May 31, 2011

Reason == Rubes

I have emailed Professor Reynolds a time or two, asking why he had never hurled "the R-word" toward our pals at Reason magazine. They were pretty deep in the tank, thanks to their (again deserved) antipathy toward Senator McCain. But I never suspected the cause of liberty was served by electing President Barack Obama.

I am pretty certain this is the first time:

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE'D SEE THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY EXPAND: And they were right! "Civil libertarians once looked to this president to right the constitutional balance. But what Obama has wrought is the same old 'Terror Presidency' with new rhetoric." You were expecting a Chicago machine politician to support civil liberties? Rubes!


But johngalt thinks:

This one is worth a click-through on the click-through. Hey GD, you gettin' this? This is right up your alley.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:49 PM

Firefly Meets the Muppets.

I link, you decide.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

Very cute but they got the wrong muppet to play Jayne. They needed Gonzo.

Posted by: dagny at May 31, 2011 7:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair point, did you see the blue hands guys?

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2011 7:29 PM

Greatest Stack Trace EVAH!

Needed to dive into the error logs to diagnose a problem. This isn't it, but it represents the funniest thing I have ever seen in an error log:

Error Executing Database Query. [Macromedia][SQLServer JDBC Driver][SQLServer]Conversion failed when converting the varchar value 'Hey You,I'm Steven, 25. working an awesome job, where I get to travel a lot. enjoy doing photography.Love Spontaneous Travel. Up for anything. Open minded in every aspect of life. Very independent, and family orientated. Living in THIS moment, the now,' to data type int.
The error occurred on line 610.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:42 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"Spontaneous travel?"
"Family oriented?"


(What kinda databases you coding for anyway?)

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

The one that is expecting an int (though the startup I was on earlier had a series of dating sites we were going to use for test).

This guy was at work. I suspect he copy-pasted some non-work material, then tried to copy a ticket or customer number to view in our support database. And pasted -- and submitted the form -- before realizing he had not copied the new number.

Did I mention he was in sales?

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2011 4:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, he may deserve some slack. I can't say I was completely aware beforehand that "family oriented" would come to figuratively assassinate "spontaneous travel" and "independent."

But if he already has kids... Bullshitter.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2011 2:44 PM


Capitalism is everytime and everywhere the best opportunity to equalize income and social status.

Test the above where and among whom caste is most entrenched:

The plight of the Dalits, those whom the Hindu caste system considers outcastes and hence Untouchables, was a rallying cry of Hindu reformers and Indian leftists for half a century. But today these victims of the caste system are finding that free markets and development bring advancement faster than government programs.

Historically, Dalits were left to do the most undignified work in society, and were denied education or job opportunities. After independence, not only was legal recognition of caste abolished, but Delhi also created affirmative action and welfare programs. Intellectuals who fought for the betterment of Dalits worked together with leftists to pass laws righting historical wrongs.

That alliance is now breaking down. India's economic reforms have unleashed enormous opportunities to elevate Dalits--materially and socially. In research published last year, Devesh Kapur at the University of Pennsylvania and others show this transformation occurring in Uttar Pradesh state in the north, a region notorious for clinging to caste traditions.

Mr. Kapur found that Dalits now buy TVs, mobile phones and other goods very easily--at rates similar to any other caste; they have also been spending more money on family weddings. These factors and others point to practical benefits Untouchables receive from growth, the same benefits accruing to other Indians. There are more such cases in the south and west of the country.

If you've sufficient stature in the Rupert Caste system, read the entire, moving column.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Nope. Don't need to read any more. Simply replace "India" with "America" and "Dalits" with "blacks."

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:35 PM

Tweet of the Day

UPDATE: Taranto dismisses the whole genre: "We've heard some bad puns in our day, but this has to be the wurst."

Quote of the Day

Potomac fever is contagious and incurable. I know one economist who deliberately hired an undocumented nanny as a commitment device to avoid the temptation of government. -- Robert E. Hall
Hat-tip: Prof. Mankiw

May 30, 2011

Review Corner

Five stars. A masterpiece.

I did not want ThreeSourcers hanging on with bated breath to see if I liked Don Luskin and Andrew Greta's I Am John Galt. It is one of the most entertaining books I have read in some time.

I suggested in my pre-review, that it was an informative and miraculously satisfying overview of Rand's philosophy. I consider the book in total to be like an engineering text that reifies abstract physical phenomena by application. Seeing Rand's ideas in the book's subtitle of "Today's Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It" bring the ideas to life.

A second but not secondary benefit is this book's historical record of factors which caused and exacerbated the financial meltdown of 2008. The roles of Wesley Mouch/Barney Frank, Angelo Mozilla/James Taggart, and Alan Greenspan/Robert Stadler receive careful study, as does the contrary example of BB&T's John Allison as John Galt. The sum of these chapters is a comprehensive, factual, rational explanation of the crisis and how it could have been lessened or averted.

Brother jg was good enough to give me props for fulfilling my end of a bargain and reading "Making Peace with the Planet" by Barry Commoner. Trust me that was a walk in the park compared to my first paying $3.99 and then watching Inside Job at the request of another Facebook friend.

Inside Job gives us Matt Damon's view of the crisis -- really, isn't that what we have all been waiting for? At the risk of some spoilers, the basic problems were:

  • Greedy Wall Street Guys made too much money;
  • Big bonuses were paid out;
  • Something or other about deregulation. It is not important enough to describe, but understand it is real bad;
  • Wall Street guys snorted coke and saw hookers, missing the moral heights attained by Damon's industry;
  • George Bush was a really bad guy. And dumb, and evil.
  • Wall Street guys made too much money.

"I am John Galt" provides a different version of the story in the context of Randian philosophy (I have to laugh that the authors use the work Randian non-pejoratively).

My reading oscillates between dry factual (okay, dismal) economics and history and boisterous, partisan polemics. IAJG delivers an excellent mix of pointed commentary, factual information, and some well deserved whacks at people who behaved very badly. I suggested I might shave a fractional star for Luskin's chapter on Paul Krugman/Ellsworth Toohey because he was "too close" to the topic. I'll not. Ms. Rand would not pull punches on a second-hander like Krugman and I was wrong to think -- even for a minute -- that Luskin should.

NOTES ON THE REVIEWER'S EDITION: I pre-ordered before the Kindle® version was announced, so I have an honest-to-goodness hardcover copy available for loan to any Colorado ThreeSourcer. I finally met commenter "nanobrewer" who borrowed "Lochner Revisited."

But johngalt thinks:

Hey, can I get a copy of that Inside Job movie instead?

(Hopefully I made somebody spray a mouthful of coffee with that one.)

Dagny asked if I told you we'd like to borrow it and I said, "Not yet." We'll arrange a meeting time when we can buy you guys a Starbucks.

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2011 1:40 AM
But jk thinks:

Great news! You can still rent "Inside Job" from Amazon (mea culpa, it's $3.99).

Book swap and coffee sounds fun, lemme no.

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2011 9:44 AM

GOP Presidential Primary - Memorial Day Edition

Sounding like a cross between Karl Rove and Nostradamus, Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Anderson uses what feels like a goal-driven electoral vote analysis to argue that the GOPs best nominee would be one from Florida, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. And since Rick Santorum "would need to make a big move to get to the top tier" his ideal nominee is therefore, drumroll... Paul Ryan.

Among top-tier prospective nominees, Ryan would have the biggest geographical advantage in a race against Obama. To win the presidency, Ryan would just have to win his home state and hold GOP-leaning Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. That would be it: election over, Obama defeated, Ryan’s pen poised to sign the Obamacare-repeal legislation.

Top-tier? Among reluctant candidates I'd grant that status to Chris Christie or Rick Perry but not Ryan. I'm a big Ryan fan but I don't see where he's higher in stature than, say, Rick Santorum.

As a runner-up Anderson suggests Tim Pawlenty, "but Minnesota would be harder for a Republican to win than Wisconsin, it doesn’t border Michigan, and it’s a little farther removed from Ohio and Pennsylvania."

For my part I think the author has a bit of tunnel vision. I'd say there are many announced and prospective nominees who can, as he suggests, "best [Obama] in a debate without suffering from a clear deficit in personal appeal."

Indeed, more than any other election in recent memory, the 2012 election clearly calls for a candidate who possesses the characteristically Midwestern virtues of prudence, integrity, humility, and​—​most of all​—​fiscal responsibility. Not so coincidentally, it also calls for a candidate who can carry the Midwest, the most crucial region on the electoral map. It almost goes without saying that the candidate who possesses the former can win the latter​—​and, with it, the White House.

Does the future then not look bright for most, if not all possible GOP contenders?

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

I liked the argument that said "The GOP nominee will have to defend the Ryan Plan -- who can do better than Chairman Ryan?"

Then I saw his video. I'll sit still for a video that opens with "Health care was 4.8% or GDP in 1960 [show blue dot with 4.8%]. . . but it was 15.8% in 2006 [larger blue dot with 15.8]" I think Rep Ryan -- Hoss of the highest order -- needs a Gov. Christie to explain his plan without blue dots or the word percentageofgrossdomesticproduct.

I don't know that anybody's left who can. I had hopes for Governor Daniels. Part of me thinks we should nominate Gov Palin and just enjoy the spectacle.

Posted by: jk at May 30, 2011 6:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That splainin' that you're talking about is one of the reasons I like Herman Cain. I think a fellow black man would better capture the attention of more black voters than if Mark Twain himself were to reappear on the scene. It is far too easy for them to dismiss the words of any politician, not to mention a caucasian one. (And the guilty white liberals could benefit from the visage of a black man railing against victimhood.) NED, can you imagine Sarah Palin endorsing him? Progressive apoplexia!

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2011 1:47 AM
But jk thinks:

Mister Cain would work as well.

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2011 9:46 AM

The Day Medicare was Saved!

The residents of NY-26 look back 30 years later on the special election that preserved Medicare as we know it:

As was the practice at the time, Ms. Hochul quickly seized on the notoriety of her race to quit politics and become host of a cable-TV program. Her show was a long-running hit by CNN standards, lasting almost six months. Later, she moved to Asia to help the region meet the needs of its aging populations.

"I will always be grateful to NY-26 voters for their courage in preserving Medicare for today's seniors," Ms. Hochul texted this week from Japan, where she is helping to develop a product called Soylent Green.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

Governor Griz

To quote Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed*, speaking of the GOP nomination: "We could do worse, and probably will..."

I've had my concerns with a certain ex-Governor of Alaska, but the lads at Powerline ask what other politician could meld so naturally with a group of bikers, receive such affection from veterans, and look this good doing it?

Huh? That was a question. ('nother hattip tip Insty)

* Another pre-review corner tease: James Grant's "Mr. Speaker" about Reed is superb.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Heck, if one of the motorcycles broke down, Todd undoubtedly could fix it." Depending on the problem I'll bet Sarah could fix it too.

Powerline still thinks she's not running. "She is never going to win over the fringe voters that will be decisive in 2012." But I thought America would "never" elect a Democrat as overtly Marxist as Obama either.

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2011 2:06 PM

Quote of the Day

That is something, but it is not enough. The Americans who served, suffered and died in Iraq -- and who still serve there today -- changed the world and won a great and a difficult victory. No account of their service, no commemoration of the dead that ignores or conceals this vital truth is enough.
That victory was much more than a dignified escape from a sticky predicament. The coalition victory in Iraq was a historical turning point that may well turn out to be comparable to the cannonade of Valmy. It changed the course of world history. We have not done justice to those who gave their lives in Iraq until we recognize the full dimensions of their achievement. The story of Iraq has yet to be told. It is too politically sensitive for the intelligentsia to handle just yet; passions need to cool before the professors and the pundits who worked themselves into paroxysms of hatred and disdain for the Bush administration can come to grips with how wrongheaded they've been. . . . All wars are tragic; some are also victorious. The tragedies of Iraq are real and well known. The victory is equally real but the politically fastidious don't want to look. -- Walter Russell Mead
Hat-tip: Instapundit. The entire Mead piece, you'll be unsurprised to hear, is worth a full read: Mead comes to terms with his teenage pacifism.
But johngalt thinks:

A moving article. I haven't read it all yet but was struck by the parallels of Iraq with Vietnam though not, from what I've read, mentioned in the article.

Both wars were opposed by the press, but in Iraq the media was at least wise enough not to villify the troops themselves. In Vietnam the administration blinked. In Iraq it did not. (Perhaps John McCain served his nation better as a Senator than as a fighter pilot.) And in both wars, for different reasons, the veterans are ignored by popular culture. It is good and just that we begin to recognize the accomplishment of Iraq War veterans as more than merely "not losing."

I'll excerpt my own quote from the article:

That [Osama bin Laden's] dream died in Iraq.

But on this Memorial Day it is not enough to remember, and give thanks, that Osama's dream died before he did and that the terror movement has been gravely wounded at its heart.

Because the dream didn't just die.

It was killed.

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2011 2:27 PM

May 28, 2011

Drop Everything and Buy This Book

Last time I recommended a book before completing it, it did not end well. Yet, I have a lot more confidence here.

I saw Don Luskin on Kudlow and decided to put down some things I was reading and dive into I Am John Galt which Luskin co-authored with Andrew Greta.

The Introduction is a comprehensive and succinct view of Rand's philosophy. I make the daring prediction that it will generally please every ThreeSourcer. They do not cover a prodigious and productive career in 20 pages, but it is an awesome view from 20,000 feet

It is followed by nine chapters, each about a modern historical figure, paired with the fictional Rand character he represents. Steve Jobs as Howard Roark, Paul Krugman as Ellsworth Toohey...

When I write the real Review Corner I will suggest that Luskin is perhaps too close to Krugman and should have allowed his co-author to pen that one, but that will shave off a small fraction of a star at worst. I post this early so that you can all drop what you are doing and buy this book.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I just dropped what I was doing and bought this book. (Okay, I needed something to get over the super-saver free shipping bar, but I'm looking forward to reading it!)

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 6:37 PM

Rant Contest

A serendipitous review of the "Rant" category on this site revealed that, in its history, we've collectively published just FOURTEEN! Shame on us.

Here is the scoreboard to date:

AlexC- 2
JG- 7
JK- 3
BR- 2

It's a long weekend. The challenge is on!

Rant Posted by JohnGalt at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

What's the score for thoughtful, well reasoned exegeses? Oh, never mind.

Posted by: jk at May 28, 2011 5:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If one reviews the entries in the category he will find that all of them are thoughtful and well reasoned something-or-others. Maybe we'll change the category to "Rant."

I use the label to mean "this is something that has some original content."

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2011 6:31 PM

Great Performance from a Class Athlete

I hope nobody missed Game Seven of the Stanley Cup conference finals last night. That was the best hockey game I have ever seen. Breakneck pace, flawless play, 60 minutes of penalty-free hockey. I tease my soccer loving friends about 1-0 games, but this old goalie was never more enthralled. Two netminders, the sum of whose ages is 78, put on a clinic.

I don't mind a little big-man trash talk from an athlete if he is both successful and funny, but it was a refreshing break to see a classy, respectful post game interview from the big game's hero. After delivering a shutout in game seven, Tim Thomas is more sweetness than swagger, respecting the game and its participants. I was glad to find the video on

Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 27, 2011

Crazy Ass Conservatives

If you need to put together an example of smarmy journalism into a time capsule at your Memorial Day shindig this weekend, might I recommend this archetype from Penelope Green.

Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline "As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each." Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

Fifty Dollar Light Bulbs! Can't those wingnuts read? The bulb could cost as little as $40!

Anyhow, the whole thing is a) Not a problem at all! and b) Is Completely George Bush's fault!

The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

GOT THAT THICKHEADS???? They can still make incandescents, they just have to make them conform to a government design AND STOP SNIGGERING IN THE BACK!!

Hat-tip: Incandescent-Insty, with a link to stock up that profits him directly. Capitalist Pig!

UPDATE: I emailed the Professor asking him how he could seek to profit from light bulb lies and he replied "I'm just a shill for Big Bulb." Heh.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

A while back, I stocked up when my local Home Depot had Philips incandescent 4-packs for 99 cents.

Let's see, a 25-cent/1000-hour incandescent, or a $40/50000-hour LED -- which need tints unless you like bluish light. No wonder it takes several years to break even via lower electricity consumption, and that's if an LED really is reliable. Having used LEDs for the, uh, 27 years I've done electronics, I couldn't count how many I've burned out.

Better count on plugging your lamps into surge suppressors, because one lightning strike taking out incandescents isn't so bad, but how about a dozen LEDs throughout your house?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 28, 2011 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And when your 25-cent bulb burns out in 700 (or 200, or 10) hours instead of its rated 1000 you throw it out and possibly grumble about having to get the ladder out again. When a bulb costing as much as three 12-packs of microbrew burns out in 10,000 hours instead of its rated 50K you're looking for the warranty card and the 800 number and the pro-ration schedule and ...

Aren't these being touted by the same crowd that wants us to consume less and "simplify" our lives?

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2011 5:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The first CFCs I ever bought (which burned out in days) had to be mailed back for "free" replacements. It was years before I dared risk any more, and the only reason I bothered is because one circuit in our house has old wiring that supposedly can't handle more than 60 watts.

Let's also not forget the occasional $2000 mercury cleanup should a CFC break.

"it seems that Bridges was apparently given quite poor advice on this issue because she could have safely cleaned up the broken bulb herself."

I suppose every liberal in the world is ready to prove how safe these minute amounts of mercury are, by breaking CFCs in their homes and cleaning up themselves? These are the same goddamn wackos who warn us about mercury in fish.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 30, 2011 9:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother PE, was there meant to be a link in there somewhere? And it's CFL's. CFC's are what supposedly fried the ozone layer, since debunked if I'm not mistaken.

Oh, and brother Keith, I meant to give you credit for an awesome paraphrase of 'Anthem.' I was seriously prepared to search my electronic copy of that title for the passage that matched your comment.

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2011 1:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Err, yeah, CFLs. Pardon me while I release some hairspray into the atmosphere!

I can't find the link I had meant to include (did I forget to close the tag?), but here's a pro-freedom perspective on the woman who spent $2000 to clean up a broken CFL in her kid's room. There are environmentalists who say, "Oh, the mercury isn't THAT much," but are any of us going to take a chance with our families? I sure as hell wouldn't.

"Just gently clean the glass up, sprinkle with fine sulfur powder, and vacuum it up in a week or two. Or just vacuum it up straight away." Yes, I'm sure we all keep powdered sulfur around, and we can forego the use of a room for a week.

Environmentalists just don't deal with reality, and their goal is to take us with them.

I've only once broken a mercury thermometer, only because I was young and curious if this 1200-degree thermometer could withstand a gas flame. I've never experienced a broken mercury switch. But good lord, dealing with a CFL bulb is almost like handling toxic waste.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 31, 2011 10:27 PM
But jk thinks:

HTML tags fixed. Reasonable rates, top customer service.

It's a link worth fixing.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2011 9:55 AM

Worse than being a goalie...

Italian government officials have accused the country's top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Italy in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:20 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Al-Jazeera, by way of the Onion:

Iranian government officials have accused the country's top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Iran in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people. He was stoned to death and then beheaded, just as was done to the goalie who cause the loss in the game against Italy.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 27, 2011 9:22 PM
But jk thinks:

For many years, ka, I had a quote from Jacques Plante taped to my monitor at work. From memory, something like: "You think you have a bad job? When I make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo."

Posted by: jk at May 28, 2011 10:51 AM

None Dare Call it a Dealbreaker

I cannot imagine that I'd vote for someone who considers Ethanol "an important part of our energy solution in this country"

"I support the subsidy of ethanol," Romney told a potential voter after an event here was cut short by a fire alarm [wasn't me!]. "I believe ethanol is an important part of..."

But his hair looked really, really good.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:49 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Dealbreaker? Implies there was a deal to be broken. Since he and Huckabee were running neck-and-neck for dead last in my list (behind Trump and Giuliani!), no risk there.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 27, 2011 6:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I was prepared to go to the mat for Hizonner in 2008, but got no joy from rumors he was sniffing around in 2012.

Like the "Straight-Talk Express" doing 50 in the fast lane with its turn signal on, Gov. Romney may be -- nay, most likely will be -- the GOP nominee. How many of us will pull the lever for an Ethanol guy who authored ObamaCare®?

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2011 7:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was looking for more reasons to not like Mitt. Much obliged.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 9:11 PM

Tweet of the Day


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

All Hail Taranto

Best of the Web:

How Will They Learn Their Calculus?

Congratulations suckers taxpayers! You just paid $500 Million (or "nothing" in gub'mintspeak) to teach five year olds to sit still in Kindergarten.

"You really need to look at the range of issues, because if a 5-year-old can't sit still, it is unlikely that they [sic] can do well in a kindergarten class, and it has to be the whole range of issues that go into healthy child development," [HHS Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius said during a telephone news conference on Wednesday to announce the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.
And if they get behind in finger painting, how will they learn the skills required to acquire the green jobs of tomorrow?
Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:22 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In loco parentis on meth.

What do we need parents for anymore? Our schools drive the children around, feed them breakfast, feed them lunch, babysit them after class hours are over, teach them safe sex, tell them to narc out their parents for owning guns or voting for McCain, give them social values, show them how to call 911 and Child Welfare if they get sent to their rooms without dessert and MTV, dispense ritalin when they act up, and show them how to get abortions when they get knocked up - and now, they'll deal with the problem of exuberant kids between birth and five.

