December 31, 2011
I'll DIe on this Hill
December 30, 2011
James Pethokoukis tweeted yesterday "@JimPethokoukis For 2012, I think GOPers need to think more about Schumpeter than Hayek."
Last night on The Kudlow Report, Larry had a friendly interview with Senator Rick Santorum. At the very end, Larry blasts him (deservedly) for his 0% manufacturing tax. Senator Santorum was pretty bummed that he did not have time to respond, but the panel, which included Jimi P, established that "real supply side economics" means to get rid of cutouts and let the market decide.
Pethokoukis develops the theme further on the AEI blog today.
But two other elements are also necessary. First, America must remain open to the change and Schumpeterian creative destruction that innovation brings and not try to stifle it through regulation, crony capitalism, and anti-competitive trade barriers. Second, America needs to improve its supply of human capital so, as economist Joel Mokyr puts it, there is a "cadre of ingenious and resourceful innovators who are both willing and able to challenge their physical environment for their own improvement."
Sadly, Schumpeter will be a harder sell to voters than Laffer. "Good economics dictates that I lower your taxes" is a winning message; "good economics dictates that I let your plant close"...not...so...much.
Obama is the President of Equality
Ayn Rand Institute's Yaron Brook on TheStreet.com:
They pick corn in Iowa, they pick Presidents in New Hampshire
UPDATE: Hmm, the WaPo embed seems dead. Here's the post.
From the Coffeehouse Vaults
December 29, 2011
The banner ads are getting wicked scary good at conforming to my personal interests. I looked at an item on the Musicians Friend website last week and saw an ad for it on Instapundit four hours later.
But this is just eerie. I mean, how did they know I was buying an Aston-Martin?
One of My Giants!
The good folks at @Epiphone and @GibsonGuitarsPR salute The Band's Rick Danko.
Danko was under-appreciated. In a band of fairly good singers like Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson, too few noticed the all-time vocal chops he put on so many of those great tunes. I was quite taken by his voice and impish humor in "The Last Waltz" (which I saw about 100 times the summer it came out in a pique of adolescent angst, but that's another story...)
I saw him live with Paul Butterfield at the old DU arena; I bought the solo album he is working on in one scene of "Last Waltz;" and I'd stop to hear the little background vocs he added to Clapton's "No Reason to Cry" album.
I lifted this video from the Epiphone page. If you don't want the (odd) bass lessons, skip to 1:50 for a sweet little blues jam.
In peace, brother Rick, in Peace.
Or this one.
Quote of the Day
Managerial progressives see only the end -- preventing free-riders from riding for free. And they ignore the collateral damage done by way of the means selected. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have no understanding of first principles. For both of these social engineers, citizens are subjects to be worked-over by the government for their own good. Both men are inclined to treat us as children subject to the authority of a paternalistic state under the direction of a benevolent and omniscient managerial class. -- Paul Rahe in an awesome, comprehensive takedown of the individual mandate.Hat-tip: Instapundit
Tweets of the Day
Lots more fun for viewers -- and likely the best shot for Mary Kaye's Husband!
Dr. Laffer's Gingrich Endorsement
The Kudlow Report from last night. Art is all in for the Speaker.
No factual basis for that claim
Brother jg's beloved Denver Post was caught publishing phony numbers on children's firearm accidents. Centennial State freedom lover Ari Armstrong is on the case:
In their article for today's Denver Post, Joey Bunch and Kieran Nicholson claim, "More than 500 children in the United States die in gun accidents each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a 2007 report, which estimated 1.7 million children live in homes where guns are kept." However, there seems to be no factual basis for that claim.
The email exchange between Armstrong and the Post's Joey Bunch is a good read.
In related news, my equally beloved FOX31 Good Day Colorado peeps actually let a bit of free market capitalism spill out in today's show. The new guy (possible holiday substitute) on traffic reports suggested that on snowy days, drivers might consider using E-470 (toll road) as "they have more plows because they need to take care of their 'customers.'" MURRAY ROTHBARD, CALL YOUR OFFICE!!!
December 28, 2011
One of these quadrennials, the Rudy plan is going to work!
4. Jon Huntsman needs no worse than a close loss in New Hampshire to keep his campaign going. But should he do that, or even pull off an outright win, maybe voters elsewhere will take another look at his conservative record as a pro-lifer who instituted a flat tax as Utah governor and supports the Paul Ryan approach to entitlement reform.
Lenore Skenazy has appeared frequently on John Stossel's show and I have long appreciated her writing.
I suspect she is the last reasonable person in the whole nation. Her primary message is that people should evaluate statistics and not hide in the basement over whatever the media are hyping this week ("I can't go out -- there are Toyotas on the roads...")
She has a superb year-end piece in the WSJ Ed Page today on the difference between an isolated incident and a trend.
This collective decision not to distinguish between rare screw-ups and systemic dangers is turning us into neurotic Nellies who worry about, warn against and, finally, outlaw very safe things. My favorite recall from the Consumer Product Safety Commission a few years back concerned a chair that had a screw protruding from the underside. While the commission reported that there had been "no reports of injuries to humans," there had been "one report of a dog's fur becoming entangled in the screw."
Ms. Skenazy is raising her son, not only to have the delightful sobriquet "Izzy Skenazy" but also to be a confident young man who can walk around his neighborhood and ride the subway by himself. The whole article is excellent.
I have put this particular Review Corner off because I wished to do a serious post. Yet, Professor Reynolds serves up a sweet segue today, linking to How the Government Has Caused America's Obesity Problem.
The book, of course, is the oft Reynolds recommended Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. And the surprise is that it is really not a diet book. In fact, I was forced to pony up another thirteen bucks for an actual diet book to follow Taubes's precepts.
Good Calories, Bad Calories is an epistemology book. He examines data from more than a century of dietary research. At the risk over over-synopsizing 500 pages, he suggests that the accepted wisdom is built on unproven concepts and weak data, while dispositive results are thoughtlessly discarded. The fundamental bedrock principle of "eat fewer calories and exercise more" to lose weight is (my words) a bunch of hooey.
We've broached the idea of bad government programs on these pages, and I like to reference "The Four Food Groups" and "The Food Pyramid" when my interlocutor suggests government involvement in our private lives to be a good thing. But Taubes documents the medical community's misfeasance and government's malfeasance in propagating these bad ideas. Of course, it continues to this day in FLOTUS's "MyPlate.gov" which I understand is being quietly withdrawn.
Epistemologically (a great MadLibs® adverb), I cannot help but draw a parallel to climate change. You start a logical assertion: "more CO2 in the atmosphere will retain more heat" or "calories ingested must be less than calories expended." Both statements are demonstrably true -- and yet, both operate in the context of a sophisticated, un-modelable, incomprehensibly complex and chaotic system. Neither the Earth nor your body is designed for ceteris paribus. The Earth can raise clouds and you can moderate your metabolism or digestion.
Yet the science is very much settled in both fields. The core principles are never truly proven but are accepted. Then a body of work investigates ancillary principles with scientific rigor. It's as if we accept that the moon is made of cheese, then commission elaborate measurement of cheese viscosity and density to complete our understanding.
Before the hate mail comes: of course both could be correct. Global warming might be real and low-fat diets and exercise plans might be effective weight loss in some group of people. But both should be evaluated by scientists who exhibit a bit of skepticism.
Five stars for what it is. He has a follow up, "Why We Get Fat," which is shorter and has more practical advice. But the comprehensiveness and serious of Good Calories, Bad Calories is a great read.
[Personal note: I lost 70 pounds and never felt better when I was on Atkins several years ago. I convinced myself that it would be difficult now but have reconsidered. Cliché though it may be, the new year will bring my triumphant return. I will start "induction" Jan 3, so that I might enjoy beer for the NHL Winter Classic on the 2nd.]
"Like Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and pro-growth policies, Newt's low individual and corporate tax rates, deregulation and strong dollar monetary policies will create a boom of new investment and economic growth leading to the creation of tens of millions of new jobs over the next decade. Plus, Newt's record of helping Ronald Reagan pass the Kemp Roth tax cuts and enacting the largest capital gains tax cut in history as Speaker of the House shows he can get this plan passed and put it into action."
Reagan, Reagan, Reagan. But Sowell contradicts-
Do we wish we had another Ronald Reagan? We could certainly use one. But we have to play the hand we were dealt. And the Reagan card is not in the deck.
I Gripe about the RNC
But this is solid gold:
December 27, 2011
Magnitudes of Bull****
Oh man! Or, as they say on ESPN, "C'mon Man!" I'll be the first to concede that the figure of 250,000-in-federal-jack-per-Volt is a salacious, audacious figure. It's a headline grabber, it's link bait. It's a bit high.
But now that I have read the defense, it's standing up firmly. Insty links to Sebastian Blanco at AutoBlogGreen. Blanco disputes the $250,000 figure, with a flourish:
Oh, how easy it is to go viral on the Internet. All you have to do is be really, really bad at math. Or have an agenda.
