June 30, 2012

Innovation 2, Malthusian Environmentalism 0

I know I just posted about this -- but the story is getting better. Walter Russell Mead:

In any case, the United States of America is living proof that there are more ways to address environmental concerns than the green movement as a whole is willing to admit.

And if the United States can achieve this while blowing off the panicky greens and their tiresome Malthusian agendas, so can China and India. That is a very good thing, because those countries have zero repeat zero interest in adopting any green measures that slow their growth.

The truth is that if CO2 emissions are going to come down, it's going to happen the American way rather than the Greenpeace way. Instead of flinging muck and howling curses at the most successful carbon cutting large economy in the world, maybe a few more greens here and there will start thinking about how to spread the magic around.

I did post the last one to Facebook -- about how Fracking was saving the world and all the cute fuzzy critters which inhabit it. Not a peep in reply. I'd like to think I won them over with reason, but I fear they've just completely given up on me. (NO PORKY! BREATHE FROM THE DIAPHRAGM!)

Hat-tip: Instapundit, who nails it with "The problem is, the way we did it provided insufficient opportuinites for graft."

But johngalt thinks:

To the contrary, I presume Facebook silence to indicate complete agreement. Congratulations!

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2012 11:06 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

No, I don't think "opportunities for graft - NOT" is it at all. I think the populist urge is "opportunities to be perceived as an elevated being by pursuing things that show how *I* am above greed." Which is of course, shorthand for wanting to vote for whatever really can't work.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 2, 2012 1:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Your point is well taken on the individuials, nb. But where the UN is involved, I would be slower to rule out "graft."

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 10:35 AM

June 29, 2012


How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?

-- RAH 'Life-line' (1939)

But Robert thinks:

His first published story. Before I read it I never realized we are four-dimensional pink worms.

Posted by: Robert at June 30, 2012 2:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll see if a copy of this is in dagny's collection.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2012 11:07 AM
But dagny thinks:

For those that are interested: this short story can be found in the compendium, "Expanded Universe." Per a quick scan on Amazon, it appears there is a relatively new re-release of this book.

@jg, there is old battered copy with the original cover on the headboard or on my bookshelf. :-)

Posted by: dagny at July 2, 2012 3:10 PM

Dave Kopel and Ilya Somin

An interesting take on the Necessary & Proper Clause. From Dave Kopel

Interesting. Kopel is the scheduled speaker for the next Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons (July 9)

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:
"While the Roberts opinion on the Commerce Clause and the Spending Clause brings current interpretation of those clauses closer to the original understanding, current interpretation remains a long way from original meaning. For the Necessary and Proper Clause, however, the Roberts opinion goes all the way."

Also some interesting looking links at the end of the linked piece.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2012 10:40 AM

Greatest Songs

As part of the "get to know you" process here, I will post five of the songs I believe are the "greatest" ever. Of course, this is a highly personal thing; even Ayn Rand concluded that what music one loved could not be determined objectively. And I haven't heard every song ever written, either. Those caveats aside, on with the show. (Note: I am nominating the song, not a performance. But I'll always go with the writer as performer where applicable).

At Number 5 on the Greatest Song Charts:

"Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Kris Kristofferson

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 5:20 PM | What do you think? [6]
But jk thinks:

We're poised to get along. Kristofferson is my favorite avowed Communist, Rhodes Scholar songwriter.

That entire eponymous album was one classic masterpiece after another (To Beat the Devil?) and yet I have a sadness that he never followed up on that level.

One more perfect album than I have released, mind you, but that and the fact that the one time I saw him live he was too wasted to play -- adds an air of melancholia.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2012 6:36 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I listened to some of your recordings this afternoon, brother, and while they may not be perfect you and your band did a superb version of one of the other songs I consider to be among the greatest.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at June 29, 2012 7:09 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

I'd like to suggest Willie Nelson's Kristofferson tribute lp. All the songs you love, sung so far behind of or ahead of the one it's either yesterday or tomorrow by the time you finish the phrase. And Grady Martin on guitar. Damn, Grady Martin. Buy it now.

Posted by: Sugarchuck at June 30, 2012 9:32 PM
But Jk thinks:

Sounds good, the cd was two bucks cheaper than the mp3, so I'll have to wait for it like a caveman.

Posted by: Jk at July 1, 2012 9:07 AM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Willie is one of the greats but I don't like his interpretation of this song as much as Kristofferson's. Too syncopated (if that's the right word).

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 1, 2012 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Man, I wish I had coughed up the extra $2. I have to wait, dispose of the package, rip it, upload to Amazon Cloud... That was what you call "Two-dollar wise, Kilogram foolish."

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 11:12 AM

Real Genius

As the FNG at this superb site, I'm still learning the ropes and wanted to see if I could post images.

We learn from the Toronto Sun that Shera Bechard, citizen of the Dominion of Canada and former "girlfriend" of Hugh Hefner, has been admitted to the United States on an O-1 visa. The O-1 visa allows individuals of "extraordinary ability" to come to the United States for up to three years. It is often referred to as the "genius visa."

Among her other extraordinary accomplishments, Miss Bechard was "Miss November" in 2010 and started an online photo sharing craze called "Frisky Friday" through which women were encouraged to post photos of themselves in their underthings. On Fridays. Aside from the alliteration, we fail to understand the extraordinary nature of her abilities in this area, but back to our quest to successfully post a (tasteful) image on this site. We found ourselves unable to accomplish this, and resort to a link for your perusal to evaluate Miss Bechard's extraordinary qualifications for her visa:

SFW Link

We suppose that is genius, of a sort, but given the doctrine of stare decisis we are now wondering if most of the O-1 grants for the year are going to go to attractive women who are willing to disrobe for all the world to see.

Just askin'.

UPDATE: (jk -- let me help with that embed, code, EW...)

Art Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:34 PM | What do you think? [11] | TrackBack
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure why. I always read ThreeSources for the articles.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 5:52 PM
But Terri thinks:

And yet another citizen remains unemployed (or underpaid (underdressed?)) as this immigrant takes the job that might have belonged to a card carrying member of the booby union.

Welcome Ellis! (My favorite character in the book.)

Posted by: Terri at June 29, 2012 5:53 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you, Terri! Of course, there are a lot of people to like in the book but I love the way Wyatt goes on strike. Also, Ellis is so curt and harsh when he meets Dagny I think she wants to sleep with him.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at June 29, 2012 6:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Johngalt may have something to say about that 'round these parts.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 29, 2012 8:08 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Boulder Refugee, you tryin' to stir up trouble?

Brother jg, the references are entirely to the characters in the fictional universe of Atlas Shrugged. Any resemblence to actual persons, living or dead, is thoroughly disavowed by the Secretary.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at June 29, 2012 8:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:



There ought a be a law against a blog that's this much fun.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 8:59 PM

Explaining why tax rates matter

Leftist politicians often argue that tax rates don't matter or at least ignore the implications. Here's a parable that might, perhaps, help some to grasp the concept.

Suppose there is a remote island with just two inhabitants, Joe and Bob. The government of our island offers Joe and Bob a choice: they can either work and earn $40,000 per year creating goods for export or the goverment will assure them of a "sustainable income" of $20,000 per year. Joe, being a go-getter, opts to create goods and live more comfortably on the higher income. Bob would prefer to stay home and play video games knowing that he can "get by" on $20k. The government has to balance its books (in our parable, there is no China from whom to borrow funds). In order to do so, it imposes a 50% income tax. Seeing this, if you were Joe, how long would you continue to work hard (or work at all)?

Now, try the same thought experiment start with a 10% tax and going up to 80% in increments.

One might think of this as the elasticity of labor, but that concept would leave our Lefist friends in the dust.

Nanny State Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:16 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Joe might say, "I'm leaving it as I found it. Take it. It's yours."

Herein lies the brilliance in allowing Obamacare to stand as a new tax. And a tax on whom? The uninsured! Gosh, those Democrats sure know how to look out for the little guy.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 3:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"Of course, we'll subsidize it for those who can't afford it." So, we'll be using tax dollars to pay a tax. That's an interesting recursive loop.

Using that logic, I'm going to pay myself $1 million to mow the lawn. Then, I'll use that money to pay myself to do it again. Now, I have two million...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 29, 2012 4:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The part I call "brilliance" is where uninsured voters are told, "If you vote for my opponent he'll give you a government insurance ID card but he'll also withold a $2000 tax from your paycheck each year."

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 5:00 PM

A Thought Experiment

The Refugee has been quiet on Three Sources of late, largely because he's rarely in a place where he can blog in a timely manner. That has not, however, limited his enjoyment thereof.

While killing time in an airport somewhere (they're all alike), he was reading the latest news about Greece and its protesters who continue to unashamedly demand the unearned. It made him think: If you offered someone either a job for $40,000 per year or $20,000 per year without working, which would most people choose?

The Refugee is going to posit this question to his kids - and they'd better not answer wrong.

Classic of the Year

In an opinion piece in today's WSJ, The Journal describe the ACA ruling as "a 1-4-4 decision." Classic. What a brilliant snippet of writing.

The Refugee would link, but then Rupert would have to kill him (or at least bug his cell phone).

Media and Blogging Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:56 PM | What do you think? [0]

Can Somebody Please 'Splain Me?

The Refugee. having been successfully talked off the roof following the Roberts decision, ruminated over a number of the implications while trying to answer how the Chief UnJustice could have arrived at such a conclusion. When interpreting the the Constitution, there is always the challenge of divining original intent based on the nuances of language. One can look to other writings of the Founders, but even then it is subject to language interpretation.

Not so in contemporary cases. In contemporary cases, not only are the people who wrote the laws alive, many are still in office. Want to know what they meant? Just ask 'em. Of course, the Supreme Court does not call witnesses, though that would be interesting. Nevertheless, the Solicitor General is the voice of the government. Presumably, he asked the president and congressional leaders what they meant. In all case, they said the ACA mandate was not meant to be a tax. (Queue montage of POTUS tax denials.) How, then, could Roberts have possibily concluded that it really is a tax? A judge is supposed to evaluate what is presented to him, not base decisions on some thought experiment. This may go down as the worst SCOTUS decision since Dred Scott.

In related ruminations, The Refugee cannot go along with those who say that Roberts cleverly undercut the Commerce Clause precidents. This line of reasoning is like someone dropping their sandwich in the river and thinking it a clever way to wash off the mold.

If this is clever rebuke of Wickard, does anyone think it was overturned? Nope.

SCOTUS Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:23 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Cheer Up Brian! (See, I can do allusions!)

Wickard was not overturned, but Lopez & Morrison were underscored.

I'm not going with evil genius, but I am ready to take a long view and see some advantages, one of which is restraint on the Commerce Clause.

I'm less concerned that Taxing power has been expanded because that is visible and the electorate is sensitive. Regulations and mandates allow the government to give away free stuff without showing anybody where it was from.

