July 31, 2011
Who are the Poor?
More Keynesian Stimulus and the answer will, of course, be "all of us!"
But the lovely bride sends a link to an interesting column by a financial advisor. He references a few papers and sadly does not provide links. But he does provide a superb summary of America's Poor:
Rector summarizes the Census Bureau data this way: "Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs."
In the midst of the debt-ceiling contretemps, a Facebook friend (our own LatteSipper as it happens) posts a link to a thinkprogress.org screed on $4Billion of deductions taken by oil companies "commenting on a system that is slanted to the rich and powerful" and laments that programs for the poor will be cut because they lack the representations of the oil corporations (with a bonus whack at Citizen's United v FEC.
Yeah, clearly what the poor require is more government help.
July 30, 2011
Tea Party Should Focus on 2012
The IBD Ed Page -- unsurprisingly -- makes sense:
Champions of smaller government, low taxes and a freedom-driven economy shouldn't expect whatever the end result of "Boehner 2.0" is to be worth very much cheering, especially after Harry Reid's Senate gets through with it.
UPDATE: And the WSJ Ed Page:
At the most practical level, Mr. Boehner's plan is better than the one Harry Reid supports in the Senate. This remains true of the revisions Mr. Boehner released yesterday, though the irony is that it is less credible and weaker politically than the previous version. The concession the holdouts demanded, and got--a balanced budget amendment--ensures that it cannot pass the Senate. The best but unlikely scenario is that the bill otherwise remains intact.
July 29, 2011
Headline of the Day
From today's Denver Post sports section, regarding the signing of Bronco rookie offensive tackle Orlando Franklin for $4.361 million:
"Franklin due some Benjamins"
OK, it's got nothing to do with politics, but it's downright clever.
Now in the Middle of Step 2
Underpants Gnome debt plan:
July 28, 2011
Picture of the Day
Tea Party Patriots on Facebook
Quote of the Day
4. When it was Chrysler secured bondholders objecting to getting defaulted on by the president's auto task force, Mr. Obama denounced them as "a small group of speculators" who were "hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices and they would have to make none." Where was Mr. Obama’s newfound respect for bondholders back during the Chrysler deal? Or, conversely, if Chrysler bondholders should have had to bear some sacrifice then, why shouldn’t Treasury bondholders now? -- Ira Stoll
TEA Party Hobbits
While we're waiting for the House to pass the Boehner Bill this evening, thus forcing the Senate and White House to make good on their threats to risk "default" by killing the House compromise, let's have some more fun. Did anyone hear Sen. John McCain read this into the record yesterday?
The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.
I'm sure that Senator nicey nice was attracted to the passage by the shots it took at the TEA Party ladies but the Hobbit line is the one that, as dagny suggested, "might stick" to the TEA Partiers. And why not? The Hobbits were the good guys! And defeating Mordor is a life or death matter. We just need to remind ourselves that it took the Hobbits three books and at least as many movies to get the job done. It ain't gonna happen with one debt-limit vote.
In Other News, Global Warming is B******t!
Predicted readings of the computer models do not seem to match the experimental data:
In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth's atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth's atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.
As a dear Facebook friend will say "we can't be wasting our time with predictions -- we should be out fixing the planet!"
Brer's JK, JG and Rep. Allen West
Boehner backers all.
"In seven months, I think the expectation for Allen West and the rest of us to correct something that has been a disease going on for 30 years Let's be realistic in our expectations. It takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. I can tell you this: We have started that motion," West said.
Those TEA Party Republicans are so extreme and unreasonable.
July 27, 2011
Dear [Congressman] Cory [Gardner]
I sent this despite being emailed by Grassfire Nation that "Rep. Gardner to vote on 'Debt Ceiling' bill TOMORROW"
According to Politico, this morning, Speaker Boehner bluntly told wavering GOP lawmakers this morning to "get your a-- in line" behind his debt ceiling bill as he scrambles for votes.
Thanks for the tip. I have my own message for my congressman, thank you.
Debt Ceiling Chicken
OK, now I'm ready to join my blog brother in saying, "It is time to take what we can get, move on, and make the 2012 elections a serious referendum on the size of government." Much has changed in the week since jk suggested grabbing the Gang-of-Six plan and counting ourselves fortunate. The payoff from the overdue standoff versus the White House and its media minions is the chance to deliver a debt increase bill with actual spending cuts and no tax hikes, either in rates or deduction phase-outs, that the President will have no choice but to sign. Mister "can they say yes to anything" wouldn't say yes to $800 billion in new taxes but insisted on $1.2 trillion. Instead he'll get zero.
But now, despite the success enjoyed through standing firm, it is time to compromise and let our other objectives wait for the next battle. Jennifer Rubin puts it bluntly:
There are very few times when Republicans have a vote that so clearly defines who is a constructive force for conservative governance and who is not. There could be no better device for separating the two than the Boehner vote. If you'd rather burn down the building, you are in one camp. If you want to pocket gains and keep advancing your principles (and setting the agenda for 2012), you are in the other.
Why is it destructive to keep holding out for more?
The Republican hard-liners insist there is still a cut, cap and balance option out there. No. That was some conservatives preference. An aspiration is not a guide to governance. It's not getting through now or until there are a dozen or so fewer Democrats in the Senate. Right now we are nowhere close to 60 votes for cloture or the two-thirds of the Senate needed to approve a constitutional amendment.
Yup. Can't argue.
UPDATE: The title for this post was borrowed from the excellent Thomas Sowell column by the same name (and was in no way meant to imply that jk and I are barnyard fowl.)
A benefit to having no children is escaping some of the very bad children's stories. Don't get me wrong, I love children's stories and from our bookshelves and video collection, one would assume we had seven or eight. But Professor Mankiw provides a link to the original Rainbow Fish. (Warning: it is really, really bad!)
But as Mankiw taketh away, Mankiw giveth: The American Rainbow Fish:
Awesome Awesome Awesome!
A Troubling Storyline, Indeed.
STOP THE PRESSES!!! Who cares about the debt ceiling? There's bad news out for a former Governor of Alaska!!!!!
A box office star Sarah Palin isn't.
I had no idea things were this bad. At least the family has their faith to fall back on.
No word yet on box-office results from the Chris Cillizza Biopic "The WaPo Wrangler." But if the writing was not smarmy enough for you, or of the words are too big, click on through to have Chris himself read it to you between a couple of commercials. It's very...ummm...what's the word I'm looking for...
Who Are These Guys?
The Internet Segue Machine® is set to 11 this morning. Last night, I watched Larry Kudlow interview David Beers, head of Standard &Poor's sovereign debt rating committee, and this morning I found the video clip:
It was a good interview, and Beers seeks to stay out of the political fray. But I became quite annoyed. Who the hell is this guy to speculate on matters of liberty and governance? The opinion of a trusted, sovereign debt ratings agency is not inconsequential -- but do you know of any? These guys picked the Lions to win the Super Bowl and now we're supposed to tweak the legislation of a free people to seek their approbation.
Or, as Holman Jenkins more diplomatically asks: Who Elected the Rating Agencies?
But now we have a new problem. The rating agencies, especially Standard & Poor's, have decided to join the politicians in turning an artificial crisis into a real one. S&P says it plans a U.S. debt downgrade, regardless of any debt-ceiling outcome, unless it sees a "credible" plan to reduce future deficits by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
Y'all know where I stand. It is time to take what we can get, move on, and make the 2012 elections a serious referendum on the size of government. But S&P plays into the hands of the fear mongers.
It's not exactly first principles, and it is a far cry from the real solution of privatizing the FDA, but Michele Boldrin and S. Joshua Swamidass (and you thought you got teased in school) have a better-than-half solution to drug approvals in the WSJ Ed Page today.
Considering that the bulk of FDA approvals are to prove efficacy, Professor Boldrin and Dr. Swamidass suggest that the FDA pare down its mission to safety and trust medical journals and private research to prove efficacy. The present "contract" has become too expensive for innovation:
Every drug approval requires a massive bet--so massive that only very large companies can afford it. Too many drugs become profitable only when the expected payoff is in the billions. As a consequence, competition in the drug-development market shrinks. Only a few large companies can afford the final clinical trials, hence key innovators--small biotechnology companies and academic scientists--can't compete. As Paul Hastings, CEO of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, testified before the House Subcommittee on Health this month, "When it comes to venture-backed startup biotechnology discovery companies, our industry is facing a crisis."
I still prefer the idea of an Underwriters Laboratories model, but there is a lot to like here. Government's protecting on safety issues may not be an enumerated power per se, but it is far less of an affront to liberty than telling us what medicine we may buy. To use a random MS patient I know as an example (hope he does not object), it would allow him to continue with the effective experimental drug he found in a trial even though that trial is over.
In retrospect, it is better than half. But it seems just as impossible to enact as a perfect solution. The authors point out "Now is the right time for reform, while the House continues hearings on the fourth reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. The law, first enacted in 1992, was originally designed to provide the FDA with enough funding to reduce approval times, but it is also used to adjust the drug approval process itself. "
I'm not certain the FDA will see this as "the right time" to cut its budget, influence, and power.