The folks propagating 250K had an agenda. But were they bad at math? They divided subsidies by the current production. Likely that is not fair. Investments -- coerced from the taxpayers or not -- should be amortized over a longer run or perhaps all of production,
The Street.com goes looking for the denominator:
Here is the point: Why divide whatever amount -- $1.5 billion or otherwise -- by the number of Chevrolet Volts sold to date? If he had done this study one year from now, when we could be looking at 60,000 Volts made, as GM repeatedly has promised, the headline number would be $25,000 per car -- not $250,000.
Less than two Manhattan movie tickets, you cheapskate! When you realize the government is designing the next 60 million cars! That's nuthin'!
I suggest the Street.com's stirring defense actually provides a realistic figure of $25,000 -- which I consider completely and totally insane. Twenty five K of tax money to build a $40,000 car for a buyer who makes (avg) $170,000 per annum. I trust ThreeSourcers would be upset at $25 (enumerated powers, anybody?) but the whole nation should be upset at $25,000.
Of course if you divide by everyone born in the next million years...
The King of the Blues vs the TSA
Spoiler alert: the TSA wins. Here's the end to a superb interview with the great guitarist Elvin Bishop:
On the way to see B.B., I was at the Oakland airport going through security, and I had a jar of jam -- see, I make home made jam and I raise a big garden and can vegetables and stuff -- and B.B. loves my jam, so I was bringing him some. I forgot all the new rules and I had it in my carry on. So there was a black guy named Elvin there. He took the jam out and says "Is this home made jam?" I said, "Well, yeah." He says, "It looks delicious, is it any good?" I said "They tell me it’s pretty tasty." He said "That’s great, but you can't carry it through." He stuck it under his table here on a shelf. He didn't toss it into the trash, you know. I tried to cop a plea. I said, "Oh please, that's for B.B. King. Can't you make an exception in this one case?" He looks at me, thinking for a minute and says "Well, you tell B.B. King that the thrill is gone, and so is his jam." (Laughing)
My Inner Economist Cheers!
A niece who is Berkeleyian in geography and philosophy was in town for Christmas and came to visit Uncle John yesterday. Aside from some sharp comments about the desirability of Blu-Ray discs and the infield fly rule, we made it several hours of Christmas comity.
She told me something that is so perfect as to give me hope for the future. Did you know the San Francisco Giants change ticket prices based on the starting pitcher? Is that the coolest thing ever? I suggested it could be slightly more perfect if they gave the pitcher a bonus based on his ticket premium, but baby steps, baby steps.
The End of a Great Blog
I thank those of you who have enjoyed this blog. I fear it may never be the same as I plan to mention Kim Kardashian. There. I did it. Turn out the lights.
One hears of Ms. K all the time, but I prided myself on the little piece of snobbery that I did not know who she was. A month ago, I saw an attractive exotic figure on a magazine cover and inquired "who's that?" Virginity ends so abruptly sometimes...
Bill McGurn sullies the WSJ Ed Page by discussing the pop icon under the rubric of taxation. Some Golden-staters are ready to forgive her promiscuity -- but not her profitability:
The organization is called Courage Campaign and its website reveals it to be a California mélange of activist groups and labor unions. In a video that presents Ms. Kardashian in some of her more conspicuously consumptive moments, Courage Campaign claims that while Ms. Kardashian made more than $12 million in 2010, she paid only one percentage point more in taxes (10.3%) than a middle-class Californian (9.3%).
I'm not posting a photo (the WSJ's is modest and not especially flattering), but I am linking. Because, yesterday's announcement that good looks were as valuable as a college degree clearly shows that it is time to institute the hotness tax. Clearly, Kim and I will have to pay our share based on the additional abundance our winsomeness has provided. It's a fair cop, guv.
Full of Christmas Spirit!
It may be the 27th, but the generosity still lives in my veins.
The Hawaii Reporter well, reports, and Instapundit links that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also vacationing in The Aloha State.
Pelosi spent the last two Christmas holidays in Kona at the same hotel in an elaborate suite that rents for $10,000 a night.
She's richer than God and spending her own dough, is she not? There is $34K for security, but she is in the line of succession, so we'd pay that in Poughkeepsie probably.
Coming soon: Senator Chuck Schumer is really a saint...
December 26, 2011
That explains it!
Brother ac and I have both enjoyed successful careers without a college degree. The 2008 German General Social Survey (Allbus) conducted by the Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences has finally resolved this seeming conundrum.
All Hail Taranto!
He may be on vacation, but you can't stop a writer from Tweeting. James suggests "The dangers of refined carbohydrates http://t.co/XxTxO2nk"
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Chile's Supreme Court has ordered a newspaper to pay $125,000 to 13 people who suffered burns while trying out a published recipe for churros, a popular Latin American snack of dough fried in hot oil.
December 25, 2011
Gift from Terri!
She didn't really give it to us, but I know she'd want us to have it on Christmas:
December 24, 2011
Just like Santa, whippin' things out on Christmas Eve!
Not a Creature Was Stirring...
It's Christmas Eve and the magical hour is nigh, but in the internet age it's not too late to write a letter to Santa Claus.
(It's a great option for kids too.)
Fort Lupton, Colorado, United States
Dear Santa Claus,
My name is Eric. I am a boy and I am already 48 years old!! I live in the great city of Fort Lupton. Of course, that's in Colorado, United States but I'll bet you knew that! This year I've been so good that I should be the angel on top of the tree!
Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:
Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... Please also give something nice to Timmy Tebow and the rest of the Broncos. A deep run into the playoffs would be nice!
Quote of the Day
[Instapundit] Reader Marian Booker writes: "A group of people organized by True The Vote in Houston went to Austin to shine light on the need for photo ID in voting, on the day of Eric Holder's speech. One speaker noted the irony of declaring photo ID to be too onerous a burden in the voting booth, but that photo ID was required to get into the building where Eric Holder was speaking against requiring photo ID. I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue!"
December 23, 2011
I had this in mind all day, and dear blog brother KA's holiday cheer in an unrelated comment made it a must. Please join in the merriment with your comments. Merry Christmas to all.
Boy Scout Troop 62 in Erie, Colorado recently graduated three Eagle Scouts. Fewer than 4 percent of all scouts achieve this rank. The effort took 6-7 years for each scout, each participated in more than 200 scout meetings, earned at least 21 merit badges, six rank advancements, went on at least 120 nights of camping and performed more than 200 hours of community service. To paraphase Joe Biden, it's a big deal.
One of the scouts was Son of Refugee (who's real name is Brett). Pictured above from left to right are Nathanael, Brett and Dylan.
Last Minute Gift Idea
The Refugee had been sweating .30 caliber, 150 grain bullets trying to think of the perfect gift for Mrs. Refugee. Along comes an ad on the local talk radio station, 850 KOA, for laser hair removal. "What better gift than a laser hair removal monthly subscription?" says the ad.
"Indeed!" thinks The Refugee. Won't the Little Mrs. be pleased when he presents her with an envelope, not for a day of luxurious spa and facial treatments, with an opportunity to get rid of that unwanted hair? And for just a little more, varicose veins and non-invasive fat removal! But that's not all - for a limited time they are offering a 2 for 1 special. What better way to spend a little romantic time together than getting those stubborn hairs lased?
"Perhaps they have side-by-side beds," thinks The Refugee with unrestrained anticipation. He can hardly wait to see the look on Mrs. Refugee's face!
Shhh... don't tell her... this has to be a surprise!
Michelle Obama - Randian
Whoops, I hope moveon-dot-org doesn't find out about this.
Barbara Walters, ABC News: "Mrs. Obama, you've recently said something that I thought was very interesting for other women to hear. You said 'you put your own self highest on your priority list.' That sounds selfish?"
Michelle Obama: "No, no, it's practical. It's something that I found I needed to do for quite some time, even before the presidency. And I found it other women, in similar situated balancing career family, trying to do it all and a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we're so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others."
Yes, Michelle, it is selfish. What it is not is a shameful act. The next thing you know you'll be saying people should pay their own way. Baby steps.
December 22, 2011
Colorado's First 'Lectricar!
Oh joy, the future has come to the Centennial State:
Passarelli said the sticker price on his [Nissan Leaf] was about $38,000 -- OK, so it isn't exactly a gift -- but with federal and local tax credits and rebates, the final price was about $26,000.
The other $12,000 will be provided my magic wands and faerie dust...
Yesterday I wrote of my indecision between Newt and Romney. Today, I've decided. Based upon this report, Newt has lost me.
