April 30, 2012

The Primacy of Philosophy

Mama, don't take my blog pragmatist title away -- even though one can argue that Brother BR has done better in practice this quadrennial.

But Mary Anastasia O'Grady, whom I revere mightily, hits it out of the park today. How can Chile, which has lit the way for Latin-American prosperity, always be on the cusp of a socialist uprising?

How this can be in Chile, the poster-child of liberal economic reform, is at first a puzzle. The answer--and this is a cautionary tale for Americans--may lie in Chile's political and intellectual climate, which is desperately short of voices able to defend the morality of the market and the sanctity of individual rights.

Even while the material benefits of the market economy have been piling up for decades, Chile has been intellectually swamped by leftist ideas. The common principle: Economic inequality is immoral and the state has an obligation to correct it.

Cautionary indeed. I must also excerpt the subhead "A free economy is at risk when a demand for equality is not answered by a defense of liberty."


Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:57 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I cannot view the full linked article from outside the paywall but I wonder, and I know you thought of this, I wonder if you're now inclined to revisit this still somewhat sore debate?

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2012 5:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Emailed it to you. I think this link is good for seven days.

It puts objections in a favorable light. Yet I contend there is a question of degree. My counter-objection on the sore topic is that it requires acceptance of a possibly correct but out-of-mainstream idea that collective happiness is not my concern or interest.

That strikes me as an interesting argument, but a much deeper step than defending liberty qua liberty. I think the philosophical descendants of Milton Friedman in Chile can defend free markets without the primacy of the individual.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2012 6:08 PM

Philip K. Dick

The author seems to have enjoyed Blade Runner more than blog-sister dagny did.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

Oops, sorry if I was not clear. I think Blade Runner is a fabulous movie! I highly recommend the Director's Cut and it remains a sci-fi movie masterpiece.

I occasionally admit that I spent many a college road trip journeying to Science Fiction conventions, wearing costumes, and being told by well-meaning friends that I needed to, "get a life." The Blade Runner Director's Cut was one of the movies played over and over at such events so you could watch it at 3am when the panels were over.

However, I did think it was kind of silly that they took the plot from one story and the title from another and just stuck them together. I suppose it was because the general movie-going public would not have gone to see a flick titled, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," even if it did have Harrison Ford and Daryl Hannah in it.

If there is anyone out there who hasn't seen it - 4 stars.

Posted by: dagny at April 30, 2012 5:27 PM
But jk thinks:


Actually, I have not seen it. I will remedy that.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2012 5:45 PM

Last Man Standing

W. James Antle's The Last Man Standing: Rep Ron Paul's curiouser and ever more interesting plan.

But even when they were disappointed by their popular vote totals, Paul supporters stayed behind and tried to win delegates at the low-turnout state and congressional district conventions. This cost-effective insurgent strategy seemed stalled, but now appears to be finally paying some dividends.

Many other Republicans are demoralized. The near-certain nominee doesn't excite them. There are fewer high-profile Tea Party primaries than two years ago. The other conservative presidential candidates have been beaten.

Ron Paul's supporters remain. They are still trying to win delegates and reshape the Republican Party.

I share Brother BR's concern that some convention mischief might hurt the party's chances in November. Yet, long term, the GOP must shift to embrace some of these ideas or cease to be worthy of Tea Party support. Not today. Not this year. But I am sticking by my Paul-as-Goldwater and looking for Reagan.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

WASHINGTON -- Representative Paul D. Ryan strolls the halls of Capitol Hill with the anarchist band Rage Against the Machine pounding through his earbuds. -- Jonathan Weisman NYTimes
112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

The Science is Settled!

Can't argue with satellite data:

New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.

Hat-tip: Instapundit.

April 29, 2012

We're Laughing At You...


In his commencement speech at Hamilton College on Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore told the graduates that global warming is "the most serious challenge our civilization has ever faced." But as an undergraduate at Harvard University in the late 1960s, Gore--one of the most prominent spokesmen on climate change today--earned a "D" in Natural Sciences.

Funny, Is it real? Do I care?

We're Laughing With You, Not At You

Two minutes from Jimmy Kimmel that made me laugh. I also liked this line that isn't in the vid: "There's a term for President Obama. Not two terms."

Sour Grapes

I try to be a little cautious and reserved when discussing higher education (as opposed to the DH, where I just let it fly!) A lifetime of being a dropout among the educated, it seems churlish to denigrate others' achievements. And I certainly don't mean to.

But reading Professor Reynolds's "Higher Education Bubble" posts and Andrew Rosen's excellent Change.edu (free on Kindle for Prime members today) I must conclude that -- whatever benefits I missed by travelling with dirty hippy musicians on a school bus instead of matriculating back in the day -- the current system is broken enough to warrant serious suspicion.

Today's Insty-EduBubble installment links to Walter Russell Mead's post on paying for internships.

In other words, in today’s world the non-Via Meadia type of internship is increasingly becoming a necessary part of the educational process. School no longer prepares kids to either get or keep jobs, and internships are springing up to fill the gap. This is partly an indictment of our educational system and partly a statement about how the job market is changing.

I have several nieces and nephews in this age bracket and am concerned. None are racking up monster debt or making foolish choices. Yet one just scored an internship at a law office where she is doing well, and another I am trying to guide into an outstanding (life changing) internship opportunity with a friend of mine.

I am confident that these internships are way more valuable than their schoolwork.

I suggest that a young person who is not pursuing medicine or law, or is not somehow imbued with an extreme, internal zeal for academic life should pursue one or two years of traditional college where he or she can afford it. Then come to work where I work for two years. At that point, said young person can stay, go, transfer departments, head back to school, or start a ska band. But with no debt, real experience, pragmatic skills and a better foundation for deciding what is best.

Sour grapes?

Education Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Bryan thinks:

Couldn't agree more!

I took a non-traditional route for my college degree, and despite a few regrets regarding by behavior in my early years, I am better for it.

Posted by: Bryan at May 1, 2012 1:07 PM

April 28, 2012

A New Down

After promising not to "spike the football" by "trot[ting] out this stuff [bin Laden's killing] as trophies" President Obama's re-election campaign is now spiking the football. Fair enough, I say. But the "game" of leader-of-the-free-world isn't over. China's fear-society now offers "quarterback" Obama a chance to score another touchdown.

"You must see to the bottom of this," the activist said. "Even though I am free, my family ... are still in their grasp. While I was there, they were repeatedly harmed. Now that I'm gone, I can only imagine how it has blown up."

Chen's rescue appears to have been timed to coincide with U.S.-China discussions on human rights this week. His case has attracted global attention.

It was easy enough for the President to say "yes" when his defense secretary told him, "We have found Osama bin Laden and planned an operation to capture or kill him. May we proceed?" Let's see if he has the loins to tell China, "Protect your citizens from their government."

But jk thinks:

Big topic.

I am of course appalled at the human rights abuses of China. But I do not wish for the United States -- certainly under this Commander-in-Chief to play world police here.

Perhaps the President could welcome the Dalai Lama against China's objections or refuse to visit certain places there. I could appreciate a statement of sorts.

Yet, I believe ultimately in the liberating power of trade and economic freedom. We're not going to do regime change on our bankers and best customers. Let's let trade work its magic.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2012 12:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Regime change is not called for, just an "I disagree" from the President of the United States. A "Tear down this wall" sort of statement, in the spirit of the "power of the solidarity of the free world." Think we'll see it from President Obama? Me neither.

Thanks for weighing in. The topic is discussion worthy.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2012 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And it can't just be ignored - the dissident, Chen Guangcheng, is a refugee on U.S. soil ... our embassy in Beijing.

Assuming it has Chen, it is inconceivable that the United States would turn him over to the Chinese authorities against his wishes, said current and former U.S. officials.
Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2012 7:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And a dozen years ago, I had thought it inconceivable that the United States would turn Elian Gonzalez over to Cuba - much less take possession of him at gunpoint. If those "current and former U.S. officials" mentioned include either Janet Reno or the current Secretary of State (who, not to rub it in or anything, happens to be married to the former President who oversaw that fiasco), it's very conceivable, and not even Vizzini would call it otherwise.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 30, 2012 12:46 AM
But jk thinks:

Two things.

One: All hail Brother Keith, the undisputed King of the allusion! I am unfit to handle your backup tapes, my friend.

Two: jk will be travelling for fun this week and needs to rethink his position; I clearly underestimated where we are. I meant every word I typed but need to contextualize this is in the Walter Russel Mead view.

Last fall, the Obama administration pulled off a diplomatic revolution in maritime Asia -- the coastal and trading states on and around the Asian mainland that stretch in an arc from Korea and Japan, down to Australia and Indonesia, and sweep around through southeast Asia to India and Sri Lanka. Via Meadia has been following this story closely; it is the biggest geopolitical event since 9/11 and, while it builds on a set of US policies that go back at least as far as the Clinton administration and were further developed in the Bush years, the administration's mix of policies represent a decisive turning point in 21st century Asian history.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2012 10:01 AM

Following the Golden State down the rat hole

Joel Kotkin has some harsh words for the governance of California -- and a warning to the Obama Administration for attempting to apply the model nationally.

From his first days in office, the president has held up California as a model state. In 2009, he praised its green-tinged energy policies as a blueprint for the nation. He staffed his administration with Californians like Energy Secretary Steve Chu--an open advocate of high energy prices who’s lavished government funding on "green" dodos like solar-panel maker Solyndra, and luxury electric carmaker Fisker--and Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who thrived as CEO of a regulated utility which raised energy costs for millions of consumers, sometimes to finance "green" ideals.

Obama regularly asserts that green jobs will play a crucial role in the future of the American economy, but California, a trend-setter in the field, has yet to reap such benefits. Green jobs, broadly defined, make up only about 2 percent of jobs in the state--about the same proportion as in Texas. In Silicon Valley, the number of green jobs actually declined between 2003 and 2010. Meanwhile, California's unemployment rate of 10.9 percent is the nation's third highest, behind only Nevada and Rhode Island.

Kotkin is a treasure for his keen observations on urban life and modern migration patterns. Am I wrong in thinking this column unusually harsh in its criticism of the President?

Of course, when you get out of Brother Keith's house, they love him out there.

The IPO-lottery, Hollywood, and inherited-wealth crowds can afford the state's sky-high costs, especially along the coast, but most California businesses can't. Under Brown and his even less well-informed predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the official mantra has been that the state’s "creative" entrepreneurs would trigger a state revival. This is very much the hope of the administration, which trots out companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google as exemplars of the American future. "No part of America better represents America than here," the president told a crowd at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View last fall.

Great article -- HT: Insty

April 27, 2012

Go Bruins!

No Goal! says former NHL ref Kerry Fraser.

Kerry wrote on TSN.ca, "In Boston, reality struck when the series ended with a Game 7 overtime goal that was manufactured by Mike Knuble in another example of goalkeeper interference."

He continued, "Knuble continued on his path entering deep into the goal crease and made sufficient physical contact with the Bruins goalie to knock him off his set position and back toward the goal line."

What Fraser is referring to is NHL rule 69.1 that the refs on the ice clearly missed.

It's like folks in our Nation's capital just operate by their own set of rules or something...

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 6:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day II

How to know a president was especially bad: politicians on both official left and right today adore him equally. -- Thomas E. Woods Jr.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:22 PM | What do you think? [0]

Public Service Announcement

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:40 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Doesn't Godwin's Law state that this joke is not allowed to be funny?

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2012 3:47 PM

Quote of the Day

Via Brit Hume's twitter feed, I found this info sheet at the Department of Labor. Look at question four:
Question: Are these proposed revisions in response to any event or accident, or string of events or accidents, or child labor violations?

Answer: The Department of Labor has continuously reviewed the federal child labor regulations to better protect working children while still allowing them to enjoy the positive work experiences that they can safely perform. Secretary Solis directed the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to take steps to update the child labor regulations in agriculture after the WHD had concluded a similar rulemaking in May, 2010 for children working in nonagricultural workplaces. The Department's comprehensive proposal is based upon the enforcement experience of the WHD, recommendations made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the desire to bring transparency to the agency's procedures for assessing child labor civil money penalties, and a desire to equalize as much as possible the agricultural and nonagricultural child labor protections. The child labor provisions for agriculture have not been updated in more than 40 years.

Translation: Nope. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]

All Hail Kling!

I might be banned from these pages for mentioning Jonathan Haidt's book again. But I am going to take the chance.

Arnold Kling has a superb and serious column posted on AEI yesterday: "The Tribal Mind: Moral Reasoning and Public Discourse." It draws, not only on Haidt's book, but three others (better warm the Kindle up, I am travelling next week).

Editor's note: Books discussed in this essay include Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind; Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow; Bruce Schneier's Liars and Outliers; and Jim Manzi's Uncontrolled.

Kling weaves them into a common theme that is well worth a read. We spend a lot of time trying to explain our positions to beloved relatives and Facebook friends. Kling extracts important themes from each of these books to aid in that task.

But be forewarned, (Haidt and) Kling challenge like-minded readers to examine their own proclivities and tendencies.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 26, 2012

The Fallon Contretemps

Nobody seriously believes that there will be a cost to Jimmy Fallon or President Obama for campaign finance transgressions. It's a great example of absurdity of regulation, but far more serious examples are going unpunished.

I almost embedded a clip yesterday -- have you seen it ? Both the American Spectator and Ann Althouse provide the clip and effective criticism.

I agree it is bad but the audience reaction makes me fear for the republic. No, that's not a representative sample of Americans, and it remains possible that many of those people will not get up early enough to vote in November. But ThreeSources has spoiled me a bit.