At some point, they'll have to create a new agency to ensure kids learn how to read, and how to add a column of figures. I'm stunned we don't already have one.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 27, 2011 2:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Green jobs of tomorrow.

[We really need a "Greendoggle" category. The prior post was under "oil and energy."]

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 4:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh? Think there'd be enough stories to justify it?

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2011 4:27 PM

Quote of the Day

Damn you, Joe Biden! I'm supposed to be working right now... But you have to go and say something so profoundly stupid that I'm forced. FORCED I SAY! To take time out of my busy schedule in order to blog about it! Don't you realize how much stuff I've got to do today? -- Larry Correia
I know y'all have to work as well, but the post is worth a break. It is Friday.

May 26, 2011

Republicans Really ARE Mean

Putting up the President's budget for a vote. That's just mean.

They'll probably try to score political points off its 0 - 97 loss.

But johngalt thinks:

Not a single Democrat voted for the Democrat president's budget despite their ability to pass it on a party-line vote. Ouch!

The president need not feel singled out, however. It is only fair to point out that not a single Democrat voted for ANY of the four separate budget proposals brought to the Senate floor this week. So it isn't really the president that they don't like, it's budgets.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 2:02 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at May 27, 2011 10:29 AM

When Hosses Salute

"I worship the ground the Paul Ryan walks on," [VP Cheney] said referring to the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin. "I hope he doesn't run for president because that would ruin a good man who has a lot of work to do." -- Tom Elia at The New Editor
Click through for context on the famous, colorful contretemps between VP Cheney and Senator Pat Leahy.
Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 3:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

Climate Rapture

To piggyback on the well-known "end of the world" story in the news last week I wanted to write something that showed the formulaic identity between doomsday preachers in Christianity and in science, and how both groups of fortune tellers want to empty the wallets of the gullible. Better yet, I decided to wait and watch for someone more eloquent to take up the assignment. Heartland Institute's James Taylor obliges.

Much like Camping is now claiming his May 21 Christian rapture prediction was essentially accurate, but that he was merely a few months off regarding the timetable (news alert: beware October 21, 2011!), the alarmists are now claiming their failed North Pole predictions were essentially accurate, but merely a few years off regarding the timetable. They now claim the Arctic Ocean will be essentially ice free by the year 2020 or 2030. Don't bet on it.

Taylor closes with an important, sad difference that even I had failed to consciously notice.

The list of failed predictions regarding global warming raptures is no less extensive than the list of failed predictions regarding Christian church raptures. There is one important difference, however. The Harold Campings of the world reside outside the Christian mainstream. Among global warming alarmists, the serially wrong rapturists define the mainstream.

How sweet is this for a Facebook headline: "James Taylor says that global warming alarmists have egg on their faces!"

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Global Warming Prognosticators: 'I've Seen Fire, and I've Seen Rain, and I've Seen Melting Icecaps'"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 26, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Somebody did a great and similar riff: how [the author] wished that the failed predictions of the Stimulus were given as much media attention. I'll link if memory returns.

James Taylor looks somehow a lot younger and un-hipper than I recall. I'm going to suggest a stern "read the whole thing" that jg was too polite to include.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2011 3:08 PM

Tyler Cowen, Call Your Office!

About that rational voter, America is finally serious about tough choices, new wave of teaparyism thing... The initial returns are not promising:

We hope Republicans don't believe their own spin that their candidate lost Tuesday's special House election mainly because of a third party candidate or because New York state is hostile territory. They lost because Democrats ran a Mediscare campaign, and the GOP candidate lacked an adequate response.

Democrat Kathy Hochul, the Erie County clerk, won 47% of the vote in a district that was one of only four in New York that John McCain won in 2008. She ran a one-issue campaign against Paul Ryan's Medicare reform, and she had the advantage of not having voted for ObamaCare's $500 billion in Medicare cuts. Ms. Hochul also caught a big, late assist from Newt Gingrich and his own-goal attack on Mr. Ryan's plan.

Republican Jane Corwin, a state legislator, won 43% after saying she would have voted for the Ryan plan but then devoted most of her time to deploring Mediscare tactics rather than fighting back. Ms. Corwin admitted Monday that she let the attacks go unanswered until the last minute, and the House GOP campaign committee was remarkably unprepared for what everyone knew was coming.

I am not, cannot, and will not advise the GOP to shy away from reform to elect a bunch of DeLay-Hastert Republicans. But the WSJ Ed Page is dead on: we need an articulate (clean would be nice) spokesperson that can clearly and quickly explain the peril in the status quo and Democratic Death Panels proposed solutions.

It's going to be a long hard slog, and if the right people do not step up the game is over, we'll enjoy our last years of becoming Greece.

But johngalt thinks:

On the plus side, there's time to craft a winning message before more seats are on the line.

How about: "Democrats want to give you free healthcare. Seniors, of all people, are wise enough to understand that you get what you pay for."

And: "Instead of legislating your health care for you, Republicans want to make you your own congressman - we'll give your tax dollars back and you decide what procedures to spend them on. Meanwhile, we've got your back with this privately purchased group major medical coverage."

I'll leave the commercials to someone with more style than me.

Posted by: johngalt at May 26, 2011 3:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Or a man with more style than all of us put together: President William Jefferson Clinton

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2011 3:53 PM

Quote of the Day

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank admitted he helped his ex-lover land a lucrative post with Fannie Mae in the early 1990s while the Newton Democrat was on a committee that regulated the lending giant -- but he called questions of a potential ethical conflict "nonsense." -- Dave Wedge
111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:58 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 25, 2011

Did I say "Star Power?"

I was among those convinced that Palin will not run for Prez, at least not in '12. Then this:

When it premieres in Iowa next month, the film is poised to serve as a galvanizing prelude to Palin's prospective presidential campaign -- an unconventional reintroduction to the nation that she and her political team have spent months eagerly anticipating, even as Beltway Republicans have largely concluded that she won't run.

Bannon, a former naval officer and ex-Goldman Sachs banker, sees his documentary as the first step in Palin's effort to rebuild her image in the eyes of voters who may have soured on her, yet might reconsider if old caricatures begin to fade. The film will also appeal to staunch Palin supporters who have long celebrated her biting rhetoric and conservative populism yet know little about her record in Alaska and have perhaps written her off as presidential material.

"This film is a call to action for a campaign like 1976: Reagan vs. the establishment," Bannon told RealClearPolitics. "Let's have a good old-fashioned brouhaha."

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

Keeping Score at the Animal Farm

IBD's editorial page has been hitting it out of the park this week, considering the prior Rick Perry piece and the not-newsworthy-enough-for-its-own-post Bibi Schools Obama on Mideast Reality. Then this from Big Surprise: AARP Joins Waiver-gate:

Although not specifically mentioned by name in the rate review rules finalized last Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the rule that exempts Medigap insurance providers is clearly designed to benefit the largest seller of such policies and the biggest lobbyist for ObamaCare -- the American Association of Retired Persons.

So you can add AARP to the list of favored unions, corporations, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's constituents and even entire states such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Nevada that have received exemptions or waivers from various requirements of ObamaCare.


The amount AARP will gain from ObamaCare, with cost-effectiveness mandates that will lead to rationed care, less medical innovation and health care decisions made by bureaucrats rather than doctors and patients, is staggering.

Equally staggering is the brazenness exhibited by the Obama administration and the beneficiaries of what can only be called crony health care.

But jk thinks:

Waiver-gate, that's awesome. I think this might be underappreciated as a good theme for GOP Candidates in 2012.

-- If it is so swell, why do we have to exempt thousands of organizations?
-- Why are all those organizations friends of the Administration?
-- Is it fair to the smaller and less connected organizations that they cannot compete for a waiver?

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2011 7:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Watch out for the converse: "Vote at one of our special "Democrat Ballot Only" polling places and get an automatic PPAA waiver!"

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 9:03 PM

"Star Power" for Republicans?

Another GOP primary hopeful for 3Sourcers to vet... Texas Governor Rick Perry.


Perry would seem to be the perfect candidate for limited-government conservatives and Tea Party people who share his robust view of federalism. The governor's aides have said he would not seriously entertain a presidential bid until the current legislative session ends.

That's at the end of this month. Keep your powder dry.

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:35 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Gov. Perry would be a great addition to the debate and would have a high probability of capturing my support.

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2011 7:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Ask him about the HPV vaccines he ordered for young girls (circumventing the legislature), and how Merck, the maker of that vaccine, has contributed to his campaign.

To hell with that bastard, and I can't mean that enough.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 25, 2011 10:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry reminds -- in his inimitable style -- of a dark moment in the Gov.'s career.

As a fan of more money in politics, I do not dwell on the Merck angle, but mandating these vaccinations in incongruous with my idea of limited government.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2011 10:10 AM

Chairman Ryan Explains Medicare

And, as Jennifer Rubin notes, "He's remarkably effective."

Rubin closes with "The debate is just beginning. Ryan will mount his offensive in the days ahead. And his belief that voters will listen to reasoned arguments on the merits will be put to the test."

There's the exact spot I start to worry. Who's going to watch this but the choir?

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Ryan- "Medicare is a critical program which helps seniors achieve health security."

Sowell- "If the wealthiest segment of the population cannot pay their own medical bills, who can? The country as a whole is not any richer because the government pays our medical bills — with money that it takes from us."

Fortunately, Ryan goes on to explain his market-based reform plan that subsidizes wealthy seniors less. But still...

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeeeeeah, I just caught a glimpse of that guy in the "Life is NOT ThreeSources" T-Shirt. He scurried away before I could make any inquiries.

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2011 3:43 PM

May 24, 2011

Mideast haggling

Israel: The US will trade Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid to you in exchange for Benjamin Netanyahu and a member of the Knesset to be named later. Deal?

Israel Posted by Boulder Refugee at 7:54 PM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice idea BR but you need to offer Israel something it really wants. Instead of our worthless celebrity politicians let's offer them our status as host of the U.N. They could build the new Ivory Tower for World Socialism on the Golan Heights. I'll bet the votes might start to take a different vector soon afterward.

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 2:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG: I'll take that bet. Having America as the host nation hasn't made the votes noticeably pro-America; I don't imagine hanging their shingle in Israel would make them particularly pro-Israel, and a few of the usual suspects would take it as a golden opportunity for some strident Israel-bashing. Of course, there's a critical difference leaning in your favor: in the absence of John Bolton, Israel would be more likely that America to take exception and do something about it.

I would like to see the UN out of New York, and us out of the UN. How's this: we build them, at our expense, a shiny new headquarters in some foreign city that we're likely to bomb into dust someday. THAT might make for some friendlier voting...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 25, 2011 3:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My suggestion of the Golan Heights was that it would be in the path of invading Arab armies, or at least rockets, and this would affect diplomatic opinions through simple self-preservation.

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 4:17 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Still laughing about JK's simile... How big is the bottle of JDH again?

The Arab armies won't come through the Golan Heights - mountainous and easy to defend. Strategic because you can hit Haifa with artillery from them, or going the other way, Damascus. Not that artillery matters much in this day of cruise missiles and smart bombs, but it mattered in 1967.

I kinda like KA's idea of putting the UN in places closer to their mission. Some candidates: Tehran, Lagos, Mogadishu, Kandahar. Maybe they'd get some work done rather than chasing the maids.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 25, 2011 4:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'd favor relocating the UN to the same place we relocated Osama bin Laden. Of course, I'm also the guy who would have favored relocating the UN to Dresden in 1938. That would have either done away with a reason for the war, or firebombed two birds with one stone. Either way, a win.

JG: I value the merits of your strategy, and enjoyed it immensely. My only objection is that, given the respect that others in that neck of the dunes have for UN pronouncements (read: Saddam Hussein's submission to UN sternly-worded letters of consternation), oncoming Arab hordes would disregard the UN the way Germany disregarded the Maginot Line - with the same result.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 25, 2011 5:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So, you're saying the UN and its dupliplomats might get wiped out? Gee, that'd be too bad.

I still say this falls under the heading "win-win."

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 5:57 PM

Club for Growth White Paper

For Governor Pawlenty. Almost every category is "Good and Bad" or "Mixed." But I suggest that a long tenured Governor of a Blue state is likely to have a few historical items that will not please the Club for Growth.

It's a comprehensive paper and I reserve the right to summarize and excerpt a little. But as the field narrows, a good case can be made for reading the whole thing.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

First, Pawlenty tells Iowans that the ethanol subsidies need to come to an end. Next, he goes on record as saying there needs to be big changes to Medicare and Social Security. Where does he go to give that speech? Florida, retiree capital of the known universe:

Definitely going for the Hoss vote, seems to me.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 25, 2011 11:08 AM

Quote of the Day

I recently recommended them to a friend of mine for her son who she said was depressed over his lack of ability to get a date. At first, I started to give the same old tired advice. "Just tell him to be himself and a woman will find that attractive." "Bullshit," I thought to myself. "Give him a copy of 'The Pick Up Artist' by Mystery or 'The Game' by Neil Strauss and let me know how it goes." Two months later? My friend tells me her son is no longer depressed and is dating and learning how to interact with women.

Score one for Mystery and Strauss. Zero for dumb advice on how to "be yourself." -- Dr. Helen

Heh. I was "myself" and while it worked out well in the end, it was pretty sketchy getting there.

Professor Miron!

For all your friends who think you're a crank, but would listen to your goofy ideas were they said by a Harvard Professor:

But johngalt thinks:

Dang, he sounds just like JK!

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 3:02 PM

Donald Luskin's New Book

The hardcover I had preordered arrived last week. I think every ThreeSourcer will at the very least enjoy this video where Luskin connects today's heroes and villains to Rand's fictional ones.

No, I dislike mothers and have never cared for apple pie...

Go get 'em, Gov. Pawlenty:

One of the immutable laws of modern American politics is that no candidate who wants to win the Iowa Presidential caucuses can afford to oppose subsidies for ethanol. So it's notable--make that downright amazing--that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty launched his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination Monday by including a challenge to King Corn.

"The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out," Mr. Pawlenty told a crowd in Des Moines. "We simply can't afford them anymore."

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Pawlenty rose in stature in my eyes for this. I'll admit he entered my top tier of candidates because of this.

I gave him six points our of a possible ten. My sole objection is that the reason he gave is "We simply can't afford them anymore." As if the subsidy would be okay if we were in better financial shape. He'd have earned nine for "There's no Constitutional authority for this policy, and subsidizing any industry - legitimate or questionable - is none of the government's business." Had he said that, and then followed it with "... and this is part of how we got to where we simply can't afford them anymore" would have gotten him the full ten.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 24, 2011 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Unfortunately - did someone mention that the world is not Three Sources - unfortunately, keeping the message simple and "flexible" is what makes Pawlenty more electable than say, Michele Bachmann.

Taking the anti-subsidy stand in Iowa butresses his "the truth, and nothing but the truth" campaign strategy but it is also a good strategy play. If he wins Iowa with this stance he can say, "even Iowans agree with me" and if he doesn't win Iowa he can blame it on their reticence to face the truth. This gives him a longer runway into subsequent primaries if he doesn't soar in the Corn State.

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2011 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

As soon as I find the lyin' sack that says the world is not ThreeSources...

I think we all had the same wince, Brother Keith, and of course I agree 100%. I have no children, but think it sounds like Mom saying "No triple-hot-fudge-sundaes today kids, I left my purse at home..."

Posted by: jk at May 24, 2011 3:11 PM

May 23, 2011

Rare Geppetto Award

The WaPo Fact Checker awards a rare Geppetto (honesty) award to Rep. Paul Ryan (Hoss - WI) and a far less rare single Pinocchio to the President.

Did I mention this was the WaPo?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:06 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day II

Ronald McDonald is merely a convenient symbol. Their true target is a capitalist economy that gives companies far too much latitude in appealing to customers and allows government far too little control over our food choices. The idea of using government power to dictate what we eat will strike many Americans as a gross intrusion on personal freedom. But McDonald's enemies? They're lovin' it. -- Steve Chapman
But jk thinks:

The lovely bride and I invoked the First Lady's name a couple of times as we drove home from Del Taco, enjoying the firm's delightful deep fried mac'n'cheese bits.

It's health food -- in Minnesota they serve it without the nutritious pasta.

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My mouth is still watering over the mention of those fried mac'n'cheese bits. Didn't even know they had those! Gotta go exercise my capitalist lattitude soon, while I still can.

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 6:00 PM

More of them Green Jobs!

Somebody's got to rip out all of those ineffective, illegal wind turbines they put up.

Now, according to Watts, another miracle may happen: "A judge ordered the removal of 45 wind turbines on the grounds that planning laws were violated. There was no "general municipal plan" establishing a "reserva del suelo"--i.e., the land was not legally declared appropriate for the erection of wind turbines.

Of course, this will also be portrayed as green job creation, as the judge has ordered that the turbines be demolished, and that the vegetation in the area be restored. That'll be fun, since according to one domestic manufacturer, modern wind turbines are about as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and sit on concrete pads that weigh in the vicinity of 327 tons each and use 15 tons of steel reinforcement.
Kenneth Green suggests Don Quixote might need a little help on these...

But johngalt thinks:

Honestly, this seems like a travesty of justice. After wading through the intermediate links I found the translated original article from Spain.

"The tolerance in this matter leads to an unacceptable situation of fait accompli whereby, without any rules whatsoever and coverage under mere licenses and authorizations, is implemented, more or less, general systems like the one in question, the impact, at least that they behave landscape, "says the judge.

"Coverage under mere licenses and authorizations?" If one can't build something with licenses and authorizations how CAN he build it?

Further insight via Anthony Watts: According to another article going back to January 22nd, Spanish architects from the Autonomous Community (state) of Cantabria complained that windfarms will make it impossible to have the southern valleys declared World Heritage Area, despite the many romanesque churches and buildings making them worthy of that designation.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 3:45 PM

Looks Purdy Good...

So, I guess I'm a Pawlenty Man now!

I like the truth telling. I like "we've had three years of [speeches]."

Hat-tip: Jonah Goldberg who salutes him for getting "Pawlenty of Schmaltz" into a video, yet keeping an ironic denial.

The bombthrowers--no matter how appealing I might find them--have less of a chance to win over the crucial swing voters in November. Someone else might still get in. And someone unexpected will still certainly break out and change their brand in the primaries. But in the meantime Pawlenty's looking better and better, and not just by default.

UPDATE: For those few Republicans not yet ready to throw their dreams in the dumpster and get in line for the man in the nice suit, Ilya Somin has a complementary comparison of Gov. Gary Johnson to Rep. Ron Paul.

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

I liked the teleprompter, "podium with my campaign logo on it" and Greek columns in the background of the balloon and confetti shot.

"Together, we'll change our country. And this time [dramatic pause] it'll be for the better."

This spot is already a changing of his campaign for the better.

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2011 2:04 PM

A Great Leap Backward!

I try to like the Nissan Leaf®. Sure, I have to subsidize its sale to preening Yuppies who make four times what I do, but -- unlike the garage-torching Volt -- the good folks at Nissan developed it with private capital, wagering their innovation resources against the cruel, Schumpeterian vicissitudes of the market. (Yeah, a market distorted by US subsidies, but...)

The Postrellian in me should applaud, but I cannot. My inner Popperian sees this as a trip back to the caves: providing, of course, the caves are within 40 miles, and the weather is good.

The previous day's usage had left me in a pickle. With the 12 miles left and only nine-and-a-half hours charging time at 120V. Of course if I constantly had to remind myself, if I had a 240V charging station at home this would be a non-issue as the Leaf would have been completely full. However, my situation as it was, the Leaf was perhaps a hair over 40% charged when I left for work with the range indicator displaying 59 miles, hopefully enough for my 57 mile drive.

Since I needed all the juice I could get to make it to Burlingame I decided to forgo the pre-heating and let the Leaf charge to the very last second. Fortunately this morning was a hair warmer than the day previous being a brisk 40 degrees. Unfortunately the temperatures and humidity conspired to fog the windscreen. Without sufficient power to make it to work and use the defogger, I chose to defog the old-fashioned way: windows open.

Maybe someday they'll develop transportation that can be quickly and safely refueled.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Or roadside hazard indicators that don't require electricity...

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I also like to remember that these are on brand new batteries, motors and drivetrains. Three years in the elements, I don't know this thing will make it out to buy beer.

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 1:29 PM

Quote of the Day

Observation number two: Some of the 'In' candidates have had problems lately. Rick Santorum got called out for saying that John McCain doesn't understand enhanced interrogation techniques. The best that can be said about that is that it was not a tactful way of making what might have been a legitimate argument. Herman Cain, whose performance at the first Republican debate impressed Frank Luntz's focus group, showed today that he doesn't have the faintest idea what the right of return means. That's a pretty high level of ignorance on foreign policy. As for Newt Gingrich, one might say he had a better week than Dominique Strauss-Kahn. -- Michael Barone on the state of the GOP 2012 race.

May 22, 2011

Remember the Sudetenland

President Obama addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference this morning, days after giving away Israel's most valuable bargaining chip in a negotiation that Israel's "peace partner" has no interest in negotiating over. As is usually the case, his error lies in his premise.

Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties. (Applause.) And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. (Applause.) No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. (Applause.) And we will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements. (Applause.)

I suppose this has never been tried before. Nobody ever thought to "demand" that Israel's enemies not attack her. It does seem so simple doesn't it? Perhaps a written agreement not to invade, signed by the recognized leader of the portending aggressor would be of more value if it included such a "demand." What a different world it might be if only Neville Chamberlain had thought of this.