Gingrich holds that a microscopic clump of largely undifferentiated cells inside a woman’s body deserves the same legal protections as a born infant living independently outside its mother’s body. His dogmatic position utterly defies the facts of pregnancy and the status of the zygote or fetus, as well as the basis and meaning of individual rights. Individuals need rights to live successfully with others; the concept cannot apply to a zygote or fetus wholly contained within another’s body. A woman is an independent person with the right to live her own life in accordance with her own judgment. A zygote or fetus is not. Abortion bans severely harm women and their partners by violating their rights.
Do I believe Romney is "pro-choice?" No more than the Personhood crowd trusts him as anti-choice. But I do find him wise enough to bury the issue, not highlight it.
Tebowing on Ice
According to center Tyler Bozak, Orr wasn't the only Maple Leaf planning to strike a pose.
A commenter wrote, "tebow is the antichrist. people doing a prayer pose to symbolis him instead of the man JC. when he tries to rule the world remember you heard it hear first." No, mike9ersfan, Tebow is not the anti-Christ. I am, and I say Tebow is Just Allright With Me.
We Could Sell Him "Dogs for Bush!"
RICHMOND, Va. -- Forget the back and forth attacks with Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich's campaign has decided to take another route on his bid to the Republican nomination: pets and music.
Mister Speaker! Might I suggest: Pets and Music.
UPDATE: ThreeSourcer newbies: In a more innocent time, we ran dogsforbush.com, inviting users to submit pictures and stories to support President Bush's re-election. We attracted enough hate attention to make the exercise worthwhile.
I got tired of paying ten bucks a year to keep the domain name, but all the entries are available at www.threesources.com/dogs.
Christmas Coffeehousin'[Bumped to match the weather!]
ThreeSourcers who want to hear the amp in all its glory should download the MP3 (audio) or MP4 (video) to escape the compression enforced by YouTube and Vimeo.
December 21, 2011
The Risk-On Trade II
One must collect and enumerate one's investments and assets before the new year.
I have a Starbucks gift card with $2.17 on it, some change in the ash tray, and a bet I plan to collect on next August.
After gold got hammered, I got to wondering whether I could find the details of an internecine ThreeSources wager and its status. I found it and am glad to report that I'm looking good (like I'd post an incremental update t'were I losing!)
To recap, Brother jg and I placed virtual $100 bets on August 27, 2011. He whose is worth more on August 27, 2012 will be drinking on the other's tab:
JG: GLD 0.578 * 157.16 = $ 90.84
I Would Call this Stupid
The pro-Democratic super PAC American Bridge has bought the domain and programmed it to redirect to various Web sites, a clever attack on the former House speaker. The link might take you to Freddie Mac's Web site, Tiffany’s, information about Greek cruises , or to the ad Gingrich cut with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in favor of addressing climate change. Sometimes the page goes to a Post article about his campaign's June implosion.
Newt - Romney - Newt - Romney
For two days I rested comfortably with my hypothesis that Newt's unpredictability and questionable ideas are best avoided and we'll just go along with Ann Coulter and get behind Romney. "We don't need or maybe even want a conservative crusader in the White House" I mused. "A potted plant with an R after his or her name is what we should seek in order to produce Oval Office signatures on the bills of a TEA Party congress. Leave the ideologues in the smaller, more divested offices of national government."
Then, yesterday, Thomas Sowell wrote this:
Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.
Is losing with the firebrand less palatable than losing with the "sure-thing moderate Republican with great hair?" Here's to not having to decide before February 7, the Colorado Caucus date.
Nine year old Ari seeks the truth.
I'll Be Taranto this Week...
Two Internet Alternative Media Outlets in One:
The Objectivist with the Dragon Tattoo (March 12, 2011)
December 20, 2011
The Other Side to the Story.
Lest we be tagged unfair, here is the pro-totalitarian side of the story. From The Guardian, of course:
Václav Havel: another side to the story: The Czech leader was a brave man, but the voices of those who lost out after communism's demise are seldom heard
Boo freakin' hooo! Leave it to the folks at The Guardian to long for the equality of Soviet Czechoslovakia.
co-Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis and @radleybalko
One Handed Economist Watch
As a lover of liberty and free markets, I join the WSJ Ed Page in disapprobation for the scuttled ATT - T-Mobile merger. Fatal Conceit writ large:
AT&T and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA announced a tie-up in March because the former needed spectrum to serve its customers better, and the latter was faltering and wanted out of the U.S. market. AT&T customers would benefit from faster service, and T-Mobile shareholders would get a fat premium that other potential buyers weren't willing to pay. Union workers would benefit from more jobs as AT&T built out its 4G network. AT&T even agreed to hand over $3 billion in cash and spectrum rights with a book value of $1 billion to the Germans if the deal fell through.
On the other hand, as a television viewer, if this means six more months of Carly Foulkes ads, I am willing to abandon my ideals.
If not for its veracity, this would be humorous
The notoriously bankrupt MF Global's assets apparently will cover about 82 cents on the dollar of its obligations to customers. The de facto bankrupt Social Security's assets will cover about 83 cents on the dollar of its obligations to beneficiaries. Jon Corzine, meet Social Security! -- Alex J, Pollock
Segue of the Year
Like the Oscars, they always pitch their best in December to try and get the coveted pick. But Bret Stephens, at the WSJ Ed Page schools this segue lover on how it is done.
As cosmic coincidences go, the deaths of Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il in the same week the U.S. pulled the last of its troops out of Iraq is hard to ignore. Havel made the exposure of tyranny the great task of his life. Kim was tyranny personified. And the war in Iraq was the bruising leap over the wall of global indifference behind which all tyrannies subsist.
I once read somewhere "During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world." I have not given up on Sharanskyism, but feel that we face an existential crisis in domestic policy. If we are to follow Europe's economic example, we will accept Europe's inability to alter events. This will please my Facebook friends and my big-L libertarian friends. But the cause of liberty and prosperity is not served.
Headline of the Day
Like Woodstock for Tyrants: Cuba Declares Three Days of Mourning for Kim Jong-il -- Reason.com
December 19, 2011
A Facebook friend (in law enforcement) posted this.
Professor Reynolds totally scooped me on the fancy East Tennessee cheeses thing. I was gong to do a nice write-up and BANG! he's already got it.
I Hired Greg Mankiw to Write my Blog Post
No, not really. But that was an awesome headline, huh?
I wanted to write a devastating takedown of Yoram Bauman's evil NYTimes article. Bauman is the very humorous "Stand Up Economist" whose work has graced these pages. I've drawn some cold air around my molars at some of the political/philosophical positions in his comedy routines, but they are funny and smart, so I enjoy them as one might enjoy NPR.
Bauman proves that economists are greedy bastards, because -- and here I must borrow heavily from @ModeledBehavior 's 140 character takedown -- "Students are 'free riding' by not donating to left wing interest groups?"
That's the gist of it. It is pure tommyrot, wrapped in a bow and presented as data. I was determined to show my beloved ThreeSourcers its folly. Thankfully, Professor N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard beat me to the punch:
Yet I am not persuaded by the evidence he gives that economics classes are failing to do that. Maybe, having heard both sides of the story, the students make better decisions, just not the ones that Yoram appears to approve of! Perhaps the students were persuaded by this famous insight: "By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it."
Midgets Walked the Earth!
I'm suspending the rules of de mortuis nil nisi bonum (more a guideline, actually...)
This guy watched as hundreds of millions were released from tyranny and privation, only to grab the reins of despotism more tightly. May Hitch and Ms. Rand be wrong, as there should be a hell -- if only to house this man.
Photo Credit and more sic semper tyrannis-y goodness: AP
UPDATE: Homage to the ThreeSources logo: It's so Ronery in the Dark!
December 18, 2011
Giants Walked the Earth
The Velvet Revolution's Vaclav Havel has died. I celebrated Christopher Hitchens for his gift of spreading ideas. Havel turned ideas (and in my opinion less than-stellar rock and roll) into freedom for . . . how many? We can't count. Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch like to credit Havel with the fall of the Soviet Union. I'd give equal billing to President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, Pope John Paul, and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
But Havel gets bonus points for continuing to speak out for liberty long after the USSR was vanquished. Havel remained a player until his death at 75.
Gillespie digs up Welch's 2003 Profile in Reason. I'm going to steal his pull quote comparing Havel to George Orwell. Then I'll suggest you can read it to encompass Havel, Orwell, and Orwell's recent biographer Christopher Hitchens.
Like Orwell, Havel was a fiction writer whose engagement with the world led him to master the nonfiction political essay. Both men, in self-described sentiment, were of "the left," yet both men infuriated the left with their stinging criticism and ornery independence. Both were haunted by the Death of God, delighted by the idiosyncratic habits of their countrymen, and physically diminished as a direct result of their confrontation with totalitarians (not to mention their love of tobacco). As essentially neurotic men with weak mustaches, both have given generations of normal citizens hope that, with discipline and effort, they too can shake propaganda from everyday language and stand up to the foulest dictatorships.