July 26, 2011
Quote of the Day
Obama, meanwhile, seemed to be going out of his way to isolate Boehner from his more militant caucus members--praising Boehner's willingness to cut a deal, if only it weren't for the crazies on the far right. Perhaps this makes Obama look like a nice guy to people who don't understand the GOP intra-party dynamics, but of course, it poisons an already poisonous relationship between Boehner and the tea-partiers. If I were feeling uncharitable, I might argue that Obama seems to be willing to lower the chances of getting a deal, as long as he raises the chances that the other guys get the blame. And frankly, I'm not feeling very charitable right now. -- Megan McArdle, "We're All Doomed!"
Hit Piece #374
I'm getting to like Rep. Michelle Bachmann because her enemies are so blatantly moronic. As we've learned from L'Affaire Palin, that leads to no good. But Jeeeeeburz!! WaPo:
Just a few weeks before Bachmann called for dismantling [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] during a House Financial Services Committee hearing, she and her husband signed for a $417,000 home loan to help finance their move to a 5,200-square-foot golf course home, public records show. Experts who examined the loan documents for The Washington Post say they are confident that the loan was backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
No word on the corporate jet at this time, say tuned...
This is nothing but a huge hit piece that gives Ms. Kimberly Kindy license to tell you that quel horreur! the Bachmanns are, I can't bear to use the word, rich! And as for the hypocrisy of applying for a loan [getting hers!] before calling for the GSE's dismantling, give me a break -- that's like complaining that Ron Paul used US Dollars before complaining about the Fed.
I hear every dang day not to get too attached to Rep. Bachmann because there is all this horrible stuff out there. Yet nobody ever produces any. I don't know that I disbelieve them. But every time I see this or the SCTV skit, I think "Is this the worst they have?"
George Will Goes Off on Emperor Obama
For "imperiously" summoning congressional leaders to his presence last weekend.
There are 87 reasons for Obama’s temporary conversion of convenience to the cause of spending restraint — the 87 House Republican freshmen. Their inflexibility astonishes and scandalizes Washington because it reflects the rarity of serene fidelity to campaign promises.
Thank you TEA Party. One can be forgiven for wondering if this power struggle between Congress and the White House will be the point history records as Barack Obama's Waterloo.
Virginia Postrel Call Your Office
Gettin' better all the time! Is the Internet worth a million dollars? It is if you won't give it up for that. And I know I would not.
Awesome -- Hat-tip: John Stossel, who points out that record heat isn't causing the suffering it once was as most people have access to air conditioning.
Damn those Corporate Jets!
I yelled at the TV when the President dropped the Corporate Jet line into his speech.
But Rich Lowry at NRO finds YouTube gold. I never watched "The West Wing," but Lowry points out the jet line wasn't good enough for them.
And the rest of it is purdy good as well.
Or, "I was told there would be no math on this post."
I needed a big number to illustrate a math concept, and I found the math concept enlightened me by illustrating how big the number actually was. See if you enjoy.
I found a seven year old notepad on which I had solved John Derbyshire's August 2004 "Math Corner" problem. Explaining the solution (spoiler alert) to a friend, I described a polygon with a million sides. Then I added with a flourish that in math as in government, a million was a puny number. Imagine, asks I, a polygon with 14 Trillion sides. The usdebtogon was born.
I got to wondering how large a circle would be required to visibly show the difference between a usdebtogon and the circle in which it was inscribed. My first guess was a circle inscribed in the square that defines the District of Colombia. Poetic, huh?
But DC is ten miles a side. I do not have machinery I trust to compute the side length of R * 2sin(π/14000000000000) so I will use arc length as a proxy. A ten mile diameter circle is 1990513 inches in circumference. Divide by 14T and that's 1.4 * 10-7 for each arc. Nobody in the world could see the difference. I was expecting it would be an inch or so -- I was only off by a magnitude of seven!
A circle around the earth (7900 mile diameter) is 1572505353 inches in circumference. A usdebtogon would slice the circle into 0.0001123 inch arcs. Nope, not going to see that.
How about inscribing a usdebtogon inside a circle to the moon? 240,000 mile radius [as I have been corrected]* provides a circumference of 95544629055 inches, so each side would be .0068" Pretty tough to see. Especially on the moon with one of those bubbly helmets on.
*Mr. Derbyshire himself corrects my erroneous moon orbit and suggests "Now if you use Pluto's orbit, you get an arc of about 16 inches. Of course, Pluto's not a planet any more......."
Earth's orbit (93,000,000 mile radius) gives me 0.84 inches; I'm going to call that visible, providing you use one of the fine-line Sharpies®
UPDATE II: In thanks for technical editing, I should at least hawk his superb Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics. I acquired a signed copy when the author came to Boulder on a book tour.
Contact you Congressperson
I was going to tell Rep. Polis that I enjoyed his WSJ Editorial, but -- other than the revenues he advocated -- that a cuts only, unbalanced, evil Republican was fine with me. But:
July 25, 2011
Love That Internet Thingy!
Not many people will find Dr. Hoppe's remarks on ethics, epistemology, and praxeology interesting. But I bet most ThreeSourcers would:
Long but good.
What you need to know about the Reid Debt Ceiling Plan
This is the part that isn't included in today's news coverage of Majority Leader Reid's debt proposal that "gives Republicans what they demand."
A Capitol Hill source with knowledge of the plan tells me: "It includes $1.2 trillion in OCO [Overseas Contingency Operations] savings . . . which was assumed anyway, $1.2 trillion (over $1.1 trillion less than [Majority Leader Eric] Cantor identified in the Biden talks) and $300 billion in interest savings."
Predictably, Obama likes it.
Latest Strategy on the Debt Ceiling
Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin reports:
Boehner: "The White House has never gotten serious about tackling the serious issues our nation faces -- not without tax hikes -- and I don't think they ever will. The path forward, I believe, is that we pull together as a team behind a new measure that has a shot at getting to the president's desk. It's won't be Cut, Cap & Balance as we passed it, but it should be a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap & Balance. We're committed to working with you -- and with our Republican colleagues in the Senate -- to get it done. No one is willing to default on the full faith and credit of the United States."
Lede of the Day
Politico: Congress is eating its peas without Barack Obama.
He says this like it's a good thing
Video at link: Geithner: "We Write 80 Million Checks A Month"
That's nearly 1 billion checks per year!
"Void after 90 days, Check number: 2,400,000,001" (of the Obama Administration)
I was flabbergasted that in the same interview Geithner said, twice, that the debt limit must be raised enough to get the government beyond next year's elections. They no longer even try to pretend their priority is the good of the country, but rather their own political survival.
Sen Dodd and Rep Frank say Eat Peas!
Yeah, I miss the woodcuts of the old Wall Street Journal, but photos allow for more editorial discretion (the photo credit is Reuters).
July 24, 2011
"Only Democrats can protect you from GOP extremists"
...or so the press would have us believe.
The internets are buzzing over the bombing and mass shooting in Norway that has now been confessed to by suspect Anders Behring Breivik. In a hysteria that surpasses that which surrounded the Jared Loughner murders, establishment media and left-wing bloggers are pouncing on the "facts" of this case for they appear to finally "prove" that TEA Partiers and other "right-wing extremists" are a threat to polite society.
The first print report I read was from MSNBC.com. "...police say suspect was right-wing Christian fundamentalist" reads the sub-head.
Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.
The warning to mistrust and beware of peaceful bloggers or anyone else who criticize illegal immigration, identity politics and any aspect of muslim political belief wears no veil whatsoever. Extra credit if said advocate happens to be Christian, or "right-wing."
Think I'm making this up? Think I'm overly sensitive or pointing out bogeymen? The same MSNBC article ends with a one-sentence paragraph:
So, you may be wondering, how do the press conclude that this nutjob is a "right-winger?" Partially from deputy police chief Roger Andresen's heavily modified quote:
"We have no more information than ... what has been found on (his) own websites, which is that is goes toward the right (wing) and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist." [Emphasis mine.]
But there is other evidence. The original MSNBC story hyperlinks a companion piece under the words "A 1,500-page manifesto emerged" wherein further detail is provided on the killer's "right-wing" and "anti-immigration" identity. The "right-wing zealot" "who liked guns and weight-lifting" was reportedly a member of Norway's Progress Party for a short time. While there's nothing cut-and-dry about European multi-party government the Progress Party is clearly not "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" as is being reported. The second largest party in Norway, it is a "conservative liberal" party, not to be confused with a liberal conservative party. My head spun with the various contradictory explanations and descriptions, but the most persuasive evidence to me about what ideas the European "Progress Party" holds came from the list of current conservative liberal parties around the world:
Andorra: Liberal Party of Andorra
While not completely judging these folks by their titles they certainly don't carry any suggestion of individual rights or a limited, Republican form of government. Like Loughner and McVeigh before him, Breivik's anti-social extremism appears to emanate not from a profound respect for individual rights and limited government, but from the very cultural-identity politics, pitting the supposed interests of various groups against the others, so masterfully practiced on the left. But then the establishment media in the United States (and elsewhere) has indisputedly become quite cavalier when it comes to factual content in its journalistic product.
Still the only guy posting Atlas Shrugged movie quotes
(My favorite has to be the line by Wesley Mouch.)
It's unusual to hate the ending of a non-fiction, history book. It is rarely a surprise "Huh? The South Lost?" And if you enjoy a book and its thesis for 14 chapters, the denouement is usually like the last day of the Tour de France: a pleasant ride without substantive changes.
But "Reckless Endangerment" broke the mold. Not enough to ruin the experience or force me to retract its recommendation, mind you, but certainly enough to lose one star and leave me with a queasy feeling for days after.
