June 30, 2011

Two Pinocchios for the President

I'm kept from a great joke with a Buffy twist for fear of its being racially misconstrued. But it is a good one, call me if you cannot guess.

The WaPo fact checker -- whose existence drives me crazy, because the column's "facts" reliably lean left -- awards two pinocchios for missing facts in the President's angry, vitriolic tirade press conference yesterday.

In a bit of class jujitsu, the president six times mentioned eliminating a tax loophole for corporate jets, frequently pitting it against student loans or food safety. It's a potent image, but in the context of a $4 trillion goal, it is essentially meaningless. The item is so small the White House could not even provide an estimate of the revenue that would be raised, but other estimates suggest it would amount to $3 billion over 10 years.

Meanwhile, student financial assistance, just for 2011, is about $42 billion. So the corporate jet loophole -- which involves the fact that such assets can be depreciated over five years, rather than the seven for commercial jets -- just is not going to raise a lot of money. It certainly wouldn't save many student loans.

Going after hedge fund managers might raise about $15 billion over 10 years, but in a different life The Fact Checker covered Wall Street and is pretty certain those financial wizards would figure out a way to avoid this tax shift.

A Facebook friend -- wait, I do not have to be anonymous, it's our very own LatteSipper -- posts this jewel about how our economy is "held hostage" for a loophole to protect 25 Hedge Fund Managers (boo, hiss, hedge fund managers...). I assume he refers to the differential in gains to income, but whatever. Closing this would produce <doctor_evil_voice>$44 Billion</doctor_evil_voice> over ten years. Wow. That's almost a half percent of the President's budget's new debt over the same time period. Throw in the quarter percent for those corporate jet guys and you have almost 3/4 of a percent! Problem solved!

When the loanshark comes to collect the 10 grand you owe him, smile and say you have $75.

Sins of magnitude. This is all we are going to hear until the election.

If you did not read it, JimiP destroys the corporate jet meme.

Sweatin' the Day Away at the Fender Factory

The blues soundtrack is nice but it gives the piece a Steinbeck/Tom Joad vibe. One expects to see Leo running the "company store" or something...

Pretty small beans complaint for some very cool footage. Oh to have one or two of those '59 strats...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

Clinton on Taxes

Bill Clinton on raising taxes:

"When I passed my budget in 1993, they routinely said it would bring on a terrible recession, [that] it was the end of capitalism as we knew it," he said. "And we had the best eight years in our history. But they just kept saying it. You've got to give them credit. The evidence doesn't deter them. ... It's an ideological conviction. So, I don't know that it can be resolved until there's some break in the action."

Here is how causation works on the left. X happens. Y happens. Therefore X causes Y. Nothing happened between the 1993 budget and 2000 that could have had any effect on the economy. Don't tried to persuade them otherwise, they can't be deterred by facts.

And of course, there is no ideology on the left. The Democrats are practical individuals who wouldn't dare give speeches railing against corporate jets to score political points.

Dirty Hippies Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:13 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Woooah, doggies! And that's my favorite modern Democrat.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2011 2:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In an entire page on this subject, the sole suggestion of anything other than the Clinton Tax Hike being responsible for the federal windfall was this:

An equally if not more powerful influence was the booming economy and huge gains in the stock markets, the so-called dot-com bubble, which brought in hundreds of millions in unanticipated tax revenue from taxes on capital gains and rising salaries.

But we have to admit how weak an argument is, "Just imagine how much more the economy could have grown without Clinton's tax increase!"

And using hb's formula, X was the tax rate increase and Y was the economic boom. It seems so incredibly simple when oversimplified in this way.

We're almost left with nothing but, "No, it was the late night Oval Office Oral Exams that caused the boom, not tax rate hikes."

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2011 4:33 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Clinton pulled what Dan Quayle called "a Clinton." (During his 1992 debate, that's what DQ called a lie.) I call it "a Paul Krugman."

The plain fact is that the economy didn't take off until the later 1990s, a combination of the tech boom and, oh dear, tax cuts that Republicans pushed for.

Clinton, and Republicans for that matter, did absolutely nothing to get a budget surplus. As I've pointed out before, it was because tax receipts were increasing faster than federal spending. Nor were tax cuts responsible for the return to deficits. Bush pushed for tax cuts, as we well know, and both Republicans and Democrats kept increasing spending at the same rate.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 30, 2011 10:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good synopsis PE. Too bad the world doesn't read Three Sources.

"Republicans and Democrats kept increasing spending" [during the GWB administration] because nobody wanted to repeat the 'mistake' of "tax receipts increasing faster than federal spending" [during the second Clinton term] ever again.

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2011 11:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Well ne'er escape Rubinomics: the idea that the '93 tax hike created prosperity and not the later cap gains cut. Sigh.

Mister fair and balanced, however, will point out that:
-- President Clinton was good on spending, though he had a head start cutting defense after the USSR imploded;
-- President Clinton was GREAT on trade until Seattle '99' MVN and a fast track to WTO for China was a great boon for both of us;
-- Welfare reform (again, a promise kept by force from a GOP Congress) was a substantial down payment on a non-Socialist future.
Art Laffer boasts that he voted for Clinton twice. While that is two more times than I did, comparing him to the current crop makes him look like Cleveland.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2011 11:58 AM

Quote of the Day

Guns are the spam filters of the physical world. -- Mises.org Facebook page
[Link goes to the article they were promoting, not the quote.]
Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 1:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 29, 2011

All Hail Taranto


So, Just to get Things Straight

  • Michelle Bachmann picks a possibly poor example to support her assertion of abolitionist "Founding Fathers" (picking a "Founding Son").
  • The President rails against "tax breaks for corporate jets" included in his stimulus.
Which will lead the evening news? Wagers, anyone?

First Principles, Please.

The Gillespie-Welch book "Declaration of Independents" is remarkably uplifting. Yes, government's gone to the crapper, but outside of politics, freedom rocks and rules and expands. It has cheered me up quite a bit.

Meanwhile, there are the Avastin-FDA trials. Two somewhat contradictory articles appear today. The WSJ Ed Page, from whom much of my FDA antipathy was inducted, is aghast:

Genentech clearly has a self-interest in sticking up for a drug that generates $6 billion in annual revenue, about $1 billion of that from breast cancer. But no drug maker, ever, has formally and so publicly challenged the ukase of the FDA--an agency that can make or break companies and is known for punishing those who challenge it.

FDA cancer drugs chief Richard Pazdur has enormous discretion in drug approvals, and he can be especially vindictive. Genentech has more than 20 new drugs in oncology, immunology and neuroscience in its clinical development pipeline, and it is a unit of Roche, the Swiss health-care holding company. The politically easier route would be to avoid Dr. Pazdur's wrath. He and biologics deputy Patricia Keegan are as important to Genentech's future as are its own scientists and researchers.

We'll get back to the arguments. But "wrath?" "vindictive?" Am I the only one who thinks that drug approvals should be formulaic? Allow me to suggest a formula: compound x doesn't present more danger than the disease it treats, go right ahead.

Derek Lowe writes about the trials as well, and I agree with his thesis: Passion should lose. Emotional patients are a poor source of policy You can file that away with all the liberty-sapping regulations named after a dead toddler.

If you disagree with the whole idea of risk/benefit analysis, then. . .well, you'd better have something more useful to offer. And you'd better be sure that it doesn't end with the decisions going to whoever is the most passionate and tearful in making their case. That won't end well.

On the other hand, Doctor Lowe, the patient pathos is in opposition to "vindictive" "wrathful" Federal bureaucrats who would deny a terminal patient's doctor from accessing a powerful compound to combat cancer. Lowe thinks Avastin is on the wrong side of the statistics here and questions its efficacy. A couple of readers have sent me similar stories.

I cannot say whether Avastin is good for breast cancer. I am neither an oncologist nor do I play one on tv. But -- like President Madison -- I cannot lay my finger on that part of the Constitution that empowers the Federal government to make that choice.

But johngalt thinks:

It's in the same clause that authorizes a Federal health care mandate. FDA autocracy and Obamacare share the clause because they serve each other's purpose: Witholding FDA approval for expensive drugs helps keep the single-payer's costs down; and when government is the only entity paying the bills for medical care there is less scrutiny of the vindictive, wrathful, and (you forgot to mention) punitive discretion of self-important government functionaries.

So Genentech has, for the first time ever, formally and publicly challenged the [had to look it up] edict of the FDA? Good for them! Consider this a positive unintended consequence of Obamacare. After flirting with collusion with these "officials" Big Pharma seems to finally recognize that after patients and doctors, they are next on the collectivism menu.

So what do we call them? Ukased Enough Already Partiers? The Twentieth Century Drug Company? Pharmaceutical Libertarians?

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2011 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Full disclosure: Genentech/Roche developed the experimental treatment that helped me greatly but that I can, of course, no longer get. Perhaps I should not push them toward enraging the wrathful and vindictive Dr. Pazdur.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2011 3:20 PM

Accidental Finale?

Firefly wins #13 (ranked in order?) for my favorite, "Objects in Space."

The never-ending outcry over the series' cancellation drowns out the fact that "Objects In Space" was a pretty great way for the show to go out. Bounty hunter Jubal Early's (Richard Brooks) invasion of the spaceship Serenity, his specific methods for dealing with each member of the crew, and the crew's eventual fight back and victory give every cast member a moment in the sun, and the episode is audacious enough (among other things, it's Joss Whedon giving a treatise on existentialism) that it's easy to wish there could have been a future for the increasingly ambitious show. It's still great to see it go out on top.


Television Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [0]

Obama '12 Bumper Sticker

"Unseemly but Perfectly Legal!" ©ABCNews

On March 7, President Obama met with more than two dozen financial leaders and executives, in the Blue Room of the White House. The event was organized by the Democratic National Committee, and all but one of the individuals appear to be campaign contributors to the president.

More recently, the president taped a video in the residence of the White House, as part of a fundraising "raffle" for donors, offering a dinner with him as a prize.

Up there with "no controlling authority" innit? Sadly, there are no O's in the entrire phrase to leverage the Obama logo.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 28, 2011

A Key to Bachmann's Electoral Prowess?

She is undefeated in electoral politics, after all.

JTA News Service - A provocateur to some, Michele Bachmann also offers Jewish voters common cause

Bachmann reached out to Jewish backers in 2005 as soon as she sought the seat in the 6th District when Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican incumbent, launched an ultimately unsuccessful Senate bid. She had served in the state Senate since 2001.

Her career, launched out of frustration with her local school board -- she is the mother of five and has been a foster parent for 23 children -- has flourished as speeches calling for a return to what she said were the founders' intentions have drawn conservative interest.

While Bachmann's district includes two small Jewish communities, her interest in Israel and in Jews stems more from her upbringing and her beliefs than anything else, her supporters say. She has made fast friends among conservative Jews, attending their lifecycle events and sharing Friday-night dinners.

"She is a compassionate person and substantive person despite caricatures," said Mark Miller, who founded the local Republican Jewish Coalition chapter. "She never met my mom, but shortly after she died I got a handwritten letter of condolences. She has real 'rachmones,' " he said, using the Yiddish term for mercy.

Todd Gurstel, a lawyer who backs Bachmann, was with her in 2008 when she toured the tunnel beneath the Western Wall. Gurstel said he enjoyed watching Bachmann fence with his liberal in-laws when she attended his daughter's bat mitzvah.

"The thing that makes Michele different than any other politician is that she sticks to her conviction despite however outrageous it may seem to others," he said, noting that he disagrees with the candidate on issues such as gay rights and abortion.

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Ain't This the Truth


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

Sooo Over for Bachmann!

I remain ready to reevaluate Rep. Michelle Bachman's candidacy. The lovely bride found her social conservatism off-putting while we watched her FOX News Sunday interview. (Nixon was not a crook, O'Donnell was not a witch, and Rep. Bachmann is not a flake -- got it?) Yet she seems the strongest voice for limited government and fiscal responsibility. And I am prepared to overlook a lot for that.

I was. But. This gaffe. Is too much.

KELLY O'DONNELL: Bachmann, who has recently begun stressing her background as a tax attorney and small business owner, has been embarrassed by a string of factual errors like placing the battles of Lexington and Concorde in the wrong state. She missed the mark again in our interview, bringing up an unrelated and incorrect claim about her hometown.

CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MINNESOTA): Another famous American that was born in Waterloo, Iowa, was John Wayne.

O'DONNELL: Iowans say it's widely known here that actor John Wayne was born about 150 miles away in Winterset.

It is sad to see such a promising start laid to waste. Who knew Ms. Bachmann's Waterloo would be in Waterloo? Or Winterset?

Video at the link, plus some minutia about the President flubbing the name of a Medal of Honor winner. Like somebody cares about that.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

"American Girls" are such "flakes!" It's good for the Liberal Mass Media to make sure none of them ever achieve any position of influence in our government. Like Janet Reno, err, Cynthia McKinney, umm, Nancy Pelosi, pssh, Sonia Sotomayor... oh never mind.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2011 3:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Update: Investors Op Ed page calls Bachmann "Not flaky. Effective. And inspiring."

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2011 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Great link, thanks. As a bonus, maybe she could teach George Stephanopoulos some history.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2011 3:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2011 3:54 PM

June 27, 2011


Admitting you have a domain name problem is the first step...

But johngalt thinks:

I still prefer nascarretards-dot-com, NY Times mentions not withstanding.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2011 9:16 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, NASCAR Retards has more "pop."

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2011 10:58 AM

Semper Libertario...

Massacring a dead language worsely, but my call for immediate destruction of all things Libertarian is on hold.

The good folks at Reason sent me a copy of Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch's "Declaration of Independents." I saw the Stossel show on it. Then, the next day there is a package from the Reason Foundation. I picked it up and thought "they sent me the new book 'cause I am such a swell guy." It's my world, I just let you all live in it. The cover letter did not use the word "swell," but it happened pretty much as I dreamed it.

It is very good so far, neither pushes LP membership or third party voting. But they do push for Independence from a party to ensure that you do not become captive to a group whether you agree with them or not. I ridicule African American and Jewish voting blocks that support Democrats outside their interest. Well, the Jacket and his bespeckled sidekick wonder if I'm any better.

Reading this, I am about ready to bolt the party. I like Sen. Hatch okay, but the Utah Tea Party is absolutely, positively right: the NRSC should not support a candidate until he is running against a member of another party.

They weren't wearing face paint, but they said they felt like they were in Braveheart.

More than 50 Tea Partiers, many from Utah, stormed the offices of the National Republican Senatorial Committee here in Washington on Monday to protest the organizatio's support of Republican incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch.

I don't plan to change my affiliation. I still have pragmatic beliefs that the GOP is the best least worst path toward the changes I want. But, I don't know that I want to even send a token $50 to the RSNC. The thought of its being used to prop up a 347-term incumbent against challenge from a Tea Party or Freedom Works candidate inspires teeth-gnashing.

USDA - Repeal it or Rename it

Victor Davis Hanson, descendent from farmers himself, argues for "plowing under" the Agriculture Department.

The Department of Agriculture no longer serves as a lifeline to millions of struggling homestead farmers. Instead it is a vast, self-perpetuating, postmodern bureaucracy with an amorphous budget of some $130 billion -- a sum far greater than the nation's net farm income this year.

In fact, the more the Agriculture Department has pontificated about family farmers, the more they have vanished -- comprising now only about 1% of the American population.


Originally, the food stamp program focused on the noble aim of supplementing the income of only the very poor and the disabled. But now eligibility is such that some members of the middle class find a way to manipulate such grants. In fact, 2011 could be another sort of record year for the Agriculture Department, as it may achieve an all-time high in subsidizing 47 million Americans on food stamps -- nearly one-sixth of the country.


In these days of record federal deficits and unsustainable national debt, it is long past time to eliminate the department -- or least rename it "The Department of Food Subsidies."

But jk thinks:

Oh man, we'll all starve! Now this site is not only pro-slavery, but anti-food!

I actually did see this and that first paragraph has been burning in my head for a while. Do we truly spend more an agriculture department than the nation's farm income? I think even some lefty friends of mine would be disturbed by that.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2011 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had to include that sentence for its shock value, at least. I think it's quite possible given the $70 Ba-Ba-Billion spent annually on the food stamp program. [Hey, let's stop subsidizing Big TV-Dinner!]

And 46 Ma-Million Americans receive food stamps?

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 6:28 PM

A "balanced approach" to the deficit problem

Senator Jon Kyl went on Fox News Sunday yesterday to explain why he withdrew from deficit reduction negotiations over the President's conditional requirement that government revenues be raised as part of a "balanced" solution. "But isn't one dollar of new taxes for every three dollars of spending cuts a fair deal" asked Chris Wallace?

But you don't want to pile taxes on at a time when companies don't have the ability to invest and hire people. That's the primary reason we are opposed to raising taxes right now.

Treasury Secretary Geithner explains the real reason for insisting on tax hikes.

"If you don't touch revenues," Geithner said, "you have to shrink the overall size of government programs, things like education, to levels that we could not accept as a country."

What do you mean "we" Kemosabe? Investor's Business Daily opines:

Some factions just won't accept shrinking the size of government. Most in them run in the same tight circles as Geithner. Never hearing anything other than support for increasing the size of government, they assume that's what Americans want.

But quite a few Americans have been wanting to cut government for decades, and that number is growing as the almost intractable problems created by overspending have become more obvious.

From Social Security and Medicare to housing assistance and farm subsidies to, yes, even education, federal programs need to shrink or be eliminated. There's not a single item in the budget, including defense, that can't use some judicious trimming.

No Tim, America's economy has shrunk. Americans' net worth has shrunk. It's well past time for America's government to shrink.

Somebody's Gotta Say It

I think slavery was awesome! Negroes knew their place. People were really happy with that!

Prince, the Grammy Award-winning artist behind "Purple Rain," told the Guardian in an interview that women forced to wear burqas in Islamic countries are "happy" to wear them.

"It's fun being in Islamic countries, to know there's only one religion," Prince told the British newspaper. "There's order. You wear a burqa. There's no choice. People are happy with that."

The Guardian pointed out that perhaps not every woman forced to wear a burqa is thrilled with the idea. The singer acknowledged: "There are people who are unhappy with everything. There's a dark side to everything."

Well, yeah, a couple of 'em complained, but you know, some folks is just hard to please.

Hat-tip: Insty, who adds "So I guess what he's saying is that Tipper Gore was right all along..."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

Y'all Can Think What You Want

Ed Driscoll finds this a real "gotcha" moment. NYTimes Columnist David Carr says "If it's Kansas, Missouri, no big deal. You know, that's the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right? ...Did I just say that aloud?"

But I watched it and thought "people really watch this crap?" It's less than a minute and I wanted to change stations.

June 26, 2011

Facebook Meme

These moronic things propagate on Facebook. I pick my battles and challenge more than I should. This one bugs me, but I have too many teacher friends on FB, including much of my natural family and in-laws. So this will be a ThreeSources' only rant, play along if you'd like.