The bill was passed and they will now own up to what Kudlow called "the largest tax increase in the history of the world." If that gets them all reelected, Republican government is finished in America, and a 5-4 decision the other way in NFIB v. Sibelius would not have preserved it.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2012 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can't give the insightful explanation that a legal blogger might. But I will point out that the liberty movement, and the politicians and justices who support the cause, are just now beginning a principled opposition to the progress toward socialism that began about one hundred years ago with the 16th amendment. Yesterday's ruling is good for at least five to ten years of pushback toward the Constitution we all thought we had.

On the tax/not a tax question, which would you have preferred the majority opinion saying: "Congress can regulate economic activity in virtually any way it's plurality sees fit" or "Obamacare is a tax, bitches, elect anti-tax politicians if you don't like it."

In contradiction to a Tweet I wrote yesterday, limiting liability of a tax to a certain class of people instead of applying it universally doesn't make it any less a tax. It's just an unjust, unfair, inequitable tax. It quacks - it's a duck.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 4:06 PM

Aristotle QOTD

“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.”

The Nicomachean Ethics

The essence of successful coaching, and parenting.

Purdy Good RNC Ad

Hat-tip: Terri

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | What do you think? [0]

Happy Birthday, Frederic!

The great French economist, Frèdèric Bastiat, was born on June 29, 1801, 211 years ago today. He spent his advocating free markets, particularly free trade, and fighting the socialist policies of his native country. What makes him my hero is that he fought the good fight with great humor, wit and satire. His writings were so clear that they read like the good contemporary writing in The Economist or the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. -- Bob McTeer (HOSS!)
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome! Today is also the birthday of my youngest daughter. Guess we all know who daddy will have her writing biographical essays on for school.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 12:39 PM
But Robert thinks:

Also the birthday of Antoine de Saint Exupery, not only a cool person and author but one of the best names ever!

Posted by: Robert at June 29, 2012 2:35 PM

Quote of the Day

For those of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act as a policy matter, this is a bad day. For those of us in this fight to preserve the limits of constitutional government, this is not a bad day. -- Randy Barnett
The quote is pulled out of an Ezra Klein piece of all things. The juicebox mafiosi has the unfortunate task of explaining to the left that Chief Roberts is an evil genius and that they have all been had.

I'd give it more credence if he did not make two errors in the lead paragraph. It's Charles EvanS Hughes -- and I don't know that being called a politician would be such an affront to the 1916 Republican Presidential Nominee.

Hat-tip: Paul Rahe who brings an interesting point I heard in passing on Kudlow last night.

There, let me add, is one other possibility. The version of Obamacare that became law originated in the Senate. The Constitution stipulates that all tax bills must originate in the House. Were I Randy Barnett, I would file another suit arguing that the mandate is unconstitutional because the Senate cannot originate tax bills.

But johngalt thinks:

The first page of the Rahe piece is very good and I look forward to the rest, but I remind that the ACA was transparently inserted as wholesale replacment for an unrelated house bill thus, in technicality only, meaning it "originated" in the house. At least that is the way I remember it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 12:46 PM

The Non-Ideological Roberts Court

In 'Don't Squat With Yer Spurs On' Texas Bix Bender wrote, "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." But I'm gonna interrupt.

This morning I wrote, "So my conclusion is that Roberts just didn't want to be villified as an "unelected emperor" who "took away America's free [unearned] health care."

This afternoon Charles Krauthammer wrote,

Whatever one thinks of the substance of Bush v. Gore, it did affect the reputation of the court. Roberts seems determined that there be no recurrence with ObamaCare. Hence his straining in his ObamaCare ruling to avoid a similar result — a 5-4 decision split along ideological lines that might be perceived as partisan and political.

National health care has been a liberal dream for a hundred years. It is clearly the most significant piece of social legislation in decades. Roberts' concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as high-handedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

I left the detailed explanation to the professional.

But jk thinks:

I enjoy Krauthammer's decisiveness and clarity. But he is a professional in that he is trained in Psychiatry and makes his living as a pundit.

If we're to appeal to authority, I am a lot more comfortable with legal bloggers like Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, William Jacobson and the lads at PowerLine. These four sites can be mined for a diversity of opinion from "Roberts the Cunning Genius" to "Losing is losing, kids -- put the saccharine away."

I fight because it's my nature but more importantly because the Roberts Court is supremely worthy of defense. It is difficult enough to navigate the legal complexities of the decision without imagining that we have some window to the Chief Justice's soul.

The charge you and DoctorKraut make is pretty serious. The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court chose popularity over jurisprudence. I have seen no empirical evidence nor suggestions in the Pirate -- I mean Chief -- Roberts's history or character to support it.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2012 9:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I can see that I wasn't effusive enough in my thanks for your help in changing my perspective on Roberts' ruling. I, and I think Krauthammer, do not criticize the Chief Justice for strategically protecting the court's prestige. To the contrary, Dr. K concluded that in addition to "Commerce Clause contained and "constitutional principle of enumerated powers reaffirmed" Roberts also achieved "Supreme Court's reputation for neutrality maintained." Krauthammer said he wouldn't have ruled that way but he also didn't disparage Roberts' ruling. And neither do I, thanks to you and Lawrence Solum, as I expressed in a comment here last night.

I posted the Krauthammer piece because of its insight, and because it supported my original premise for why a conservative would uphold this ridiculous law - not for vanity, but for objectivity. Yes, I was bragging. But no "impeach Roberts" sentiment was intended.

The 24-hour old image of my premise has President Obama as Emperor Hirohito, Justice Roberts as President Franklin Roosevelt, and the newly legitimized Obamacare law as Pearl Harbor. Whether Roberts or Roosevelt intentionally allowed the slaughter is irrelevant. A rallying point is made.

To complete the picture I will recite the reflection attributed to Admiral Yamamoto: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." I can confirm that my friends and family are spitting mad over this. The Liberty Movement is reanimating all across the country. Roberts has awakened it to the reality that, in my brother's words, "the Constitution is in the toilet." And I'm not inclined to talk any of them down until after November 6th.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 12:36 PM
But Robert thinks:

Althouse has another good post that speculates Roberts is, in essence saying:

"People need to stay alert and pay attention. Be skeptical of labels. Did somebody say nobody considers this a tax increase? And you believed it? You are not sophisticated enough to live in a democracy!"

Or, shorter version: Sharpen up. Bitches.

Posted by: Robert at June 29, 2012 1:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I retract. If not you and not the good Doctor, there is plenty to go around. Et tu Jonah Goldberg:

Roberts didn't hide it at all. Instead he all but declared that the Today Show and Meet the Press chatter about polarization and partisanship on the Court got to him. This is an error of Aesopian proportions. If you think you can appease the Doris Kearns Goodwin Caucus you don't understand how liberalism works. I guarantee it: The next time there's an important case before the Court, liberals and "moderates" will insist that Roberts capitulate again if he wants to keep his hard-earned reputation as a reasonable man. Indeed, all he's done is fuel the notion that a reasonable conservative is one who surrenders to liberals while offering interesting explanations for their surrender.

I cannot of course prove that this is not true. And I don't mean to be in full jump up and down mode. But I -- and Jonah -- ask our friends on the other side to discuss facts and ideas.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2012 2:25 PM

June 28, 2012


Mrs. Obama:

"Change absolutely starts with each of us, as individuals, taking responsibility for ourselves and our families because we know that our kids won't grow up healthy until our families start eating right and exercising more. That's on us," she said. "We know that we won't close that education gap until we turn off the TV, and supervise homework, attend those parent-teacher conferences, and serve as good role models for our own children."

Taken entirely as a stand-alone, without ad hominem: I agree.

Now let's apply this standard to everyone, all the time. I think if you're on government assistance, they should shut your television down.

Take responsibility. Bitches.

Health Care Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 8:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Oh sweet NED, I do sense a fresh entry into the ThreeSources style guide. Thank you Patrick Gaspard, from the bottom of my heart!

And while I agree with FLOTUS' "take responsibility" theme it rings hollow on the very day her husband's "we'll take care of you" law escaped the guillotine. Ironically, her simple advice, if followed, would do more to advance the prosperity of "poorly-educated obese black children" than all of President Obama's policies laid end to end.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 10:14 PM

Ellis Wyatt, New at Three Sources

"Ellis Wyatt" is the nom-de-blog of a man who has spent the last 14 years in politics and government. A great admirer of the works of Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, his approach to life is perhaps best represented by the Neo-Victorian phyle in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

He believes that his country, the United States of America, has been weakend spiritually, philosophically and educationally by Marxism and its branches: feminism, postmodernism and the quest for radical equality of outcome.

He has the desire and the Will to take action to return the culture to its former, higher level. However, he does not advocate government power as the means to this end. Instead, he advocates that leaders, and all citizens, speak and write and create art to convince individuals to perform the actions that lead to the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

He believes people should work for a living, take care with their appearance and possesions and contribute to their community through charity, volunteer work and mentoring, but knows damned well that the government can never force individuals to do these things. Neither can government save the irrational and the foolish from the consequences of their actions. Government is a powerful and dangerous tool, as the Founders of the United States well understood. It is suitable for a few big things: military defense of the nation, relations with other nations, protection of individual rights and the prevention and punishment of force and fraud.

Ellis is not nearly as much of an ultra-uptight, upright a****** as you might expect from the above blah-blah, and his activities and pursuits include firearms and hunting, archery, chess, history and biography, and the moderate but hearty consumption of martinis, good scotch and Sam Admas lager. He has a liberal arts degree from a modest but high-quality university, and truly loves producing oil and gas but believes that if things don't change, at some time in the futre he may set his wells on fire and move to Colorado.

But Robert thinks:

Well "Ellis," you sound like a pretty fine fellow but have you actually read Aristotle? And for someone with such high standards, what's with all the typos?

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 8:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ha ha ha! Hey Robert, Down boy! :) As Heinlein would surely say in this situation, "Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naĂŻve, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best." Not that I think you are any of young, naĂŻve, or unsophisticated.

Welcome to the blog, brother ew. (Better than brother eeew.) If you have anything at all to do with oil production, even in spirit, you're already a friend of mine. We'll quibble about all of those capitalized words later but for now, a fine starting point.

And I couldn't tell - are you still in government? If so you are one brave sonofa-

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 10:00 PM
But Robert thinks:

Didn't mean to sound too harsh. Ellis seems like a fellow traveler, and if he likes RAH then he's already on my good side...and I've read only about half of Aristotle myself so humility might be in order.

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 10:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did I miss the original Aristotle reference? I've looked and looked and haven't found it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 11:42 PM
But Robert thinks:

I was taking the capitalized Good, True and Beautiful for Aristotle's Transcendentals.

Posted by: Robert at June 29, 2012 12:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My public school education fails me again. Look out brothers. The bar has been raised 'round here!