For fourteen chapters, Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner carefully construct a trenchant case against government's complicity in the housing bubble. The Community Reinvestment Act and the implied government "put" against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are deftly told with names, dates and facts. The crony capitalism of Angelo Mozilo at Countrywide, the capture of regulators and of Congressional oversight are all documented in excruciating and maddening detail.
As I was warned, the authors mention but do not highlight loose money. Fed Chair Greenspan gets whacks for ineffective regulation, but not much for quarters of negative real interest rates. The repeal of Glass-Stiegel, which I consider a leftist bogeyman, gets a whole chapter while monetary policy gets mentions -- disappointing, but acceptable, it is their book.
But after they have layered and interconnected this airtight case, they graft a Chapter 15 onto the end that says "yeah, but it was really all about Wall Street Greed." "Squeeze me? Baking Powder?"
Maybe I read too much into it or am a tool for Goldman Sachs, but I thought this non-sequitor, afterthought compromised much of this excellent book. Unlike 1-14, Chapter 15 had little documentation and context. It was cribbed from the Matt Damon movie and contained all the hoary chestnuts like Goldman's shorting the securities it was selling. I know that offended Senator Levin. But the authors are more sophisticated and one expects them to understand that a trade has two sides, and that GS is a rather large entity. Were its traders bound to support the paper other divisions were creating, congressional hearings would be warranted.
In the end, though, the famed first fourteen are well worth the price and time. I give it four stars and a hearty recommendation.
One of my favorite "party stopping" conversations is to attack the notion that the so-called Robber Barons accumulated wealth (with all the assumed deletrious effects) by use of monopolization of markets that - as those more wise that I - assure me always are in need of more regulation.
Thomas Woods article is a short and well-researched article attacking this icon of the nanny-staters. Here's what I think is the money quote:
contrary to the consensus of historians," acknowledges New Left historian Gabriel Kolko, "it was not the existence of monopoly that caused the federal government to intervene in the economy, but the lack of it."
The reaction of those who always assume more regulation is needed (who obviously have never researched LASIK, nor understand how cell phones got to be what they are) remind me of a joke we engineers like to tell: An engineer thinks that anything that's not broken doesn't have enough features.
July 23, 2011
An Honest Evaluation
I have long been dismissive of Bill Gates's philanthropic efforts. I suggested that his business efforts created far more benefit to society, spinning off thousands of millionaires (Evergreen State Ex-pat Dagny revised my initial estimates up significantly).
I also see Gates as a huge piece of the innovation creation that lets me work from home and be a productive citizen instead of an institutionalized disabled person. So, yeah, "Business Bill" is pretty high in my book. Yet, when Don Luskin compared him to Hank Reardon in his book, my impression was degraded by his philanthropy. "Giveaway Bill" looked in danger of becoming another sad emblem of anti-Capitalism -- along with some guy whose name rhymes with gore-and-fluff-it.
But Jason Riley interviews Gates about his education efforts in Was the $5 Billion Worth It? and Gates's humility and honesty have won me back. He is serious about the limitations of philanthropy in a large system with structural flaws:
"But the overall impact of the intervention, particularly the measure we care most about--whether you go to college--it didn't move the needle much," he says. "Maybe 10% more kids, but it wasn't dramatic. . . . We didn't see a path to having a big impact, so we did a mea culpa on that." Still, he adds, "we think small schools were a better deal for the kids who went to them."
After decades of failure, the "powerful labor unions and a top-down government monopoly" schools assert every day that they are doing a swell job and should be given more money and authority. I give even "Giveaway Bill" props for a serious look at metrics and quantitative goals. (Sadly, the "..monopoly" words belong to Jason Riley and not Gates, but they are not provided without context from the subject.)
It's a great and thoughtful article -- holler if you want it mailed over Rupert's pay wall ("kick a dolly when he's down!")
I wasn't going to have fun around here ever, but Brother jg started it:
UPDATE: Holy Cow! They have an entire series of these. Apollo 11 with MS Excel®
July 22, 2011
Late on a Friday it appears the Speaker of the House is ready to compare his poker hand to the President's. After being admonished by Obama to not "call my bluff" Speaker Boehner said today,
"In the end, we couldn't connect," Boehner wrote Republican rank-and-file lawmakers, accusing the president of wanting to raise taxes and being reluctant to cut benefit programs.
"Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House for a Saturday meeting on raising the nation's debt limit." That doesn't sound like a man who is ready to lay down his hand.
IBD's Words for GOP to Live By
IBD Ed Page says in the debt ceiling debate, the numbers are not as important as the principles.
As the clock ticks down on their phony deadline for concluding deficit talks, the Democrats have lost all the public debates over more spending and higher taxes.
The three key principles are,
• No new taxes.
GOP negotiators should keep these basic budget principles in mind If not, they'll find, as Bush did, that American voters have long, unforgiving memories.
Krauthammer - Kick the can, but only for 6 months
Investors- Best Debt Plan Would Shave a Half-Trillion
What to do now? The House should immediately pass the Half-Trillion plan, thereby putting something eminently reasonable on the table that the president will have to address with a serious counterproposal using actual numbers.
No Surprise, Don Luskin Says it Better
Don Luskin says what I think -- with a level of panache I have not achieved in a long time:
Right at 0:35 after the commercial and the introductions:
It is all blue smoke and mirrors and that's what's so great about it.
There endeth the lesson.
The Dad Life
Can we have a little fun here? I got this in a (I think) hilarious e-card from dagny's sister for Father's Day. I've shared the link via email with a few friends over the past weeks but wasn't sure if I should post it for fear of copyright infringment. Come to learn that the card company stole it too - from a place called COTM*. So here's the Youtube. My kids and I have almost all of it memorized after "dozens and dozens" of plays.
* COTM is Church On The Move. A hip little modern ministry out of Tulsa, OK. Good for them, although I had to start skipping ahead when they said "being a real dad is about self-sacrifice, it's about putting the people that we love first and taking care of them" and then some song about sinners. [If you do it for your own satisfaction then it isn't sacrifice. If you don't get satisfaction from putting your family first then don't become a dad.] Awesome vid though.
July 21, 2011
And, In Buffy News
Charisma Carpenter to be a bridesmaid at Julie Benz's wedding.
And "You Need To Get It Out That I'm A Proud Latina!" Done.
UPDATE: Never did score the Playboy Magazine. I suppose I'll have to get it someday as a collectors' back issue for $90 or something...
UPDATE II: $40 I dunno...If somebody wants to pay half, I'll send them the Derek Jeter interview.
Chart of the Day
From the IBD Editorial: Gang of Six Plan: A $3.1 Tril Tax Hike linked below.
Shall we play, duelling pretty-smart folk? While the WSJ Ed page can find some nuggets to praise in the Gang-of-Six
And what details it does contain show that the gang has employed some of the most egregious budget tricks available to make the spending cuts look bigger and tax hikes smaller than they actually are.
And then there are the spending "cuts."
Plus, most plans take current spending levels as a given, and make "cuts" off this hugely inflated base, ignoring the fact that federal spending has rocketed upward by an astonishing 24% in just the past three years.
And the close:
The fact that more and more lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are willing to sign onto the phony Gang of Six plan, and that Obama would lend it his effusive praise, is a testament to why the country is in such deep fiscal trouble.
UPDATE: Washington Examiner Ed page - Gang of Six Plan is More Smoke and Mirrors
All Larry's Saying...Is Give the Go6 a Chance!
I opened myself to criticism for saying I'd accept all indignities in the Gang-of-six (Go6) plan. While I am not retracting, let us not forget compromise by its nature also includes some positive elements. The blog optimist bows before the world's optimist, Larry Kudlow. Kudlow has some concerns but:
There are a lot of known unknowns about the new "Gang of Six" budget proposal. But conservatives should hold back from trashing it. Why? There's a large, pro-growth tax-reform piece in the plan that would lower tax rates across-the-board. This is a stunning reversal of the Obama Democrats' soak-the-rich, class-warfare campaign.
The WSJ Ed Page is a bit more skeptical, but highlights the same advantages
That's especially true of the tax reform outline, which suggests moving to no more than three income tax rates, with a top rate in a range between 23% and 29%. This would be "paid for" by closing loopholes and tax preferences, but a marginal rate tax reduction of that magnitude would be worth giving up a lot. It could be by far the most pro-growth tax change since the 1980s, and the U.S. needs faster economic growth now above all else.
In the end, I am sympathetic to those who claim the Democrats are over-hyping the downsides to not increasing the debt ceiling. But Kudlow and the WSJ Ed Page folk are pretty smart and are not anxious to test the theory. If responsible people were dictating policy, I'm sure we'd be fine. But Secretary Geithner and President Obama have a perverse incentive to capitalize on calumny. I, for one, don't trust them to put patriotism over politics.
Rupert Murdoch's lovely wife, Wendi Deng. Here immortalized in Taiwanese CGI:
"Real" MSNBC video here, without the happy endings.
Quote of the Day
Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with. Home Depot would never have succeeded if we'd tried to start it today. Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business. And I mean every day. It's become stifling. -- Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus
Rumor and innuendo
A good friend assures me that Michelle Bachmann's loving hubby will doom her campaign.
Here's Second City's take.
I have not seen the smoking gun yet, but it seems a dangerous mix of "Pray the Gay Away" and, as Buffy would say, "Project much?"
And then there were zero.