Anyhow, I have a solution. And some awesome free advice for the Romney Campaign. Demand equal time (It will be granted) and have Governor Romney come on to "slow jam the news." Insist that it is only right. It would be a very funny sketch. I know the NR folks hate the entertainment-political nexus -- as do I but you cannot wish it away. White bread, Mormon, Mitt Romney "slow jamming the news" would be one for the ages.

UPDATE: Danielle Pletka engages in a little wishcasting in "The manifest uncoolness of Barack Obama."

Really, who wants a President Cool? I’d settle for a President Grown-up.

I agree with every word. But the cheers in Fallon's audience (and many of them will indeed vote) tell me to be concerned.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [2]
But hb thinks:

The bigger problem was the enormous cheer when he said that he was going to freeze student loan interest rates and Fallon nodded approvingly.

On the other hand, Obama was booed at Fenway Park last week.

Posted by: hb at April 26, 2012 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Tyler Cowen, call your office, eh?

Well, the President will not likely lose either New York or Massachusetts, but it is a disturbing reminder of how little people know or care.

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2012 1:52 PM

Life Imitates ThreeSources

Quick follow-up on our great guest post on the 16th. A good friend of this blog, who works in the financial sector, disputed Secretary Geithner's claim of "profit" from TARP.

Now I see the claim has also been disputed by some right wing hack somewhere -- no, wait! It has been disputed by Christy Romero, the newly installed special inspector general for TARP.

Similar to her predecessor Neil Barofsky, Romero seems to be saying (indirectly, of course!) the Treasury Department -- and Geithner -- have been misleading the American public about the costs of TARP. While that's impossible to prove, there has been a concerted effort by Treasury to paint the program in the best possible light. (Reason.com has compiled a timeline of such statements, for those who want to check the record.)

My feeling all along is that Treasury has been cherry-picking the TARP data, focusing on the repayments vs. the loans still outstanding, much less the "soft" cost of the bailouts. It's like an investor who only talks about the stocks that have produced profits, ignoring the ones with losses.

But johngalt thinks:

Romero also touched on a big reason why JK once suspected that someone had stolen my password and posted this.

Concentration of bank assets is but one of the "profound long-term consequences" of TARP cited by Romero. Others include "the impact on consumers and homeowners from the large banks' failure to lend TARP funds," which in turn spurned a huge backlash against corporations generally and got millions of ordinary Americans riled up about the cozy relationship between Wall Street and Washington D.C. (There's also the cost of the Fed's zero interest rate policy and the government's unlimited pledge to support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among other bailouts.)

Arguably, TARP helped animate both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements and generally reaffirmed Americans' loss of faith in our institutions and elected officials. These developments have long-term societal implications that go far beyond any quantitative analysis of the "cost" of the bailouts.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2012 6:45 PM
But The Invisible Handler thinks:

BTW, let me, the anonymous good friend of this blog, add that I don't work at SIGTARP and had no knowledge whatsoever of their report.

Note Treasury's rebuttal: "the government's emergency response was essential to preventing a meltdown of the entire global economy. And now we're winding down those programs faster and at a much lower cost than virtually anyone had anticipated during the dark days of the crisis."

Then why are they trying to talk up the program by talking about profits!

Posted by: The Invisible Handler at April 26, 2012 9:37 PM

A Troll?

I got a comment early this morning on a year old post. Commenter "never_to_return" who probably does not check his email at hjkhjkhjjk@hjkhjkhjk.com very often (I changed a few letters to protect his identity) questions my primacy in coining the term Status Quo-Bama.

I got excited, thinking we had finally found our own troll after nine years. But I don't know, it is difficult to gauge the commenter's intent.

But johngalt thinks:

The Paul Street White House "savior"-

someone who will raise wages [egalitarian], roll back war and militarism [socialism], provide universal and adequate health care [communism], rebuild the nation's infrastructure [yeah, right], produce high-paying jobs [since money is worthless], fix the environmental crisis [where?], reduce inequality [egalitarian, again], guarantee economic security [everyone suffers equally, or, egalitarian, again], and generally make daily life more livable [I don't think that word means what you think it means].

This "utopian" shopping list can be expressed far more simply as a "Free Lunch."

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2012 2:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And at the original post I commented about who I think is more qualified to claim first use of Status Quo Bama, and why. (Hint: neither)

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2012 2:22 PM

April 25, 2012

The 110,000 Million-Dollar Plan

A favorite TV show growing up was Lee Majors starring as the "Six-Million Dollar Man." After crashing the test flight of an experimental aircraft, Steve Austin was fitted with "bionics" that made him "better, stronger, faster." President Obama has been trying the same thing in America's energy market, with less success. Investors Ed Page says Obama Fought Oil and Lost; Now it's Back to Reality.

In other words, even a fast-forward to 23 years from now doesn't reveal an energy economy substantially different from today's. Obama has run up quite a price tag trying to deny this reality.

By one recent estimate from analysts sympathetic to the green-economy agenda, the government spent $110.3 billion in tax credits, loans and grants to promote the green economy from 2009 to 2011.

The Obama administration also has leaned against oil and toward the environmental lobby whenever the two were in conflict -- most notably in his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline. What do we have as a result? High gasoline prices, a bigger federal deficit and not-ready-for-prime-time electric cars.

Energy is bound to be one of the key issues in this year's presidential election, and for once the question won't be about managing scarcity. It will be about how to take advantage of the abundant resources under our feet. Barack Obama fought oil and lost, and the next president can learn from his mistake.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"So I'm supposed to be more upset by what Romney does with his own money than with what Obama is doing with mine."

That comment was one of two shared with me this morning in the aftermath of the GOP primary results from last night. It's a comment that probably ought to resonate with all of us here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 25, 2012 5:03 PM

Missed Segue

Dang. It was just lying there and I walked right by.

My post on the Planetary Resources failed to capture my wonder. First, that this clearly a step toward an actual instance of "Red Dwarf." Secondly, that this is an actual instance of wonder, a "step into a larger world" if I may mix a Star Wars quote and a Red Dwarf reference in the same paragraph.

I recognized Eric Schmidt's name from Google. And I was familiar with the name Peter Diamandis, partially conflating it with Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan.

But Diamandis is the X-Prize guy and co-author of the superb Abundance which was reviewed on these pages. He and David Deutsch are both positive about tapping potential bounty beyond Earth. And I hear the last lefty argument of resource limitations falling in an organic forest where no-one is around to hear.

UPDATE: Ari Armstrong writes about Planetary Resources (and other big ideas) in The Objective Standard

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

But, it is a little funny that James Cameron is involved? Doesn't this make him the bad guy in "Avatar?"

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2012 11:21 AM

Quote of the Day

Come on. Sure, gas prices are high in Greece, but that's a country with enormous public debt, slow economic growth, excessive bureaucracy, no fiscal discipline in its lawmakers, an electorate of spoiled and entitled citizens who expect generous social-welfare programs and other people to pay for them, increasing economic activity on the black market, a ludicrously complicated tax code . . . they're nothing like us! -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 24, 2012

All Hail Harsanyi!

I'd seen something on this, but my pal Harsanyi explodes it. The Administration proposes a "pilot" program to delay the budget-cut side of ObamaCare® until next year.

If the law had been followed as written, Obamacare should have slashed the popular market-oriented Medicare Advantage program this year. The cuts are needed to divert funding to a Medicaid expansion that will provide coverage to millions of uninsured -- the central case for the creation of Obamacare.

It's no surprise that Medicare's most market-focused program pushes down premiums and enrollment up. So rather than allow millions of enrollees in vital swing states, such as Florida, to experience a major benefit cut right before an election, the administration founded an $8.3 billion pilot program. This year, for example, the program offsets about 70 percent of the cuts in Advantage. The cost will be paid from the Medicare trust fund (which had a $288.3 billion shortfall this year). The consequences will be put off, conveniently, until after the election.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 7:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

Happy #@#&ing Earth Day

From Gateway Pundit: Green Activists Completely Trash Park on Earth Day

Hat tip: Fox Nation, via Drudge

UPDATE: KA's comment made me think of the "Keep America Beautiful" PSA from my youth. That was the beginning of the environmental movement and it seems we can see where it has ended up. Although, if you read to the end of the UPDATE link you will find it is probably all Coors' fault.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Watermelons. Green only on the outside.

The word that keeps coming to my mind about this tribe is "feral."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 24, 2012 8:17 PM

Colorado Republican Resolution for Reproductive Liberty

Seventy (70) percent of 3266 delegates voted at the April 14, 2012 Colorado Republican Assembly to approve the following resolution:

38. It is resolved by Colorado Republicans that pregnancy, abortion and birth control are personal and private matters, and should not be subject to government regulation or interference.

Yes: 2,290

No: 976


But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at April 24, 2012 4:14 PM

Stealing from our Grandkids

Instigated a Facebook fight today. My biological brother shares a pick from "We are the 99%:" you know the drill, young lad holding up the letter:

I am a 21 year-old student from Finland.

It makes me sad to hear how Americans are suffering.

Here, our taxes are high but we all benefit from them.

I grew up in the countryside and always had access to the same services that people in the city did.

My university is known around the world in my field and my education is not only free, but my government pays ME to go to university. Everyone has a right to this.

Everyone has a right to the best healthcare, there is no such thing as health insurance. I am young now and able to take risks and pursue my passion because I will never have to worry about starving if I loose my job or my business fails.

I know that when I am old my state pension will be there for me so that I can enjoy my retirement.

We call this the Nordic Model, and under it we live well and our businesses are among the most competitive in the world. I am grateful to have been born a citizen of a country that cares for its people, and I hope that one day the USA will take example from us.

I am the 99%.

To put the best sheen on leftists' ideas, I think this may be the heart. You can attack this idea economically or philosophically. But I chose a consequentialist argument. (My brother will probably not respond but sometimes his friends type back.) We'll see how it goes, but IO took this in the context of David Deutsch's Beginning of Infinity and today's incredible announcement that Eric Schmidt and a bunch of his rich friends are going to do "Red Dwarf" for real as Planetary Resources.

Underplayed in the right/left split is the theft of innovation as well as wealth from future generations. It is in many ways worse to take the cool things they could have had than to saddle them with debt.

Here is my response (Shameless Self Promotion alert!)

Thanks for posting this. I get a better picture of where some people are coming from (trying to open up after the Jonathan Haidt book!) But among many questions of fairness and sustainability, young Bjykkll describes a very stagnant world. Let's nail everything down where it is so things never get worse and we never get an unpleasant surprise.

But while a stagnant and static world might have some level of comfort, where does the next Internet or iPod or MRI machine come from? I read a press release today for Planetary Resources. Bunch of Onepercenters are going to spend their money searching nearby asteroids for minerals and water. They'll probably lose their shirts. It’s crazy!

But it's their money, and they might also facilitate space travel by finding water that would not have to be pulled out of Earth’s gravity. Plus cheaper sources of minerals. Plus some serendipitous discovery none of us can imagine.

You and your Scandinavian friend are stealing innovation from your grandchildren to feather your nest today. Hate to think that a young, healthy, smart, educated lad would ever have to worry about anything -- but his choice of comfort over production disturbs me.

But johngalt thinks:

Seems there is some truth to this. Three universities in Finland are tuition free, although "living expenses and other fees" are not subsidized [filthy capitalists] and non-EU students are also welcome to attend, provided that "students from non-EU countries must have proof of [non-existent?] health insurance during their time in Finland." [But don't non-Europeans deserve free care too?]

I haven't searched yet but it seems there may be three or more tuition-free universities in the US too. It would certainly be easier for the US taxpayer to fully subsidize college tuition if we only had three universities. (Maybe there are more than 3 in Finland, I haven't checked yet.) But if everyone has "a right" to this college education, how do they allocate the scarce resource of lecture hall seats? However it is done, those who are left out consider it "unfair."

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2012 3:44 PM

A "Right" to "Access"

President Obama will give a speech this evening a short 3-mile bike ride from my Boulder office. The Denver Post says it will "focus on preventing the doubling of subsidized student-loan [interest] rates to 6.8 percent in July" but I expect it will include a fair amount of "fairness" rhetoric. Something in the spirit of a radio promo being run on Denver's 850 KOA where a female college student says,

Student loan debt is the fastest growing debt in this country. Something has to be done. Education should be a right and I think everyone should have access to it.

This sounds like a plea for a lot more than lower interest rates. One where "access" is a code word for "I don't care who pays as long as it isn't me."

But jk thinks:

One piece of good news. Even the bloomin' AP recognizes this as pandering:

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Wooing young voters, President Barack Obama is on a blitz to keep the cost of college loans from soaring for millions of students, taking his message to three states strategically important to his re-election bid.

It gets nicer after that, but the lede screams "Obama Panders to youth"

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2012 12:50 PM


Six years ago, James Lovelock, "the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his 'Gaia' theory of the Earth as a single organism" had some somewhat dark predictions:

He previously painted some of the direst visions of the effects of climate change. In 2006, in an article in the U.K.'s Independent newspaper, he wrote that "before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable."

In my best Mr. Mackey voice, I'd say "That's bad, mmkay?"

But a big man can admit when he is wrong, and Lovelock has a new book coming out called "Nevermind." (Actually, that is my suggestion, it is not clear from the article if a title has been chosen.)

The new book, due to be published next year, will be the third in a trilogy, following his earlier works, "Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back -- and How We Can Still Save Humanity," and "The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can."

Turns out, it was climate's old tricks. Who would have thought that a scientist of Lovelock's stature would fall for those?
"The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books -- mine included -- because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened," Lovelock said.

"The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," he said.

Come to think of it, if "Bull's-eye Jim" is not worried now, I am starting to be concerned...