Instead, Chamberlain presided over an agreement that handed over the The Sudetenland to the Germans. "The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans" and "was of immense strategic importance to Czechoslovakia, as most of its border defenses were situated there, and many of its banks were located there as well."

History repeats.

Cain Doctrine

Herman Cain appeared exclusively on Fox News Sunday [no video yet] with Chris Wallace this morning, fresh off the announcement that he will run for the GOP presidential nomination. After discussing Cain's rhetorical flourish that after he is elected president Americans will be "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty we are free at last! Again!" they discussed Cain's position on some specific issues.

Don't raise the debt limit. "Pay the interest on the debt first, make sure we take care of our military and their families, thirdly make sure that people that are getting Social Security checks get paid, and then fourth make sure that people's Medicare bills get paid. Then you look at everything else and that's where you start cutting."

Replace the income tax with a 23% Fair Tax. Wallace reported that President Bush's 2005 commission on tax reform said the Fair Tax won't work. "Chris, they were dead wrong. When I heard the commission make that assessment of the Fair Tax I was screaming. Other people who knew something about the Fair Tax were screaming. We never got an opportunity to explain. What they did was that they changed some of the assumptions in the actual bill. This is how they come up with those outrageous numbers."

On foreign policy: [Wallace] "You say that President Obama threw Israel under the bus. You say the Cain Doctrine is don't mess with Israel, if you mess with Israel you're messing with the U.S." What would President Cain offer the Palestinians to make peace?"

Nothin'. Because I'm not convinced the Palestinians are really interested in peace. If the Palestinians come to the table with Israel with a genuine offer that the two of them can sit down and negotiate, the United States would in fact try to facilitate that negotiation. But if we look at history it has been clear that the Palestinians have always wanted to push Israel for more, and more and more. I don't agree with that.

I don't either.

They did not discuss economic protectionism.

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 12:42 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Saw it last night. Again, I liked a lot of what you liked but I don't think I'm on the Cain Train.

Energy Independence is a dog whistle for economic protectionism. He does not wear a T-Shirt that says "Proud Protectionist, Member Since 1983" but the suggestion of energy independence is a symptom. Again, a former Chairman of the KC Fed should know better.

He had a Governor Palin moment on "Right of return" that was pretty disturbing as well. First: deer in the headlights, second: would you repeat the question, third: an improvised answer that does not really match the topic.

I don't know what you do when you are a candidate and get a question that truly flummoxes you. That's hard to coach around. But I was in visceral pain watching him struggle to provide the worst answer ever. "Sure, they can return..."

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The "R of R" moment wasn't particularly inspiring but here is the glass half-full view: When professional politicians are faced with a question they can't answer (for whatever reason) they go into the double-talk song and dance. Cain didn't, since he isn't, at least not professionally. Which means it's more likely that he means what he says, when he says something.

I thought he ended it pretty well with "like everything else, this is for the parties to negotiate." I'd have preferred "they don't have a 'right' to anything" but I'm just funny that way.

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2011 1:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And as a sweetener, how about a Cain-West ticket? (Allen, not Kanye.) He could be Herman's foreign policy fix. And how could the black vote pass that up! Talk about role models.

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2011 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Make in Kanye and I'm in.

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 3:30 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

I believe this one is worthy of elevation to the senior "Quote of the Day" franchise but I must let JK decide...

In reply to AlexC's FB entry on yesterday's scheduled rapture which read,


If you're response to the Rapture is to say you're here, well, you haven't been raptured... aka "Sinners"

It's the people who haven't posted on Facebook after 6pm that you need to double check on... aka "potential Saints"

Commenter Jose Garcia wrote:

Just got my Wi-Fi hooked up. Heaven is totally underrated!
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at May 22, 2011 12:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Funny. When I read it the first three times the word "underrated" appeared in my brain as "overrated." Apparently the wi-fi there is free, always available and always streams video without dropouts.

Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2011 1:52 PM


A fulsome ThreeSources Huzzah to blog friend LisaM on her election to Upper Providence Township Supervisor.

I talk a lot, but am proud to salute a couple of our frequent commenters who do the hard work of standing for office and spreading the ideas we believe.

Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Noticed this on FB yesterday. Good job! Next it will be Representative Mossie, Senator Mossie, President Mossie!

Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2011 12:00 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Thanks guys! I've still got a general election to win and a Democratic opponent to overcome, but beating the two-term incumbent and current chairman of the board by 2 to 1 feels pretty darn good!

Posted by: Lisa M at May 23, 2011 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

ThreeSources regrets the error but remains confident in an accurate projection...

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 6:06 PM


Daniels Decides Against Presidential Run

Four more years of socialism.

The GOP might take the Senate, but the blog optimist is officially giving up.

UPDATE: I'm adding the "Hoss" category to this post. A guy who could say no to protect his daughters is -- sadly -- the exact kind of guy we need.

2012 Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 10:22 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Deepest condolences, brother. I think he had the right ideas but I wasn't confident he could win in the tee vee age. In a whistlestop campaign he'd have been a world-beater.

I'm sitting here this morning reading an invitation from His Presidentialness, Mitt Romney, to join his conservative team as a Charter Member (just send 35 bucks or more). He says he believes in America. He says he is sick and tired of BIG GOVERNMENT. [emphasis his]

Too bad he's apparently still fond of medium-big government.

Unlike most in the TPM I don't demand that Mitt repudiate Romneycare. I'd be satisfied with, "Hey, it wasn't my first choice, but the liberal legislature in my state was determined to provide single-payer healthcare to their liberal constituents. So I did everything I could to make it a system that could work economically. As one of the "laboratories of democracy" in these fifty United States, ours would be an example of the best that single-payer healthcare can be. Predictably, health care costs have risen in Massachusetts, as they would rise in any state where individual care is further distanced from individual cost. Let my state serve as an example to other states, but under no circumstances can our federal government follow in these footsteps that the tenth amendment reserves only to the several states. That would be, and is, UNCONSTITUTIONAL." [emphasis mine]

Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2011 11:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Guess I'm in the Cain camp. I did not expect this.

There are a few things Gov. Moisturizer could say, but one he will. The WSJ gang on TV yesterday pointed out that his career as a flip flopper make it especially difficult .

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2011 12:57 PM
But jk thinks:

That's "none he will"

On the phone...

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2011 1:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I believe all of us supported Mitt in '08. I know I did, and I know he won the CO primary. What's changed? The TEA Party exists now, and Obamacare exists now, but Romneycare was a proven failure even then.

Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2011 1:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope. I don't say it out of great pride, but to correct the record: Feb 04, 2008:

I understand my friend and blog brother JohnGalt will be caucusing for Governor Romney tomorrow and I will make one more play for his vote -- this time for Senator McCain.

BTW, the research for this was extremely entertaining: GOP 2008 Primary Category, preserved for the ages....

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2011 6:16 PM

May 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

And even if he does, so what? Everybody knows what McDonald's is all about. If you don't want your kids eating it, don't take them there. If you don't want other people's kids eating it, move back to Nazi Germany. -- Jim Treacher


Unoriginal, but I don't care:

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 20, 2011

Jon Stewart Actually Funny

Not quite enough to embed, mind you, but I'll link to Prof. Mankiw's. Stewart takes some good whacks at Monsieur DSK.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

Professor Miron!

Nobody's around on Friday afternoon. I can sneak in some of my pro-heroin nonsense!

UPDATE: My brothers won't like the domain ( on the url of this, but I gotta: "Marine Survives Two Tours in Iraq, SWAT Kills Him"

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 3:23 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

I've been leaning your way for quite some time but the opinion of my cop brother-in-law kept me from commiting. This exchange with my hero, Judge Napolitano, helped me realize that cops can still bust drug users for the other crimes they commit while under the influence. And if they aren't commiting any other crimes there's no public harm done. (The private harm still exists but that's for others to be concerned with - his friends and family.)

I'll let you know if I can convince the cop.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2011 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

"The presumption in our free society should be that people get to do what they want so long as they are not actively harming other people by so doing." (~0:30)

Not knowing your brother-in-law ("Fife, did you say? F-I-F-E?"), I can see that law enforcement professionals would miss this great tool for use at their own discretion. But long-term, I cannot help but feel a relationship with the civilian population based on liberty and trust would serve both better.

Good luck!

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2011 4:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I was actually thinking he could base a run for Mayor of Los Angeles on the concept. [And since I'm typically such a sarcastic SOB I must say] "seriously."

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2011 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah. But he's our sarcastic SOB -- cut him the hell down!

Posted by: jk at May 21, 2011 4:10 PM

A Tagline for the Brochure

Of course, most battery-powered vehicles can be plugged into a conventional wall outlet, making it possible to recharge them -- slowly, at least -- almost anywhere.
You can recharge them slowly almost anywhere! Where do I sign?

Hat-tip: Insty, from an interesting post on buyers' being more influenced by savings than environmental factors. Yeah, I know, the lies these oil company shills print...

We Don't Need No Thought Control...


makes me really glad I have no children, and that they would not attend LAUSD shools if I did.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 2:52 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"... START taxing the rich?" What?

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2011 3:58 PM

Hoss Nominee

The Post-Clinton (That would be President William J, not his wife) GOP Wave produced some colorful characters. But I am wondering how many of them have reached potential. Speakers Livingstone and Hastert leave a tarnished legacy. Speaker Gingrich's calamitous first weeks as a 2012 candidate do not inspire with the vigor of '94. John Kasich has a good gig as Governor of Ohio. I still think of him highly but wince at his 2000 Presidential run. I was supportting him strongly and he went on at great length in a debate about the importance of the Federal Government placing the Ten Commandments in every Public School classroom. Ow, that still stings.

I am going to suggest Leader Richard Armey as The Hoss of the Class of 1994. Some of his lobbying work did not go down well with the cognoscenti, but a fella has to eat, and the First Amendment is clear on our right to petition the Government.

He was one of the first and the few to embrace the Tea Party movement, coauthoring a manifesto. And he is at it today on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, underlining the importance of choosing a 2012 candidate who supports vigorous entitlement reform:

Instead of throwing grandma off a cliff, we are trying to save grandma's Medicare. The case for reform has gotten stronger since 1995. Spending, borrowing and debt are all far greater problems now. Global bond markets are now openly skeptical of Washington's ability to pay its creditors, as evidenced by Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of U.S. debt from "stable" to "negative." Such a downgrade would make higher borrowing costs and a painful fiscal restructuring likely, unless large spending reductions are enacted soon.

We go into this fight on much better ground than 16 years ago. There was no tea party then. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that three-fifths of Americans want a balanced budget. And according to a recent FreedomWorks poll, conducted by Luntz Global, 78% of swing-state voters think "no spending should be off-limits," while 88% believe entitlement reform is "urgent and necessary."

Mr. Ryan has bravely started a debate the country needs, putting forth a proposal that fiscally conservative, limited-government reformers can strongly support. If we could improve on his plan in just one respect, it would be to give seniors still more choice and control.

I'll second that emotion, Smokey. I cannot imagine supporting a status quo Republican in 2012.

Draft Christie?

LATimes editorialist John Phillips will be here all week:

It's now official, the only body with a higher dropout rate than the Los Angeles Unified School District is the 2012 Republican presidential field.

Just this weekend we learned that two first-tier GOP contenders decided to take a pass on making a run at the White House. One of them is a hokey entertainer who hosts a boring television show featuring washed-up celebrities -- and the other is Donald Trump.

<rimshot />

I'm still heartbroke from 2008. I thought that every...single...reason that Phillips enumerates for a successful draft Christie movement applied to Secretary Condoleezza Rice (well, maybe not the one about fried meat on sticks...) And I sat at home on prom night waiting for a phone that never rang. Sniff.

Think about it, if you want to convince someone to do something they claim they don't want to do, having a never-ending parade of very smart, very wealthy people sweet-talk them into 'saving the country' will do the trick every time. It's the most persuasive route you can take, outside of a rag soaked in chloroform.

I am second to none in my appreciation for Governor Christie's clarity and candor. If he throws his hat in, I'll put up a yard sign in my concrete deck, get out the checkbook, and possibly get his visage tattooed on my head.

But I try to learn from my mistakes, and I am looking for somebody wants to run. Like Governor Daniels (a much less painful tattoo...)

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 19, 2011

He Said, He Said

Osama bin Laden:

But he urged Muslims to seize the moment. “A delay may cause the opportunity to be lost, and carrying it out before the right time will increase the number of casualties,” he said. “I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, with permission from Allah.”

President Barack Obama:

The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now. I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.

Government by Whim

I wanted to write here today that "I hereby call out Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to apply for an Obamacare waiver for the entire state of Colorado." After all, another path to repeal, thought I, is for the entire country to be waived from the law's requirements. Needing a foundational article upon which to rest my "great idea" I found Mona Charen:

A few wags [ouch!] have suggested that the HHS grant the rest of the country a waiver and be done with it. But the implications of what Professor Richard Epstein has called "government by waiver" aren't funny. As Congress has ceded more and more power to regulatory agencies, the opportunities for abuse of power multiply. Writing in National Affairs, Epstein notes that among the companies and entities that successfully sought waivers from Obamacare's provisions were PepsiCo, Foot Locker, the Pew Charitable Trusts, many local chapters of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and numerous public-employee unions.

But, asks Epstein, "(W)hat about employers who do not have the resources to navigate the waiver process? What about those lacking the political connections to make their concerns heard in Washington? And what happens when the one-year waivers run out? Will they be renewed? Under what conditions? And what rights will insurers have to waive then in order to avoid going out of business?"

The world of Obamacare is no place for the little guy.

The danger of waiver power is that it will be used differentially, giving one private entity a competitive advantage over another. The company denied a waiver can bring suit -- but litigation is expensive and slow.

Additionally, companies may fear government retaliation: "It is no accident that it is often public-interest groups or patient groups that take on the FDA, for instance. It is simply too risky for a pharmaceutical company with multiple applications before the agency to challenge one action if it is vulnerable to a government-induced slowdown on another," writes Epstein.

So it isn't just the threat of tax hikes that makes the Obama Administration such a threat to American free-market liberty; or massive deficit spending, or hostility to energy production or the subjective law of appointed judges or the proliferation of unelected "Czars" or any of the other "gangster government" ploys the administration has so quickly and expertly embraced. It is the 2000-pages of statutory "we can do what we want" called the Patient Protection and Affordability Act that makes these government bureaucrats so dangerous.

Full and complete repeal is the only answer.

Sure Glad I don't know any Republicans!

They're just plain mean!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 9:10 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

A few counterpoints:

Nearly half of Medicare recipients have incomes GREATER than $28,000 per year.

(The national debt per citizen is over $46,000.)

In 2006 the median income for all Americans, regardless of Medicare beneficence, was $32,000. Median income of Medicare recipients is therefore $4,000 less than non-recipients. Since they're more likely to own their homes this hardly seems a hardship.

Finally, the actress in this demagogic video is clearly over 55. The Ryan plan has NO EFFECT on her.

Shut up hippies. Obama sucks. (Reid too.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2011 2:12 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Nice to know that the Democrats don't go for any of those mean-spirited scare tactics like the evil Republicans.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 19, 2011 10:11 AM

Quote of the Day

[Democrat state Sen. Judith] ZAFFIRINI: Rick Perry doesn’t understand higher education. He doesn’t have a graduate degree, and he graduated a long time ago with a major in something like agriculture. I have a PhD, so I understand the value of research and teaching. He just doesn’t understand it. In the legislature, we’re used to dealing with regents who love their universities, who bleed orange or red or whatever their colors. These new regents appointed by Perry don’t seem to have any school spirit. They seem suspicious and cynical. They haven’t taken time to understand what the status quo is; they just want to change it.
So hard to be so smart in a world of buffoons, isn't it Doctor Z?
Education Posted by John Kranz at 8:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

First of all, Strauss-Kahn has evidently gotten away with treating the fairer sex as his playthings for some time. No wonder his nickname among the French is "le grand seducteur," which I believe roughly translates to "the short, tubby serial rapist." -- Ann Coulter
But johngalt thinks:

According to Rush Limbaugh, the somewhat confusing French name 'Dominique Strauss-Kahn' has an easier to remember translation into English: Bill Clinton.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 11:31 PM

Score one for JK

JK and The Refugee have sparred from time to time regarding the appropriateness of police using overwhelming force in no-knock raids. It has now been fully five days since the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that homeowners have no right to resist law enforcement entry into their house, whether the raid is legal or illegal, with or without a search warrant.

The Refugee has been cringing, waiting for JK to drop the hammer on his head like the Sword of Damocles. Well, he can no longer take the suspense and will stipulate for the record that this ruling is outrageous. Here is a pretty good post on Hot Air by Bruce McQuain regarding the ruling.

Nanny State Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:06 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Me? Take advantage of a situation?

Reason folk have made a big deal out of this, mostly to discredit a certain Governor who nominated the third judge in the 3-2 vote.

I agree it is a good debate question; it is presented as incontrovertible proof that he is unfit for office. I'm a bit more disturbed by his suggestion that jail time is appropriate for a crime he himself was fined $350 ("Daniels's Pot Luck," headline if the day candidate).

While I would -- of course -- move to protect Hoosiers' 4th Amendment rights, I'm more interested in reducing the number of no-knock raids than in fine-tuning the rules for the unlucky homeowners.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2011 5:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

At least said no-knock raids were under the authority of a judge's warrant. Now, per a prior ruling by the same Indiana court, police can enter without knocking ON THEIR OWN PREROGATIVE. No judge's consent is required.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 11:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Arnold's Law #9: Violators of the Fourth Amendment will, tragically, learn the reason for the existence of the Second.

Like the Refugee, I am also cringing, but at the mixed metaphor, something just a mite out of place in his usually erudite prose. "Drop the hammer on his head like the Sword of Damocles"? Unless that was a reference to "I slice like a hammer," I am nonplussed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 19, 2011 1:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Aw c'mon, Keith, it was a similie, wrapped in a metaphor, preceded by an evocative verb. Get it right already!

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2011 2:20 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Keith, with that admonition I will slink back into my lair like the sun retreating from the forest on a warm winters day. And I remain nonminused.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 19, 2011 10:08 AM


The Mises Institute

Posted by John Kranz at 2:55 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Looks like my kinda guy! Seems I have some more entries for my reading list.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 4:03 PM
But jk thinks:

You would dig his definition and defense of property rights. He goes into some Rothbardian anarchy ghettos where I cannot follow, but he is a clear thinker and brilliant writer.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2011 4:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Speaking of great graphics, Herr Hoppe adorns my favorite T-shirt.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2011 4:36 PM

Limericks Économiques

Answers Professor Mankiw's Connundrum:

Said a Harvard professor of econ,
"That Google's got something unique on:
They have cash by the score,
Yet still borrow more;
This is something I've puzzled all week on."

Said an expert in cross-border taxes,
"I should hope the professor relaxes;
As Google keeps cash
In an overseas stash,
'Til taxation here wanes and not waxes."

Britain Imports the 17th Amendment

The toughest sell in the liberty handbook is "Tyranny of the Majority." Majority rule, democracy, self-determination, one-man-one-vote, apple-pie, motherhood... You're against ALL of these?

I dreamed the classic liberal pipe dream of repealing the 17th Amendment until the Ken Buck campaign for Senate in 2010. Buck had made a casual comment once, speaking to the Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce. It was (sadly) not in any way part of his platform or stump speeches. Yet the attacks came faster and furiouser than bad action movies: "Buck wants to rewrite the Constitution!" "Take away YOUR right to vote!" "Kick Puppies!" You get the idea.

Reading Eric Posner's "The Executive Unbound," he and co-author Adrian Vermeule lament the "plebiscitary Constitution" yet maddeningly fail to fault the 17th Amendment's part in this ignominious trend. Gene Healy does a far better job in "The Cult of the Presidency." If you start with a bent against it as I did, Robert Caro's "Master of the Senate" shows how the changes in the Senate under Lyndon Johnson were enabled by Senators' requiring support in popular elections. As a bonus, Caro describes how Tailgunner Joe McCarthy threatened those who would moderate his attacks with electoral opposition.

But this idea remains a hard sell, perhaps because it is so easy to demagogue. The UK House of Lords is flirting with it:

The current system, in which the government appoints peers for life more or less at whim, has seen the chamber grow to more than 800 members. It has become a vehicle for political patronage and favors.

That system is surely unsustainable, which is perhaps why Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg--fresh from the beatings he's taken in local elections and this month's referendum on the alternative-vote system--now proposes elections for the Lords in 2015, at the next election. But while the idea may offer political opportunities for the LibDems, it's bad for Britain and could well become the occasion of a constitutional crisis.

The current House of Lords shares one great virtue with the hereditary system it replaced--the very arbitrariness of the upper house's membership means that it is no threat to the House of Commons. Likewise, appointed peers lack any mandate to do more than advise and delay. Their very weakness gives them a clearly defined, and clearly limited, role in the governance of the country.

Elected Lords would suffer no such democratic deficit. Indeed, if the votaries of proportional representation are to be believed, a House of Lords elected by proportional representation would have more democratic legitimacy than the first-past-the-post members of the Commons

No, guv, don't!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

One need not mention the 17th Amendment to draw charges of "denial of franchise" from the Proletariat. Just try to implement any measure to dissuade voter fraud and you'll get the same response.

"President Obama was swept into office with overwhelming support from newly registered voters, minority voters and youth voters. I suppose it's not a surprise, then, that heading into the 2012 election, these are the groups who will be most affected by these restrictions."