July 20, 2011
Don Luskin's Promo Video
Did I link this?
The book is great!
Harshin' Cain's Mellow
Maybe this will be the buzzkill Brother jg needs. John Stossel writes a generally favorable column on Herman Cain, but finds room for disappointment:
On other matters, Cain can be ambiguous -- special tax treatment for corn-based ethanol, for example.
Cain -- like me -- supported TARP I but not the automotive bailouts. Stossel has some other concerns which will entice or repel different ThreeSourcers:
While Cain says he wants less government, he also supports bans on abortion and gay marriage, and the war on drugs. The failure of the war on drugs is obvious to me. I wondered why he didn't see it.
Add it all up, and I have to say that Mister Cain would be an awesome dinner companion, the best blogger in the lower 48, and a swell friend. But I do not see a reflexive defense of liberty qua liberty in his positions.
Police Caught on Video!
Being generally cool and polite and accepting a citizen's rights. I think y'all will enjoy this:
July 19, 2011
[Standard disclaimer: if people bought electric cars with no tax incentive, I would applaud the innovation of support infrastructure]
Kick Me Outta the Tea Party
I don't care how bad parts of it suck, I love the Gang-of-six plan! Crazy about it! Would marry it and bear it strong sons!
Leaders of a bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators said Tuesday that they've reached an agreement on a major plan to cut the deficit by more than $4 trillion. The deal, which was quickly endorsed by President Obama, pushed stocks higher.
The DJIA is up 208 at 3:25 EDT, Larry Kudlow will be giddy tonight.
But mostly, the GOP will be able to back down, get a few wins and live to fight another day. We (we kimosabe?) were getting our right wing asses kicked trying to govern from one house of Congress.
Yaaay tax hikes! Yaaay fake cuts that will never materialize! Sweet NED, we dodged a bullet!
UPDATE: Dan Mitchell of CATO has The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
NYTimes Rebuked by ... NYTimes
Jon Entine at The American, gives props to the NYTimes ombudsman:
The New York Times' public editor, Arthur Brisbane, weighed in on the much-criticized reporting on natural gas by Ian Urbina, issuing a sharp rebuke of the staff's reporting and editing.
I agree that "Thankfully it has the integrity to wash its dirty laundry in public." But I fear that the retraction will not create the buzz that the original piece did. Entine describes:
The Urbina "the sky-is-falling" express went off the rails completely on June 25 and 26 with two front-page stories asserting that shale gas reserves are being hyped by the natural gas industry. Urbina and the sources he quoted suggested parallels to Ponzi schemes, Enron, and the housing bubble.
I was pretty surprised by the original piece. Yes, it was the Times, but this was a serious anti-fracking hit piece on the News pages -- maybe I was in the tank for Big Gas after all. It successfully instilled doubt.
That's what I get for believing the New York Times.
Ohh boy, do you really want to start this?
Professor Mankiw links to a paper that describes the, umm, well, a relationship between GDP growth and uhh...
This paper explores the link between economic development and penile length between 1960 and 1985. It estimates an augmented Solow model utilizing the Mankiw-Romer-Weil 121 country dataset. The size of male organ is found to have an inverse U-shaped relationship with the level of GDP in 1985. It can alone explain over 15% of the variation in GDP. The GDP maximizing size is around 13.5 centimetres, and a collapse in economic development is identified as the size of male organ exceeds 16 centimetres.
Now this is a serious, academic instrument and I don't want to see discussion degrading into puerile puns and childish observations. Like for instance, "inverse U-shaped? Ow!" That's definitely out of bounds.
Hat-tip: N. Gregory Mankiw, Size Matters
Epic Anti-Obama Rant
...and it's not even the pea eaters at ThreeSources. It's Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, on his company's quarterly conference call. Business Insider quotes the Democratic Casino Chief:
And I'm saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right. A President that seems, that keeps using that word redistribution. Well, my customers and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administration. And it makes you slow down and not invest your money.
All that money on the sidelines? Wynn suggests some reasons that companies may be sitting on cash.
Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty's excellent (and free) Morning Jolt newsletter.
July 18, 2011
Somebody Else Said It
If I was ever on the Cain bandwagon, it has been some time since I had both arms and legs inside the coaster. But yesterday's FOX News Sunday interview terminated the ride.
I don't know who saw it, but (video at the link) Mister Cain believes that the good people of Murfreesboro, TN are within their rights to demand that a mosque not be built in their town. The only no-painful section of the interview is Cain's assertion that Murfreesboro is "hallowed ground to the people of Murfreesboro." (2:15)
Guest Review Corner
Blog friend JC puts this in the comments, but I want to promote it to a post:
FINALLY FINISHED Virginia Postrel's book: The Future and its Enemies!
First, I would like to begin with apologies. The book challenge was started back in Feb? March? My friend jk quickly procured and read my challenge to him: Making Peace with the Planet by Barry Commoner. jk must be a speed reader. He finished far ahead of expectations and quickly posted his review. Me, on the other hand, dragged my feet, ordered the book to be delivered by bicycle messenger and read by candle-light to reduce the fossil fuel impact this book challenge would have on our frail planet! ;-)
The Future and its Enemies was the toughest book I have ever read. When I read, I read slowly to ensure I grasp the full intent, content and supporting comprehension of the author. My biggest problem with this book is how frequently Postrel shifted from lucid clarity in her reflections on the status of society to sheer and utter ignorance about the topic she assumed to know so well. These radical shifts between reality and fantasy made my head reel every time I picked it up. I frequently went back to re-read the previous section to ensure I understood what she was writing so eloquently before she drifted off into ignorant assumptions about practices and policies that have no basis in reality. Again, it was a tough read.
Postrel's book should have been titled "The Dynamist Manefesto (and how to label and mock anyone who appears not to be a dynamist") She writes the book in support of her beliefs and positions posted at www.dynamist.com. Maybe the book should have been titled "Supporting the Dynamist Manifesto" - I don't know... the title and content were in conflict from my perspective but, then again, I would never claim to be 100% dynamist (or any other [insert term here]) based on Postre's judgmental assumptions.
Although the book made me wonder how a person could come to adopt the wildly ridiculous ideals presented in this book, I found a significant amount of useful material for reflecting on past and current technologies, industries and political policies. Case in point:
(quoting from p. 205) "It isn't terribly appealing to argue, for instance, that you want everyone else to be worse off so that your company can charge high prices, run inefficiently, and not worry about coming up with new and better products. Far better to invoke reactionary ideals of loyalty and stability, to suggest that turbulence is evil and competition suspect - or to offer technocratic promises of predictability and order against the messiness of experimentation. If you can also suggest that uncontrolled "technology" is plowing over "people", so much the better. The people inventing and using new technology don't count much in stasist calculations - and, chances are, they haven't yet gotten organized into an interest group."
Her statement is spot-on with regards to the battle between conflicting industries and/or political parties (fossil fuels vs. wind, solar and geo-thermal). Individual stasists in the FF camp are fighting hard to hold on to their old, inefficient and outdated product and the internal combustion engines that they feed. Ignorance, arrogance and greed seem to rule the day while rational thinking has taken a back seat to rhetoric.
My last point is regarding how Postrel believes that non-dynamists are working hard to destroy/slow/ruin the world we live in. She speaks as though technocrats, stasists, reactionaries and other â€śnon-dynamistsâ€ť are a growing population. I am not sure how she arrived at this conclusion but I challenge her to prove that human evolution is driven by epi-genetic proclivities that eventually eliminate dynamists from the human family. Fact is, the human family has always included reactionaries, stasists, technocrats and every other mindset we can imagine. We (humanity) would not have arrived at our current place in history if it were not for all of those conflicting views and philosophies. We need each one of these types of people in society to maintain a dynamic balance in our evolutionary growth and development. The world is much better off with our conflicting views than it would be if there was no conflict and/or no growth.
"Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheeplike passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving." - John Dewey
I try to hold back the tears that this man demurred on a presidential run in 2012.
At least a dozen states ended fiscal 2011 with surpluses. Indiana reported one of the largest, with an extra $1.2 billion in its accounts. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, on Friday authorized bonus payments of up to $1,000 for state employees. An employee who "meets expectations" will get $500, those who "exceed expectations" will receive $750 and "outstanding workers" will see an extra $1,000 in their August paychecks.
Perhaps the final death cry of the Teachers' Unions will not be directed at Governor Scott Walker, but at that Dangnabbited Internet Thingy and those who would educate online.
Terry Moe of the Hoover Institution (we used to have one of their vacuum cleaners) has a book and a WSJ guest editorial that says they have more to fear than the GOP:
The first is that they are losing their grip on the Democratic base. With many urban schools abysmally bad and staying that way, advocates for the disadvantaged are demanding real reform and aren't afraid to criticize unions for obstructing it. Moderates and liberals in the media and even in Hollywood regularly excoriate unions for putting job interests ahead of children. Then there's Race to the Top--initiated over union protests by a Democratic president who wants real reform. This ferment within the party will only grow in the future.
I think the Unions could truncate this by outlawing electricity...
TEA Party - Not just for demonstrators anymore
A professor and a grad student from the University of Virginia collaborated on an in-depth review of TEA Party progress (not just for Progressives anymore) and goals. James W. Ceaser and John York wrote:
Without the Tea Party, there would be no debt limit negotiations going on, just as there would have been no budget reduction deal last December. Without the Tea Party, President Obama would not be posing as the judicious statesman, but would be pushing --as in truth he still is--for more stimulus and further investments in high-speed rail. Whatever pressure now exists to treat the debt problem derives directly or indirectly from the explosion of energy that has been generated by the Tea Party.