UPDATE: I meant to do this as a segue. Bjorn Lomborg has a WSJ Editorial the same day on the importance of using economic data to steer environmental policy.

But in tackling humanity's biggest challenges--climate change, malaria, natural disasters, education--we need more economic science, not less. Cost-benefit analysis, in particular, is a far more effective and moral approach than basing decisions on the media's roving gaze or the loudness of competing interest groups.

But johngalt thinks:

Mea freaking culpa!

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2012 11:51 AM

April 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

Cue the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, who is as good a pal as Kent Conrad will ever have in the press. He writes that the good senator (routinely described by one and all as a "budget hawk," "a deficit hawk," etc., despite his inability to, you know, produce a budget) wants to become more bipartisan. But those freaking GOP bastards really just want to run against any plan and any vote to raise taxes and spending: -- Nick Gillespie
Hat-tip: Insty

Sen. Baucus to "Go Rogue?"

Provide energy and jobs for his constituents? The nerve!

Baucus -- who wants to win another term back home in Montana in two years -- remains a fan of the pipeline, which would be built partly across his state.

If regular order is followed, his vote combined with those of all the Senate GOP negotiators would form a majority bloc to accept the House's Keystone language, which orders regulators to issue permits for the project.

And if that happens, and the compromise bill clears Congress in that form (which would be likely), the president would be pressured to veto the job-creating highway bill at an extraordinarily inopportune time.

Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis

Sorry to hear about this

THE FIX: The final public flogging of John Edwards

Already? We were just having fun!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

"Three, four, five, six, seven years from now, if I do a good job as vice president -- I'm sorry, as senator -- I'll have the chance to do all sorts of things." -- Senator Marco Rubio at an appearance last week.

Defending those eeevil speculators!

All the cool kids are doing it!

James Hamilton:

Here I have a modest suggestion. If Representative [Joseph P. II] Kennedy knows a way to go out and produce another barrel of oil somewhere in the world for $11 a barrel, he would do a world of good if he would actually go out and do it himself, as opposed to simply asserting confidently in the pages of the New York Times that it can be done. People with far more modest fortunes than Kennedy inherited are out there using their resources to try to bring more of the physical product out of the ground.

And many, many more would be attempting the feat if it were remotely possible to produce a new barrel of oil for anywhere close to $11.

If you want to prove me wrong, Mr. Kennedy, then don't talk about how easy it is to produce more oil -- just go do it.

The whole piece is great. He asks the Kudlow question, viz., Whyizzit that speculation drives crude prices up but natgas prices down? Only one side is evil?

Some sense and clarity for your Monday -- Hat-tip: Mankiw.

April 22, 2012

Review Corner

I missed it. It's all my fault. I read today that "John Stossel rivets enthusiastic Denver crowd while promoting 'No They Can't!'"

I canceled a couple meetings and made plans to go down to Denver Wednesday for a book signing at the Tattered Cover in LoDo. I was taken very ill that morning (mostly all better now) and did not make it after all.

While I did not get riveted, I ordered a couple of signed copies: one for a great friend and one for the lovely bride. Yet, in a further display of bad husbandship, I read it first and then leant it to our niece.

Like Joe (and Blake) Kernen's book, I don't know that most ThreeSourcers will learn a lot of new things or have positions swayed by "No They Can't!" But my niece is an interesting data point. She is an Obama true believer but she loves John Stossel. I can't wait to hear what she thinks (I had not even finished the last chapter but did not want to miss this opportunity). Of all the public personages in the world, Stossel probably represents my views more closely than any other. I cannot think of one issue on which we are far apart.

I also like his style. He concedes that our problems have bipartisan roots yet does not enjoy bashing the parties in the style of a Matt Welch, David Boaz, or Nick Gillespie. He makes his point, answers questions, rebuts thoughts misconstrued -- but then leaves it to his interlocutor to form opinions.

And while I love to plow through Hayek and Mises (for once, I am not being pedantic -- I really do) Stossel's books assemble the most important concepts in an accessible, fun -- dare I say riveting -- package. Assuming that the last chapter does not call for the nationalization of the oil companies, I give it a provisional five stars.

Thanks to Brother Keith for recommending Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly. It was interesting. My head is just not in the fiction space, so I am going to eschew a review. It was thoughtful and interesting. I was not prepared for the darkness and dystopia, but will not critique the author for the reader's failings.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

"My Name is John Galt"

That was D.B. Sweeney speaking. Sweeney is cast in the pivotal role of the next installment of the Atlas Shrugged movie series, Atlas Shrugged: Part II - Either-Or

Sweeney is new to the franchise, partly because the John Galt character had a minor role in the first film and partly because the producers have chosen to recast the entire movie! There has been much consternation about this on the movie's discussion boards but I'm looking forward to it. My sense is that the first movie wasn't as well acted as it could have been. The leading roles of Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden were played by Taylor Schilling and Grant Bowler who, while attractive, didn't seem to have their hearts in their roles. They are replaced by Samantha Mathis and Jason Beghe.

Mathis is a better fit in the role, being born in 1970 instead of 1984, and starring in major motion pictures like Broken Arrow, where she played the fetching park ranger who tracked down John Travolta and his nuclear missle.

And Beghe's name may not be familiar but viewers will recognize him from Judging Amy, G.I. Jane, Thelma and Louise, Castle, and dozens more TV series' where he had supporting roles.

Perhaps the only recognizable name in the cast is Esai Morales who replaces Jsu Garcia as Francisco. Garcia gave, I thought, the best performance of the heroic characters in Part I but Morales is still an upgrade. A consistent theme of the new cast is more experience and more maturity. It can't help but show up as a more compelling movie than the brave and fearless but out-of-its-league production of Part I.

And finally, who is D.B. Sweeney? New York-born in 1961, he set his sights on a pro baseball career. When a motorcycle accident scuttled that he pursued acting. His filmography is heavy on television roles and he had starring and supporting film roles as well, including Eight Men Out, No Man's Land and The Cutting Edge. [The last of these has special meaning to me and dagny. As washed out hockey player Doug Dorsey, Sweeney takes up figure skating with Olympian Kate Moseley and when they first meet, on the ice, Sweeney's effort to impress the young lady is dashed when he catches the ice with the toepick of his figure skate (non-existent on hockey skates) and face plants on the ice. I did the exact same thing on my first date with dagny.] Sweeney has the right build for the role of John Galt, and a natural smirking swagger that both fits the role and can lend it warmth and likeability.

I, for one, am really looking forward to the premier of Atlas Shrugged: Part II in October.

But jk thinks:

I, too, look forward to Part II. But less with this news. We are predisposed to love it because we want so badly for this to succeed.

But I watched it again recently (free on Amazon Prime -- yay!) and, stepping out of my booster space, I certainly see its flaws. Recasting will have a horrible effect on continuity. And I will miss Ms. Schilling, whom I thought did a good job. The discontinuity will provide more ammunition to those who wish to discount this movie.

Interesting bordering on the serendipitous that you post this today. A good friend of mine recently rented Part I only to be extremely disappointed that Pt II wasn't ready yet. My news that we were only 33% there was not greeted warmly.

If Donald Rumsfeld were producing, he'd realize that you go to war with the cast you got.

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2012 11:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's an interesting question: Should Part III retain the Part II cast, or be fully recast one more time?

I ask this from the perspective that "nobody saw Part I," at least not anyone who didn't seek it out or was otherwise already an accolyte. We "boosters" will have no trouble switching the characters to new actors and neophytes will do better with a higher grade of actor carrying the script. Presumably Part II will have greater box office than Part I. I can easily imagine - not predict, mind you, but imagine - a big budget finale for Part III. Audiences have already shown their willingness to sit through a speech or two by Mel Gibson or his ilk, and there is one humdinger of a speech coming one day in Part III.

Hey, a boy can dream.

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2012 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Maybe they'll get Mel for PIII...

Sorry, it just seems to be unraveling. Not sure the basis for expecting better box office for PII.

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2012 3:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Digging the idea of three casts. That's a good idea.

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2012 9:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Better box office because of:
- Better word-of-mouth due to better film, better acting.
- Better distribution through lessons learned on Part I.
- More compelling storyline in Part II vs. Part I.

Thin, I know, but I think low-budget sequels are often better than the original. (See: Road Warrior vs. Mad Max.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2012 2:18 PM

April 20, 2012

And Now, Some Nasty Words about the President

I think I have been pretty subdued for three years. President Obama's politics are orthogonal to mine and we have substantive philosophical differences. Yet, I worked especially hard to avoid "Obama Derangement Syndrome" that so consumed -- mutatis mutandis -- my lefty friends during the last administration.

I kept out of the birther pool and tried to extend the benefit of the doubt on all but his most egregious oversteps. But if he is going to be all-campaign, all the time, I will express my views forthrightly. All in?

First, I want to point out a major league "get" for PJ Media. David P. Goldman is a frequent Kudlow guest where he shares his views on business, broad economics and markets. I was unaware of his book How Civilizations Die (and Islam is dying too), columns, or really any of his other fields of expertise. He now has a regular PJ Media blog called Spengler to which I look forward.

Yesterday's post rekindled an unease I felt reading the President's first autobiography. (Jeeberz, I am over 50 and haven't even written one -- what the hell is the matter with me?) I put it down to partisan hackery on my part, but Goldman's column brings it back in the context of the hilarious dog-eating contretemps. Goldman points out that he identifies with the dog eaters. The Third World is his world and the nation he leads is the villain.

Obama is the son of a Kenyan Muslim father, the stepson of an Indonesian Muslim, and the child, most of all, of an American anthropologist who devoted her career to protecting Indonesian traditional life against the depredations of the global marketplace. Her doctoral dissertation, "Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: surviving against all odds," celebrated traditional cultures hanging on desperately in the face of the global economic marketplace.

Ms. Dunham was not only a Communist fellow-traveler, but the sort of 1960s woman who (as we used to say) "put her body on the line," first by marrying two Third World men, and then by spending her career in the Third World. It is no surprise that Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.

Strong stuff and he does not lighten up much after that. Had I not seen his sobriety many nights on Kudlow, I might dismiss him as some "talk show" host grabbing notice.

OR: had I not read "Dreams From my Father." I got a different vibe of Mom than Goldman, but was consumed with young Barry's constant rejection of people and institutions that were good to him, in favor of those that were not. I thought him actually manufacturing grievance for authenticity.

He makes fun of Romney now saying that, unlike the Governor, he did not grow up with a silver spoon. But the DFMF tale is not one of poverty and deprivation. He grows up in Hawaii, attending private schools. His mother, grandparents, and teachers are completely kind, He is in Indonesia, not as a penniless beggar, but as the stepson of a successful businessman who is affectionate and caring, and the child of a college professor. On to Harvard where every avenue is open to ensure his success. A plum Law Career assignment. Et freaking cetera. Yet, boo hoo, Barry has to find the disaffected black youth in Hawaii, run to Africa to chase a vacant and generally corrupt father, leave the corporate world to stir up trouble for the established order in Chicago.

We know how it all ends. But Goldman is dead right, if a bit impolitic:

It really isn't unfair at all to bring Obama's canine consumption to public attention. The president isn't really one of us. He's a dog-eater. He tells the story in his memoir to emphasize that viscerally, Obama identifies with the Third World of his upbringing more than with the America of his adulthood. It is our great misfortune to have a president who dislikes our country at this juncture in our history.

But johngalt thinks:

Thankfully Goldman did not say Obama "hates" our country for that would have disqualified every salient point he previously made - the politically-correct analogue to Godwin's Law.

Also, thank NED that dog-eating is not a tenet of Islam, else we'd all be forbidden from talking about it, much less laughing our arses off.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2012 3:42 PM



Have You Met Miss Jones?

"Rogers & Hart"

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

April 19, 2012

Goodnight, Hoss!


Photo credit: Rolling Stone

In the darker days of my adolescence, I spent a summer where I could do nothing but go to the Aladdin theater on East Colfax, buy a ticket to see "The Last Waltz," and watch it three or four times. I look back with sadness & bemusement at a lost summer, but I kept a special attachment to The Band: most notably the vocal prowess of Rick Danko and Levon Helm. Both of whom we've now lost.

Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the Band, died Thursday in New York of throat cancer. He was 71.

"He passed away peacefully at 1:30 this afternoon surrounded by his friends and bandmates," Helm's longtime guitarist Larry Campbell tells Rolling Stone. "All his friends were there, and it seemed like Levon was waiting for them. Ten minutes after they left, we sat there and he just faded away. He did it with dignity. It was even two days ago they thought it would happen within hours, but he held on. It seems like he was Levon up to the end, doing it the way he wanted to do it. He loved us, we loved him."

Me too, man. Me too.

UPDATE Ia: A link is not sufficient:

Hoss Music Posted by John Kranz at 4:24 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 6:42 PM

Clever SPAM!

Innovation is not dead. Got this on my work account:

Rewriting marketing history...how the GSA could have saved their jobs

We all speculate about those moments when history might have taken a different path. If Washington hadn't chopped down that cherry tree. If Columbus had headed in the opposite direction. If Charlie Sheen hadn't discovered twitter...

Now here's a new one for you. Imagine if the GSA had heard about the Creative Services Exchange before they blew their budget in Vegas. They would have been able to find great creatives to deliver everything from cool designs for commemorative coins to the most happening event -- but they wouldn't have wasted $800K. So instead of Congress holding hearings and questioning how the GSA could do that with our hard earned tax dollars, we'd be congratulating them on knowing how to spend wisely.

That's because when anyone wants any sort of marketing, from an experiential event, to a promotional campaign, supporting collateral and brand buzz and excitement, the Creative Services Exchange does it without a fuss. It does it without padding and overheads. It's why those brands which have engaged their brains come to us to save up to 50% on the old way of doing things.