UPDATE: The WSJ Ed Page weighs in:
Havel was given many awards in his lifetime, though never the Nobel Prizes (for peace or literature) which he so richly deserved. But notable among his prizes was Germany's prestigious Quadriga Award, which he won in 2009 and then returned earlier this year when Vladimir Putin was named the 2011 recipient.
December 17, 2011
Jim Treacher institutes a caption contest for the Obama's Christmas Photo. (And starts it off with the humorous "But I do think, at a certain point, you've got enough presents.")
But I think it is a charming picture and will set aside my fulsome disagreement with all of the President's economic policies to salute his darling children and revel that my life has seen the progress from segregated drinking fountains to an African American President. Yes, I wish it had been Secretary Rice, but Merry Christmas.
Giants Walked the Earth
Christopher Hitchens was one of -- if not the -- last element in the set intersection of journalist and public intellectual. He embraced ideas of the left and offered me the most sincere and rational challenges to my beliefs that I have encountered. He did a great book with The Weekly Standard's Chris Caldwell: Left Hooks, Right Crosses. Each submitted a dozen or so favorite articles or papers which captured or reinforced his beliefs and wrote an introduction. His half of this compilation and his Letters to a Young Contrarian represent the most logical (if still unconvincing) arguments for left wing ideas I have ever encountered.
Of course, my introduction to Hitch was his magisterial No One Left to Lie To, which perhaps wins the award for greatest title ever
He crossed the road so frequently to become an object of true affection for those on the right. Reading The Long Short War or No One Left lead many to claim him for our side. Jonah Goldberg pens an awesome G-File today, comparing Hitch to Whittaker Chambers. Jonah brushes with claiming Hitchens.
I first got the idea that Hitchens might be a man of the Right after watching him on C-Span discussing the Odyssey. He was on with, among others, Jody Bottum and a left-wing female academic who (at least as far as I remember it) had little to offer other than blah-blah-blah-white-males-blah-blah (I'm paraphrasing). Hitchens had no use for the woman and really had nothing to say to her. Meanwhile, he could have a real argument with Bottum because they could at least agree that the text matters and that indictments of the heterosexist norms of the Pale Penis People were not that interesting. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that Hitch -- who believed in the importance of Western Civilization (he said he'd rather defend Western Civilization than denounce John Ashcroft), gloried in the splendor of the Canon, admired other cultures but rejected utterly the asininity of multicultural leveling -- was certainly not a man of the contemporary Left, or maybe not of the Left at all
If you do not subscribe to Jonah's letter you are mad, but let me know and I will forward this superb column to you.
Beyond polemics and his evangelical atheism, his brief biography of Thomas Jefferson, books on Henry Kissinger and Mother Theresa, and Why Orwell Matters deserve a serious place in scholarship.
Hitch was a man of reason, a man of western enlightenment, and a man of great intellectual and physical courage. At the suggestion of a Facebook friend, we toasted his Hitchness at 7:00 last night. I don't think he'd appreciate a "requiescat in pace" so Cheers, Hitch!
December 16, 2011
Newt goes Turtle?
The warts were just too big, too numerous for someone as outspoken and as long standing in DC, tho' I think Mitt got too testy too quick; his last comment should have ended after "He went to DC to do good, and stayed to do well."
Prof. Douthat chimes in: Conservatives may want catharsis, but the rest of the public seems to mainly want reassurance. They already know Barack Obama isn't the messiah he was once cracked up to be. What they don't know is whether they can trust anyone else to do better.
If Newt were the nominee, the campaign could too easily be turned away from the story of O. It's got to stay there; just too big a winning combination to be put down lightly. No, the suited-to-gray Romney is the oatmeal candidate needed, IMO. The story of O must be crushed, such that the Pelosi's, Reid's, Van Joneses, Jaczko's, etc. go into the night as quickly as possible.
I'll leave the last to the professor: Newt Gingrich might debate circles around Obama. He might implode spectacularly, making a hot mess of himself while the president keeps his famous cool. But either way, setting up a grand rhetorical showdown seems unlikely
December 15, 2011
Okay, I am all in. Leadership, Tebow style.
An Open Letter
An Open Letter
Dear Mr. Kroenke,
$67 million for Nene. Are you insane?
TEA Time for Romney?
He's been the GOP's consistent second-choice since the season began. Not principled enough, activists engaged in a serial struggle to support a challenger to defeat His Presumptiveness. Now they've all had their moment in the sun and the last non-Romney standing, Newt Gingrich, shares too many atributes with a certain Doctor Jekyll.
This morning I was invited to vote in a Townhall-dot-com online National GOP Primary. Huntsman and Santorum, polling below five percent, were not allowable choices. I was asked to pick my first and second choice from the remaining five: Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney. The exercise has enough of a sense of finality to it that I was unable to bring myself to pick Newt for either choice.
As the Corn Caucus looms, with primaries close behind, prominent TEA Party folk seem to be facing the same deathly-cold dilemma: Newt tells us what we want to hear, but do we believe it? And will America elect a man with so many negatives?
It's true that the liberal media attack Republicans unfairly. But that's a fact to be dealt with, not ignored by nominating a candidate who keeps giving the media so much to work with.
JK brought us news of TEA Party "troublemaker" Christine O'Donnell's endorsement of Mitt.
Thomson, a tree farmer and son of former New Hampshire governor Mel Thomson, is an influential conservative activist in the Granite State. He is the honorary chairman of the Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire chapter and organizes annual tea party rallies at the New Hampshire State House on tax day.
Romney may or may not be the most electable of our choices [Jon!] but he's the most electable of those with a chance to be nominated. I told dagny last night, "All we really need in a president is someone to sign the bills that come out of Congress" anticipating GOP control of both houses. Reaching for more, and falling short - that would be disastrous.
Okay then, how about Romney-Paul? (No, not that Paul.)
UPDATE: Another TEA Leaf - Tea Party fave Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney
I Should Not Have Been So Harsh
I won't say my criticism on ThreeSources pulled the plug on Speaker Gingrich's candidacy, but I do hope that his unschumpeterian lash at Gov. Romney played a part:
James Pethokoukis wonders "Is the Gingrich bubble bursting already?"
Quote of the Day
Another figure endorsing Romney is Christine O'Donnell, who declared, "He's been consistent since he changed his mind." Nathan Wurtzel observes, "Yogi Berra wishes he had thought of that one." -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
December 14, 2011
War on Christmas!
Bill O'Reilly, call your office!
Quote of the Day
RINO -- Rabbi I(n Name Only -- Yid With Lid
Click through for Tebow-y goodness!
December 13, 2011
Otequay of the Ayday
After the game, Brian Urlacher referred to you as a good running back. How do you take that comment?
"Coming from a really good player, that means a lot."
Tim Tebow in his post game press conference after the Bears game.
Quote of the Day
Jonah Godberg corrects Karl Marx as an Iranian news service reports President Obama "Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane."
It’s "first as tragedy, second as Farsi."
December 12, 2011
While I'm in a mood to humble myself I feel like I have more work to do and this time in all sincerity and with nary a hint of tongue-in-my-cheek.
Six weeks ago, just prior to the Broncos-Lions game, I wrote what I thought to be a masterful integration of music, philosophy and sport. As I will sometimes do, I extended the essay a step beyond its original inspiration. In doing so I created an impromptu list of NFL quarterbacks who, I contended, demotivate their teammates. It made sense to me at the time, if I were listing examples of the right way to lead a team of men, to give examples of how not to. My list was, to be charitable, a miserable failure. First Macho Duck had to take me behind the woodshed for putting Donovan McNabb in the group. I was defenseless. And while I've seen Tony Romo, seemingly everyone's favorite pinata, berate a teammate at times, I also watched him gut out a six field goal win while injured. (Not to mention he has to perform on a team owned by Jerry Jones.) He deserves more credit than I gave him. And now we have Eli Manning, who last night engineered a fourth-quarter comeback that would be the story of the week if some Broncos QB hadn't been wearing out the same story line. CBS Sports observes,
in this so-called Year of the Quarterback, the one story everyone seems to be missing is the incredible fourth quarter play of New York Giants QB Eli Manning. In a 37-34 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys, Manning led his team to two fourth quarter touchdowns in the final 3:14 of the game. It was Manning's sixth fourth quarter comeback of the season.
By the same measure I challenge folks to judge the "Tebower" - winning - Manning is showing his mettle. His teammates credit him for "carrying us on his back." And finally Kyle Orton. His six-game winning streak two seasons ago earned him a multi-million dollar contract extension last year. And yet even that couldn't keep the Tebow train from running him over and right out of town. The frustration and pressure he endured through the collapse of the McDaniels era and subsequent rebuilding must have been suffocating. Almost certainly I sold him short.
As I look back on my mindset at the time I believe I felt defensive. Not personally, but for the tender youth Mister Tebow. Critics in print, broadcast and corporeally were lambasting the lad. And those other guys I mentioned? They were the ones we were told a good QB must emulate. So I made them my foils. Mea culpa - they are all heroes, each in his own right.