Clickers-through will find a listing of the "seven deadly sins" with which "baggers" have been charged by "Firsters" (and the genesis of that term.) Also, in the third-from-last paragraph, Obama's "phantom of the budget, staged with wondrous smoke and mirrors..."
Hat Tip: RealClearPolitics Monday
UPDATE: Having thought the charge that Obama is still pushing "investment" in high-speed rail was a rhetorical flourish, Michael Barone set me straight.
High-speed rail is not the biggest item in the budget. But it's emblematic of the Obama Democrats' theory that government spending can stimulate the economy.
Reinstating Liberty Would Cost How Many Jobs?
James Pethokoukis has some substantive ammo against the claim that "Cutting spending by $111 billion, as some Republicans want to do, would cost the economy 700,000 jobs."
Now I will admit that I am not sure if those are jobs somehow not created, jobs somehow not saved or what exactly.
Jimi P shares some data on both sides and comes down squarely in the "bull****" camp:
I have expressed my doubts about this before, as has economist John Taylor who, after examining data as opposed to models, concludes this about the Obama stimulus (bold is mine):
Have to agree with his conclusion: "Kill jobs? The GOP plan would potentially be a powerful job creator."
The point essentially becomes a referendum on Keynesianism. David Boaz reminds (in a different context):
Everybody talks about the return of Keynesianism these days. We've ratcheted up federal spending in a vain attempt to put people back to work. But Lord Keynes himself suggested that 25 percent of GDP was the "maximum tolerable proportion" that the government should take. And total government spending in the United States is already around 39 percent and headed up if we don't make changes. We are creating an unaffordable and economically destructive transfer state.
July 17, 2011
The stupidest line in the English language has got to be "I'm so behind in my reading." "Show me a person who is not behind in his reading," retorts me, "and I'll show you somebody with nothing to read." That rare -- as in never -- event caught me yesterday. I had finished everything on my Kindle. I went to the Kindle store for suggestions. They had several SharePoint books (that's work, ugh) and quite a few tatting books (I share an account with the lovely bride, something I recommend highly for his-and-hers kindlers).
And, Reckless Endangerment, which got the nod -- and $12.99 of my hard-earned fiat currency.
Today Rex Murphy has an extended review in the National Post.
First, a note about Reckless Endangerment's authors. They are, respectively, Gretchen Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prizewinning New York Times business reporter, and Joshua Rosner, a financial analyst -solidly competent and authoritative both. Reckless Endangerment does not come, in other words, out of the wild territory of hyper-partisanship or the backwaters of conspiracism.
I read several good reviews about this book when it came out, but I thought I would pass as I already agree with what I understand its conclusions to be. It seems to match pretty closely with my view of the Panic of '08 causes (though they have been accused of soft-pedaling monetary policy).
But what I am gonna do? Read SharePoint books on Sunday? I am just a couple of short chapters in, but I think it will be worth it. I have this vague notion that the Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to offer loans to subprime borrowers and include it on my list of government intrusion. But the second chapter really nails it down, from its passing in 1977 to a Boston Fed paper in 1992 that suggested broad racial imbalance in lending, to the ambitious strike of James Johnson at Fannie, to the substantive facts disproving the '92 paper.
All my friends believe greedy Wall Street guys and George Bush caused the problem to drive up Halliburton shares and get rid of Saddam Hussein -- I don't know, it gets murky sometimes. This appears it might be to the panic what Lawrence Wright's "The Leaning Tower" was to Islamic terrorism: a non-ideological and serious look at fundamental causes.
July 16, 2011
A quick review corner for David Heidler's Henry Clay: the essential American: this is a very well written book. It is interesting and informative, and the topic is truly one of the greatest of American statesmen. One encounters Clay as the rival when reading about William Henry Harrison or Zachary Taylor and the nemesis in any book about Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, or John Tyler. It is fascinating to look at the same issues from Clay's vantage.
Heider (and his wife I believe) bring this colorful character to life through decades of monumental American history. He is interesting as the five-time-almost-President, but he is essential as the third of the Clay-Webster-Calhoun triumvirate.
The best thing about Clay in the end is that he, Calhoun and Webster remain our dream of Republicanism: brilliant men of passion, principle, and patriotism. <yoda voice>Not this stuff</yoda voice>: of Dodd and Grassley. Even in disagreement, it is easy to respect these men. The likes of, I fear, we may never see again. And Clay was the star of even that elevated company.
Superb. Four stars.
Charles M. Blow of the NYTimes Meets Some Real People who Work
A great friend of this blog sends this link to ensure I don't miss this inspiring story of humans who perspire as part of their employment.
Last week I spent a few days in the Deep South -- a thousand miles from the moneyed canyons of Manhattan and the prattle of Washington politics -- talking to everyday people, blue-collar workers, people not trying to win the future so much as survive the present.
Jesus, Charles! I hope you got all your shots first!
They are women whose skin glistens from steam and sweat, whose hands stay damp from being dipped in buckets and dried on aprons. They are men who work in boots with steel toes, the kind that don't take shining, the kind that lean over and tell stories when you take them off.
Don't I know it, man. I, myself, wrote a particularly tricky recursive Java method just last week...
You will want the whole thing to read. As blog friend summarizes: "I've just come back from the most amazing journey where I was able to see working fellows. We were able to get right out of the car and talk to some of them. It reminded me of that Whitman stuff we used to have to read. Quite charming, but you wouldn't want to live there."
UPDATE: Taranto calls it Charles Blow's Wild Kingdom:
Blow concludes that "Washington could learn a lot about backbone from listening to them." He's seriously trying to be a populist! Instead, he ends up sounding like the narrator of a nature show describing some exotic fauna.
"If you have a problem, if nobody else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire... The Negotiator."
From The Daily Caller.
July 15, 2011
"Reality Hasn't Cooperated"
There's a phrase of the day for you: "Reality hasn't cooperated."
The 2007 energy bill vastly increased the volume of corn ethanol that must be blended into gasoline, though it also included mandates for cellulosic ethanol. These are the second-generation fuels made from stocks like switchgrass or the wood chips that George W. Bush invoked in his 2006 State of the Union. At the time, no such fuels were being produced on a commercial scale, but cellulosic producers and the green lobby assured Congress they were just about to turn the corner, and both the Bush and Obama Administration furnished handsome subsidies.
The arrogance of our King Canutes in Congress mandating things they do not understand is high on the list of depressing affronts to liberty and dynamism. It is one thing to make the Soviet Five-year plan assertions that President Obama loves "242,000 vehicles with 16.5 inch tires by October 19th!" But it is worse to actually enact them legislatively.
Bonus Unicorn reference at the link (sans flatulence, sorry...)
The Stand Up Economist
July 14, 2011
Tall Woman Speak Truth
It's over. The GOP has everything to lose on the debt ceiling negations, and one of the coolest charts on federal spending ever.
Hat-tip: Instapundit, who curiously gives a long excerpt, commentary, multiple updates, and then commentary on them. While I give "Heh." It is like you woke up in bizarro world this morning...
Quote of the Day
But even if one still believes that the bailouts were necessary to save the American auto industry (or to promote the Italian auto industry, as the case may be) that still doesn't excuse the egregious lawlessness and corruption of the bankruptcy process that took place in these cases. Even if was necessary for the government to intervene to prop-up Chrysler, does that justify plundering Chrysler's secured bondholders (including, among others, the Indiana Firefighters and Teachers Retirement Plans) simply to line the pockets of the United Autoworkers? In fact, finance scholars Deniz Anginer and Joseph Warburton have found that the government's intervention in the GM and Chrysler cases destabilized bond markets as investors adjusted to the new reality of the potential for government bailouts of unionized and politically-connected firms. -- Todd ZwickiThe whole piece is awesome on stilts.
Social Security's Magical Unicorn Guarantee
I must admit that my darling baby sister recognized this one before I did. Now I've found a nice writeup on it in IBD Editorials:
Wait! What happened to Social Security's "guarantee"? You know, the iron-clad assurance of Social Security benefits in exchange for paying into the program your whole working life? It's something Democrats constantly talk about, particularly when attacking Republicans who propose privatizing the program.
And the close...
Whatever happens, the fact remains that Obama has accidentally made a pretty good case for Social Security reform by revealing the program for what it really is.
Screw 'Em -- They can Stay Poor!
Stephen Hayward's Energy Fact of the Week (and you though ThreeSources was bad...):
The motion graphic below demonstrates the relationship between rising energy use and falling poverty from 1981 through 2009. The vertical axis represents the number of people living on less than $1 a day in China, while the horizontal axis plots China's total energy use.
My enviro friends refuse to accept this correlation when I suggest it. And, I'm certain that when I send this the next time it happens, they'll assert that it could be done with solar or wind or magic beans (jg's friend's "unicorn farts" remains the best shorthand). But it is clear that it is cheap and available (scalable) power which is lifting these people out of poverty.
VP Gore can invest in geothermal for his two mansions, that is not available to help these people move form <$1/day to the middle class,
Other Than That, the Story Was Accurate
I'm just borrowing Taranto's line, I'll wager NewsCorp's deductions that he'll use it as well:
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp did not get a $4.8 billion tax refund for the past four years, as I reported. Instead, it paid that much in cash for corporate income taxes for the years 2007 through 2010 while earning pre-tax profits of $10.4 billion.