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 12:45 AM

Another Sunny View

Our Marbury v Madison? Daniel Epps finds parallels. In Health Care Ruling, Roberts Steals a Move From John Marshall's Playbook

So the president was ready for the Court to break right or break left. But instead, Chief Justice Roberts juked. He agreed with the challengers that the mandate couldn't be justified under the Commerce Clause or even the Necessary and Proper Clause -- thereby reinforcing the narrative that the Democratic Congress overreached in passing the bill. His opinion -- though not the result -- may provide much help in the future to judicial conservatives, as it suggests that, with the dissent, five justices are in favor of a more aggressive role for the Court in policing the bounds of the Commerce Clause (and the Spending Clause, which was at issue in the Medicaid legislation). And while Roberts ultimately voted to uphold the Act, he did so on a ground that, for Obama, plays terribly: that it's a tax.

UPDATE: Taranto: We Blame George W. Bush:
His decision was a disappointment to those, including this columnist, who are anxious to be rid of this monstrous law. That will require legislative action. But on the most important question of constitutional doctrine, Roberts handed a big defeat to the legal left.

UPDATE II: Yet William Jacobson @ Legal Insurrection is not feelin' the love!
To paraphrase Joe Biden, I have just four words for you:


If this were some other more narrow law, if this was not a monumental takeover of the most private aspects of our lives, if this monstrosity would not cause such long term damage to our health care system, if this law was not Obamacare ….

I might be inclined to agree with you.

But it is Obamacare, it is the takeover of a substantial portion of our economy which empowers the federal government to write tens of thousands of pages of regulations telling us how to live and how to die.

This was the hill to fight on for any conservative Justice of the Supreme Court.

Yet because the conservative Chief Justice sided with the liberal Justices on the result, we have Obamacare.

But Terri thinks:

Ann Althouse sees the sunny side too.


I'm starting to get out of my funk for the day and proactively sent money to the candidate vowing repeal.

Posted by: Terri at June 28, 2012 6:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The broken-record refrain on talk radio is "they just invented a new government power to tax people for not buying things." I sang from the same echo-chamber this morning but now being enlightened as to what is meant by the phrase "the Constitution is what Supreme Court precedent says it is" I understand we're supposed to rejoice in this ruling because it openly asserts what has been understood only by legal scholars up til now:

"Congress [has] unlimited authority to regulate any activity that was economic in nature."

Any Constitutional restrictions on this existed only in the legal climate that existed prior to 1913, and in the idealistic imaginations of people like myself. But now, thanks to Chief Justice Roberts, even NASCAR retards know this. Finally they may see a real difference between a country governed by Democrats and one governed by Republicans. Electoral politics is not just about guns and abortions anymore. The debate will finally be about whether or not our government can make its citizens do things whether they want to or not.

Thank you Justice Roberts for ripping off the Band-aid of liberty. Our polity may now either heal or bleed to death.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 9:36 PM

Quote of the Day

It will be hard to pick one today, but I am going with the guys at CNN who watched their own division report a prewritten story that the mandate had been struck down.

"Fucking humiliating," said one CNN veteran. "We had a chance to cover it right. And some people in here don't get what a big deal getting it wrong is. Morons."

Yup. I think I'll stick with this one. HT Insty


On occasion of today's historic Supreme Court "Obamacare" ruling...

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors -- and miss.

-- RAH 'Time Enough for Love' (1973)

Maybe the World IS ThreeSources

A good friend of this blog sends a link, suggesting "You asked for this type of debate. Here it is:"

This presidential election is "a choice," Romney said. "You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life -- separating you and your doctor -- whether you're comfortable with more deficits, higher debt that we pass onto the coming generations. Whether you're willing to have the government put in place a plan that potentially causes you to lose the insurance that you like or whether instead you want to return to a time when the American people will have their own choice in healthcare. Where consumers will be able to make their choices as to what kind of health insurance they want."

"This is the time of choice for the American people," Romney said.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 2:24 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Game on. "Bitches."

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:45 PM

More Silver Lining...

Before mine. ThreeSourcers now have $650 to fight over.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

Constitution 1 - Taxpayers 0

Fellow freedom advocates, do not panic. Step back from the ledge. By a single vote the Supreme Court has avoided a catastrophic expansion of the Commerce Clause. The rest, as they say, is politics. Including Chief Justice Roberts' ruling:

"If an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes," Roberts writes. He adds that this means "the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income."

Hmmm, that's pretty thin Jim. The minority counters:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, usually the court's swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe "the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety." In a 65-page dissent, he and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dismissed Roberts' arguments, writing that there is a "mountain of evidence" that the mandate is not a tax. "To say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it," they write.

Very persuasive. So my conclusion is that Roberts just didn't want to be villified as an "unelected emperor" who "took away America's free [unearned] health care." I agree with Yahoo News' Oliver Knox who writes-

But while Obama initially kept quiet, the early response from the law's main supporters and detractors showed that the court's ruling had essentially offered the Affordable Care Act only a reprieve, and that the law's fate was entwined with the results of the presidential election.

Finally, does anyone suppose that news outlets are falling all over themselves to get the "Obamacare Constitutional" message out as quickly as possible?


No mention of the name of that tenth justice.

UPDATE: As of 11:57 am EDT that headline has been changed to: Individual mandate survives a 5-4 vote with Roberts voting to keep it

But Robert thinks:

Even better! Salon dude suddenly realizes that the crafty Roberts has lost a battle to win the war: Link.

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I admit the motive I attribute to Roberts is pure speculation but I stand by it. I think he did it not for vanity but for what he perceives to be best for the national polity. The matter can only be justly resolved, he may believe, through democratic election. This is a fair opinion to hold, for any individual NOT a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America as Constituted.

Further thought has me spoiling for a fight over the notion that Roberts' position is defensible under the law- Prior to the inequity of the Sixteenth Amendment the Constitution prohibited unequal taxation, and even after that amendment it allows inequity only in taxation on incomes. The Obamacare "tax" applies only to the class of persons who are uninsured and is therefore not a uniform tax, but punishment for a personal act contravening the wishes of the Legislature. It summarily declares such persons guilty of some crime and punishes them without benefit of a judicial trial. It is effectively a bill of attainder, expressly prohibited under Article I. Section 9.

I submit that this line of reasoning is, at the very least, as defensible as Chief Justice Roberts'.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

@Robert: YES! I was just going to post that -- must read!

And most closely resembles my personal early opinion. Getting rid of Wickard would be even better for liberty than getting rid of the ACA.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

@jg: Book me passage for two to your world, bro -- it would be a great place to live.

Seriously, while you are correct, 'round these parts, Congress's taxing authority is limitless. Much better examples of bills of attainder have passed with little scrutiny. Let me say "defensible" in the context of Solum's gestalt.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Slate guy: "Roberts' genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress' power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges. In the long term, supporters of curtailing the federal government should be glad to have made that trade."

i.e. To benefit the "national polity." I still think interpreting it as a tax was incorrect but can now forgive Roberts for the error. Especially given Sarah Palin's latest Tweet: "Thank you, SCOTUS. This Obamacare ruling fires up the troops as America's eyes are opened!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Solum piece is very instructive brother. Thank you. Mine was certainly "a pre-New-Deal vision of real and substantial limits on Congress's enumerated powers" along with Justice Thomas. But as an agreeable sort I can be persuaded to join forces with the "alternative gestalt." [Fourth from last paragraph.]

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:42 PM

Tweet of the Day

From the DNC -- so good it had to be retracted! Politico:

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 27, 2012


Other than that, the WaPo "Outsourcing" story was accurate.

Gov. Hickenlooper and the Bark Beetle Epidemic

A few stories found with the search terms "Hickenlooper" and "bark beetle" - arranged in chronological order.

Summit County: Forest health pow-wow at Keystone - November 14, 2010

Forest health, fire risks and wood utilization will be on the agenda at the Keystone Conference Center Nov. 15 as top state and federal officials hold a forest health summit meeting. This image by Derek Weidensee shows an area in Montana where a fire burned through stands of mature lodgepole pines, while an area cut previously for regeneration apparently withstood the blaze relatively unscathed.

Top state and national officials, including Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Gov. Bill Ritter and Senator Mark Udall, will gather at the Keystone Conference Center Nov. 15 for the Governor’s Bark Beetle Summit in a public meeting that hasn’t received much publicity.

Governor-elect John Hickenlooper has also been invited.

Gov. Hickenlooper appoints new Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources - April 1, 2011

“Scott’s success in selling paper will help Colorado effectively and efficiently move the large amount of bark beetle lumber from the forest and into the marketplace, creating tons of jobs and making lots of money,” Hickenlooper said. “This is a unique opportunity to resolve Colorado’s forest health and budget issues.” (...) “Scott will be a wonderful addition to our paper team, focusing particularly on the use of beetle kill in paper production,” Hickenlooper said. “We hired him based on his skills, personal drive and love for ‘That’s what she said’ jokes.”
112 homes hit by northern Colo. fire - June 15, 2012
Firefighters have been in a see-saw battle with the northern Colorado blaze, extending their lines along the eastern flank but losing ground on the west and north sides as flames burn through a dry forest thick with trees killed by bark beetles. (...) Investigators said lightning triggered the fire, which is about 15 miles west of Fort Collins and 60 miles northwest of Denver. (...) The fire is burning on land owned by private parties and the U.S. Forest Service. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, is scheduled to meet with fire managers on Saturday.

A 30-acre blaze near Lake George in Park County was 50 percent contained. It started Wednesday and was also caused by lightning.

Separately, a fire believed to have been caused by lightning destroyed a house four miles outside Rollinsville on Friday. Gilpin County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cherokee Blake said no one was hurt.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Thursday banning open burning and the private use of fireworks throughout Colorado.

But Robert thinks:

Thr second item really got me since it was on the official colorado.gov site :)

Posted by: Robert at June 27, 2012 8:59 PM
But jk thinks:

My blog brother's summation?

I have to admit that I have been pretty impressed with His Hickness (hey, when I vote for a Democrat...) both before the fire and after.

Beetle kill is a huge problem surrounded by passionate opinions but I can think of no better solution that harvesting it for paper.

Was this a big wet kiss for our Governor? Knowing my bro, I suspect not.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My take is that using the dead timber issue as joke fodder looks, at the least, very insensitive in retrospect and that the governor should have known better even then. I know that I remember it being in poor taste.

Yes, harvesting the wood for any use is a good solution. So why isn't it happening? As I have heard but not yet verified the answer can be given in a single word - Environmentalists.

And finally, I couldn't help noticing the impotence of the governor's knee-jerk response of banning open fires and fireworks since every fire mentioned in that story was sparked by lightning.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 12:06 PM

Headline of the Day

Economists Without Calculators
Be wary of op-eds in the New York Times that tout an "environmental revolution."