Picture of the Day
Here's yer thousand words, bub:
From The Class Warfare We Need, by Steve Conover
Huntsman - Gingrich Debate
Make you cry for the weakness of the other debates:
I think they are replaying it tonight on C-SPAN
UPDATE: Seriously, watch the C-SPAN replay if you can (7:42 Mountain) It is how Presidents should be chosen.
UPDATE II: Or on YouTube (though it does not seem ready yet...)
Denver Donkey Rescue
It was obvious. I couldn't resist.
And who could say that what Tim Tebow has done to the Denver Broncos season is anything other than a rescue?
Tebow took over a team that was 4-12 last year, 1-4 this season, and has since led them to a 7-1 record. He is on the brink of leading the Broncos to their first playoff appearance in six years. And he still can't get any respect.
Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs must really be frickin' pissed, since they weren't able to "stop that crap" by "a quarterback that [sic] doesn't throw the ball well." Teammate Brian Urlacher seems to be, a little sore.
"He's a good running back, man," Urlacher said. "He runs the ball well."
"Class is dismissed, Chicago." -DP's Mike Klis
Oh yes, and here is the shameless self-promotion part.
UPDATE: The irony of my shameless self-promotion embedded in a Tebow post was lost on me, but only briefly.
My belief in the new Denver quarterback's competitive greatness is noteworthy now only because of the tremendous volume and certitude of those who were proclaiming "he can't play; he's not an NFL quarterback" back then. "But great things are only possible if you're under very tough circumstances." Timothy - 12/11/11
Furthermore, I could not have shared this remarkable feeling with the world without the love and support of my blog brothers and sisters. I am proud of all of them. And I am especially grateful to JK for trusting me with a login and a password.
Quote of the Day
Oh, come on, governor. This isn't like memorizing the periodic table.There are the good guys, Roberts and Alito and Scalia and Thomas. And then there's the guy who determines everything, Kennedy. And then there are Dasher, Dancer, Comet, and Blitzen. -- Jim Geraghty, in Morning Jolt Item #2: Rick Perry's Over-Under on Supreme Court Justices: 8.5 [subscribe]UPDATE: All Hail Taranto!
NO! Newt, NO!!!
I saw a few tweets about this this morning and hoped he was misquoted or that it happened in a parallel universe, or that somebody accidentally got Speaker Gingrich confused with Sen. Bernie Saunders (I - VT). Look, I'm even too upset to make a (Communist - VT) or (I - Venezuela) joke. But no, I think this happened: "Newt Strikes Back"
Gingrich: "If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him. And I will bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won't take the offer."
I'll confess I may nave been looking for a dealbreaker against Mister Speaker -- he makes me quite nervous.
But I have found it. Gingrich has been in the public sector too long and has forgotten that the private sector creates wealth. On Kudlow, Gingrich said "Mitt Romney ought to thank me -- it is because of my supply side policies that he got rich." Kudlow loved this line and called for Romney to respond for several consecutive nights on his show.
I'll respond for the Governor, and I am not even on staff. Romney created wealth at Bain Capital with his work and intellect. If a Democratic pol asked a venture capitalist to give him credit for wealth creation, we'd be grabbing for pitchforks. I lost a little respect for Mister Speaker over this -- and actually quite a bit for Kudlow, who knows better.
Gingrich has reviewed some 94 million books on Amazon. I suggest he read a little Joseph Alois Schumpeter before criticizing a successful venture capitalist for directing capital to its best use.
Texas Donkey Rescue in the News
Great article in the Austin Statesman
BERTRAM -- The sores under Burnet's eyes were healing nicely one sunny November afternoon in Bertram. The white donkey stood close by Charles Munro, the man who rescued him one day before Burnet was scheduled to be euthanized.
And, yes, you can still get T-Shirts in time for Christmas!
December 11, 2011
"Newt Romney" Rumble - Round 1
For those who enjoy such things, tonight's GOP Presidential Debate on ABC may have been the best one yet. With his second place in Iowa polls, Ron Paul supporters are burning up the Twitterverse how their guy won. But he didn't. He said many good things but still believes America's interests end at the water's edge. Pity. Tonight's debate was the first round of the "Newt Romney" grudge match. ("Newt Romney" is Michele Bachmann's new term for the co-leaders with very similar and somewhat mercurial positions, versus her "true conservatism.")
Chris Cillizza did a very good job summarizing the night's developments, and this was the most important one I saw:
For all of those folks predicting (or hoping) that Gingrich would implode, tonight was not their night. Make no mistake: there are genuine concerns within the party about what Gingrich leading the national ticket might mean for downballot race next November. But Gingrich gave his detractors very little reason to think that his collapse is in the offing.
But Chris didn't mention what I thought was the quote of the night by Newt Gingrich. [Nothing linkable on this yet as the media kids are focusing on Romney's offer to "bet you ten thousand dollars I never said that" with Rick Perry.] After a prolonged back-and-forth over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and specifically, Newt's prior comment that "the Palestinians are an invented people," Romney chastised Newt, and Newt responded.
Romney: I've also known B.B. Netanyahu for a long time, we worked together at Boston Consulting Group, and the last thing B.B. Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who's an historian, but somebody who is also running for President of the United States, stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in his neighborhood. And if I'm President of the United States I will exercise sobriety, care, stability, and make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can effect a place with, with rockets going in, with people dying, I don't do anything that would harm that process. And therefore before I made a statement of that nature I'd get on the phone to my friend B.B. Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?' Let's work together because we're partners. I'm not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally."
Romney didn't help himself, I thought, by mispronouncing the Israeli Prime Minister's name "B. B. Not-an-YA-hoo" (rather than Net-an-YA-hoo.) Not once, but every time he said it.
December 10, 2011
jk's Big Idea
I've been thinking about a new degree -- not for myself, PhD (Philosophical Dropout) suits me just fine. I think we need a new a hybrid educational vehicle to move ahead.
I'm a big fan of Professor Glenn Reynolds and consider his "higher education bubble" theory dead on. More importantly, what some now call Reynolds's Law: that the markers of a middle class lifestyle such as housing and a college degree do not produce a middle class life when handed out.
Also creeping up on Instapundit is recognition of a genuine lack of skilled labor and realization that a good plumber, electrician, roofer -- or a person with a handful of the same in his employ -- can enjoy a pretty good income and lifestyle. I painted and hung wallpaper through the frequent interstices in my music career and I saw these guys all the time. They drive a nice new truck every couple of years and live in a nice house.
Yet our educational system still bifurcates between Ralph Cramden vs. Mister Mooney, when in many cases the laborer has a similar or better income than a great hunk of the professionals. Now, with the Internet, inexpensive travel, and wide distribution of information, these folks are not impoverished intellectually either.
We need to recognize this with a new curriculum. Instead of choosing twixt Diesel Repair Academy and Harvard, I suggest a two or three year education where you learn HVAC in the morning and Poetry in the afternoon. Community Colleges and for profits might lead the way, but I want to provide a) a college experience to socialize and grow; b) real world employment skills suited to an individual's preferences and proclivities; and, c) an intellectual framework to build upon and claim a place in society that is not inferior.
December 9, 2011
Otequay of the Ayday
"I've never been part of an ugly win, I know that much. I've been in some ugly losses but ugly wins don't exist."
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, when asked about those who say Tebow's style can be a bit ugly.
Historical View of Campaign Finance
Now JK's linking to The Objective Standard! End times, baby!
In my ThreeSources Home Version, I should have found a spot for McCain-Feingold and the McConnell v. FEC decision which upheld it.
Steve Simpson documents the history of campaign finance, including many of the pertinent laws and judicial decisions. Nice, but I have heard it. He goes a bit further showing the interest of early Progressives like Herbert Croly, John Dewey, and John Gardner.
Speech, they said, should be protected only to the extent that it serves the "public interest"--which, in their conception, did not include the interests of businesses and the wealthy. The progressives pejoratively dubbed the interests of businesses and the wealthy "special interests"--interests contrary to the "public interest"--and held that the First Amendment did not protect speech in the service of such interests.
Not a quick read, but an interesting piece. Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong
December 8, 2011
The ThreeSources Home Version (BUMPED)
A good friend of mine and this blog sends the following to a few friends. I choose to steal it outright and open it up the ThreeSourcers everywhere on the Internets:
Here is a game that's fun for the whole family; name the single worst political, cultural or judicial event in your lifetime. And in the bonus round describe the bright shiny world we'd now inhabit if that event never occured.
UPDATE: I rarely "bump" but there is some fun stuff here.
Welcome to the Blogroll!
A superb find of blog brother jg. Please feel free to email or comment with blogroll suggestions -- the current list seems dated.
A Lindsey to be Proud Of
The one from Colorado, not the one from California.