More at TaxProf, who ruined David Cay Johnston's first day at Reuters by pointing out this wee little error.
UPDATE: 1 out of 1 for the day:
July 13, 2011
Yes dear, whatever you say.
Garden Grove, California woman, 48, drugs husband, 51, with an unknown substance in his food, binds his unconscious body to a bed, amputates his penis with a 10 inch kitchen knife as he awakens, and deposits the severed organ in the kitchen garbage disposal and initiates its operation. "He deserved it," she told police who arrived in response to her 911 call.
Sounds like the dude must've been pretty danged evil. I wonder what he did to her?
The couple married on Dec. 29, 2009. The victim filed for divorce in May, citing “irreconcilable differences,” according to court records.
Obama at the Bat
From AngelFire, H-T: my biological brother, via email.
Leftist Democrat cites Laffer; Calls for Tax Cuts to Grow Government Revenue
First-term Democratic Congressman Jared Polis, representing Colorado's second congressional district including the very left-leaning city of Boulder, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal today that among other things suggested lowering tax rates "to more reasonable levels" in order to "make revenues increase." He calls it Raise Revenues, Not Taxes.
In my home state of Colorado, and in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, local revenues have increased by millions of dollars since lawmakers decided to legalize and regulate medical marijuana. By reducing the current 100% confiscatory tax on marijuana to more reasonable levels, we can make revenues increase. If we were to nationally legalize, regulate and reduce federal taxes on marijuana, we could receive as much as $2.4 billion in additional revenue annually, according to a 2005 study conducted by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.
If true, this could be the tip of a very large iceberg of new government funds. If lowering tax rates on the relatively small market commodity marijuana can bring in upwards of two billion dollars the results would be even more substantial when applied to mainstream commodities such as tobacco, transportation, communications, and even coal, oil and other fuels. And there's no reason to limit this new principle to excise taxes. Income taxes, capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes are all ripe targets for this simple approach to replentish the government's coffers.
Please call or write your congressman today and urge them to give their full support to Representative Polis' plan to pay off the debt and grow the economy buy cutting tax rates wherever they may be found. Congressman Polis is brilliant and his idea could be the bipartisan breakthrough we've been waiting for! And if his plan is implemented he deserves to be re-elected for as long as he remains its champion.
More on Mamet's Conversion
John Stossel has a column today on "former brain dead liberal" David Mamet.
Great line. Of course, we've discussed Mamet on these pages before.
Libertarian Debt Solutions -- from a Democrat
And not just any Democrat -- my personal Democrat!
Jared Polis (D - CondoOfLove) pens a guest ed in the WSJ today that sparkles with good ideas. It's a read the whole thing, and Coloradans without subscriptions should ping me for an email (UPDATE: It's on his site).
He has four revenue ideas that all fall outside of tax increases in my book:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the bipartisan 2007 Senate immigration bill would have boosted revenues by $15 billion by 2012 and by $48 billion by 2017. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, also found that forcing undocumented immigrants to get right with the law would boost their productivity and thus the incomes of U.S. households $180 billion a year by 2019, thereby further increasing tax revenues.
Not sure my blog brothers will dig all four, but you have to give props to a leftist Democrat's quoting CATO, Jeffrey Miron, and Art Laffer.
UPDATE: Free link added.
My Favorite Hoss
The tea party/talk-radio expectations for what Republicans can accomplish over the debt-limit showdown have always been unrealistic. As former Senator Phil Gramm once told us, never take a hostage you're not prepared to shoot. Republicans aren't prepared to stop a debt-limit increase because the political costs are unbearable. Republicans might have played this game better, but the truth is that Mr. Obama has more cards to play.Phil Gramm, top hoss of all time...
The WSJ Ed Page is suitably pessimistic today. And why not? The Administration is playing for keeps. They'll starve granny to win an election (I would too, that was not a moral reproach) and we should never forget that a compliant media will help them pin the blame on the GOP.
Et tu, Ruperte? Even FOX Business this morning twisted the knife. The local FOX affiliate has a 40-second interview with FOX Business as part of the morning news. I usually look forward to it as a brief respite of adult conversation. This morning, the local newscaster asked Lauren Simonetti whether the no SS Checks threat was real. I was awaiting a smackdown that never came. "Yes, it's real; that would add to the debt limit," said the lovely and normally talented network anchor. It's as technically true as it is improbable, but, dang, when you've lost FOX...
If you're in a segue mood, Insty links to a Fiscal Times piece that assures the President that he has overplayed his hand.
President Obama has run into a brick wall. It's called the will of the people. The reason he can't force Republicans to raise the debt ceiling is that he will not countenance a deal that cuts spending but doesn't raise taxes. He seems unable to grasp that 236 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 41 Senators have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising that they will "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and /or businesses...and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
I'm taking the pessimists' side today. The forces of goodness and light do not have the power.
July 12, 2011
Does the NL Need to Eat Peas?
But let's instead focus on another aspect of the DH rule: the practical effect of the rule on the game's economic structure, and why the economic effects of the DH rule are precisely why we can neither get rid of it nor extend it to the National League.
Mr. Crank finds a $1Million+ differential between NL and AL salaries, and more substantive differences between AL contenders.
I'm not a fan (I may have mentioned that once on the blog a long time ago...) but I confess what some people consider a bug, the confusion in interleague play, I consider a feature. I enjoy watching the visiting team squirm under the unexpected situational imperatives.
Imagine Whirled Peas...
Did I mention I don't really care for green?
President Obama as Sheriff of Nottingham
President Obama and the Democrats love to frame the debate over redistribution of wealth as "millionaires" versus "working folk." In their fantasy scenarios they are brave and virtuous Robin Hoods, "taking from the rich and giving to the poor."
Iain Murray's new book Stealing You Blind - How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You explains that a curious thing happens to much of that money on the way from one pocket to the other.
Remember when we used to call government employees “public servants”? They’re servants no more—now they’re bureaucratic masters of the universe, claiming inflated salaries (up to two times as much as private sector employees) and early retirement with unparalleled pensions and benefits. And how do they spend their time? When they’re actually working, they spin red tape and regulations that make your life harder (and their lives easier), your taxes higher, and your share of the nation’s debt unsustainable.
Robin Hood did not "take from the rich and give to the poor" but rather stood up to the rulers of a tyrannical government bent on ever greater taxation, calling them out on it in the public square. "Brave, brave sir Robin!"
Now it's getting interesting
On the decorus floor of the United States Senate, the minority leader says the President of the United States wants Americans to have "smoke and mirrors, tax increases, or default."
Even more devastating was "I have little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office a real solution is probably unattainable."
You Don't Have to Like It
You don't have to like it, you just have to eat it. This blog is eatourpeas.com until it is no longer even slightly amusing...
Pop the Ryan Bubble
Today's lesson: life is not ThreeSources (it may be "eat our peas," but that's not important right now).
Jennifer Rubin -- whom I admire greatly -- touts Rep Ryan's brutal, factual takedown of the President's infactualness:
The president in public wants to operate on platitudes and generalities. Work together. A balanced approach. Eat your peas. The White House is avoiding specifics for a reason: The facts reinforce the public's sense that the real issue is that we are spending too much. Republicans would do well to speak in specifics and to emphasize that real "balance" means spending at a slower rate (you'd think Ryan's plan would actually halt the upward climb in spending; it merely restrains it a bit more than Obama's) and keeping the size of the public sector in check so the private sector can grow and create jobs.
Yes, Ms. Rubin, over here, way in the back... I'd love to see a Ryan - Obama smackdown and I know you would, and there are a few folks where I blog, and...
But the rest of the country would hear:
I'd buy tickets to hear Paul Ryan (HOSS - WI), but I think people confuse him with a Gov. Christie or Daniels that can speak factual truth without boring facts.
The American Public are Stupid
Obama: 69% of Americans are against raising the debt ceiling because they haven't thought about it like and his fellow technocrats have:
July 11, 2011
Yeah, This Is Going to Work...
Boulder is going to start its own environmentally friendly utility:
The prospect of Boulder turning out a major, investor-owned utility and creating a municipal operation is being watched across the country.
This is not a joke, or at least a good enough one to fool The Denver Post
Should've Called my Sponsor
But I am now the proud owner of eatourpeas.com. Our motto:
"It's not going to get easier, it's going to get harder. So we might as well do it now; pull off the Band-aid, eat our peas," Obama said at a White House news conference. -- LATimes
UPDATE: Open to suggestions, but I was thinking I might aggregate all the posts in the "Obama Administration Category," and give it a nice green header logo.
We're Talking Delayed Massive, Job Killing Taxes!
Hat-tip: PJ Tattler
Pity the Washington Post, they don't get the best part in a story about FLOTUS's 1700 calorie lunch:
A Washington Post journalist on the scene confirmed the first lady, who's made a cause out of child nutrition, ordered a ShackBurger, fries, chocolate shake and a Diet Coke while the street and sidewalk in front of the usually-packed Shake Shack were closed by security during her visit.