The original, appearing both as text and a handy profile picture from moveon.org (which I love because nobody can actually read that entire bit of nonsense stuffed into a 100 x 100 bitmap, white on black).

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in taxpayer funded bail outs, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither... Pass it on.

I'll open the bidding with:

Remember when Google and Apple forced our children to attend dangerous and ineffective schools; threatened to jail us at the point of gun if we did not pay for their products whether we used them or not; and coerced us to guarantee their employees' retirement at 50 by indebting our grandchildren? Yeah, me neither... Pass it on.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Remember when people were happy with what they earned themselves and didn't demand more from someone else for free? Me neither (but I'm only 48.) Pass it on.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2011 7:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was going to proffer another entry thusly:

Remember when the Community Reinvestment Act threatened banks who refused to make subprime loans, resulting in trillions of dollars loaned to people who couldn't pay it back, causing dozens of leinholders to go bankrupt and devastate the housing and financial markets?

Then I discovered this nifty "ass cover" that has been knitted for the CRA over at Wikipedia.

After repeatedly asserting that "unregulated mortgage brokers were even worse" the entry concludes with the less than disinterested Franklin Raines telling Congress the CRA "might have been a catalyst encouraging bad behavior, but it was difficult to know."

That's not a very substantial defense for either the CRA or Fannie and Freddie.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 2:21 PM

LvM Quote of the Day

I'm enjoying Mises's "Epistemological Problems in Economics." That is one book you can judge by its cover. If that sounds good, you'll love it, if that sounds like hell, you'll hate it. If it sounds turgid with a fundamentally interesting premise, you're me.

Max Weber contends that the Theory of Marginal Utility -- and concomitantly Mises's theory of action -- applies only to developed, free capitalistic markets, and gives the example of the Middle Ages for which Weber feels it would not apply. Mises responds:

It may be presumed that the Middle Ages would have understood no more of the modern theory of price formation than of Newtonian mechanics or of the modern notions of the functions of the heart. Nevertheless, rain drops fell no differently in the Middle Ages than they do today, and hearts did not beat otherwise than they do now. Though the men of the Middle Ages would not have understood the law of marginal utility, they nevertheless did not and could not act otherwise than as the law of marginal utility describes. Even the man of the Middle Ages sought to apportion the means at his disposal in such a way that he attained the same level of satisfaction in every single kind of want. Even in the Middle Ages the wealthier man did not differ from the poorer man only in that he ate more. Even in the Middle Ages no one voluntarily exchanged a horse for a cow unless he valued the cow more highly than the horse. Even at that time the interventionist acts of the government and other institutions of compulsion brought about effects no different from those which the modern theory of price controls and intervention points out.

Take that Max Weber! Seriously, it's pretty good (worth the work) and you can get an e-version free from Mises.org.

June 25, 2011

Time to Move On

Someday, over a few very good beers, brothers jg, br, and jk (O NED, he's talking about himself in the third person again...) will do a Colorado counterfactual and discuss whether we made the wrong pick in 2010.

I have no remorse for Delawareans (-ites? -goobers?) dying on the Christine O'Donnell hill. Besides the rallying cry of "yeah, but she's our witch -- cut her the hell down!" there was nothing lost by keeping Mike Castle (RINO - DE) out of the US Senate. That loss was a win-win.

But Colorado had the chance to send a pretty good Republican in 2010. We, too, chose to lose with an inexperienced candidate. I supported Weld County DA Ken Buck in the primary and will take my lumps. But the liberty differential was far less pronounced in the 38th State as it was in the first. Lt. Gov. Norton's sin was her expected malleability, but even were that the case, the Tea-Party infused 112th would have aligned her with the forces of goodness and light.

But I am prepared to move on. And from an email, it appears Ms. Norton is too:

Denver, CO. -- Phoenix Multisport, Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Jane Norton as Director of Development. Ms. Norton brings over two decades of experience working in public health roles as Regional Director of the US Department of Health and Human Services (1988-1993), Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (1999-2002), and as Colorado's 46th Lieutenant Governor (2003-2007) where she acted as point person for health insurance reform.

"I'm excited to be part of a team committed to breaking the cycle of addiction and helping people rediscover their potential. Phoenix is an extraordinarily successful model for people struggling with addiction, and I'm thrilled to be involved as Phoenix expands into Colorado Springs where more of our returning servicemen and women will benefit from its great programs. The new downtown Denver location also creates a strong hub of sobriety in the heart of the city," Norton said.

Phoenix Multisport is an innovative Colorado-based non-profit that fosters a supportive, physically active community for thousands of individuals who are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse and those that choose to live a sober life. Through such pursuits as climbing, hiking, running, road and mountain biking, yoga and multiple other activities, Phoenix helps its members develop and maintain the emotional strength they need to stay sober.

Best of luck, Ms. Lt. Gov.

(And, Madame Lieutenant Governor, when I said "over a few beers," I pictured one for each of us. Just to be clear.)

CO Senate Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Brother br and his charming wife bought dagny and I a wonderful dinner in a less than wonderful Erie roadhouse last night. This topic didn't come up. We politely discussed candidates Perry and Bachmann but neither of us thought to ponder whether nominating one of them might lead to a similar outcome (and a concomitant Romney Remorse.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2011 10:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Err, "dagny and me.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 2:22 PM

June 24, 2011

The Future of the American Car

Friday Funnies from Reason:

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Pixie dust will be opposed by the Big Flubber lobby and the enviros will sue for an environmental impact study on Neverland Island. During the study, they will find an endangered crocodile and will demand that the DNR halt production. No one will be able think enough happy thoughts to get anything off the ground.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2011 6:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

At first I thought it would be easier simply to mount a Mr. Fusion on the rear deck of all of our DeLoreans - until I realized that Big Tire, which doubtless has several Senators in their pockets, will pressure our legislators to block the production of flying automobiles.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2011 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd have included Obama Administration as one of the tags for this entry.

Hope. Change. Pixie dust.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 2:23 PM

Media Bias at Time

Predictable, really. But Death Star PR takes them to account:

In your article of June 17, you listed Darth Vader as the third worst "fictional" father. The Galactic Empire takes these kinds of accusations very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that similar accusations from other planets normally end with a rebuttal of the giant laser from space variety. However, in his infinite wisdom, Darth Vader has ordered the PR Department to respond with the second most devastating weapon known to mankind: a sternly worded letter of complaint. So prepare yourself, TIME Magazine, but know in advance that your shields can't repel refutation of this magnitude.

Hat-tip (who else could it possibly be?) Jonathan V Last.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

Kids Say the Darndest Things...

One of the unintentionally inappropriate test responses from children:

(Some at the link are a little more inappropriate than this...)

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Face it, guys, Obama just wants your money, like the cute boy who sweet talks you at the bar while ordering a $20 cocktail, then reaches for his wallet, only to feign shock when he just can't find it. "Maybe you can help me look for it," he says as he puts his hand on your knee and looks into your eyes, but once he's taken a few sips from the pricey drink you've bought him, he manages to slip away. And you don't see him again, until having run up a $100-dollar bar bill (somehow he managed to slip another drink on your tab), you stumble out of the night spot and discover him talking with some hunky fitness model. He tries to avoid making eye contact, but when you do, he promises he'll get back to you just as soon as he catches up with his "old friend" whom he just "happened"to run into. -- Gay Patriot
And I thought being a Republican was hard sometimes...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

The Anti-Katrina

A letter writer to my proofreader makes a great point about the flood in Minot, ND:

The only silver lining to this disaster has been the response of the community. I am not from this part of the country (I hail from the East Coast) and nowhere that I have lived has ever faced this kind of adversity. But I would be proud to call this town my home. I have not seen one person whine or complain. I have not heard one hopeless person ask when the government or FEMA would rescue them. The town mobilized itself days ahead of the impending disaster and began planning for the worst; secondary levees and sandbag walls went up with breathtaking speed, and thousands of homes were evacuated without incident. Think of it as the anti-Katrina. Once the townspeople saw that their worst fears were about to be realized, and their homes and livelihoods destroyed, instead of giving up, they have only redoubled their efforts to save what can be saved. Their stoic determination in the face of absolute catastrophe amazes me.

More at the link. One of my darling nieces is running around with a Minot ex-pat (from whom I learned to pronounce the 't'). Sad stuff.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 23, 2011

O No!

I live a handful of miles from "The World's Largest Liquor Store" and have been known to pop in once or twice for some uncoerced free trade. But they might be taking their Murray Rothbard too seriously over there.

The brothers who run the world's largest liquor store - Daveco Liquors - face racketeering and theft charges after authorities say they cheated Colorado and the City of Thornton out of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars.

In a 52-count indictment issued late Wednesday, prosecutors allege that the Sawaged brothers faked merchandise returns for millions of dollars worth of booze that never existed, allowing them to avoid paying sales taxes they actually owed.

No word whether the Bastiat "taxation is theft" defense will be employed.

On a serious note, these seem like very good people, well liked by a courteous staff. This is a shock.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Bummer. A store with great selection. This will undoubtedly put them OOB.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2011 4:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I know it sounds naive to say that I am shocked. But in my years playing clubs, you can tell if the owner is a basically decent cat, crook or cokehead ten minutes after you walk in.

There was a general decency at Daveco that I would have sworn indicated honest leadership. Well, I guess President Bush muffed on Putin as well...

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2011 5:07 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually "taxation is theft" was Ayn Rand, but Bastiat had the general view that government cannot legitimately do anything your neighbors can't legitimately do as individuals.

Neither of them was an anarchist, but those two thoughts are the essence.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 24, 2011 8:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

What a relief! When I heard on the radio they were accused of "racketeering" I thought there was criminal behavior alleged. Instead they're merely suspected of cheating on their taxes. Look where that got Timmy Geithner!

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2011 9:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Sliding scale jg: Sec. Geithner on one side, Al Capone on the other...

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2011 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Point taken vis-a-vis disparate treatment for the same act, but I haven't seen anything that puts the Booze Brothers in the same class as Capone, i.e. criminal gangster?

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 3:00 PM

An Insight Into ObamaCare®

Peter Orszag, of "bend the cost curve" fame, has now been demoted from US Medical Czar Plenipotentiary to "Bloomberg Columnist." For this, Lord, may we be truly thankful...

But he's worried, he is. You see, Americans are living longer than ever, and there are many important innovations in health technology and knowledge. He documents several of them in "How My Wi-Fi Scale Adds to America's Class Divide." Oh, the bright kids in the front see where this is going...

But it's worrisome, too, because the same technological change that allows any of us to walk around with all this personal data at a glance may wind up exacerbating the growing gap in life expectancy between people with high levels of income and education and those without.

If I may translate (I took a semester of Orszaggian in college): "exacerbating the growing gap in life expectancy" means that some people will live longer. O cruel world! Why, if we grow life expectancy to 150 years, that will exacerbate the longevity differential between those who die young.

And it is grossly unfair, because the people living longer are wealthy! They can afford a Wi-Fi Scale! Correct me if I am wrong, but causality might be what economists call "bassackwards" here. Professor Reynolds has suggested that Obama Administration members (Orszag, check) confuse the markers of middle class with the habits and skills that produce it. Give them a house, and they will have the same advantages that a person who works hard, saves and protects his credit rating has -- see, they both have a house! (To be fair, Reynolds directs this more at the ruling class, but I think it works.)

What about those damned, lucky rich people who are going to outlive their disadvantaged counterparts?

The leading explanations for this involve health behavior -- including diet, exercise and smoking. For example, men 50 and older without a high-school education are more than twice as likely to smoke as those with a college degree. Exercise behavior also varies substantially. Among 45- to 54-year-olds in one study, only 16 percent of those without a high-school degree exercised vigorously at least once a week, whereas 56 percent of college graduates did.

If the new personalized health technologies wind up being used disproportionately by people with more education and income, driving that group toward even better health, they will probably cause the gap in life expectancy to widen still further.

So, Pete, buddy. A guy could read that and see that guys who exercise, eat well and don't smoke are healthier and live longer. Might they also be more likely to buy a Wi-Fi scale and a medical ID bracelet?

Might -- and I know I am way out on a limb here -- might those serious. forward looking individuals be more likely to complete their education and be successful in careers?

I don't know about your senior year in high school, Mr. O, but mine did not have the magic health class that told me how to care for myself. You got much further in college than I did; maybe it was a 400 level course, or postgrad. But I have this sneaking suspicion that you describe a behavior and not a class.

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw

UPDATE: I fixed the spelling of Orszag (was Orzag, mea culpa). Someday, I will tell you all the story of the Knoxville Law Professor I have proofreading for me. It's a good one...

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 1:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Week in Sports

Dan Henninger fires up the Segue Machine:

On Saturday the planets aligned to give us Rory McIlroy making golf history at Congressional Country Club on the same day Barack Obama and John Boehner were at Andrews Air Force Base, finding some fellow feeling in a round of golf.

Beyond the difference is quality and score, Henninger sees another difference.
The irony is hard to miss. The nation's two most public servants played their golf in private. Rory McIlroy, a private citizen, played his with millions watching.

Maybe we're onto something.

Professional athletes do their best work in public--Rory McIlroy this week, Dirk Nowitzki last week. Public witness, it seems, produces great performances under pressure. Meanwhile, it is taken as truth that politics can't happen unless the politicians can talk in private.

Playing in full view with pressure, Rory McIlroy produced a record U.S. Open score of 16 under par. The politicians, who legislate most of the time in private, have produced record deficits and a national debt of $14.3 trillion. Maybe the Biden debt negotiation should be taking place at a table in front of 20,000 citizens on the floor of the Verizon Center, where the aptly named Washington Wizards play.

Both golf courses Saturday were filled with smiles.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:51 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Cuffy Meigs and Wesley Mouch could not be reached for comment.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2011 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

One thing I'd love to steal from the Motherland is "Prime Minister's Questions Hour:" brutal, no-holds-barred argument and rhetoric between parties. Teleprompterless fun where leaders must face actual questions about the efficacy and design of their policies. That essentially never happens here.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2011 4:59 PM

June 22, 2011

Snow in August!

[The title alludes to the first of the "Nanny McPhee" movies by and with Emma Thompson. I have just discovered these (there are two I know of) and they are gems.]

Coloradans should expect snow about any time but I doubt measurable has been recorded in August at any elevation habitable by homo sapiens.

But Coloradans would not normally expect their Senator (and my former Congressman) Mark Udall (D - CO) to team up with Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS - OK) to cut government.

The unfortunate truth is that some outdated federal regulations or programs persist simply because they haven't been properly reviewed. To help fix that, I've introduced legislation to establish a Senate committee with the sole purpose of identifying and targeting wasteful and underperforming federal government programs that should be cut or eliminated.

This bipartisan committee would be an important step toward making government more efficient and responsive to the American people. But we can't stop there.

In fact, this week, I also joined Republican Senator Tom Coburn in introducing an amendment that would require that Congress get a warning when proposed legislation creates duplicative programs. It would also require that Senate committees justify the need for legislation that overlaps with other laws or regulations. These important steps will help change the culture in Congress and encourage meaningful oversight.

I am Tea Party, hear me roar!

BEST PA Conservative Blog

Congrats to blog brother AlexC. PA Water Cooler (PAH2OdS/dt > 0) was named "Best Conservative Blog" by Politics PA

We've seen this crew at conservative events across the state, and they do a darn good job amalgamating conservative news and opinions from around PA. The blog is especially on target with GOP insider goings on in SEPA.

Well done!

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2011 3:16 PM

Newt: Audit the Fed!

One of many good outcomes from the cratering of the Newt2012 campaign is that the man is becoming bolder. Now he says, "Audit the Federal Reserve."

"This economy is going to stay mired in a bad economy until we bring the Fed under control, and we repeal the Dodd-Frank bill."

Now, linking arms with Ron Paul, we have two candidates who won't be elected calling for the audit of Greenbacks Incorporated.

Full Disclosure: I agree with them.

But jk thinks:

The Fed has problems. I cannot see how "add Congressional meddling" fixes any of them.

Repeal Dodd-Frank, though, I am on board all the way!

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, I dunno, disinfecting sunlight?

For a long time the Quixotic "audit the Fed" mission has been the baileywick of crackpots like G. Edward Griffin, Bernard von Nothaus and Ron Paul. Now it's either become a respectable idea or Newt's become a crackpot. Time will tell.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 8:12 PM
But gd thinks:

Yesterday's crackpot oftentimes becomes tomorrow's genius. Yet another Republican following the lead of "crazy" Ron Paul.

The movement to audit the Fed is far more about transparency and figuring out just how much the Fed has devalued the dollar as it is congressional meddling. Faith vs. Truth my friends.

Posted by: gd at June 22, 2011 10:47 PM
But jk thinks:

When you guys say "Fed Audit" you picture Rep. Ron Paul grilling the FOMC over the devaluation of fiat money and demanding Constitutional purview for expanding their balance sheet.

When I hear "Fed Audit" I picture Reps. Henry Waxman and Barney Frank grilling an unknown Fed Governor over "why weren't more loans made to minority homeowners?"

Fed independence is worth cherishing. The Executive Branch may name the Chair.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2011 12:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee has often said that Newt would be a great cabinet-level functionary. POTUS? Fugedaboudit. Whether he's a crackpot or not, his campaign is cracked up.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2011 3:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I see a world of difference between auditing and regulating. Are you saying America is better off not knowing who gets the rake-off from old dollars being replaced with new, devalued dollars - and how much unearned wealth that amounts to? Or how much the US has in gold bullion reserves (and maybe how much it has gone up or down over time?)

I'm with gd. This is one "crazy" idea I'm on board with.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2011 3:46 PM

I Wish My Friends Sent Me Stuff Like This

The good folks at mises.org made some of the faithful queasy by linking to this. Without going onto too much detail, it is called "The Liberty Scam" and it is subtitled "Why even Robert Nozick, the philosophical father of libertarianism, gave up on the movement he inspired."

I enjoyed it kinda sorta in that I wish my friends would send me stuff like this (I made the same comment on Mises.org's Facebook post). It has idiotic bits, and it's built on a strawman (did I mention it ran in Slate?) but it contains some serious accusations of libertarianism.

If my friends did send me something so substantive, I could respond with two CATO scholars' responses to the same piece.

CATO Thing One

CATO Thing Two

If you have a spot of time, the three pieces make an inspiring bit of discussion.

No, my friends send me things on Sarah Palin and Robert Reich's "The Economy in 2:15." Sigh

UPDATE: Reason enumerates some factual errors:

UPDATE II: This is really generating quite a few responses. Of particular interest 'round here might be Libertarians Aren't All Selfish Jerks at Atlantic.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

From the Atlantic piece:

There are even some hard core Ayn Rand sycophants who embrace little more than themselves. Find that repugnant? Have at 'em! But you're just misinformed if you think that libertarians as a whole care for nothing more than their self-interest. Countless libertarians are working to advance the freedom and fair-treatment of people other than themselves.

Advocating for an end to government plunder is in more than just my self-interest, it is in everyone's.