Never Fear! The President is on his way!

I was worried about the wildfires, but it's going to be fine. The President will be here Friday.

I'm going to lift Insty's whole post:

PRESIDENT DISASTER: Obama finally remembers Colorado exists, will head there Friday; Update: What about aerial firefighting fleet he shrunk? "They didn’t want to talk about it."

Click through for some great President Obama bashing, of which I ne'er tire. A few points to ponder:

@VioletTiger2: Remember when the MSM got on Obama's case for not going to Colorado, like they did when Bush didn't go to NOLA? Yeah, neither do I.

And a good piece on The Administration's shrinking the firefighting aerial fleet. Fans of Brother Johngalt will recall hearing about this before.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 5:12 PM | What do you think? [0]


Had some ideas for news related quotes today but was instead captivated by this one. It relates, in my mind at least, to the brief Yukon/Alaskan frontier banter in this comment thread, for in many ways, at least in the 19th century, there was much in common between Alaska and Luna City.

Women are scarce; aren't enough to go around – that makes them most valuable thing in Luna, more precious than ice or air, as men without women don't care whether they stay alive or not.

-- RAH, 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' (1966)

Croudsourcing Donations.

I see the appeal of government. There ain't nothing better than spending somebody else's money. I love the vicarious thrill of guitar shopping with others. My bank balance remains, yet the endorphins are released.

I promised my productive, taxpaying ThreeSourcers that I would spend half the first year savings on my subsidized ReFi electing those who would not support such nonsense.

Without too fine a point, I feel I have committed to $1250. I've been through about $350 in the primaries and local races. I won't commit to doing the will of ThreeSourcers, but I'd love ideas and may well accept crowdsourced decision: where do you spend $900 to promote liberty?

I have met several local candidates through Liberty on the Rocks. And one might mike a life changing donation to a disciple of Bastiat and Karl Popper for an amount that drops in the ocean of a national campaign. The Senate is important and my pal John Cornyn (R$ - TX) makes a good case. Helping Gov. Romney out-raise the President (Money Panic?) seems worthy. I concluded in 2010 that Club for Growth or AFP, or another issue PAC was the way to go. The NRA is preparing to go after AG Holder in a big way.

Nine hundred bucks -- divide it up for me.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

...buy a few rounds at the next Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons . . .

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2012 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

May I request NO donations to NRA until they admit the error of endorsing Harry Reid (Devil-NV).

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2012 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Noted. But:

The NRA's decision to wade into the Holder contempt fight has intimidated some vulnerable Democrats into backing the measure. These Democrats are more scared of the powerful pro-gun-rights group than they are of the president."

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 4:10 PM

A Little Appreciation, Please!

Sen. Claire McCaskill (TV - MO), throws President Obama under the Bus!

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 9:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

Bumper Sticker

From my biological brother via email:

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 9:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 26, 2012

All Hail Taranto!


It's all about the kids!

For the children! Idaho's Superintendent of Education, Tom Luna, had his truck vandalized.

Curiously and likely completely unrelated to the story, Luna is leading school reform in The Gem State.

Come November, Idahoans will vote on three referenda aimed at repealing what may be the nation's most sweeping education reform, including new limits on collective bargaining for teachers. Think of it as the sequel to Wisconsin, where similar reforms led to a similar effort--the attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker.

Luna doesn't even have an education degree. I'm guessing the people who trashed his truck do.
That makes Mr. Luna an outlier within the education blob that runs our public school systems. It may also explain the boldness of the reforms he helped push through the state legislature in spring 2011. Called "Students Come First," it was a package of legislation that limits collective bargaining, introduces merit pay, and takes advantage of new technology to help give more Idaho students the education they need for college.

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

Weather is not climate!

'Bout ready to sign up with VP Gore. . . This is our fourth or fifth day of 100+ which is very rare. It hasn't rained since last Thanksgiving or so, and the entire state is on fire. But -- as I am always reminded when I comment on cool weather -- "weather is not climate." Except, of course when it works for the other guys -- then it is a "dangerous portent of climate change."

So let's all cool down. It seems the Antarctic shelf is not melting (as predicted) and the temperatures around it are cooler than predicted. Huh? #COMPUTERMODELFAIL ?

It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, Hattermann said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass.

The team's results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted ...

Aaaah, Antarctic ice. . . I feel better. The quote is from the American Geophysical Union via The (UK) Register, via Lord Glenn of Knoxville.

UPDATE: 88° at 8:51 AM!

But jk thinks:

Indeed. Come home, Al, we need you!!!!!

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2012 12:48 PM
But Robert thinks:

Friends--any idea if the historic Heinlein house at 1776 Mesa Ave in Colorado Springs is in danger of being burned down? The Heinlein community is asking. Thought one of you might have access to details that I don't.

Posted by: Robert at June 27, 2012 12:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The short answer is no. That address is on the mountains side of I-25 so it is at risk from forest fire but the fire now burning is all north of Manitou Springs, according to Wundermap. (Search for the address then click the "FIRE" option box. Turn off smoke. Zoom out.)

The Heinlein home is just a quarter mile west of the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. If it's ever in danger that is the landmark that will be mentioned.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2012 2:09 PM
But Robert thinks:

Thanks. I did track down a map from the Denver Post a little while ago that was reassuring on this point--if not for thousands of other people and their homes.

I only read the 1952 Scientific American article about the house for the first time a couple of months ago and am hoping it's still there when I visit. Colorado is my Dad's adopted home state and I am a big fan.

If you can take me by Galt's Gulch when I visit that would be a bonus!

Posted by: Robert at June 27, 2012 5:05 PM
But Robert thinks:

CORRECTION: The article was in Popular Mechanics. I don't know what I was thinking but I was way off. You can see it here: http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/pm652-art-hi.html

Posted by: Robert at June 27, 2012 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

No, I think it was Vougue® . . .

Very, very cool. Anybody who fails to click will forever regret it.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2012 6:15 PM

June 25, 2012

Half Empty? Half Full?

Or "That other Supreme Court decision." I just enjoyed the dueling headlines:

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo: Supreme Court upholds key part of Arizona immigration law

Mark Sherman, Yahoo/AP: High court rejects part of Arizona immigration law

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

Look for the Union Label

Great guest editorial in the WSJ today by Deborah Kenny on why charter schools work. My favorite bit:

Talented teachers don't want to be told exactly what to do and how to do it. So our schools get clear on objectives and get out of the way, allowing teachers to come up with their own ideas and to select whichever practices they think are best.

"Here I am given the opportunity to innovate with projects I never could have done in a bureaucracy," said one of our art teachers, Mary Ann Paredes. "In my old school I had a feeling of stagnation and lost my intellectual rigor. Here I've been invited to explore and learn in a way that is making me more effective. Because the trust level is so high here, it's easy to be open to admit my frustration and ask for help."

I remain astonished that the teachers in my family, most of whom I assume are awesome, remain convinced by the Union propaganda that they would not prosper in a merit environment.

June 24, 2012

The Official Softdrink of the Obama Campaign


Posted by nanobrewer at 3:23 PM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

Alaska, says he! "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold."

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2012 3:41 PM
But Robert thinks:

The arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.

Posted by: Robert at June 25, 2012 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Great allusions, lads. But I did not have to look it up -- Keith and Dagny still have a slight lead.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2012 4:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"On, Oatmeal! Mush!"

Neither literary nor erudite - just a little fun. Hard to believe how much fun you can have with a bag of old rocks and a can of yellow paint.


That notwithstanding, is there an official softdrink of the right? Capitalist Coca-Cola, traditional Dad's Root Beer, or do we go straight for a "Mad Men" Martini? Or do we just stick with tea?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 25, 2012 8:49 PM
But Robert thinks:

Martinis are certainly the official drink of this Son of Libertarian Reaktion--but the way I make 'em there's nothing soft about 'em.

Cheap gin is however, good 50-50 with lemonade. Up here in Alaska that's what we call a soft drink.

Posted by: Robert at June 25, 2012 8:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Jeez, how does KA DO that!

For the record, I wasn't going for an obscure allusion, just seeing if Robert and I have one more common interest. (Like there was any doubt about this one.) My dad has been reciting "Dangerous Dan McGrew" and "Ballad of the Ice Worm Cocktail" and "Cremation of Sam McGee" from memory for decades. They're even better the way he tells 'em.

As for an official drink of capitalism, how could there be? That would require Central Planning (TM). But this consumer's choices are i) various beers of the Pilsener, pale ale and Irish stout variety; ii) Speyside malt whiskies; and on special occasions iii) a Russian vodka martini, extra dry with two olives.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2012 2:39 PM

Innovation vs. Government Direction

Tempted to start a Facebook fight with this. It's been a while, and this speaks well to my point. Yet this is our third day of triple digit heat, I fear there are two new fires (le Condo d'Amour is covered in dense smoke), and it is unlikely that anybody is in the mood. Of course, that has not slowed down my reason-deficient interlocutors.

But Walter Russell Meade points out -- and Insty links -- that free market innovation is doing more for the environment than (don't laugh) the UN and top-down controls:

As activists in Rio and around the world mourned the failure of yet another useless summit to do anything about climate change, good news on the CO2 front was coming from the country greens love to hate: the US.

While Europe has adopted a plethora of expensive laws without any significant effect on CO2 emissions, the US is substantially reducing its emissions even as air pollution levels drop. As a CNN report puts it:

Right now, fracking is doing more to control carbon emissions than all the efforts of all the greens in the world. And by promoting American (and Chinese!) domestic energy production, it is doing more to lay the foundations of world peace than all the peace activists and disarmament campaigners in the world. And by creating more well paid blue collar jobs both in gas and oil extraction and in the manufacturing industries that will grow to exploit the new cheap energy sources, fracking strengthens the American economy and the tax base, providing revenues for both federal and state governments.

UPDATE: Well, I did put it on Facebook. Hang on...

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Schumpeter/Hayek/Bastiat- 1
Pigou/Keynes/Gore- 0

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2012 2:19 PM

Review Corner

I still have one chapter remaining of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. But Sunday Morning Review Corners are becoming habit.

It is an enjoyable yarn, well written, and there are several nice grace notes for somebody who follows the antebellum period closely. I guess it is a big deal now with a movie from the author's screenplay.

And that is my concern. It is to history what Jon Stewart is to current events. It -- and he -- are sort of right and basically well informed. Yet both are forced to trade the nuance of the facts for the yarn, the laugh, the story.

The War Between the States presents a rich depth of study in economics and liberty. Seth Grahame-Smith, like most high-school history teachers and Apu's Citizenship Test is forced to enforce the The-Civil-War-was-all-about-slavery meme. A new generation will use this book as a springboard to learn history (Yaay!). But they will start on a too prevalent misconception (Booo!)