But even the 17th Amendment effort isn't what defeated Buck. It was his absolutist opposition to abortion that the didn't-really-need-to-be-very-clever Michael Bennet hammered the airwaves with on election eve.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 4:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Let us admit that our beloved candidate had a couple of problems...

But the ferocity with which a casual, dated, and inconsequential remark was attacked is a lesson I will internalize. A serious expression of this belief would require a rigorous and serious defense. I think it would make legalizing heroin look like an easy sell.

I sometimes forget the world is not ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2011 4:31 PM

May 17, 2011

Actually, This Makes The Onion Thing Look Smart

I laughed at the idiocy of government's banning futures trading on onions. Damned Vidalia Speculators!

But, looking at the "Bust Big Oil's Chops Act of 2011," it is looking like the definition of wisdom. Let's look at the AP take:

WASHINGTON -- The Senate is voting on a bill Tuesday that would repeal about $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies, a Democratic response to $4-a-gallon gasoline that might fare better when Congress and the White House negotiate a deal later this year to increase the government's ability to borrow.

The bill is expected to be defeated in a procedural vote in the evening. But Democrats hope to build their case to include the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration. Lawmakers from both parties are demanding deficit reduction as part of deal to increase the government's ability to borrow and avoid an unprecedented default on U.S. Treasury bonds.

"Why should Americans pay at the gas pump once and then give these subsidies to the oil companies a second time?" said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D- Nev. "We believe we need to cut government spending," he said, adding, "The place to start is with these subsidies."

The choir may quietly text their girlfriends while I rant, but I cannot leave this one alone. Is there anything in those first three paragraphs that makes any logical sense?
  • "a Democratic response to $4-a-gallon gasoline" If a company (or five)'s price is too high, raise their taxes. This makes the underpants gnomes' business plan look contiguous. "Now that our taxes are higher, we will be able to lower prices! Everybody wins!"
  • "But Democrats hope to build their case to include the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration" Okay, this one actually parses and makes sense. The bad news is that it represents $2 Billion out of a deficit of $1.5 Trillion, and a debt of $14.5 Trillion. "Hooray! Sec Geithner will have six more minutes until he hits the debt ceiling! Crisis averted!!"
  • "Why should Americans pay at the gas pump once and then give these subsidies to the oil companies a second time?" Umm, Mister Leader, when you pay at the pump, you are purch-as-ing their product. When you "give them subsidies," you -- no, wait you really don't give them subsidies at all, Senator, you're making this whole thing up.

This is their contribution to the spending crisis. A pissant $2B tax hike that is as much a Bill of Attainder as anything else.

And yet, this party is still taken seriously.

But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the thorough take-down of the BBOCA of 2011. I'm on record opposing all subsidies, and if oil companies still get any legacy subsidies I say wipe 'em out and show how the oil bidness is self-sufficient. But when I found out the Dems "subsidies to big oil" are merely the itemized deductions that every other corporation and individual is entitled to claim on their byzantine tax liability negotiating document (e.g. 1040) I had to pick my chin up off the floor. "Fine Mr. Majority Leader, go ahead and eliminate all itemized deductions, but not just those for five corporations who make one of the most important products on earth" (you blubbering pissant.) Damn, I'm really hatin' on the NRA 'bout now.

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2011 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

They're nothing if not good demagogues. They have successfully hitched their wagons to anti-subsidy sentiment.

My dear Facebook friends equate these manufacturing depreciation allowances with the market-distorting giveaways to the wind and solar industries. Again, if you can disregard a three or four magnitude difference, I suppose they are somewhat similar.

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 7:28 PM

OMG: Cain defended TARP!

But it's not as bad as it sounds. He actually does a good job of it.

I had to go looking for some details about Herman Cain's alleged protectionism (sure yer not thinking of that Trump guy?) First hits on my search took Cain to task not for tariffs, but for TARP.

CATO's Dan Mitchell writes on his blog that Newt Gingrich Is Reprehensible…and Herman Cain Has a TARP Problem

I've already said nice things about Herman Cain, but someone needs to ask him whether he still thinks TARP was a good idea, as he wrote back in 2008.
Wake up people! Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could make a profit while solving a problem. But the mainstream media and the free market purists want you to believe that this is the end of capitalism as we know it. ... These actions by the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank and the actions by the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are all intended to help solve an unprecedented financial crisis.

I'm not implying that this is a kiss-of-death revelation for Cain. Many people thought we had to recapitalize the banking system, but didnt realize there was an alternative that didn't involve bailing out well-connected shareholders, bondholders, and managers.

I was opposed to TARP at the time, and since, but very wise people whom I greatly respect maintain to this day that TARP was necessary. I'm not ready to flame Cain over this. Especially when the same guy had such good things to say about Cain's 5-Point Plan for the Economy. TEA Party voters would do well to remember the distinction between TARP and the Obama Stimulus Bill.

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I defended TARP -- guess I'll never be President even though I have an official birth certificate dated long after Colorado became a State.

I leveled the protectionist charge against Mister Cain and I am referring both to China bashing and to an enforcement-heavy view of immigration reform.

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 4:10 PM

Chart of the Day

I saw this on Stossel last week. I did know that it was illegal to trade futures contracts for onions. Should we open one in Ireland? Maybe a seasteading Vidalia Merc, like Pirate Radio?

The powers that were could not tolerate those evil speculators driving the price up. So, in 1958, it was outlawed. I wake up every day thinking government has lost the power to astonish me, and I am nearly always proven wrong.

So, derivative foes, you got your wish. How's that hopey-changey unhedged commodity market working for you:

Ouch -- it looks a lot more volatile than oil. Huh...

Quote of the Day

Time to dust off the francophobe "Let them Eat Cake" category:

Meanwhile, while Bernard-Henri is scandalized that a mere chambermaid can get a "great" man like Strauss-Kahn in trouble with the law merely by credibly accusing him of sexual assault, I am proud to live in a country where a housekeeper can get a world leader pulled off a plane bound for Paris. If something like that couldn't happen in France, then shame on France and shame on Levy for thinking otherwise. -- Jonah Goldberg

But johngalt thinks:

And I'm proud to live in a country where a "mere" daughter's killing by her father is met by justice.

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2011 3:49 PM

Whither Emmanuel Goldstein?

Frank Fleming has a funny post today on America's need for a more sophisticated enemy. After defeating Britain, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the porn-addled cavemen in nowheresville don't seem to measure up.

Yes, they have a plan of world domination, but does anyone really take it seriously? Do they even take it seriously? I mean, if they did somehow conquer the West -- and it's hard to even come up with a science fiction scenario in which that would be possible -- where exactly would they get their porn from? The Taliban? They might eventually make some of their own porn, but then they'd stone to death all the women involved, which would make it a hard industry to keep going.

And after ten years, what was the new plan of Osama bin Laden, the great terrorist mastermind? Orchestrate another attack on U.S. soil to get America to leave the Middle East. Yeah, because 9/11 totally made America say to itself, "Let's leave the Middle East alone." Didn't Osama pay even the slightest attention to the outcomes of his previous schemes, or was he just non-stop preening himself for new videos and watching pornos? He had all this time, and the plan never evolved past:

PHASE 1: Randomly blow stuff up.
PHASE 2: ???
PHASE 3: Islamic domination of the world.

Beneath the humor, as I hope sometimes around here, there is a point. And I am not sure Fleming is actually voicing it. But is our 21st Century military the right tool for anti-terrorism? I'm finding myself drawn to the Penn Jillette view: live freely, celebrate the loss of free life to terrorism as heroic. Modified to include the Fleming Doctrine:
As for Islamic terrorists, they'd be back to their normal position as a persistent, annoying side threat that we're already well familiar with how to handle: shoot 'em in the head, chuck 'em in the sea, confiscate their porn.

Hat-tip: Insty (Welcome home, Professor!)

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

I did Mister Jillette no favors with that paraphrase. If I may clarify, the question is the loss of liberty associated with airport security.

"No one can make any form of travel 100 percent safe. We'll take our chances. As for the victims of a security-free transportation system? Let's consider those terrorism victims heroes," [Jillette] writes. Let's say they died for freedom. They didn't die for us to have our phones tapped and have our time wasted at airports."

For the larger, current question of the Afghanistan and Iraq missions: I would happily point out that we took out a huge hunk of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership, not just OBL after ten years.

As for prosecuting it non-militarily, I would point out that the Embassy Bombings were followed by the Cole attack, The first World Trade Center attack by 9/11. Yet, after sending the military instead of Detective Clouseau, the attacks on American territory were choked to a trickle.

But brothers, I have lost confidence in the efficacy of our nation's extended engagements, especially in Afghanistan. Would it be a lot worse if we had left the week Hamid Karzai was elected?

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 3:54 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

GD, my non-sequitur reference was more the leap of logic than the posting under which it is located. I'm specifically referring to Dr. Paul's attempt to walk back his statement that he would not have authorized the attack on ObL (which is killing his campaign faster than two bullets to ObL's head).

To paraphrase my understanding of his position: "Since we did not get him 10 years ago, I would not have authorized getting him now. But if it had been me 10 years ago, I would have gotten him then. Killing him 10 years ago would have been justice, killing him now is illegal military adventurism that is destroying our liberty." Say wha...??? I'll admit that this is something of a thought montage, but it seems to capture the neck-snapping contortions of logic that he is trying use to remain relevant.

I seem to recall Sen. Kerry, when campaigning against GWB, said that he would have handled Iraq and the war on terror "smarter." Sounds like Dr. Paul is taking a page from the Kerry campaign playbook. The unprovable statement that "Everything would have turned out great with me 'cause I'm so much smarter than the other guy," sounds a lot like someone who does have a clue, IMHO.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 17, 2011 4:40 PM
But gd thinks:

BR, I must admit that I am really struggling with your interpretation of what Ron Paul has said:

"Since we did not get him 10 years ago, I would not have authorized getting him now. But if it had been me 10 years ago, I would have gotten him then. Killing him 10 years ago would have been justice, killing him now is illegal military adventurism that is destroying our liberty."

I do not interpret what he had said as such. I think Paul believes we should follow the rule of law. He believes attacking a sovereign country is an act of war and we should follow the rule of law when it comes to war, which is why he proposed H.R. 3076 back in 2001.

And let’s not make the mistake of thinking that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan as a recent or shocking revelation (see link attached). Just because Ron Paul understood this does not mean he was equipped to resolve it by himself.

Dr. Paul has been the one consistent voice in our Congress for the past 30+ years. He consistently votes “No” on anything that he sees as unconstitutional. Many may disagree with his foreign policy, but those who deem it unworthy of consideration given that we will have spent multiple trillions of dollars is what concerns me most as an economist; especially when I am still not convinced that all of our meddling actually makes us safer or freer. What good is freedom if it comes at the price of economic freedom?

The GOP race is still in the very early stages. Ron Paul may have made a mistake when he criticized the bin Laden assassination so soon after it happened. To render him clueless at this stage, however is myopic, especially when he is still the only candidate that has a proven history of standing for sound monetary policy which I consider to be perhaps the most important issue facing our country today.

Posted by: gd at May 17, 2011 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

GD, you put your finger on the maddening, irreconcilable frustration point between ThreeSourcers in general and Dr./Rep. Paul. I don't talk about us collectively very frequently but I think you'll find wide agreement with his "No" votes, strict adherence to the Tenth Amendment, Limited Government, and principles of liberty.

Yet we come where I started with my book review. I believe that Paul believes his plans for dealing with bin Laden and terrorists in general are superior. But I believe he is mistaken. There were a hundred positive outcomes of our military response. I'll accept debate on which of them were worth which cost, but I do not accept that everything would have been swell.

The most difficult parts of Paul's are when he ridicules the idea that "they hate us for our freedom." Paul cannot accept this has ever happened once, they are all just mad because of American Imperialism and Empire. I'd suggest he might read Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower. Guys who put chicks in bags and then watch porn all day may not be the rational political actors Paul imagines.

But yeah, the Constitution stuff. Yeah! You go, man!!

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 7:43 PM
But gd thinks:

Jk, it sounds like Dr. Paul's convictions on foreign policy are going to prevent him from garnering any of the ThreeSources vote. I think he and many of his followers believe it is hard to spread a religion through an anti-survival means such as suicide, but the psychology of a terrorist is probably something none of us can fathom. While Mr. Paul has my full support when it comes to economic policy and limited Federal government, I do have questions about his foreign policy. I think his position has some merit, but so does the other side. I have not interpreted Ron Paul's foreign policy as a panacea. I would still be comfortable giving his way a chance.

Posted by: gd at May 17, 2011 10:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dr. Ron Paul's convictions on foreign policy are at odds with my convictions on foreign policy. In a nutshell, that policy is: America is a free country of free men conducting free trade with other free men of the world. As a nation we have inalienable rights and legitimate interests and we bear no shame in defending them from any person or state who threatens them. We claim a moral right to intervene in non-free states on behalf of subjugated individuals, but accept no moral duty to do so.

The Libertarian Dr. Paul, on the other hand, has "plagiarize[d] Ayn Rand's principle that no man may initiate the use of physical force, and treat[s] it as a mystically revealed, out-of-context absolute..."

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 3:57 PM

May 16, 2011

Reason on Gov. Daniels

One Step Closer to Running for President And Who Has Great Taste in Books.

That Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has good taste in books is news once again thanks to a republished interview Daniels did last year with Jonathan Rauch of FiveBooks, in which the pocket-sized chief executive shared (what Brian Doherty called) his "hankering for Hayek, fetish for Friedman, and passion for Postrel."


UPDATE: Libertario Delenda Est. The Facebook comments under this Reason piece are a case study in Libertoids. Seventeen commenters "could never vote for" or "Mitch SUCKS!" or "Zzzzzzzzzzzz" or "Dig a ditch and bury himself for all I care!" One of the most credible and liberty minded candidates I can think of in my lifetime, but if he's not the love child of Leonard Read and Jesus, they'll (comment #7) "not vote for Daniels...if he runs....will sit this one out!!!!" That, good people, is why no candidate can ever afford to take the liberty vote seriously. These people are always in a race to be the first to say "I'm staying home! Nobody is pure enough for me this year!"

Not a successful electoral strategy.

UPDATE II: (Comment #14): "Mitch Daniels? Everyone understands that the GOP nomination is a fight between Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul. Mike Huckabee's staff understood this, so they bowed out last week. Both Rep. West's staff & Donald Trump's staff understand this. See, the narrative is set and it is in play: the establishment's dashing slick RINO Vs. the extremely principled Tea Party's champion of the Constitution & sound money."

Ah yes, the Paul juggernaut. Other candidates tremble in fear...

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Change you can BEE-Lieve in

"Bumblebee Power!"

UPDATE: A Real Black Man May Run Against Barack Obama

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

I can certainly see what the Cainiacs like (the UPDATE link is even better). But I have one humongous issue.

As President of the KC Fed, Cain was privy to the thoughts of many, many great economists. If a talk show host or a pizza guy does not understand the benefits of free trade, I'll go easy on him.

But for a Fedhead (they all wear tie-dye) to embrace protectionism and seek to blame our bad policy problems on China means that he has heard and rejected the wonders of free trade and has instead made a conscious choice for populist protectionism. I am cautious of the word "dealbreaker" at this early stage, but that weighs heavily. Governor Huckabee applauded him for it -- need I say more?

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 5:29 PM
But gd thinks:

jk – I agree with you on Cain. He is an eloquent speaker and I would have no problem voting for him over Obama any day, but when I listen to this video I do not hear much tangible. I also enjoy the thought of an African American Republican vs. an African American Democrat, but then I wonder if this is not at least a small form of racism (i.e., to vote for someone because the color of their skin gives them the best chance to beat someone else).

I was perplexed at all the Cain love in the G.O.P. debate in South Carolina. Two of my key takeaways: That government should be run like a business and his foreign policy would be to listen to the advice of his “experts”. One could even quibble about his stance that government should be run like a business. I am not sure the Federal government should be run like a business. Should the Federal government maximize profits?

Posted by: gd at May 16, 2011 6:07 PM
But jk thinks:

With all respect for the good people of The Palmetto State, the SC GOP is the third primary to give voice to social conservatives. I was surpr -- well gobsmacked -- at the focus group's reaction to Cain. But they had all come to see Senator Santorum. Not one mentioned Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. I think it is a substantive wing of the party, but putting them under the ThreeSources microscope might not be appropriate.

I cringe at "run government like a business." All my old Ross Perot nightmares rise out of sequestration. Completely different incentive structure.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 6:24 PM

Review Corner: Rep. Paul is a Crank

It is with great sadness that I post a negative Review Corner for a man who has fought valiantly on the side of liberty and philosophical purity.

Rep. Ron Paul's Liberty Defined is an effective window to "Doctor Paul's" worldview. I mean no disrespect in calling him Rep. Paul over his preferred honorific of Dr. but it is meaningful to me that he has been selected by his constituents to represent them in Congress -- many times, in the case of Paul.

Watching him on FOX News Sunday yesterday, I was ready to buy a VW Bus and campaign across the country for him. He clearly and reasonably articulated complex principles of liberty, and refused to accept several of Chris Wallace's CW premises.

But while I started his book enthusiastically enjoying the serious challenges to my established notions, I found it tedious in the middle and exasperating by the end. Where we differ, he is completely unable to turn it off for a second. I appreciate his trenchant views on the perils of Empire. Until they start showing up in the topics of "Racism," "Political Correctness," and other domestic issues. I imagine running into him on the street and saying "It's a nice day, Doctor Paul," and his responding "It's nice weather if you're not shipped off by some neocons to fight in illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!"

Every essay has to whack at monetary policy and foreign adventurism. Every one. I know -- after 50 essays -- why and how he feels it is all related, yet I think a far more sophisticated level of argument accepts certain disagreeable things and confines discussion to a limited purview. I also bristle at the 30th or 40th mention that my support for Iraq brands me as Straussian Neocon who wants to expand the power of government and has no interest in liberty. Straw anybody? He allows no possible reasonable motives. Sharanskyites really don't want freedom and security, they just want to pump their Boeing stock.

On monetary policy, I am most receptive to the Austrian argument. But even here he cannot nab me because he is loose with the facts. In Paul's world boom and bust started with the Fed. The Panics of 1837, 1907, and presumably the Dutch Tulip craze never happened. Not that we didn't make massive mistakes in monetary policy from 1913 to today, but it is disingenuous to start the clock at that time.

With a heavy heart, I give the great modern disciple of liberty 2.75 stars.

UPDATE: He's right on on the IMF!

"These are the kinds of people who are running the IMF," Paul told Chris Wallace, "and we want to turn the world's finances and the control of the money supply [over] to them?"

Paul added he hoped the incident "should awaken everybody to the fact they ought to look into the IMF and find out why we shouldn't be sacrificing more sovereignty to an organization like that and individuals like he was." Watch Paul's full interview on the Fox News video below.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [4]
But gd thinks:

j/k, interesting take on Ron Paul’s book. I will have to read it. I have read “Revolution” and “End the Fed”. I thought he sounded a little cranky in “End the Fed” as well, but then I figured that thirty years of dealing with the people running our current system would probably make all of us irritable.

I cannot speak to “Liberty”, but I have never had the impression that Mr. Paul believes a Gold standard would eliminate the “boom and bust” cycle of economics; he just thinks (or at least I do) that the cycles would more infrequent and less dramatic.

Until Ron Paul has lost the Republican nomination I am not going to concern myself with any “he cannot win” media-spin. Everyone else in the Republican Party speaks in generalities and platitudes that I have been listening to for years. Ever notice why a Ron Paul interview is so interesting? It is because there is substance to what he says. I am not seeing anyone else that even comes close.

Posted by: gd at May 16, 2011 4:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Point taken on crankiness, and I certainly give props for clarity and candor in his interviews and debate appearances.

I find myself renouncing my previous dabbling in "National Greatness Conservatism" and fundamentally rethinking Sharanskyism and all traces of neo-Wilsonianism. He's got an open heart and mind sitting in the front pew as it were...

But the ham-fisted rejection of any less-than-evil motives from any friend of American leadership is off-putting. The 20th mention of the iniquitous "neocons" and I thought I was watching Chris Matthews. I appreciate the principle behind his position but he makes no effort to return the favor.

I cannot accuse him of saying that pre-Fed monetary policy had no boom and bust, but I think an honest interlocutor points out "of course, before the Fed there were huge and painful deflationary shocks."

I would be interested in your opinion of the book and happily promise you as much space as you'd like to set me straight if I have erred.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 5:13 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Paul has disappointed me with the Osama thing (he got it RIGHT but for the wrong reason, though that's for a different day), but he's absolutely correct on monetary policy.

Don't mischaracterize his argument as forgetting-Fed days. What he IS saying is that before the Fed, we didn't have severe downturns. The panics you reference were mild compared to today, and while there hadn't been cyclical booms (meaning not attributable to a suddenly introduction of new technology) like today, you didn't have the Fed blowing up the balloon only to pop it suddenly.

BTW, did you ever hear about the Austrian who explained why the tulip mania occurred? It makes such perfect sense that I don't understand why it wasn't seen decades ago. Essentially, any huge increase in a particular commodity's price, while everything else remains more or less stable, requires a rapidly growing money supply. And the Dutch government provided it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 16, 2011 8:11 PM
But gd thinks:

Perry, I was excited to see your link to the Ludwig von Mises Institute. In my humble opinion, sound monetary policy is perhaps the most important foundation for a free society.