We can't save the jobs of the GSA now, but we can ensure that your head doesn't roll because of bad marketing decisions and overspending. Submit a brief at the Creative Services Exchange and you'll save yourself time, money and gain plaudits, not problems.

PS What happens in the Exchange, stays in the Exchange (just like Vegas).

Tax Day: "This is not about wealth redistribution"

A Sunny take on the fun we all 52 percent of us had yesterday.

Don't know about the rest of you but I have writer's cramp from writing checks.

Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 12:28 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I don't say this to gloat, but you righteous and productive members of society need to understand.

While I have been on your side, I am now a schlub. I work for the man; all my income appears on a W-2 these days. I don't write checks. Even itemizing, I do my taxes in three hours at TaxAct.com. I get humongous refunds.

Liberty lovers need be cautioned that projecting their tax worries on the electorate is not the winning strategy they think. Forty-three (Sunny sez 42) percent don't pay at all. Much of the remaining majority likely has a pretty easy time of it.

Yup, that money is gone from your paycheck. But you direct deposit and have to remember your password to look at a stub. You were outraged at FICA when you were 16, but you've inured to it.

Feel free to whine producers and innovators; but don't expect us working stiffs to comprehend.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 10:19 AM
But jk thinks:

Watched a few of Sunny's videos. She has a certain something, but like so many, I think she could benefit from turning it down from 11 to seven or eight. The poor mom clip in this one makes a statement but quickly makes one forget her substantive points. (A description, perhaps, rather than a clip would make the point without the prurience of seeing a tragic and poor woman.)

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 12:44 PM

April 18, 2012

Right Wing Twitterverse: too much fun.

As the Democrats prepared for quadrennial Seamus-gate where we whack the Romneys for allowing their dog to ride on the roof in a carrier, somebody found the paragraph in "Dreams from My Father where a young Barack tastes the delicacies of tiger and dog meat.

Hilarity has ensured much of the day "Better the Roof of Mitt's car than the roof of Barack's mouth!" But this one (Hat-tip: Insty) is a keeper:


UPDATE: Really? Got this on WaPo:


UPDATE II: James Taranto provides the whole story, relays a few good tweets, and grabs "Quote of the Day" for:

It doesn't seem to have occurred to [Josh] Marshall that as dogs are haram, this should put to rest the Muslim rumors.

UPDATE III: IMAO I can’t believe Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car. That ruins the flavor.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 3:12 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Now I'm wondering who will get the coveted Michael Vick endorsement.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 18, 2012 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

And Taranto stole Brother Keith's joke!

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 10:21 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

What is freely shared cannot be stolen - and I have no objection to it getting some free mileage.

On the other hand - I'm wondering if there's any such thing as Waygu Weimaraner. That's like two references for the price of one, and if that one starts getting around, I expects royalties.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 19, 2012 12:49 PM

JK Agrees with Senator Murkowski

"Dogs and cats living together..."

But the good Senator (Pork -- AK) makes an excellent point in a guest editorial today. It is now ten years after we were told it would take ten years to get product from ANWR:

But the most blatant excuse is one that officially expires this week. Because oil might take up to 10 years to reach market, we were told that the nonwilderness portion of ANWR could not be part of the solution to our energy challenges. Nearly every senator who spoke against the amendment in 2002 listed this as a factor in his or her decision.

Now, 10 years later, it is plain to see that the argument was not just wrong, but backward. Instead of being a reason to oppose development in ANWR, the time it takes to develop the resource should be treated as a reason to approve it as quickly as possible.

Consider what would be different today had the Senate agreed to open those 2,000 acres a decade ago. If production were coming online right now as expected, it would be providing our nation with a number of much-needed benefits--including a lot more oil.

I'm wondering about sending that mortgage payment in this month. Man, it'll be 15 years before it is paid off...

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

More like, "Stopped clock right twice-a-day."

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:21 PM

Knowledge Problem, Anybody?

It is hard to consider a power utility as a private corporation. Yes, Xcel Energy (XEL) trades on the NYSE, but as a "public" utility it is regulated and managed in a way to make government proud.

Were they completely private, I would not say a word about the firm's "Responsible by Nature" campaign. Liquor vendors also pay for commercials to tell people to use less of their product.

But I clicked a banner ad on Instapundit today for details on a rebate for installing a swamp cooler. Now, this might be a tough sell to the HOA Architecture Review Board (I've seen grown men tear their own 'eads off rather than face the HOA ARB!) not to mention my upstairs neighbor. Yet I am eyeing the 600 bucks that Excel will give me and consider the fact that I buy my electricity from a co-op a complication more than a disqualification.

Yet on the serious side, I one time collected a big check from Excel to convert my electric dryer and range to natural gas. A few years later, I noted that they were offering rebates the other way. Now I am sure nat gas is a good play but don't know what the accountants are promoting as responsible this week.

Wouldn't it be a great world if the utilities just ensured availability of what their customers wished to buy and allowed those customers to choose? Plus, then there would be more time for beer commercials.

1000 Words

Lifted from Facebook, sorry I cannot provide attribution:


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:21 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

About the President's tax return:

When we donate money to a charity, church or some other worthy cause, we are allowed a tax deduction, which means the government gets less of our money. The president and many in his party keep telling us that the government needs more money, but if they believe this, why are they taking charitable deductions? I expect the reason is that most of us implicitly believe (for good empirical reasons) that private charities and other tax-exempt groups spend our money more wisely and carefully than the government. -- Richard Rahn

America, F*ck Yeah!

Hat-tip: my biological brother via email.

Another T-Shirt Idea

What is this Like button? In my day, we only had abort, retry and fail -- and we liked it!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Kids these days. Why, in my day, all we had was ones and zeroes. And punchcards. If you were lucky, you could use octal...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 17, 2012 5:36 PM


It took me a second to catch on, but I saw this last night and laughed myself into physical pain. The good fans of Washington DC created this special welcome for Boston Goaltender Tim Thomas:


For those keeping score: I love Thomas as a goaltender, except that he might be better than my hero, Ken Dryden. I fulsomely respect his Tea Party views but think he was wrong to decline a White House invitation.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I respectfully disagree. If he doesn't have the right to decline, then it's not an invitation, it's a summons. Free men are not subject to commands in this instance. And I cannot believe that I'm having to defend a free man's individual right to freely associate or not associate here on these hallowed pages.

My recollection may be off on this point - and correct me if I'm wrong, please - but I seem to recollect that Mr. Thomas politely declined and made no public statement on it until he was put on the spot and an explanation demanded of him. He was more gentlemanly about it that I would have been; I would have been more along the lines of Tony Stark schooling Senator Stern on private property rights.

Of course, I will also admit that were I in his skates, twelve feet of glass would be taking an awful lot of accidental stray slap shots.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 17, 2012 4:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And since I am a NASCAR retard: I recollect Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch having schedule conflicts when they were summoned last September. Precedent.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 17, 2012 4:55 PM
But jk thinks:

He certainly has the right to demur -- I was not suggesting he be thrown in the Tower or anything. And I agree was gentlemanly and bipartisan which softened my initial distaste.

I merely wanted to clarify that I was not posting this in support of his decision. When I win the Stanley Cup, I am going to the White House irrespective of the occupant.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2012 5:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Going to an extreme only to make a point: Would you go to the White House if Hitler Barry Manilow were the sitting President of the United States?

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

("Hitler" was supposed to be struck out in prior comment.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Too late! Godwin's Law has been violated. Hahahaha, no, the comment processor removes a lot of HTML, including <strike>

I'll have you know I have attended a Barry Manilow concert. So yeah, I am there. On the mustachioed gentleman from the Fatherland, my point is that President Obama is not in that camp. (A muslim-socialist-kenyan-anticolonialist-dog-eater maybe, but he's not a monster!)

I'd reserve refusal to leaders of that stature. But, yes, I respect his right.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 4:47 PM

A Rare Rhetorical Answer

I ask the eternal internal question: "What if President George W Bush had said that?"

Yesterday Barack Obama addressed the Summit of the Americas in Colombia and spoke about the conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands. Obama seemed to tilt toward Argentina by calling the islands the "Malvinas" rather than the Falklands, which Argentina insists is their proper name.

Only Obama didn't say Malvinas, he said Maldives--an entirely different group of islands located thousands of miles from the Falklands in the Indian Ocean:

I always ask, but I never got an answer -- until today. John Hinderaker finds a Telegraph article that uses the malapropism to take a whack at . . . President Bush:
Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives.

That stupid George Bush -- I can't believe he made President Obama say that!

PJ O'Rourke

D'ja catch this yesterday -- PJ O'Rourke pursues the squire's life in New Hampshire and gets -- a superb column out of it.

This was not back-to-the-land land. I wasn't trying to get in touch with Mother Nature or even leave a message on her answering machine. I wasn't pursuing the era's whole grain and handicraft dream of self-sustenance that still persists in parts of Brooklyn. I wanted to be Lord Grantham of "Downton Abbey" before he was a figment of the BBC's imagination.

I'd majored in English literature and, as sometimes happens, thought this was supposed to make me English instead of literate.

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 8:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 16, 2012

Bad Optics

Nothing I'd change, but it doesn't look good...


Republicans to slash food stamps

Remember when the left cited Sweden?

WSJ's Notable & Quotable

Since becoming Sweden's finance minister, [Anders Borg's] mission has been to pare back government. His "stimulus" was a permanent tax cut. To critics, this was fiscal lunacy--the so-called "punk tax cutting" agenda. Borg, on the other hand, thought lunacy meant repeating the economics of the 1970s and expecting a different result.

Three years on, it's pretty clear who was right. "Look at Spain, Portugal or the UK, whose governments were arguing for large temporary stimulus," he says. "Well, we can see that very little of the stimulus went to the economy. But they are stuck with the debt." Tax-cutting Sweden, by contrast, had the fastest growth in Europe last year, when it also celebrated the abolition of its deficit. The recovery started just in time for the 2010 Swedish election, in which the Conservatives were re-elected for the first time in history

UPDATE: Heritage: Not just ABBA and IKEA anymore

Headline of the Day

Despite Obama charm, Americas summit boosts U.S. isolation

S**t! That's all we had! There is no plan B! Stall 'em...

Meanwhile in Buffy, er Firefly News...

Adam Baldwin to guest star on "Castle."

But for all of those credits in the intervening years, there's still something instantly and specifically pleasing about seeing ABC press stills of Baldwin sharing the frame with Nathan Fillion on this Monday's (April 16) "Castle."

In Monday's episode, titled "Headhunters," Baldwin plays a gritty detective named Ethan Slaughter. There aren't many actors who can get away with playing a character named Detective Slaughter, but with Baldwin, it seems only fitting.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM | What do you think? [9]
But jk thinks:

Coach'd never green light me.

On that note, I am happy to report that my blog brothers have educated me. I get it now. I wince a little but I get it.

Posted by: jk at April 16, 2012 3:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But it's still situational in my book. When a hitter like Todd Helton has a 3-0 count with 2 outs and the lead, let 'er rip, I say. (He didn't. And yes, "High fast ball, right over the plate.")

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2012 3:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Again, Coach can access my hitting stats and Mister Helton's and decide whom to green-light.

Posted by: jk at April 16, 2012 4:16 PM
But jk thinks:

AND tonight you get Jayne! (9pm I think.)

Posted by: jk at April 16, 2012 7:18 PM
But Terri thinks:

Laughed out loud during the opening scene and the barfight.

Posted by: Terri at April 17, 2012 12:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Hey. Just saw it on TiVo -- great stuff!

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2012 10:29 PM

Tweet of the Day


UPDATE: Trading some fun emails with a friend of the blog who sends a link to Obama, like Buffett, pays lower tax rate than his secretary.

Obama himself would not qualify for the Buffett Rule, which would apply only to people who make more than $1 million in a particular year.

I suggested a new T-Shirt "Think of how rich Buffett would be if his secretary weren't so stupid!"

UPDATE II: Of course, Kennedy's friend makes a common error. That is the ten year projection; only 100,000,000 Cartagena Hookers per year could be procured by the Buffett Rule.

Colorado & Virginia, Baby!

Walter Russell Mead has an interesting interactive electoral map. Two tabs show President Obama winning and Governor Romney winning. The difference is flipping Colorado & Virginia.

I have not played that game yet this year, but I am not painting Colorado red in spite of its name. I wonder about Iowa, New Hampshire and possibly Wisconsin. But my state is going to be tough.

You can call me negative (yeah), or point out that I spend too much time with Boulderites (yeah). But there is another item which suppresses my natural sunny optimism. Colorado can be bought. I saw that in the 2010 Senate race. Compared to big markets around the country, the media markets are cheap and can easily be flooded by demagogic commercials from campaigns and 527s. I'm not necessarily pessimistic on the entire race but Colorado will be almost impossible.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

I don't want to admit it but I fear you are right. Particularly if the GOP nominee is Mitt Romney.

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2012 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

No kidding. Dude's going to let a chick pick his VP nominee!

Posted by: jk at April 16, 2012 12:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree with yesterday's FoxNewsSunday panel that there's no rush to name a running mate. This seems like a good way to satiate the salivating press without tipping his hand.

But what's with all those grammatical errors in the transcript of Mitt's quotes? "an instead of a?" "an instead of and?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2012 12:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Back to that map again: Romney could afford to lose Colorado if in turn he could flip Pennsylvania. AlexC? Come in, AlexC!

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

The map is sobering. WaPo's nine swing states sound about right, and the WRM maps both assume NC, Florida, and Ohio. Only Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin and New Hampshire seem in play and blue.