DISCLAIMER: I am not ready to join the sympathizers. The existence of slavery was abhorrent enough to override -- and spoil for centuries if not all of time -- the high ideals of liberty and local governance embodied in the Confederacy. I'm not lining up with Lord Acton, but feel we must take a more nuanced view of this defining period of history.

That said, the book is fun. Four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 22, 2012

TJ Rodgers on Immigration

I all but wept. One of the great Hosses of all time hit it out of the park on Kudlow last night (Joe Kernen guest hosting).

Rodgers's bit starts at 4:50 if you don't have 10:46. I agree with every word and don't think I have heard it said better.

The whole concept that somehow people are dragging the economy is wrong, People are the economy. The intelligence and wealth they create is what creates the jobs.

Rodgers also criticized the increasing militarization of the border, alluding to a famous Ronald Reagan speech.

To me, that makes the country look weak. What made the Soviet Union look weak? "Gorbachev, tear down this wall." When a country is so screwed up it has to put a wall between itself and its neighbor, that puts weakness on the other side of the fence.

UPDATE: And Reason reprises their superb What part of legal immigration don't you understand?

Hoss Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

See -- I told you we did not agree!! :) :) :)

As the two intellectual forces of both Ron Paul and South Park have attested, a militarized border can easily impede in either direction.

Produce rots in the field when farmers are forced to try and hire away software developers to pick it. It's not about whether Rodgers's Lexus will have heated seats.

The most important and to me unassailable point is that people are the economy, and those who would shrink it in an effort to make us wealthier show no more sense than those who would bring prosperity by increased taxes, spending or currency creation.

I also give him props for being "embarrassed for Republicans" on this. Rodgers is a strong voice for liberty; bully for him for not giving the GOP a pass.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2012 5:17 PM
But Terri thinks:

Perhaps you're right and we do disagree.

BUT, I think I have been mistakenly put in the camp of those in the GOP that he's embarrassed by because I do want a strong border. It's assumed that I, perhaps Tancredo like, want no immigrants and that's a mistaken assumption.

I think the border should be much, much more open and especially to those who perhaps have little technical skill, but are happy to work hard.

The "line" at the border is ridiculously long and difficult to maneuver, especially for those who just want to work the seasons and go home. I don't want an underclass of people here. This is America. There is only one way to fix this without a completely open, as in wide open, border.....
You have to have control of the border and you need a liberalized immigration policy.

Rubio is right that politicians like to keep the issue unresolved because it keeps an underclass of people picking their lettuce without really having to acknowledge that there is an underclass with a stamp of approval by the rest of us.

Posted by: Terri at June 23, 2012 9:15 AM
But jk thinks:

Fair points all -- and I'd never be embarassed by you (some of the populist scum around here, mind you...)

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2012 10:34 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Terri, the border thing works both ways. His point is that we can still defend our borders from invasion, but we don't have to actively keep people from coming in. In a great eulogy, Pericles mentioned that Athenians not only welcome strangers, but they don't try to hide secrets. They also didn't have massive social welfare that lured freeloaders -- THAT is the real issue that these conservatives need to talk about.

The free market IS with the free movement of labor. The free market is far from the typical rubbish Republicans claim it is: there is no difference between someone immigrating from Mexico to work in the U.S., or someone from Oklahoma during the Depression going to California. The free market is simply the absence of force (whether applied to supply, demand or both), and government is entirely force.

But legalizing the illegals is still not a free market. Actually, it brings in more government interference. The first unavoidable deleterious effect is that the turned-legal will be able to demand minimum wages, if anything to compensate for the income and FICA taxes they'll start paying. But at the same time, going back to my point about the massive welfare state, the bulk of Hispanic immigrants are lower-skilled and will qualify for EIC. There's a very real potential for some to become like too many Americans, getting more in refunds than they pay in. I would much rather keep things the way they are, and not have the federal government further drive up wages and prices.

I am heartened, though, that someone is willing to say on a national program that Obama is just playing election year politics. So of the 9% of the electorate who are Hispanic, Obama won 6% in 2008. This race is tight enough that he needs the others, and a poll this week showed 90% of "likely" Hispanic voters favoring him. It was also a great point that for his time in the Senate, Obama did nothing on immigration, so why now? I would love an acolyte to say that, well, he was there just four years. It would validate the criticism about a freshman senator ex-"community organizer" thinking that qualifies him to govern 310 million people. It's a point of logic liberals can't escape: he did nothing then and is pandering now, or he wasn't a senator for very long to do anything.

I was not familiar with TJ Rodgers, but after this clip, I like him. I will take issue with something: "like the Italians and the Irish before them who came and built this country," huh. Boy, if that doesn't ignore the two centuries before them. This is an issue for me because I once knew a couple of Italian-Americans who probably still declare that the shoe-shiners and cooks were "the ones who built this country." What about my German ancestors who came after the Irish but before the big wave of Italians? Actually, the ones who built this country into what we know today were Carnegie, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt and other industrialists. Shoemaking and cooking aren't what produce great advances in a civilization. It's great inventions that allow us to make better shoes and produce better food faster.

Now who is the jackass on the right? I don't recognize him, but I immediately detest him for the idiocy of saying he favors immigration, just not the illegal kind. What does that statist want? What if the law merely says "legal" status comes after someone hops on a foot ten times? That's the very problem with using statute to define "legal": it can be changed at any time to be whatever the powerful want.

"Is that...legal?"

"I will make it legal."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 23, 2012 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

@Perry: TJ Rodgers was the founder of Cypress Semiconductors, a reliable and brilliant advocate of free markets, and your friend Don Luskin's choice to be the reification of Francisco d'Anconia in his "I Am John Galt."

(@Dagny -- another recommendation for your trip.)

The jackass is Mark Simone. There is some law at CNBC now that when somebody guest hosts for Kudlow, there must be a talk show host to co-pilot. I was heartened that only he took up the populist position. I feel as if I am swimming upstream on immigration and was happy to see the nativist in the minority.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2012 10:42 AM
But jk thinks:

I think his point about Italians and Irish tracks right out of Michael Barone's superb book The New Americans.

The German and British immigrants were certain that the Irish and Italian wave was unlikely to assimilate and that these new ethnicities lacked the Calvinist work ethic and were totally unsuitable to be Americans. Yet a few of them made good, and the Mexican and Central American wave likely will too.

Just don't get me started on the Filipinos, man...

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2012 11:00 AM

Abe vs. Angelus

I just started reading the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter book. I promise a Review Corner. It is funny because my friend recommended it and right after I bought it, I have heard 1,000,000 people talking about it (Joe Kernen on Kudlow mentioned it).

Dan Seitz wonders how our 16th would fare against Angel.

Hat-tip: Whedonesque Blog. Love this comment from WhatsAStevedore:

Twelve score and 19 years ago, in Galway, Ireland, a drunken womanizing layabout by the name of Liam was sired into an immortal child of night.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Perhaps even worse, however, was that I got stood up by Iowahawk who had promised on Twitter that he would attend my talk. I was much chagrined by his absence. I was even more dismayed to learn that the cornhusking jingoist doesn't even live in Iowa. He lives in Chicago! As I explained to the audience, this is a scandal of enormous proportions. I haven't been this dismayed since I learned that Elizabeth Warren isn't an Indian and that the Cherokee don't eat crab. (I think it'd be awesome if they made like a Quest for Fire-type movie where the Cherokee of the 15th century made the roughly 700 mile trek to the ocean to find some crab and proactively verify Elizabeth Warren's cherished Indian recipes.) -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 21, 2012

Liberty on the Rocks

Nice write up on Brother Bryan's stunning achievement from Ari Armstrong from the last meeting.

But Robert thinks:

Lady and Gentleman Coloradans of Three Sources: It looks like I'll be in Longmont for four days or so in September. I think that's reasonably close to where y'all are located. Maybe we can have a libation or three somewhere in there and discuss Stuff. Let me know!

Posted by: Robert at June 21, 2012 6:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Longmont is dangerously close to the entire Centennial State contingent! I'm sensing an occasion ...

Email jk [at] threesources [dot] com with some dates when you get close.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2012 7:23 PM
But Robert thinks:

Roger, wilco! :)

Posted by: Robert at June 21, 2012 8:05 PM

Quote of the Day

With MS, media bias and Hippotherapy in one story, we can drag it along another day!

Wow, O'Donnell is just inept. Bob Schieffer calls Ann Romney an Olympic athlete, and Mitt Romney corrects him on it ("In this case, it's not her personally"). Then, literally seconds later, O'Donnell pops up with his big canned-ham face and sneers, "Romney just claimed his wife is an Olympic athlete!" And then he says horses haven't really helped her with her MS because of Romney's tax returns or something. All for the purpose of claiming Romney is "rewriting" history.

O'Donnell must think his target audience is really, really stupid. And he's got some solid evidence. After all, they're watching him.

Incidentally, I do believe Scary Larry when he drops into his Concern Voice and says he's not mocking Ann Romney because she has MS. He just doesn't care that she does, because she's in his way politically. -- Jim Treacher

Too Much Benefit of Doubt

Poor Bjorn Lombourg. He's gay, european, environmentalist, and a fulsome believer in Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe. He respects NGOs and clearly sees a significant role for the United Nations in environmental and economic.

And yet, because he is capable of reason, all his friends are right-wingers -- like me. He is persona non-grata in the rest of the environmentalist community.

But his unfortunate habit of truth telling concerns cost vs. benefit -- where is the best place to put scarce resources? His guest editorial in the WSJ today concerns that, but he takes a sharper than usual look at why people still pursue climate change more than other projects that would be more cost effective.

Why then, do U.N. elites focus all their efforts on a feeble attempt to assist one person before successfully preventing 210 deaths? Because global warming feels more important--more hip. The majority of people in wealthy countries have lived their entire lives with clean air, clean water and electricity supplied through a grid. Air and water pollution is just old hat.

But surely "helping the world" isn't about making us feel good. It's about actually helping poor nations.

Nowhere are these misplaced priorities more apparent than in U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's favorite program, "sustainable energy for all," which has emerged as a key goal of this year's summit. The program aims to ensure that all people have access to energy, but it places an inordinate emphasis on "green" technologies.

Almost as if the UN was more interested in control and power than people and the environment...

June 20, 2012


Human genome sequencing is cool. I think we all agree on that. Well, I think this is just as cool:

After five years of toil, a consortium of several hundred U.S. researchers has released a detailed census of the myriad bacteria, yeasts, viruses and amoebas that live, eat, excrete, reproduce and die in or on us.

It does sound quite disgusting but it could be as important in understanding human disease mechanisms as anything else previously discovered by modern medicine.

Each of us is home to about 100 trillion microscopic life forms — a figure that's about 10 times higher than the number of cells in the human body. In a 200-pound adult, these organisms can weigh a combined 2 to 6 pounds.

The vast majority of our microscopic denizens appear to be bacteria; 10,000 types may choose to make Homo sapiens home, the scientists found.

