to do this, we're quickly going to find that our federal legislature has more assholes than the bridge crew of Spaceball One.

Yeah, I feel like a total geek for remembering that reference.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 2:53 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Keith, it did also include a Colonel Sanders.
Not where this analogy can go. :)

Posted by: AlexC at March 30, 2011 4:35 PM

March 29, 2011

Libya

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.

But johngalt thinks:

If I may add another:

6. This president has now launched more cruise missiles in anger than all previous Nobel Peace Prize winners combined. [Hat tip: Mike Rosen]

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2011 11:50 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Obama is the Johnny One Note of speech-making; they all sound alike.

If he had quit after 15 minutes, it probably would have been a good speech. The longer he prattled, the more incoherent the message became. America is the leader, but we're not going to lead. We're not the world's police until the world needs police. We're going to step in and protect the innocent except when we don't. Just waiting for him to say he was against it before he was for it.

Great comments, BTW, especially numbers 4 and 6.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 29, 2011 2:27 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Couldn't help but love all the comparisons to Reagan's seven minute speech when he attacked Libya.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 29, 2011 2:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

With each passing situation that President Obama faces, ponders, delays, and eventually makes a forgettable speech about, I'm reminded more and more of a specific episode of the original Star Trek series: 'The Corbomite Maneuver'

Jim decides that they're going to board the ship and render any assistance they can, including medical. He, McCoy, and Bailey beam over, and find that the Balok they thought they'd been dealing with is a mannequin; the real Balok is a small, childlike being (the most perfectly Clint Howard has ever been cast in his life) with a booming voice and charming sense of humor.

I just wonder when or if we'll ever get to meet the real President Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2011 3:30 PM

Summarizing Libya

Here's the situation with our involvement with Libya:

No clear mission
No clear leadership
No strategic objective
No clear rules of engagement
No definition of success or victory to indicate when we can get out

Thus, we have an indefinite engagement. Sure glad we got rid of the Cowboy Bush.

Middle East Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

But it is a multi-lateral morass!

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2011 10:57 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

An expensive multi-lateral morass at that. Good thing we're so flush with cash that we can afford to pay for it all. By the way, the costs of this multi-kinetic Charlie Foxtrot are being shared multi-laterally on a pro rata basis, right?

Right?

And by the way, where are all the Young Socialist Alliance sign-wavers with their "No Blood For Oil" signs, the way they were there against Bush's war in Iraq. One simple edit - "No Blood For EUROPE'S Oil" - and they should be ready for the streetcorners...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 29, 2011 12:59 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Keith, what would a Charlie Foxtrot be without kinetics??

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 29, 2011 2:18 PM

March 28, 2011

Could it Work?

This morning, via email:

Solution to the problem in Libya:

They want a new Muslim leader.....

I say, give them ours.

Solves 2 problems.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll see, and raise. I hear tell the Iranian mullahs have announced the imminent arrival of the Twelfth Imam. What say we send Sir Golfsalot over to take on that role? That worship-starved ego might get sufficiently stroked by being offered a caliphate.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 28, 2011 8:30 PM

Doing for Arizona what he did for Colorado

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.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 7:18 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

correction - "defeat" the longest and most dedicated ...

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2011 7:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah! What he said! (since corrected, thanks.)

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 7:51 PM

Class Size Myopia

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.)

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

Comparative Advantage

Hat-tip: Ludvig von Mises Institute's Facebook page


Cold Water

Dousing the ThreeSources Bachmann Boomlet, just 'cause...

A Libertarian Facebook Friend (yeah, I got three or so...) links to lefty Alan Colmes who links to The Examiner, who embeds a video:

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.


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 1:29 PM | What do you think? [9]
But jk thinks:

Carrying the hint one step further, Speaker Gingrich made a fulsome endorsement of ethanol subsidies.

Perhaps we should let another state pick our presidents for awhile? I'm not sure this is working out.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 4:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

After watching Bachmann's Iowa remarks, at the CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES PAC conference in their entirety:

"The ultimate arrogance in my opinion coming out of Washington is, Obamacare."

"Again, the president is making the wrong calls."

"Research backs it up. It is families that are the solution and the ultimate building block for America." No [long list of government programs] "can match the power of an intact two-parent family in driving economic growth, health and well being in the United States."

"Our government needs to prefer a tax code and a policy that prefers family formation and the building up of families so that children have a safe place to grow up because no one loves them more than mom and dad."

Then the "social conservatism is fiscal conservatism" line.

Then a call to simplify the tax code by abolishing it. A change in size in goverment. A change in attitude in government. A change in address form for the person living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

John Adams quote: "It is only for a moral and religious nation, this Constitution that we write. It is wholly unsuited for any other." Bachmann continues, "And that's not saying what kind of religion a person has to have, or if they have to be religious at all. But what it is saying is that you cannot build a nation unless it is built upon a rock-solid foundation, and America has that. It is the character and it is the values of our people." [Nothing to quibble with here.]

Reaganesque: "Americans have made their decision. They've decided - we are going to take our country back, we are going to be our solution, we are going to have a better day. And so America has decided they're in for 2012. ... I'm in."

Reviewing the "report" on her speech by Ryan Witt it reads, "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." No. I think the 10 minute clip showed enough time before and after the "prefer family formation" passage to show no such contextual implication. Our current code REWARDS broken families and irresponsible parents creating more and more poor children. She's advocating that this be halted. The rest of the interpretation is in the fertile mind of Ryan Witt.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2011 5:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You mean, Colmes linked to a left-leaning review? Naaaaah!

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2011 5:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Newt's pandering on ethanol is a TPM [little trademark symbol thingey] hanging offense.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2011 5:04 PM
But jk thinks:

HTML Tip-o-the-day™: ampersand trade semicolon

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

And a jk™ hanging offense as well...

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 5:09 PM

Quote of the Day

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
Posted by John Kranz at 1:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

Imputing Reason on the Impervious

(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.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

The Pernicious Influence of Small Beer

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.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee is exonerated. Let that be a lesson to you.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 28, 2011 12:30 PM

March 27, 2011

Flip the classroom

I have decried that improvements in technology do not improve education. Me like this:

Education Posted by John Kranz at 5:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Dad sent me the link a few weeks ago with no explanation. Very cool:

http://www.khanacademy.org/#browse

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2011 3:08 PM

March 26, 2011

Pawlenty - 2012's McCain?

Ed Kilgore, the same TNR columnist who called Michele Bachmann "almost an improved version of Sarah Palin" has an original moniker for Tim Pawlenty now too. The Wizard of Oz.

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:
2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

It's true enough that Colbert will lampoon any Republican. I'm just trying to wipe out that criticism of a Bachmann candidacy.

A - The demolition derby was not orchestrated by McCain. He was the last man standing after others narrowed the field. He was unscathed because the left feared him least.

D - NONE of them. I just discovered that my Colorado conservative facebook friends are banging the Huckabee drum. I will politely take the 3Srcs "Huck-a-Whack" show on the road there soon. And the rest of your list helps justify my preference for the Dynamo of Minnesota's 6th.

None of us have to vote yet. The Iowa caucus isn't for another 10 months. I'm just advocatin' and educatin'.

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2011 1:40 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Clearly, there is a need for the TEA Party movement - if not the GOP itself - to design some sort of apprenticeship program, in which we take talented amateurs and grow them into people who are fit to be candidates. Also clearly, such an apprenticeship program would be superior to the teacher-unionesque tenure system, where you get to be the candidate when your turn comes up based on your seniority.

Otherwise, we will have another McCain disaster, in an election where the oft-cited syphilitic dromedary should be able beat the empty suit currently residing in the White House.

Too many in the GOP - and yes, sadly, in the TEA Party movement itself - are currently favoring people like Romney and the greasy Huckabee because of their "electability" (and media favor, as if we should need the left-wing media to pick our candidate for us - again) and in spite of their stances on the issues. Here's a suggestion - let's START with the issues, and then examine which candidates then hold track records and views in line with that, shall we?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 26, 2011 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

In an email thread, sc and I discussed the wins and losses of the TEA Party in 2010. Candidates like Angle, Buck and Wicked O'Donnell of the East were not ready for the fight. But I happily discount their losses against gaining liberty giants like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee in the Senate. Rep. Jeff Flake is on appropriations!

We made some gains but have to take a lesson that a candidate needs to have good ideas and be electable. The GOP bench is sadly thin in 2012. Maybe lighting will strike but I don't see that candidate right now. I do like the farm teams and 2016 looks good. Eat your vegetables; you all need to stick around awhile.

Keith, I think that any executive experience provides the training you seek.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2011 11:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

As time passes I see more evidence that much of the TPD candidate shortcomings were magnified by incomplete support by their associated GOP establishment. In some places it was outright hostility. I'm thinking of the Colorado governor's race, where GOP pols were starting to fall in line behind the primary winner Dan Maes and then, almost on cue, turned on him as "unviable" and "unprepared." As recently as last week I heard outgoing party chair Dick Wadhams say that "it became obvious that his campaign wasn't going anywhere when he didn't have a campaign staff in place and couldn't raise money." Pardon me mister GOP, mister political professional, mister get your man elected. Isn't it YOUR JOB to help political newbees get these things going? In fairness I saw signs that Wadhams was doing just that but some force within the CO GOP pulled the plug. To this day I'm still not sure who, how or why.

But in general the message of the TPDs has been a threat to establishment politics. To some extent they all faced an uphill battle with their establishments. But this is no reason to stop supporting them in the future. 2012 is not the time to revert back to a business-as-usual "electable" Republican.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2011 4:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not yearning for Speaker Hastert and Rep DeLay. I'll repeat my admiration for Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, and Mike Lee. Waiter, I'd like four more of those, please.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2011 5:02 PM
But jk thinks:

And another another thing. Thou art absolutely correct on the establishment GOP's failure to embrace Tea Party Republicans. A shame for the ages.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2011 5:04 PM

"It's critical that we get it."

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.

But jk thinks:

"Tyranny of the Majority" loses its scare as the plebiscite gets smaller. It gets easier both to influence and escape the vote. For this reason, we create State and Federal constitutions to ensure that minority rights are protected.