Posted by: jk at April 16, 2012 3:44 PM

Only government could gloat over "profit" when the entire investment is still in the red

Proud to post a guest submission from a good friend of this blog and frequent commenter. His professional life might be better without this appearing on his blog uder his own name.

Treasury: Regions Financial repays TARP funds
(Reuters) -- Regions Financial Corp (RF.N) has repaid $3.5 billion to the U.S. Treasury Department that it received under the bank bailout program and is now fully out of the financial crisis-era program, the Treasury said on Wednesday.

The Treasury said that after the latest payment, the overall positive return on bank investments made under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, has reached $18 billion.

A total of $245 billion was invested in banks under TARP's bank programs and some $263 billion now has been returned in the form of repayments, dividends, interest and other income.

That's a 7.35% return over a few years. Annualized, 2.4%. TARP's bank endeavors actually started more than 36 months ago, so the percentages are even smaller.

Now let's compare the return against the DJIA, NASDAQ and S&P 500 indexes, which merely eyeballed clearly have had better returns over the last few years:


Mind that the $245 is only a third of TARP. The "$18 billion profit" is excluding the black holes called Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG. When you look at the entire TARP program,

So far, taxpayers have recovered about 81 percent, or $337 billion, out of the total $415 billion that the government disbursed across all TARP programs.

But all you'll hear is cheerleading about the program's partial successes, which aren't much of a return at all. It's like a spendthrift overjoyed about a third of his money in a CD, while overall a fifth of his savings may never come back.

Moreover, TARP is not "winding down" as is claimed. Many banks have repaid the loans, but the feds still hold so much preferred stock, which is not "winding down." Nor can TARP be called "winding down" while the feds are still engaged with "troubled assets." And what do people really think will happen when all the loans are repaid, and the feds sell off the last preferred stock share and toxic bond, that taxpayers will get back the hundreds of billions in tax rebates? Or that the money will be used to pay down the national debt? Not a chance. Any profits are treated as new-found money by the feds, ready to spend.

April 15, 2012

The Paul Effect

I wrote yesterdayhttp://www.threesources.com/archives/010585.html that Rick Santorum's campaign "suspension" seems to benefit Ron Paul's more than Mitt Romney's campaign. A blog brother tempered any suggestion I may have implied of a Ron Paul nomination but this Examiner dot com article by Angel Clark suggests an alternate strategy:

“Ron Paul’s victories today declare his delegate-attainment strategy to be a success and they demonstrate that the media and Washington pundits are undercounting his delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa,’ said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Manager John Tate. “Taken together, these victories and those yet to happen forecast a prominent role for Ron Paul at the RNC. They also signal that the convention will feature a spirited discussion over whether conservatism will triumph over the status quo, all in relation to the end game of defeating President Obama,” added Mr. Tate.

Who could complain?

Article also contains more discussion of the Colorado delegate makeup, including the observation that State Party Chairman Ryan Call (whom I respect greatly) will not be Colorado's Delegation Chairman.

P.S. I Tweeted the link to 'Colorado Convention Weekend' to @cologop, @mittromney, and @ronpaul. I expect a comment or ten. :)

But jk thinks:

I am sounding far more argumentative than I feel. But I happened to click on Angel Clark to see a collection of her posts (I was looking for a bio) and the corpus of her work seems to be a spate of articles on -- oh, look at this -- Rep. Ron Paul! And all the success he's having.

I love Ron Paul and swear he has stepped up his game in the primary process. He was on Kudlow the other night and has lost his "crazy uncle" vibe to warmth, seriousness and humor. I would love to see him welcomed at the convention though I have a bit of Brother br's concern that he not choose the moment for un-unifying antics. But I am not suggesting (nor implying you are) that one shorts the Romney GOP Intrade contracts.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2012 6:17 PM

Review Corner

Only fun books today.

Walter Block Defending the Undefendable: The pimp, prostitute, scab, slumlord, libeler, moneylender and other scapegoats in the rogue's gallery of American society.

Two-ninety-nine on Kindle® -- you cannot go wrong. Novitiate-Brother Bryan turned me on to this and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Like Tom Woods, it is great to encounter those who would are "a little farther out there" than I am. I find myself always doing Block's job (you mean speculators aren't bad?) without his wit or knowledge.

It is a great and provocative read -- and a great reference when you are asked to defend someone who is not a Disney hero but is not harming anybody. I also enjoy the history of a book. Reading Mises or Wollstonecraft or Locke, you become immersed in their time period and must contextualize their ideas in it. Block writes in the 1970's and I almost dusted off my leisure suit and put "Some Girls" on. He decries that NYC Taxi medallions are an astronomical $30,000 (an investment to rival 1958 Les Paul guitars) and one of the cartoons that graces the text uses the n-word.

Did I mention he goes too far? He credits the drug pusher for keeping prices low, accepts pimps as economic middlemen, pushing any violence and coercion to a side issue. I dunno, Walter, I need to think about some of those. But that is all I ask those who are just as shocked at my defense of others. Four stars.

Joe & Blake Kernen Your Teacher Said What?!: Trying to Raise a Fifth Grade Capitalist in Obama's America

Joe Kernen cohosts CNBC's Squawk Box; Blake is his daughter. The two of them did a book tour appearance on Kudlow that is in the adorable hall-of-fame. Dad does most of the talking, but Blake takes on a bit of self-education to grow beyond her teachers' and pop culture's simplistic views on economics. I don't know that any ThreeSourcer will learn something from this. But it could be subtitled everything we believe made accessible to a fourth grader. Nice. Four stars.

Lastly, my lovely bride turned me on to the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay long ago. I had forgotten the exact phrasing of her famous verse:

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!

I looked it up and became re-captured by her other work. Renascence and Other Poems is $0.00 on Kindle; several others are free or low single digits. What a voice, what a total HOSS (Merle Rubin noted: "She seems to have caught more flak from the literary critics for supporting democracy than Ezra Pound did for championing fascism"), what a nice change from economics and politics. Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | What do you think? [1]
But dagny thinks:

Maybe we can start the 5th grade capitalist in First Grade. Think the jg and dagny home needs a copy of that one. :-)

Posted by: dagny at April 17, 2012 12:47 PM

Colorado Convention Weekend

Wow! Where to begin. First, it's very liberating to no longer be restricted to 140 characters, and hunt-and-peck typing on a fingertip touchscreen. I used my new Windows Phone to fire off a large number of play-by-play type messages in the last two days but I admit that reading back over them myself it isn't easy to piece together the coherent story that I tried to tell.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels touched on the big picture in this evening's wrap on the Colorado Republican State Assembly.

The momentum was painful for Mitt Romney supporters, who had assumed when Santorum dropped out of the presidential race this week they'd have a much easier time in winning Colorado's delegate and alternate seats to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.

Instead, some of the Santorum's supporters united with Paul's backers to form the "Conservative Unity Slate" to win a slew of delegate slots. Four years ago, only one Paul supporter was elected to attend the national convention.

"This is a revolution," said Florence Sebern of Denver, an "unpledged" delegate who was wearing a Paul pin. She was part of the slate.

Slate supporters said they wanted to send a message to Romney about the importance of sticking to conservative values.

Bartels went on to explain how the Romney backers scrambled after Friday's non-Romney delegate landslide to elect as many pro-Romney delegates as possible on Saturday. They did win eight of twelve seats and by my unofficial count, the total contingent of Colorado National Delegates is therefore:

Romney - 13
Unpledged - 10
Santorum - 6
Unspecified "non-Romney" - 4
Super Delegates - 3
Ron Paul - 0 (4 Alternates are pledged Paul and and some of the "unspecified" may be as well, plus the Santorum and Unpledged delegates who have supposedly made verbal pledges to Paul.)

While this appears to be a Romney victory, closer scrutiny shows that Team Romney should be very concerned. If Mitt does not win the nomination on the first ballot of the National Convention in August his candidacy is probably finished. Given the choice between the party's "clear frontrunner" Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or "crazy old uncle Ron," Colorado's conservative Republicans chose - Ron Paul. Maybe he's not "crazy" after all?

For some time now I've thought that I was something of a Republican maverick, being the only one in my family to defend Ron Paul's foreign policy against the "isolationist" charge. More and more, as I compared the well-groomed Mitt Romney to the Constitutionally principled Ron Paul I found the latter more pleasing. It seems that more of my "God, guns, and family" Republican brethren have shared my epiphany than I could have imagined.

There is another explanation. The shrewd conservative Republicans may be aligning with the Pauliacs merely as a means to an end. Stop the Romney inevitability, force a brokered convention, then mud wrestle on national television until someone other than Mitt gets to 1144. This seems like a longshot strategy with no clear alternative candidate and I hope it is not the motivation. If you agree to support Ron Paul, support Ron Paul. Let's be frank here - the one thing Republicans fear most is Paul supporters voting third party if Ron is not the Republican nominee. "Unity" they implore, "unity." Alright then, unify behind Paul.

I only found one other account of the Colorado Convention than mine and the Post's, and it is very good. Check out Leslie Jorgensen's explanation of the candidate slate strategies at The Colorado Observer. In summary, the 2012 Colorado delegate process was fascinating and foreshadows an even more fascinating Republican National Convention. Hold onto your hats, Republicans! And remember, no matter what, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul or the Man in the Moon ... UNITY!

But jk thinks:

Thanks for the original reporting. And put me down as an 'Aye' for unity.

I love to read about the old days of picking the nominee at the convention, but I think that has gone the way of pickle barrels at the drugstore. Governor Romney may not have a majority of committed delegates, but he has 90% of the committed money.

Senator Santorum is out; Speaker Gingrich was talking like he was out when I saw him on FOX News Sunday; Rep. Paul will have a ground game going forward. But the Romney machine will find the remaining delegates easier to pick up. On your question of the Colorado slate, do you doubt Romney will win the Colorado primary?

I'm also reminded of Peter Robinson's It's my Party. The Mountain West is home to libertarian Republicans and it is dangerous to extrapolate their voice to the rest of the country.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2012 11:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Everything old is new again."

I thank you for your fair points. I agree with them all. I should emphasize that I only meant to say a Paul nomination is far more likely than many believe, not far more likely than any alternative.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2012 2:49 PM

April 14, 2012

Special Edition Coffeehousin'

As played on the Titanic, 100 years ago -- Irving Berlin's "That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune."

UPDATE: Caused by government regulation?

Burning Question

William Jacobson -- like me -- enjoys intelligent dissent in ideas. But he points out that "It always ends badly." A heretofore polite left of center commenter finally lashes out:

It's too bad you're such a filthy liar, Professor. Who does pay you to lie for the GOP, and how much do you get paid?

I ask myself that every day. Where do I sign up? How much do I get? Is there Dental Insurance?

April 13, 2012

Colorado's 4th CD GOP Assembly -2012

Delegate fever is goin' around, and I've caught it. Most of Colorado's Congressional District GOP Assemblies are being held today at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The last time I attended was 2010, an off-year election, and the Assemblies were in Loveland. I made my first ever attempt at blogging a convention that day and while it was a rewarding experience I had to use a laptop and post full blog entries. Today I'll try again with my unlimited talk/text/data T-Mobile HTC Radar 4G Windows Phone (yes, I'm an evangelist) and Twitter. Watch the #3src feed for my scintillating dispatches!

Oh yes, and the Colorado State GOP Convention is tomorrow at 9 am, at DU's Ritchie Center. Same gameplan.

UPDATE [jk]: I wanted to promote jg's tweet to a link: Colorado GOP Platform Resolutions (pdf). I think they are awesome! You get to #37 before I quibble with one, and the few I quibble with tend to be followed by an ameliorative suggestion. Very good stuff!

But johngalt thinks:

And a point of clarification - When I wrote "Help me out with this" above, that really was a question. I'm not sure that the delegates are obligated by the state primary vote and I'm still trying to confirm that. It does make sense, though, or else why have a primary election?

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2012 2:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm really starting to wonder if there will even be a Colorado primary election, at least with presidential candidates on the ballot. This guy says delegates will vote as currently pledged:

Todd King of Lewis, Colorado is one of the elected delegates from that slate. King is a Ron Paul supporter and will vote for Paul for president on the first ballot in Tampa. I asked him how the 17 unpledged delegates break down. This is his statement.

Click through if you're interested in the nitty gritty.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2012 6:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. There may have been a clue all along in proposed resolutions number 60 and 61 in the Colorado GOP Platform Resolutions (pdf).

Sometimes I feel like such a gomer.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2012 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Interesting. I confess I expected a primary just because we've had them before.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2012 8:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Interesting. I confess I expected a primary just because we've had them before.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2012 9:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was actually making a joke about not being a primary. I know there is one because I've seen it on the June page of the Colorado GOP Calendar. Turns out it's just for everything EXCEPT the presidential nominee.

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2012 12:12 PM

April 12, 2012

Post ad hoc Review Corner

One of the reasons Jonathan Haidt's (five stars) The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion has caused such a stir on the right has been Haidt's data showing -- mirabile non dictu -- that Conservatives understand Liberals (conventional American usage of these terms) much better than Liberals understand Conservatives,

I chuckled and thought of my Facebook friends reading that the lefties asserted that conservatives would not object to someone harming a defenseless animal (Puppy-kicking-NASCAR-Retard-bastards!). Haidt presents it in the context of his six-dimensional morality scale and it is quite convincing. Haidt's admission of a lifetime in the liberal wing with no real exposure to right wing ideas provides additional verisimilitude.

Andrew Biggs has a brief review of that section and some additional speculation.