Think about this the next time you wash your hands with antibacterial soap. These bacteria are on you, in you, part of you.

The team had set out to identify a "core microbiome," a base-line set of flora that would always be found in the mouth, say, or the large intestine. They didn't really find this, but their analysis revealed that each place in the body seems to have a distinct set of metabolic abilities, be it digestion of sugars in the mouth or of complex carbohydrates in the large intestine. In different people, different microbes appear to be performing the same tasks.

The first hurdle is to understand that these bacteria are not all harmful. Some, in fact, are essential to our survival.

For many scientists, the chief hope is that the data will help them understand how subtle disturbances in the microbiome could be linked to medical disorders. From the first days of life when our guts become populated, these bugs help us get the nutrition we need, stop harmful bacteria from colonizing us and play a key role in shaping our immune system.

The article concludes with the obligatory cautions about overuse of antibiotics but these discoveries stir different ideas in my imagination. Ideas like, maybe this is an explanation for clinical efficacy of naturopathic medicines wherin the active ingredients are diluted almost to the point of oblivion. If they are acting on microbes these amounts may be materially significant. And then there's the observation that people who live together become more and more alike in some ways - if the microbiome helps define us then sharing microbiomes is a mechanism for each of us to help define another. And beyond my feeble generalizations, just think what human engineering Robert A. Heinlein might have imagined with this knowledge!

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 8:12 PM | What do you think? [9]
But jk thinks:

My blog brother can ably defend himself, and in the meantime I can assure you he is not suggesting kazoo therapy (if you have not seen Penn & Teller's B***S*** take on new age medicine, make plans).

For myself, the suggestion is a multiplier effect. One thing that intrigues me -- and I apologize because it is still lunchtime in MDT -- is fecal replacement.

Eeeew. And I do not know if has reached statistical significance to offset its repugnance, but the introduction of new microbes or a compound beneficial to their growth opens a wing of research beyond the typical lab.

Fear not, I am a huge fan of modern medicine and an arch-foe of junk science. Addressing the human body as ecosystem need not be a component of the latter.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2012 3:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're right, Robert - I meant homeopathic. (Before naturopathic I had written holistic.) Now, there is a world of difference between one molecule and no molecules. Agreed? But these mega-dilutions will never have no molecules. I had always dismissed them because the active ingredient was negligible compared to my body mass, but compared to a few pounds of microorganisms it could be significant. And said ingredient may act on just a few of the microorganisms and leave the rest unaffected, meaning even fewer molecules are required.

This line of reasoning begins to bring homeopathy back into the realm of science where of course we are all more comfortable.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2012 5:40 PM
But Robert thinks:

But the whole basis for homeopathy is not the molecules at all, but the "dynamisation" or something caused by the shaking. I had quite a chat about this with a friend years ago. What they call "12C" solution has less than a 50% chance of having even one molecule of the goose liver or whatnot. :) The contention is that LESS is MORE. They claim its "Stronger" the more diluted. Their proposed mechanism doesn't fit in with the idea that it may be working on the microbes on/in us.

However, I am open to new evidence!

Posted by: Robert at June 21, 2012 7:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

With the caveat that I am merely speculating on all of this...

Less than a 50% chance of having one molecule per drop equates to a decent chance of having 2 molecules in 4 drops, and an almost certainty of 1 molecule.

And it is possible for it to actually be efficacious even if its proponents have not a clue as to how or why.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2012 3:54 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The total probability is actually not the sum of the individual events' probabilities. If the chance is 50%, then the odds of one in two drops is 75%. There's still a 25% chance of two drops having no molecules in either. With three drops, it's still only an 87.5% chance of having at least one molecule.

The easy way to think about it: what's the possibility of all the events happening? Subtract that from 1, and that's the probability of at least one event happening.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 22, 2012 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay Perry, I was going to let this drop until you posted about it on your blog. ;)

You listed the probability of one molecule in two drops, and in three drops, but what is it for four drops? 93.75%

And what is the probability for 2 molecules in 4 drops? It is the same probability as 1 molecule in 2 drops, or 75%.

And what was my original statement? "Less than a 50% chance of having one molecule per drop equates to a decent chance [75%] of having 2 molecules in 4 drops, and an almost certainty [93.75%] of 1 molecule.

You may quibble with my adjectives "decent" and "almost" but don't mistakenly assume that because 2 is 50% of 4 I don't understand probability theory. When I said, "...I am merely speculating on all of this" I was referring to the biology, not the probability.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2012 3:16 PM


The progressive left incorrectly claims that the TEA Party Movement is dead. Now, to be fair, they're claiming the Occupy Movement is dead.

[Van] Jones, in his speech to the conferees, pleaded with the activists to be as "courageous and determined" as the Occupy movement was, but he needled the left for being soft, comparing today's activists unfavorably with those of the civil rights era.

"They were beaten fighting for change. Some went to jail fighting for change. Some were murdered," he said. "We'll quit over a really mean tweet."

Jones urged them to use their heads, even if their hearts aren't in it.

"If we just support the president, just vote for Democrats, we don't get what we want," he said. "But if we don't, our opponents get power and decimate us. Can we put our thinking caps on now?"

Surely Jones knows that it's hard to put on a thinking cap when you're in the fetal position.


Today's RAHQOTD is in honor of, guess who.

A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased — he hates all creative people equally.

-- RAH 'Time Enough for Love' (1973)

Quote of the Day

Executive privilege is a vestige of Richard Nixon's desperate effort to conceal criminality in the Watergate scandal. The last thing Obama wanted to do, with the November election looming, was resort to the Nixon strategy (which, we should recall, failed in the end). And, again, if the Obama administration's story was true, they would want to release the documents that support it. -- Andrew McCarthy

Two Minute Hate

Now this is not in any way to make light of Laurence O'Donnell's difficulties with being a total bastard -- it's obviously a very difficult thing to bear. But that NBC gets a tax deduction for putting this derision on the air...

Hat-tip: Brother Keith, who linked to this in a comment below.

Wow. Just wow.

UPDATE: IBD: Which End Of The Horse Is Lawrence O’Donnell?

It is bad enough that MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell mocks Ann Romney for riding horses to treat her multiple sclerosis. But then shows what an ignoramus he is by saying that "dressage (competitive horse riding) does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment" for MS.

Actually, for many illnesses riding horses is a legitimate therapy technique. It’s called "hippotherapy." Wikipedia has a nice description of it, and there’s even an group called the American Hippotherapy Association.

UPDATE II: Here's dagny's last video promoted to embed:

Nope, no therapy, no athleticism.

UPDATE III: Neil Cavuto piles on quite humorously and forthrightly:

Ann Romney doesn't need my defense.

But her critics need to use some common sense.

Because you might find such therapy strange, trust me when I tell you, the disease it helps treat, is a lot more strange. And cruel.

So go ahead and have a good laugh over Ann and her horses and whether they have anything to do with her illness.

UPDATE III.V: (Oooh, there's video of Cavuto on the intertube thingy...):

But jk thinks:

Thanks for that last YouTube, dagny. Bunch o' one-percenters!

You and jg give O'Donnell too much credit to actually listen. I just look at the seething hatred in his eye. Gov. Romney made none of these claims. I think "Olympic athlete" as a part owner (and trainer) was in good fun between Schieffer and Romney. And he is not submitting dressage to IPAB as an MS treatment. "She has a passion for it and, frankly, her getting back on a horse after she was diagnosed with MS was able -- she's convinced -- to help her regenerate her strength and renew that vigor."

That does not strike me as an outrageous claim. Every physical therapist I had encouraged me to do the things I enjoyed even if I could do them only on a much lower level. And every one would have been thrilled had I taken up dressage: balance, strength, passion.

Now this is not in any way to make light of Laurence O'Donnell's difficulties with being a complete asshole -- it's obviously a very difficult thing to bear. But that NBC gets a tax deduction for putting this derision on the air...

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2012 6:03 PM
But dagny thinks:


You and your lovely bride as well are welcome to come to Atlantis and take up dressage any time!

Posted by: dagny at June 20, 2012 7:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some good stuff in response to this on Twitter, including a guy who does the rant as well as anyone, Neil Cavuto. [click-through for video]

"Just check your facts before you joke about it, because right about now, you condescending sanctimonious twits who are allegedly healthy, you are proving you do not know the benefits of hosrseback riding one bit, but you sure are good at piling on the lies and shoveling what amounts to unadulterated horse … well … stuff."
Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2012 7:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh, jg and I were on parallel tracks -- I embedded the video at about the same time he added it.

On some level, it's not worth even complaining about MSNBC. And I think that Andrea Mitchell and Chris Cilizza's "WaWa-Gate" was far worse. But when these people talk about FOX...

And thanks, dagny, we are very anxious to try it. (Well, the lovely bride is anxious to try it and I just have a general anxiety -- you guys have a crane or something to get me on a horse?)

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2012 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The reason it's worth complaining about MSNBC is expressed in Cavuto's close (from the video.)

"Sometimes, you know, you repeat lies often enough, some impressionable good people, they're fooled. You can lie to them and they're decent enough to believe it. I'm just telling you, don't. I just gave you the facts. And ask yourself this: If they're that eggregious at lying about that issue, what else are they lying about?"
Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2012 12:15 PM
But Terri thinks:

Here here on all counts!

"let's see, I want to learn to be a good rider for my horse....should i take up classical dressage even though I know I can never afford a grand champion horse, or should I take up hacking through the woods?" doh

ps - I've worked at the Therapeutic Riding Ctr in Longmont and seen big changes in people with a lot of different physical challenges. It definitely has potential.

Posted by: Terri at June 21, 2012 2:31 PM

Getting to like this guy...

Hat-tip: NRO via Insty

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:58 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm wondering if Brother JG or anyone else here acquainted with equestrian sports might enlighten me on Mitt's wife Ann and the issue of theraputic riding...


Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 20, 2012 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny will have plenty to say on the subject but I'll start by saying yes, riding a horse is very therapeutic, both physically and mentally. And dressage is even more physically and mentally challenging FOR THE RIDER than pleasure riding, and much more so than your basic nose-to-tail trail horse dude ride with which Mister "I'm on my high-horse" O'Donnell is likely familiar.

Hey Larry, turn around so I can see what the FRONT of a horse looks like.

As for the cost, riders buy the horse they can afford but ALL horses are ridden by equestrian ATHELETES.

Hey Larry, show us how easy it is to ride ol' Widermaker here!

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2012 3:58 PM

June 19, 2012

Tweet of the Day

And we have a winner. . .

Middle East Posted by John Kranz at 6:33 PM | What do you think? [0]


Tip of the hat to dagny for today's entry as answer to jk's post about how, and I paraphrase, "Everything is so unfairly rigged in favor of the conservative morality against the progressive morality:"

A rational anarchist believes that concepts, such as "state" and "society" and "government" have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame ... as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else.