In an HOA, town, city, county, or family, a simple majority generally rules.

Perhaps it's not definitional libertarianism, but I was comparing an open space purchase approved by the city, county, or plebiscite to what I thought was your suggestion that municipal governments should create these buffers through zoning and regulation.

I paid extra for a condo on the golf course, and both our development and the Anthem development across Hwy 7 established large open space buffers, which are advertised toward prospective purchasers "47 miles of bike trails."

I know it gets me kicked out of the CATO party, but I remain unconvinced that communal purchase of land is necessarily wrong.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2011 12:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother PE ... hellllllp!

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2011 2:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While The Refugee is generally sympathetic to JK's arguements, he would suggest that open space, parks and bike trails are not as non-coercive as advertised. In many cases, the conditions placed by governments on developers severely restricts the developer's rights. They may be able to develop less than half of the property and are required to put the remainder in open space, parks, trails, etc. Of course, the cost merely gets transfered to the homeowners who pay higher prices as a result. But they don't have to buy.

An alternative model is Texas where nearly all land is private and has very few zoning restrictions. As a result, you may get a mansion surrounded by trailers. Almost all building restrictions are at the HOA level in planned communities.

The Refugee abhors HOAs and does not want some busy-body telling him what color to paint his house or determine if he can build another horse barn. We all have a right to live anywhere we want, but not under the conditions (or price) that we want. Choose your own location.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 28, 2011 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Nice tag. The Refugee is correct that the integrated open space amenities I spoke of are coerced and I withdraw that portion of my argument.

No one has refuted my principle point that the residents of Boulder Colorado are free to band together to perform bad economics.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 12:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are correct: Just as individuals are free to band together and move to New Hampshire with the intent of creating a free state, other individuals are free to band together in the formerly free town of Boulder and create a people's police state. Ain't democracy grand?

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2011 4:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg makes a brilliant defense of Federalism using the analogy of college dorm rooms. He suggests that having a party dorm and a study dorm as a better solution to forcing the partiers to go to bed at ten and studiers' enduring loud music until ten.

Boulder does what it does and we all leave. Democracy's not so bad.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 4:33 PM

March 25, 2011

Live Free or Die

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.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Kind of like those pro-liberty activists back in 1620 who agreed together to relocate for the creation of a freer society. It took about 160 years for it to finally work. Of course, it ultimately led to what is now Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, the only natives they had to displace were the Algonquins (who went on to form a famous club in New York City). The Free Staters have a larger and more intransigent indigenous population with which to deal.

Does it have to be New Hampshire? My better half isn't a fan of the cold, being from a tropical clime.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 25, 2011 7:04 PM
But jk thinks:

They took a vote (when they reached 5K) among eleven states -- every one of 'em colder than a dang boot! All the warm ones are too populated or too statist to be undermined by 20,000 activists. Wyoming would have at least been geographically convenient.

I confess I was thinking "cold..." and Stossel mentioned it several times. The Pilgrim's path is never easy...

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2011 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

New Hampshire is 5000 feet lower in elevation (what is it, 1 degree per thousand feet?) than Wyoming and has roughly 99 miles per hour calmer prevailing winds.

Call me when New Hampshire is exempt from federal taxation and regulation.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2011 10:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Tough room. Already zero state income tax, zero state sales tax. Plus a rich history of embracing liberty.

Rte 128 is still open, so Commonwealthers and other New Englanders with bad ideas spill in. The point was made that it is not 20,000 warm bodies but 20,000 activists. All into a state with smaller population than the Denver Metro area.

Yeah, watched it again on TiVo. It looks pretty good. They explain it much better than I do.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2011 12:00 PM

I Am John Galt

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

All those people claiming to be John Galt is going to be enormously confusing to Three Sourcers.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 25, 2011 6:41 PM
But jk thinks:

"Is your name not Bruce, then?"

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2011 6:50 PM

Quote of the Day

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

This Shirt Not Available in M or S

NO time-limited, scope-limited military action, in concert with our international partners, with the objective of protecting civilian life in Libya from Muammar Gaddafi and his forces FOR OIL!

Thanks to Brother AlexC and Jay Carney

UPDATE: Jake Tapper: "Make Love, Not Time-Limited, Scope-Limited Military Actions"


March 24, 2011

Rilly?

"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.


Nearly one in four. Guess it's over.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

If you haven't clicked through on the last of four links in my "Improved Version of Sarah Palin" post yet then this germane passage will be fresh for you:

Even if Bachmann doesn't win a state outright, she could wreak havoc on the field. Given her fanaticism about root-and-branch repeal of ObamaCare, is there any doubt she would make sure every Caucus-goer knows about RomneyCare? Plus, she represents a deadly threat to the ambitions of her fellow Minnesota Republican, Tim Pawlenty, who has been quietly consolidating a position as likely Republican frontrunner:

Okay, that last line is just a tease to get you to read the whole thing. ;) The first mention of a "deadly threat" in the GOP nomination race. Huzzah!

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2011 7:23 PM

Why They Fought


"An Improved Version of Sarah Palin"

While Sarah Palin forges international relationships worthy of a president-to-be, Michele Bachmann seems to be the one who is serious about 2012.

Palin:

"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."

Bachmann:

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."

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Dealbreaker for me unless our favorite blog Minnesotan is lyin'.

My niece once sent me a YouTube of Rep. Bachmann delivering a hellfire-and-brimstone diatribe on the floor of the House. The video has long since been pulled, but beloved niece saved my email saying that she is "clearly a nutjob." I wish I could view that video again to see if I over-reacted. But I have not been comfortable since.

I'm guessing if she announces, that we will all get to see it again. I'll give her a chance man, but I am very frightened.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2011 7:57 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Although he may agree with 90% of Bachmann's positions, The Refugee must confess that she induces a substantial cringe factor when speaking. She also seems to operate more from talking points than innovative ideas to solve problems.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 24, 2011 9:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I must reluctantly agree with the gist of all of your points. I admit to being a Bachmann fanboy. But she is uber strong on fiscal issues which, as a TEA Movement Republican, is most important to me.

I think it's waay too early to be talking "dealbreakers." Whoever wins the GOP nod will collect all of our votes, even a syphilitic camel. And I'm enough of a pragmatist to acquiesce to a more universally appealing candidate in the interest of winning the general election. But I still believe Bachmann can meet that challenge in a head-to-head matchup with the President.

Now look at Bachmann's plusses. Except for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin I'm afraid the rest of the possible GOP field runs a great risk of contracting Walter Mon-dull disease. The presidency requires charisma. Let's not be critical of those on our side who naturally possess it. They are all too rare.

And here's a dilemma for you: A pro-gay marriage Republican may do better against a Democrat, but how does she win the party nomination? I don't thing young voters will take that as a litmus test anyway. What most voters want is a president who they can relate to. If she comes across as friendly and personable on the campaign trail she can earn the trust and affection of nearly everyone.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2011 1:10 AM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Brother Bob Marley said it best,"we forwardin' this generation triumphantly." I point out Michelle Bachman's stance on gay marriage not so much in terms of 2012 but to note she stands in opposition to the same moral evolutionary forces that abolished slavery and gave women the vote. She is welcome to take her axe and barricade the school house door but history will leave her behind and the Republican party with her if they don't accept the inevitable. Michelle Bachmann is a smart, former tax lawyer and she has aligned herself with the Tea Party in dramatic fashion. The question is; does the Tea Party really want to align itself with her. She seems to me to be very much in the Pat Robertson mold, which will serve her well in Iowa but won't get her elected dog catcher in a national election. HIstory has given Republicans an opportunity through the Tea Party movement to atone for the fiscal insanity of the Bush years and a chance to stand for individual liberty. I'm not confident they will rise to the challenge but as long as the Tea Party remains independent and willing to challenge incumbents in primaries we have hope

Posted by: sugarchuck at March 25, 2011 10:42 AM
But jk thinks:

Soon after clicking, I realized I was not clear. I will happily and cheerfully support a rabid pro life, marriage-defendin' Republican in the general. But we are junkies and the year is not evenly divisible by two. "Primawy Season" as Elmer Fudd would say.

And in Primawy Season, one gets to dream big dreams of liberty loving Republicans.

My other point on Rep. Bachmann is experience. It does not bother me one whit, but make no mistake: the forces who savaged Governor Griz will lash out even more severely at Bachmann. No R will get the pass that the community organizer did.

In other words, we'd better put up a syphilitic camel with a good CV.

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2011 11:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On Friday Rush Limbaugh was asked by a caller to endorse a GOP nominee to save the party from a lot of expensive and destructive infighting. Limbaugh demurred but did say this: "The candidate who wins the nomination will be the one who takes it to Obama the hardest and the strongest, and is fearless about making Obama the issue." In other words, give the voters a clear choice and don't let them forget what the Obama choice means.

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2011 11:26 AM

Bushism?

Really guys, don't make it easy for the other side. Just got an email (view on web):

Sharron Angle: Don't Allow are Veterans to be Betrayed any longer

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

Toxic Levels of Smug in the water supply

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.

BUT...

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.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

If they're a "damned fine news and entertainment organization," then they'll have no difficulty prospering in a free-market environment, competing for both listeners and revenues, and have no further need of living on the dole.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 24, 2011 1:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen. And Mister Inskeep could be as smug as he wants if I am not paying his salary.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2011 1:16 PM
But AlexC thinks:

James O'Keefe is simply using the Saul Alinsky playbook against the left. Taking the battle to them, and humiliating people up and down the liberal intelligencia with their own words.

Almost nothing is worse to someone's "value" as repeated and persistant humiliation. The needling lowers your respect, and ultimately drives you to irrelevance.

Posted by: AlexC at March 24, 2011 1:32 PM

Could someone please enlighten The Refugee?

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.

Middle East Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:54 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

It's like this: Western moral judgement is, far too much, a relative notion. Said moral judgement is, far too much, adjudicated by the establishment press (my new, untested, term for whom is "dinosaur media.") The dinosaur media loves traditional feminists in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular. The action is Libya is not Obama's war, but Hillary's. Therefore, the dinosaur media approves and everything is cool.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2011 1:53 PM

Libya

Many things to appreciate about Blog Brother BR. But top of this is: he's no welcher. My cappuccino was paid for yesterday, and he magnanimously added a white chocolate latte for my lovely bride.