Demanding the unearned from producers to give to those who could use it but didn't ask for it, only to have them become dependent on it - how does this "advance the freedom and fair-treatment" of anybody?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:46 PM

Jimi P <3 Jon Hunstman

Well, maybe that is a little strong. But my favorite Jeopardy® Champion and frequent Kudlow guest likes what he hears early:

And this is the core, I think, of the Huntsman campaign: Rebuilding and retooling America's economic strength from which our global power flows. Hey, I am dying to hear the technocratic details on this, and hopefully Huntsman will go far beyond keeping the Bush tax cuts and repealing Obamacare. I think he has to. Timidity is not an option for a dark horse candidate. The bolder the better. But he shouldn't forget to also make the moral case as to why entrepreneurial capitalism is best for America vs. Obama's state-managed variety, of which he should be quite familiar from his time in China.

I could live without the sop to "energy independence," but I don't want to be called "dogmatic..."

We've been hearing Huntsman's name for a while. And I am ready to give anybody a serious look. But to judge this man by the company he keeps is to frighten. Gov. Dean called him his favorite Republican Candidate ("Thanks, Howard, I really appreciate the %^&%$#$ outta that! Love, Jon").

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 8:25 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Malkin: Jon Huntsman: McCain on Wheels

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2011 1:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Did I say we should read and link to everybody? Hmmmm, I might have to rethink that, but I doubly appreciate the warning this time.

Ms. Malkin's anti-endorsement aside, the Harry Reid's endorsement is a little chilling.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2011 12:01 PM

It's Gettin' Real

The finest hip hop parody evah:

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 21, 2011

We Have to Pass the Bill to See What's In It

Medicaid for everybody!!! AP:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster says the situation keeps him up at night.

"I don't generally comment on the pros or cons of policy, but that just doesn't make sense," Foster said during a question-and-answer session at a recent professional society meeting.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Ayn Rand Comic Book


John Blundell, former director of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, has written a new comic book biography of Ayn Rand. Find it in comic book stores, at Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon. Publisher Bluewater says:
"Female Force: Ayn Rand" will hit comic shops and online retailers on June 22nd. The 32-page comic retails for $3.99....

I preordered several copies (some relatives will be getting special presents if it's good).

Bye-Bye E85

I think we've just learned how candidate Romney can afford to take a pass on calling for an end to the ethanol subsidy. Because Congress just took a giant step toward ending it before he might ever take office.

Ethanol subsidies have been a sacred cow in American politics since the late 1980s, and their demise came Friday not with a whimper but with a bang. By a vote of 73 to 27, the Senate declared an end to what Republican Senator John McCain called the "corporate welfare" that had gone on for far too long, and that had become enshrined in presidential politics as a ticket of admission to the Iowa caucuses. Now the legislation moves to the House, where deficit-conscious Tea Party conservatives could provide a similar winning margin.

Read the article to see how Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS-OK) was the key figure in the watershed vote.

But jk thinks:

Dude. Out of politeness, you should warn when you link to Eleanor Clift. I suffered a bad batch of McLaughlin Group flashbacks...

I love how she positions it as a rebuke of Grover Norquist.

But I need me some elucidatin'... I heard that this was an amendment on a bill that will never pass and that any interruption to brother br's subsidized truck fuel was completely symbolic -- is this a different amendment or bill?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought you would appreciate the effort to shore up our "we read everybody" cred.

However, in reliance on Ms. (if there ever was anyone to whom that salutation applied) Clift's term "demise" I took it as a completed bill on its way to the House. In fact, it was an amendment to S.782, Senator Feinstein's 'Economic Development Revitalization Act.'

But Dr. Senator Coburn hints at the potential fast-track process in his press release:

In light of today’s lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity,” Dr. Coburn said.

So those wacky TEA Partiers in the GOP controlled House need to draft a bill on this, pass it, and forward it to the Senate where they will presumably vote in similar fashion.

(Hey, a guy can hope.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, by all means link. We should link to and read a variety of sources. I was just thinkling of a little in-line warning like [DANGER! LINK GOES TO ELEANOR CLIFT!] something simple.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I waited impatiently for someone to challenge my title. Maybe E85 won't go away. It has become quite entrenched with vested interests and a modicum of pious consumer's demand. But at the very least I want to see the demise of E10 (the 10 percent ethanol routinely blended with gasoline to create a false demand for ethanol reduce emissions (and corrode the insides of the fuel systems in our cars.)

And at the very, very least - get the crap out of NASCAR!

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:30 PM

Then, They Came for the Software Developers

...and there was no one left to speak for me.

With all respect to Martin Niemöller, it's a shock to see your own industry on the Congressional Nationalization Buffet Table. In what James Taranto calls "the worst idea out of Congress in the last few minutes," gub'mint is going into commercial software:

Egged on by [Republican Illinois Senator Mark] Kirk at a hearing this month, [Democrat Illinois Senator Richard] Durbin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Internal Revenue Service, wants a disinterested IRS to look into drawing up software like TurboTax and offering it free to Americans on the agency's website. "We can eliminate the middle man," Durbin said. "It may save taxpayers money."

The idea was Kirk's, raised near the end of testimony from IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, whose $12 billion annual budget doesn't include any spending for free taxpayer software. Kirk estimated it would cost $20 million to $30 million to develop. He argued that Americans spend too much time and money filing taxes and that the agency should make helping taxpayers its priority.

Where? Does? One? Begin? "Cut out the middle man?" There is a vibrant market. If you don't like the US Treasury Secretary Geithner approved TurboTax, I heartily recommend the hosted TaxACT. It's nine or ten dollars for a Federal return, but I splurge for the $14.95 "Premier" that includes my Colorado State return. No freakin' doubt we'll save a gob of money having the government develop and deploy this.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"Free" to taxpayers?!? Who the hell does he think would pay for the development of said product, even if it works? Besides, who would trust the IRS - specifically mandated by Congress to maximize revenue within the law - to create an application that would result in the lowest possible tax liability?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 21, 2011 3:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And another thing: if I don't choose to use TurboTax, then I don't pay for it. Every taxpayer will pay for the government version, whether they use it or not.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 21, 2011 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I think you're missing how much of our money is going to the middle men, br. Gub'mint software will be much cheaper than $9. Damn middle men.

On the serious side, I am a big fan of TaxACT. Hosted solution, inexpensive, manages state and fed e-filing, plus it fills in and suggests entries based on last year's form. It doesn't get the Tim Geithner endorsement, but it's good.

Your incentive point is well founded as well. Plus, they wouldn’t log changes, or store worksheets that are not required for submission, or anything like that. Would they?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the private, FOR PROFIT, produced TurboTax is already online and free for 1040EZ filers. Gee, wonder how and why they do that without a government mandate?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 8:15 PM

Quote of the Year?

A good friend of this blog nominates Professor Althouse for quote of the year:

Does the NYT care about the carbon footprint of its wonderful pizza-cooking technique?
"Heat the oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees for one hour..."

Oh, hell! Shut up about my light bulbs. Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

If you people really believed in global warming in the form that you would like to foist that belief on the common folk, that quoted line above would have sounded to you as something on the moral level of first, torture a small, cute kitten....

I read it to myself, laughed out loud, then read it to the lovely bride. It's pretty good.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The Great State of Texas has thumbed their nose at Washington on this - and I give Misha extra credit for the Firefly reference: http://nicedoggie.net/?p=1716

Texas - God bless 'em - looks prettier every day.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 21, 2011 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen to that. I fear it will run afoul of Wickard v Filburn, but oral arguments would be fun if it got cert.

Segue-digression-alert: a good friend of the blog I have not heard from in a while emailed to ask if I am "on the Rick Perry bandwagon yet?" The Texas Miracle is lookin' pretty shiny.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

...and no, it's not the same one. This blog has two "good friends." Kinda like Instapundit with a blue theme.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Still trying to reconcile the tone of this post with yesterday's. Those of us with a "Climate Change is a hoax" litmus test aren't demanding that the candidates tell the alarmists to "shut the F up." That's a bit, err, dogmatic.

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

Not at all inconsistent. I prefer the self-rising crust at home, but order thin-crust from Dominos, where they have the very hot ovens to properly bake the crust.

Oh, you meant attitude. I'll defend that as well. Prof Althouse forcefully and colorfully accuses a NYTimes journalist -- and indirectly the publication, and less directly the media monolith it represents -- of hypocrisy.

There is no assertion of whether DAWG is true or false as in yesterday's post, just a suggestion that she be allowed, in Hayekian spirit, to choose her methods of conserving versus sensual enjoyment, as the NYTimes reader is allowed.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:42 PM

Huzzah for SCOTUS!

A recent comment by a blog brother was dismissive of our nation's highest court. You want free barbecue with that iPhone?

I'm a huge fan of our Article III compadres and commadres. Over the years, they have offered the most consistent defense of liberty of the three branches. We all wince when they miss one, and I tremble in fear thinking about the inclusion of another Obama appointee. But their historic performance has been good.

Mostly, the Roberts Court has pleased: groundbreaking gun rights cases in Heller v DC and McDonald v Chicago, a rollback of FEC v McConnell (I said there were some misses) in Citizens United v FEC, free speech won 8-1 in Snyder v Phelps.

Today we cheer the trial lawyer takedown in Walmart v Dukes. You-Nan-ee-mous! Woohoo!

The WSJ Ed Page points out that we should not let the victory of American Electric Power v. Connecticut be lost in the cheering.

Yesterday's other important Supreme Court decision came in a case that joined the green lobby and the trial bar, if that isn't redundant. The Court unanimously struck down one of the legal left's most destructive theories, and not a moment too soon.

The WSJ calls the opinion Justice Ginsberg's finest hour and here I must dissent. Justice Ginsberg put a hold on the GM-Chrysler bailout because the preferred debt holders were being deprived of their Fifth Amendment property rights. She did not prevail but I will forever hold this leftist-collectivist-ACLU lawyer in high esteem for that.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Four years after ruling that EPA can regulate CO2 as a "pollutant" the high court rules that states can't infringe upon the EPAs authority. This is such a mixed bag I'm not sure whether to cheer or to cry. In the treatment given this by Mike Rosen today it appeared that the court was heavily swayed by popular opinion - in favor of DAWG in 2007 and against it now. I don't remember any Constitutional amendments in the interim.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2011 3:21 PM

June 20, 2011

And in Buffy News...

Whedonesque blog:

'Ringer' gets a premiere date. According to Deadline, The CW has announced Sarah Michelle Gellar's 'Ringer' to premier Tuesday, September 13 at 9pm.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 7:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Intolerant, Monolithic, Science Deniers!

Some ThreeSourcers, myself included, may have to stare long and hard into the mirror after reading this Kenneth P. Green piece in the American.

Playing into my original DAWG strategy, Green, who claims he knows 99% or the deniers, calls them rainbow-climatists. Do you question D, A, W, or G?

Some disputed scientific claims about the exact level of climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases. Others disputed this or that climate feedback assumption. Others accepted that climate change was real, but probably not too bad. Some were simply skeptics in the old-fashioned sense of rejecting soothsayers and doom prophets, computerized or not. Still others might have bought most of the green-climatist orthodoxy, and held that climate change was real, partly human-caused, and likely harmful, but they differed regarding policy prescriptions.

Against these diverse skeptics was always a coordinated, monolithic front of doom. Bjorn Lomborg questioned the amplitude of D and was excommunicated without inquest or trial.

But Green sees that growing on the right as elections near.

Over at climatedepot.com, and, apparently in the Rushbo zone, there is a new tone of intolerance when it comes to diversity of climate opinion: Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Chris Christie (hail the redeemer of fat guys from New Jersey!) have all been slammed recently for being taken in by the great climate con, and are basically being written off as viable candidates on the right. The Right has refined their tolerance equation to match that of the Left: "you're either with us or against us."

A little skepticism of skepticism might be correct -- and far more palatable to a moderate electorate.

But johngalt thinks:

Here I am, hat in hand, asking for permission to declare that keeping slaves is "intolerable." So this makes me morally equivalent to those who claim it is compulsory?

OK, perhaps he's not claiming a moral equivalence... only an electoral equivalence. Politics sucks.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2011 12:13 AM
But jk thinks:

It does on occasion, but I read Green's piece differently.

Green, despite his unfortunate eponymy, is a denier par excellence and I think the warning is philosophical. While gaping holes have been blown in the theory, it is too far to claim that it has been disproven in all forms. There is a chance that CO2 is harming the planet, even if not in the means, intensity, or time scale that its proponents predict.

Forgetting politics, I think it is a philosophical mistake to dismiss anyone because they believe at some level. Remembering politics again, I'd sure want to hear exactly what they thought we should do. But it should not be a dealbreaker, philosophically or politically -- I think Green is right on that.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 10:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Trying to jump straight to the point: I'll never dismiss anyone's scientific theory any further than I can disprove it, i.e. "That doesn't make sense to me, I'd like to run some tests" or "This experimental outcome proves that your theory is full of male bovine excrement." What I, and I'd think you, object to vehemently is a top-down centrally controlled "Apollo mission to save humanity" which, wouldn't you know, requires scads of taxes and prohibitions to bring about. No. If there really were a "consensus" on this or that end-of-the-world scenario there would be no shortage of voluntary cooperation. When people are truly convinced that the end is near unless they pay 5 bucks for gas they'll do it without complaint.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2011 2:32 PM

Another Stimulus. This One for Free

Permanent tax reform would be the best, but James Pethokoukis makes a powerful case that a temporary tax holiday for repatriation would still be good. Quoting Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin in a study for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

If you think of it this way: There's over a $1 trillion out there, so let's suppose something like $830 billion came back, which I chose specifically to match exactly what [President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] was. Like the [ARRA], this would flow into the economy and go into corporations first, but they would then either make real purchases with it -- salaries, payroll, capital investment, R&D and that would would further flow into the economy -- or they would change their financial structure: share repurchases, debt reduction, dividends.

Secretary Reich and Paul Krugman love to whine that the stimulus wasn't big enough. Well, lads, here's a chance to double it without passing the bill to our grandchildren. What's not to like? Oh yeah, some rich people will be happy. Nevermind.


I can appreciate appreciation of corporeal books and happy associations with sight, smell, touch, sound, and perhaps taste for tomes such as "Pat the Bunny."

Sara Barbour pens another entry into the "real books are so swell" corpus. Like most, she makes some good points. But she gives herself away with a little honest Ludditism:

I've never used a Kindle. I've seen them in an over-the-shoulder sort of way -- the sleek tablet design, the portraits of Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf that materialize on the screen like the work of a divinely inspired Etch A Sketch. Part of the reason I'm wary of picking one up is that I don't want to experience the inevitable lure, the wavering that might begin as I imagine myself pulling a Kindle out of my significantly lighter bag on the airplane, or in a coffee shop. Like the dieter who drives the long route home to avoid passing the Dairy Queen, I just don't want to be tempted.

I suggest honest asceticism requires a bit more appreciation of the choices you're making than this.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 19, 2011

Review Corner

To get a break from history and politics, I always enjoy a good pop-science-cosmology book. A good friend of mine and I trade recommendations, plus the Wall Street Journal has been reviewing a lot of them lately. I liked Stephen Hawking's newest, The Grand Design, and the best of the recent breed is Martin Bojowald's Once Before Time.

But I'll put Lawrence Krauss's Quantum Man well up there. Like Mr. Speaker, the author is gifted with an entertaining personality to document. Richard Feynman breaks the scientist stereotype nicely: he plays bongos at a strip club, moves to Brazil to support his research and carnal needs, and makes indelible impressions on his colleagues for his potent personality and an intelligence recognized even by the top strata as superior.

The author is a physicist who met Feynman but was not close. Krauss feeds a good dose of theoretical physics. It's not full strength or I would never have survived, but I would not recommend this to one with a casual interest. I laughed out loud a few times when the author or subject was attempting humor, but also once in Chapter Seven when Krauss drops a couple of sentences to explain what an integral is. "Dude. The folks who don't know what an integral is gave up in Chapter Two."

There's a devilish balance with all of these books, how far to dumb them down, and I think this one gets it about right. Four stars.

As this is NASCARretards.com ThreeSources, I'll make a political point unintended by any of the authors. After getting up close and personal with "climate science" and arguing epistemology with one of its true believers on Facebook "why do you worry so much about predictions when we should be fixing the planet????" it is an absolute joy and something of a shock to read about real, un-scare-quoted, science.

Early on, they split the well known lines of hydrogen spectrum into secondary and tertiary frequencies which comport to quantum effects. The third line is off its predicted value by 1/10,000,000. Nobody calls the UN or any of the country's ex-Vice-Presidents. The theory is scrapped until it or the experiment to test it can be repaired. Real science. Scientists argue and take sides, sometimes for petty reasons, sometimes for actual insights. Yet nobody is thrown out as a "photon-denier."

It's stunning to read these three and try to give any credence to the tomfoolery that is "climate science."

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 18, 2011

The Epistemological Case Against DAWG

These very pages have called the death knell of anthropogenic warming several times. "That's it," says we, "how can they continue after such-and-such?" But Freddy Krueger's got nothing on environmental science. It never goes away.

Were Milton Friedman around, he'd point out that they have seized the commanding heights. Academia, government, media and entertainment are captive to climate science. But climate science (resist the scare quotes...fight it) has no conclusive proof. To the contrary, most of the empirical evidence contravenes their predictions.

Yet, as leaked somewhat in the Climategate emails, the entire peer-review process is captive to a single side of the discussion. The only thing they can claim is consensus -- the bulk of peer reviewed science agrees with their position. Patrick Michaels takes to the pages of his Forbes blog to show just how unscientific the peer review process has become. "Publishing in the scientific literature is supposed to be tough." But not for climate science:

In order to limit any bias caused by personal or philosophical animosity, the editor should remove your name from the paper and send it to other experts who have no apparent conflict of interest in reviewing your work. You and the reviewers should not know who each other are. This is called a "double blind" peer review.

Well, this is "the way it is supposed to be." But in the intellectually inbred, filthy-rich world of climate science, where billions of dollars of government research money support trillions of dollars of government policy, peer review has become anything but that.

There is simply no "double blindness." For reasons that remain mysterious, all the major climate journals leave the authors' names on the manuscripts sent out for review.

For instance, you can just add 0.3 mm a year to the measured sea levels. OMG We're all going to drown!

But johngalt thinks:

This began as the sort of erudition one least expects to find at a place called NASCARretards.com. Then you cited Faux News and restored our cred.

So we're supposed to believe that global sea levels can be measured with such precision that 0.3 mm (the thickness of a fingernail) makes any difference?

What's lost in the 2nd story is the impending mortal crisis that is - Global Land-Mass Rebound.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2011 5:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I have several domain names set to expire and I was thinking I would let nascarretards.com go. If anybody likes it, I could easily be talked into renewing (it really does have some sizzle to it), but I shop at GoDaddy like Imelda Marcos at a Jimmy Choo sale and I am "thinning the heard" this year.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2011 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I've started giving it out instead of threesources on the logic that it is more memorable.