Posted by: gd at May 17, 2011 10:44 AM

Not Feelin' the Newty Love

The Washington Examiner says ideas are important to the 2012 GOP nomination (I concur) and grades a few new ones:

Just this week, two aspiring Republican nominees -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer -- came up with ideas that fit the bill, while a third aspirant -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- offered a really bad one.

Trust me that they are grading on a curve. Romney's 50 State waiver deserves high marks -- though I don't know it's enough to take the foul stench of RomneyCare® off his stained fingers. Roemer's OPEC Oil Tariff is nonsense on stilts. The ghost of Bill McKinley still haunts the GOP.

But Gingrich's history test for all black people before they can vote is bad policy, tone-deaf politics, and I would suggest, proof that he is not reborn as a small government guy. That will be a great visual in November: the first African-American President versus the Georgia Cracker who wants to diminish the franchise.


The House GOP budget plan, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would effectively turn Medicare into a voucher system in which seniors were given money by the federal government to purchase private insurance, creating a radically different system than the current guaranteed benefit plan for seniors. -- Speaker G, suggesting it as a bug and not a feature.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [10]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

#1 is Newt
#2 is Daniels

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 16, 2011 6:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I misread and thought the Speaker was your personal number one choice to lead our party in 2012 and this great nation in 2013. Now I have chest it Aspirin you take?

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 6:28 PM
But gd thinks:

Obama is salivating over the prospect of facing Newt Gingrich almost as much as he would be Donald Trump.

Posted by: gd at May 16, 2011 6:42 PM
But jk thinks:

No Newty Love seems a common theme. The Club for Growth has Good, Bad, and Ugly. But I don't think there's much mistaking the bad.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 6:45 PM
But dagny thinks:

I guess I was unambiguous enough on most of my thumbnail sketches, except 1 and 2. I didn't think I could top JK's "Georgia Cracker" for Newt so I didn't try. Number 1 is the diminuitive Mitch Daniels. Number 2 is Pawlenty. I couldn't think of any distinguishing characteristics for Johnson (think the voters will?).

I promoted Newt for discussion and a bit of wishful thinking. My prior comment revealed my verdict. Now I've jumped to the Cain Train. But as dagny has observed, I'm pretty fickle in this competition.

Posted by: dagny at May 17, 2011 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

During drive-time I thought of an illustrative Gary Johnson homage: The human paint-dryer.

I'm perhaps being unfair after seeing him speak only once, at the SC debate. But man, please, are you passionate about anything?

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2011 2:25 PM

May 15, 2011

Again? Still? Really?

Yesterday: Climate Change Activists Rally In Denver

The goal is to have the atmosphere declared for the first time as a "public trust" deserving special protection. That's a concept previously used to clean up polluted rivers and coastlines, although legal experts aren't sure if it can be successfully applied to climate change.

Congressman Jared Polis attended. Actresses Daryl Hannah and Sheryl Lee were also there.

"I think it's really inspiring that kids are leading the fight against the climate crisis, but I also think it's very heartbreaking," Hannah said.

Well if somebody as famous as Daryl Hannah... Oh, wait.

Former "alarmist" scientist says Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) based in false science

Blogger Bruce McQuain writes on HotAir about climate scientist David Evans who said, "I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic."

McQuain: "And with that he begins a demolition of the theories, premises and methods by which the AGW scare has been foisted on the public." It is a well written compilation of devastating excerpts. Further editing would be deleterious.

But jk thinks:

In addition to Ms. Hannah and my esteemed Congressional Representative, the video shows tens -- dozens maybe -- of students and climate activists. For our non-Colorado readers, I must point out that it was more than 20 degrees below normal temps yesterday.

Weather isn't climate, but the Gore Effect is the one empirically repeatable manifestation of the crisis.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 11:20 AM


Huckabee says no to 2012.

Only when I was alone, in quiet and reflective moments did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace -- a peace that exceeds human understanding. All the factors say GO, but my heart says NO. And that is the decision I have made and in it have finally found resolution. (...) I can't know or predict the future, but I know for now my answer is clear and firm. I will not seek the Republican nomination for President this year. I will gladly continue doing what I do and helping others in their campaigns for Congress, governorships, and other positions. I'll certainly give more detail about this decision in due time and especially to those who have faithfully and so sacrificially been part of the process. I know I will deeply disappoint many people I love. So many good and dear people have put forth extraordinary effort without any assurance I would mount a campaign. It pains me to let them down. I also know my decision will delight just as many who aren't that fond of me. I am eternally grateful for the faithful support of my wife, children and real friends who promised to stand with me no matter what. I had come to believe I would be in the race for President. I won't be. But I will for sure be re-dedicating myself to standing for and communicating the principles of common sense, Constitutional government, and civil discourse that I believe are critical to the survival of our great Republic.
2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 8:51 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Answered prayer.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 15, 2011 9:20 PM
But HB thinks:

Greatest campaign news yet.

Posted by: HB at May 15, 2011 10:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Something classy about declining, though -- I'll give him props. For a guy who obviously has the bug, this is his best shot.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

There's some speculation he could be tapped as a running-mate.

Posted by: johngalt at May 16, 2011 2:12 PM
But jk thinks:

One could do worse in a running mate (Jeeburz, jk is getting soft...) especially if he were used to balance an overly-libertarian contender at the top of the ticket.

(Mitch have any health problems that anybody's aware of?)

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 3:20 PM

Freedom vs. Equality

'World-class HOSS Milton Friedman said:

"The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both."

I mentioned the "spectacular 'Free to Choose' episode, 'Created Equal." Said episode is number five in the series and while I recommend the whole thing (which appears to be posted on YouTube in six parts) I will highlight part 5, with some excellent exchanges between his Hossness and a young Thomas Sowell in the red corner and Frances Fox Piven (of Cloward and Piven infamy), British Ambassador Peter Jay, and moderator Robert MacKenzie in the blue corner.

First a HOSS-quote (taken from the official transcript) then the video:

FRIEDMAN: __ I want to carry it back to an earlier point. Number one, there's no question but what equality of results, if it comes about through a framework of freedom, is a desirable result. Number two, I argue in the film I've argued here that in point of fact you get greater equality of actual results by a system under which people are free to achieve unequal results. That for the poor people of the world that Frances Fox Piven was talking about, the most effective mechanism for enabling them to improve their status is not a governmental program which seeks to ascribe to them certain positions which seeks to provide them with certain goods and services, but a governmental program which tries to eliminate arbitrary barriers to advancement. I would say that in this world the greatest source of inequality has been special privileges granted by government.

And another HOSS-quote from the chapter's conclusion-

"Because if I were wrong, if freedom led to wider inequality, I would prefer that to a world in which I got artificial equality at the expense of freedom. My objective, my god, if you want, is freedom. The freedom of human beings and the individuals to pursue their own values."

The Natural Enemy of Liberty

Today I give evidence, albeit somewhat anecdotal, that the Looter of the Spirit component of human civilization is as old as civilization itself.

From the Robert Service poem Equality:

He is the warrior supreme, The Super-caveman, one might say; The pride of youth, the maiden's dream, And in the chase the first to slay. Where we are stunted he is tall: In short, a menace to us all.


Comrades, grave counsel we must take,
And as he struts with jest and jibe,
Let us act swiftly lest he make
Himself Dictator of our Tribe:
The Gods have built him on their plan:
Let us reduce him to a man.


And tribal justice has been done.
For men are equal, let us seek
To grade the Strong down to the weak.

Thus, according to Robert Service (1874-1958) even tribal societies had their Ivy Starnes or Diana Moon Glampers.

Hat Tip: My wise father, who read this to me when I explained the story of Harrison Bergeron during our viewing of the spectacular 'Free to Choose' episode, 'Created Equal.'

But jk thinks:

Grisly. Makes one appreciate Rep. Pelosi...

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2011 11:24 AM

May 13, 2011

Libertario Delenda Est!

Not just me saying it. David Bernstein, author of the 5-stars Rehabilitating Lochner, suggests "Time to Wind Up the Libertarian Party?"

With no less than three (!) likely or declared Republican presidential candidates who are broadly speaking in the libertarian camp--Mitch Daniels, Gary Johnson, and Ron Paul--libertarian political activists should pick their favorite of the three and work for his nomination, rather than waste their time on energy on pursuing ballot access for an inevitably marginal Libertarian Party candidate. Even if none of those three candidates gets the nominations (Daniels seems to have the best chance), libertarians seem to have their best opportunity to influence the Republican Party's direction since at least the Barry Goldwater campaign. Time for the Libertarian Party to fold shop?

UPDATE: Note that even if none of the three candidates noted above gets the nomination, or even comes close, the eventual nominee typically absorbs activists from competing campaigns into his. Let’s imagine that candidate Romney winds up with a campaign staff with 20% of so libertarians, who in turn get 20% or so of the plum political appointments in his administration. That would certain be an improvement over the Bush and Obama years, no?

Si, Señor Bernstein! And State Delegates, and downticket candidates, and donors, and pundits... Dive in, LPers, all you have to lose is your irrelevance! Take note that I would like to see Libertarians invade the Democratic Party as well, providing a more serious and liberty minded opposition.

Hat-tip: Matt Welch, who is not quite on board.

But jk thinks:

The first link was to David Bernstein's "Time to wind up the Libertarian Party." Music to my ears. Perhaps we have digressed and diverged a bit as we are won't to do 'round here...

Let me clarify: Speaker Gingrich is not on any kind of "No Support" list for me. He has time and an open ear to give me a lift to Damascus if his conversion is true. His previous proclivities lead me to think that small government is not his thing.

Sad but true on your DH comparison (and I'm an NL guy!) But I still think Gov. Daniels is in and that he has a credible shot at the nomination.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2011 11:02 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Judging from his current pronouncements in favor of individual mandates on national socialized health care, and in favor of some minor fine-tuning of Medicare without any structural changes, I'd say that if Gingrich's claim of conversion to the TEA Party philosophy is just an act, then he's reading from the wrong script:

I'll choose to hold him to account now rather than later. I'm open to intelligent persuasion, but I'm not seeing any from Gingrich. He's about this close to being dead to me.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 15, 2011 7:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Dive in, LPers, all you have to lose is your irrelevance!

If Gingrich is the GOP's designated hitter, then it's not the LP that's become the irrelevant party.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 15, 2011 7:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not a betting man, but I'm willing to put quite a bit on:

-- Speaker Gingrich will NOT win the GOP nomination in 2012.
-- The GOP nominee, whoever, will get no less than eight times the popular vote of the LP nominee.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 12:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Competition is essential, even when the best provider is perfect. Without competition, that best provider can get away with providing less than what customers would like as an ideal.

There was a grocery store in a town north of me. It had been open for, geez, probably 40 or 50 years. It was pretty good when there was a long-standing competitor across the street, but it really went downhill when that competitor's chain went bankrupt. Produce and meat were ok, but it was really expensive.

This store could get away with it. Its nearest new competitor was a few miles away, through several long traffic lights. Then a few years ago, a new competitor opened across the street. The new place's rices were equal, maybe a little higher on certain things, but meat and produce were so much better at comparable prices. The store was also easier to navigate.

My wife and I sometimes wondered how the old store stayed open when far fewer people went there. This last March, the old store finally went out of business, and I'll miss it. We need a competitor to keep the winning store in line.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 16, 2011 8:35 PM
But jk thinks:

100% for competition -- just think in our Constitutional system that it is best done inside a vaible party. I like having Paul and Johnson in the GOP debates.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 8:40 PM

Stossel on FNC!


Television Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Purdy good show on energy. If you missed it last night, set the old TiVo for tonight.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2011 10:38 AM

Executive Power on Steroids

Richard Epstein hits one out of the park, intertwining two of my favorite topics: FDA drug approvals and arrogation of power to the Executive Branch. In so doing, he plasters the Obama Administration (okay, so three of my favorite things).

In dealing with the abuse of power, it is important to recall that each branch of government has its own defined responsibilities. On the legislative side, clear statutory commands should give fair notice to individuals, allowing them to conform their conduct to the dictates of the law. In the executive branch, the great challenge is to install managerial safeguards ensuring that the immense reservoir of discretion accorded to public officials is exercised in consistent and determinate ways. On the judicial front, it is critical to develop procedures that provide an individual with sufficient notice of charges, and an opportunity for a hearing before an impartial decision-maker prior to being subject to any criminal or civil sanctions.

One of my constant concerns with the Obama administration is that its vision of executive power means that it has not recognized the need to rein in its discretion. Quite the contrary, in a variety of areas it seems only too eager to use its discretion to maximum advantage, often to support its own political agenda. That is the chief charge against the way Obama's National Labor Relations Board has instituted litigation against The Boeing Company for imagined unfair labor practices when the company decided to open up its new assembly plants in management-friendly South Carolina.

That same tendency toward mischief has been revealed in two of its other recent actions, each of which sheds light on the risks of the abuse of discretion. I speak here of criminal punishment for off-label drug uses and mandatory disclosures of campaign contributions by prospective government contractors.

It's tough but serious -- all the more devastating for its not being a partisan hit piece. A little longer than a Friday blog post, but I highly recommend a read in full.

Right Wing Nuts?

Recent demands by various factions of the Republican caucus as the price for increasing the debt limit leads The Refugee to hope that they have, perhaps, finally grown a set of cojones. Demands include such beauties as hard spending limits (i.e., percent of GDP), modifications and caps to Medicare and Medicaid spending and "tax increases off the table". Whether or not this represents organ-farming moving from the lab to politics or if they are mere prosthetic devices remains to be seen. However, any failure to keep the ball rolling is likely to result in the electorate getting testy.

112th Congress Posted by Boulder Refugee at 1:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It's not an abstraction. I'm a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. -- Senator Rand Paul

Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll, who quotes Atlas Shrugged's Dr, Hendricks "Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce."

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Terri thinks:

I keep seeing this quote as if it's a bad thing....but I think it's perfect.

What else would you call it? "Forced labor", "slavery", tomayto, tomahto.

Posted by: Terri at May 14, 2011 9:33 AM
But jk thinks:

The video was posted by Think Progress -- I suspect they did not file it under "Hoss..."

Unless we have a right to an iPad2 (at least 64GB, 3G), I don't see that the doctor, nurse, technician, and janitor (loved that) must provide their services on demand while the engineer can barter for his. Awesome on stilts, Senator!

Posted by: jk at May 14, 2011 11:21 AM

May 12, 2011

Golden State!

We've been hard on California politicians of late (oh, the last nine years or so....) but there are some bright lights.

Rep Mary Bono Mack (R CA45) completely stole my heart as one of the House Impeachment Managers in 1998. Today she's written up in Reason for proposing reasonable reforms of the insane Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) .

Bono Mack's proposed tweaks to the law, as part of the Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011, are impressively commonsensical: The new rules would require a cost-benefit analysis (wild!) to see if mandatory third-party testing of virtually anything a kid might come in contact with is actually cost-effective at improving safety. If the answer is "not always"--as it certainly will be--the law would empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to change the regulations.

Hoss (I am assured the same term works across different genders).

California Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 5:53 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Looking at your categories after the article: "California Hoss." Those are two words you don't see together often, and not merely because the Ponderosa was on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 12, 2011 6:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, Keith, we may have our occasional disagreements, but know that I always consider you a California Hoss.

Posted by: jk at May 13, 2011 3:43 PM

Everybody's Got Something

My man, Lance Armstrong, survived testicular cancer and several grueling ascents of l'Alpe d'Huez. What could possibly get such a man down?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:00 PM | What do you think? [0]


Oh, you'll have to click for this one...

Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I have a sneaking suspicion that I should be grateful that I can't turn on the audio here in the office...

I'll leave the teaching of history to Mr. Gingrich - that is his long suit, after all. "Time Travel Academy"? Obama wants to Win The Future; Gingrich says "Together We Will Win The Future"; and Huck wants to travel to the past to Win The Future, by channeling Reagan to further his own lame populism. Yeesh.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 12, 2011 4:35 PM

Ron Paul 2012: Why Bother?

Pick your headline. Whether it is Politico's Ron Paul wouldn't have approved Osama bin Laden operation or Fox News' Ron Paul: I Would Not Have Ordered Bin Laden Raid or CBS News' Ron Paul: I wouldn't have killed bin Laden, the Libertarian Republican from Texas' newest campaign for the GOP nomination is over before it has begun.

"I don't think it was necessary, no. It absolutely was not necessary," Paul said during his Tuesday comments. "I think respect for the rule of law and world law and international law. What if he'd been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters in to London, because they were afraid the information would get out?"

But we obviously wouldn't need to send black helicopters to erase the world's most wanted man hiding in London because the British government WOULD have arrested him and turned him over, which the Pakistani government failed and/or refused to do for at least five years and probably longer that he was in their country.

President Bush's now forgotten doctrine to the sovereign nations of the world was, "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists." Pakistan was with the terrorists but President Bush stuck by the Paul plan of "work[ing] with the Pakistani government instead of authorizing a raid." President Obama, beneficiary of the knowledge of that failed strategy, exercised the Bush Doctrine. It's the one good thing he's done. For Paul to be critical now, even with the knowledge that the raid was successful, puts him further left on defense policy than even the Democrat president. His chances of winning the nomination just went from zero to negative infinity.

But jk thinks:

Funny story. I am halfway through Paul's book. Like Jeffrey Myron's "Libertarianism from A-Z," it is presented as essays on topics. Start with Abortion, I made it a little past Empire.

I suggested to my lefty brother and niece that we should all read it, and I think everybody's in. There are a bunch of essays where I will be outnumbered by family and kooky libertarian gadfly.

It is painful, jg, but the man is nothing if not consistent. He says that we create terrorists by meddling (Serenity, anybody?) and says that the model for a free country is Costa Rica. They don't bug anybody and nobody bugs them.

What was an impossible sell in 2008 becomes an extremely hard sell in 2012. Ever the Deepak Lal-ist, I disagree fulsomely with Rep. Paul. But the jg who appreciates consistency and reason has to admire Paul's serious and heartfelt exhortations against military adventurism.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 3:54 PM
But gd thinks:

First off, I love what you guys do with the site. Keep up the great work!

Second, if Ron Paul had been our President we would not be in two quagmires in the Middle East and would have saved trillions of dollars.

Dr. Paul believes that when good people with good intentions ignore the rule of international law (or the Constitution), it sets a precedent for bad people with bad intentions to do the same. Dr. Paul also believes that it is more important for America to lead by moral example than to enforce "good" around the world.

Feel free to disagree, but realize that you do so at peril of losing the concept of freedom as the fundamental base of your argument.

Posted by: gd at May 13, 2011 1:10 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

GD, thanks for participating in the debate; a fresh voice is always welcome.

We will likely agree to disagree on some aspects of the roll of the US in the world but agree on others, so I want to hone in on one thing. That is, the idea that we must uphold "international law." I've heard Rep. Paul use the term and now you. Yes, we should uphold our end of international agreements. But by upholding international law, does he mean that we must submit to the dictates of the United Nations? Is the Second Amendment invalidated if the UN bans individual gun ownership? Does it mean that our national leaders can get hauled in front of the international court in The Hague if Kim Jong Il doesn't like something that they did?

There are many positions taken by Rep. Paul that I find problematic, but let's focus on this one for now. Look forward to hearing your response.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 13, 2011 10:48 AM
But gd thinks:

Refugee, I think you will find that we agree on many topics which is probably why I enjoy the site so much (jk is an internet rock star for me).

I am not going to say that I completely agree with Dr. Paul on the specific issue of going into Pakistan to raid Osama bin Laden's villa, capture, and kill the evil terrorist. I usually give Paul the benefit of the doubt when he says something that at first appears controversial because Paul is about the only congressman I am aware of that consistently postulates freedom as the basis for his decisions. His modus operandi ("M.O.") is not to win a popularity contest which is tragically why he probably will not win the Presidency. His M.O. is to spread the idea of freedom through reason rather than force. Someday many years down the road our children and grandchildren will read stories about the visionary that was Ron Paul. Unfortunately sometimes we trade our heroes for ghosts so his genius likely will not be fully appreciated until his time has passed. I think the good Doctor realizes this as much as anyone which is why he is worthy of my utmost respect. He is truly a man of principle.

From what I have read the drone strikes in Pakistan are continuing and I firmly believe that this is wrong. If true, it sounds like we are getting ourselves involved in yet another difficult situation that many consider debatable as to whether it makes us more or less safe (see: Central Intelligence Agency's theory of "blowback"ť).

And I am not sure that I would equate obeying international law as it pertains to invading a sovereign nation with compromising our country's core values in the Constitution such as second amendment rights. I am also not sure that rescuing a national from the clutches of an evil dictator is akin to killing an evil person. I must also admit that I do not know exactly what our Constitution allows for this type of situation (the Constitution is where I would turn first; it is the document that represents our value system).

All that said, I do think that when one plants ice they're gonna harvest wind.

Posted by: gd at May 13, 2011 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words, gd. I was going to respond but my swelled head no longer fits in the space in front of my monitor. Like the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the animated movie, my arms no longer reach the keyboard...

While I cannot join Rep. Paul in wishing we had never set foot in Iraq or Afghanistan, I do believe it is time to rethink the hundreds of thousands of troops in Europe and the Pacific Rim, the NATO action in Libya, and a serious reappraisal of our footprint in the Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have a hunch Rep. Paul will not be the 2012 GOP nominee nor the 2013 President. I think the idea of freedom versus empire is a valuable conversation.