For a couple Sharanskyites, we were palpably nervous about the actions in Libya. Speaking for myself, I came home to find Victor Davis Hanson had pretty much nailed it.

Why are many conservatives against the Libyan war? Is it, as alleged, political opportunism -- given their prior support for the 2001 and 2003 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

No. Most of us support wholeheartedly our troops now that we are in, but opposed the intervention for reasons that were clear before we attacked, and are even clearer now.


Professor Hanson then enumerates seven difficulties with the action -- and I cannot say I disagree with any one of them.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Such blog challenges are simply great excuses to get together with good friends.

Libya is a very close call for The Refugee. There are many good reasons to get rid of Qaddafi. Nevertheless, The Refugee lands in the camp with JK and Victor Davis Hanson.

There are three reasons to go to war: national defense (including pre-emptive action), to protect clear national interests and to prevent genocide. Despite that fact that Qaddafi is a brutal dictator who will kill many, this does not seem to be a case of genocide.

There are other equally vicious regimes in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Darfur, Zimbabwe, China, etc., and we are not invading despite arguably clearer national interest. The fact is, we are attacking Libya because we can do so with virtually no fear of (significant) reprisal. Kind of a chicken excuse, if you ask me.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 24, 2011 12:17 PM
But AlexC thinks:

It's a shame that "No Kinetic Military Action For Oil" just doesn't have quite the same "punch"

Posted by: AlexC at March 24, 2011 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And it was also a close call for johngalt at one time, but not now. As JK and Matt Welch convinced me, Uncle Sam should have remained on strike. But SOS Clinton succombed to the pleas, not so much of the Libyan rebels but of the French President. A better plan would have been to leave France and the U.N. to their own devices, and give every form of economic support to the Libyan revolution. The would-be interventionists would learn the thankless unpleasantness of being the world's policeman and Libya's rebels would have achieved success at least as quickly as appears likely via the present morass.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2011 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

@AlexC: Heh -- I'll definitely take a "No Kinetic Military Action For Oil" T-shirt. Maybe tye-dye, with a big peace sign...

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2011 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Idea submitted to thoseshirts-dot-com on your behalf.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2011 4:41 PM

March 23, 2011

Green Jobs of the Future

Scooping up the dead birds after they're killed by wind turbines.

But johngalt thinks:

We could become the Saudi Arabia of dead birds.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 5:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Two words: Bio mass.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2011 5:43 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Mulch for your organic arugula garden

Posted by: Lisa M at March 23, 2011 6:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

At some point, this becomes **soylent** green jobs of the future.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 23, 2011 7:29 PM

Obama's "Stash" of Cash Discovered!

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."

Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Everything but an 'Atlas Shrugged' Mention

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.



CO2 = Gas of Life

Yesterday I made a bald assertion that "CO2 is not a pollutant." [4th comment] Today I'll give evidence.

Good News Earth 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.

But jk thinks:

100% agree on CO2. I actually believe I have been making that particular bold assertion as well for some time.

Your bolder and even more thought provoking assertion was that by joining too enthusiastically into the desire for next-generation energy, I was giving aid and comfort to those who say "Oil is evil."

The futurist in me gets agog with the idea of a Bussard reactor in a container crate. Just drop it off in Lafayette or Timbuktu and get years of inexpensive power. You reminded me that it is also important to defend the technology that brought billions of people out of poverty. I need to defend current producers as staunchly as I defend John Rockefeller.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2011 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Aye. Before we can make it to the future we have to keep living in the present. Enviros like to say, "Live simply, so that others may simply live." What is more simple than gasoline and SOVs? Ever tried harnessing a horse to a buggy?

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 5:02 PM

Freedom Fries, Baby!

Careful, this libertarian manifesto may make you hungry:

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

Too Close to Home

As ObamaCare turns one, Freshman Senator Ron Johnson (Total Hoss - WI) pens a heartfelt guest editorial in the WSJ today:

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.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Terri thinks:

If personalizing the debate makes it winnable, and when your personal stories are as nice as these.....I say personalize. Thanks for sharing and YAY!

Posted by: Terri at March 23, 2011 12:32 PM

Revenge for Vietnam?

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.


March 22, 2011

Somebody say Someting About GMU?

Hoss:

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jc thinks:

A true master musician! Great music! Thank you! I knew there had to be something posted here that most everyone would enjoy and agree with. Shocking!

Posted by: jc at March 22, 2011 7:30 PM
But jk thinks:

I suspect my friend JC meant this for the Ralph Mooney RIP post a few stories down. A great blogger would fix it, as I occasionally do. But as Mal would say "I'm okay."

Capturing JC's approbation for Walter Williams -- that would be a tragedy to repair.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2011 12:45 PM

Mean Old Republicans

I hope the GOP is not going to try and make a big deal out of Senator McCaskill's plane in 2012.

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!


Supersize Heh.

Mallard_Fillmore110322.gif
© Chron Comics.

Hat-tip: Blog Brother BR.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | What do you think? [0]

TARP Bait

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
• Refinance
• Rehab loans
• Construction loans
• Homebuyer counseling service available for all clients

[emphasis mine]

But jk thinks:

What. Could. Possibly. Go. Wrong?

I will throw in a good Tyler Cowen Quote. He points out that there are many parties you can blame for the financial panic, but it can all be explained in eight words:

We thought we were richer than we were.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 3:39 PM

Personal Sovereignty

Cui Bono?

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.

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

There you go again, pulling an Obama and throwing up a strawman! Nope, not gonna defend the prosecutor.

At least he wasn't trying to use medical marijuana, the gateway drug to oxicontin.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 22, 2011 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Yet you defend the law that allows a prosecutor to proceed. It's either right or it's wrong -- the sympathetic value of the perp should not be a factor.

We don't accept common sense / sympathetic plaintiff arguments on free speech (Snyder v. Phelps), why do we leave it up to a capricious prosecutors judgment whether Paey can access medication?

Bastiat: just law must be "understandable and avoidable." This fails on both counts.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm with you on this one - Just say no to draconian drug laws. But that's no reason not to have any drug laws.

Incarceration is typically reserved for dealers, as it should be, and to which this excerpt alluded. So how did this prosecutor get a jury to make a unanimous leap from forging a prescription to engaging in distribution?

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2011 3:43 PM
But jk thinks:

He was on a special program with a very high dosage (allowed in New Jersey). The purchased amounts were so large that "he must be dealing" even though a recipient could not be located.

So, the pharmacist should be sent away for 25 years?

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It sounds like the jury was truly composed of his peers - they must've been on drugs too.

Who said anything about pharmacists?

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2011 4:52 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The idea that it's black or white, right or wrong is also a strawman. For example, we can all agree that kids shouldn't take knives to school while understand that this applies to weapons and not plasticware for spreading peanut butter.

Morphine is illegal as a recreational drug, but legal to use under the guidance of a qualified doctor. We don't haul cancer patients off to the hoosgow because they use it in a hospice.

This case sounds like a prosecutor gone wrong, but not because the law was vague. It was misapplied to circumstantial evidence where facts seem to clearly contradict the commission of a crime.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 22, 2011 7:49 PM

Tyler Cowen vs. Steve Forbes

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.


But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If I'm understanding Cowan's hypothesis correctly, it sounds like the famous misquote that "everything that could be invented already had been." Or, that all the oil in the world has already been discovered.

There are still huge gains to be made in transportation, technology and science. Someday, the car will look like the horse and buggy - hopefully in my lifetime. The biggest obstacle remains misallocation of capital due to government interference and crony capitalism plus crushing regulations that halt start-ups before they can start up.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 22, 2011 1:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Down the (Wall) street from Forbes's article is an Ed Page piece, Whatever Happened to IPOs? that reminds:

New companies are the lifeblood of a capitalist economy. Every venture-backed start-up that grows into a public company could be the next Google, Intel, Starbucks or Amgen. Venture investment adds up to 0.2% of U.S. GDP, but the revenue of companies created with such investment amounted to 21% of the economy in 2008. The diminished ability of start-ups to hit the long ball with an IPO discourages investments at all the earlier stages. Venture capitalists know they need some equity home runs to offset losses in the thousands of firms that never find a market.

But, post SarbOx, annual IPOs have fallen to an average of only about 50. Doctor Cowen! Call your office!

At the same time, I have to say Cowen is not a run-of-the-mill pessimist. He takes many of the arguments you or I would make head on. If I can play GMU professor for a minute, he might say that transportation is likely to see incremental improvements. The economic benefit of anything short of teleportation, however, will not likely match the broad-based economic growth afforded by the trans-continental railroad.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 1:32 PM

requiescat in pace

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."

Giants.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | What do you think? [1]
But sugarchuck thinks:

You may not have heard of him but you've heard him. He wrote Crazy Arms, played on great records by Merle and Buck and countless others and playing behind Waylon in the 70's and 80's he helped define the sound of Outlaw country. So many of these greats go unnoticed by the general public. Where would James Brown be without Jimmy Nolen, Elvis without Scotty Moore or any of us withou Ralph Mooney? There should be a sideman's hall of fame for all the greats that made the music what it was, usually at union scale or less. Thanks for the hat tip to Ralph Mooney. Some speak the language and some create it. Ralph was a creator!

Posted by: sugarchuck at March 22, 2011 11:13 AM

The "Palin Doctrine"

Can we just drill some damn oil wells?

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.

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 1:14 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 21, 2011

Dems Make False Health Care Claims

STOP THE PRESSES!! The WaPo fact checker harshes the mellow of the 112th House minority:

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.
[...]


Ow! That's gotta sting a bit.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

Not That Much Change

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.

Motor Trend dishes the tech: [Last October, I should note]

"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?

But jc thinks:

Here's some change for you and your FFF brothers:

http://blogs.forbes.com/greatspeculations/2011/03/22/three-key-technologies-for-energy-independence/

Posted by: jc at March 22, 2011 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

You permanently misunderstand. Other than perhaps AlexC who works in Oil extraction, none of us has a great love of fossil fuels.