-- RAH 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' (1966)

Dagny concludes, "The Public" as a term falls into the same category noted above as state, society, and government. This is the mistaken premise that makes that huff po article b******t as jk so eloquently states.

But Robert thinks:

Frank Chodorov, "Society Are People." An eloquent way to put it. Not quite as eloquent as "b******t" perhaps, but suitable for polite company.

Posted by: Robert at June 19, 2012 6:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have to say that "society are people" is too ambiguous for my liking. This is the sort of line that can easily be co-opted by collectivists. I went looking for some background on it and found what I find to be a better Chodorov attribution:

"All values are personal."

A much clearer individualist sentiment.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2012 1:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Also, I appreciate the Chodorov reference. I had not read him or read of him.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2012 1:17 PM

Quote of the Day

[Neil] Munro sickened the nation's politeness police by choosing his own moment to blurt out a question at a presidential press conference.

Pushing America further to the brink of ruin, he kept at Obama with a follow-up question, forcing the president to abandon his talking points and address him personally. Within 15 seconds, the decency of the office of the presidency was defiled, and the integrity of journalism was heartlessly pissed on, forever tarnished by some guy saying something when he shouldn't have.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably reading this wondering WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS WHOLESOME IS HAPPENING TO THIS COUNTRY? -- James Poulos
Hat-tip: Instapundit
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2012 4:58 PM

Almost as if they were Biased...

This has been making the rounds. But a great friend of this blog (no, the other one) sends a link to the perfect package. Even if you've read about it and know the story, watch MSNBC Selectively Edits Romney Speech For Laughs

Beyond its example for media perfidy, I have to say I am deeply impressed with Governor Romney's speech and delivery. Maybe the primary picked the best candidate? Heresy?

UPDATE: WOW! Mrs. Greenspan sets the record straight... sortof...well, really not.

UPDATE II: WaWa Wizards Worthy of Wonderment!

The thing is, their touchscreen ordering system is a great example innovative tech in daily use. It’s a brilliant, relatively recent application of touch screen technology for custom food orders. Other stores may have something similar, but I’ve never seen one in common use anywhere other than WaWas. (My Shop Rite has something similar for ordering cold cuts.) I doubt very much Mitchell has either.

I'm still impressed by the panels, which work well under heavy use and are designed in such a way that technophobes can navigate them with ease. They’re adjustable, easy-to-read, and responsive. You can pick from a wide selection of condiments and toppings, and even choose the amount of mayo or olive oil, add bacon or extra cheese, choose to have it toasted, and order things on the side. Automating this element of the process also eliminates errors in orders and makes the entire process more efficient. It’s a good system. It must have been a risk for WaWa, and it deserves a shoutout.

Honestly? I get a little thrill every time I use it, but then again I’m a technonerd. I actually like Romney a bit more for showing this gee-whiz side of his usually robotic self. We should be amazed by amazing things. I like a man with a sense of wonder. When did wonder become a quality to be mocked?

Hat-tip: new blog friend @robert_pearson

Jonathan Haidt, Call your office!

I applauded last night's superb "Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons" gathering. Bradley Beck, spoke on "the importance of effective communication within the liberty movement." A recurring theme -- if not his directly -- was the other folks' competence at distilling ideas and appealing to the heart. I have certainly complained several times that I need to trot out 100 year old economics books while my Facebook friends can just show a picture of a poor child.

I will not let go of this smug superiority lightly, bit I must confess one absolute truth. Videlicet, that all of my leftist friends feel exactly the same. Oh those clever right wingers use all their Koch money and hire evil geniuses and package child molestation as a public good! Why oh why can't we have some brilliant people on our side?

Case in point is a link sent by a great friend of this blog. I noticed that Ann Althouse referred to the same article, but sugarch -- I mean our anonymous friend -- was first. It is painful, but I suggest you read it coast to coast.

In conservative politics, democracy is seen as providing the maximal liberty to seek one's self-interest without being responsible for the interests of others. The best people are those who are disciplined enough to be successful. Lack of success implies lack of discipline and character, which means you deserve your poverty. From this perspective, The Public is immoral, taking away incentives for greater discipline and personal success, and even standing in the way of maximizing private success. The truth that The Private depends upon The Public is hidden from this perspective. The Public is to be minimized or eliminated. To conservatives, it's a moral issue.

-- And there are far less appealing sections.

But the topic is how to appeal to these people or those they have influenced, and just saying "that is complete and total b******t!" is not going to work. George Lakoff is the West Coast' s answer to Noam Chomsky and I confess I don't know Elisabeth Wehling. They and their passionate followers are clearly beyond reach. But this is on HuffPo and will be passed around (no doubt I'll see on Facebook any minute now).

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Nobody light a match - strawmen are everywhere!

Not to mention at least a few flat-out lies: "Wealthy progressives have not funded progressive communication in the same way to bring progressive moral values into everyday public discourse." Okay, maybe it's not technically a lie since George Soros is a communist rather than a progressive, and the dozens of progressive charitable foundations are funded by the wealth of long-deceased free market businessmen despite now being directed by progressive "moralists."

That the redefinition spin machine is working this hard is a sure sign of desperation on the progressive left. Rand said that what is moral is what is required for human survival. Rational self-interest is innately human, while the moral foundation of altruism is unearned guilt. But when wage earners have no wages to earn there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2012 3:55 PM
But dagny thinks:


Is Jonathan Haidt the author you once (or maybe multiple times) recommended to us to help explain why so many people, "don't get it?" If so, can you please re-remind me which book to read?

I have very little time for reading but jg and I have a 16 hour drive to CA coming up soon and we might be able to do some reading in the car.

Anybody else with must-read reading suggestions?

Posted by: dagny at June 19, 2012 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Guilty -- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion Amazon

You'd dig Arthur Brooks's The Road to Freedom as well. It rubs some old scabs off of our elevator talk contretemps.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2012 6:05 PM

June 18, 2012

Keeping us Safe

Protection from enemies foreign and domestic, American League and National League

All hail Harsanyi:

Not guilty on all counts. That's the return on millions of tax dollars, dozens of witnesses, ludicrous Congressional hearings and nine hours of deliberation. Today, a jury acquitted pitching great Roger Clemens on all counts of lying to Congress about steroids and human growth hormone.

A refresher: "...the process began with a February 2008 congressional hearing in which Clemens made statements to a committee that the government believed to be false, and continued through a mistrial in July 2011.

Thankfully, there is nothing seriously wrong with the country of government that requires attention.


One might be tempted to suspect a sinister motive in the Air Tanker Deficit story posted below. But first one should read today's Robert A. Heinlein quote of the day:

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity. -- RAH 'Logic of Empire' (1941); [this is one of the earliest known variants of an idea which has become known as Hanlon's razor.]

Obama cuts Fire Fighting Aircraft

According to blogger Sean Paige at the Monkey Wrenching America blog, a contract with Aero Union, a fire fighting company with seven 4-engine slurry bombers, was canceled during renewal negotiations in August, 2011. No reason was given, just "We don’t want the airplanes, have a nice life." This brought the US Forest Service air tanker fleet down to 11 heavy aircraft, and today it's only 9. The report cites Rep. Dan Lundgren(R-CA) saying the fleet was 40 planes a decade ago.

This reminds me of that old lefty bumper sticker, "Wouldn't it be great if the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber?" Apparently, now they do.

Liberty on the Rocks -- Tonight!

Join us on Monday, June 18th, where your featured speaker will be Distinguished Toastmaster, Bradley Beck, who will be discussing the importance of effective communication within the liberty movement, including an interactive group challenge! After Mr. Beck's presentation there will be a short Q&A session, followed by the opportunity to network with other local liberty supporters. Come for the event, stay for the food and networking -- you're guaranteed a great evening no matter what! This event is open to the public, you're welcome to bring friends!

Ralphie's Sports Tavern 585 E. SOUTH BOULDER RD., Louisville, CO 80027

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

If you would, save seats for us at your table: Three bumblebees and their passive but loquacious parents.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2012 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

AWESOME TIME! Colorado ThreeSourcers should check these events out. July is second and fourth Mondays and the topic is Health Care. Dave Kopel on the 9th and an MD and free market advocate on the (9 + 14)rd.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2012 9:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Completely agree! A highlight for me was finally meeting Ari Armstrong in person. I knew him as an excellent writer with an even better understanding of ideas but was at a loss to remember anything specific to discuss with him. When I got home I searched our archives for his name and found six articles that refreshed my memory. His writing for The Objective Standard, I think, impresses me most. That, and this quote from the linked post:

This respect for the military was important for me ideologically because it helped me resist the worst impulses of libertarianism, which at its worst becomes indistinguishable from the “blame America first” left, so far as foreign policy goes. Now I reject both the “nation building” of the neoconservatives and the strict noninterventionism of the libertarians, advocating instead a robust military defense of American lives and liberties.
Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2012 11:19 AM
But Bryan thinks:

Thanks for coming last night guys and thanks for posting the event to 3Sources.

It was a great event, and it was wonderful to have you guys there. I'm glad that you were able to meet Ari, he's a great guy and writer.

Again, I apologize for not being more active of late, I've just been swamped!

Posted by: Bryan at June 19, 2012 12:26 PM

June 17, 2012

Have a John Prine Fathers' Day

@JazzShaw says this is "so nice on Father's Day." Not sure I see the connection, but I don't need an excuse. One of the most haunting and real songs of all time.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:07 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Long one of my favorite songs. Well done.

The only "connection" I imagine to Father's Day is the reference to parentage with "named after my mother" and the whole "life journey" aspect of the song.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2012 3:08 PM

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 5:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

Apples, Trees, Falling, Proximity...

Happy Fathers Day Mister Vice President!

On Saturday evening, Vice President Joe Biden's son and Delaware attorney general Beau Biden tried to attack presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, but the punch ended up hitting North Carolina's Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue instead.

"I’ve never met a successful politician who didn’t run again," Biden said during his keynote address at the North Carolina Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner, in an attempt to attack Romney’s decision against running for re-election after his sole term as Massachusetts' governor. Biden had characterized that comment as "off script" just before making it.

The crowd "collectively groaned," according to the Raleigh News and Observer, because Perdue had decided against running for re-election this year.

Chip off the old block!

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

Review Corner

Close on the heels of Arthur Brooks's "The Road to Freedom" [Review Corner] comes another book on the morality of capitalism: Tom G. Palmer's The Morality of Capitalism: What Your Professors Won't Tell You.

This is a collection of essays, reprints and even an interview. The book is a verdant pasture for excerpting; I highlighted many quotes. But I'll share one from Jane Arunga, a Kenyan (see if she'll ever be President!) filmmaker. She argues for free market capitalism instead of foreign aid. The aid distorts the market as it always has concomitant regulation.