Quote of the Day
The Drug War, with an impact stretching far beyond the inner cities, is one of America's worst policies. It costs billions we don't have; it promotes the growth of transnational criminal gangs and supports large black markets in money and arms that terrorists as well as drug lords can use; if fills the prisons and it hasn't stopped either the use of existing illegal drugs or the development of new ones. Furthermore, as a Cato Institute paper estimates that legalizing and taxing drugs would yield more than $80 billion a year in savings and new revenue. (Something tells me that even the hardiest Tea Partiers might see their way to a hefty excise tax on heroin and cocaine.) -- Dirty Hippie and Professor Walter Russell MeadTo be fair, Mead raises more interesting concerns than most. His thoughtful piece is sobering reading for the legalization crowd as well.
Now, the Washington State Republicans are searching the Evergreen State for a Senate Candidate:
So far, the GOP has found no one to run against Sen. Maria Cantwell, the two-term incumbent Democrat, despite continued signs that a weak economy may threaten the re-election prospects of President Obama and Democrats nationally.
The pilgrim's path is never easy...
Et Tu, Lancio?
I come to praise Lance Armstrong, not to bury him, for Lance is an honorable man...
[jk style rule #47: always try to say something nice about somebody before kneecapping them:] The Tour this year is missing Lance Armstrong. And I don't mean just a bunch of Jingoist Ugly 'Merkuns who won't watch if a US Citizen doesn't win (and it ain't looking good for that). Lance was a great "field general" who managed not only his team to perfection, but also crafted ad hoc alliances and impacted the entire peloton. Yes, the weather has been bad this year, but I think the alarming number of crashes and injuries are at partly because Armstrong's leadership is missing. There are several great riders to fill the athletic void, but none has the strategic sense or respect to deploy it. A lot of great riders but no Armstrong, Valverde, Indurain -- and it shows.
Another great thing about having Lance in the tour, is that it leaves him little time to write to the UN.
This September, world leaders are gathering at the UN for a historic summit on cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The agreement they reach--and how they put it into action back home--will mean life or death for millions of people.
Holy, hand-breaded, deep-fried NED on a stick! The UN is going to cure Cancer now?
I "like" livestrong.org on Facebook so I get updates on Lance's advocacy. Most are great: supportive items, information sharing, &c. I bristle when he advocates for anti-smoking measures, but I see where he's coming from. But this is too far. O'Sullivan's First Law has been completely proven: "All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing."
Lance, call your Texas buddy with the W in his name and ask him if this is a good idea.
July 10, 2011
That's my witty rejoinder to Frank Cagle. Insty links to his "Conservatives for Conservation: Conservatives should remember they can hate Al Gore, but still be for clean air, water."
Cagle frustrates in the same manner of my infamous Facebook friends. First he conflates Republicans and Conservatives and fails to limn a liberty line toward either. So, it's okay to not pollute because:
Republican Teddy Roosevelt started the national parks. Richard Nixon create the Environmental Protection Agency. Republican East Tennessee joined with FDR to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Man, I feel better, you? Wage and price controls are Conservative, too! And anti-trust legislation! Hey, Teddy was a Republican!
I need to query my EE-credentialed hardware betters at this blog. But I am completely ready to call "bull***t" on him and the NYTimes study he links claiming that LEDs and "instant-on" electronic devices are now the energy hogs. I admit that my TiVo is always on, and from its heat output I suspect it is cranking a few watts. But I have been warned of vampire power leaving my cell phone charger plugged in (mercy!) and Cagle's descriptions of LEDs in the home, killing the planet with microscopic drain.
I mean, far be it from me to question the veracity of a NYTimes story on the environment, but when the refrigerator or A/C kicks in, the LCDs millicurrent seems as small as the tax-depreciation exemptions for corporate jets. Me wrong?
I guess I join Cagle in rolling eyes at Republicans that disparage environmental stewardship at all costs. But how does he phrase it?
It is distressing today to hear Rush Limbaugh encourage his listeners to drive gas guzzlers as a protest. For Republican officeholders to disparage environmentalists. Yes, conservatives certainly have the obligation to argue the issue from the standpoint of their principles. Someone needs to point out that Cap and Trade is one of those public/private partnerships where the Wall Street boys make money and the taxpayers keep breathing bad air.
Bad Wall Street Boys! Bad air full of CO2! Swing and miss, Mister Cagle. The question is protection of liberty versus environmental protection -- and you don't seem to get it.
UPDATE: Fixed last name (Cage -> Cagle) mea maxima culpa.
UPDATE II: Cag(l)e does not link, but I found the article he referenced.
UPDATE III: My TiVo is rated at 40W (that's 350.4 KWh per year, right hardware guys?) Being on all the time allows it to download schedules and software updates any time it pleases and to provide instant on service for recording and viewing. Seems fair.
A Stirring Defense of Cynicism!
The ethanol lobby has filched taxpayers for so long that it's only natural that the Senate's move this week toward rationalizing the industry's subsidies would be described as a "momentous shift away from federal assistance," as the Des Moines Register put it. But please don't believe that the government is about to "drastically cut the financial support" for corn ethanol, as another newspaper reported.Another newspaper that does not happen to rhyme with All Greet Myrna, that is.
It's delightful that the ethanol lobby has lost for once in Washington. Really it is. But the industry will still enjoy a mandate that consumers buy its product every time they pull up to the pump. The 2007 energy bill requires the sale of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. Meanwhile, both the Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association came out cautiously in favor of the Senate deal. And might there be a reason that Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin are also in favor? Just asking.Next time we go to coffee, br, you drive.
July 8, 2011
Quote of the Day
I don't think of myself as a connoisseur of pretty much anything. I can, for instance, identify good bread or good gin or sheets with a high thread count, but I can also very easily tolerate the crummy stuff if that's what's available, because it's just me, right? I'm not a princess; I can deal. Then the CFL bulbs came out, and I discovered that I am the snob to end all snobs . . . when it comes to light. Fluorescent lighting makes me feel like I'm dead, and am just haunting whatever room I happen to be in. It makes me feel like the top of my head has been replaced with something clammy and toxic. It makes me feel like filling up my 15-passenger van with overpriced gas and barreling nonstop to Al Gore's house and smacking his silly, fat face around until he admits that his main goal is and always has been to make each and every day for the entire human race a little less bearable. -- Simcha FisherHat-tip: Insty
July 7, 2011
Nanobrewer was celebrating this, but it has seemed too good to be true. Yes, Virginia, they may really cut the ethanol subsidy...
WASHINGTON--Key Senate lawmakers have reached a deal to end two ethanol subsidies by the end of the month, sooner than expected and a sign of how tax policy can change as attention focuses on the deficit.
Marco Rubio on the debt ceiling (he starts talking at 5 minutes, its starts to get really good at about the 7:50 mark):
What if We Used Honest Math?
Larry Kudlow did a commentary last night so close to Dan Mitchell's, I was waiting for him to credit CATO. I think either Mitchell or Kudlow would be happy to see the other's spreading their message, but it seemed funny to have them both voice this on the same day.
Dan Mitchell asks for "honest math:"
What I mean by this is that I don't want politicians to approve a budget that results in more spending, but then claim that they "cut spending" because the budget didn't grow even faster. I want a spending cut to mean less spending (gee, what a novel idea).
Instead, as we all painfully know, all government numbers are rated against projections and baselines. Both Kudlow and Mitchell showed that our nation's insurmountable debt problem is trivial, if you apply GAAP accounting. Here's Mitchell's "Balanced approach:" cut spending 5% and grow revenue 5%:
Flat, or even a more realistic 2% growth in spending brings the budget into balance soon. More importantly, honesty, transparency, and clarity would allow the electorate to better understand decisions and would make it harder for statists to obfuscate.
A Billion Jobs Saved!
And just for good measure, Tom Hanks said: "If you would have told me a few years ago that 'don't ask, don't tell' would be repealed and about a billion jobs at General Motors and Chrysler would have been saved because the president was smart enough and strong enough and bold enough to do so, I would have said, 'Wow. That's a good president, I think I'll vote for him again'."Hat-tip: Don Surber, who asks "So how is that new movie doing?"
From Nikkie Finke on July 2, 2011: "Tom Hanks & Julia Roberts In Holiday Flop."
July 6, 2011
Extreme Partisan Parody
But if you've seen the original, you'll want to view these outtakes:
Quote of the Day
There's no way to tell how much the shutdown is costing Minnesota, in part because the people who calculate such things are out of work. -- WaPoThe humanity.
"Go Green" for World Government
The press release for the report [calling for a "technological overhaul" "on the scale of the first industrial revolution" to reach a "goal of full decarbonization of the global energy system by 2050"] discusses the need "to achieve a decent living standard for people in developing countries, especially the 1.4 billion still living in extreme poverty, and the additional 2 billion people expected worldwide by 2050." That sounds more like global redistribution of wealth than worrying about the earth’s thermostat.
The entire article is a series of jaw-dropping objectives from Turtle Bay. It's worth a click.
If the Obama Administration is liberty's Imperial Cruiser, the United Nations is its Death Star.
Dude, Where's my Warming?
As a guy with a medical reason to hate hot weather, I should be a little less flippant. The headline in the NYTimes will read: "Globe warms, MS patients hardest hit."
But that warming -- the very 'W' in DAWG -- remains elusive. While real scientists would be forced to rethink their theory, model, or measurements, "climate scientists" are allowed to look backwards and engage in a bit of ass-covering that is not available to other disciplines.
Or, as Kenneth P. Green puts it "Just another example of the endlessly shape-shifting, non-falsifiable world of politicized climate science."