Posted by: jk at May 13, 2011 6:20 PM

That Buys a Few Bottles of Coppertone®

I saw something on this yesterday from the Guest Insties, but Professor Mankiw suggests it might be related somehow to California's current economic challenges:

According to a [Newport Beach] city report on lifeguard pay for the calendar year 2010, of the 14 full-time lifeguards, 13 collected more than $120,000 in total compensation; one lifeguard collected $98,160.65. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 with the two highest-paid collecting $211,451 and $203,481 in total compensation respectively....Lifeguards are able to retire with 90 percent of their salary, after only 30 years of work at as early as the age of 50.

I've seen Baywatch; who can begrudge those insanely attractive young people a little remuneration?

California Posted by John Kranz at 2:33 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Even as ridiculous as this example is, the real budget buster is the 90% pension. While old-guy fifty-something lifeguard is being paid to be retired some young-guy twenty-something is hired to take his place, resulting in two people essentially being paid to do one job. If he's lucky, old-guy lives long enough to be eighty-something when young-guy retires and when gleam-in-the-eye guy is hired we now have three people drawing a paycheck for that single job.

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2011 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

As Mark Twain famously quoted Herb Stein: "Something that can't go on forever, won't."

Mickey Kaus is right, the future will be those with funded pensions versus those without. There will only be enough wealth for one and the politics will become very interesting (cf. Greece).

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 3:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You've hit that on the head; now multiply that by 232,690 - the number of the army of State employees in California. It doesn't take a lot of math expertise to see the megatonnage of the state's ticking economic time bomb.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 12, 2011 3:12 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

First of all, as we speak, the one guy left out is probably bitching to his boss for a raise.

Second, if it saves only one life, isn't it worth it?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 12, 2011 3:40 PM
But jk thinks:

I think I saw this episode of Baywatch, br. His girlfriend has left him because he is the only lifeguard not making 100K and her Mom is furious. All appears lost, then he saves the Mayor's kid and gets a big raise. His girlfriend not only comes back, but she has had breast augmentation surgery in the meantime, and the four of them live happily ever after...

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 3:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Another notable point is a comparision of the salaries of these Surf City lifeguards (about $100k per year) versus the average Navy SEAL (about $54k.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 13, 2011 3:22 PM

Lysander Spooner, Call Your Office!

Hard Cases Make Bad Law? Bad Cases Make Hard Law? How's it go again?

Snyder v. Phelps proves our devotion to free speech. We let those execrable cretins protest at the funerals of our nation's greatest heroes. I'm pretty proud to live in such a country.

Therefore, I will not wither from standing up for efficient markets, even when it benefits big, fat, greedy, Sri Lankans with swarthy complexions and polysyllabic names. Raj Rajaratnam is few people's idea of a boy scout. And, as a believer in voluntary law enforcement, I'm sympathetic to the suggestion that he should have followed a stupid law. Just because.

But capital markets are more than pari-mutuel windows for investors; it is far more important that they get capital to its best use. And that means accepting all price signals -- even those not from squeaky clean sources.

Like many of his peers, Mr. Rajaratnam formed close relationships with a web of people who worked at America's most storied companies, from McKinsey to IBM. That isn't a crime. Markets rely on information to determine the appropriate price for stocks and securities. If anything, regulators have tried to impose an impossible standard that all investors, big and small, should have access to the same information at exactly the same time. See the SEC's Reg FD.

Joe DiGenova, Former U.S. Attorney, was on Kudlow last night asserting that Rajaratnam had personally stolen from him. Apparently, he was on E-Trade selling the same stocks and the Hedge Fund manager's inside dope gave him a leg up.

I say it's time we end this "we're all created equal" idea of trading. You're gonna go one-on-one with a hedge fund manager, I don't care if it's St. Paul (read prospectus carefully before investing...) you're going to get your ass kicked. I don't see that a facade of fairness does anybody any good.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Today with bonus chart: GM stock, post IPO compared to the S&P500

What lesson, exactly, are we supposed to learn from this "success"? What question did it answer? "Can the government keep companies operating if it is willing to give them a virtually interest free loan of $50 billion, and a tax-free gift of $20 billion or so?" I don't think that this was really in dispute. When all is said and done, we will probably have given them a sum equal to its 2007 market cap and roughly four times GM's 2008 market capitalization. -- Megan McArdle
Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

May 11, 2011


Whether we like him or not, NewtZilla may be an unstoppable monster! Watch him take down the ohBumma and his o'Bots. (Worth watching just to crank up one of the greatest rock 'n roll songs of all time.)

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 10:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

Could this be...

... the one we've been waiting for?

Jimmy Carter's presidency gave us Ronald. Could Barack Obama's give us Newt?

There's a lot to like: Domestic energy program, "hope and opportunity," balanced budget, controlled spending and tax cuts, reality, truth, tough choices, jobs, prosperity, decentralized government. Newt is pleasant, articulate, white and male but not too old and not too boring. Certainly nobody could doubt his competence for the job of president. If he says all the right things now (and from what I've heard, he has) can past dalliances be forgiven? I'm thinking yeah, probably so. It's one thing to have the wrong policies because you are committed to the worldview that calls for them, but quite another to have had the wool pulled over your eyes by the greatest geopolitical scam in the history of earth (so far.)

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 10:03 PM | What do you think? [10]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm praying for Huckabee. I'm praying that God leads Huck to "spend more time with his family," as they like to say when an official vacates the public eye. Feel free to insert your "make peace with you dear and fluffy Lord" reference here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 12, 2011 1:34 PM
But jk thinks:

You and I are on the same page of the ThreeSources hymnal, ka. I pray the Governor has great continuing success with his television show and speaking engagements.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 1:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I knew my brothers would remind me why Newtie had lost favor, but he sounds so TEA Partyie these days the moths are sure to be drawn to his bright flame. The example I was going to give for "dalliances" was the Pelosi on the couch Climate Change ad. Was it a bad choice based on faulty information, or a manifestation of a deep dark desire for the federal government to impose a national energy tax? I have to believe its the former.

I'll stipulate that he is in fact a politician but he counters the "government is a good tool to fix things" charge with his "decentralized government" promise. A pragmatic friend of mine keeps telling me that our purity candidate can't get elected. I'm suggesting to him that this electable candidate may be purified enough to be kept on a small-government tack for an 8-year stretch.

This is the question that, in my mind, is on the floor for debate. And we'd better figure it out quick 'cause NewtZilla just hit town and threatens to quickly push more timid champions aside on his way to face "O'bUma."

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2011 3:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If you're gonna pray for anything, how 'bout putting a few hosannas-of-choice toward this effort:

"According to the AP, a group of about seven Iowa Republicans, whom the AP characterizes as "business conservatives who favor nominees more identified with the philosophy of low taxes and limited government than with cultural issues," will meet with Christie in the New Jersey governor's mansion on May 31."

Now that would be a Hail Mary.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 12, 2011 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I spent the better part of the 2008 campaign thinking Secretary Rice would descend from the heavens and save me. I'm not really into the draft thing.

The Big Man has been Shermanesque in his demurrals -- that is, if Sherman came from New Jersey. Last I heard was "What do I have to do? Commit suicide?"

Gov. Daniels will save us.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 4:42 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sans Christie, I would be happy to sing along with Mitch.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 12, 2011 4:50 PM

The Funniest Thing Ever on the Internet

The Shakespearian Big Lebowski is close, but this might be it. The Death of Obi-Wan Kenobi. As Jonathan Last says "Everything about [the post] is letter-perfect--the tone, the length, the funny. It's so dead on that it works as both Start Wars parody and NYT parody."

Obi-Wan Kenobi 's demise is a defining moment in the stormtrooper-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who turned against the Empire at the end of the Clone Wars. What remains to be seen, however, is whether it galvanizes Kenobi's followers by turning him into a martyr or serves as a turning of the page in the war against the Rebel Alliance and gives further impetus to Emperor Palpatine to step up Stormtrooper recruitment.

In an earlier statement issued to the press, Kenobi boasted that striking him down could make him "more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

How much his death will affect the rebel alliance itself remains unclear. For years, as they failed to find him, Imperial leaders have said that he was more symbolically important than operationally significant because he was on the run and hindered in any meaningful leadership role. Yet he remained the most potent face of terrorism in the Empire, and some of those who played down his role in recent years nonetheless celebrated his death.

The comments, the other stories, the SPAM...Brilliant!

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:45 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

So America is now cast in parody as the evil Empire.

I guess it's finally time to haul out that Brown Coat.

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2011 9:58 PM


Andrew Leonard writes a balanced and informative piece on Austrian economics in Slate. It's good enough to get an approbationary link from the LvM Institute Facebook page.

But it is Slate after all, so it has this explanation in the second-to-last paragraph:

But the correctness of Austrian theory is beside the point. Because if it was ever applied in practice by actual politicians, the voting public would become more than just annoyed. If the response of the Bush and Obama administrations to the financial crisis of 2007-08 had been to allow every beleaguered financial institution to go bankrupt while simultaneously endeavoring to balance the budget while government revenues tanked and social welfare obligations spiked, the economic devastation would have been well nigh unthinkable. There simply would be no political future for politicians who simply abandoned the general public to the viciousness of the free market.

Oh yes, that would have sucked, huh? What if we had not thrown trillions of dollars at market distortions? Almost too horrible to think of.

UPDATE: The Jacket notices the article as well in "Ludwig von Mises is My Homeboy or, Praxeology Today, Praxeology Tomorrow, Praxeology Forever!" (Just how many headlines of the day can we have around here?)

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don Boudreaux recently explained:

Economically literate opponents of the Detroit bailout never denied that pumping hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into Detroit automakers would restore those companies to health. Instead, they argued, first, that bailing out Detroit takes resources from other valuable uses. Because he doesn't even recognize that other valuable uses were sacrificed by this bailout, Mr. Dionne offers no reason to think that the value of saving Detroit automakers exceeds the value of what was sacrificed to do so. No legitimate declaration that the bailout is successful is possible, however, without evidence that the value of what was saved exceeds the value of what was sacrificed.
Now, I myself argued both "the unseen" and that it was a bad idea. I've only said a hundred times that there's a damn good reason private investors wouldn't touch these companies or toxic assets with a 10-foot pole.

Some of the largest banks, e.g. Goldman, repaid the federal loans by issuing new shares...something they could have done in the first place.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 11, 2011 10:40 PM

Sarah Palin is so Stupid!

James Taranto says "Apparently It Wasn't Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor"

Internationally, we've gone through a Teutonic shift in the Middle East that could have enormous ramifications for years to come. -- President Obama, May 10, quoted by USA Today, which reports the White House says he meant "tectonic."

And George Bush too -- what a moron!

Sounds like a good time

The political cruise is a pretty popular fundraising genre. National Review, The Weekly Standard, and now Reason offer a chance to cast off with a crew of like minded and serious folk. Seems tempting.

Today, I got an email invite to "Cruise with Lt. Col Oliver North." The scheduled itinerary departs Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas (named after the great Dizzy Gillespie song).

But I figure after a few drinks, perhaps Colonel North could be persuaded to go liberate Venezuela. Send Lawyers, Guns and Money, Dad!

UPDATE: Did I mention Wayne LaPierre is on board? We'll have some firepower...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Found: One Righteous Democrat

I always liked Rep. Harold Ford. Scion of a flamboyant Tennessee political family, he represented the liberal 9th district which includes Memphis. And yet, he never joined the (pardon the technical jargon) "kooky" urban caucus of Maxine Waters, Jan Schakowsky, and my hometown's Diana DeGette. He would have made a much better "first African American" President than old whoosits.

Today, he has a smart OpEd in the WSJ. He does not use the words "Drill, baby, drill" but he makes a trenchant claim for Americans to unabashedly develop domestic resources.

One bipartisan policy tradition is to deny Americans the use of our own resources. President George H.W. Bush took aggressive steps to keep off-limits vast supplies of oil and gas along the coasts of California and Florida. Since then, the build-up of restrictions, limitations and bans on drilling (onshore and off) have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars while increasing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

In the year since the Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration has put in place what is effectively a permanent moratorium on deep water drilling. It stretched out the approval process for some Gulf-region drilling permits to more than nine months, lengths that former President Bill Clinton has called "ridiculous."

Then there's tax policy. Why, when gas prices are climbing, would any elected official call for new taxes on energy? And characterizing legitimate tax credits as "subsidies" or "loopholes" only distracts from substantive treatment of these issues.

Now, I could find a dozen things on which to disagree with Rep Ford, but I do wish we had a more serious opposition party.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Wish we had a serious opposition party? Let's start it! Better to light a single candle than to curse the Edison Company.

Heck, I've been volunteering segments of a party platform for months now, for free. How much more do I have to do?

ThreeSources 2012!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2011 11:55 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By the way: I've long been a fan of Zell Miller, if you're still in the market for righteous Democrats.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I still get the vapours recalling his stemwinder at the 2004 GOP Convention.

Yet by delivering that, I think he abdicates his inclusion as a Democrat. Rep. Ford could still show up at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner and be served.

Posted by: jk at May 11, 2011 12:14 PM

Headline of the Day

Is it too early to give it out? I think not.

Naked woman creates ruckus on Delta flight to New York

No pictures, save the wear and tear on your mouse...

UPDATE: Yes, I was too soon. Taranto brings "Chick sex swayed by farm grazing"

Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Damned flight attendants - always so by-the-book.

Don't need no pitchures. As Jon Caldera and I mused [link in first comment] the image is always better in your imagination anyway.

The clickthrough is not without its rewards. One click causes the words "naked woman" to appear in five separate places on your screen (browser dependent.) And then there's the "You might also be interested in" story: 'Playboy centerfold' tries to jump from JetBlue flight in midair.

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2011 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Now you're on the list.

Posted by: jk at May 11, 2011 3:26 PM

On, Wisconsin!

550 CEO's recently surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine rated the several states as the best/worst for business. Wisconsin's ranking rose 17 places from 41 to 24. This was the largest gain of any state, and likely attributable to Gov. Scott Walker's pro-business, smaller government changes. Illinois, in contrast, has dropped 40 place in five years to 48 overall.

Of other note to Three Sourcers, Colorado dropped from 8 to 12, Pennsylvania fell from 32 to 39 and California remained steady at 50th. (Sorry, Brother Keith. The good news is that it can't get worse, at least ranking-wise.)

Texas remained #1.

Hat tip: Fox and Friends morning show

Government Posted by Boulder Refugee at 9:48 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Illinois is described as being in a "death spiral," but is ahead of California. Which means California has pretty much augered in, huh?

Texas and my childhood home of North Carolina are running one-two, making my choices so difficult. I see Texas is contemplating a law to rectify the "sanctuary cities" problem. Whichever one of the two my bride and I choose when we flee the coming implosion, I promise I don't have a Californian's voting habit or entitlement mentality. Really, we'll fit right in.

Seven of the top eight were part of the Confederacy; the next two, or course, weren't even states during the War of Northern Aggression. Coincidence? I've been saying the South will rise again.

The bottom five (California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Michigan) - oh heck, let's throw in my birth home of Massachusetts, since they were just pushed out of last year's bottom five by the Illinois Death Spiral - what do these six states have in common? Hmmm, lemme think about this...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2011 11:49 AM

May 10, 2011

Airplanes are so Mysterious

The story of the Yemini gentleman got me thinking of the third time I flew on a plane.

Like him, I -- it's so funny to think of it now -- I became a little disoriented, and as the plane was landing -- oh this is so embarrassing -- I mistook the cockpit for the bathroom. So there I am, pounding on the cockpit door yelling "GOD IS GREAT!!" GOD IS GREAT!!!"

I bet the other passengers thought I was nuts or something. It all seems so silly now, but when you're not used to flying, you know...

Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The poor man was just misunderstood. He was actually yelling, "Hey,ya'll, you gotta bar?" He only wanted a drink. Being a bunch of Islamophobes, the passengers thought he said something else.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 11, 2011 9:45 AM

Quote of the Day

‎I can't listen to that much Wagner.....I get the urge to conquer Poland. -- Woody Allen.
I like to say "I don't hate anybody," but with Mister Allen, it is close. Still, he is quite the master of the bon mot.


But johngalt thinks:

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was a contemporary of "Mad" King Ludwig II, builder of Neuschwanstein, and having been deceased before young Adolf's birth was related to Nazism only by the word "Deutschland."

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2011 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't hold The Beatles responsible for Sharon Tate's murder, but one cannot disassociate Manson with "Helter Skelter."

But an even better Wagner quote is Mark Twain's "Wagner's music is better than it sounds." No idea if it is real but I picked up a few viruses investigating.

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2011 6:20 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Wagner was notoriously anti-Semitic, though I can't see how he could be charged with influencing Naziism. Europe already had centuries of evil thinking, which were of far greater influence.

That said, the second-best gift I ever gave my old man (exceeded only by the big box of Scotch and beer that turned out to be his last Father's Day gift) was a full set of The Ring, conducted by Georg Solti (look him up to see his original name, which is a pretty obvious clue to his family's religion).

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 11, 2011 10:50 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Apparently that quote is from Edward Nye, quoted by Twain.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 11, 2011 10:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Generally, a good rule of thumb is "anytime you're quoting Twain or Samuel Johnson, your quote will be proven bogus." I really thought I had it that time, thanks for proving my rule.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 11:11 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome Father's Day gift PE. I hope it was his latest such gift, however, rather than his last.

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2011 3:10 PM

Who Says They're Not Serious?

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released their "People's Budget" response to the Ryan plan.

James Pethokoukis doesn't seem what I'd call 100%, totally on board:

Here's the short version of the plan: It claims to achieve primary balance (not counting interest costs) by 2014 and overall balance by 2021. It does this via huge tax hikes (on income, corporate profits and investments) and by cutting defense spending by $2.3 trillion over a decade -- and then shifting $1.7 trillion of those savings into nondefense outlays. Those nearly $2 trillion in new "investments" would boost the growth potential of the economy by 0.3 percentage point per year over the next decade. Or so the CPC and the Economic Policy Institute claims.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

Headline of the Day

Wind in Denver's Country Club neigborhood blows tree onto car
Egads Man! It sounds tragic! I bet it was a really really nice car.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Oh the humanity!

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2011 12:07 PM

Renewing my Pragmatist Card for 2011

My inbox is littered with disillusioned tea partiers' lamenting that the dozen folks they sent to Washington last year have not fixed everything yet. I appreciate concern for the status quo ante monster. Put me down as in favor of eternal vigilance and all that.

But this race can be lost by giving up, and the next elections can be lost by dividing forces. (And this post might qualify for one of Taranto's "Metaphor Alert" takedowns, but stick with me...)

Speaker Boehner's demand for spending reductions to meet or exceed any extensions to the debt limit is an exceptionally shrewd move. Larry Kudlow said "Boehner Lays Down the Debt-Ceiling Gauntlet" and the WSJ Ed Page notes an important change in direction.

This is political progress. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner started out this year asking for a "clean" increase in the debt limit without conditions. Treasury officials, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and their allies on Wall Street and in the media have all been predicting economic Armageddon if the debt limit isn't raised promptly.

We've seen this story a few times. The Democrats open the bidding with "nothing, nada, zip." "I've got an idea, let's keep on doing all the things we've already been doing."

Whatever cuts the GOP can get in return are better than nothing. Lovers of liberty will be disappointed in Congress until the end of days. Speaker Boehner and the Ryan wing of the 112th have made a great play here -- I have no intention of pulling the rug out from underneath them.

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

May 9, 2011

Somebody Call a Waaaaambulance!


When silver prices hit a three-decade high last week, David Zornetsky decided to do some buying. Searching for a job, the 31-year old in Beacon, N.Y., hoped to use gains from silver to finance a move to New York City and to pay down student loans. "I had been hearing that silver could go up to $150 an ounce this year," says Mr. Zornetsky.

Yeah, he could move to New York City and be a trader! Start his own hedge fund -- I'd call it the Three-Decade-High Super Awesome Fund!

But Keith Arnold thinks:


(1) Speculator! Clap him in irons and send this capitalist oppressor of the masses to a re-education camp!

(2) Oh, smart - buy in when the commodity hits a high. The dictum here is "buy low, sell high." If we're near the peak of a metals bubble, I hope the student loans he's trying to pay down weren't for a degree in Economics. Perhaps he could get his money back on that diploma.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 9, 2011 5:59 PM
But jk thinks:

The TDHSAF only purchases assets when they are at three decade highs! Please read prospectus carefully before investing...

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2011 10:27 AM

Moore's Law Extended

Michael Malone sees Intel's anouncement of tri-gate transistors as an extension of Moore's Law. And, as long as it holds, the Paul Erlichs of the world will always be losing their bets.

But the great lesson of Moore's Law is not just that we can find a way to continuously better our lives -- but that human ingenuity knows no bounds, nor can ever really be stopped. You probably haven't noticed over the last decade the occasional brief scientific article about some lab at a university, or at IBM, Intel, or HP, coming up with a new way to produce a transistor or electronic gate out of just two or three atoms. Those stories are about saving Moore's Law for yet another generation. But that's the next chapter. Right here and now, the folks at Intel were almost giddy in announcing that what had been one of those little stories a decade ago -- tri-gate transistors -- would now be the technology in all new Intel chips.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand. -Thucydides

Disposal of the Means of Production

Mises defines ownership as the ability to dispose of the means of production. As they say 90 years later: <singsong>Geeen - ius!</singsong>.