But Haidt's research went one step further, asking self-indentified conservatives to answer those questionnaires as if they were liberals and for liberals to do the opposite. What Haidt found is that conservatives understand liberals' moral values better than liberals understand where conservatives are coming from. Worse yet, liberals don't know what they don’t know; they don’t understand how limited their knowledge of conservative values is. If anyone is close-minded here its not conservatives.

Haidt has a theory regarding why this is the case, based on the idea that conservatives speak a broader and more encompassing language of six moral values while liberals embrace three of the six in a narrow set of core values. I see nothing wrong with this explanation.

I must confess that this book has really stuck with me. I not only enjoyed it but I think of its precepts frequently -- in work relationships, Facebook arguments, &c.

But dagny thinks:

WOW, I hardly know where to begin here, so I will just wade in.

Regarding Phil K. Dick, I would add to Keith’s lexicon that the movie Blade Runner (Harrison Ford – probably qualifies as pop culture) is based on a Phil K. Dick story called, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” The title Blade Runner comes from another Phil K. Dick story with an unrelated plot. Apparently the title was picked at random.

@JK: I do not think your list of conservative novels really qualifies as, “pop culture.” I do not disqualify them because they are novels but because they seem to me to be relatively unknown. I could be wrong here as I do not claim to be a follower of pop culture, quite the contrary in fact, but I think pop culture novels are those that are made into movies. Think The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Perhaps you could get Heinlein into pop culture based on the Starship Troopers movie but the movie directly contradicted the ideas in the book and certainly didn’t reflect conservative thought. Not sure I have ever left a movie theater quite so angry…

Re-read what we wrote about V for Vendetta so long ago and I’m a little surprised that we were so hard on it. It has become a favorite, often recommended and re-watched. Makes a great Halloween costume too. Jg looks just like V. However, my liberal friends insist this movie reflects liberal thought and not conservative thought. “Clearly the conservatives are the bad guys!” Don’t see how this can possibly give liberals a look into conservative thought if they deny this reflects conservative thought. This might perhaps support the theory above that liberal values are a subset of the conservative ones and they only see the liberal ones in this movie. Also includes one of my all-time favorite movie lines, “You only have bullets, but I have ideas and ideas are bullet proof.”

Capt. Mal and crew are perhaps the best example of pop culture conservative thought. Although once again, I have liberal friends that claim this show reflects liberal thought too. Perhaps lack of commercial success noted by jk is because it reflects conservative thought and the liberals just aren’t interested.

Which leads me to yet another theory as to why conservatives understand liberals better than the reverse: Maybe they just don’t care what other people think?

Posted by: dagny at April 13, 2012 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Wait. You mean Willa Cather isn't pop culture?

Fair but I suggest that charlotte and bonfire were big deals -- they did a movie of bonfire, though unfortunately cast.

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2012 11:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In talking with dagny I realized I could have been more specific than "pop culture." I was trying to describe the societal influences that bombard the public without having to be sought out.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2012 9:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Less that I misunderstood and more that I took the topic in the direction I wanted. But I think you undersell the impact of a popular novel. "The Stand" by Stephen King did much for the left as did Steinbeck in his day or Updike & Cheever in mine. Sadly more of us have been influenced by Dickens's "Christmas Carol" than "Bleak House," but what ya gonna ado?

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2012 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I see "A Christmas Carol" every year on television, in one or more of many film adaptations. The original novel was assigned reading in my public school. What is "Bleak House" and who wrote it? (You told me earlier and I still had to ask.)

I'm not the most well read among my generation, nor the least. I'm certainly not least read amongst thems that followed me. This goes to my original point: Liberals teach all of us their values in our formative years, but when we try to teach adult liberals anything it is water off a duck's back. They already "know" everything. It's like they are parents or something.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2012 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Dickens wrote both "Bleak House" and "Christmas Carol." A friend had given me a collection of his one year for Christmas so I had read several of his novels but was never a huge fan.

Seeing Bleak House referenced in some Buffy lit-crit got me to grab it and I loved every word. I still don't know if it's the exact selection, or that I was older and I suspect I'll never know. Bleak House touched me.

There is a very good Andrew Davies BBC adaptation that is enjoyable and faithful. If you like that kind of costume drama stuff at all you should give it a try.

I put it into the Harrison Bergeron category because this man whom we know from Oliver Twist and Christmas Carol (and who appears of both my liberal five and conservative five) really hit this one out of the park. Countless characters are ruined by demanding the unearned. The multigenerational lawsuit Jarndyce & Jarndyce has multiple generations expecting a piece of an aristocratic fortune and ruined while good people create and manage their own lives.

Boulder folks will howl with recognition at Mrs. Jellyby, the "telescopic philanthropist" who leaves her own children unattended and uncared for while she ministers single-mindedly to poor children in Africa.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2012 5:57 PM

Doing The Jobs Americans Won't Do...

I want to give a shout out to Internet-censorship lobbyist and Democratic Apparatchik Hilary Rosen for doing the impossible: uniting the Republicans behind Governor Mitt Romney.

Attack his lovely wife, mother of five, MS patient and Cancer survivor -- man why didn't I think of that?!?!

If anybody doubts this works to Team Red's advantage: Tom Raum of AP is already showing the white flag:

The sides skirmished over assigning blame for rising female job losses.

The latest provocation: an assertion by Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."

The candidate's wife fired back on Twitter that she chose to stay home and raise five boys and that, "believe me, it was hard work." She told Fox News on Thursday that women should respect each other's choices.

A cease-fire, anyone?

RETREAT! RETREAT!!! RUNAWAY!!! Chris Cillizza, WaPo:
Mitt Romney was losing the so-called "war on women." Badly. Until Democratic operative Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN Wednesday night and seemingly derided his wife's decision to stay at home and raise the couple's five boys.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 3:30 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

What the Clinton campaign referred to as the coveted "soccer mom" vote, team Obama derisively calls "slacker moms."

Don't forget that the sanctimonious career women in this administration are the same faction the President sided with in the Catholic contraception controversy. It may not be the leftists who are Obama's undoing, but the radical feminists.

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2012 4:17 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Point of order here, Mr. Moderator:

If it's appropriate to say that devoting at least two decades to raising five boys is not hard work, with the attendant hardship and struggle that goes with the job, but is actually a life of leisurely slackerdom... then how is is "punishment" to have to become a mother and bring a child into the world?


I'd REALLY like to have that explained to me.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 12, 2012 5:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Life's mysteries abound, Brother Keith. I'd think that comment would be distasteful across the spectrum.

My lovely bride has another addition to this odd tale (though after my third fund-raising email, I'm willing to admit the dear GOP might overstep...)

Really, Ms. Rosen's complaint is that Ms. Romney made good choices. Had the Governor's wife had no job, a drug habit, and two children with no dad -- then she'd be swell! A heroic figure like the mythical Las Vegas waitress! But choosing a good man (while he is not any of our's dream candidate, I think we would all confer good guy status) getting married and creating a successful home makes her an outlier.

Strange world.

Posted by: jk at April 12, 2012 6:36 PM

Quote of the Day

"Borrowing" WSJ's Notable & Quotable today:

Roosevelt, after whom Obama fashions himself, read the Constitution as empowering government in ways that had been largely rejected for 150 years. That's why those on Obama's side invariably begin their arguments with "Since the New Deal," as if that were a source of legitimacy. It isn't. The Constitution was written in 1787, not 1937. As amended, it is the sole source of whatever legitimacy the government has, and it is the duty of the courts to determine what that law is, in the execution of which they must be actively engaged. -- Roger Pilon

But johngalt thinks:

FDR threatened to "stack the court" to encourage rulings in his favor. That strategy worked for him, to a limited extent and for a limited time, and lost all effect upon his death. President Obama could renew the threat himself but thusfar has not. Whaddaya say, Barack? Bring it on!

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2012 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Too late, bro: The Packers Can't Beat the Lions.

Posted by: jk at April 12, 2012 3:28 PM


Let the games begin!

Sabato's "Crystal Ball" emails are awesome, and free! [subscribe]

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Please don't use the word rich!

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2012 3:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm hurt that my man Allen West didn't even make the "total long shots" list!

I could support any of the 1st tier prospects but I really hope Mitt doesn't choose Rob "Dan Quayle" Portman. Of the 2nd tier suggestions only Pawlenty or possibly McDonnell makes sense to me. The others are either baggage-laden, non-photogenic or too charismatic for the "Robin" slot.

I was pleased that most of the slate is composed of individual members of the only non-protected oppressed minority class: white males.

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2012 3:35 PM

April 11, 2012

Jon Stewart

On ThreeSources? Really?

On ThreeSources. Really. Hat-tip: Ludwig von Mises Institute on Facebook.

Have a Barf Bag Handy

A good liquid-holding disposable container should be within reach before you click on Rick Ungar's blog post on Forbes. (My infamous Facebook friends love to post Ungar's work -- it carries the imprimatur of Forbes without the weight of liberty, free markets or rational thought.)

But I am just being mean. It seems the President is responsible for the early peak in gasoline prices. His brilliant ploy of jawboning down the speculators is paying off. Huzz-freakin-zah!

The oil speculators that falsely drove up the price of oil over the past few months -- by as much as $20 a barrel--may have gotten the message that the Administration wasn't going to sit idly by and let them mess up our recovery just so they could make more money.

[more associated tawdry nonsense deleted for brevity...]

After months of beating on the President for the high price of gasoline--despite the fact that he had absolutely nothing to do with the rises--should we now consider that a clever bluff has played a major part in reversing the trend and saving us all big money at the gas pump?


Let me get this straight.

Were we to increase domestic production, prices would not be lowered for 827.5 years. Anybody who fails to recognize that is an Obama-hater who does not understand economics. Probably thinks he is a Muslim or something.

But an idle well-crafted threat to tap the SPR toppled the evil speculators all over the world. And all the children lived happily after.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

But wasn't gas a buck seventy nine when President Omnibenevolent took office?

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2012 10:09 PM

'Lectric Car Battery Explodes in Lab

Government General Motors researches new battery technology at its Alternative Energy Center in Warren, Michigan. They had a bit of an accident there last Wednesday.

Warren Mayor James Fouts described the injury to the hospitalized worker as being serious. Fouts was in his office when he received a call about the explosion.

"I just want to say how very fortunate we are that only one person was seriously injured," said Fouts, who toured the site after the fire was extinguished. "There were 80 people in that building, but only one person received a possible concussion and some chemical burns, from what I've been told."

According to Fouts, the building housing the research lab received considerable damage.

"It was significant structural damage. Three very large windows were blown out and thick, fortified doors were forced open by the blast," Fouts said. "Our fire commissioner said the blast went straight up in the area where they test lithium batteries. The building was stuffed with personnel and equipment, but it was designed very well."

Fouts said he noticed a chemical taste in his mouth when he was at the blast site.



But jk thinks:

Clearly, this shows the effectiveness of the powerful Oil and Gas lobby using its leverage to expunge bad press. Cinch up the foil a little above the ears -- you'll get it.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 3:26 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

"So these investments -- in things like education and research and health care -- they haven't been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another," the president said today at Florida Atlantic University. "This is not some socialist dream," Obama added, as he called for tax increases on millionaires today to pay for those investments.

From the Washington Examiner - Obama: I'm not trying to 'redistribute wealth'

I Was Right and You ALL Were Wrong

See, you can already see the elevation of discourse and heightened understanding now that I have read Jonathan Haidt's superb "The Righteous Mind." (I sold a couple lefty friends on that -- I'll let you know how it goes.)

But I think I can enjoy a good gloat with Michael Barone as he reports net illegal immigration from Mexico is now zero. The data hail from Think Progress so a pinch of NaCl is warranted, but I do not think anybody can deny the trend. Insty quips that "The way things are going here, the flow may soon go the other way."

Barone underlines the incredibly underreported story of the improving Mexican middle class.

Among the reasons: Mexico has been growing more prosperous, its birth rates declined sharply two decades ago and it now has a middle class majority (as former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda argues in his 2011 book Mañana Forever?). For some years I feared that Mexico could not achieve higher economic growth than the United States since our economies have been tied so tightly together by NAFTA since 1993. But in the past two years Mexico's growth rate has been on the order of 5% to 7%. It's looking like Mexico's growth rate is tied not to that of the United States but to that of Texas, which has been a growth leader because of its intelligent public policies which have prevented public employee unions from plundering the private sector economy. Anyway, looking ahead, anyone seeking changes in our immigration laws should keep in mind that immigration in the future is not likely to look like immigration in the recent past.

But I claim credit because it vindicates my claim that the bulk of "undocumented immigration" was to pursue employment, and that we all reaped -- as Ricardo predicted -- increased wealth from comparative advantage and the growth of the economic pie (more a nice flan than pie...)

They came to fill and fulfill a need and as that need subsides, so does the wave. When President Obama leaves office and the recovery begins again in earnest, the voices of the Tancredo wing will rise pari passu. But this time, ThreeSourcers will not be fooled. Next time, my brothers and sisters will see these workers as the important piece of the economic engine.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Neener-neener!

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 4:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mexico could hardly grow less prosperous. America, on the other hand... Another headline for this story might read: "Obama's America no sale to immigrants seeking opportunity"

But yes, you are right. You have affected ThreeSourcers immigration views for the better - speaking for myself at the very least.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2012 9:34 PM

Quote of the Day

"I am certain, however, that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice." -- F.A. Hayek
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 10, 2012

Tweet of the Day


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:32 PM | What do you think? [0]


It isn't quite a perfect metaphor - General Lee was defeated at Gettysburg but did not surrender there - but the historic civil war cemetery there is apropos for hosting the end of Rick Santorum's GOP presidential nomination bid.

