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.
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."
Philip K. Dick
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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
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."
It's like folks in our Nation's capital just operate by their own set of rules or something...
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.)
I got a comment early this morning on a year old post. Commenter "never_to_return" who probably does not check his email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
April 25, 2012
If I wanted America to Fail
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.
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
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]
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.
Happy #@#&ing Earth Day
From Gateway Pundit: Green Activists Completely Trash Park on Earth Day
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 GillespieHat-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.
Sorry to hear about this
Already? We were just having fun!
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!
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.
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
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.
"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.
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.
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.
April 19, 2012
UPDATE Ia: A link is not sufficient:
Innovation is not dead. Got this on my work account:
Rewriting marketing history...how the GSA could have saved their jobs
Tax Day: "This is not about wealth redistribution"
A Sunny take on the fun
Don't know about the rest of you but I have writer's cramp from writing checks.
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.
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.
I'm wondering about sending that mortgage payment in this month. Man, it'll be 15 years before it is paid off...
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.
Lifted from Facebook, sorry I cannot provide attribution:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
April 16, 2012
Nothing I'd change, but it doesn't look good...
Remember when the left cited Sweden?
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.
UPDATE: Heritage: Not just ABBA and IKEA anymore
Headline of the Day
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."
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.
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.
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. :)
Only fun books today.
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 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;
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.
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.
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
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Let the games begin!
Sabato's "Crystal Ball" emails are awesome, and free! [subscribe]
April 11, 2012
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.
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.
'Lectric Car Battery Explodes in Lab
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.
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.
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
April 10, 2012
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.
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.
Certainly worth a look.
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:
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...
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."
"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.
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.
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!
April 8, 2012
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.
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.
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
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.
"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
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.
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
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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."
April 2, 2012
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...
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
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"
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.
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...
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.