Like most, I've been a big fan of Lindsey Vonn since she burst on the scene with her 2010 Winter Olympics performance. I admired her before her controversial photo shoot, and after as well. Now the Vail Colorado skier has another accomplishment to admire. With a win in her home town yesterday she became the first U.S. skier to win four consecutive World Cup ski races.
But there's more. While anyone can drop to a knee to "Tebow" on the street or in his office, only a few people get a chance to do so while in the gold medal position on a victory stand.
"I asked [Tim Tebow's brother Robby] if Tim would be upset if I did it," Vonn said. "I said that if I won in Colorado, I would do it, 'Go Broncos.' And I did it. Gotta represent."
BATFE So Eager to Exploit Illegal Gun Sales, It Arranged Them
CBS News has some commendable investigative reporting that includes emails between gun dealers and ATF agents:
ATF's group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there's nothing to worry about. "We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail."
For his part, Attorney General Holder says, "We do not know who the particular person was" who decided that "this flawed operation should be conducted."
The Ryan Plan as Litmus Test
Like James Pethokoukis, I wish it were.
The Ryan Plan is now a "litmus test" for Republican presidential candidates? That would be great if true. Gingrich made a cataclysmic, unforced error earlier this year when he dissed Ryan's bold Medicare reform as "right-wing social engineering" and too big a change too quickly. It was a ridiculous statement when you consider that a) the shift to a premium-support system would not kick in until 2022, b) the plan would operate like the current prescription drug benefit plan, and c) the plan would only affect younger workers.
My strongest point about Gov. Huntsman is that he is the only candidate to embrace the Ryan Plan. And my strongest point against Mister Speaker is his disapprobation.
Headline of the Day II
Maybe I gave it away too soon.
Corzine sorry, puzzled by missing MF Global money -- Reuters
Not that I would give my money to a Democratic Garden State ex-Gov...
Gov. Christie on #OWS
When a HOSS encounters Dirty Hippies:
Once the room quieted and the protesters were locked outside, Christie resumed speaking and offered his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
We should recognize that the big man was there to support Governor Romney. Just sayin'
Headline of the Day
Romney on ObamaCare Relief: Waiver? I Don't Even Know Her! -- Reason.com
At least we agree we are in a ditch
Well brothers and sisters, I have just read the president's Osawatomie speech, almost in its entireity. Those of us who wondered how he thought he could win re-election can see the answer in this speech. It is a brilliantly deceptive blueprint for a bait-and-switch shell game on the American people.
I actually agreed with most of what he said in the opening, right up until "I am here to say they are wrong" which I would replace with "I am here to say that I am wrong." This comes right after the following passage:
But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. [Agreed.]
Yes, Mister President, you are advocating a return to exactly the same practices that got us into this mess: Ever higher taxation, goverment spending more and more of our GDP, greater burdens on private businesses, further layers of coverage mandates for health insurers, interference with supply and demand in higher education which drives costs through the roof and causes shortages of trained blue-collar workers - in short, making life and business more expensive in America and driving jobs overseas. There really is a grave threat to the existence of the American middle class: You, and the repackaged, recycled, and retreaded egalitarian values you seek to
An honest review of history shows us that such wealth-sharing demands - not, as you claim, free market capitalism - have failed to produce economic prosperity. Every, single, time. Free market capitalism has never been allowed more than enough rope with which to hang itself.
UPDATE: IBD Ed Page refutes the top five lies from Obama's Osawatomie speech.
December 7, 2011
Bull Moose Bull ****
Since hearing soundbites of President Obama's "I'm channeling Theodore Roosevelt" speech yesterday I've wanted to deconstruct one or more of his specious points in a blog post. Before I could do so, Wichita Wordsmith Bud Norman beat me to it. And unlike his evaluation of candidate Newt Gingrich, he has a definitive conclusion this time.
Obama’s favorite straw men were once again eviscerated with all the gusto of John Brown swinging a saber at some pro-slavers. He accused his Republican opposition of wanting to “return to the same practices that got us into this mess,” as if they were all clamoring for the government-enforced subprime lending and exorbitant deficit spending. He characterized the Republican philosophy as “We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” which strikes us as an unfairly simplified description, although we must admit it is still a more attractive option that relying on Obama to care for us and playing by his rules.
Just one of many delightful paragraphs, and I'll leave the ending for you as a surprise.
Is it too early to nominate Bud's Central Standard Times for promotion to the blogroll? I'm not sure I could have given the subject such sublime treatment. Indeed, I'd be tempted merely to stoop to a lowly video example of Obama's America.
A Brief History of Newton
Not the classical physicist, the Speaker of the House. I linked two articles yesterday showing the strong plusses and strong minuses of the "more conservative than Romney" candidate leading the GOP primary polls at the moment. While searching for supporting material for my "worst event in my lifetime" entry I found a very well written post on a two month old blog out of Wichita that gives the most frank and objective view of Gingrich's political career as I've seen. But be forewarned - the conclusion of blogger "Bud Norman, American" is no firmer than was mine.
Quote of the Day
Oddly enough, Obama also praises [Theodore] Roosevelt for supporting a minimum wage for women. Chapter 4 of Rehabilitating Lochner describes the impetus for such laws, and much of the relevant the information in that chapter can be found in this paper published in Law and Contemporary Problems. The history is too rich to give an adequate summary here. Let's just say that the history of such laws is not pretty. The laws' primary supporters included male-only labor unions that wanted to keep women out of the workplace--women-only minimum wage laws almost never passed without strong from unions that typically opposed minimum wage laws for men; eugenicists who wanted women to stay home and take care of their children; bigots who thought that only the lower order of men (including Eastern European immigrants) would allow their women to work for wages; moralists who believed that low-wage women were susceptible to vice and should therefore stay out of the workforce; and economists who believed that, as Felix Frankfurter summarized in his brief in Adkins v. Children's Hospital, women who wanted to work but could not command a government-imposed minimum wage were "semi-employable" or "unemployable" workers who should "accept the status of a defective to be segregated for special treatment as a dependent." -- David BernsteinUPDATE: Plus, an All Hail Harsanyi! Two of my favorite guys blast one of my least favorite Presidents -- it's like Christmas!
Obama, after all, is such a towering economic mind that in Osawatomie, he once again blamed ATMs (and the Internets) for job losses. This is a man we can trust. "Less productivity! More jobs!"The Harsanyi quote does not reflect the seriousness of the piece, but I thought y'all might like it. These two articles, together, provide a superb view of Progressivism versus Liberalism.
A Valuable Lesson.
Pupils at Ansford Academy in Castle Cary, Somerset, were forced to grip their pens through thick gloves and wear their coats and hats in class as temperatures dropped to 1C.
Freeze in the dark! That remains the best way to cut one's carbon footprint. And yet, the Daily Mail reports that some parents are angry.
A blog friend sends some video links.
UPDATE: Remember reading things on the Internet, before they invented videos? James Pethokoukis discusses his interview with Mary Kaye's husband.
December 6, 2011
Hooray for the Forces of Light!
But if the Trump brand is a net negative in the Granite State, snubbing Mr. Trump could get candidates fired by Iowa caucus-goers. Mr. Trump has a small contingent of populist supporters in the tea party who are drawn to his anti-Obama, anti-China, anti-immigrant rhetoric. Mr. Gingrich and Ms. Bachmann are vigorously courting these voters in Iowa. Now that Mr. Gingrich has accepted the debate invitation, Mr. Romney and Ms. Bachmann might feel compelled to follow suit. Let's hope not.
Don't Forget to Tip Your Waitress & Bartender
Good news: Government Motors offers a replacement vehicle to users worried about fires:
"The program we put in place (earlier this week) hasn't changed," said Faye Roberts, GM Canada spokeswoman. "We're going to reach out to our Volt customers and make them aware of the investigation and as part of that, we want them to get any questions they have answered and if they feel uncomfortable then they do have the option of getting a loaner vehicle."
Bad news: It's a 1972 Ford® Pinto! [Rimshot!]
On the serious side, I am willing to admit that the fire fears are likely overblown. As hard as I root for the Volt to fail (there's a disclosure!), I suspect the small sampling is not indicative of a pattern. That said, the suggestion that safety information was suppressed regurgitates the bad taste of having the regulatory agency, in this case the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a political position. This administration has a huge stake in GM and especially Volt sales vis-à-vis other automakers it regulates.
Perhaps -- and hopefully -- the NHTSA would not accentuate Toyota safety issues and downplay the Volt's. But their boss would sure be happy if they did. And that, my friends, is not how free people run a railroad.
Which to believe? Both.
There's a reason why support for Newton Gingrich runs hot and cold.
The race for the Republican nomination appears to have come down to two intelligent, knowledgeable men in Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Neither of them has a history of down-the-line conservatism. Gingrich can match Romney flip-flop for flip-flop and heresy for heresy. He has supported cap-and-trade legislation, federal funding for embryonic stem- cell research, the expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs and a federal requirement for everyone to buy health insurance. He has been neither more consistent nor more conservative than Romney.