(The funny thing is it took me a long time to realize it was actual rather than just a joke.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2011 12:16 PM

Bryan Caplan, Call Your Office!

How are you ever going to elect rational people without rational voters?

The Media Research Council circulates a petition to outlaw ATMs.

We had a lot of people who thought it made sense to get rid of cash machines and for a variety of reasons.

Some didn't like the usage fees and concluded that the best way to get rid of the hassle was to get rid of ATMs altogether.

Others wanted to see America return to a simpler time when we all got our money from our friendly neighborhood banker who knew your name, smiled at you and gave little Billy a lollipop after which you could hop in your horse drawn carriage and return to your candle lit home.

One woman even said that ATM machines were bad for the environment.

Had we stood out there all day we could have undoubtedly gotten hundreds of signatures on our fake petitions.

Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Don Boudreux pens an Open Letter to Barack Obama on this topic that's well worth a read.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2011 5:09 PM

June 17, 2011

How About a Little Optimism, Scarecrow?

My optimism and pragmatism cred was questioned this week. I shared my general ennui at the 2012 GOP Presidential race, and my blog brother suggested I revel in the change of tone and direction from previous years' debates. I'd reference Buffy in Season Six were he as geeky as me. Our heroine has been yanked out of heaven (Daniels-Rubio '12) and her friends cannot understand why general human pleasures (Herman Cain) do not satisfy her.

For the record, I think Keith and I are on solid footing as we mope about. Two of my favorite candidates (Govs. Christie and Daniels) elected not to run. Governor Romney looks to be solidifying his front -runner status, even though he is to the left of a supermajority in the US Senate on ethanol and authored the precursor to ObamaCare®. That stings a bit.

A very young, überintelligent and liberty-minded friend of mine suggested that she'd "move to Mordor" if Rep. Bachmann won. I asked her, as jg has asked me, for specific factual information that documents these repellent views. To be fair to the next Vice President, it was all small potato(e)s. Her tenure in Minnesota has been closely aligned with opposition to gay rights and promotion of traditional values. That may be a case of her enemies choosing her, I am not certain. But it does not contribute to my sunny disposition.

Back to the optimism, and the change of discussion that Chairman Ryan and brother jg like to highlight. Jennifer Rubin has a cheery post on this topic that I fulsomely recommend:

There were five critical steps after the 2010 election. First, the Senate held its ground and rejected the omnibus spending bill. Second, in a temporary and then a final vote on the continuing resolution for the 2011 budget Democrats agreed to more cuts, breaking the backs of those arguing for more spending ("stimulus"). Third, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) set down a marker: Every dollar the debt ceiling is raised requires a dollar in cuts. Fourth, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) made clear again this week that there will be no tax hikes. Fifth, Republicans generally did not flinch when the Democrats went on their Medicare scare campaign.

So now the question is how much to cut and can we work in some tax cuts before Congress gets to overall tax reform. Remarkable, isn't it?

Remarkable, yet none touches the Executive Branch. And as Rubin admits in the penultimate ppg:
That's the optimistic version. Or, the talks could collapse, we could suffer a technical default and the markets could freak.

Have a nice day!

But johngalt thinks:

I read the pessimistic alternative she closed with as a suggestion that the Democrats have no choice but to compromise on GOP terms. To paraphrase: "Either the Dems go ahead with spending cuts sans tax rate hikes or the economy craters and they get the blame."

Having the tax-and-spend party in this kind of a bind does inspire some hope. No?

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2011 12:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, but I again bifurcate Article I optimism (we have an excellent opportunity to take the Senate in the 113th) and Article II pessimism (none of our candidates can present a broad, articulate vision of liberty).

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2011 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But they are beginning to try. I see baby steps toward a just law and I just get all giddy.

The educational mission endures. That Bastiat link is an excellent primer.

[And remember it isn't merely the candidates who need to be brought along at their own pace. The electorate requires some time to learn as well.]

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2011 4:55 PM

Quote of the Day II

[And it's only 9:14 out in flyover country]

From the day when the first members of councils placed exterior authority higher than interior, that is to say, recognized the decisions of men united in councils as more important and more sacred than reason and conscience; on that day began lies that caused the loss of millions of human beings and which continue their unhappy work to the present day. -- Leo Tolstoy

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

I'm thankfully many years sweetly removed from this torture, but I think I'd take my dating advice from Dr. Helen:

If any male reader out there has gotten a date by walking up to a woman and saying You look very elegant and sophisticated (#18), while sporting hand lotion, a manicure, and a non-interrupting style while she talks (#3), let us know. Perhaps Im missing something here.

Hat-tip: The Instahusband

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 16, 2011

On Second Thought...

I might be warming up to Canadian style rioting.

Photo credit (and a higher resolution look at those shorts...): WSJ

Posted by John Kranz at 6:46 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Here by the sea and sand,
Nothin' ever goes as planned,
I just couldn't face going home,
It was just a drag on my own.

They finally threw me out,
My mum got drunk on stout,
My dad couldn't on two feet,
As he lectured about morality.

Now I guess the family's complete,
With me hanging 'round on the street
Or here on the beach.

Sea and Sand from Quadrophenia.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2011 11:33 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 18, 2011 12:16 PM

All Hail Taranto

Not bad, James. Not bad:

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 4:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

On Plunder

JK gave me the bountiful gift of a link to Bastiat's "The Law." A principal theme therein is the immorality of plunder, whether by individuals or by the government. Why? Because man, liberty and property existed before law.

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

He explains how law becomes immoral when it becomes an instrument of plunder, on the part of the group against individuals. So it may be said that Democrats and Progressives are willing to engage in group plunder despite, on the whole, opposing it on principle when exercised by individuals. Many contemporary Republicans have also taken this stance.

The TEA Party is the nation's last, strongest bullwark against that tendency. Quoting from "The Law:"

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain -- and since labor is pain in itself -- it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

"The TEA Party - Making plunder more painful than work since 2010."

Quote of the Day

Jim Treacher remains unconvinced that ATM machines are causing unemployment:

That's right, the Smartest President Ever just said innovation is a job-killer. His next step, presumably, will be to demonize the Republicans for making such deep cuts to the Department of Buggy Whips. Hey, why is the President of the United States blaming machines for unemployment . . . on TELEVISION? Doesn't he care about all those out-of-work town criers? -- Jim Treacher

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, that's choice: the President who can't string three cogent words together safely without a TelePrompTer, denouncing innovation. When he scraps that and replaces them with flunkies holding cue cards (and yes, the slang term for those does not escape me), he'll have a right to talk.

Since this fool is basically trying to repeal the Industrial Revolution, I guess that's the last we'll have to listen to his crap about high-speed rail, solar panels, and wind turbines, right?

Oh, and does mean that Diebold electronic voting machines are gone, too?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 16, 2011 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My sentiment exactly, although I couldn't figure out what jobs are eliminated by windmills. Bird hunters?

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2011 3:06 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Patè chefs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 16, 2011 4:37 PM

Silly Canadians!

You destroy other people's private property when you win! They just don't get it.

Nice job, Bruins. I usually take the Western team, but not against an original six. The class differential made me glad I did. I can even live with a few cheap shots, but let's leave the diving to sanctified europeans playing soccer.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That oversized Coach bag on the left doesn't go with the shirtless look. But it is faaaaabulous! (NTTAWWT)

Cheap enough shot for ya?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 16, 2011 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

It's caused me to rumple on the carpet below my office chair, and I'm showing my bloody lip to my wife in hope you'll get four minutes.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2011 6:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alright, we give: NTTAWWT?

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2011 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I got it. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2011 5:27 PM

June 15, 2011

Rep. Bachmann

In the second half of today's OpinionJournal video, Stephen Moore suggests people refrain from underestimating a woman who is "undefeated in politics."

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"Bachmann Campaign Overdrive" - Heh.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 3:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Moore is also hip to the "glass ceiling" angle.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 3:17 PM

Only In Boulder

Said with pride in the Progressive Paradise, and frequently abbreviated to "OIB," Only In Boulder takes on a creepy, Orwellian cast when one begins to seek liberty.

But, I'll use it in the fun sense and, as Righthaven licks wounds from a big loss, I'll be so bold as to excerpt three paragraphs from the Denver Post:

Boulder police arrested a woman on an outstanding warrant after she was accused of chucking her pita sandwich at a cab driver in a fit of anger.

Sarah Renee Lane, 28, was arrested early Sunday near 11th and Pearl streets because she had an active warrant for failing to appear in court on a dog-at-large ticket, police said.

She brought attention to herself when she threw her food at the cab driver, splattering tzatziki sauce on his face and in his beard and making a mess of his cab, according to a police report. Witnesses told police she was angry that he wouldn't allow her to have food in his cab. The cab driver opted against filing charges against Lane.

When tzatziki sauce is outlawed...

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"Gyros don't splatter people, people splatter people!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 2:41 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wasting organic produce is a serious crime in the PRB (People's Republic of Boulder), which is why they solved it so quickly.

Now if they'd just put that kind of effort into the Jon Benet case...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2011 3:32 PM

Does. Not. Quite. Grasp. Concept.

Lori Montgomery at the WaPo is enjoying this too much:

A majority of Senate Republicans appeared to break Tuesday with two decades of GOP orthodoxy against higher taxes, voting to advance a plan to abruptly cancel billions of dollars in annual tax credits for ethanol blenders.

The measure, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster threat. But it had the support of 34 of 47 Republicans, most of whom have signed an anti-tax pledge that specifically prohibits raising taxes by any means but economic growth.

I know Grover Norquist has -- regrettably -- held their feet to the fire on this. But outside his office, ADM, and the State of Iowa, I don't think you'll hear one Republican upset with the 34.

UPDATE: IBD is not real happy with the other 13.

Subsidies: How is it that the party loudly proclaiming how the government shouldn't "pick winners and losers" could only manage to get 34 senators to oppose one of the most egregious examples of federal industrial policy?

June 14, 2011

Economic Fallacy of the Century

President Obama explained to NBC News that the reason companies aren't hiring is not because of his policies, it's because the economy is so automated. ... "There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."

My employer will surely be shut down. Tape Freaking Libraries, nine-point-one percent unemployment. You catchin' my drift?

Lawn mowers, dish washers, clothes dryers...

Hat-tip: Taranto

UPDATE: ATM Industry pushback:

Aimee Leeper, a spokeswoman for ATM manufacturer Triton Systems, which makes its machines in America and employees 200 people here, told me over the phone, "We're not in the business of taking American jobs. What I wish President Obama had thought of is that people want convenient access to their money. How crazy is that?"

But johngalt thinks:

*sarcasm* Nice try, Aimee. Your newfangled gadgets eliminate three employment shifts at every convenience store, amusement park, golf course, airport... the list is endless. And imagine if those real tellers were not shared by multiple banks in some sort of profits-over-people "network" arrangement. We could get this country back to work in record time! */sarcasm*

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

If I catch one of those guys that make automated tape libraries...

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2011 3:16 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You guys have already put the tape-mounters union out of business.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2011 4:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Thinking back on the days of carry a box of 10 2400 foot 6250 bpi reels... well, let's just say, that's when men were men! The Golden Age of tape. Then somebody came up with those prissy little cartridges (Juan Rodriguez please call your office).

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2011 4:23 PM

Quote of the Day

Romney drew some not terribly persuasive distinctions between the two 'Cares, whereupon King invited Pawlenty to make a rebuttal. Pawlenty went straight for the capillary. -- James Taranto
Myself, I'm thinking the non-confrontation has been overblown by punditry forced to find a moment where none existed. But "[go] straight for the capillary." Punditry Gold, that.
2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Almost as if Central Planning Were Flawed...

John Goodman at Health Affairs Blog (his picture does not look like the beloved comedic actor who plays Walter in "The Big Lebowski") has some bad news and some bad news about the epidemic of drug shortages.

First the bad news:

  • Doctors at the Johns Hopkins cancer center are rationing cytarabine, a drug used to treat leukemia and lymphoma. They are literally deciding who will live and who will die.
  • About 90 percent of all the anesthesiologists in the country report they are experiencing a shortage of at least one anesthetic
  • Currently, there are about 246 drugs that are in short supply and as the chart shows, the number has been growing for some time.
  • Hospitals are scrambling to make up the shortfall, in some cases rationing medications, postponing surgeries and using alternative drugs.

What's the problem? Supply-chain? We can fix that. Shortages in transportation or labor? That can be fixed. The FDA? Oh crap. And that's the bad news:
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been stepping up its quality enforcement efforts -- levying fines and forcing manufacturers to retool their facilities both here and abroad. Not only has this more rigorous regulatory oversight slowed down production, the FDA's "zero tolerance" regime is forcing manufacturers to abide by rules that are rigid, inflexible and unforgiving. For example, a drug manufacturer must get approval for how much of a drug it plans to produce, as well as the timeframe. If a shortage develops (because, say, the FDA shuts down a competitor's plant), a drug manufacturer cannot increase its output of that drug without another round of approvals. Nor can it alter its timetable production (producing a shortage drug earlier than planned) without FDA approval.

Emphasis added, which I rarely do, but the emphasized statement is utterly gobsmacking.

Why doesn't the Administration simply outlaw shortages?

But johngalt thinks:

First of all, Senator McCain is not a candidate so we're that much further ahead.

Secondly, the next GOP president, whoever and whenever, will only be as good as the constituents demand. Like the public outcry that derailed immigration amnesty (and should have stopped Obamacare) an engaged electorate will help shape the administration's policy. (And so will the make up of Congress but that's another story.)

Thirdly, I heard every person on that stage talk about cutting spending, cutting regulations, reducing tax rates and empowering the free market. They did so in both general and specific terms.

Jeepers brothers, whaddaya want?

Okay, I cringed at the obligatory "marriage is between a man and a woman" and "I support life, at birth and at death" posturing. Repeat after me: The world is not Three Sources. But I would trust any of those candidates in Manchester last night to follow through on their economic promises. Call me a rube if you must, but I will support any of those candidates - even Santorum - in a general election.

I submit that our perspective has changed so much that we don't really perceive the radical evolution reflected by some of the statements made last night. Just try to imagine candidate John McCain saying in 2000, "the EPA should be called the job killing organization of America." And compare our choices today to the GOP hopefuls of 2000: Bush, McCain and Alan Keyes. Criminey, it's a veritable THANKSGIVING FEAST this time!

That's all for now. We're all in this together. Keep your stick on the ice.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 2:53 AM
But jk thinks:

You have to come down to Thanksgiving with my lovely bride's family next year. I don't think you guys are doing it right.

The change in tone is appreciated: good point. And I'm tougher to please in 2012, I'll concede that. Mainstream GOPism used to work for me: hold the sign, wave the flag, denounce the Democrat.

As for a quality differential, I am not certain that I am onboard. You left out John Kasich and Dan Quayle (and Ambassador Keyes had not really gone completely nuts yet). I was missing Phil Gramm in 2000, but thought at the time that that was a great field. Then Governor Bush campaigned on modesty in foreign policy and "tollbooths to the middle class."

If I'm down, it's seems clear that it's Governor Romney's for the taking. He did not whack at the EPA and he supports ethanol. Even worse as he is eschewing the Iowa straw poll. He's supporting ethanol on principle!

Better than President Obama? O Yeah! A principled defender of less government and more liberty? No way.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2011 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the how full is the Romney glass department:

You can tell how -- how to get jobs going in this country, and President Obama has done it wrong. And the ideas Tim described, those are in the right wheelhouse.

[Tim's ideas: "We need to fix regulation. We need to have a pro-American energy policy. We need to fix health care policy. And if you do those things, as I've proposed, including cut spending, you'll get this economy moving and growing the private economy by shrinking government."]

...we can't afford more federal spending.


It's a huge power grab by the federal government.


There is a perception in this country that government knows better than the private sector, that Washington and President Obama have a better view for how an industry ought to be run. Well, they're wrong. The right way for America to create jobs is to -- is to keep government in its place and to allow the private sector and the -- and the energy and passion of the American people create a brighter future for our kids and for ourselves. ... That's the wrong way to go. Use the process of law. Use the process of American ingenuity. Don't have government try and guide this economy.


I think fundamentally there are some people -- and most of them are Democrats, but not all -- who really believe that the government knows how to do things better than the private sector. And they happen to be wrong.


Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.

And there's more. It's only fair to recognize that, at the very least, he's reading from the right hymnal.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, this week's Romney is great...

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2011 3:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seems we've swapped roles: Pragmatist/Idealist

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 4:06 PM
But jk thinks:

A pragmatist can be dejected by a lack of idealism. My biggest objection is that we are supposed to be in the idealism phase. Vote your heart in the early primaries. You will eventually have to get to work for the candidate for whom you are forced to settle, but not 19 months out.

Taranto suggests a Romney-Bachmann ticket today. I have to confess to liking that. Their virtues and vices seem complementary.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2011 6:34 PM

EPA: "Employee salary is our highest budget priority"

On his radio show today Mike Rosen read a copy [2:00 to 4:55] of an internal memo from EPA Regional Administrator James Martin to all Region 8 EPA employees. Subject: Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Decisions.

I want to update you on the status of Region eight's budget. The most important thing to tell you is that we continue to protect salary for our on-board EPA employees. It is our highest budget priority and that has not and will not change.

Our OCFO has been able to provide us with some relief for our payroll shortfall. This will allow us to maintain our support services at the current levels as we work to meet our agency's mission. We are continuing to work with headquarters for additional relief. In the meantime, to meet the remaining payroll needs we'll be reducing our programmatic funds by 30 percent, as well as some regional support funds.

A distinct difference, to be sure, from EPA's stated policy on private sector jobs.

EPA: Jobs Aren't a factor when making new regs

Perfect Analogy

In the financial world, there is a phenomenon known as "flight to safety." The term refers to investors' inclination at a time of upheaval to move money to an investment that, while perhaps not sexy or especially exciting, is viewed as a safe bet.
So begins a smart piece by Gerald F. Seib in the (mirabile dictu!) news pages of the WSJ.
Mitt Romney, who on Monday night took to a New Hampshire debate stage with his Republican presidential competitors for the first time, just might be the beneficiary of a flight to safety right now.

In what is turning out to be an odd Republican quest to find a nominee, upheaval and uncertainty have been the watchwords. People who were supposed to run haven't, and people who were supposed to be serious forces (Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin) haven't been. Dark horses have remained dark.

Amid it all stands Mitt Romney, not the high-flying investment lots of Republicans yearned to put their money on, but the unspectacular Treasury bill of Republican candidates, a man whose emphasis on jobs and the economy makes him a safe enough bet at a time like this.

Most articles describing what the "typical GOP voter feels right now" could be written on Mars for their applicability to me, but Seib has nailed me. The "Treasury bill of Republican candidates!" That's funny. And true.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | What do you think? [0]


This seemed so familiar that I wondered whether Tim [Carney] was guilty of plagiarism. But he's one of the best journalists in DC, so I knew that couldn't be the case.