Ganos (in your link) suggests that "venture capitalists should have their checkbooks handy." I'm all for it and have annoyed a couple of my friends to no end with my belief in biomass -- specifically engineering microbes to consume dog poop and excrete biodiesel.

But Mister Ganos and I are content to wait for some bright kids to develop the ultracapacitor or superconnective cable, or lightning capture (or dogpooppower!) There's no shortcut. Throwing billions at ethanol or synfuels just delays and defunds what will be the real successor.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 5:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For those not familiar with the acronym, FFF stands for "fossil-fuel freedom." It's a bit of an anachronism though since the discovery that geological hydrocarbon fuels don't come from dead dinosaurs. Nonetheless, I'm proud to be a proponent of FFF.

And you can count me with brother AC for our great love of conventional geologic fuels. Repeat after me: "CO2 is not a pollutant." Poof - filtered combustion of hydrocarbons is no longer a threat to earth-kind.

Of the three proposed energy dreams you may be surprised that I put the most faith in the harnessing of lightning. Super capacitors have an inherent problem with spontaneous instantaneous self-discharge (explosion) and even if and when room-temperature superconductors are developed we can waste loads of cheap energy before spending as much as those new materials will cost to replace aluminum conductors.

And by the way - I'm suspicious of the 70% loss claim. Let's see the data on that one. It's probably closer to 7%.

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2011 7:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Bussard fusion holds no special place in brother jg's oily heart?

I would like something that is cheaper and would not support Hugo Chavez. And if it is dog poop, my condo complex is the Saudi Arabia of dog poop...

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 7:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does it require a government subsidy? If so, its gotta go. Seriously.

Want something that is cheaper than oil or natural gas? Dream on. They're regulated and taxed to death and still can't be beat in the free market without subsidies to their competitors.

"Saudi Arabia of dog poop." Awesome line, but I think you had some competition in the Wisconsin state capitol rotunda for a few weeks last month.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 1:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Lest readers think I have no imagination, nor faith in technology, I must explain that I put great personal value on finding new ways to cheaply and safely power our abundantly prosperous lives. BUT - the incessant drumbeat of "oil is evil" must be opposed. Now. It is a column of communist tanks. I welcome any lover of liberty to stand with me in its path. With you or without you, I'll be here with my hand up.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 1:32 AM

Instavision

The Virginia Postrel Interview. She's a Gov. Daniels fan.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

Joe Biden Railroad

Sorry, Mister Stossel, I am lifting one of your posts in its entirety today:

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.


Taranto piles on:
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?

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Classic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 21, 2011 6:30 PM

Quote of the Day

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.
Barack the Humble, I think they call him. Hat-tip: The Virginian via Insty.
But johngalt thinks:

What do you mean we Kemosabe?

Even as Obama said more remained to be done, he asserted that he'd delivered on his campaign pledge from 2008. "The promise that we made to the American people has been kept, that we have delivered on change that we can believe in."

I wonder if any of the donors who received his "hang onto your 2008 enthusiasm" message are bitter over being asked to cling to an old message of "newness."

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2011 3:06 PM

March 20, 2011

Review Corner, Deux

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

You are a kind and compassionate man of letters. Thank you for this glimpse into a volume I'd never have read. Further comment by me would be divisive, therefore I shall abstain.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2011 2:24 PM
But JC thinks:

Interesting review. Thanks for sharing it. Postrel's book was sent via an environmentally friendly courier. The bicycle trip will take a few more days to get here and I look forward to reading it.

Posted by: JC at March 21, 2011 7:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh NED, it is so difficult to restrain myself.

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2011 1:07 AM
But JC thinks:

Book review: The Future and its Enemies by Virginia Postrel

I took on this challenge with an agreement to read the book The Future and its Enemies by Virginia Postrel while my comrade, jk, was asked to read Making Peace with the Planet by Barry Commoner. In my ignorance, I failed to acknowledge the fact that I not only had to read the book but I was required to provide a “book report” to share what I thought of the book.

Virginia provides a succinct and accurate note for the cause of her book: “This book examines the clash between stasis and dynamism and explores those contrasting views.” She goes on to confirm that she is a dynamist and in doing so, she presents her Web site: www.dynamist.com.

So here we are, comparing two books. One book is written by a well-known author and scientist and the other written by a political and cultural writer, a self-proclaimed “dynamist” with libertarian and classical liberal views. Hmmmm… science vs. politics and culture. This is going to be interesting! (I am still reading – liking a lot of what she has to say and seeing more holes than a Swiss cheese party in Afghanistan!)

Posted by: JC at April 1, 2011 9:53 PM
But JC thinks:

FINALLY FINISHED Virginia Postrel's book: The Future and its Enemies!

First, I would like to begin with apologies. The book challenge was started back in Feb? March? My friend jk quickly procured and read my challenge to him: Making Peace with the Planet by Barry Commoner. jk must be a speed reader. He finished far ahead of expectations and quickly posted his review. Me, on the other hand, dragged my feet, ordered the book to be delivered by bicycle messenger and read by candle-light to reduce the fossil fuel impact this book challenge would have on our frail planet! ;-)

Excuses, excuses...
I carried this book with me everywhere I went. Unfortunately, I rarely found/made time to read it. Once summer started, the hiking, biking, kayaking and RC airplanes took precedence over Postrel's book. I guess I would have done better with a deadline - I might have finished it faster (maybe not).

The Future and its Enemies was the toughest book I have ever read. When I read, I read slowly to ensure I grasp the full intent, content and supporting comprehension of the author. My biggest problem with this book is how frequently Postrel shifted from lucid clarity in her reflections on the status of society to sheer and utter ignorance about the topic she assumed to know so well. These radical shifts between reality and fantasy made my head reel every time I picked it up. I frequently went back to re-read the previous section to ensure I understood what she was writing so eloquently before she drifted off into ignorant assumptions about practices and policies that have no basis in reality. Again, it was a tough read.

Postrel's book should have been titled "The Dynamist Manefesto (and how to label and mock anyone who appears not to be a dynamist") She writes the book in support of her beliefs and positions posted at www.dynamist.com. Maybe the book should have been titled "Supporting the Dynamist Manifesto" - I don't know... the title and content were in conflict from my perspective but, then again, I would never claim to be 100% dynamist (or any other [insert term here]) based on Postre's judgmental assumptions.

Although the book made me wonder how a person could come to adopt the wildly ridiculous ideals presented in this book, I found a significant amount of useful material for reflecting on past and current technologies, industries and political policies. Case in point:

(quoting from p. 205) "It isn't terribly appealing to argue, for instance, that you want everyone else to be worse off so that your company can charge high prices, run inefficiently, and not worry about coming up with new and better products. Far better to invoke reactionary ideals of loyalty and stability, to suggest that turbulence is evil and competition suspect - or to offer technocratic promises of predictability and order against the messiness of experimentation. If you can also suggest that uncontrolled "technology" is plowing over "people", so much the better. The people inventing and using new technology don't count much in stasist calculations - and, chances are, they haven't yet gotten organized into an interest group."

Her statement is spot-on with regards to the battle between conflicting industries and/or political parties (fossil fuels vs. wind, solar and geo-thermal). Individual stasists in the FF camp are fighting hard to hold on to their old, inefficient and outdated product and the internal combustion engines that they feed. Ignorance, arrogance and greed seem to rule the day while rational thinking has taken a back seat to rhetoric.

My last point is regarding how Postrel believes that non-dynamists are working hard to destroy/slow/ruin the world we live in. She speaks as though technocrats, stasists, reactionaries and other “non-dynamists” are a growing population. I am not sure how she arrived at this conclusion but I challenge her to prove that human evolution is driven by epi-genetic proclivities that eventually eliminate dynamists from the human family. Fact is, the human family has always included reactionaries, stasists, technocrats and every other mindset we can imagine. We (humanity) would not have arrived at our current place in history if it were not for all of those conflicting views and philosophies. We need each one of these types of people in society to maintain a dynamic balance in our evolutionary growth and development. The world is much better off with our conflicting views than it would be if there was no conflict and/or no growth.

“Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheeplike passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving.” - John Dewey

Posted by: JC at July 18, 2011 6:50 PM

Review Corner, Un

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

Adventures in Costco Shopping

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.

But jk thinks:

Call Lou Dobbs! How can a nation call itself great when others make its pot handles?

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2011 12:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for highlighting the weakness in my prose. I regrettably left myself open for misinterpretation: I consider the pot handles to be inconsequential. I only included all that detail because "made and assembled by U.S. workers" seemed like a dodge compared to "made in U.S.A." I was genuinely pleased by the origin of these pans.

And as I said, that was an entre to the main story.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2011 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

That goes in the blog comment compliment Hall of Fame I think: "Thank you for missing my entire point by such a wide margin..." Heh!

I did not know and am surprised that the US has been surpassed in manufacturing output. I find that interesting but not as relevant as many. I can cede comparative advantage in hard goods manufacturing to other countries.

As a hard-line Ricardian, I should admit that there might be room for more nuance than I give. But the Dobbsosphere has been energized by the new and deeply concerning political ideas of Donald Trump. I expect a bumpy ride.

Posted by: jk at March 21, 2011 10:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Right! Where you and I want China to produce and us to produce more, Trump wants to try tamping China's production down. (He'll argue that he wants a "level playing field" but he's still trying to achieve it by restricting China to complement how Washington has restricted America.)

Whether the loss of America' manufacturing crown is consequential or not, and whether the statistics are accurate or not (U.N. data?) it is quite clearly a watershed if and when it happens. And using the "shining city on a hill" approach by a decent GOP candidate (rather than the aforementioned protectionism of Trump) I would endorse its use in the 2012 presidential campaign against President Make-Believe.

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2011 3:13 PM

March 19, 2011

Go Jayhawks!

I'm calling a foul on Conservative critics of the President.

Filling out his NCAA bracket when Japan is under water! Why the leader of the free world should be _____________.

I complained -- loudly -- when Candidate Obama said his nomination would mark the moment "...when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Gene Healy, call your office -- the cult of the presidency has escaped reality.