"We were very concerned about our roles as being the very best parents has we can be to our children," Santorum said. "We made a decision over the weekend while this presidential race is over to for me and will suspend our campaign effective today -- we are not done fighting."
Well, okay, technically Santorum hasn't surrendered either. But really, he's blaming the end of his candidacy on the need to be good parents? After all this time? C'mon Rick, say it: "We got our butts whupped."

Larry Flynt's 'Obama 2012' campaign earmarks may not be spent after all. And br'er JK's plea has been answered.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

And when Gingrich realizes that he's polling below Ron Paul... naw, even then, he won't quit.

You know who this helps, right?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 10, 2012 3:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Umm, he of JK's plea?

Still, he ain't got a snowball's chance at the nomination.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2012 4:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Sorry, JG - I'm guilty of being a little esoteric on that one. It's a reference to broadcaster Hugh Hewitt, who in 2008 repeated the phrase "you know who this helps?" or "you know who this benefits?" on the air so frequently - followed by the answer "Mitt Romney" - that it became a meme.

I posted a link to the Santorum presser on Facebook, with the lead-in "And then there were two." I've been waiting with bated breath for someone to correct me and tell me that there are three left. But, as we learned from Highlander, there can only be one.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 10, 2012 7:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm hurt. I corrected you to 1.375.

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2012 7:30 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

HAH! So that's what you meant. I was trying to figure out if that was Celsius, or in Canadian dollars, or something. I can be a little slow on the uptake. I bow to your superior esoterica...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 11, 2012 12:17 PM

Money Swappin'

Since central banking, and more specifically, monetary policy is such a hot topic here at Three Sources, I decided to share this article written by Philipp Bagus for Mises Daily. While a lot of attention has been given to monetary policy, interest rates, and inflation in previous posts on Three Sources, Mr. Bagus brings to the forefront an often overlooked activity undertaken by our central bank: Currency and Credit Swaps.

Our differences regarding price inflation versus monetary inflation aside, it is because of these activities that an Audit of the Federal Reserve is needed. The moral hazards created by these types of activities are numerous and include, but are not limited to, currency debasement and loss of liberty in Europe.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Let me take a moment and welcome brother Bryan to TS; and to thank foresight that I chose other than my given name for my "handle" here.

To save time booting up the True Type page (and to not take up valuable Headline space), can I ask for recommendations for tax preparers? I'll file an extension, so save the finger-wagging... I've enough complexity with divorce expenses, legal bills (of which I hear a portion is deductible) and 401k liquidations to warrant seeking a pro.. in May.

Btw: I'm approved to buy a house, so I'll be pretty mute for a month or three. I'm sure you'll terribly miss me. Let's hope Mitt discovers some wind under his wings....

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 11, 2012 9:34 AM
But jk thinks:

ThreeSourcers finger-wag on taxes? Mai non!

gd and dagny are your sources for recommendations. If neither tunes in on their bad week, I'll do a bit of emailing.

Best of luck in the house -- you need answer one question for the ex-pats: Boulder County?

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 10:19 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

NB- The Refugee and the Mrs. use Colleen Weaverling at Middlemist and Crouch in Boulder. Been using her for years for two businesses, personal returns, etc - excellent accountant and advisor. Contact me if you need more details.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 11, 2012 3:04 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The house (nee: 1979), is in Lafayette; a couple of blocks from the eastern end of Waneka Lake.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 12, 2012 11:29 PM

Interesting Project

Thomas Woods and Kevin R. C. Gutzman have both received favorable reviews from ThreeSources Review Corner.

Both are on the faculty of Woods's new Liberty Classroom, a very interesting looking project. Ninety-nine bucks gets a person a full year's access to all of their coursework. I think I'm in.

Certainly worth a look.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Bryan thinks:

Very Nice!

When I attended Dr. Woods' lecture at CU this fall he mentioned this project. I am very happy and excited that they have been able to implement it.

I may have to join as well.

Posted by: Bryan at April 10, 2012 12:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've had Woods bookmarked for a while. He's hardcore enough to never survive a confirmation hearing, but not too shrill, IMO.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 11, 2012 9:39 AM
But jk thinks:

No he is not shrill at all. I enjoy his stuff a lot. Were he in a confirmation hearing, however, and I was advising his opponents, they'd show up with a copy of "33 Questions" and he would not get a dog catcher job. Sad but true.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 10:22 AM

April 9, 2012

A Crony by any other Name...


Maybe "Taggart" isn't the best name for a company that may well devour $300,000 in special-interest tax breaks from Kentuckians. From the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce press release:
Taggart Solar, LLC has announced its plans to locate a new manufacturing facility in the Edmonson County Industrial Park in Edmonson County in a 10,000-sq-ft leased building. The company will employ 30 individuals when the project is complete. The project's announced capital investment is more than $440,000.

Couldn't get any worse. . . Umm . . .
"We're extremely excited to announce our plans to locate in Edmonson County," said Dagney Johnson, president of Taggart Solar.

The head of Arby's was named after Howard Roark I hear...

But johngalt thinks:

Any word on the "John Galt Solar Battery?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2012 11:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Hank Rearden Ethanol bought him out -- for pennies on the dollar.

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2012 11:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Indeed. Gold pennies.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2012 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at April 10, 2012 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2012 4:54 PM


I love Sophie Milman. Back in Moscow, the Russian-Israeli-Canadian "closed the show with this Russian classic, 'Molitva' then I cried on-stage for the first time in my life."


Music Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

"The president is dangerously close to totalitarianism,"

So says libertarian ex-jurist Andrew Napolitano. And the IBD Editorial Page is inclined to agree.

The whole thrust has been the acquisition of power by the federal government centered on the White House. That is the theme of ObamaCare, which is not about health care but about making people as dependent on government benevolence, if we can use that word, as possible.

Those who stand in the way, whether it be the Supreme Court, Congress or institutions such as the Catholic Church, are to be either ignored when possible, or intimidated and bullied into silence and acquiescence in the proud tradition of President Obama's mentor, Saul Alinsky.

What is at stake here is freedom and whether we shall be governed by a document that begins with "we the people" or whether we shall be ruled, in totalitarian fashion, by a bill that says "the secretary shall determine" what our rights and freedoms are.

I recall my apolitical Texas cousin being bewildered by my warnings of Barack Obama's principles and ambitions prior to the 2008 election. "You're crazy" she said, when I told her he intended to become Robin Hood in the White House, and worse. Last month we had occasion to meet again. She now seems to have accepted that I wasn't just whistling Dixie. Neither is Judge Napolitano.

Otequay of the Ayday

These are the ancient arguments that once pitted the liberty of the American Revolution against the egalitarianism of the French, the statist visions of John Maynard Keynes against the individualism of Friedrich Hayek, and the tragic admission that we cannot be truly free if we are all forced to end up roughly equal versus the idealism that if we are all roughly equal then we are at last truly free.

In blunter terms, Romney's message is that, if you have the money to drive a nice Kia, what do you care if a sleek Mercedes whizzes by? Obama's answer, in contrast, is that you should care, because the guy in the Mercedes probably took something from you.

-- Victor Davis Hanson in IBD: 'The 2012 Election Is A Contest Between Freedom And Fairness'

Quote of the Day

There has been a lot of talk about women and women's issues lately -- President Obama
Yes, all of the talk has been orchestrated by . . . the White House. It's sort of like a mobster walking into a shop and deliberately knocking over all the glassware and crystal. "Say, there's been a lot of talk about crime in this neighborhood . . ." -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]

Only Honest People Vote Once

This post is a mixture of "if you're not outraged you're not paying attention" and "Monday morning funnies."

Oh yeah, well, I'll bet he couldn't get away with this if he said he was Barack Obama!

But jk thinks:

John Fund has been on this beat for many years. He enjoyed this...

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2012 5:10 PM

April 8, 2012

Review Corner

Jonathan Haidt gets five stars for "The Righteous Mind." I do not think there is a sentient human that would not have some of his base beliefs -- or even core principles -- challenged by the book. Yet, the treatment is so fundamentally serious and fair that one cannot help but to give these ideas a serious hearing.

The book has attracted much buzz because the long time Democrat, liberal pointy head college professor explains the seriousness and nuance of conservative thought. It's not the story of a David Mamet-esque conversion, but rather an acceptance of the seriousness of their moral beliefs and their position in the moral framework he has constructed.

Likewise, I got some schooling as to where my lefty friends are coming from. If I have a gripe it is that libertarians get short shift in his world. Though his last chapter provides a superb "elevator talk" for libertarianism, the book focuses on the split between religious social conservatives and secular progressives.

At the end of so many arguments comes "how do my intelligent friends think these things?" This is as good -- and as interesting -- an explanation as you'll ever get.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:31 PM | What do you think? [0]


I hate boycotts. I do not listen to Rush Limbaugh. I do not call myself a conservative.

But I am pretty tired of pointy-heads telling us how to live. The lovely bride and I were considering dinner plans last night and Arby's came up (yup, nothing but the finest when you're married to me!) We simultaneously said "Nah..."

If you're going to commit to team blue, I'll probably not boycott you for all time but I will look for substitutes. As DaTechGuy says -- in my favorite blogger locution -- "How fortunate for Arby's that they have a monopoly on fast food -- so conservatives have no other choices. Oh, wait . . ."

So I will not forego roast beef for all time (the nearest Arby's is something of a drive) but they lost a sale last night. And they'll see a bit less of our debased fiat currency in the future.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:38 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Forgive my ignorance but what has RB's done?

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2012 11:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Arby brass tweeted that they were not going to advertise on Rush Limbaugh any more -- even though they did not. Then, when Rush fans started tweeting back, they blocked everyone who complained.

Not puppy torture perhaps, but one of those unforced-Dixie-Chick-style errors where someone feels an urgent need to reach out in solidarity to 39% of his or her customer base. Scroo'm eh?

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2012 1:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good grief, it's sad to see established brands become so insecure they find it necessary to update their image somehow. Next thing you know, KFC will rebrand itself KGC. Oh wait...

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2012 2:33 PM

April 7, 2012

All Hail Mark Perry!

The greatest economic inanity prevalent today -- the envelope please . . . we had a lot of good nominations this year -- is the "War on Women Caterpillars Speculators." I sit there enjoying Kudlow & Company and watching sentient beings assure viewers that oil prices are high because of speculators and, my personal favorite, that only oil users should be allowed in the market.

As to the first, it is true if future shortages are expected, but I do not understand the suggestion that volatility and shortages are superior to better price and supply data today. On the second point, I must delve into the low-rent argument of sarcasm: "Yeah -- the last think we'd want is efficient liquid markets with buyers and sellers!"

Who cares what I think? Professor and great econblogger Mark J Perry collects a short and sweet series of quotes "In Celebration of the Speculators, Who Bless Society With Significant Benefits"

MP: In other words, speculators who continually lose money by buying high and selling low (which would increase volatility and be destabilizing) will be forced to leave the market eventually, and only rational speculators -- those who will actually help to stabilize prices -- will survive.

UPDATE: It's almost a segue. David Goldman says (HT: Insty) that Short Supply, Not Middle East Tensions, Push up Oil Prices

"Right now the key thing that is driving higher gas prices is actually the world's oil markets and uncertainty about what's going on in Iran and the Middle East, and that's adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices," President Obama said March 23. It's complete and utter nonsense. Oil is trading in lockstep with expectations for economic growth, as reflected in stock prices. There's not a shred of evidence that geopolitical uncertainty has added a penny to the oil price. Obama's $20 to $30 per barrel risk premium is a number pulled out of a hat, without a shred of empirical support. In effect, the President is blaming Israel for high oil prices

But johngalt thinks:

Hail Mark Perry! Hail Mark Perry! Hey, can we get him an appearance on Kudlow?

As for the cause of oil price changes I heartily agree with David Goldman. As I wrote in November 2008:

The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."
Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2012 1:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Kudlow always corrects them, saying "What you call 'speculators' I call 'investors.'" But I would love to see Perry...

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2012 2:30 PM

April 6, 2012

Look for the Union Label

Maybe the President has more problems with Unions over the Coal issue than I suggested:

Otequay of the Ayday

American exceptionalism is a highly charged term, and sometimes means different things to different people, and is a particularly potent concept in conservative politics.

Generally, the term is said to be the notion that America has a unique historic mission, values and ideals, that are either endowed by God or enshrined in the Constitution that make it exceptional in the world. -- Agence France-Presse on "American exceptionalism."

But jk thinks:

Mon Dieu!

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2012 12:56 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Behold the second coming of Alexis de Tocqueville.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 6, 2012 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:
"It's worth noting that I first arrived on the national stage with a speech at the Democratic Convention that was entirely about American exceptionalism and that my entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism." -- President Humble
Posted by: jk at April 6, 2012 4:20 PM

April 5, 2012

Quote of the Day

The Obamacratic Party's raison d'ètre is to expand the Welfare State. Obamacrats do not believe markets work for healthcare. Obamacrats believe making a profit in the healthcare sector is immoral. -- James Pethokoukis, The Tao of Obamacare in just 30 Words
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

'Stealthflation' we barely knew ye

The I-word is about to come out of the shadows, and into the full light of day. Investors:

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting show the central bank has all but abandoned plans for another round of quantitative easing.

It's now clear the Fed is more worried about inflation than recession.

Other notable nuggets-

Net interest expense will triple to an all-time high of $554 billion from $185 billion, Treasury says, meaning we'll pay more to service our debt than to protect our nation. The defense budget stands at $525 billion.


The reversal in interest rates makes defusing the Obama debt bomb through real budget cuts even more urgent than it already is.


The federal debt so far has not been the political liability that it could be for Obama in his bid for re-election.