Then I realized that there was plagiarism, but the politicians in Washington were the guilty parties. As can be seen in this passage from Atlas Shrugged, the Obama Administration is copying from what Ayn Rand wrote -- as dystopian parody -- in the 1950s -- Dan Mitchell.

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2011 12:25 PM

Mitt, By Decision

For the record, I am really a lesbian Muslim posing as a middle age American man -- dang, as I type this, Mark Steyn beat me to the joke! Must get up earlier...

The Presidential race seems surreal. Most of the folks I like have dropped or not entered. And they didn't even let Gov. Gary Johnson enter the debate. Last night, I liked them all well enough but cannot imagine emotional attachment or serious efforts to campaign for any of them. Maybe I'll go down with the Gary Johnson ship. Herman Cain remains fun; really, imagine his debating President Obama.

The handwriting may be on the wall for Mitt Romney. Governor Ethanol and Romneycare "won" the debate and cemented his previously tenuous position as front-runner. Michael Barone agrees:

Bottom line. This was a New Hampshire debate, but it has serious ramifications for Iowa as well. I have disparaged the idea that Romney is the frontrunner; I continue to think that given the polls no one is the frontrunner. But Romney behaved like a frontrunner tonight, one with confidence and sense of command and with the adroitness to step aside from two major issue challenges (Romneycare, his various views on abortion) he faces.

Rep. Bachmann did very well. Hell, even Speaker Gingrich did well. But I normally like to get deep into the race before this much despair and ennui sets in. I got it early this time. Beat the Christmas rush.

UPDATE: Blog friend Terri was live-blogging and her opinions are -- of course -- worth a look. Spoiler: she's not feelin' the love for the foster mom of 23...

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

I've watched only the first half thus far (there was this hockey game, see... and a baseball game...) But I found it fascinating and am eager to watch the rest. Here are a few thoughts:

The debate was predicted to be "Mitt Romney bashing Obama and six Republicans bashing Romney." It was not. Reagan's 11th Commandment was in effect.

Even when he had to look weak in doing so, Pawlenty passed on criticizing Romney by blaming the apt "Obamneycare" moniker on "President Obama's own words."

It may have been bad politics but I think Newt flubbed John King's question "Are they wrong?" (referring to the 50% of MA Republicans who are willing to raise taxes on the rich to balance the budget). Instead of answering "yes" and explaining Bastiat's just law theory forbidding "plunder" he made it a pragmatic question of job creation or destruction. A pity.

I thought the two most compelling candidates on the stage by far were Romney and Bachmann. My willingness to heartily support either of them was enhanced.

I expected a defiant, risk-taking, "Katie bar the door" style from Newt in the wake of his staff defections. Instead he came across as angry and defensive. I do however like his repeated references to the "Obama Depression."

I liked Ron Paul's response on the housing crisis: "I want to do much less, much sooner."

Paul was true to form, however, in making almost everything a monetary policy question. When asked the inane question "iPhone or Blackberry?" I expected him to answer "sound dollar."

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2011 12:50 PM
But jk thinks:

As testament to Romney's performance, I confess I begun to try on the idea of supporting him. I guess I am a Republican after all; I pick the next in line. Actually, he did pretty well on RomneyCare®. Now, if he could explain away ethanol... He is awfully good at candidatin'. No pragmatist can walk away from that.

Rep. Bachmann, likewise, jumped up from "I'll move to Canada" to "this might work." She seems infused with the Tea Party spirit of economic over social issues. "Infused. Tea. You guys get that one?"

The Internet Segue Machine keeps me from having to write on the moderator. CNN is too serious to use lights, timers, or Jeopardy buzzers. Much better to have a guy with Tourette Syndrome in the background of the whole answer.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2011 1:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I must give props to dagny - she is the one who said she expected Paul to answer his "this or that" question "montetary policy."

I really enjoyed several of Bachmann's answers, like when she said that government regulations are killing jobs. She singled out the EPA which, she said, "should really be renamed the job-killing organization of America."

But this was my favorite:

BACHMANN: Terry, what I've seen in the Tea Party -- I'm the chairman of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. And what I've seen is unlike how the media has tried to wrongly and grossly portray the Tea Party.

The Tea Party is really made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who've never been political a day in their life. People who are libertarians, Republicans. It's a wide swath of America coming together. I think that's why the left fears it so much. Because they're people who simply want to take the country back. They want the country to work again.

And I think there's no question, Terry, this election will be about economics. It will be about how will we create jobs, how will we turn the economy around, how will we have a pro-growth economy.

That's a great story for Republicans to tell. President Obama can't tell that story. His report card right now has a big failing grade on it, but Republicans have an awesome story to tell.

We need every one of us in a three-legged stool. We need the peace through strength of Republicans, we need the fiscal conservatives, we need the social conservatives. We need everybody to come together because we're going to win. Just make no mistake about it.

I want to announce tonight. President Obama is a one-term president.


BACHMANN: You'll win.

KING: I'm being polite so far. But I want to remind everybody about the time.

I'm imagining a Bachmann nomination with possibly a Herman Cain running mate. I can also see a large role being played by Sarah Palin on the stump for her. "It's long past time to break the glass ceiling in the White House!"

I'm not sure whether I'd announce it before the election or not but if she wins: "Treasury Secretary Ron Paul."

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2011 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

For full effect, have somebody go "uhh......mmm.......ehh.....rrr.....ahh" as you read that.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2011 3:54 PM

June 13, 2011

Internet Segue Fever!

Debbie likes cats, a great deal as it happens:

Answer her ad, marry that delightful doll, and enjoy the tax deductions:

When Jan Van Dusen appeared before a U.S. Tax Court judge and a team of Internal Revenue Service lawyers more than a year ago, there was more at stake than her tax deduction for taking care of 70 stray cats.
The Tax Court allowed her to take a charitable deduction for expenses she incurred while taking care of the cats in her home for an IRS-approved charity, Fix Our Ferals. Among the $12,068 in expenses she deducted: food, veterinarian bills, litter, a portion of utility bills, and other items such as paper towels and garbage bags.

The decision, in Van Dusen v. Commissioner, paves the way for volunteers of animal-rescue groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society of the U.S. to deduct unreimbursed expenses that further the groups' missions, such as fostering stray animals.

I'm workin' for you.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 7:05 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. Serious or fake?

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2011 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, I think when the Wall Street Journal reports on tax policy, they're usually pretty serious.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2011 2:45 PM

Sarah Palin Sarah Palin Sarah Palin Sarah Palin Sarah Palin

John Fund may have found a tiny discrepancy in media treatment. Governor Palin's emails attracted quite a bit of interest for an ex-VP candidate (do we get all of Senator John Edwards's?)

But the buildup to their release was treated like the prelude to the release of the Pentagon Papers. David Corn of Mother Jones salivated at the prospect of what might be in the 24,199 pages being released. "I have a reporter in Juneau who will grab our set of documents and scan the docs for us in the DC bureau," he wrote. "I and the eight reporters in my bureau will then pore over these pages. Mother Jones, msnbc.com, and ProPublica will be putting up a searchable online database--very quickly--which will allow everybody (other reporters, readers, and GOP opposition researchers) to join in."

Other media outlets joined in. Ryan Kellett of the Washington Post asked the paper's readers to help out. "Join The Post in digging through them," he wrote. "We are looking for 100 organized and diligent readers who will work alongside Post reporters to analyze, contextualize, and research the e-mails. Think of it as spending some time in our newsroom.

"Our hope is that working together, we can efficiently find interesting information and extract new stories that will lead to further investigation. We don't know what we'll find, but we want you to be ready and open for the challenge."

Contrast this with the level of interest that reporters have shown in Barack Obama's lack of a paper trail during the 2008 campaign and afterwards. No, I'm not talking about the issue of his birth certificate. I am thinking of his college records and papers; his application to the Illinois bar to become a lawyer; his complete list of clients while he was in private practice; and his records from his service in the Illinois State Senate. Almost none of this has been released in whole or in part by Mr. Obama, and requests have been airily dismissed.

A blogger I had not read before referred to the exercise as "panty sniffing." I thought it apt and would link, but I will not Google "Sarah Palin Panty Sniffing." Sorry, I will do a lot for my esteemed and selective readership, but everybody has some limit, somewhere.

Quote of the Day

We face a Congress that puts forth an ever-increasing volume of laws in general, and of criminal laws in particular. It should be no surprise that as the volume increases, so do the number of imprecise laws. And no surprise that our indulgence of imprecisions that violate the Constitution encourages imprecisions that violate the Constitution. Fuzzy, leave-the-details-to-be-sorted-out-by-the-courts legislation is attractive to the Congressman who wants credit for addressing a national problem but does not have the time (or perhaps the votes) to grapple with the nitty-gritty. In the field of criminal law, at least, it is time to call a halt. -- Justice Antonin Scalia
SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I have been wondering when the SCOTUS would grow a pair.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2011 2:53 PM

I'm not the only one!

The Internet is great for meeting like-minded folk, but it sucks rags if you value perceived uniqueness. I'm one of, oh, three and a half million guitar players who have taken up the mandolin to start over in music. I thought that was really unusual. I joined a mandolin forum online and I bet there will be a convention in Boca Raton next year...

All the same, sometimes it's nice to know you're not alone. I'm a fan of Ben Stein. I loved his game show, and bought several of his books before he started to get a little tooo out there.

But I never, ever, once, really got Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Alan Siegel doesn't disavow the entire film, but he says "Get Over It."

Hughes's other movies may not channel Dickens, but they're at least populated with teenagers who've had it rougher than Ferris. In Weird Science, Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are bullied dorks who are clueless about women. In Pretty in Pink, Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is too poor to afford a nice prom dress. In The Breakfast Club, John Bender (Judd Nelson) is the rebellious product of a broken home. Ferris Bueller, on the other hand, dates Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara), the hottest girl in school, and says stuff like, "-ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself." The line might resonate more if the movie weren't dripping with classism. Ferris is wealthy, white, and still smarting from his recent birthday, when the doting parents he repeatedly and proudly deceives buy him a computer instead of a car. ("What kind of movie hero consciously presents himself as infantile and duplicitous?" Paris Review writer Caleb Crain asks in his recent essay "Totaling the Ferrari: Ferris Bueller Revisited.") Meddling Dean Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) spends the entire movie trying to bust Ferris, but never succeeds. Not that you expect him to. Nothing challenges Ferris. Unlike most teens, his life is free of adversity.

"The Breakfast Club." Now, there is a great movie that captures its time. Bueller? Bueller?

Hat-tip: Instapundit, who links but doesn't commit.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [0]

Mo DAWG Denyin'

Brother jg posted this awesome James Taylor piece both on ThreeSources and on Facebook. The Facebook post spawned a lengthy back and forth between me and a two-letter-sobriqued fellow several of us know. JG had the wisdom to avoid porcine singing instruction but I did not. "No. breathe from the diaphragm, Porky!"

Ed Morrissey tees it up with a segue to a superb piece in the Financial Post:

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

At this point, official "climate science" stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory -- that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

This was the heart of my futile argument. I'm reading Quantum Man, a story of the superbly interesting Richard Feynman by Lawrence M. Krauss. This is the third pop-science cosmology book I've cracked since the first Facebook thread, and it is comical to compare real science with climate science. In Quantum Man, the frequency of a tertiary line in the hydrogen spectrum is off by one part in ten million, and the theory is scrapped until it can be fixed.

In climate science, they are not quite so circumspect. They predict ten years without snow; when they get the two most snow-filled winters in the UK, they say "see, that proves it!"

From the bridge, Porky. Enunciate!

Two Looks at Gov. Pawlenty

First, Larry Kudlow matches my initial reaction of "right on!"

Ronald Reagan always believed that America is exceptional. By removing obstacles to growth, the Gipper held that economic policies could unleash a massive outpouring of risk-taking, creativity, and entrepreneurship. He was right, and his policies launched a two-decade-long boom.

Actually, the first couple years of the Reagan recovery came in at over 7 percent. And as Pawlenty noted in his speech at the University of Chicago this week, between 1983 and 1987, the Reagan recovery grew at 4.9 percent annually. I note that Pres. John F. Kennedy also had a 5 percent growth target, a response to Ike's three recessions.

So while those on the left criticize Pawlenty, and while even some conservatives scoff at his growth target, history says we've been there before.

Yet the scoffers were pretty well represented yesterday by Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday. Wallace crucified the Governor.

Like Kudlow, I like the Pawlenty Plan very much. But I have suspected that Pawlenty was "saying the right tings" to fill the hole left by Govs. Christie's and Daniels's demurrals and he did nothing to dissipate that. Wallace was tough but pressed him on factual issues. Pawlenty was unable to respond. Wallace would say "Your plan requires a Trillion in cuts, can you give examples of what you would cut?" Pawlenty would respond "Obama hasn't cut anything!" True, Gov, true. But if I heard the question correctly... And so on, in a distinct pattern.

Wallace was certainly tough, but I don't know that candidates or the other networks are going to be more accommodative. It's great to present a bold plan. Senator McCain presented a bold plan to reform health care in 2008.

But like the Governor, he was unable to explain or defend it.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This was a painful interview to watch. What Pawlenty should have said was, "Chris, you're asking the wrong question. Rather than, 'where am I going to find the cuts,' you need to ask the President and the Democrats, "Where are you going to get the money to spend?" We simply don't have that much money to spend and our borrowing is tapped out. When politicians call balancing the budget 'radical,' they've turned reality upside down. I'm calling for a balanced budget that will require across-the-board cuts."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 13, 2011 12:01 PM
But jk thinks:

BR 2012!!!!!

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2011 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Andrew Biggs likes the direction, but suggests 5% dGDP/dt over ten years is not realistic with 0.5% population growth. The Governor was disturbingly flexible on whether this was an absolute or aspirational goal.

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2011 1:26 PM

June 12, 2011

Ignorant Laws Have No Excuse

I set out on the internet this morning to find support for a personal premise: The existence of unenforced laws undermines respect for those laws that are enforced. The experience caused me to recognize an unacknowledged subsequent premise: Individual liberty is enhanced in a law-abiding society. For some time now I have thought the first premise was a call to action in furtherance of the second premise but then I questioned the validity of that objective, and of the second premise itself.

Slate magazine published, in October 2007, a rather wide-ranging compendium of unenforced law discussion by Tim Wu.

He addressed the drug war, illegal immigration, copyright, polygamy and more. Wu seems to conclude that non-enforcement is good for America. Not, as I would attempt, in furtherance of greater liberty but of "the economic interests of the nation."

Immigration policy is perhaps the strongest example of the ways in which tolerated lawbreaking is used to make the legal system closer to what lies in the economic interests of the nation but cannot be achieved by rational politics. All this is why the Bush administration faces an uphill battle in the course of trying a real internal enforcement strategy.

I tend to agree with this conclusion but I attribute as cause the very American attitude of individual liberty amongst voters who won't tolerate a heavy hand against individual workers and employers. More to the point is what this does to our representative government. Since our legislatures cannot achieve rational laws our judiciaries and our executives, at both state and federal levels, exercise discretion in which laws are enforced and to what extent. This appears, at first, to be a good outcome since the forces that guide the police and the courts are those of public opinion which derive, in turn, from individuals. We effectively have 300 million citizen legislators. However, this system has (at least) two major flaws.

First is the disparate influence on the legal system from concentrated versus individual interests and the tyranny of the majority. Allowing the trial lawyers lobby, the AARP and SEIU to dictate which laws are left to wither (and which to be bolstered) is no boon to liberty.

But worse yet, the ability of government to "get" any individual on some trumped up charge whenever it is "necessary" is a hallmark of totalitarian states.

At the federal prosecutor's office in the Southern District of New York, the staff, over beer and pretzels, used to play a darkly humorous game. Junior and senior prosecutors would sit around, and someone would name a random celebrity--say, Mother Theresa or John Lennon.

It would then be up to the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime for which to indict him or her. (...) The trick and the skill lay in finding the more obscure offenses that fit the character of the celebrity and carried the toughest sentences. The, result, however, was inevitable: "prison time."

It's one thing when government lawyers make selective prosecution into a drinking game, but quite another when used as a tool of coercion and intimidation. In the name of liberty, laws to prevent "injuring a mail bag" have no place in a just society. Liberty is enhanced when laws are obeyed, but said laws must first be not just objective and knowable but also justified in the cause of protecting individuals from others and not from themselves.

But jk thinks:

Three Words: Bastiat, The Law.

Looking the other way at drugs invites discrimination against the statistically minority poor. That has been one of my big objections. Rightly or wrongly, minority youths feel that they are hassled by law enforcement, increasingly under the rubric of suspected drug possession.

Taken to its logical conclusion, unenforced law is no law, but rather rule by police and prosecutors.

Excellent post. The undermining of voluntary enforcement is a powerful point as well.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2011 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love the link. Six stars! If you've posted it before I was delinquent in following it.

"The Desire to Rule Over Others" is a good reply to your current FB tilt.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2011 3:19 PM
But gd thinks:

Agreed. Great post and response. Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 9:31 PM

Quote of the Day

We're not on the road to recovery. You can't get there from here, as they say. Obama was in Toledo to "celebrate" the sale of the government's remaining stake in Chrysler to Fiat. That's "Fiat" as in the Italian car manufacturer rather than "an authoritative or arbitrary decree (from the Latin 'let it be done')," which would be almost too perfect a name for an Obamafied automobile. -- Maven of the Bon Mot, Mark Steyn
Hat-tip: Instapundit, who features a longer excerpt than mine. Whazzupwitdat?

Larry On the Alabama Law

Here we go again. Sorry to open a can of worms in the middle of exciting things like Weinergate and Governor Palin's email, but Larry is dead on, emotionally and economically:

This is the segment and the law I referenced in my tea party post below.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Jeffrey thinks that a business owner has an "obligation" to offer jobs to locals obeying "the law"? To hell with him. It just goes to show how collectivist a lot of conservatives are.

Why are unions and conservatives so united against illegal immigrants? Because the people whose jobs are being "taken" are those who can't compete. They're the equivalent of buggy manufacturers and whip braiders. Thomas Sowell once wrote that if it's really true that women earn 75 cents of what men do, then there would be no unemployed women: businesses would hire a woman before a man. Similarly, if Americans really did want those jobs, then businesses wouldn't need to hire illegal immigrants. But it's a matter of Americans wanting more money than a business is willing to pay, because someone will do it for less.

Now whoever thinks that's fine, that a business can't hire someone who will work for less, then they deserve to lose their jobs to someone else for more money. "But," they'll protest, "that's ridiculous!" Yes, and so is their argument against hiring illegals. Prove that the illegal is guilty of a real crime, not merely being on the other side of "the law."

As far as illegal immigrants not getting "welfare," they get all sorts of other benefits that taxpayers pay for. The real solution takes far fewer words: kill the welfare state. This not only takes care of "illegals," but my native-born neighbors who also live off me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 12, 2011 7:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, Perry. I have had my differences with Terry Jeffrey over the years in spite of the fact that we share the curse of high pitched speaking voices.