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?

Executive Power Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Damn! And there I thought you were going to tell us that upsets had already blown up Obama's bracket picks!

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2011 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

As soon as the UNC(olorado) Bears were out, we lost interest... Sorry, Silence et al, I am just missing the College Hoops gene.

Condolences to Brother BR. His DU Pioneers took the WCHA championship game into double overtime before succumbing to the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota. One of the best games I have ever seen.

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2011 1:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't believe college hoops fandom is a gene so much as school spirit. Alums of perrenial hoops powers are impervious to avoiding its charms.

Colorado schools CSU and UNC were both invited to the "big dance" but both also were eliminated in their first game. Colorado's Golden Buffs, a basketball wasteland since the Chauncey Billups heyday, were snubbed by the NCAA tourney despite taking Kansas, President Obama's pick to win it all, to the wire in the Big-12 championship losing by just 8.

The dejected Buffs were, in my opinion, done a favor as they've now advanced to the quarter-finals in the NIT and with a win Tuesday in Boulder will go to the semis at Madison Square Garden in New York. As the 1 seed in their bracket they were odds-on favorite for the semis with a good chance to take the crown.

When your alma mater has no history of hoops tourneydom it's hard to take interest. When they're in the mix it makes all the difference. And with new head coach Tad Boyle CU fans are optimistic about a regular post-season presence in the future.

Go Buffs!

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2011 2:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

@JK: Shhhh! I'm still in mourning.

Actually, not so much. It was a great game and a classic, featuring both goalies standing on their heads in OT. DU had the best of them for most of overtime but could not find the back of the net, getting robbed on some good chances.

All three Colorado Division I hockey programs make it to the NCAA tournament (DU, Air Force and Colorado College). Ironically, DU got placed in the same bracket as North Dakota, so we'll likely see each other again in order to get to the Frozen Four.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 21, 2011 5:16 PM
But Everyday Economist thinks:

As I have explained before, March Madness does not reduce productivity. Shameless self-promotion:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2007-03-16-march-madness-usat_N.htm

Posted by: Everyday Economist at March 22, 2011 1:48 PM

March 18, 2011

The Right Lesson Fron Japan

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.


End Racism in America

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.

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm not unsympathetic toward your stance, but I'm going to have to quibble with Mr. McWhorter's argument.

"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..." Really? What percentage of black men in America are in prison for being drug pushers? I do not know myself. By "the norm," I assume he means more than fifty percent - otherwise, not being in prison for selling drugs is the norm. Is imprisonment really the primary reason why black children are raised in single-parent homes, as he implies? Or are there other, larger causes.

There are plenty of good reasons I can be open to arguing in favor of a change in drug enforcement policy; race is not one of them. Drugs are not prejudiced, and they don't have a motivation to single out one particular race to target. Drugs don't put a sheet over their head and burn crosses in people's yards, and the CIA didn't spread them in the ghetto to keep the black man down.

Full disclosure: I have a personal ax to grind with drugs. I have a lily-white younger brother who, while I was off to college, went from being a straight-A student with a bright future to a dysfunctional cretin who barely graduated from high school by the scum of his teeth and pretty much ruined his life. Readers deserve to know the basis for a personal animus I bear toward drugs.

That being said: it has been written by better men than me that slavery could not destroy the black family, the Klan could not destroy the black family, and Jim Crow could not destroy the black family, and I agree. I've read that before and during the Depression, the black neighborhoods of Harlem had the lowest crime rate in New York, and the lowest divorce rate.

McWhorter's argument is much better employed as an argument to end a welfare system and a tax policy that reward illegitimacy, encourage absent fathers, and punish marriage and family unity. If we truly want to get past race in this country, we must be aware that it will never happen until these destructive economic policies are a memory. Drug enforcement policy, to a far, far lesser extent.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 18, 2011 12:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't want to be accused of cherry-picking data, but I went on a hunt for statistics, and the first I found was in Slate

54% of federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses, according to The Sentencing Project, with only 11% for violent crime. Drug crime rates have increased regardless of the increase in imprisonment.

There are yards of stats about incarceration by ethnicity but fewer for offense. I’m not convinced that this is the best source yet I also suspect many non-drug offenses are related to the trade.

Drugs are color-blind but I don't think it's the height of namby-pambyism to suggest that enforcement might not be. I'll join my leftist friends in one line: Drugs ARE legal. How many rich cokeheads are arrested in Aspen or Santa Fe? Drugs get more illegal the less money you have. In poor communities with high minority populations, drugs are very illegal.

Your argument about welfare incentives finds a willing heart with me. But I see (and McWhorter eloquently explains) a deracination from the foundations of self sufficient society as a consequence of the Drug War. Black Convicts are "heroes" for providing people with a product they want. The Police represent white society.

I see this extending to rejecting education as "acting white." Helping Police solve a murder is "snitching." This adversarial relationship can be terminated in one second by ending the drug war. Ending racism is a bold claim, but it rewrites the rules and realigns personnel to facilitate it. Take away this hard shell and we can start to peel the onion skin down.

I am sorry to hear about your brother. I've lost friends to drugs. Some are dead and some might as well be. But I cannot look back and see any instance where prohibition helped any of them. Nor do I know a person who was saved by prohibition.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2011 1:12 PM

Available for Preorder...

If this isn't title of the year:

I Am John Galt: Today's Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It
Donald Luskin; Hardcover; $18.26

Luskin is a great man with a powerful intellect. I look forward to the book.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I'll be interested to read how many of those heroic innovators went on strike around the autumn of 2008.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2011 12:50 PM

March 17, 2011

Gub'mint Motors

Brother br emails with an emergency posting suggestion. "... you've gotta post this for JG:"

Agreed. Forbes:

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?


But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... 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..."

I appreciate the Atlas Shrugged reference, but a different book comes to mind. This sounds a lot more like Milo Minderbinder has gotten out of Egyptian cotton and into auto manufacturing.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 6:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

KA, this gives me an idea: I'll write a check to you for $1 million and you write one me for $1 million and we'll both be rich.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 17, 2011 6:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You first...

On second thought, I'm sure the guv'mint will insist of taxing both tranasctions. We'll each have paid a million, and received a million less the tax. Think about who profits on that deal, and who loses.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm very grateful for the post. It would have gone otherwise unnoticed.

One might wonder why there is no "one to a customer" restriction on the federal rebate. One might suspect a big corporate fleet buy such as this was GM's backstop from the start.

If I may be sarcastic for a moment, "There's no wonder why wind power has yet to be adopted widely in the United States with irresponsible corporate shills like Patrick Michaels writing inflammatory lies like, 'GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power."

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2011 12:18 PM

That's Not Allowed in Science

Berkeley Professor Richard Muller: "The justification would not have survived peer review in any journal I am willing to publish in."

One of those crazed right wing lunatics at UCal Berkeley, spreading lies about Gaia...

Hat-tip: Nick Schultz

But johngalt thinks:

3:45"And what is the result in my mind? Quite frankly, as a scientist, I now have a list of people whose papers I won't read anymore."

Science is not a fuzzy subject. I am heartened every time I hear another actual scientist call out these charlatans. It reassures me that science has a future after all.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2011 4:02 PM

Who Sez There's No Good News?

My Colorado Legislators! Huzzah!

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."


Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 12:14 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

No word on pi...

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2011 12:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

... or household AC cycles...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 2:24 PM
But AlexC thinks:

We should just go to GMT the world over.
Call it done.

Posted by: AlexC at March 17, 2011 3:29 PM

Nostalgia for 1996

....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.

UPDATE: While you're inside Rupert's compound, check out how they also fixed Debit Cards!


March 16, 2011

Coffeehousin'



Coffeehouse

Stars Fell on Alabama


"Frank Perkins - Mitchell Parish (1934) Awesome song"



Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com



But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Another toe tapper!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 16, 2011 9:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Thankee.

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2011 11:59 AM

March 15, 2011

Nice, Polite, American Girl, like her Mama Raised...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

I'm Still a PC

But this is cool:

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.



Growth Skepticism

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?

But jk thinks:

Both Mises and Postrel discuss a yearning for a utopia that never existed. Before capitalism, everything was swell.

Umm, yeah, if you don't mind freezing in the dark, dying at 42, devoting most of your time to sustenance...

Posted by: jk at March 15, 2011 5:58 PM

Quote of the Day

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
Courtesy of WSJ Notable & Quotable

On The Other Hand...

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...

But johngalt thinks:

Japan needs to rewrite her building code to improve the anchor strength of structures to their foundations. All of those well-built homes floating around town caused some otherwise avoidable damage.

And I like how the NY Times credits Japan for "all along the Japanese coast, tsunami warning signs, towering seawalls and well-marked escape routes offer some protection from walls of water." Yet when New Orleans' seawalls were breached with far less fury no quarter was given to the Corps of Engineers for failing to anticipate that the surge would be 1 foot higher than the walls were designed to withstand.

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2011 5:50 PM

March 14, 2011

You Didn't Have to Work Today, Did You?

The Mises Institute on Facebook embeds this charming (I might mention that is an hour and a half) talk on Austrian Economics and the new Road to Serfdom:

Economic Liberty Lecture Series: Richard M. Ebeling from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Ebeling is good but does not move so quickly that a person couldn't do something else while it plays.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

No it Isn't

Brother AlexC posts this on Facebook, and says "It's on." I forget when I saw it, but I find it quite compelling.

tauism.gif

Pi is a lie -- happy half tau day!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:07 PM | What do you think? [22]
But jk thinks:

@Keith -- wow, you really are a radical! I was not proposing to abolish time zones, but for Colorado to "pull an Arizona" and withdraw from the bloodstained lie that is Daylight Savings Time.

When discussing this in 1924 or whenever, jg suggested year-round MDT for hisself and his bucolic brethren. Nodding that way, we can accomplish that with year round CST. Mountain time is swell and all, but Central also has a numerical advantage. The networks actually tell you what time your show is on.

Not to offend the pipefitters' union or anything, but most of them consider pi to be 3.500000000000000000000. I see no need to suck up to such folk. Pure math.

Posted by: jk at March 15, 2011 4:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can't comment any longer. I just laughed myself to death.