Free market folk love rent control because it is so easy to discredit. It harms those it is supposed to help. It harms those it is supposed to harm. And it harms those it is not supposed to affect. A real lose-lose-lose proposition.

Professor Mankiw links to a look at rent control in San Francisco, CA. The city by the bay has -- in addition to Tony Bennett's heart -- 31,000 vacant residential housing units: one in 12! While it, of course, remains perhaps the most difficult renter's market in the country.

Huh? What could possibly disconnect supply from demand so?

To know one big reason why, ask Wayne Koniuk. By trade, Koniuk fashions artificial limbs for amputees. By habit, he fits prostheses at no charge for people who cannot pay. This has left him a less-than-wealthy man.

But he does have one substantial asset: a Divisadero Street building that his father, Walter, an orthotist, bought in 1970 and gave to his only son in 2001 so Wayne could run his business on the ground floor and Waynes adult children would always have a place to live.
Koniuk, who himself lives in suburban Belmont, gave a half-interest in the building to his older son in 2007 so he could evict a tenant and move in himself. But under San Francisco's extraordinarily pro-tenant housing laws, landlords can do this only once per building.

So while Koniuk desperately wants to move his younger son into the building's other four-bedroom apartment, he cannot. He is exploring legal options. Robert Murphy, who has lived there for 30 years without a lease, remains, paying $525.82 a month.

Last spring, Koniuk offered Murphy $45,000 to move out. Murphy's lawyer demanded $70,000, a sum Koniuk says he does not have. Meanwhile, the city's Rent Board notified Koniuk that he was allowed to increase Murphy's monthly rent this year by $2.63.

By what insane definition does Koniuk "own" this asset? No doubt, he has the privilege of paying taxes on it (those probably aren't very high in San Francisco, huh?)

Perhaps he should hit his tenant with the full allowed rate increase of $2.63/month. Murphy would never pay $528.45 for a four bedroom...


But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Let's get the guy's address and send him one of JG's bumper stickers.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 9, 2011 5:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I made the mistake of reading the reader comments to the Bay Citizen article. I wouldn't wish upon any of you the damage I may have suffered. People sympathize with Koniuk, not because he owns the property, but because he "gives back to the community;" others sympathize with Murphy, not because he has any just ownership rights, but because he's older and has lived there so long. No surprise that both sides are motivated by feelings and class warfare.

It occurs to me that Kuniak's only real ability to dispose of the means of production is to make sure he has an alibi, burn the building to the ground, and collect the insurance. Just try to tell me you didn't think the very same thought.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 9, 2011 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Again, I'm laughing. This guy's a doctor in SF. Serving the underserved. I am betting his Prius is covered in Obama-Biden and Boxer 2010 stickers.

Posted by: jk at May 9, 2011 5:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno, Brother Keith, when the US officially moves to an economic system basted on sympathy, I might have severe comparative advantage...

Posted by: jk at May 9, 2011 6:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've been debating whether to ever put this in writing lest it get me on a (rhymes with scotch) list somewhere but it just feels so right I can't keep it to myself any longer. (And if there ever was a story to which it was an appropriate comment, this is it.) "You can't beat city hall... but you can blow it up." Seems to me that'd be a good T-shirt. [Note to FBI and Homeland Security - This is SPEECH. See First Amendment.]

Posted by: johngalt at May 9, 2011 7:34 PM
But dagny thinks:

If and this is a BIG if, "his Prius is covered in Obama-Biden and Boxer 2010 stickers," then I say he should be allowed to reap what he has sown and I have little sympathy.

Posted by: dagny at May 9, 2011 8:54 PM

Quote of the Day, Today

This one has to go to Brother JG for his comment a few posts down:

Islamists consider cohabitation with dogs to be proof of our wretchedness; I consider canine villification to be proof of theirs.

Spot on.

Quote of the Day Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I was going to say "Amen," but feared he would take it the wrong way...

Posted by: jk at May 9, 2011 10:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks brothers.

No, I say "amen" too. 'Contemporary vernacular' and all that.

Posted by: johngalt at May 9, 2011 2:35 PM

Quote of the Day, Yesterday.

Happy Mothers' Day:

It's unconscionable to me that I would protect my children from running out into a busy street but not protect their right to be free. A month after my oldest was born my husband and I spent an entire morning baby-proofing our house: placing plastic covers on all empty wall sockets, installing cabinet latches, covering all the sharp edges of the tables with adhesive cushions. Why wouldn't I also rise to install barriers against that which harms my children's future? We armed our children with the knowledge against "stranger danger," we taught them how to dial 911 in emergencies, we've taught them how to properly handle and not handle firearms. Why wouldn't I teach my children about their fundamental rights as an American? Their right to free speech, to assemble, the freedom of the press, the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, the freedom of religion? Their right to pursue happiness but not the expectation that they are owed happiness from their fellow man? -- Dana Loesch

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at May 9, 2011 2:57 PM

May 8, 2011


Nope, from the comments, these guys are serious. "Speaking words of wisdom, Huck-a-Bee..." I'm sorry to make you click, but had I embedded I would have watched it again.

It's the worst idea of all time, but the execution is not that bad.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

Five Wasted Drummers, Conversely...



On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

A mechanical version of an LM 565! (Phase-locked loop.)


Posted by: johngalt at May 8, 2011 2:12 PM

"The Words You Will Need..."

All readers know we're fond of quotations 'round here. Most readers know I'm fond of quoting Atlas Shrugged. I can now officially report that I have the distinction of posting the very first quotation on the IMDB page for the Atlas Shrugged Part 1 movie.

Henry Rearden: What is your purpose in talking to me?

Francisco D'Anconia: Let's just say it is to give you the words you will need for the time you will need them.

I was pleasantly surprised to even find an entry for the film and frankly, even more surprised to find that I could add to the content personally. I plan to add more after my third viewing... with dagny, Mike Rosen and Michael Brown. (Get tickets while they last here.)

But jk thinks:

Nicely played!

Posted by: jk at May 8, 2011 11:10 AM

May 7, 2011

Gutsy Call!

Some reluctant not-100%-fans of the President have complimented him for the "gutsy call" to go after Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan with special forces. I'll admit I was one.

But for a White House that did not want to "spike the ball in the end zone," registering GUTSYCALL.COM is a little rich.

I was expecting to see something on Coach Rex Ryan and his NY Jets going for it on fourth down in the AFC Championship game last year. But, no....

If it is any consolation, they suck at DNS -- I have to refresh the browser to make it redirect.

But johngalt thinks:

I tried the page address- and got this:

"Sorry, the page you're looking for isn't here. Keep checking the blog for the latest from the campaign as we continue to provide new content"

Indeed. I expect that page will appear late next summer.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Cry Havoc! And Let Loose...

Trained United States Dogs of War.

As if we needed more proof that dogs rule, check out this amazing photograph from the Foreign Policy website. It's from a Special Forces training mission a few months ago. Two brave American warriors jumping out of a helicopter into the Gulf of Mexico.

Rob Long says "don't bring a cat to kill a terrorist." I'm not going to get into the fray, but I do love the picture:


Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll, guestinstying.

But johngalt thinks:

"You go, dawg!"

Islamists consider cohabitation with dogs to be proof of our wretchedness; I consider canine villification to be proof of theirs.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 3:05 PM

May 6, 2011

Fukayama Reviews Hayek

He understands Constitution of Liberty about as well as Stephen Colbert undertstands Atlas Shrugged.

The publication of the definitive edition of Friedrich A. Hayek's "Constitution of Liberty" coincides with the unexpected best-seller status of his earlier book "The Road to Serfdom" as a result of its promotion by the conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck. In an age when many on the right are worried that the Obama administration's reform of health care is leading us toward socialism, Hayek's warnings from the mid-20th century about society's slide toward despotism, and his principled defense of a minimal state, have found strong political resonance.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I frequently conflate Francis Fukuyama with George Santayana. This is unfair to Santayana. To cure the damage this mental association does to the reputation of Santayana, an American philosopher (1863-1952) I read more Santayana whenever I hear Fukuyama's name.

I first heard of Santayana with his quote, "Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."

Here are more. And an apt one:

All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.
Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fukuyama cites an incorrect logical argument opposing Hayek and, as is most often the case, the fatal flaw comes right at the start:

But as the economist Amartya Sen has argued, the ability to actually take advantage of freedom depends on other things like resources, health and education that many people in a typical society do not possess.

With whatever respect may or may not be due, freedom is the absence of interference by others, not a provision of means. Robert A. Heinlein explained that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but so too can be an unimproved planet Earth. For what do you advocate Mister Fukuyama, a universal freedom to inherit Homer Stryker's fortune? I doubt you'd get agreement from Patricia Stryker.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 5:01 PM

CATO on the GOP field.

I took a deep breath before starting this video. And was prepared to bite down hard on something if it became too painful.

David Boaz is a sharp guy on economics and few are better on liberty theory. But Boaz loves to tsk-tsk about GOP failures -- and the early non-field sounded like a good setup for a bit of more libertarian-than-thou bullying. And yet, I agree with about every word:

But johngalt thinks:

One need not love to tsk-tsk GOP failures in order to engage in the practice. It's a valuable step in achieving GOP successes.

That said, I'm in agreement with you that this guy nails it. Yes, I'm cooling on Bachmann. At the top of my list, in no particular order - Daniels, Cain, Johnson, Bachmann - OK, in that order.

5-stars for Boaz' use of the term "classical liberals" to describe conservatives who don't want a powerful central government like the one created by modern liberals, differing only in what values said government imposes upon citizens.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 2:26 PM

This Guy Really Makes me Appreciate Jon Stewart

Stephen Colbert's lame take (but I repeat myself) on Atlas Shrugged, Part 1.

UPDATE: Stewart, hell, this guy makes me appreicate Ellsworth Toohey.

UPDATE II: They have lashed out at Colbert once or twice today. @Atlas Shrugged The Movie

Atlas Shrugged is currently #1, #2, AND #4 at Amazon - guess Colbert was right about no one being interested. If only we could get a hold of that pesky #3 spot too.

But jk thinks:

This strikes me as exactly why I dislike and distrust Comedy News.

I'm a strange choice for the defender of Ayn Rand's honor 'round here, but even her detractors generally admit a certain seriousness. Her book sales and the depth of her following bespeak a certain "there there."

Colbert's got a gag to complete. Rand fans are blaming studio and distribution bias in Hollywood and not the out-of-mainstream elements in Rand's philosophy or storyline. It's a fair cop to a point. But Colbert's fan base, for all their claims of sophistication, can not be trusted to know who the hell she is or to trust the cartoonish view of her work that allows the gag to work.

So, Colbert spends 40 seconds "explaining" Rand to his audience. There are a lot of thinkers with whom I disagree violently and I cannot think of many who deserve to be dismissed in a 40 second caricature. Hegel deserves a more nuanced view (and got hundreds of pages in Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies"), Mises and Hayek give careful consideration to clarifying the ideas of Karl Marx before they contradict. Christopher Hitchens and Arundhati Roy have made Marx's case in the Nation.

But Colbert viewers don't have the patience for all that. The jokes have to come bang, bang, bang. Actually, a full minute was devoted to explaining Rand, but 20 seconds was spent on "explaining" with the greeting card to grandma.

Now a bunch of the smartest people in the world are all convinced that they understand the philosophy of Ayn Rand. You learn soooo much watching Colbert and discussing it with your really really smart friends on Facebook.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2011 3:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"A culture is made -- or destroyed -- by its articulate voices." -Rand, 'The Voice of Reason'

And now, all of Colbert's viewers "know" that Rand's purpose of life is to pursue your own happiness "with no regard for others."

"If 'everybody knows' such and such then it ain't so, by at least 10,000 to 1." -RAH

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 2:08 PM

Honor. Pride. Commitment.

A recent article in Vanity Fair by Howard Wasdin and Stephen Templin describes the training process of our Navy SEALs. It is well worth the whole read and concludes:

Nevertheless, sometimes a SEAL can't find his way back to Mother Ocean and must make a choice between fighting to the death or surrendering.

For many brave warriors, it's better to roll the dice on surrendering in order to live to fight another day--SEALs have incredible respect for those POWs. As SEALs, though, we believe our surrender would be giving in, and giving in is never an option. I wouldn't want to be used as some political bargaining chip against the United States.

I wouldn't want to die in a cage of starvation or have my head cut off for some video to be shown around the world on the Internet. My attitude is that if the enemy wants to kill me, they're going to have to kill me now. We despise would-be dictators who wish to dominate us--SEALs steer the rudders of their own destinies. Our world is a meritocracy where we are free to leave at any time. Our missions are voluntary; I cant think of a mission that wasn't. Ours is an unwritten code: It's better to burn out than to fade away--and with our last breaths we'll take as many of the enemy with us as possible.

Read this and understand why nobody, but nobody, can beat us militarily. It is only when our politicians get involved that our wars go wrong. If only our politicians had the same honor, pride and committment of those they send to battle.

Hat tip:

The Vanity Fair cover photo of Katy Perry ain't bad either.

America, F*ck Yeah! Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

"The Godfather of Business Sense Can Attack Obama Well"

Twenty nine South Carolina Republicans were blown away by one of the five candidates who participated in last night's Fox News sponsored GOP primary debate. The new hotness is, Herman Cain. [7 minute video]

Frank Lunz -

"Sean, I've done, I dunno, maybe 35 or 40 of these debates for Fox and I've never had this kind of reaction until tonight. This is someone who only one individual came in here supporting. Now you've got half, more than half of this group. It doesn't happen. Something very special happened this evening."

They liked him because he has a plan, doesn't talk like a politician, and said all the right things. (It probably doesn't hurt that he's black.)

The sole Herman Cain clip is on energy independence. [1:14}

Here were the 5 candidates closing remarks. [3:34]

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Stephen Green was drunkblogging it. I thought I was the only sober person watching.

I enjoyed the debate because there were many non traditional candidates: Cain and Governor Gary Johnson joined Rep Ron Paul as designated gadflies. It was enjoyable to watch true intellectual diversity at an "official" debate.

If Cain won the debate, I fear ThreeSources's darling Johnson may have lost. He would make an awesome President but he makes a very bad candidate. Green, likely into his third or fourth martini yelled "JAZZ HANDS!" He looked nervous and has the statesmanlike, stentorian voice of, well, me. If there were no Ron Paul, he'd add a lot. While I was glad to see two at the first debate, this train is not rolling through New Hampshire.

Like Brother jg, the most informative part of the evening may have been Frank Luntz's focus group. Their being entirely smitten with Mister Cain is interesting. Their second, third, forth, and fifth choices are a grim reminder that -- Tea Party or no -- we have exactly ONE or ZERO chances to get a libertarian-leaning candidate in 2012. If n = 1, it is Mitch Daniels.

Governor Daniels has some cred with the conservative wing. I think, pace Palin, he might be able to speak freedom and let his life speak for itself. I don't know. But it's hard for a reader of these pages to be comfortable with anybody that Luntz's group would accept. If we don't get the populist talk show host, we get Senator Rick Santorum (sorry Pennsylvanians, he's going to fix the deficit by fixing...marriage).

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2011 12:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Update to comment (how sad is that?): Reason's Jesse Walker suggests they are helping each other:

But if last night's debate did anything, it settled the value of having two libertarian-leaning figures on the stage. When Paul's hardline libertarian moral defense of drug decriminalization was followed immediately by Johnson's consequentialist approach, the benefits of the Paul/Johnson duo became clear: Each guy got to make the arguments that the other one didn't, and the audience got to hear a broader case for a controversial position than the format allowed either man to offer by himself.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2011 12:41 PM

May 5, 2011


I'm not jealous of a lot of things. But last year, a friend of mine casually mentioned that GMU Economist Russ Roberts was his good friend and had been his MBA faculty advisor. Here is is hip hoppin' with The Jacket.

Yo, Dog. Word.

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 7:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Not That Silent...

We've all seen these eAds:


I'm not sure snoring is a silent killer. I think he might have confused it with "Ninjas"

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

Hoss of the Day

Governor Mitch Daniels delivers a serious fact and policy filled talk to the AEI on education. His style differs from the big man in the Garden State, but he matches him in seriousness, moral clarity -- and is deeper into a demonstration of his programs' efficacies.

I apologize for the many links to long videos this week. I know they are not conducive to work, but I am nursing a bad cold. The first half hour is his speech, if anybody has a chance, the remainder of the 50 minutes is Q&A.

And no, he's not Mister Charisma, but the self-effacing, plainspoken Hoosier might look pretty good in contrast to an incumbent of far more style than substance. My thoughts turn to Silent Cal when Gov. Daniels speaks -- he could be our generation's Coolidge, right when he is most needed.

If you've no time to watch videos, follow the hat-tip link:

Where Sarah Palin Resigned, Mitch Daniels Rolled Up His Sleeves By Andrew Kelly

Quote of the Day

I can't possibly not give it to Professor Reynolds today:

UM, ISN'T THIS HOW WE WOUND UP WITH THE REAVERS? Scientist seeks to banish evil, boost empathy. -- Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Mal Reynolds: "...They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave."
- - -

River Tam: "People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome."
- - -

Simon Tam: "So does it happen a lot? Government commandeering your ship, telling you where to go?"
Mal Reynolds: "That's what governments are for... get in a man's way."
- - -

Show pretty much reads like a manifesto, doesn't it?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 5, 2011 1:16 PM
But jk thinks:

And yet, Whedon (whom I'd take a bullet for) remains an unreconstructed, doctrinaire lefty who wouldn't agree with anything on these pages except our praise for his creations. Captain Mal seems to be his Harrison Bergeron.

Art's a funny gorram thing now and then...

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2011 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nope. I'm not buyin' it. Mal Reynolds is Whedon's Kira Argounova, and, like Kira, Joss is living a double life, biding his time and plotting his escape from the socialist hell that is... Hollywood. (Let's hope his escape turns out better than did Kira's.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2011 1:13 PM

ThreeSources Scoops the World

Toldja they were watching 'Idol..." UK Telegraph

The head of the CIA admitted yesterday that there was no live video footage of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound as further doubts emerged about the US version of events.

And Perry, if Rahm were still around, Pia would have found the 45,000 votes she needed...

May 4, 2011

Now a word from the Anti-Ron Paul

No doubt Rep Paul and Martin Feldstein would find much to agree on, but in accepting the Irving Kristol Award at the American Enterprise Institute, the Harvard professor delivered what AEI's Bridget Johnson calls "a pointed message for legislators on the Hill eager to slash budgets: Watch it with defense cuts."

"There are those who say the United States should not be the global policeman. ...There are also those who say we cannot afford to be the global policeman," Feldstein said at the annual AEI event at the National Building Museum. "But should we really be deterred from that role when the cost of our entire military budget--including the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan--is now less than 5 percent of our GDP? There is no danger of bankrupting ourselves by so-called 'imperial overreach' when we spend less than 5 percent of GDP on defense."

I'm quite ready to cut defense. I'd start with halving our personnel presence in now-friendly nations like Japan, Germany, South Korea. Services could privatize more supply and training functions and follow American business into doing more with less. But I'm not ready for an austerity-based isolationism.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Where to begin...

Friends, we're going about this all wrong. Global policeman? Do any of you know any volunteer policemen? Because all the policemen I know get paid to do that job. I wouldn't mind all these countries having us be the global policemen, so long as they're paying for the service we provide.

Talk about privatizing, JK - think of it as all the other countries outsourcing their defense to us. Who could do it better? If we play our cards right, would could do this for a profit.

Pax Americana.

And if we do pull our personnel back from these nations you mention, we'll have to build new bases here. There's a whole stretch of real estate running from San Diego to Brownsville...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 4, 2011 6:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Pax Americana indeed (we agreed on two words). My hero, Deepak Lal is out in your neck o' the woods at UCLA. His "Reviving the Invisible Hand" remains a formative book for me. I found it a compelling case for aligning the libertarian impulses of isolationism with the exigencies of sustaining trade in a large and violent world. The times that our species has been able to truly progress has always been under the aegis of a Liberal International Economic Order -- the big ones being Pax Britannia after Peel repealed the Corn Laws, and postwar Pax Americana.

Not gonna bait me with militarizing the Southern Border. Might I remind the barbed-wire and machine-gun ThreeSources contingent of Shakia Dahlmia's dictum? "A government big enough to keep your neighbors out is big enough to keep you in."

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 6:34 PM
But jk thinks:

"Nein, mein Brüder, we're just building this wall to prevent the West Germans from sneaking in to get our free healthcare..."

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 6:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Before we collect a fee for "policing the globe" we'll first make a gift of taxpayer's dollars in the amount of said fee. In the end it nets out to zero.

I'm being flippant but foreign countries would not pay us to be us. Instead they'll just "steal" American military services like the Chinese steal American companies' software.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 8:12 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Nice little country you have there, Mr. Premier; it would be a shame if something happened to it..."

I don't that your statement as flippant, JG - merely realistic, given the current way of doing things. That's why things will change radically when you elect me President and my new foreign policy takes effect. It goes like this:

(1) Dear United Nations: it's been fun. We're parting ways. You've got thirty days to get out of New York. Buh-bye.

(2) Foreign aid: "A billion dollars? Sure. What do you have that's worth a billion dollars?" Taxpayer dollars to support other countries is not our business, and not our problem. Rwanda and Lithuania are welcome to trade with us and grow their economies to improve their well-being. Welfare checks written to other countries, like all other forms of welfare, are history.