I went into orbit -- no something less linear and contiguous for the segment you highlight. My suggestion was to replace "illegal immigrant" with "negro" as in "Man's gotta duty to give white folk jobs..." Man's gotta duty to increase value for his shareholders is what's what.

But, more significant than the guests was Kudlow's even-keeled, Prosperitarian defense of immigration. I think Larry has the politics, economics, and heart right. Jeffrey -- and most people at ThreeSources -- highlight the illegality. But with insufficient legal access to match opportunity to labor it doesn't count (see brother jg's post on capricious enforcement).

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2011 10:13 AM

June 11, 2011

Saturday Tea.

Brother jg pimped (Woah! Best first three words of a blog post ever, wait, let me start again...)

Brother jg pimped his appreciation for the TEA Party movement in a comment this week vis-a-vis the Ron Paul rEVOLution. I'll not pick a winner, but must agree that the Tea Party wing of the liberty movement is enjoying an interesting adolescence.

Insty links to a Daily Caller piece. FreedomWorks, which does not claim to lead the leaderless organization, is adding 500 to 2000 members a day. And CEO Matt Kibbe points out that it has evolved beyond marches and cardboard signs.

These days, Tea Party activists are focused on state and local issues, such as school choice legislation in Pennsylvania, Kibbe said. They're not looking to mount another massive D.C. march, such as the 9/12 protest in 2009, in part because the movement has already proved its influence during the 2010 election[...]

Nobody can deny that the Tea Party Movement will play a huge role in the GOP 2012 nomination and election (a linked article posits that Tea Partiers will stay home if Gov. Romney is nominated).

For myself, I think things have come out as well as could be expected. Most of its members are clear and pragmatic (don't stay home, guys, come out to nominate somebody else) and I am pleased by the sophistication and devotion they have brought. I cannot help but compare them to the antiwar protests. When those end at 3:30, or their members are released from the hoosegow, they go back to their dorm room or parents' basements. The TEA Partiers are serving as delegates, holding office, organizing. &c. I still just blather on, mind you, but I might do better next year.

The dark side has always been there, and I have to decide how well I can live with it. The makeup of the group has instilled a populist conservatism that I abhor. I am in a couple of Tea Party type Facebook groups. The Tea Party Patriots posted positively on the Alabama immigration law that Larry Kudlow lambasted the other night. I read through more than a hundred comments and saw zero that suggested any reservations whatsoever. I know we differ around here, but these were not the intelligent (but still misguided) opinions I hear around here. These were the shouts of an angry mob.

Guessing that a new tea party home for jk will not be conducive to increased gay rights or reduced enforcement of drug laws either. Even good Republicans joke about "the stupid party." I think we will become more stupid, even as we become more devoted to liberty and more effective. Go figure.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | What do you think? [8]
But gd thinks:

The comparison of the Ron Paul rEVOLution vs. the Tea Party is an interesting one (especially given Ron Paul is considered to be the Godfather of the Tea Party). Any movement that has its primary focus on limiting government spending is a positive force in our society. The Tea Party has captured the portion of the Republican Party that is against the historical party actions of “borrow and spend,” but is still basically in line with the old Republican social agenda. This is why you do not see many Liberals who would support the Tea Party movement. Dr. Paul, on the other hand, has many social viewpoints that extend the olive branch to the other side of the fence. He is attempting to make the case that increased freedom from the Federal Government would benefit all of us.

While I think that the Tea Party and Ron Paul are very much linked, I do not see much of a connection between the Tea Party and Liberals. The Tea Party should help reform the Republican Party and that is a good thing and why I support the movement. Dr. Paul’s freedom-based movement will help reform our society as a whole.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 12:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So we can agree that the TPM and the rEVOLution both aim to reform the GOP, and that both have something to offer. I still have a question: Is there anyone in the GOP besides Ron Paul carrying the rEVOLution banner? If he loses favor for some reason, is the movement effectively halted?

I ask this because, honestly, I see Paul as party-switching Libertarian. A "RINO" of sorts.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2011 4:27 PM
But gd thinks:

Jg, man may climb over the highest mountain one step at a time. The reason I support Ron Paul is because I agree with more of his ideas than any other candidate and until Paul loses I am going to stay focused on his ideas rather than on political viability.

That said, Jk has made some valid arguments that “Dr. No” would be wise from a political standpoint to alter his behavior and embrace some of the other congressmen in the Republican Party that are moving in the right direction, his son included. This is probably fair criticism, especially if one genuinely wants to see him win.

Finally, in answer to your question about whether the movement will continue on after his time has passed: I believe Ron Paul has a vision for America that will extend his movement long after he is gone. Ideas are more powerful than people. As more people begin to understand what freedom is truly about and how it benefits almost all of us, they will demand another candidate to take the torch from Paul.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 9:27 PM
But jk thinks:

@gd: First off, I hope we have shared our appreciation for your different and articulate view. We needed "one of you" to complete the set and got a superb specimen. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Dr. Paul is an excellent advocate for freedom. It borders on amusing how this cranky old Texas Republican can so excite throngs of young people. It is as if freedom were a compelling message or something.

I'm saddened that Governor Johnson will not be in the NH debate tonight (CNN CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!) but the two of them are educating many in the GOP about important ideas.

We also salute philosophical purity 'round here and Rep. Paul has that in spades. But we're a pragmatic lot down deep, and most are looking to unseat Sen. Reid as Majority Leader and hope to elect somebody besides Barack Obama in 2012. If Paul advanced the party's agenda as he seeks to advance his own, we'd be the best of friends.

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2011 10:27 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ditto on all that, 'specially the appreciation part.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2011 2:35 PM
But gd thinks:

Thank you both very much for the kind words. My only request for the website is that we see more postings from dagny (one of my philosophical mentors.) :)

I am eager to watch the debate tonight. I read an article in the National Review Online a couple of days ago and Ron Paul noted that he sees former Governor Johnson as a teammate of sorts in the pursuit of liberty and credited Johnson with making him a better candidate. I thought that Johnson made Paul look less radical in South Carolina. Perhaps that is what CNN is afraid of.

Posted by: gd at June 13, 2011 4:01 PM

June 10, 2011

Friday Trivia

Geography Quiz:

What is America's most inland port?

I heard this years ago but did not believe it until I looked it up.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | What do you think? [0]



On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:44 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Always wanted to try that. Thanks for the indulgence.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2011 4:52 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Anything for a friend.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 10, 2011 6:02 PM

Three Cheers for Black Gold

It seems the good folks at Exxon have drilled down in 7000 feet of water and found 700 million barrels of wind, solar, and geothermal Oil!

The great energy irony of recent years is that governments have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars at wind, solar, ethanol and other alternative fuels, yet the major breakthroughs have taken place in the traditional oil and natural gas business. Hydraulic fracturing in shale, horizontal drilling and new seismic techniques are only the best known examples.

Private companies must innovate to survive, and they have the profit incentive to do so, while government cash is usually steered to politically favored companies that may or may not know what they're doing. If you live off federal grants, you need to work the corridors of power more than the technology. Federal grants for cellulosic ethanol are rife with political earmarks, for example. This is why these columns have argued that the political fad of alternative energy has misallocated scarce capital when the economy can least afford it.

I was partially remonstrated (ouch! but better than defenestrated) on Facebook by blog brother jg for agreeing with a new energy proponent that I looked forward to oil's being replaced when a superior source was technologically appropriate and economically viable. I stick by the comment; something new will be cool someday. But my brother was right that I should not join the petro-apologia. Cheap, safe, easily transportable power from oil and natural gas is indeed swell.

Perhaps more interesting in the WSJ Editorial was this tasty nugget of anti-regulation:

Far more important for safety is the effort that the oil industry is taking to contain future deepwater spills. ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell and Chevron have led an effort, since joined by other companies, to form the Marine Well Containment Co. to build a spill containment system that will be permanently placed in the Gulf starting next year.

The companies are attempting to apply the lessons from the BP fiasco, and their expectation is that the system would be able to handle a blowout as if it were a contained well at depths of up to 10,000 feet. The companies have committed $1 billion to the project, and we're told the cost could reach $1.5 billion. If you believe Big Oil companies are inherently evil, you'll think this is one more confidence trick. But no rational company or CEO wants to endure the reputational damage that accompanied the BP spill.

Oil and financial services are among the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Yet all that government did not prevent the BP spill or the Panic of Oh-Eight. I suggest that the $1.5Billion consortium will prove a lot more effective.

I will mention this to a lefty friend or two. They put so much faith in regulation, when it is demonstrably insane. You get legislation written by guys who really do not understand the thing they are regulating, shaped by the firms being regulated, then subject to regulatory capture, graft, incompetence or all three. Versus the drillers putting up private capital to truly fix the problem or limit damage/losses.

But johngalt thinks:


At face value this story is a vindication of those who dared criticize the narratives of "peak oil" or "new energy economy." But unless more people follow the examples of David Horowitz and David Mamet the regulatory claws of the welfare state will eventually force even the "animal spirits" such as these in the U.S. energy industry to succomb to its suffocating will. That is the lesson of Atlas Shrugged: Dagny Taggart can repeatedly defeat both the challenges of her industry and the punitive power of the state, but if her customers continue to reward her punishers instead of her accomplishments she will, eventually, stop.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2011 3:45 PM

June 9, 2011

Brian Doherty Tries Review Corner

I bet I reviewed his "Radicals for Capitalism."

He posts a thoughtful review of Ron Paul's book, with which I had some complaints. Doherty may not be the Republican wingnut I am, but he presages my concerns:

On the other hand, the Ron Paul of Liberty Defined seems in many ways designed to antagonize the standard right wing while emphasizing areas of affinity with the progressive left. This is not some centrist "liberaltarian" project of selling liberty to pundits and intellectuals of the Democratic mainstream. Ever the rebel, Ron Paul sounds more like a "left-libertarian," reaching out to the far reaches of the progressive left and the downtrodden to challenge concentrations of statist power.

Paul consistently criticizes the welfare and corporatist state as privileging the privileged instead of helping the poor. He never talks like his own party is better than the other. When he attacks Barack Obama--which is not that often--it is almost always in the context of pointing out that the president is just as bad as George W. Bush on questions of civil liberties or foreign policy. When criticizing restrictions on commercial speech, he uses the Utne Reader-friendly example of nutritional supplements. When talking health care, he gives a shout-out to homeopathy.

So, it wasn't just me...

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 7:26 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

Perry and gd:

We're not that far apart. I don't think anybody 'round these parts is going to brag too loudly about GOP advances in liberty.

But Doherty captures something that I felt but did not isolate: there are elements in the current Republican party that are taking on collectivism. Paul's son in the Senate is a helluva start. Then you have Govs. Rick Scott and John Kasich turning away Federal choo choo crack; Govs. Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie taking on public employees' unions; the Ryan Plan, discussion on the debt limit; &c.

No, it is not time for a victory lap. But his party has proposed every serious impediment to government growth; the other guys are totally into the status quo ante (ante last November). But Paul would lose his iconoclast cred by giving props -- hell, one prop -- to his party. That is churlish, selfish, and his refusing to take a side impedes the cause of liberty.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2011 10:55 AM
But jk thinks:

More partisan hackery from jk: Speaker Boehner wants to cut spending as part of a debt ceiling increase; House Democrats (Hat-tip Insty who says "surprise") want to raise taxes. Umm, that's not the same.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2011 11:14 AM
But gd thinks:

Jk -- I want to clarify that when I speak about "Republicans and Democrats" I am talking about congressmen not constituents. I also agree that there are a few exceptions (you provided some in your post), but for the most part the Republican Party is still stuck in their traditional ways of pandering for votes. I do not hear Mr. Paul criticizing his son, Chris Christie, or Paul Ryan very often and when he does it is usually tempered (for instance, he has some public disagreements on policies with his son, but his harshest criticisms are not directed at the people you mention).

I think you might have some validity in your critique of Paul's demeanor as selfish and churlish in what could be perceived as attempts to create a divide in the Republican Party. Others could argue that he is bridging the political gap between Conservatives and Liberals and would consider his unwillingness to compromise his political beliefs as a virtue. Both opinions on his behavior might be right and they might also be wrong.

In my small world experience I find people from many different backgrounds (race, religion, sex, rich, poor, etc.) supporting Ron Paul. The two primary ideas they all have in common is the belief in a strictly limited Federal Government and sound economic policy. They usually understand the direct link between the two.

Posted by: gd at June 10, 2011 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's all well and good, gd, but the problem with rallying behind a personality is that it is a package deal. Along with the limited government and sound money ideas we also get, in Paul's case, a neutered military and villifications of corporatism. (An abbreviated list of his oddball agenda to be sure.)

I've been impressed by the resilience and electoral might of the TEA Party. That moniker represents the two ideas you chose to mention but without tying them to any cult of personality or packaging them with unrelated issues (so far.) A comparison between the TEA Party and the Ron Paul REvolution (or whatever it's called) shows that TEA Party membership and influence is patiently growing with greater numbers and greater diversity, while the Paul Partisans seem to be a small but fiercely dedicated band of non-conformists. Which approach do you expect will be more persuasive with our friends and neighbors?

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2011 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Point taken, gd, but the Doherty review underlines my growing unease when I read the book. He can't throw out one of these? He can't say that he hopes the party follows young turks like Ryan, Rand (filè) and Rubio to embracing liberty? No, he can't because he finds every Republican but himself lacking.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2011 3:52 PM
But gd thinks:

Jg, the relationship between creating a global empire and sound monetary policy is probably something we will have to agree to disagree on. I can understand why opponents consider it an “oddball” viewpoint, but that does not mean it is wrong (time will continue to tell).

His anti-corporation stance is not inherently anti-corporation. He just wants large corporations to be on a level playing field without the advantage of government assistance. For instance, I have never heard him say that large corporations should be punished by the government through higher taxes or increased regulation. Rather, he has said the exact opposite. He understands that the unintended consequence of more regulation and higher taxes actually leads to less competition through regulatory capture (i.e., the largest corporations can afford the increased costs and tax avoidance while the smaller businesses cannot). All he is trying to do is tell Liberals that their crazy punitive attitude towards business has the unintended consequence of penalizing small business and benefiting the large corporations that they purport to despise. I have nothing against large corporations myself, but am in complete agreement with him. Therefore, I do not consider this to be anti-corporation, but it could be spun that way I suppose.

Jk, I think you are probably correct that Rep. Paul would be doing himself a favor to be a little more conciliatory with the members of his party that directionally line up with his views.

Posted by: gd at June 10, 2011 6:01 PM

Newt or Moammar?

Who will step down first? Yahoo/AP

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich's campaign manager, senior strategists and key aides in early delegate-selection states all resigned on Thursday, a mass exodus that leaves his hopes of winning the Republican nomination in tatters.

Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokesman, said he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had resigned, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Other officials said Gingrich was informed that his entire high command was quitting in a meeting earlier in the day. They cited differences over the direction of the campaign but were not more specific.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

You Have to Want to Know

Well-read people probably heard of David Mamet long before I did as the creator of CBS television's The Unit. A tough and realistic portrayal of life as an Army Special Forces soldier, I was convinced that its message was created by a conservative mind "behind enemy lines" in Hollywood.

With little fanfare in 2008 an article he wrote was published in the Village Voice with the title "Why I am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal." I don't believe I ever took the time to read the entire 3-page article when JK linked it, since it doesn't look familiar now, but the point is that he had a David Horowitz moment: He decided to stop swallowing the blue pill and became, philosophically, a free-market conservative and a warrior against anti-Americanism.

He is currently on a media tour to promote his new book, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture." He was interviewed this week by 850KOA's Mike Rosen and had some choice things to say in the 34-minute segment [introduction begins at 3:50.]

"There's a great quote in the Talmud: 'Who doesn't teach his son a trade teaches him to become a highway robber.' And I realized that one of the great failures of my baby boomer generation was we aren't teaching our children a trade, we're struggling and lying and scheming and scrimping and saving to get them into colleges which teach them that America is no good and that they don't have to work for a living. And it is absolutely immoral."


We've lost the capacity ... to stop government and say, you know, that just doesn't work. So we're now at the point where we need a complete revision. And that revision is a reversion to the principles of the Constitution. Which is, take care of the roads and sewers, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, provide the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, and if you don't - guess what - I'm gonna vote you out and you can go back home."

Rosen brings the book Lost Horizon into the discussion, and Mamet draws analogy between the ruling "good people" on the mountain top in Shangri La who know better than everyone else and our liberal government overlords.

And the worst of it is they want to be shielded from intellectual discourse. That the liberal community which never heard of Thomas Sowell, let alone of Freidrich Hayek, wants to be, needs to be shielded from responding to the question, what exactly are your precepts, what are your principles, what's the historical record of playing out and how do you account for the difference between the two?"


Voltaire said Every man is satisfied with his wit; no man is satisfied with his fortune. There's no one in the world who wouldn't like to have more money, both the one who is living from hand to mouth and the multi-billionaire who is investing his money. We'd all like to have more money. There's only three ways to get money in a free society - one is to steal it, the other is to get lucky, and the third is to fulfill someone else's needs, which is the way most of us earn money.

And there's more, if you care to listen.

But jk thinks:

Good post, man! I started to listen but was called away. I will try to make it back later today. I loved the bit from his Rabbi about both sides' being able to express the other's case succinctly and fairly. That was rolling around my head all evening.

UPDATE: Rosen recommends Michael Novak's "Spirit of Democratic Capitalism" at 8:30 Woohoo!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2011 11:04 AM

Quote of the Day

Dedicated to brother jg, a Taranto quote that isn't even humorous:

Still, there's a warning in all this: Hippy-dippy types are harmless enough in themselves, but their poorly developed critical thinking skills may leave them at increased risk of infection by the virus of hatred. -- James Taranto

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:18 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I suppose James detects "hatred" in the anti-religion angle of the circumcision issue. Being non-Jewish (and non-Muslim and non-Christian) I see it as a health issue with a sprinkling of conformatism thrown in for warm fuzzies.

But contemplate the ironies: These "hippy-dippy types" who are pushing a new legislative restriction on making health choices for our babies are, without a modicum of doubt, from the same crowd that will fight to the death to keep abortion legal. "It's okay, ladies, we only mean to snip off the top of his small head."

And while women's groups complain that men should not be adjudicating regulations on abortion the chief opponents of what they've termed "male genital mutilation" seem to be primarily, female.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2011 3:19 PM

Score One for TR!

I have been thinking about blog friend tg of late. I hope he is doing well in whatever heckhole he is doing missionary work in.

James Grant's "Mr. Speaker!" which I enjoyed, is not as kind to Theodore Roosevelt as the Schlesingerites have been. Grant takes a more jk-like look at our 26th President.

But John J. Miller rides roughly to the rescue, penning "The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football." I enjoyed Miller's Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France when it came out.