Posted by: johngalt at March 16, 2011 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To the inestimable benefit of mankind, dagny has reanimated my corporeal presence with a kiss.

As a public service-

10 Hz line frequency would be so low that incandescent lighting (our favorite kind) would flicker dramatically.

North America already wires homes on a 220V system like many other nations. The distinction is that we also have a "center-tap" connection to the step-down transformer that allows half voltage (110 volt) appliances to be used.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2011 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

What's "incandescent lighting?"

Daaaaaaaaag-nyyyyyyyyyy!

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2011 4:11 PM
But dagny thinks:

I can't quite tell if JK is happy or annoyed with me.

This looks like fun, I'll jump in. I propose that Pi is something eaten after dinner by 5-year-olds who don't spell very well.

However, I expect that I am the only one on this blog that got a higher score on the Verbal SAT than the math.

Posted by: dagny at March 17, 2011 9:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Always happy, never annoyed. I was just hoping that I could make jg laugh with my incandescent remark.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2011 11:48 AM

March 13, 2011

Wish Me Luck

I found a taker. I have made this offer many, many times and this is the first time I have been taken up. My friend JC will be reading Virginia Postrel's "The Future and its Enemies."

In return, I will settle in with Barry Commoner's "Making Peace with the Planet."

making_peace.jpg

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

NY Times- "[Making Peace with the Planet] is a model of clarity, even for the reader who knows little about science." I daresay particularly for the reader who knows little about science.

I am fully prepared to delve into the book's false premise based upon the Publishers Weekly review on Amazon but will refrain so as not to "pollute" your reading. (I suspect you already see it too.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 14, 2011 3:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I will, however, offer an alternate title:
'Surrendering to the Planet - A formula for prostrating mankind before all other things, living and inanimate.'

Posted by: johngalt at March 14, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly you have just been paid by SOME BIG CORPORATION to spread lies about Gaia.

I fear from the synopsis that he got the better end of this deal, but he is going to read mine in good faith, and I will do the same. I know enough people who think this way that any insight into their world would be a plus.

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2011 3:27 PM

March 12, 2011

I'm Reading "a libertarian parable for the ages"

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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 11, 2011

He's Baaaaaaack!

For all who were worried about James Taranto:

taranto110311.gif

But Lisa M thinks:

Glad you saw this. I was going to link it for you.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 11, 2011 5:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I was gonna call 9-1-1.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 6:08 PM

No, it really is over.

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!"

But jk thinks:

FB friend posts "If you live in Wisconsin, don't forget to set your clock back 50 years this weekend!"

Wrong-as-pants-on-a-trout, but a funny line.

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2011 12:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, but even funnier if it were autumn. In the spring, we set the clocks, forward. Fifty years seems a bit optimistic but it does feel like a huge leap. Maybe 50 is about right.

Hey FB friend, remember when you were singing drinking songs and we were carping about the Constitution and the end-of-America-as-we-know-it when Stimulus and Obamacare got ramrodded through? Well, UP YOURS this time. (I usually try to stay above this level but I just can't help myself when I see all these able bodied young people running around with their palm outstretched.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2011 4:19 PM

WTF?

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!

But jk thinks:

More of them green jobs, man! Somebody's gotta fix those things!

I wonder if they lock in high winds. The one in front of the Lafayette library never spins when it's really whippin', yet I frequently see it spinning in a lighter breeze. Safety issue?

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 3:58 PM

David Ricardo, Call Your Office!

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?



Hammertime!

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...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

The debt? Screw the debt! That's just numbers on paper held by other billionaires.

Instead will take that $1.3 TaTaTrillion in confiscated wealth and divvy it up evenly amongst every man, woman and child in America. After all, which is more just: 400 billionaires or 300 million "four-dollar-and-thirty-three-cents-aires?"

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2011 2:54 PM

Thousand Words

williamWarren110311.jpg

A point I try to make, but I cannot draw like William Warren.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Great Juxtaposition

While perusing RealClearPolitics.com this morning, The Refugee saw this headline:

"We can't afford dramatic, ideological cuts," by Sens. Feinstein and Boxer
followed immediately by this one:
"Strange logic in planet Washington," by Jonah Goldberg

Memo to the honorable Senators from California ("May I call you Senator, ma'am?"): It's the dramatic, ideological spending that we cannot afford.

Media and Blogging Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:45 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Well THERE's the PROBLEM. Congressional Democrats think that spending cuts cost money. (No ma'am, I think you mean tax cuts "cost" money. BOTH, you say?)

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2011 2:56 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

By the Democrat's logic, everytime I don't buy something, I lose money. If I just max out my credit cards I'll be rich!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2011 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny reminds me that I haven't mentioned in a while that RCP's Tom Bevan played high school football with her brother. (That and three bucks will get me a cup of coffee.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2011 9:28 PM

It won't be long now

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.

But jk thinks:

I'm in!

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 1:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Grande Cappuccino, dry, please: Today's tsunami: This is what climate change looks like

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 1:50 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

MONDO HEH!! I'll make it a venti. You name the time.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2011 3:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Starbucks causes climate change.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2011 9:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Actually, I was going to suggest we tie this up with nanobrewer's suggestion of an actual corporeal meeting at The Cannon Mine in Lafayette. While I feel safer with our opinions on our own side of the Boulder County Line, we must -- on occasion -- be brave.

Played properly, we could meet nb and perhaps TerriG.

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2011 11:33 AM

March 10, 2011

Fair and Balanced

Nope, that is not the WaPo motto:

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.

But johngalt thinks:

In contrast: WSJ - Taxpayers Win in Wisconsin

"Mr. Walker and his allies have won a rare victory for taxpayers, one which should be a lesson for other states and Governors. The monopoly power of government unions can be broken."
Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2011 3:03 PM

When Jobs are Outlawed...

It's almost as if the minimum wage laws are not a good idea or something.

nom-min-wage-2006-2010.gif

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...

Hat-tip: Mankiw.

But mike thinks:

how much of this is because of inflation, though? of course more people earned 7.25 or less in 2006 than 2010. the price and wage level has risen since then.

Posted by: mike at March 10, 2011 6:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair point, Mike. But I compute 2006-2010 Inflation at a hair under 8% using these against almost 41% increase in the minimum wage (from here). Not negligible, to be certain, but it does not invalidate the point.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2011 8:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Shouldn't the graph heading refer to the number of individuals earning $7.25? There can't be any earning less than that, can there? That would be illegal, right? Illegal wages must mean illegal workers.

So to really understand what's going on I guess we need to know how many are paid the minimum wage and how many are paid less.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2011 3:15 PM

You Can't Fight in Here -- This is the War Room!

Tears, shouts as terror hearing becomes political

Ummm, a Congressional hearing?


Happy Birthday, Jethro!

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!

Jethro with Chet Akins

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Almost as good as the Virtual Coffee House... almost!

BTW, when you refer to a "mandloin player" I hope it has nothing to do with San Francisco. (snicker)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 10, 2011 4:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Typing is my gift! ("mandloin" corrected in spite of comedic value...)

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2011 4:20 PM

It's Chuck Schumer's World

It's Chuck Schumer's World -- we only live in it!

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?"


Mister Taranto is Somewhat Serious Today

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.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Mister T is right. The substantive defanging of the last bastions of the labor union, the undoing of automatic contribution of union dues nee DNC campaign bucks, the baby steps toward defined contribution retirement plans and self-funded health insurance - all of these things are an everyday reality to those of us in the private sector. But to the government sector and the political party of government, they are a big * effing * deal.

I don't believe we've yet seen the worst of the old-school union thuggery we read about in our youths in a (hopefully) vain effort to maintain the status quo. [Now who are the reactionaries?]

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2011 4:45 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

I said a couple of days ago that this was the definitive battle of our time.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 10, 2011 8:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Could not agree more, Lisa. It seems complimentary to -- yet more important than -- the spending bills in DC.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2011 9:01 PM

Yup. That's a Death Threat

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.


What if a Tea Partier had...oh never mind.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

In a related story, Fox News Reporter Mike Tobin was sexually assaulted by a mob of demonstrators who were "whipped into a frenzy" on the Wisconsin State Capitol lawn last night. Tobin was rescued by a small group of Egyptian women.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2011 5:01 PM

March 9, 2011

No Fly, Deux

Some comically snarky jabs in this Matt Welch piece. Plus this outsourced answer to brother jg:

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Yes. This is a good argument for a sort of terrestrial Prime Directive. I hereby admit that my patriarchal proclivities had overwhelmed my rational faculty.

I did consider this reasoning, by the way, before endorsing limited bombings of "Russian planes" in totalitarian states under civil war. I thought that the engagement, and therefore the risk and the expense, could be assiduously restricted to removing the unfair advantage. But what I hadn't considered was Welch's most monumental point: American non-involvement is an absolute defense against claims of American complicity in "fill in the blank."

While Welch and I may still disagree on the issue of defensive aid to an ally under attack from a third party, his argument exposes a tacit national defense welfare arrangement where the United States feels obligated to come to the military aid of "the innocent." Well, in this particular example at least, they are not innocent. Libyans have had decades to oust their dictator. Their present malady is a lesson to other peoples of the world who see a dictatorial madman coming to power. Stopping him may be costly, but only more so the longer he is allowed to hold power.

Yes, I do believe the Prime Directive is apt in the case of Libya. They are without a doubt a "pre-warp" civilization.

Well done my brother.

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 10:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had another important point to include before posting the last comment - It is an irony of historic proportions that this new lesson to the world, i.e. be careful what you wish for when demanding that the USA stop being "the world's policeman," is presided over by Barack H. Obama, the proponent of American Non-Exceptionalism. By failing to engage as the leading power in nearly every international dispute, either militarily or diplomatically, he is showing the world just how much it has come to depend on and even demand America doing exactly that. And as enmity for the Stars and Stripes gradually wanes, the world may not actually start to "love and respect us" as candidate Obama promised, but it will certainly wonder if it is better off without American "meddling."

At the same time the American people are spared the expense and the weight of conscience that all of this good-deed-doing has traditionally cost us.

There you have it world - Uncle Sam is on strike.