Perhaps most significantly, Gingrich has an extensive Hispanic outreach organization, which he has been building for years. Unlike anything in the Romney playbook, that network could give Gingrich a head start slicing into Obama’s base in key states in the Mountain West, where Hispanics are a fast-growing swing voting bloc. Polls show Hispanic voters, two-thirds of whom backed Obama in 2008, still favor the president — but GOP strategists believe that winning 40 percent of that vote could disrupt Obama’s electoral college strategy by putting Colorado, Arizona and Nevada in the Republican column.
Quote of the Day
If Congress raises top tax rates on capital gains and dividends, the highest income earners would report less income from capital gains and dividends and hold more tax-exempt bonds. Such tax policies would reduce the share of reported income of the top earners almost as effectively as the recession the policies would likely provoke. The top 1% would then pay a much smaller portion of federal income taxes, just as they did in 1979. And the other 99% would pay more. As the CBO found, "the federal income tax was notably more progressive in 2007 than in 1979." -- Alan Reynolds
The Epidemic of Sexting!
I salute blog brother's efforts to expose the idiocy and bias of The Denver Post in his The World According to DP series.
I have been tempted to establish a regular feature on the cluelessness of the FOX31 morning show, Good Day Colorado. I suspect very little actual bias on that program, even though all the errors tend to go one way. I am far more concerned about a lack of curiosity, or even a keen interest in truth. They are just doing a show, and if they tell you Thursday that potatoes will kill you and tell you Tuesday that a new study shows Potatoes to be the cure to Cancer -- I don't think anybody there really cares.
A day seared into my memory is a day they did three stories in a row. I turned to the lovely bride and said "the last three stories were all complete falsehoods. They just did three stories and I don't believe any."
Falsehood is a big word. Ignoring any real context, you could defend all three stories. Yet each has been shown incongruous to the attention and tone used in the story. Here they are:
1) Runaway Toyotas! Hide the children, there are Toyota's out there!
2) Unbundling bag fees. The first airline (Jet Blue?) dropped its fares $20 and added a $20 bag fee. Channel 31 sent a reporter to DIA who all but cried in the camera "What about a young Mom travelling with kids, that could be $60 for three!" You can say that they were right and the community at large has not accepted unbundling, but the savings offered a light traveler were not discussed. Economists booed.
3) I had to wait months for this one, but the first story was "the epidemic of sexting!" Your kids can't even answer their phones 'cause they're all so full of the friends' genitalia! I'm not saying it never happens, or that kids should be lax about sharing, but this was one of those "for God's sake, stay home and lock yourselves in your room!" stories they love. The NY Times (HT: Taranto) suggests it might not have reached pandemic proportions.
One in 10 children ages 10 to 17 has used a cellphone to send or receive sexually suggestive images, but only 1 in 100 has sent images considered graphic enough to violate child pornography laws, a new study found.
Kids behaving stupidly, anybody? I don't want to condone bad behavior, but I fear it might lead young ones to take their eyes off real danger. Like Toyotas...
December 5, 2011
Must See TV
Abby Huntsman sends "My Daddy's Media Schedule," and top of the list is:
Tonight, December 5
I find political boycotts of consumer goods tiresome, and generally oppose them even when I agree with the goal.
But I think I may lead one here. Those Coke® commercials featuring a donation to the WWF over the junk science claims of endangered polar bears graduated from eye-rolling to perturbation yesterday.
The cans featured the company's iconic logo in red, set against an all-white background and featuring a picture of three polar bears plodding through the snow, in what the company described as a "bold, attention-grabbing" move to publicise conservation efforts by the World Wildlife Fund.
It just goes until March, I don't buy that much, and I can easily choose another brand (prob'ly store brand). My way of sticking it to the man! Just a few months, join me -- the WWF is one of the worst environmental groups out there.
I knew it was coming
But I am still pleased:
Cheater at haiku
All Hail Taranto!
Rep Ron Paul, the editors of National Review, and your humble blogservant, jk, agree.
In announcing that their candidate would not attend the Newsmax debate set to be moderated by Donald Trump in Iowa later this month, the Ron Paul campaign wrote, "The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office's history and dignity."
At least in my eyes:
Trump, via Twitter, countered that Huntsman "has zero chance of getting the nomination. Whoever said I wanted to meet him?"
In other news, Huntsman and Gingrich will debate "Lincoln-Douglas style" in New Hampshire this month. "Michael Levoff, a spokesman for Huntsman's campaign, said the date, place and debate rules are still being worked out" but other reports cite December 12.
Addicted to Oil?
Take this shiny new "The World According to DP" category out for a spin...
Amy Oliver responds to a guest editorial:
The Denver Post gave Greg Wockner of Clean Water Action prime newspaper real estate in Sunday's perspective section. Wockner's guest editorial "Is Colorado Addicted to Oil?" was nothing more than a list of typical anti-fossil fuel questions that he tried to associate to Colorado's and Weld County's economic struggles as a result of the Great Recession.
Oliver's response is the jewel. Are you "addicted" to civilization?
Are we addicted oil? Only if you enjoy and are "addicted" to a modern lifestyle made possible by the discovery of fossil fuels. I'll revisit this question at the end of this series of blog posts.
Huntsman a Conservative?
Jeopardy® champion and frequent Kudlow guest James Pethokoukis says yes.
If elected president, Huntsman says he would like to slash tax rates to their lowest levels since before America entered World War I and eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends. Powerful supply-side medicine for an anemic economic recovery. Huntsman has embraced Representative Paul Ryan's transformational, market-oriented debt-reduction plan, calling it "the model I would work from." He's also pro-life, a dedicated free trader and--at least as evidenced by his sweeping bank reform plan--an ardent anti-crony capitalist.
UPDATE: Misread. Pethokoukis was MTing @ellencarmichael, not endorsing the Speaker himself.
Making the Wrong Argument
The infamous "Rick Perry moment" in which he forgot the third of three federal agencies that he would abolish, while Ron Paul upped the ante to five agencies, fosters an image that Republicans want to take a meat cleaver to government. While that plays well in Three Sources, it does not engender thoughtful reform more likely to win over the masses.
Instead, The Refugee would suggest that candidates focus on the programs that they would privatize. Perhaps a poster child for this effort would be USDA's crop forecasting, profiled in today's WSJ for its highly inaccurate corn estimates. USDA sends out field personnel to stake out 15'x15' field plots and then measure the length of ears and extrapolate total crop size from there. Estimates are updated on a monthly basis. USDA corn estimates during the past two years have been more than 10% off, causing enormous price swings that damage both producers and buyers.
Seriously? 15x15 plots? Monthly reports? Surely entrepreneurs could find a way to use easily accessible satellite images, highly accurate rainfall guages and other calculations to generate more accurate estimates. It would seem that such a system could be updated on a daily basis for the effects of rain, flooding, drought, etc. Competing firms would give farmers and markets more data points from which to reach their own conclusions.The total cost to the economy might or might not be less (farmers and investors would likely have to buy a subscription to the data), but it would more accurately match cost with revenue and be borne by those who directly benefit.
There are likely a myriad of other programs that can be performed as well or better privately, such as the National Weather Service, National Earthquake Center and on and on. Could we not easily identify at least 30% of the government that can be done as well or better privately?
Targeting specific programs for privatization, rather than lopping off whole agencies, is much more likely to be politically palatable. Eliminating departments is a right-wing pipedream that lefty debate moderators use to frame Republicans as "extreme." Let's change the argument.
Harold & Kumar Recession
I'm a huge H&K fan. While I have not seen the latest, I love the allusion. I hope young people listen to the Forbes writer and not the interviewer. (Hat-tip: Insty)
December 4, 2011
Colorado Native Lager
Last spring I made my first attempt at growing hops. The plants never sprouted and I was quite disappointed, but others had better luck than I and the 100% Colorado brew from Coors brewing has been completed.
As soon as today, a batch of Colorado Native made with homegrown hops will hit store shelves, thanks to the efforts of 130 volunteer growers.
A year ago, AC Golden Brewing put out an invitation to its Facebook fans to accept a free hops rhizome, plant it and donate the harvested crop to the brewer.
The yield was not enough to produce a year's worth of the brew, but it's a start. As for the product? I posted the following on the beer's Facebook page:
My two rhizomes never broke ground - perhaps they languished in the fridge too long before I planted them. I'll try again in the spring. But I picked up a 12-pack yesterday and ... love it! I love highly hopped beers but the first bottle I drank (from a glass) almost blew me away. I got a headache it was so hoppy! (Had just returned from a day near Blackhawk though so was perhaps O2 deprived.) Second bottle today was more mellow but very tasty, well balanced and on its way to being the only beer I drink for as long as I can get it. Lovely red-amber. Five stars!