So let's see. On the one hand, he created the interventionist, plebiscitary, Progressive politics that destroyed the greatest lamp-of-liberty nation that ever existed on the Earth. But he saved football.

I guess it's a draw.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Abandon All Hope Ye Who Click

Zombie (that's a one-word sobriquet, kind of like "Cher") has a thoughtful post on education, done in photographs. He has come to accept that "we have to break education in order to save it" and publishes many photos from a San Francisco and a Los Angeles teachers' union rally.

These photos have been languishing on my hard drive for three weeks because every time I got the notion to blog about them, something stopped me. I've been making fun of protesters for over eight years now, but this time, I felt conflicted. I mean, c'mon, what have you got against poor teachers and young kids pleading for a few more pennies to keep their schools open? What are you, some kind of cruel anti-education knowledge-hating sadist?

I had some serious cogitatin' to do. And each time I pushed this report to the back burner, unbidden thoughts kept percolating, simmering in the back of my mind. And it was not until today that I figured out why these otherwise unremarkable protests were so disturbing, and why I could only grumble under my breath at what ought to have been a legitimate social complaint.

ThreeSourcers with blood pressure concerns should take their medication before perusing the philosophically disturbing photos.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Education Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 8, 2011

Facebook Post of the Day

My friends ain't all bad. Posting Taranto's piece on the Weinerkerfuffle®:

Seriously? I don't think he should be removed from office. but I do think we should be able to mock him mercilessly.

A Terrible Day for Liberty

The Fifth Amendment has been chucked in the trash.

As a result of the roll call, the Fed will be allowed to issue final rules on July 21 trimming the average 44 cents that banks charge for each debit card transaction. That fee, typically 1 to 2 percent of each purchase, produces $16 billion in annual revenue for banks and credit card companies, the Fed estimates.

The central bank has proposed capping the so-called interchange fee at 12 cents, though the final plan could change slightly.

James DeLong had a superb look at this in American.com today.
The Durbin amendment was a dead-of-night add-on to last year's Dodd-Frank bill that requires the FRB to issue regulations limiting the interchange fees charged by debit card issuers to an amount that is "reasonable and proportional to the cost incurred by the issuer with respect to the transaction." The meaning of this phrase is then whittled down some more: the FRB is to distinguish between "the incremental cost incurred by an issuer for ... a particular electronic debit transaction," which it can consider in setting the rate, and "other costs incurred by an issuer which are not specific to a particular electronic debit transaction," which must be ignored.

The obvious interpretation of the law is that it requires marginal cost pricing of a service that can be offered only as the result of a process of hefty capital investment. The analogy would be a law noting that it costs very little for a telecommunications company to send a TV program to a consumer, so it must charge only for the electrons used, not for the investment in laying cable, buying routers, developing the necessary software code, or producing the content in the first place.

The fact that Congress could use the phrase "incremental cost ... of a particular ... transaction" shows how out of touch it is with industrial realities. Visit a Network Operations Center for a telecom carrier or electronic funds transfer firm and you see bays the size of two football fields filled with hundreds of millions of dollars of computer equipment, and surrounded by cubic yards of concrete and security protections, in which a few people oversee the processing of 20,000 transactions per second. "Incremental cost ... of a particular ... transaction" is a ridiculous concept, since the cost of any transaction is the cost of the electrons moving over billions of dollars of capital investment.

You buy two football fields worth of servers and routers and the government dictates your price. I don't throw the S word around lightly, but if that ain't real-live, flesh-and-blood socialism...

But johngalt thinks:

The incremental cost of software is equally diminuative. And of DVD and BluRay movies. Does this mean we can finally end President Clinton's War on Movie Piracy?

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2011 9:44 PM

A Great Day for Liberty

Ilya Shapiro reports from the ObamaCare Constitutional challenge. And the news is pretty good:

ATLANTA -- In the most important appeal of the Obamacare constitutional saga, today was the best day yet for individual freedom. The government's lawyer, Neal Katyal, spent most of the hearing on the ropes, with the judicial panel extremely cautious not to extend federal power beyond its present outer limits of regulating economic activity that has a substantial aggregate effect on interstate commerce.

As the lawyer representing 26 states against the federal government said, "The whole reason we do this is to protect liberty." With those words, former solicitor general Paul Clement reached the essence of the Obamacare lawsuits. With apologies to Joe Biden, this is a big deal not because we're dealing with a huge reorganization of the health care industry, but because our most fundamental first principle is at stake: we limit government power so people can live their lives the way they want.

The whole is not much longer and worth a read.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:26 PM | What do you think? [0]

Demanding the Unearned

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 49% of Americans do not favor heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 47% do. That is a truly frightening statistic. The only good news is that the numbers are actually reversed from 2007.

What is it that makes almost half of America think that it's OK to simply take money from somebody else?

Hat tip: Fox News

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Upon further reflection, I'll take exception to one of JG's points: that is, taking property from another is not a Judeo-Christian principle. It's OK for me to give some of my wealth to the homeless dude. This is consistent with Liberty and Judeo-Christian ethics. It's not OK for me to mug someone for the purpose of giving the money to the homeless dude. This is inconsistent with both Liberty and J-C ethics.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 8, 2011 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like the story of Robin Hood, the story of Jesus Christ has "Progressed."

So then, is it fair to hold these storied religious traditions responsible for what the ill-meaning have done to them? Whereas they grant anyone, mortal or holy, supremecy over another individual they are tailor-made for such moral misappropriation. A society of people who stand up on their hind legs and look each other in the eye is better off without them.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2011 8:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Man has been using (read: perverting) religion to justify his selfish deeds since he first ascribed Deity status to the sun.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 8, 2011 9:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll only quibble on your use of the word "selfish." It is possible and even moral to be selfish, if it is done without harming others. But religious moralizers have a different goal in mind - pick your pocket and make you feel happy that they have done it. Their tool is guilt and their goal is larceny.

Watch for my upcoming post on David Mamet's new book, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture."

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2011 2:40 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The 49% is the ~50% of us who pay income taxes, excluding the very very top like Warren Buffett (the ultra-rich who now don't care about tax rates).

That percentage is very familiar. Someone earlier sent me this at Mises.org. "48 percent of Americans believe raising the limit would lead to more government spending and higher debt." Notice that these people aren't saying they don't want more government spending and higher debt, merely that they believe more spending and debt are consequences. So absolutely, why don't 100% believe that simple truth?

Now, I have to wonder how much that 48% overlaps with the ~50% who pay taxes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 9, 2011 10:48 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let me rephrase a little. You're talking about roughly half who believe it's ok to take others' money. Of course, I'm referring to the half who are paying taxes and don't believe it's right to force others to give up their property.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 9, 2011 10:49 PM

Quote of the Day

But one of the few perks of being a libertarian is that you get to enjoy twice as many scandals. Politics is one big smorgasbord of schadenfreude, and I feel sorry for my Republican friends who root, root, root for the Red Team so ardently that it hampers their enjoyment of the wonderful GOP sex scandals of recent years. Only someone with a calcified funnybone could fail to chuckle at the 2010 downfall of moralizing Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.). It's one thing to have an affair with a married staffer, but it takes true comic genius to have that staffer interview you on camera about the virtues of abstinence education. -- Gene Healy
Posted by John Kranz at 10:14 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 7, 2011

It's Like a ThreeSources Tony-Awards Extravaganza!

I'm not sure how many ThreeSourcers will dig clips from Tony Kushner's "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism etc." currently onstage in New York. But I am the pointer toward all things Buffy. K. Todd Freeman, (Mr. Trick), plays "a hyper-articulate, gay, theology professor whose partner's father, a disenchanted, retired longshoreman and former communist activist is planning to commit suicide." He comes onstage for a boffo performance at 3:14.

If one starts watching Whedon shows for their heroes, one can never quite set them down for their great villains (Existentialist bounty hunter Jubal Early, anyone?) Mr. Trick was one of my favorites. "Sunnydale is strictly of the Caucasian persuasion, but you have to stand up and applaud the murder rate! Makes Washington D.C. look like Mayberry..."

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

Quote of the Day

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum threw his hat into the GOP ring for the 2012 presidential nomination today, sending the biggest shockwaves through the race to oust President Obama since Mitt Romney said last Thursday that he'd put down the knife and fork and pursue the Oval Office in earnest -- Bridget Johnson
2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Santorum's greatest utility toward unseating Obama is to make the rest of the GOP field look like social moderates by comparison. I hope he will be the last to drop out.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2011 3:04 PM

I Admit It

I did put up all those videos on The Virtual Coffeehouse. I can now say, with certitude, that the large bald guy is me.

And, no, I have no plans to resign from ThreeSources.

Picture of the Day

Three thousand guesses who these people are (no fair mousing-over to get the file name):

Give? That's Keith Plessy and Phoebe Furguson. Their grandparents were adjudicants in Plessy v Ferguson.

What a great nation. I gripe and grouse about a pile of things, but this is spectacular.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:59 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"What my ancestors dreamt about, I'm able to live." What a refreshingly different attitude than that of the reparationists.

One can understand the logic of the majority decision at the time without agreeing that it was the correct decision. And now that the correct outcome has been achieved it is time for those whose attitudes were shaped by its delay to recognize the fact that they are free and equal in every way - free to make their own way in the world and equally immoral when demanding the unearned.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2011 2:20 PM

Listen My Children

...And you shall read a pretty informative blogpost about Paul Revere. Joel Miller, author of a book about the famed British Warnin' Guy, votes lucky (and barely at that):

It was a harrowing night for Revere. Meanwhile, our episode is thoroughly absurd. Palin got the story wrong. Big deal. It's not worth mocking her and saying she's a dummy. Nor is it worth trying to pull her bacon out of the fire with a lame and halfblind excuse for how she was really correct, sort of, if you look at it from the right angle, while basically ignoring her actual words. Both sides look foolish.

For those using the contretemps to read a little, it is an informative piece.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

According to O'Reilly, a self-proclaimed history buff, Paul Revere and warned the British not to take our guns or there would be trouble. That's more or less what Palin said.

Perhaps Sarah got right and all that haughty journalistic knowledge is limited to the famous ride, only a small part of the man's contribution to Liberty.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 7, 2011 2:38 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I've had additional confirmation of this account. JK, ask your Facebook lib friends what it's like to be provably more ignorant than Sarah Palin. They should also issue written apologies.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 7, 2011 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno, man, I'm pretty far from sold myself. It is not as if National Review is a Palin Hate Site. Have you a link?

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2011 6:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The only source that I can give you is NPR and we all know what Sarah Palin apologists they are!


For your lib friends, this is a delicious double whammy: not only are they proved wrong (and therefore more ignorant than Palin), they can't credibly attack a source they so full-throatedly defend.

Did someone say defund NPR? I say give 'em more money!!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 7, 2011 11:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't think I'm going quite that far...

Enjoyed the link, though, you converted me. I really do try to keep Facebook for cute kitten videos and birthday greetings. For some reason, I am in a mood today and started two other fights. Don't think I can afford to add the Governor to the discourse at this time.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2011 1:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Aw, c'mon! The facts are on your side. Besides, the best defense is a good offense. Keep 'em off balance.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 8, 2011 2:45 PM

June 6, 2011

He Does't Even Award Stars.

An obscure law professor in Tennessee tries to climb aboard the Review Corner bandwagon. He presents an erudite view of David Bernstein's "Rehabilitating Lochner," but one misses the stars and toilet humor available elsewhere on the Internet.

Keep an eye on this young feller anyway.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 6:44 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome story, even without the humor. I can't resist a quote:

"That the narrative was a false one did not, for decades, undermine its force."

And there we have the subtitle of the entire Progressive movement. And yet with increasing frequency we see hopeful signs that those decades are uncerimoniously coming to an end. Yes, you may say it - I have hope for change.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2011 3:01 PM


"I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends, my supporters, the media, and my wiener'' said Mr. Weiner.
Hey. I have not made a sigle prurient observation up until now. A guy only has so much self control...
Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Trust is the easiest thing to lose and the hardest to regain.

But even worse than what it says about Weiner individually and personally, every bit of that quote (well, except the last bit) precisely how bills like the Stimulus and Obamacare can be voted in the affirmative. Some of those elected officials, most of them Democrats in the examples given, are dishonest even with themselves. And one who can say with a straight face that "you'll like the bill, once it is passed and you see what's in it" have the rare ability to be honest with herself and still mislead the rest of them. Politicians call such people "leadership."

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2011 8:44 PM
But jk thinks:

It's a shame to have such a thoughtful comment appended to such a goofy post. You (and Glenn Reynolds) are correct to see more serious underpinnings.

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

What About Sarah?

My Facebook Friends enjoyed rapture -- without all the killing and death and gnashing of teeth-- when a certain ex-Governor of our most easternmost state was caught on video explaining that "Paul Revere warned the British." It was all Palin all the time. I don't know how many friends posted the video, and each posting had multiple "this woman is sooooo stupid!" comments attached.

I provided a link to one (our beloved LatteSipper) with Professor Jacobson's insistence that "It seems to be a historical fact that this happened. A lot of the criticism is unfair and made by people who are themselves ignorant of history." But I later regretted both descending into the Palin-discussion-sewer and doubted, upon watching the video yet another time, whether the defense was credible.

Governor Griz stoked the flames on FOX News Sunday yesterday, claiming the "liberal media" served up a "gotcha question" and that "she knew her history." The gotcha question seems to be "How do you like Boston, Ms. Palin?"

I'd love comments. The Boston Herald piles on her side today. If you missed it, you can see the video there. Most of the defense is to quote Jacobson's blog post. But did she get lucky -- or was she playing the adversarial "lamestream media" like a fiddle? I like her well enough but I'm leaning toward lucky.

UPDATE: Andrew Malcolm at the LATimes votes "Fiddle"

UPDATE II: WaPo fact checker votes "present," but backs me up on one point:

The actual "gotcha question" was rather benign: "What have you seen so far today, and what are you going to take away from your visit?"

The link embeds both the original video and a segment from her FOXNews interview.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

At least her unscripted moment didn't include a mention of America's fifty-seven states. She'd have been pilloried for that, as any politician surely would. Oh, wait...

I'm not sure Mr. Malcolm considers Palin to be that crafty but it seems to me she is making small steps toward the objective she set out for: Improve her image on the east coast. This is not her stated intent mind you, that being to reacquaint Americans with their nation's history. [And doesn't this Revere episode do that in spades!] But it was a necessary task for a political figure with such high negatives. Bring them down enough with the bus tour and the naysayers lose their last, great objection to candidate Palin: She can't win.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2011 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I think it is different than 57 States, or Joe Biden's "the Vice Presidency is Executive Branch as described in Section I" in the VP debates. Straining to be fair (pulling muscles, in fact), those are all short verbal miscues and one cannot imagine the speakers' doubling down on a talk show the day after.

If the governor truly wants to illuminate a rare historical fact, a human person generally prefaces it with "You know, oddly enough..." or "I was interested to read that..."

Risking hernia to be fair (I would love to shut me down some smug FaceBookers) she also has a verbal style where she appears to be completely lost through much of it. Watching this, I want to get out a flashlight and see if her pupils can follow simple movements. Another hu-mannn trend of sharing abstruse data is confident delivery. I don't know.

Does my blog brother vote fiddle?

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2011 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, not fiddle. "Gotcha" squared.

When Gov. Griz answered Chris Wallace's question she talked about how it was a "gotcha" question, which I took to mean she saw it as a test of her trivia knowledge. Whether she meant to say "warn the British" or not, whether she'd seen it written that way somewhere in one of the sites she'd visited, she took such pleasure in her "she's so stoopid" "gaffe" being factually correct that she chose not to help her opponents explain away their ignorance. I say, "Good on ya, Sheila!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2011 8:37 PM

You guys think I make this stuff up

Try to cure a deadly disease, go to jail:

In 2002, InterMune ran a large trial to seek Food and Drug Administration approval to sell the drug explicitly for this second disease. That study didn't meet its primary goal: showing that the drug slowed progression of lung fibrosis. But the results did suggest that patients with "mild to moderate" fibrosis lived longer.

There were plausible reasons why the drug might work only in patients with mild disease and not those with advanced fibrosis. Yet some of the analysis that led to this conclusion was nonetheless "retrospective"--meaning statisticians had selectively mined the data to find that positive benefit.

Since the study didn't set out to test the drug in only mild patients, the finding wasn't firm enough to satisfy FDA. So when Dr. Harkonen subsequently issued a press release that publicized the study's findings, the Justice Department says he committed the crime of wire fraud.

These abstractions of liberty stories are also starting to hit home. I am researching travel to Costa Rica to continue the effective experimental MS treatment I have been on. It has drastically slowed progression of symptoms with negligible side effects. I'd like to stay on it, but I don't want anybody to go to jail. (Yeah, six months of home confinement and a $20,000 fine for this guy, but Dr. Waksal went to jail for curing Cancer.)

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Al Gore certainly promoted his mockumentary "An Inconvenient Truth" on his internet more than once. Wire Fraud!

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2011 2:17 PM

Review Corner

I'm in danger of damaging the franchise.

Anybody who gives three superlative reviews in a string of four books is obviously:

  • Not paying attention;
  • In the hooks of "Big Kindle;", or
  • Not sophisticated or ironic enough to see flaws.

But I can't help it, it's five stars for James Grant's "Mr. Speaker!"

I bought this after reading a WSJ review. I consider myself at least a minor league history buff and had not heard of (or much about) Thomas Brackett Reed. Reed was Speaker of the House in the 51st, 53rd and 54th Congresses.(Yawn!) But he transformed the House in the same way that Lyndon Johnson transformed the Senate 50 years later.

Today, it is said that a majority in the House "can pass a ham sandwich;" hard to imagine that the House of the Gilded Age was a model of obstructionism. Members of the minority party could sit at their desks and be silent for roll call, leaving the body without a quorum. Dilatory motions could tie up the house for days. Even bills with overwhelming bipartisan majority support would stew through multiple congresses because of the value in delaying the next piece of legislation.

I hear the ThreeSources choir muttering in the back. "Congress doing nothing sounds pretty good, n'ect ce pas?" "Why is Leader Johnson a villain and Speaker Reed a hero?" and "Are there any more Cheetos®?"

The party labels are reversed. Grover Cleveland Democrats and his compatriots in Congress, notably Southern House Democrats are happy to let whiz-bang Republican big government ideas stew. They would like to *ahem* lower taxes.

I give Reed a pass for three reasons. One: the House was not just dilatory, it was truly dysfunctional; it's Constitutional business could not be performed. Two: I personally like the idea of a "people's house" being the democratic and responsive section of government. Let the Senate and other branches be the cooling saucers. And, three, in a heart-rending Coda, private citizen Reed returns to the first district of Maine and is saluted by President Roosevelt. The author suggests Reed's concern that his efficacy was now in the employ of McKinleyesque taxation, Progressive encroachment on liberty, and TR's bellicosity. (Reed left the Speakership and Republican Party politics over these, most notably the Spanish-American War.)