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 11:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Who is Sam Galt?

The presence of one President Barak Obama had a too-large influence on my reticence. Any military undertaking would be poll driven and unlikely to underpin an overarching freedom agenda.

Wait -- does this mean I won one?

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2011 10:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Do none of our agreements from the start count? OK, maybe or maybe not your first win, but methinks the most decisive.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2011 12:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

P.S. "Who is Sam Galt?"

Like

Sometimes I wonder if I've expressed myself effectively. This confirmed it.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2011 12:33 PM

Joke

My (biological) brother, via email:

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!"

Posted by John Kranz at 6:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Accepting a Level of Government Intrusion

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.

UPDATE: WSJ OpinionJournal video discussion

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

An even bigger failure of your flexible spending account is that whatever remains unspent of your yearly paycheck deductions at the end of the year is FORFEITED. Lobby your employer to add an HSA option instead. Your unspent contributions not only remain in your account (and I do mean your account, in a bank of your choosing) they can accumulate from year to year until you have enough to cover your high deductible. And beyond that, they are available as retirement funds.

At least this is how it was in the days before Obamacare.

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, that is the worst part. I guess I was tired of typing. I lost a couple hundred bucks the first year and have dramatically under contributed ever since.

This is also the foundation of a spending binge (eyeglass retailers advertise it) at the end of your benefit year. Waste what you have before it goes away. Did I mention something about perverse incentives?

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2011 3:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I should also mention... with the HSA there's no prescription required. They give you a debit card. Could you buy booze and porn with it? Seems possible. I still haven't found where the controls are. (The account is administered by, as I said, a bank or credit union of your choosing.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 6:23 PM
But jk thinks:

I generally just deduct my booze and porn under "Other Miscellaneous" on Schedule C...

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2011 6:34 PM

Quote of the Day

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.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 8, 2011

Yawn!

The EXPLOSIVE NPR vid is roiling the world!

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...

UPDATE II: Two scalps.

But johngalt thinks:

Brother PLEASE! One really doesn't have to give such deference to the opinions of eunuchs at National Progressive Radio in order to be worldly and erudite. You know they are racist, sexist libtards with no awareness or understanding of anything that can't be reached via subway line but everyday Americans, out of similar deference and just plain-old goodwill, consider them to be, well, intelligent and informed.

A government-hating co-worker of mine doesn't even know who Chris Christie is, much less Ron Schiller. More and more of this stuff needs to hit the dominant media - the more, and the sooner, the better.

Beside that, look what it has elicited from NPR [see "Update"] - A veiled defense of the "tea party movement:"

"The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for [publicly], and we completely disavow the views expressed. [Which should have been kept private.] NPR is fair and open minded about the people we cover. [Including the "seriously, seriously racist people."] Our reporting reflects those values every single day — in the civility of our programming, the range of [left-wing] opinions we reflect and the diversity of stories we tell. [And the obvious biases that guide which stories we refuse to tell.]"

This is PROGRESS, brother. PROGRESS! Thank you Mister O'Keefe.

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 2:48 PM

No Fly

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.

But johngalt thinks:

But would you throw a rope to a drowning man? What we have here is called an "emergency situation." Sometimes a risk is called for.

A no fly zone? No. But a few airfield bombardments, after consultation with our allies, would go a long, long way in helping the Libyan military decide to get on the right side of this fight like the Egyptian military did just last month.

Are we using force to "overthrow the government of a sovereign nation?" Hardly. A civil war is underway in a totalitarian state. Failure to act will cause more bloodshed than action will. And such action would not be warranted in a pluralistic nation whose military was not attacking her own citizens.

FNC correspondent Leland Vittert was asked by a Libyan rebel, "You're an American. Can you tell me why America does not help us?" It has become almost expected that America will defend innocent lives. Are we obligated to do so? Absolutely not. But our worldview and our sense of humanity compel us to it. Or at least, they did, prior to the present regime. This bunch can't act in the name of peace in Libya for fear of gasoline prices going back down.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

More deserving than the Sudanese? Myanmar? You're from Boulder, how about Free Tibet! Eritrea?

I'm not a geography whiz, but Libya looks huge, African, and Islamic. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2011 3:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

C'mon bro, won't you just acquiesce to blowing up their Russian airplanes? Blowing up Russian airplanes is FUN!

As for your other civil war examples, if those nations have Russian airplanes I'm for blowing them up too.

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 2:24 PM

On Firing Teachers

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!)

Education Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The peas would most likely be served on the unheated back porch to boot.

The Refugee might take some exception to the idea of burnt out corporate husks teaching K-12. While some would no doubt be good, he's met many who are knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects but have no clue how to penetrate the hormone-addled brains of pubescent teens. Telling true stories from the trenches of market warfare will have kids snoozing in seconds with images of grandpa dancing in their heads.

At the graduate and post-graduate level, however, trench stories are what make a great instructor. The Refugee's master's program was taught mainly be instructors who had day jobs, not ivory tower PhDs. The lone expection was a professional educator who taught Entrepreneurship, of all things. Wonderful lady, entertaining lecturer - but had never started so much as a lemonade stand. There's an obvious difference between those who can present information and those who truly understand it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 8, 2011 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh no, the peas are mine and I am home. I don't think any nourishment is forthcoming...

I am thinking of three examples and you know two of them very well. All were very serious about a career change and willing to take some additional instruction (though not the three years required for a person with a college degree already). I don't see it as pasture, I see it as a true second/third/fourth career.

Take one semester of "Education" credits and pass an exam to be credentialed. I'll admit you put more weight in education credits than I do, but I'll meet you part way.

I also think of my favorite teachers. A high school Physics and Chemistry teacher right out of central casting (Christopher Lloyd ripped him off for "Back to the Future") who had worked as a chemist in the private sector. A favorite English Lit guy was a construction worker before and after a brief stint bringing Sugarchuck and I up to standards.

Eleven out of 13 of my K-12 years were in parochial schools. It is likely that I saw fewer education majors than you.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2011 4:10 PM
But dagny thinks:

Your English lit teacher brought Sugarchuck and WHO up to what??

Posted by: dagny at March 13, 2011 11:03 AM
But jk thinks:

My friend Dagny is clearly setting a trap for me with this question. I may need to consult my attorney before proceeding.

Sugarchuck and I had an English teacher who impacted both of us. He didn't get along well with administration and did not last very long in teaching. Even in a parochial school, it was an anti-innovation environment, and most of my favorite instructors were usually in trouble.

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2011 1:36 PM
But dagny thinks:

No trap,

I was just trying to find a humorous way to tell you that your grammar was wrong.

Sentence should have read, "Sugarchuck and ME..."

Seemed kinda ironic in a discussion about English teachers.

Posted by: dagny at March 13, 2011 10:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, we was taught by a construction worker...

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2011 11:03 AM

Review Corner

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...)

Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

It sounds delightful. One of the Amazon reviewers calls it a "libertarian manifesto." But should you be successful in cajoling any Facebook friend to read it, what happens when they realize: [From the first Amazon review]

"The downside of this philosophy, Postrel readily notes, is that it doesn't allow us to manage tomorrow by acting today. And that's exactly the point: we shouldn't want to."

She says we shouldn't want to, and we don't, but Progressives will say "failure to manage man's future impact on his world is the height of irresponsibility." Then what?

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2011 12:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Then you quit. The central theme of the book is to reject the "stasist" axis of reactionary conservatives, luddite environmentalists, and authoritarian puritans. Someone who would read the book and still want to be included in one of those camps is beyond reach. But they would see what they were arguing against.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2011 1:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Apologies. One shouldn't really expect any book or "elevator speech" to be the "Magic Mind Bomb" that can convince everyone to think for himself, do for himself, and stop stealing from his neighbor covertly as well as overtly.

Liberty and free trade are powerful armies in the war of ideas that have conquered more of east Asia than the Korean war and Vietnam war ever could have, even if the Allies had won. This book is another effective weapon in that war - particularly where the weakest front is located: The home front.

Let me know if you reach any of your FB friends. After reading it myself I may join you in pamphleting my stasist friends with this $6 paperback.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2011 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

The plan is to offer to read any book of their choosing in exchange for their reading this. I'll let you know.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2011 6:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We used to call individuals with your zeal and dedidication "missionaries."

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2011 2:28 PM
But jk thinks:

The path of the pilgrim is never easy, brother...

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2011 4:09 PM

March 7, 2011

Merle Sold Out!

I have posted several "Merle Hazard" videos. Mr. Hazard has not been a dedicated disciple of freedom, but his stuff is funny -- and he once had Art Laffer do a cameo.

But his current release is a stunt done with PBS: Hazard performs a song written by and chosen among PBS listeners. Is anybody else getting a little nervous?

You can watch it on YouTube or at Professor Mankiw's. I'm not above embedding, but I think I'll pass.

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.


Hey O, Hows About Dese Jobs Over Heah!?

Linked from Carpe Diem, who linked from WSJ: Time to Get Serious About American Oil

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.)


How are bright girls different from bright boys?

How many readers have school-aged daughters? This may be of interest.

Gender Differences in Ability vs. Achievement

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.

Education Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

There should be a scale for this.

The gender suggestion is interesting. I consider it one of (several) ideas I carry that is completely different from my parents and upbringing. Being the youngest, I was given a list of things I would be good at and things I shouldn't try or expect much success in.

I don't want to pull an Oprah and question the two finest parents in the world, but I've always wondered about the tacit acceptance of failure. Nor were their thoughts unusual. Perhaps Sugarchuck will pipe in: whether the time or place or religion, a lot of emphasis was put on innate capacity.

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2011 4:13 PM

March 6, 2011

Quote of the Day

I would vote for a syphilitic camel over Barack Obama in 2012, so therefore I would even vote for Huckabee or Gingrich. But I might try to talk the camel into running one more time. -- Glenn Reynolds
2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

It's a fun quote, and sums up my feelings as well. But if I'd posted that you would tell me it isn't our base we need to worry about. Would Reagan Democrats vote for a camel with venerial disease over the incumbent Democrat president? Not as likely.