But if interest rates rise at an even faster clip as he heads into November, the issue could blow up in his face. As his South Side reverend once famously said, the chickens are coming home to roost.

But jk thinks:

I've a huge deliverable next Monday and have shirked my blogging duties. Sorry if I miss somebody's point more than usual.

It seems we complain that they see no inflation and promise to expand the balance sheet with QEn or rearrange maturates through twist (and I join you).

Now, they are -- sensibly -- telegraphing some tightening or at least no further expansion. I think that was a good move. Equities never like the threat of less punch in the bowl, but the Dollar improved and Larry Kudlow's blood pressure dropped 25 basis points.

Don't know I got to be the blog fiat money guy, but again facing the exigencies of our system, the Bernanke Fed is actually doing okay. Not as good as free market competing currencies, not as good as I would do. But compared to fiscal policy (which gets 78.653% of the real estate in the linked IBD article), The Bernank is doing okay.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 6:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hate when earning a living interferes with blogging.

My point with Stealthflation has been that monetary policy was and is creating price inflation despite the denials and assurances we heard from professional economists. The Bernank was seemingly so fearless of inflation that he virtually guaranteed the present low interest rate into 2014. Now he reverses course, two years early. I read this as evidence that I was right all along and the Fed was either wrong or duplicitous.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2012 11:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A gross oversimplification, I know.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2012 1:56 AM
But jk thinks:

That is exactly what I inferred. I find/found the two-year zero interest rate guarantee irresponsible, no defense there. And I would have tightened a little, or at least jawboned the dollar up, a quarter or two ago.

My point was that you are training a dog. He has just asked to go outside and done just what you wanted. And you're whacking him with a newspaper yelling "Bad dog! You messed up the carpet last week!"

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2012 10:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I was trying to whack him with that newspaper last week.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2012 1:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have to add that FNC's Neil Cavuto backed me up this morning.

Contributor: "The only thing that I disagree with is that there's some sort of conspiracy here. I mean, the government doesn't want to deny that there's inflation. A lot of prices are cheaper. The overall numbers...[interrupted]"

Cavuto: "If you acknowledge inflation, the genie's out of the bottle. You have to start lifting interest rates, you have to start doing a lot of stuff you don't want to do. You most certainly want to hide it."

This was the meaning of my title - there was a stealth cloak, and it is dissipating.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2012 1:28 PM

Anti-Obama Union Boss!

It was only a matter of time...

While the United Mine Workers of America likely won’t actively oppose President Obama’s reelection bid, Roberts said the new EPA regulation could prevent the union from endorsing the president.

“That’s something that we have not done yet and may not do because of this very reason. Our people’s jobs are on the line,” Roberts said, adding that Obama has “done a lot of great things for the country.”

Roberts's [sic] comments underscore the vehement opposition to the new EPA regulations in coal states whose economies rely heavily on the fossil fuel.

I also really enjoyed this quote:

Roberts, in Tuesday’s interview with host Hoppy Kercheval, took aim at the Sierra Club, arguing the environmental group’s campaign to shut down coal plants is killing jobs.

“This is a broader problem for me than it is for the Sierra Club or the EPA,” Roberts said. “And I’m convinced, Hoppy, that if you give the Sierra Club enough money, they could shut your job down. I don’t know how they’d do it, but they’d figure out a way.”

But jk thinks:

Yet they will line up to reelect him. The rank and file might wander behind the closed curtain (Taranto Metaphor Alert!) but the leadership will do all they can to give him another term.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 4:38 PM

April 4, 2012

Put a Fork in it

May I now call the primary contest over? Governor Romney swept the three primaries last night (and Erie Mayor Joe Wilson was re-elected by 41 votes).

Beyond the commanding delegate lead, the reaction of talking heads on FOX News speaks to a race that is over. The people with the most to gain from a continued race -- the FOX News team, panel and paid pundits -- were all on and not one could suggest a plausible excuse for Senator Santorum to stay in. And nobody mentioned Mr. Gingrich's name: he was Speaker Voldemort last night.

I have reconciled to Governor Moisturizer. He gave a good speech and appeared Presidential taking the fight to President Obama while SenSweatervest sniped about evil establishment GOPers like Sens. Marco Rubio (HOSS - FL) and Ron Johnson (HOSS - WI). I can't call myself excited, but you go into battle with the candidates you have. I hope he selects a Tea-Party-friendly VP, but I am ready for prepare for November.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Works for me, brother. My Thomas Sowell post arguing against nominating Romney almost made me forget my Robert Tracinski post arguing in favor of it.

And last night's speech, with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Paul Ryan in the wings (and obviously in his ear) sounded much more like the unapologetic fiscal conservative that TEA Partiers have been pining for than any prior Romney effort. "We are for a prosperity that is grown and shared rather than restrained and divided." It is the actualization of what Robert Tracinski described:

"I can live with Romney as the Republican candidate. While he won't be a staunchly reliable defender of freedom, he will at least respond pragmatically to outside political pressure, giving pro-liberty grass roots activists a chance to keep the ideological momentum in our favor."

Messrs. Johnson and Ryan are a good influence on the "well-oiled weathervane" that is candidate Romney.

Another excellent influence would be, running mate Allen West. Game on!

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2012 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Hasty, hasty! A Santorum loss in Pennsylvania, I am assured, will destroy the Senator's future prospects. He lost badly in his last Senate race, and a Romneythumping will cement his loser cred.

Go Rick, Go! Ignore those pointy-headed establishment bastards saying that you can't win! Delegate math? Schmelligut-math, I say.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 10:42 AM

April 3, 2012

Tweet of the Day II

Primary night, I get another. It hurts me still. But I can at least laugh about it...


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 8:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

The "Ford is bailout-free" meme

I've heard this both ways since the big Obama-lead union takeover of GM and Chrysler - Ford survived the big recession without a bailout, and Ford received government loans that haven't been repaid. The first point of view seems most popular, as repeated in dear dagny's 'Article of the day' today.

Ford was the only U.S. automaker to save itself without the help of a government lifeline in 2008. As Dan points out in the accompanying video, the story of Ford is perhaps the only successful non-bankruptcy restructuring seen in the U.S. over the last thirty or forty years.

Okay, I give the Mulally team serious props for turning around a huge corporation that was near junk bond status in 2006. The greatest single factor, in my opinion, was the removal of Bill Ford as CEO but that's a separate story. But even if they didn't take federal aid in 2008 their claims of bailout purity are tarnished somewhat by their DOE loans.

If DOE-guaranteed loans aren't repaid, taxpayers foot the bill, but that's not the only downside of federal-government financing of private businesses, as I've written about previously. Companies that don't tow the Administration line, that don't employ favored constituent groups, or are headed by outspoken CEOs (like Steve Wynn) would probably have their loan applications treated differently than was Ford's. And as economist John Tamny writes in his most recent column, "once an institution is the recipient of government largesse" it must serve its "political masters" who will seek "payback in the form of coerced business activity that has nothing to do with profit."
But jk thinks:

This proud Toyota owner is going to come down fulsomely on the side of Ford Motor Corporation.

Corporations must maximize asset value for their shareholders. In today's world, sadly, part of that is managing and exploiting government loopholes and subsidies. Getting a cherry loan to create "green jobs" is way down the list from what happened to GM and Chrysler.

We're on the hook for this loan if Ford defaults; you're on the hook for my FHA loan if I default. But Ford looks good to keep up (and I'm allright). GM, conversely, is public ownership of the means of production. And the property theft from secured GM and Chrysler bondholders is still mortifying.

I think it would be naive to expect Ford to play by libertarian rules, and yet I think you may have explained why there are not more commercials hyping the firm's chastity. It does take the wind out of that commercial.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2012 10:25 AM

Tweet of the Day


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 2, 2012

Celebrate Diversity!

From the Pauline Kael files...

James Taranto brings a series of gobsmacked lefties, surprised that SCOTUS is taking the constitutionality of ObamaCare® seriously. This one was a jewel:

Chris Matthews, NBC: "Were you surprised that this was even a prospect? I was totally unprepared because of the way people talked. I never heard it discussed politically as a prospect, that they actually might get his [Obama] major achievement just ripped off the books. I have a broad section of friends and colleagues and not one of them saw this coming. Not my co-workers like Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O'Donnell. My old boss Jimmy Carter? Not one of them thought the individual mandate could be ruled as anything but constitutional. I'm flabbergasted!"

Wow, seeking a diverse array of opinions, Matthews consults: "Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O'Donnell, and President Carter." He really did his homework

UPDATE: D'OH! Taranto and I fell for an April Fool's joke! ThreeSources apologizes for the lack of humor.

Great Volt News!

Thanks to record sales, GM may cancel the extra week's hiatus they added to "control inventory."

Spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said GM may cancel the additional summer shutdown week at the factory if sales continue to be strong as expected. "We're going to see what market demands are between now and then," she said today.
They shut down production for lack of sales. Then they extended the shutdown a week. Now, they might cancel the extra week's shutdown. I just wish I owned GM stock. Oh, wait a minute...

Orwell weeps.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I have two questions that come to mind. The first is, who's doing all this new buying of Volts - private buyers, or might it happen to be government agencies and Red China?

The second is, if it is private citizens doing the buying, then how many of them are buying them as a result of being motivated by the spiralling price of gasoline (primarily the result of Federal policies driving up the price of petrol), and how many of them would not choose the highly-priced Volt if it were not for the fact that taxpayers are picking up the tab for twenty percent of the sticker price?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 2, 2012 2:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

General Electric has pledged to buy 12,000 of them, amounting to 20% of the initial sales forecast and over a quarter of the revised target.

Not sure though which GE is closer to: private buyer or government agency?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2012 3:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG: given how friendly Jeff Immelt has been with this administration, I'd that the boundary between the two is somewhat porous.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 3, 2012 5:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True enough, but Immelt's promise to buy Volts from Obama was clearly made during happier times.

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2012 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Here's a scary thought. What if the incentives have done nothing?

The purchases are made by people who have a special need, or don't completely care about the price. Maybe the 10-grand giveaways are not doing it.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2012 6:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Plus GE stands to benefit from wide acceptance by supplying charing stations. So the cronyism goes beyond politics.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2012 6:10 PM

Quote of the Day

Obama’s "green" preferences have already done GM immense damage by politicizing the Volt--a genuine engineering achievement that was supposed to cast a "halo" over Chevrolet's entire car line, but whose failure to achieve sales goals has instead become a widely publicized embarrassment. It's now a reverse-halo car. ... If the President really wanted to boost GM sales to the sort of red-blooded Heartland types who still buy American cars–people who are probably not O.F.A. members--he should have said he plans to drive a Camry when he leaves office. -- Mickey Kaus
Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

DIsmal Science

A fellow fan of Professor Mankiw's blog writes and distributes shows for school plays and musicals. He has adpted "It's a Wonderful Life" to the Panic of '08 and you can listen to the tunes on the gomusicals.com website:

Potter (a female in our version) and Sam Wainwright reflect on the economy. Inspired by a Rogoff article [Mankiw] linked to: "Game We Play"

Asleep at his desk, George has a Schumpeterian dream: "Steve Jobs"

Violet reflects on opportunity costs: "Live for Today"

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Abraham Maslow

The only happy people...are working well at something they consider important --Abraham Maslow (born this day in 1908)
I just started Jonathan Haidt's (so far superb!) The Righteous Mind. I was surprised to see the Psychologist attribute my favorite Maslow quote "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" to Mark Twain. I've been using that so long, I'm afraid to look it up.

Either way, Maslow is a rare gift to a science littered with -- shall we agree -- some non-Hosses.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

A Rare Win?

My least favorite act of lefty nonsense passed with little fanfare this year.

In fact, the only reason I know that the "North Korea Hour of No Power" happened at all was that I saw several posts in opposition. Not even one of my beloved moonbat Facebook friends was talking it up this year.

On March 31, some people will be sitting in the dark to express their "vote" for action on global climate change. Instead, you can join CEI and the thousands of people around the world who will be celebrating Human Achievement Hour (HAH). Leave your lights on to express your appreciation for the inventions and innovations that make today the best time to be alive and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion.

Of course, there was one FB post about "not buying gas on April 15 this year." XOM trembles...

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Jeeburz, anti-prosperity nonsense isn't quite as sustainable as the neo-statists had hoped, is it? They'll get another chance to try again, in about three weeks, on "Earth" Day.

(A special treat: Click through at the link for an old-timey Rick Santorum nugget.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2012 2:46 PM


My pre-review of James Madison and the Making of America attracted a comment from the author, Kevin R. C. Gutzman, who was kind enough to answer a speculation on the timing of the book.

Finishing the book and considering -- it would have been germane any year of the Republic. They fought over the Commerce Clause at the Convention in Philadelphia, and clever Congress people tried to use the General Welfare Clause and the text of the preamble to expand government power before the ink was dry.

The underline for me -- and I think my draw to Madison -- is how hard drafting a Constitution is. We argue self-assuredly about the wonder of the Tenth Amendment and the evils of the 17th. It's wondrous to think that with no scattered history and trial, that this magnificent document was assembled, sold, and ratified. Nobody at the birth thought it was perfect -- it was law-sausage and contained deep compromises to each signer.

No doubt the founders would yell "what are you doing!" at us for much of what we tolerate, but I think there would be some pride in the devotion to its principles.

That's me talking, not the book. But it is a great read with some new viewpoints. Four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:26 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Bryan thinks:

I'm going to have to read it! I have been to several of Dr. Tom Woods lectures where he references Dr. Gutzman's research and always speaks very highly of him.

Posted by: Bryan at April 1, 2012 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

It's very good; on Kindle or I'd lend. Hey, did you read Woods's 33 Questions??

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2012 12:04 PM

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