Comes now the National Academy of Sciences, which yesterday published a new paper that sets out to explain "why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008." Apparently the NAS didn’t get the memo from the Center for American Progress that we're not supposed to acknowledge that global warming has not happened over the last decade.
Yet to question them is to expose yourself as ign'nt...
All The News That Fit to Print...
From the NYT:
Ah yes, it seems like just yesterday the New York Times was lamenting the moderate presidency of George W. Bush.
Tweet of the Day
I'm stealing this one from Ben Smith:
Hat-tip: Insty, who points out a comment: "Even the Union Goons are unhappy."
July 5, 2011
Egads! Anarchy and 10,000 lakes!
Government shutdown in Minnesota? Why doesn't anybody tell me these things?
I'd like to invite all of our Minnesota friends to come out to Colorado until this egregious episode is resolved. No government!
Anyone wishing more serious commentary is recommended to the Wall Street Journal.
Minnesota prides itself as the land where liberal governance works, but lately the wheels have come off. The state is broke, and as of July 1 most state services are closed amid a budget stalemate between Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republicans who run the legislature. The drama may be a forecast of the looming standoff in Washington, so it's worth reporting what the scrap is about.
Best News Ever
Charisma Carpenter to guest on USA's Burn Notice:
The actress will guest-star in this season's 11th episode as Nicki, a sharp-tongued, high-maintenance trophy wife whose not-so-better half, a bioweapons engineer, is a wanted man in cahoots with the Russians. Increasingly dissatisfied with her marriage, Nicki proves to be a pawn ripe for the manipulating in Michael and Fi's effort to get to her husband.
Blog brother Silence Dogood got me watching this show a few years ago. It is a fun, ensemble cast show. If you have not watched it, I would recommend starting with older episodes.
Almost as if There were a Double Standard
A. Barton Hinkle at Reason may have found some inconsistency in the reporting between anti-government and pro-government protests. I know, I was dismissive at first, too. But hear him out:
Boy, those sure have been some mighty peaceful protests against government budget cuts in Greece, haven't they? You bet they have--at least if you ignore the rock-throwing, fire-setting, window-smashing, and blood-spilling.
Do you want me to continue commenting here? Do I need to?
Quote of the Day
You mean that abrogating bankruptcy law, screwing over secured creditors and rewarding Democrats' union supporters with billions in equity, tax breaks and subsidies didn't really fix GM? -- Doug Ross
The Headline Editors at the WSJ Ed Page today name David Malpass And Stephen Moore's piece on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) "America's Troubling Investment Gap."
In June, President Obama celebrated a rare sliver of good economic news: Foreign investment was up 49% last year over 2009. The president says that this boost in capital shipped to the U.S. by international companies or foreign investors leads to more businesses and higher-paying jobs here at home. He's right.
Put me down with the folks who find it "Troubling."
My Famous Facebook Friends love to point out the amount of cash on corporate balance sheets. Curiously, they are not celebrating multinationals' participation in global growth. Nor are they suggesting tax breaks for repatriation of foreign earnings. Actually, this is somehow proof of both corporate greed and dispositive proof of the need for tax reform.
One friend-of-a-friend put it in so many words. Corporations bla bla bla...record profits bla bla bla...cash on the balance sheet... "So don't" this woman says "use the argument that businesses will not hire because of tax rates or tax unpredictability. I won't hear it. Any other thing you'd like to discuss [the infield fly rule perhaps?] go right ahead."
As there's no such Gag Rule at ThreeSources, I consider the cash in stasis AND the now negative FDI flow as proof that taxes are indeed the problem. Yes, they do have money. But to maximize growth of asset value, they must choose when and where that money can be best invested. A new plant in Illinois, perhaps? A joint venture in Singapore? Capital expenditures that delay hiring? Or sit on it, declare dividends, buy back equity and keep your powder dry while tax and health care policy clarifies?
Malpass and Moore document the troubling truth that the best choice is now to invest that money somewhere else but here.
But, other than that, there's really nothing to worry about. Maybe we could do something to encourage high speed rail or ethanol or something...
There's That Song Again...
Talk about an underserved character in American History. I went looking for a biography of Francis Scott Key, and there is none of the quality I expected. There is one from 1934, cobbled together from oral histories and his correspondence with John Randolph. Amazon has one for $29.95.
Carl Swisher wrote a biography of Key's brother-in-law, Roger B. Taney, in 1935 and I imagine a similar friendly, folksy, biography. I enjoyed the Swisher book while I was researching the Chief Justice, but I would strongly prefer a modern biography.
Historians may have overlooked him, but here's a damn fine version of his song:
July 4, 2011
My Favorite Supraconstitutional Event
Call me names; throw jk from the train if you want. But I watch "A Capitol Fourth" on PBS every year. Steve Martin just brought his bluegrass band. I love it.
UPDATE: Ms. Jordin Sparks nails the National Anthem. I may have to start watching "Idol..."
Dirty Hippies run the FDA
Last week JK wrote about the FDA's anti-prosperity ruling on the clinical use of Avastin to treat breast cancer. Two days later, American Spectator's Robert M. Goldberg wrote in FDA Decision Dooms Cancer Patients some background on the individuals at FDA who were responsible.
Goozner -- who has no medical background -- was appointed to an FDA advisory committee on pharmaceutical science. Two senior Public Citizen operatives, Peter Lurie and Larry Sasich, now set policy for the FDA. Fran Visco, the head of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, applauded the FDA decision after lobbying for it over the past year. Visco, a Democrat, is also on Experts Advisory Panel for the Universal Health Insurance Program at the New America Foundation, a left-wing think tank supporting Obamacare. The NBBC also supported the administration's decision not to cover mammograms for women under 50 though many breast cancers grow faster and earlier in African-American women.
Goldberg goes on to predict that Medicare and some other health plans will try to stop paying for Avastin, but he also makes this prediction:
To these groups, the FDA decision was a triumph. But their effort to manipulate the FDA will backfire. The EMA and every major group of cancer providers support Avastin's use. Cancer patients moblilized spontaneously to keep Avastin's label. They will take on the anti-innovation establishment and the FDA with greater intensity and vigor.
Otequay of the Ayday
Fourth of July Edition.
On the Fourth of July, celebrate not the rights-violating, welfare state that America has become, but what America once was and could be again. Celebrate man's "unalienable Rights." Celebrate the principle that the proper purpose of government is "to secure these rights." Celebrate the principle that "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it." And, most of all, celebrate the Founders, who recognized and codified these principles, thus making possible the degree of freedom we still enjoy and the moral ideal to which we should return.
Hat Tip: Brother Russ
July 3, 2011
The Most Interesting Sport In The World
Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" is, naturally, an expert equestrian vaulter.
Or at least AVA and World Equestrian Games Gold Medalist, World Chamion team vaulter and stunt double Blake Dahlgren is. I have seen Blake compete in every AVA National Championship since dagny and I met, and I'm sure he was at many more before that. I was always impressed by his balance and grace (soft landings on the horse) considering his 6'3" stature. Blake began vaulting with our friends Rick and Virginia at Valley View Vaulters in Southern California, where he is now a coach.
July 2, 2011
My new favorite third baseman...
is in the American League.
"This is my bible," Cabrera said. "It's over 1,000 pages long."
Quote of the Day
With the exception of the date, we Americans have more or less followed Adams' wishes ever since. There was a canny prescience about the depth, the breadth, the quality of American freedom in the seeming incongruence of Adams's assertion that the anniversary should be "solemnized" with such light-hearted events as sports and bonfires and fireworks. For the very nonchalance with which most of us celebrate "Independence Day" is the most eloquent measure of the solemnity, the gravity, the importance of the event. -- Ralph Kinney Bennett
How 'bout a movie for a change?
I just sent "Departures" back to Netflix -- what a great film (it is definitely a film and not a movie, trust me). IMDB gives the plot as
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.
The movie, er film, is in Japanese with Engrish subtitles. You're picturing a lengthy, tedious art film, c'mon admit it. Art it may be; tedious it is not.
I think ThreeSourcers would dig it -- not that there's a Reaganite message about cap gains taxes -- but for a serious and beautiful look at work and art, individualism, and human dignity. A small, ensemble cast is endearing. The cinematography is superb, showing a Japan that is not Disney, Clavell, or dystopian.
Sweet, well paced and unusual -- Five stars.
July 1, 2011
I finished "The Jacket" and Matt Welch's Declaration of Independents last night. It is a remarkably uplifting book.
It is funny, thoughtful and well written. None of that surprises me because of the authors. But the book starts by laying out a serious and ambitious agenda:
The Declaration of Independents is a call to wave away the clouds of obfuscating political malarkey, to call things (in [Vaclav] Havel's phrasing) "by their proper names," identify governance for what it is, expose how it sells itself, and inject into the political sphere the same forces of innovation, individualization, and autonomy that are bettering the way we live in every other sense.
They accomplish all this without nattering the way Libertarians sometimes do. It remains very upbeat, in spite of chapters like "We are so out of money!" There's a kind of Reaganite optimism about it, not that they have many kind words for our 40th. but they do have a true belief that free people will overcome the challenges of over-weaning government.
Funny, upbeat, informative, thoughtful. I will offer any of my leftist friends to read anything of their choosing if they'll pour through this one. It should be easy as Speaker Boehner and President George W Bush get as many or more whacks than anybody else.
Five stars. Greg Gutfield says "It's better than 'War & Peace' and 'Everybody Poops' combined."