In his article George Will proclaimed "There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon -" Daniels, Barbour, Huntsman, Romney, Pawlenty. While I personally admire most or all of these men, the most striking aspect of them as a group of GOP nominees is how much better they make Romney look. How far have we fallen when the charisma contest can be won with nothing more than a winning smile?

I'll close with one more observation: George Will is a MCP.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2011 9:45 PM
But jk thinks:

MCP? Read the link and searched. Help me galt-o-wan, you're my only hope.

I'm extremely down about team red's bench in 2012. I would vote for Gingrich or Huckabee over President Obama, but I wouldn't spend much money or time on the race. Some prescient blogger (I'm not being coy, I really do not remember) said "the GOP will have a strong line of candidates in 2014 -- too bad the election is in 2012." Put the blog optimist with the pessimists.

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2011 10:54 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee shares the general malaise. (Could be the Republican deli order of choice for 2012: "Give me a Gingrich on wry, hold the malaise.")

In good times, charism wins. However, when times are bad, a policy wonk ala Daniels has chance. As so eloquently quoted above, it's our only hope.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 7, 2011 12:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Male chauvinist pig.

Saw a Palin 2012 sticker on a pickup this morning. Made me want to print some Palin-Bachmann 2012 stickers. The byline: "Put some cajones back in the White House"

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2011 12:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Before anyone gets too discouraged, read the IBD editorial: Weak GOP Field For '12? Tell It To Carter

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2011 2:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

PALIN-BACHMANN 2012
Drill, Save, Prosper

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2011 3:28 PM

March 5, 2011

Subsidy Folly

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 my congressman 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.

(Graph moved to "Continue Reading)

DOE%20report%20table%20E2.jpg


Homebrewer in Chief

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.

Harsh.

But johngalt thinks:

I dunno, I'm quite fond of a bitter, bitter aftertaste in my beer.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Cling to it.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2011 10:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

With my guns and irreligion.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2011 9:04 PM

The Right Conclusion

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.


"Nothing to See Here"

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.


March 4, 2011

Quote of the Day

"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
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the non-sequitur of passenger trains in 2016 may undermine the film's credibility.

As for John Galt-

"Ask yourself, Arianna, what would happen if the producers disappeared--if the "men of the mind," tired of carrying your weight on their shoulders, went "on strike" and vanished from the Puffington Host.

And now we know who John Galt is."

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 8:17 AM
But jk thinks:

Yup, coals-to-Newcastle to link to Taranto, but this was a special day.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2011 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

No, I'm glad. I no longer receive him daily via email (maybe I'll resubscribe) so I really appreciated it.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 11:46 AM
But jk thinks:

Thought Taranto was free -- no more?

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2011 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Shhhh.

I was, however, unable to find a link for subscribing via email.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 4:51 PM
But jk thinks:

The link on the blogroll used to go straight to Taranto and now takes you the front of the Opinion section. I don't know if that is fallout from web design or if they are repositioning away from a popular (but free) feature. Something dark from Rodger & Rupert one presumes...

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2011 11:00 AM

The WaPo Huck-a-Whack Rolls On

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.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:08 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. We'll call that "Plan B."

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2011 6:06 PM

FDA Hell, Chapter CCXCVI

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.


Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

"We've repeated your screening test - you don't actually have breast cancer after all Ms. THX1138."

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2011 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Looks like my "compassionate use" request is going down in flames as well. My latest trial drug held off progression well with minimal side effects. Thankfully, the government will step in to make sure I don't get any more of that!

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2011 4:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It is frightening to contemplate that drug research and clinical trials may be ended as we've known them by the actions of President Obama and the 110th Congress. Are there other trials for your affliction on the horizon?

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

There is a disability scale called the EDSS. Most trials have a range which is acceptable, and I am too high for most of them. I'm just starting my hunt, because I was hoping for either an open-label or compassionate use continuation of the current compound.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2011 11:15 AM

Headline of the Day

WSJ:

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.


Chicks making sushi -- is nothing sacred?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

The Japanese version of bikini-baristas! Awesome. Japan is clearly part of the civilized world. Now if we could just get 'Koran Babes' to catch on in the Middle East...

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2011 1:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I really didn't appreciate the depths of Nipponese humor until I first put my MR2 into reverse. Inside the cabin, the backup beep-beep-beep of a Caterpillar D-9 informs you that you're in R. Lookout children, dozens of pounds of metal is on the move...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2011 4:39 PM

March 3, 2011

A VP Galt -- Pentagon Feud

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."

But johngalt thinks:

I believe I counseled President Palin only to order our warships to lie at anchor off Tripoli, did I not? No beef with the Joint Chiefs there.

(Between the two of us our administration will be a model for all others to aspire to.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2011 3:30 PM

March 2, 2011

I Shouldn't Laugh

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."

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But jk thinks:

Heh! Clearly.

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2011 6:12 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

With sales figures like that, they will never challenge the Prius for the title of "biggest smug-producing vehicle." I haven't spotted one here in California yet, where finding a Volt among the sea of Prii is like swinging a dead cat by the tail and expecting to find Waldo with the claws.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 2, 2011 7:01 PM
But JC thinks:

Let's see how the Chevy does against the Nissan Leaf!

Posted by: JC at March 4, 2011 1:32 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The Leaf is not worried; sales figures were better for the '55 Nash Metropolitan.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2011 7:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Careful, Brother Keith, Rambler® and American Motors advertising paid the bills in my daddy's house.

I'm rooting for the Leaf. The good folks at Nissan released it in hopes of attracting enough buyers to make a profit. The Volt, conversely, was designed and built to provide cover for a bailout.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2011 7:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

From the bottom of my heart, I have a warm spot in my heart for American Motors products. I came across this country in a Rambler Ambassador - the one with the push-button automatic transmission controls on the far left side of the dash - as a child in the early 60's, and I owned a Jeep CJ-7 with a 258 straight-6 for 16 years that I still miss to this day (and refuse to replace with anything built by Chrysler, thank you). No disparagement of the Nash was intended, so much as to embarrass the Volt.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2011 8:21 PM

The fall of "Big Labor"

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.



Quote of the Day

All Hail Harsanyi:

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


How a Real Leader Speaks

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

But johngalt thinks:

Your "Freedom on the March" categorization prompted me to click through and read the rest of the short Barone piece. Awesome stuff.

I'll say this for Obama: His election has given other leaders of the western world a chance to inspire the peoples of the world to freedom.

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2011 12:46 PM

Hope is Currency

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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 1, 2011

Trying to Steal "Huck-a-Whack"

The WaPo thinks nobody will notice if they begin their own Quotidian Huck a Whack.

But, they haven't really captured the idea yet.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee got his facts wrong when he claimed twice during an interview Monday that President Obama was raised in Kenya.

During an interview with The Steve Malzberg Show, Huckabee said the president, "having grown up in Kenya," would have a different -- more hostile -- perspective on the British:


Gentlemen, if that's the worst thing you can say about Governor Huckabee, give it up.

Next week: "Sarah Palin says Warren G. Harding was born in Wilmingdale Ohio -- Not Marion!"

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That's just the problem: it's the least of what Huckster has said. How about adding two lanes to I-95 from Maine to Florida? I've badgered a certain Huck fanatic over and over about just that, and the idiot still insists it was just a joke. Yet during the debates, it's obvious that this con artist was painfully serious.

He's a worshipper of the state. Yes, he's also a social conservative, but he nonetheless worships the power of the state. His agenda isn't the furthest one from freedom, but it takes effort to exceed his.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 2, 2011 8:30 PM

The Larger Issue

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.

Freedom on the March Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:13 PM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

Not a high bar, that is for certain. cf. the aforementioned Mister Biden.

WSJ's case for DOMA is a good one, but for the "Constitutional obligation" to defend it, not so much. DOMA is "reasonably defensible" therefore the president has a responsibility, in the name of upholding the Constitution, to do so? Still not seein' the clause that compels this.

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2011 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd also like to add that I don't see the high court ruling on this, except to overturn a lower court that throws DOMA out. The Judiciary can and should grant wide latitude to the Legislative for strengthening Federalism. And just as the Executive is under no obligation to defend the law, the Judiciary is under no obligation to invalidate it.

"That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves." - Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2011 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

With you all the way, bro. To be fair, the list also includes Jefferson, Arthur, and Coolidge. Three out of 47...

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2011 3:24 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"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 fleeing Democrats may call it what they wish, but it's a temper tantrum by spoiled children.

However, it is not a step toward anarchy. It's a hypocritical step toward shutting down a machine that's now going against them. Anarchy simply means the lack of a government or other authority that rules by force.

Finally, government is hardly "by" or "of" the people. It's by those who are able to put the government in power, whether a majority, plurality or mensheviks (lit. "minority"). If you have a single person dissenting with what government does, you cannot say "the people."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 2, 2011 8:38 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I read the WSJ article cited by brother jk. The subtitle (paraphrased) "Gay marriage belongs with the states" implies a healthy defense of federalism. This is as we'd expect. I thereby expected to disagree with the article, being more on BR's side of this argument than jk's or JG's, but I didn't.

I found it to be arguing that Obamans are doing a neutral to slightly negative thing. Now, that may be a reading stilted by my opinion of DOMA, which is that it's morally a good idea. However, I've not really resolved if this good idea is good policy for the citizenry. Be a good debate for the coffeehouse. Anyone frequent Cannon Mine in downtown Lafayette?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 8, 2011 9:19 AM
But jk thinks:

Used to, and I still live pretty close. Anybody reading way down here? Set up a meet for the Centennial State Wing of ThreeSources? Find out who the hell nanobrewer is?

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2011 11:18 AM

What's an EV Button?

Computer folk are the worst. And it is only a short blog post. But is it editorial failure or the Heartbreak of Old-Fogeydom?

The term "EV Button" is never defined in "Plug in Cars: Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid missing critical EV button" not Professor Reynolds's link. I suppose it gets an im-context definition:

[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.

But johngalt thinks:

Thus proving that there's no satisfying the enviros. How about this Mister Birkenstock: Don't want your plug-in hybrid to use any gasoline? When the tank is empty, don't refill it. Voila - E friggin' V.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2011 2:47 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)