Back in the day, Coors Banquet Beer, brewed only in Colorado, was not available east of the Mississipi River (a fact capitalized on in the storyline for the movie "Smokey and the Bandit.) Coors is now also bottled in Virginia and available nationwide. CO Native, however - only in Colorado, brothers and sisters.
Iowa Caucus - 4 Minutes Left in the 4th Quarter
Upon castigation by my brother for "gravitating toward" another "sure loser" I've reevaluated the differences between the records of the two Mormon ex-governors in the race. Not long ago br'er JK had me purt near convinced Huntsman is the best man to debate President Demand-the-Unearned for all the marbles. But that's sorta like letting Oregon go to the Rose Bowl for beating UCLA while Stanford watches helplessly due to an accident of arbitrary divisionalization. In our patented alternate universe, make Romney governor of Utah and saddle Huntsman with Massachusetts - then see which one shares nicknames with an anthropomorphic teevee dolphin.
I'm not jumping off his bandwagon yet, but if Jon really has the chops to "Tebow" the GOP field there are 4 weeks left, Herman Cain just punted the ball and it's first down on his own 2 yard line (while Newt also has the ball at his 25.) Time to start making plays and gaining ground, in big chunks.
GOP Presidential Primary - December Preview
Last night's Huckabee Forum on FNC did a good job of summarizing the state of the nominating campaign as we begin December 2011, on "2012 Eve" if you will. While Florida AG Pam Biondi was the most pleasing to watch, Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli was by far the best questioner. In this video segment he discusses several of the candidates and declines to name his current favorite, instead saying "there's opportunity, even in the next month, for these candidates to flesh out their positions in ways that make them unique and special and make them somebody that conservatives in particular could get behind." That really validates my current mood that the question is not settled.
Quote of the Day
"I was so shocked by being handed this bag today at your Portland, Ore., store that I literally WALKED BACK to return this horrific bag," one customer wrote on Lululemon's blog. "In this political and economic climate, I find it baffling that your company would choose such an inflammatory and offensive statement."That's from a NYTimes story on Lululemon Athletica: "the retailer of yoga pants and hoodies, has long decorated shopping bags with slogans that appear to have been lifted from self-help books. But this month its bags have asked a question that some may find more provocative: 'Who is John Galt?'"
December 3, 2011
Quote of the Day
In 1783, William Pitt warned the British Parliament about the dangers of those who would reflexively employ "necessity" as an argument in favor of their preferences. "Necessity," Pitt exclaimed, "is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves!" -- Charles C. W. Cooke
December 2, 2011
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it." -Robert A. Heinlein
Tim Tebow is still being told he can't play quarterback in the NFL, despite winning 5 of 6 games, and 4 in a row. "It's a passer's league" you see. If you can't pass from the pocket (and have a quick release and be able to anticipate defensive schemes and evaluate three or more potential receivers in 5 seconds or less) then you can't reliably win games. But despite the tutelage of football "experts" there are other ways to achieve offensive success.
"Over 16 games," said Lahman, "Tebow projects to 19 touchdowns, three interceptions, 2,061 yards passing and 1,112 yards rushing with five rushing touchdowns."
December 1, 2011
No, it is not April Fool's Day. Nor was I perusing the magnificent Onion.
No, the WSJ Ed Page actually carries a piece from SEIU
While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China's people-oriented development in Chongqing, a city of 32 million in Western China, which is led by an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader--Bo Xilai. A skyline of cranes are building roughly 1.5 million square feet of usable floor space daily--including, our delegation was told, 700,000 units of public housing annually.
There's plenty more and I suggest you read the whole thing. Contra Tom Friedman, Stern does not really even do a "yes but they do murder all but first born babies and occupy Tibet and incarcerate those who would do Falun Gong exercise in the park,,," No, it is really a full-on Walter Duranty cheering session for central planning.
UPDATE: James Pethokoukis did not seem to care for it either...
A great friend of this blog shares a bit of GOP ex-Governor Mormon Presidential Candidate Smackdown:
Jim Geraghty is getting some pretty nasty emails.
Yesterday, he posted a list of quotes from Speaker Gingrich that he felt would not excite the serious, tea party, conservative, republican base that seeks to keep that serial flip flopper Romney away from the nomination. They are somewhat devastating.
Today, he defends himself from the hate mail (some dared to call him "RINO!") in a superb Morning Jolt email. You're mad if you don't subscribe, but I cater to the afflicted by copying the entire Newt section as an extended entry (click "continue reading...")
If I may join the Speaker in using more adverbs to prop up my apparrunt intelligence: it's singularly devastating.
UPDATE: Verum Serum unearths product of his
The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system. We have a much more liquid and stable housing finance system than we would have without the GSEs. And making homeownership more accessible and affordable is a policy goal I believe conservatives should embrace.
Unsurprisingly, those who preferred somebody besides Newt loved it; Newt fans insisted that it was A) evidence that NR will endorse Romney, B) evidence that I've been bought off by Mitt Romney, C) a tirade (somehow quoting Newt constitutes a tirade), or D) RINO!
It's just so farshtunken tiresome.
Streiff at RedState suggests I'm a "gnome," scoffing, "I'm sure there is an army of gnomes out there, this very instant, researching every exotic statement Gingrich has uttered in his career. This will be a full employment plan not only for those gnomes but their children because every time Gingrich has had a thought he has told a newspaper somewhere about it."
Of course. I suppose all true conservatives shrug nonchalantly at the thought of a candidate and potential president who feels the need to publicly proclaim every thought that comes into his head.
I don't doubt that Gingrich is brilliant. But he's also extraordinarily undisciplined, quick to come up with ideas, quick to tout and celebrate them, and quick to discard them, a form of intellectual attention-deficit disorder that marks his post-congressional career.
For example, in 2003, he offered an explosive and provocative argument that President Bush's foreign policy was being undermined by his own diplomatic corps, and he passionately declared, "Only a top-to-bottom reform and culture shock will enable the State Department to effectively spread U.S. values and carry out President George W. Bush's foreign policy." This was (and still is!) bold stuff, his article caused a big stir, his contentions outraged then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and every diplomat, Gingrich got a lot of attention . . . and then nothing happened. No reforms were enacted. Gingrich moved on to his next big idea for American renewal, and for all the hubbub, we have the exact same culture at Foggy Bottom that we always had.
Most of Newt's big initiatives since leaving office have had this big-talk, little-action pattern: the task force on U.N. reform, the Hart-Rudman Commission (it talked a lot about terrorism in 1999, but nobody was listening), etc. I suppose you could argue that his Center for Health Transformation was an exception, as it helped create the prescription-drug benefit for Medicare, but then again, a lot of conservatives see that as another unfunded expansion of an entitlement program.
He proposed U.S. efforts to remove Yassir Arafat from power in April 2002. Bold idea, went nowhere (became moot in late 2004). Later that year, he attacked Walter Mondale (the Democrats' Senate candidate in Minnesota after Paul Wellstone was suddenly killed in a plane crash) by saying that Mondale wanted to privatize Social Security and raise the retirement age. He constantly blurts these things out, and because he's a former speaker, there are rarely any lasting consequences. As the Republican nominee or as the American president, there would be big consequences.
Hey, look, if you've written me off as a hopeless RINO, how about Mark Steyn? Jeff Poor at the Daily Caller caught Steyn sitting in for Rush earlier this week:
Filling in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show Tuesday, Steyn referenced a Pundit & Pundette blog post that suggested Gingrich sounds smarter on the debate stage because he uses so many adverbs.
"And by the way, just the sort of grade inflation going on in his plans," Steyn added, "makes him sound as a wee bit of a dodgy prospect when comes to actually slashing back government."
A couple of people wondered when we would see a similar list of Mitt Romney's deviations from conservative thinking. Well, there's this thing that Tim Pawlenty called "Obamneycare," and he used to emphasize that he was pro-choice, and he used to boast that he was an independent during Reagan-Bush and . . . what's that? You've heard all of that? Yeah, me too. In fact, we spent most of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 hashing this stuff out. The primary difference (no pun intended) between last cycle and this cycle is that the enactment of Obamacare has put the issue of the individual mandate front and center, and Romney's view is that we must fight all the way to the Supreme Court to ensure that the federal government never thinks it has the authority to make us buy health care, so that the states are free to make us buy health care instead.
Despite having deep worries about Gingrich's temperament in office, I'm not that anti-Newt. If he gets the nomination I'll be strapping on my helmet and doing my best to replace President Obama with President Gingrich. And I'll really be hoping for some kick-tush veep who will hopefully be able to keep Gingrich focused on enacting his best ideas. (Hint, hint.)
If you prefer Gingrich to Romney or any other candidate, fine. But don't tell me you're choosing Gingrich over Romney because the latter is an inconsistent, unreliable, fair-weather conservative, and the former isn't.