The author is a financial writer and the discussion of monetary policy -- truly the issue of the day in Reed's time -- is clear and comprehensive.

Lastly, Speaker Reed's wit keeps the pages flying by. There are a few collections of Thomas B Reed Quotes online, but you have to hear dozens to get the full flavor of the man. I'll leave you with way too few:

One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.

[To Theodore Roosevelt, in response to an over-the-top compliment]: If there's one thing for which I admire you, it's your original discovery of the Ten Commandments

[Asked if he will be the GOP nominee]: They could do worse, and probably will.

Five stars.

UPDATE: The author interviewed on NRP (7:42).

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:58 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 5, 2011

Sunday Praxeology

Funny and informative whacks at engineers and economists from the Mises Institute:

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Marketing pukes such as The Refugee find this stuff fascinating.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 6, 2011 5:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. You can take the boy out of Marketing, but...

It's a thin link to Austrian Economics, but I liked it quite a bit. I have long laughed at myself for being parsimonious with 30-cent coffee pods, yet driving to Starbucks and dropping $10 without a second thought.

Speaking of coffee -- new place in Old Town Erie: K2-Something-Something, in the same location as the old coffee shop across from the Post Office. Field trip?

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2011 6:30 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Count The Refugee in! Drove by recently and saw that it was open, so I'm on board. Perhaps a "Review Corner" can apply to coffee places as well.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 6, 2011 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Just this once...

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2011 11:02 AM

DMV Clerks vs. Steeworkers

I bet he could talk the Examiner web team into it. Just once, Professor Reynolds links to "my Washington Examiner Column" and when you click, it just says "Heh."

Comedy Gold.

Today, the jape is not on and the Titan of Terse has a thoughtful column describing how the makeup of the unions has shifted the character and quality of union protests.

But miners and steelworkers are one thing. When the public employees of, say, Wisconsin hit the streets, it looked more like a bunch of disgruntled DMV clerks and graduate teaching assistants, because, well, that's what it was.

Though they displayed more creativity in signage than you might expect from steelworkers, overall, they brought pretty much the same work habits to their protests that they bring to their jobs. (Sleeping in the capitol? Pretty much what they do at the office.)

America's DMV clerks aren't known for toughness and dedication on the job, and it would be asking a lot to expect them to display such characteristics for the first time when they're off the job.

I'll let you click through for the close. Someday soon, the country will wake up to the DMV Union. They have to mention teachers and firefighters in very statement to put the day of reckoning off. Even Richard Trumka talks about teachers and firefighters -- and he would make a credible steelworker.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 4, 2011

Quote of the Day

I think there's an important point in the comic value [of Weinergate]: The people who think they're smart enough, and morally superior enough, to run everyone else's lives are risible. They're not smart enough to run their own lives competently, and they're actually, overall, morally inferior -- I mean, John Edwards, DSK, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barney Frank, Tax Cheat Tim Geithner, just go down the list '' and mocking them is inherently valuable. They pursue power, and they exercise power, as much for deference as anything else. Deny them that, and make it painful for them whenever possible. That's my take. -- Glenn Reynolds
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 3, 2011

PBS as Public Menace

CATO's David Boaz suggests "The main point [about PBS] isn't the money, it's the separation of news and state. If anything should be kept separate from government and politics, it's the news and public-affairs programming that informs Americans about government and its policies."

PBS used to ask, "If not PBS, then who?" The answer now is: HBO, Bravo, Discovery, History, History International, Science, Planet Green, Sundance, Military, C-SPAN 1/2/3 and many more.

Defending its decision to include ads online, PBS says that it has more than 1,000 hours of online video, which "dwarfs anything anyone else has done." Hardly.

C-SPAN has more than 160,000 hours of video online. The Cato Institute has more than 2,000.

They boast that they only get 15% of their funding from taxpayers. I suspect that is reduced by some accounting alchemy (extra credit: in what way is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting a private company?) But, like Boaz, I'll take them at their word.
Good -- they can absorb the loss.

But johngalt thinks:

End the unfair tax "subsidy" to the non-profit Public Broadcasting System! No more taxpayer dollars for "big television."

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2011 7:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Big Bird something something something, Elmo something something something...

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2011 8:02 PM

Club for Growth's Cain White Paper

Have y'all been reading the Club for Growth White Papers? I'm a big fan of the Club and suggest to anybody who'll listen that they are a better choice for financial support than the Republican Party ("Thank you sir, but my question was whether you wanted fries...")

They released the paper on Herman Cain today. I was interested in the whole thing, but rational self-interest led me to look at the "Free Trade" section for ammunition in my continuing discussions with blog brother jg. They had quite a bit more ammo at The Alamo:

Cain appears to be in favor of free trade. He favored the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1993, saying "Free trade is not a zero sum game... Everyone can benefit." On trade with China, he says that "China is not the problem...Our economic growth is the problem. If we can start to grow in a robust fashion, we won't even have to look back at China." His suggestion for stimulating economic growth is to cut the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and "take the capital gains rate to zero."

Word. I rescind and apologize for all "protectionist" comments.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2011 7:56 PM

Germany *HEART* Coal!

As a wild-eyed capitalist I've bragged before about how I love coal as an energy source. Now, we can add PhD physicist and Prime Minster of Germany, Angela Merkel to my club. NY Times: Germany, in Reversal, Will Close Nuclear Plants by 2022

"If the government goes ahead with what it said it would do, then Germany will be a kind of laboratory for efforts worldwide to end nuclear power in an advanced economy," said Mark Hibbs, a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "No other country in the world is taking those steps."

I would call it a laboratory for something else - economic self-destruction.

The powerful Federal Association for German Industry, known as B.D.I., sent a letter on Monday morning to the chancellery, warning her about the consequences for German business.

"How will the international competitiveness of German industry be guaranteed?" Hans-Peter Keitel, B.D.I.s president, wrote. "Industry last year accounted for two-thirds of Germanys economic upswing."

What could possibly go wrong?
Hat Tip: Wikipedia's "in the news" section. (I sure didn't read it first in the Times.)

UPDATE: The reader may wonder at my connecting this Times story to coal, since it never mentions that fuel which provides half of Germany's electricity. It was, however, mentioned in a reference cited in the Wiki entry. There's also a picture of the very down-to-earth Environment Minister who dismisses more cautious and practical energy strategies. Minister Tritten:

"Ten years ago people told us that there would never be enough capacity to have a relevant share produced by wind - now the same people tell me we have too much wind, and have to export electricity because we have such a huge share of wind energy," he stated.

"So I can't take these arguments seriously."

He stressed he was "convinced" Germany would reach its target.

And he dismissed Dr Pfaffenberger's concerns about cost out of hand.

"He is wrong - simple," he said.

"To hear such arguments from people who haven't learned anything in the last half century - I am very calm on that."

June 2, 2011

Me Too, Dickie-Baby!

Richard Trumka, the devil incarnate AFL-CIO Chief, admitted that "It will be more challenging this time than it was last time to motivate our members" to support the President's election. Why the long face, Rich?

Trumka, head of the largest U.S. labor organization, said union members are frustrated by "wasted energy" in Washington on issues that he said don't help workers: "hysteria" about the federal deficit, a White House review of regulations and Obamas support for free-trade agreements.

I will support the President's reelection by pointing out that he does not seem to have wasted much time on deficit reduction or reviewing regulations. And he's been a total failure at trade agreements.

Now, go rally those troops, Dick! The President is counting on you!

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: Trumka: "Sociaism would be a step up for me."

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Blog Correction of the Day

Is it too outrageous to ask why this little girl [Piper Palin] is not in school, rather than acting as a media bouncer for her mother on a publicity/campaign tour? Update: because school in Alaska is now out for the summer. My bad. -- Andrew Sullivan

Hat-tip (well, outright theft): Taranto

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

I Was Told There Would be No Math...

Be honest and don't look at the movie list below till you have done the math!

Try this test and find out what movie is your favorite. This amazing math quiz can likely predict which of 18 movies you would enjoy the most. it really works!

Movie Test:

Pick a number from 1-9.

Multiply by 3.

Add 3.

Multiply by 3 again.

Now add the two digits of your answer together to find your predicted favorite movie in the list of 18 movies below.

Movie List:

1. Gone With The Wind

2. E.T.

3. Blazing Saddles

4. Star Wars

5. Forrest Gump

6. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

7. Jaws

8. Grease

9. The Obama farewell speech of 2012

10. Casablanca

11. Jurassic Park

12. Shrek

Hat-tip: My friend, Tony, via email. I'll do a proof on demand...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:45 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It's like you're the Amazing Kreskin or something!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 2, 2011 5:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I know! Well, "Jaws" is a great film...

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2011 5:23 PM

End Subsidy Gifts to Big Oil!

Sarah Palin channels JohnGalt:

Palin: End All Energy Subsidies

"I think all our energy subsidies need to be re-looked at today and eliminated," Palin told Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics during a quick stop at a coffee shop. "And we need to make sure that we're investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren't going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can't afford it."
But Kudzuisedible thinks:

Energy subsidies to alternate energy forms frequently take the form of outright transfers of money from the U. S. Treasury to private corporations that make solar cells, wind turbines, etc. or to utilities purchasing these products. Does "Big Oil" receive any such subsidies as those?

Big Energy (producers of oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, and distributors of traditional energy products) pays Big Taxes. Frequently, what the left calls "subsidies" are standard tax breaks received by all or most corporations, like depreciation allowances on equipment and buildings or domestic tax deductions for taxes paid to foreign governments. The left wants to single out "Big Energy" for punitive taxation beyond that imposed on other large corporations. Shouldn't "Big Oil" in fairness get tax treatment at least as favorable as Microsoft or Walmart?

Since Big Energy pays Big Taxes, the net flow of revenue to the U. S. Treasury for most producers of traditional energy forms remains positive. They could be considered to be paying for the so-called subsidies from which they benefit. By contrast, most producers of "alternative energy" are engaged in economic activity which makes no sense unless massive government subsidies are in place. For many of these alternate energy producers, the Federal subsidy substantially exceeds the corporation's gross revenue from sales. Such folly obviously should be stopped at once. If alternate energy producers were trimmed to only those "subsidies" that benefit "Big Energy", most if not all of the alternative energy market would dry up and blow away.

The profit from corporations that is transferred to stockholders, or the profit from private businesses that is taken as income by the business owners, is personal income taxed by the Federal government. Is there a clear reason why businesses and corporations should pay any taxes at all, beyond the taxes paid by those who derive income from the businesses and corporations?

Sarah Palin should be looking at the option of repealing all taxes on the private sector other than individual income tax. After all, those corporate taxes are simply being passed on to the consumers of goods and services as higher prices, distorting our markets and unfairly taxing the citizens with lowest incomes disproportionally.

Posted by: Kudzuisedible at June 2, 2011 4:03 PM

From the Bridge - Report of the Watch

On this day after the S&P 500 and NASDAQ both took 2.3% hits let's review the "Latest News" story links on Investors.com.

10-Year Real Wage Gains Worse Than During Depression
For-Profit School Stocks Soar On Less-Harsh Rule
Hiring, Factory Growth Stalling -- Just Temporary?
White House Touts Auto Bailout Losses as Big Success
(Skip a couple, and then)
Editorial: U.S. Is Already In a Growth Recession

Ya think?

Recent data show a shocking turn south. While some worry we might soon experience a double-dip recession, we're already in a kind of recession a growth recession. That's where the economy is barely eking out enough growth to create jobs. And the number of jobs being created isn't enough to sop up the unemployed and new entrants to the workforce.

Consider these data, all from one day:

You'll have to click through for the full, grisly accounting. Meanwhile, try to find a dry, secure place to hunker down on the U.S.S. Titanic.

Quote of the Day

[Rep. Weiner's] answer ranks "somewhere below 'no controlling legal authority' and above 'wide stance,' " said Democratic crisis-management specialist Chris Lehane.
Current Events Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Dude thinks he's Brett Favre.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2011 6:04 PM

I Need that Book Back!

Dear Nanobrewer:

This is soooo embarrassing, but I need to ask that you return my copy of "Lochner Revisited" or forward it to the White House. There's a fellow there that really needs it:

One could cite Supreme Court opinions for this proposition, but I instead call as a witness a former Senator from Illinois and constitutional law professor, an obscure fellow named Barack Obama. Here's Obama in June 2005, opposing the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the D.C. Circuit. Dubious or inaccurate historical statements reflecting common misuses of Lochner as a historical symbol are highlighted in bold, and are annotated below:

[Two paragraph statement and nine corrections...]

When the President is finished, you may of course have it back...

But johngalt thinks:

I wouldn't know half as much without reading this blog. Thank you JK.

So, the Constitional Law Professor-in Chief rejected the prospect of the United States Supreme Court being "elevated to the point where they were in charge as opposed to democracy being in charge."

But I thought the ultimate controlling legal authority in the US of A was the Constitution. Didn't you, Mr. President?

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2011 2:40 PM

June 1, 2011

It would be fun

Not saying I could not climb aboard:

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

A Name We've Not Called

Utah Governor/Chinese Ambassador Jon Huntsman. I almost posted about his WSJ Editorial this morning. It's purdy good.

I admire Congressman Paul Ryan's honest attempt to save Medicare. Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare's ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.

These aren't easy choices, and we must make them at a time of anemic economic growth and very high unemployment. That's why we must also make sweeping reforms of our tax code, regulatory policies and other government policies to improve our productivity, competitiveness and job creation.

The United States has the second-highest corporate tax rate in the world. We are losing out to countries that make it more attractive for businesses to invest there. Our tax code should encourage American businesses to invest and add new jobs here. We need a tax code that substitutes flatter and lower rates for the bewildering and often counterproductive array of deductions and loopholes, and that provides incentives to encourage savings, investment and growth.

I was going to say that my biggest concern was his friends. I'm all for a Republican accepting a position in a Democrat Administration, but the only time I ever hear Huntsman's name come up is when Democrats like Govs Ed Rendell or Howard Dean enumerate the Republicans they can stand. Makes me nervous, but it's not really his fault.

The Internet Segue Machine® comes through this afternoon. Professor Reynolds links to a cross sectional composite of the typical Huntsman voter -- no, wait, it is not a composite. There was only one, and Outside the Beltway described him:

As I tweeted earlier today one Iowa Republican on the poll we will release tomorrow said they would vote for Jon Huntsman if the election was today-- not 1% but one respondent, period.

Here are some facts about Huntsman's supporter:

-He is 'not sure' when it comes to Barack Obama's job performance--doesn't approve or disapprove. He reports having voted for Obama in 2008.

-Huntsman is the only potential Republican candidate he has a favorable opinion of. He expresses 'no opinion' about Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Fred Karger, Paul Ryan, and Gary Johnson. He has an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.

-When it comes to the general election he would vote for Romney over Obama, but he would vote for Obama if the GOP nominee was Palin or Cain. He's undecided about match ups between Obama and Gingrich or Pawlenty.

Again, not the candidate's fault, but the warm fuzzies aren't really surrounding me.

Insty notes "a rather narrow base of support."

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

He was never able to impress me until he came out with that line, "Those who disagree with the Ryan plan have a moral responsibility to offer an alternative."

Maybe he could write speeches for our actual nominee.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 11:45 PM

And Why Would Anybody Ever Need More Than 640K?

"There's absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an interview. "It's not necessary."

Mr. LaHood is pushing to open new fronts in his long-running campaign against the proliferation of technology-driven diversions. In conversations with industry chief executives, Mr. LaHood says he is making it plain he isn't pleased with the trend toward putting more media feeds and gadgetry into the cockpits of new vehicles.

Mr. LaHood and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reports to him, have the power to curb the info-tainment technology built into cars if they can demonstrate a threat to safety. He is also urging auto executives to free up advertising money to create public-service announcements that remind motorists to stay focused on the road, and not to text and drive.

Blog rules dictate that I have to say something. I can't just excerpt and link, that's really not adding any value at all. And yet, I am uncharacteristically speechless.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The obvious solution is to use social networking to the NHTSA's advantage. They can tweet safety messages to the cockpits of said vehicles.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 1, 2011 1:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. Yeah, "Stop paying attention to this and other messages and keep your eyes on the road, dumbass!"

A correction: LaHood has the power to keep features he disapproves of out of cars even if he can't "demonstrate a threat to safety." So he doesn't like driver distractions. I wonder what Mr. LaHood's opinion is on drug legalization. Or on Rand Paul's favorite synonym for personal responsibility, reproductive choice.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:22 PM

Ignore Kudlow at Your Peril

Larry Kudlow has a point. If I may borrow a line from Rowan Atkinson in Bernard & the Genie: "a wicked bastard of a good point."

ThreeSourcers and Kudlow watchers are all in the mood for austerity. Governor Christie tells us that we cannot continue to afford to buy paper clips and we swoon. Admit that we're all ranking the candidates pari passu with their expected frugality.

Kudlow reminds that economic growth will be as important, more self-reinforcing, and politically more popular than cuts.

Get not me wrong, I'm on the Rep. Ryan train to the bitter end. The idea that government growth could be financed by economic growth were fallacies from some of my beloved GOP Administrations. But if we talk all medicine-all-the-time in 2012, we will not see electoral success. "Root Canal Austerity" as Kudlow calls it is a pretty tough sell.

Let us resolve to balance our Ryan with at least equal doses of Rep. Cantor. I happen to think they look swell together:

When I interviewed Cantor this week, he made it clear that faster economic growth was crucial to holding down spending, deficits, and debt. As scored by the CBO, every 1 percent of faster growth lowers the budget gap by nearly $3 trillion from lower spending and higher revenues. "Grow the economy," Cantor said. "It will help us manage-down the deficit and it will help get people back to work."

This is not to say that spending cuts and structural entitlement reforms aren't necessary. They are. But it is to argue that lately the GOP has forgotten the growth component that is so essential to spending restraint and deficit reduction.

The GOP should say: In return for substantial federal-spending cuts, were gonna more than make it up to you with large tax cuts. You will win. Big government will lose.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:21 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I think more of them are starting to sing from this hymnal. I heard Rep. Hensarling (TPD-TX) say today that "job creation is job one." And he knows why Atlas is Shrugging.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:56 PM

Smells Like Free Speech!

Ku Klux Klan protests Westboro Baptist Church

If we can only get Larry Flynt in there somehow, I think we'd have a new reality TV series.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... And He called them to him and said to them in parables, 'How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end...'" (Mark 3:23-26, ESV)

"... Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!" (Dr. Peter Venkman)

Putting them on reality TV is an interesting notion; in my mind, I'm thinking something along the lines of "Thunderdome" or "Celebrity Death Match." I went a different direction when I read the article, though -- I visualize the scene in Blazing Saddles, the long pan shot of Hedley Lamarr's recruitment line, and then I insert the WBCers right next to the Klansmen. Hilarity ensues.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 1, 2011 12:07 PM
But jk thinks:

"Where's the white men at???"

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2011 12:20 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sounds like the Angel of Death protesting Lucifer.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 1, 2011 1:42 PM

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