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.
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!
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.
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.
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."
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Versus.com:
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.
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.
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?
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.
"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.
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!"
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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...
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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...)
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.”
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.
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.
[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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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...
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
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.
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...
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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).
"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.
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?
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.
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
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.)
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.)
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!
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?)
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."
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.
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.)
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...
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.
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.
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!
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.
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...
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
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.)
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:
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.
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:
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: RealClearPolitics.com
The Vanity Fair cover photo of Katy Perry ain't bad either.
"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}
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.)
"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.
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
"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
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."
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.