(3) Regime change is something else that's no longer our business. We respect the right of all other countries to freely choose their leaders, without our meddling. If you don't like your leader, you vote him out or throw him out. If your leader makes himself our enemy, we'll give you a chance to depose him; if you don't and it comes to war, we're in this to defeat your country, not to change your leaders for you.

(4) State Department: somewhere you've got a list of which countries are our friends, which aren't, and why. Bring that list to my office on Tuesday; I'll have coffee and sandwiches ready. By the end of lunch, we'll have an agreement that each country will get dealt with fairly, unambiguously, and consistently, based on mutual interest.

(5) We will be the example of liberty to all nations, and the guarantor of liberty to none.

Anyone care to contribute planks to this platform?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 5, 2011 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't think I'll be contributing at all...

To be clear, that was "The Old America" that responded to challenges of Fascism, Soviet Communism, Islamic Terrorism, and the Barbary Pirates. Future rapacious despots will have nothing to fear from the US, and any loss of prosperity from globalized trade will be happily discarded as the price of "pure liberty."

We'll let France lead the world. On Cinco de Mayo!

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2011 12:50 PM

Wind Power Blows

Scotland's John Muir Trust (yes, that John Muir) has supported a study which concludes that wind turbines "cannot be relied upon" to produce significant levels of power generation.

Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.

But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.

But industry [damn, it sure feels good to call these environmentalist loons "industry"] spokesmanperson Jenny Hogan, director of policy for Scottish Renewables, was quick to defend the shortcomings of wind power saying, "No form of electricity worked at 100% capacity, 100% of the time."

"It could be argued the trust is acting irresponsibly given their expertise lies in protecting our wild lands and yet they seem to be going to great lengths to undermine renewable energy which is widely recognised as one of the biggest solutions to tackling climate change - the single biggest threat to our natural heritage.

"We have yet to hear the trust bring forward a viable alternative to lower emissions and meet our growing demand for safe, secure energy."

Climate WHAT? Oh yeah, that.

Hat Tip: A side link from JK's UPDATE.

But jk thinks:

You're just one of those troglodytes that has yet to accept that The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end, the head of the power network said yesterday.

Families would have to get used to only using power when it was available, rather than constantly, said Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid. Mr Holliday was challenged over how the country would "keep the lights on" when it relied more on wind turbines as supplies of gas dwindled. Electricity provided by wind farms will increase six-fold by 2020 but critics complain they only generate on windy days.
Mr Holliday told Radio 4's Today programme that people would have to "change their behaviour". "The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030," he said. "We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It is going to be much smarter than that.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 3:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Britons in this "smarter" world will no doubt have to learn to eat when there is food, drink when there is water and be warm when the sun is out.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 3:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stop. Yer killin' me! I'm not supposed to laugh this hard.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On a more serious tangent, Britons will also soon learn to vote for politicians who promise power "all the time" over "smart" power that goes away when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 8:17 PM

Doctor Representative Ron Paul Hoss Sir

As threatened, I pulled the plug on "Digital Preferred," the COMCAST package that includes FOX Business Channel. Eighteen dollars a month, and all I ever watched was Stossel.

Investigating alternatives, it looks like his shows make it over to Hulu about three weeks after they air. Even better, his new website provides copious clips. Three long segments from his special on Ron Paul (R- TX) are viewable here.

I still cannot join Rep Paul on monetary policy, and I do not happen to subscribe to his principled stance on "World Policing." But what a breath of air. The segment I linked, the 10% solution, includes a Chris Matthews/David Corn (~1:10) segment ridiculing him and his refreshing response.

Even if I don't accept them all, the world clearly needs to come a lot closer to Paul's positions. And I just got his book on Kindle --- who knows, maybe he'll get me in the end.

2012 Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 2:39 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Don't forget the "Hoss" category!

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

An oversight. ThreeSources apologizes for the error.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 6:41 PM

Flake for Senate

Stephen Moore reports in WSJ's Political Diary that the Democrats are drawing a little blood tying Republican Senators to Paul Ryan's reforms in "Mediscare Redux." (Kids, don't diagram that last sentence...)

Fear of the senior vote has already chased off Profile-in-Courage Susan Collins (Incumbent - ME) and some mid-lights are looking nervous. But a guy who has to win statewide in Arizona is standing tall.

One member who isn't backing away is Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who is running for Senate next year. In an interview, Mr. Flake says that he plans to go to Sun City and other retirement areas in Arizona to explain the fiscal necessity of the GOP cutbacks. "I think we need to reassure seniors on Medicare that this plan impacts future retirees, not them," he tells me. He also says that Republicans have to do a better job reminding seniors that "Medicare is going broke if we stick with the current system."

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

That last point was made repeatedly by Marco Rubio in his dressing-down of David Gregory. The GOP young guns statesmen seem to have a clue.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Note: HTML tag "strike, /strike" was included around the word "guns" in the prior comment. Apparently that one doesn't work in the comments.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 2:32 PM

Great Summer Glau Interview

In the LATimes. Peppered with several great clips, like this:

Television Posted by John Kranz at 1:12 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

"Yeah, but she's our witch. Cut 'er the hell down." NED do I miss the dialog on that show!

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 2:36 PM
But Terri thinks:


Thanks for the little break today.

Posted by: Terri at May 4, 2011 5:18 PM
But Terri thinks:

From Instapundit:

UM, ISN'T THIS HOW WE WOUND UP WITH THE REAVERS? Scientist seeks to banish evil, boost empathy. More here.

Be afraid.

Posted by: Terri at May 5, 2011 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh -- I had given P'rfesser QOTD for that...

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2011 6:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

It's said that the devil's most masterful stroke is convincing us that he doesn't exist. I find it interesting Dr. B-C has not only wonderful initials, but a tie to autism!

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 7, 2011 12:49 AM

Intellectually Bereft

One hates to kick an adversary when he's down. Especially down from his own candid assessment.

But George Monbiot, the lefty at Britain's leftiest newspaper is doing a little soul searching:

Let's face it: none of our environmental fixes break the planet-wrecking project
[Simon Farlie's] article exposes a remarkable but seldom noticed problem: that most of those who advocate an off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for manufactures. I'm not talking about the pointless rubbish in the FT's How To Spend It supplement. I'm talking about the energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles (except the hand-loomed tweed Fairlie suggests we wear), ceramics and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements.

Are people like Fairlie really proposing that we do without them altogether? If not, what energy sources do they suggest we use? Charcoal would once again throw industry into direct competition with agriculture, spreading starvation and ensuring that manufactured products became the preserve of the very rich. (Remember, as EA Wrigley points out, that half the land surface of Britain could produce enough charcoal to make 1.25m tonnes of bar iron -- a fraction of current demand -- and nothing else.) An honest environmentalism needs to explain which products should continue to be manufactured and which should not, and what the energy sources for these manufactures should be.

Did I mention that Monbiot was not a big liberty advocate? The autocratic paternalism is stunning. But move beyond that and appreciate the honesty of the piece. Even if two guys are willing to tell the entire United Kingdom what they may manufacture and purchase, it still doesn't work! None of their plans do any good!

Then, an admission that none of my Facebook Friends will make (well, except for Brother jg):

The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much. As oil declines, economies will switch to tar sands, shale gas and coal; as accessible coal declines, they'll switch to ultra-deep reserves (using underground gasification to exploit them) and methane clathrates. The same probably applies to almost all minerals: we will find them, but exploiting them will mean trashing an ever greater proportion of the world's surface. We have enough non-renewable resources of all kinds to complete our wreckage of renewable resources: forests, soil, fish, freshwater, benign weather. Collapse will come one day, but not before we have pulled everything down with us.

None of their predictions have come true, none of their plans offer any long term help, and even were this not the case, nobody wants them anyway.

Honesty. Candor. Kick.

Hat-tip: Walter Russell Mead

UPDATE: In completely and totally unrelated news, the BBC reports "Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged."

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Let me restate this (the UPDATE): Private wind energy companies were paid tax dollars not to operate the equipment they were given tax dollars to build? Damn, I guess Lord Keynes was right after all.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In related news (to the main story that of "the planet's real nightmare: not too little fossil fuel – but too much") the planet also seems to have too much food, too much comfort and too much biological diversity. [Coincidence?] We're constantly reminded that we are overweight, underworked and... whatever happened to all of that oil BP spilled in the Gulf of Mexico last summer?

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 3:16 PM

May 3, 2011

They're Watching "Idol!"


I know it, you know it -- they're watching American Idol!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

From the looks on their faces, I hope they're watching polling results. Reading their thoughts:

Hillary: "My gosh, I could primary this guy in '12."

Obama: "I'm going to catch hell from Michelle for having poll numbers this low."

Officer to at Obama's left: "I hate it when the Playstation network goes down. Look busy, look busy..."

Biden: "This is really interesting! Can someone show me how to do a PowerPoint?"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 3, 2011 5:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Hillary's thinking, "How could America vote off Pia?!"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 3, 2011 10:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hillary's thinking, "How might the world be different if my husband had killed this loser fifteen years ago when he had the chance - twice."

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 12:09 PM

Magister Dixit

This Internet thingy might really take off. I had seen a few short clips of Hayek, but was not aware there was an interview of this length or general discourse. Awesome!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Back to Normal

I was quite happy when I heard that Osama bin Laden had met justice at the hands of Navy Seals. He was an enemy to liberty and he was a brutal murderer. It didn't occur to me to go dancing in the street -- but I don't have anything less than a smile for those who did.

I join Larry Kudlow (I hope you saw his Monday show) in fulsome praise for the President. President Obama took a tough road with many risks. He made the right call and I applaud him for it.

And yet, for the idea that the President is now somehow "unstoppable" in 2012, I offer a more realistic look at our nation's thoughts and sensibilities. About Noon Eastern on the day after, here are the Wall Street Journal's Most Popular stories:

I'd say we're getting back to normal. (Umm, and here's a link to #1.)

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Unstoppable? Only if the elections are held this week. Let the voting public fill its gas tanks a few more times before going to the ballot box...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 3, 2011 2:02 PM

Review Corner

"In the Mail" to Instapundit today is David Bernstein's "Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform." Curious, because I preordered it April 15 on Perfesser Reynolds's tip, then I got my email printed on April 25 that Amazon had done a superb job pairing that up with Richard A. Epstein's "How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution."

I am glad I bought when I did. It was $27-something and is now $29.50. That University of Chicago is pretty proud of its stuff. If you buy it, go through the Instapundit link, and if you want to borrow it, holler. Epstein's book was inexpensive and available on Kindle® I guess it was released in 2006. I'd be happy to give either one 5 stars.

After I finished Bernstein's book, I thought a good pairing would also have been Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism." As Goldberg showed less-than-aspirational motives for political Progressives, Bernstein takes some whacks at the movement's jurisprudential wing, exposing dark subtexts to Justices Holmes, Frankfurter, and Douglas.

Bernstein has not, like many I respect, given up on limited government and individual liberty, accepting just enough of the Progressive line that we are too big and too modern to be governed by Madisonian rule. He also draws interesting and important distinctions between the early Progressives versus "Old Court" and modern day liberals and conservatives. It's far more difficult to draw a straight line that you would think.

Another key insight is his setting the Civil Liberties legal movement against individual liberties, not a continuation but rather the selection of greater police power instead of personal freedom.

Bernstein ends with the explanation that he is "rehabilitating" and not "defending" Lochner v New York. It is up to the reader to draw conclusions. But he rightfully saves it from the infamy section, where even Robert Bork and Justice Scalia use it as an epithet.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

OK, I'll holler. I'm about done with "Love & Logic" and ready for a deeper read. I feel the need for positive vibes these days, so would prefer Bernstein's tome if it's still available for a loaner.

Give me a shout at my personal address - as I don't have RSSers, crawlers, seekers or trawlers working yet - which I now feel freer to disclose: -- redacted --


Posted by: nanobrewer at May 4, 2011 11:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Sweet -- I hate to see a $27 book get read once. Sent you an email...

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2011 11:30 AM

LvM on "Socially Conscious" Literature

What is wrong with these authors is not that they choose to portray misery and destitution. An artist may display his mastership in the treatment of any kind of subject. Their blunder consists rather in the tendentious misrepresentation and misinterpretation of social conditions. They fail to realize that the shocking circumstances they describe are the outcome of the absence of capitalism, the remnants of the precapitalistic past, or the effects of policies sabotaging the operation of capitalism. They do not comprehend that capitalism, in engendering big-scale production for mass consumption, is essentially a system of wiping out penury as much as possible. They describe the wage earner only in his capacity as a factory hand and never give a thought to the fact that he is also the main consumer either of the manufactured goods themselves or of the foodstuffs and raw materials exchanged against them. -- Ludwig von Mises
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You want "socially conscious"? Read Charles Dickens. You need go no farther than Oliver Twist or A Christmas Carol to find virtuous rich characters, virtuous poor characters, evil rich characters, and evil poor characters. For those of you who majored in math and not literature, put "wealth" on the X-axis and "virtue" on the Y-axis. There is no correlations.

Ebenezer Scrooge was not required to sell all he had and give to the poor to find redemption (Scrooge always was a much-misunderstood character).

When a writer romanticizes poverty and the underclass as being inherently noble, or as "victims of the system," they not only fail to portray reality - they also display their own flawed worldview.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 3, 2011 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

My favorite Dickens -- by far -- is "Bleak House." That is a book that destroys all the literary subtypes of rich and poor.

I read several of his novels when I was young and was appreciative but not blown away. I read Bleak House six or eight years ago (Buffy Summers of vampire slaying fame was said to be named after and somewhat modeled after the protagonist Esther Summerson) and was absolutely enthralled.

This had me wondering whether I missed something in my youth or if I really just needed to wait for the right work.

Posted by: jk at May 3, 2011 12:20 PM
But jk thinks:

OTOH, Brother Keith, I would not want to give up Steinbeck or Cheever or Updike or Stephen King just because they are economically bankrupt. I fear art will be the last to catch up.

Posted by: jk at May 3, 2011 12:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll confess to having no great love for Steinbeck; The Grapes of Wrath is the classic example in my mind of the romantic ennoblement of the poor. I hate reading Steinbeck for his writing more than for his bad politics and his worldview. I have no doubt in my corrupt mind that there is a line of philosophy that runs directly from Steinbeck to Huckabee.

I will defend Stephen King, though. His politics may be awful, but as much as he overuses stereotypes for characters, he is a master of storytelling. I re-read The Stand the end of last year; I see it as one of the most fully developed portrayals of the working of good and evil in literature. I also recently read Under The Dome.

Which brings us full circle - King does write a lot about "social consciousness," but mostly in terms of the moral rather than the economic, from the point of view of "what comes out of individuals when truly bad things happen?"

Which we may be living soon, the way things are going...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 3, 2011 1:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll spot ya "Grapes of Wrath." But "Sweet Thursday," "Cannery Row," "Tortilla Flat," or on a good day, "Of Mice and Men" are all brilliant works.

Posted by: jk at May 3, 2011 2:21 PM

May 2, 2011

Justified II

Hat-tip: PJ Tattler

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:18 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

As far as I can tell, this is Obama and Clinton, right? It seems so because that looks like Bush who appears next. A bit crude, but the gist seems right.

Posted by: johngalt at May 3, 2011 11:47 AM
But jk thinks:

Could be -- I thought that was the world's worst VP Biden animation.

The joy of this was treating the body "according to Islamic tradition." (~0:50)

Posted by: jk at May 3, 2011 11:54 AM


For those who are interested in this sort of thing, here is a photo purported to be that of the dead terrorist bin Laden. It comes from Mumbai's TV9 - "Maharashtra's No. 1 News Channel"

Hat tip: Peter Boyles

Otequay of the Ayday

The surprise ending from an ABC News story titled Osama Bin Laden Burial Breaks With Islamic Tradition, Say Scholars

"As one who is devoted to Islam and its ideology, it makes me nauseated and sick that someone would make sure he had a religious rite given to a man like this because he was an evil barbarian who declared war against our nation." -- American Islamic leader Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"'Dumping the body into the sea is not part of any Islamic ritual,' said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a physician of internal medicine. 'Koranic scripture says God created him and he must return to the earth.'" Fine, Zudhi; you go fetch him, and give him whatever ritual or ceremony you want. My thought: we showed more respect for his carcass that they do for ours - no beheadings, no dragging through the streets. In some parts of that world, they celebrate jihad actions by cheering and passing out candy. When we counter by sticking bin Laden's head on a pike at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge and giving each other bacon in the streets, he can talk.

Some say the burial in the world's ocean was to prevent Islamofascists from turning his burial site into a martyr's shrine. Maybe it's also to give Americans and other freedom-loving people the opportunity to take a day at the beach and urinate on his grave.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 2, 2011 3:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wrong preposition, KA. Millions of fish, and quite a number of four-year-olds, are pissing IN his grave.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 2, 2011 8:06 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I'm also going out on a limb and say that bin Laden was not greeted by 72 virgins, but I hope they cut his balls off just in case.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 2, 2011 8:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In a just afterlife, if he were to be greeted by said virgins, they would all look like they play on the offensive line for the Redskins, and use bacon fat for lube.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 2, 2011 9:54 PM

Quote of the Day

"In the end it was the matchless skill and courage of these Americans that insured the success of this operation," a senior intelligence official said, referring to the team that went in. -- LA Times
Well done!
But johngalt thinks:

HOO rah!

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 2:50 PM

May 1, 2011

New Category - Hoss

We've been seeing a lot more of these lately, so I made it a category. I don't watch 'Meet the dePressed' but my old-school father does. If he didn't, I'd never have seen the following exchange. Dad's email included this editorial message: "I saw Marco Rubio on Meet the Press. He chewed up David Gregory and spit him out."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I won't excerpt because much of the slapdown amounts to Rubio rejecting Gregory's premises. It really needs to be watched rather than read.

(It really takes something like this to get me to link to MSNBC.)

Hoss Posted by JohnGalt at 7:27 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Terri thinks:

Hoss......I LIKE it!

Gregory was changing his map with every question and Rubio did not miss a beat.

Posted by: Terri at May 2, 2011 8:49 AM
But jk thinks:

Woo Hoo!

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2011 10:05 AM
But hb thinks:

"I'm more interested in the issues that are happening back here on planet earth."

This guy should be on every week.

Posted by: hb at May 2, 2011 10:18 AM
But jk thinks:

On a side note, I should give props to blog friend and all around hoss Sugarchuck, from whom I stole the term "Hoss."

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2011 11:36 AM

'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' - Only the Beginning

I enjoyed the very fair Pollywood review of 'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' by two relatively pro-Rand film writers, Lionel Chetwynd and Roger Simon that JK linked for us. They had some very good points and I fully expect the producers to follow as much of their advice as possible in future efforts. This first production clearly had some handicaps that led to its shortcomings, many of which will not apply to the sequels, e.g. the looming expiration of contratual rights, inexperience of the independent production company, and perhaps most importantly... working with the most tedious and least compelling portion of the novel, i.e. the first third. As a first-time reader I wasn't hooked by the story until the tunnel scene, which won't transpire until Part 2.

If the Aglialoro-Kaslow Atlas Shrugged franchise produces better products with its promised sequels than was the original it will not be the first such situation in motion picture history. I'm thinking of the progression in production value, if not necessarily the story line, of the Australian 'Road Warrior' series. The film by that name was far more entertaining and compelling than the predecessor 'Mad Max.' And it's a well-known fact of life that improving on an existing product is a shorter bridge than must be crossed when blazing an original trail.

'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' also suffered from an almost maniacal focus on keeping a quick pace. This led to many stilted scenes where a bit more dialogue would have fleshed out the scene considerably. For example, the "old wounds" in the relationship between Francisco and Dagny are only hinted at in their solitary scene together alone. Rand wrote a richer storyline than was presented to viewers of this film and allowing it to "balloon" to a full two-hours wouldn't have hurt its flow one bit.

But I must disagree with Mr. Chetwynd over his characterization of Rand's novels as mere "ciphers" for her philosophy, having no "depth of character" and lacking the undescribed qualities that would have resulted from "a reflective, creative work." I did find the character portrayals in the film to be rather two-dimensional but I attribute this to the aforementioned limitations and not to the source material to which the producers "slavishly" adhered. I would have liked to see more of the warmth and vulnerability of the literary Dagny in the movie character - an extended scene with Francisco could have provided this. In contrast with Messrs. Chetwynd and Simon, Robert Tracinski observed:

But Ayn Rand started out her career--in the 1920s through the 1940s--as a Hollywood screenwriter, working for such legends as Cecil B. DeMille and Hal Wallis. She wrote her novels in a very cinematic style, with stark visuals, sharp exchanges of dialogue, and peaks of high drama. She gave a director everything he could ask for to keep the audience in their seats: visually beautiful settings from the skyline of New York City to the mountains of Colorado, large-scale action scenes set on railroad lines and in steel mills, big ideas expressed in sharp-witted exchanges of dialogue--and, of course, passionate love scenes with handsome leading men and beautiful leading ladies.

If you can't figure out how to make a good movie out of all of that, then brother, you don't know your own business.

I applaud the passion and dedication which drove Aglialoro, Kaslow, and the entire The Strike production company to complete this much anticipated movie that so many have tried and failed at previously. I am encouraged by their reaction to the predictable reception these Hollywood outsiders were given for their faithful adaptation of Rand's paramount though controversial work. I look forward to bigger and better products to follow, on both the big screen in Parts 2 and 3 and in special DVD releases such as director's cuts and a possible miniseries. These film adaptations can only add to the inspiration and defense of liberty offered by the most influential book ever written save the Bible.

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