All of these regulations restrict our markets and our freedom. We are left purchasing goods and services that may not be of the highest quality or the best price, because we don’t have freedom of choice. That lack of freedom keeps us down and perpetuates poverty.

We aren’t just robbed of lower prices and better quality, though. We are robbed of the opportunity to innovate, to make use of our minds, to improve our situations through our own energy and intellect. In the long run, that is the greater crime against us.

This is the second in a series to present "the other side" to college students. The first [Review Corner] was a collection of Bastiat essays. Either can be purchased for $0.99 on Kindle and both are worth quite a bit more. Four and a half stars because it could have been longer.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 16, 2012

Freeman Dyson on Climate Change

And how did I miss this? Freeman Dyson from 2007 on the need for heretics in Science.

My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

Perfect weekend reading length. Hat-tip: Ed Kreyewski in Reason.

Article II, Section 3

I rarely imagine that I owe the world a post. Maybe if Governor Chris Christie released an album of Hayek quotes and Buffy lines set to jazz music, some readers might wonder what jk thought on the topic... but as a general rule I consider silence an option.

Yet President Obama's callow, opportunistic, and completely unconstitutional principled and humanistic immigration policy does inspire some thoughts. Like Larry Kudlow, I agree with most if not all of the policy but disagree with the process of bypassing Congress. The WSJ Ed Page takes this on using the President's own admission that this exceeds his authority:

In a speech last year to La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization that has criticized the White House for the lack of progress on immigration reform, President Obama mused that he'd like "to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own." He added, "Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you."

Looking at the demographics of swing states, President Constitutional Law Professor succumbed to temptation. Like his equally opportunistic stand on gay rights, I don't understand why even when I agree with the President, he cannot lead or craft bipartisan legislation. He has to demagogue the things I like.

John Yoo, the left's beta-noir for his envelope-pushing of Executive power, has an interesting article in NRO today.

There is a world of difference in refusing to enforce laws that violate the Constitution (Bush) and refusing to enforce laws because of disagreements over policy (Obama).

Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president has the duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." This provision was included to make sure that the president could not simply choose, as the British King had, to cancel legislation simply because he disagreed with it. President Obama cannot refuse to carry out a congressional statute simply because he thinks it advances the wrong policy. To do so violates the very core of his constitutional duties.

Among the exceptions, Yoo lists "prosecutorial discretion" which I defended on these pages as a legitimate tool for the DOJ to de-emphasize drug prosecutions. In both instances, I would prefer a clear and comprehensive legislative solution. And in both I would welcome a soft-pedal on enforcement while issues are resolved.

But the naked politics of this combined with the President's casual willingness to overstep executive authority is a step too far. It is also a reminder that he did NOTHING on gay rights or immigration with a Democratic Congress or with GOP Senators who have supported comprehensive reform. He'd rather demagogue than legislate.

UPDATE: Jim Mantle catches it in sub-140: @jimantle President Obama invokes the all-powerful Right Thing to Do clause in the Constitution.

UPDATE II: Blog friend Terri asks "Right thing for whom?"

He keeps setting up all of these new rules but they hardly ever seem fair to me.
-- I'm 31, came here when I was 5 and this doesn’t apply?
-- I'm 18, came here when I was 16 and this doesn’t apply?
-- I'm 21 and a citizen and can’t get a job....how is this right for me?
-- I'm the employee of 20 of these folks and paying them the prevailing wage, when they all quit because there are now better opportunities....is this right for me?
-- I'm the one who’s been waiting in line at the immigration office for 4 years to get into the US legally. I don’t really have skills, but can contribute. Is this right for me?

Good points, all. This is, of course, one topic on which our blog friend and I do not see eye-too-eye. I agree that the rules are capricious and will even up the ante -- these laws are still on the books and will be enforced whenever it is politically expedient for this or any president or Secretary of Homeland Security.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Terri thinks:

I don't actually think that we're that far apart.

We both agree immigration laws should be liberalized. You think that will solve the problem of jobs here that 'mericans don't want.

I think they should be liberalized too, but I don't think it will solve the problem. Middle managers in Mexico who come here because they can make a lot more money mucking horse stalls will still come here, but become middle managers.

Perhaps you'd like to defend your position over a drink in Louisville tonight? hmmmmmmmmm?

Posted by: Terri at June 18, 2012 10:06 AM
But jk thinks:

Fear for the space-time continuum friends, it appears Terri and I may actually meet.

We may have to just pull the plug on ThreeSources, because the immigrtaion problem is solving itself and we'll soon have nothing to talk about. Mexico is escaping centuries of bad government and a less than perfect neighbor to establish a vibrant middle class.

I firmly reject that they were all leaving boring production meetings to cross the border in a 150 degree boxcar. Better opportunities in Mexico and less up here have brought net migration to near zero. As the Mexican population ages and grows wealthier, fewer will seek illegal entry even when our economy improves.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2012 12:23 PM
But Terri thinks:

Here here!

You'll enjoy this post from SooperMexican.


Posted by: Terri at June 18, 2012 2:16 PM

June 15, 2012

Headline of the Day

3. Mitt Romney: Rigid Flip-Flopping Ideologue -- Robert Tracinski [subscribe]
2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

President Obama's Personal, Private, "Super Legislature"

President Roosevelt famously threatened to stack the Supreme Court to obtain the rulings he wished. It now appears that President Obama may have outdone his New Deal predecessor with his "Obamacare" law. Obamacare's "Independent Payments Advisory Board" [IPAB] turns out to be more "independent" than it is "advisory."

In other words, to override IPAB's proposal completely, opponents must assemble a simple majority in the House and a three-fifths majority in the Senate and the president's signature.

That makes IPAB more than an advisory board. It's a super-legislature whose members are more powerful than members of Congress. If eight members of Congress propose a bill, all that's necessary to block it is a majority of either chamber, or one-third of either chamber plus the president.

Worse, Obamacare forbids Congress to repeal IPAB outside of a brief window in the year 2017 -- and even then requires a three-fifths supermajority in both chambers plus a presidential signature. Under Obamacare, after 2017 Congress could repeal Medicare, but not the board it created to run Medicare. Congress and the states could repeal the Bill of Rights -- but not IPAB.


Dagny thought this one should naturally follow yesterday's.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

-- RAH 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'

And the winning illustratory news story is (no surprise) Obamacare, as speculated on by Robert Reich

Most high-court observers think it will strike down the individual mandate in the Act that requires almost everyone to buy health insurance, as violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution -- but will leave the rest of the new health care law intact.


So in striking down the least popular part of Obamacare -- the individual mandate -- the Court will inevitably bring into question one of its most popular parts -- coverage of preexisting conditions. And in so doing, open alternative ways to maintain that coverage -- including ideas, like the public option, that were rejected in favor of the mandate.

Quote of the Day

Facing a 19 mile, 4,000 foot climb up Mt. Hamilton near San Jose, as I did on Memorial Day, plodders like me will think of Lance. An image of Lance in full grimace will come into our heads. Because Lance suffered to become the greatest Tour de France rider in history, and suffered before that to defeat a cancer that had gone into his brain and lungs, and suffered still more as a youth in a single-mom home, well, maybe we can suffer some, too.

Lance made suffering cool. Lance is like a secular Jesus. His suffering and ultimate triumph gives hope. -- Rich Karlgaard

Posted by John Kranz at 2:26 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Professor Reynolds would caution against cockiness"

A very good friend of this blog sends a link to Dr. Krauthammer today:

What remains is a solid, stolid, gaffe-prone challenger for whom conservatism is a second language versus an incumbent with a record he cannot run on and signature policies -- Obamacare, the stimulus, cap-and-trade -- he hardly dare mention.

"Excited yet?" Asks our friend.

I'll accept the Romney critique, though I have been very pleased with the campaign so far. But the raps against the President and the excitement on the right are premature.

I will be cautious until the concession. The President has a winner today in stealing Sen. Rubio's DREAM-ACT-LITE. The Tancredo wing will overreact and we'll be the Old Straight White Boys club again.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:04 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I will confess that when I read the title, "Professor Reynolds would caution against cockiness," my reaction was:

"So would Winston Wolf."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 15, 2012 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

The allusion ninja strikes again! Glad I nave Bing®

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2012 3:31 PM

When You've Lost Dana Milbank...

WOAH! Dana Milbank, WaPo: Skip the falsehoods, Mr. President, and give us a plan

I had high hopes for President Obama's speech on the economy. But instead of going to Ohio on Thursday with a compelling plan for the future, the president gave Americans a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy.

The falsehood is that he has been serious about cutting government spending. The fallacy is that this election will be some sort of referendum that will break the logjam in Washington.

Milbank does not go on to endorse Gov. Romney or the Ryan Plan or 9-9-9 or anything. Republicans get some harsh words. Yet, none worse than these:
Of more concern is Obama's nonsensical claim that he has a deficit plan that would strengthen Medicare for the long haul. He has called for doubling Medicare spending over the next 10 years, to nearly $1 trillion in 2022. His cuts in the rate of growth amount to just a few percentage points. As The Post's Lori Montgomery has reported, the president's 2013 budget marked "the second year in a row Obama has ignored calls to restructure Social Security and Medicare entitlement programs."

Nothing in Obama's speech came close to a proposal to fix the debt problem; he dealt with that only at the end of the speech -- largely by complaining about Republicans' refusal to consider higher taxes on the wealthy.

Ow! That's gotta sting!

Hat-tip: Insty, in a collection of bad reviews.

Businessman Defends Capitalism!

It happens now and then. Andrew Puzder of CKE is a Hoss and Carl's Jr. probably offers the finest low carb burger in the hemisphere. If you get a chance, find Penn & Teller's B***S*** on fast food. He has also appeared on Stossel. They're not all Jeff Immelts, yet too many of them are ready to sell out the system that launched them.

Last night, however, Home Depot's Bernie Marcus was on Kudlow & Company with Governor Howard Dean. Jason Mattera tweeted from the green room: "Home Depot founder is destroying Howard Dean right now on @larry_kudlow's show It's a beautiful thing."

And it is. I cannot find embed code, but I recommend you follow the link to read some of it and vote on the online poll "who won?" There is video there and while I don't like to tell people what to do, find some time to watch it. A beautiful thing indeed.

UPDATE: When I posted this morning, the online poll was running 50/50. I figured liberty was finished if half of CNBC's viewers thought the Gov got the better licks in. In an email with a good friend of this blog, I looked up the link and see it is now 79-19 for capitalism.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 14, 2012

When You've Lost Jonathan Alter

Tough room over there at MSNBC

Hat-tip: Weasel Zippers


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:43 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, wait a minute. Did he just call President Obama a confusing blowhard?

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2012 12:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Sharper, cogent message:" I'm incompetent, you're incompetent, but there are all these competent people out there making obscene amounts of money that we can just confiscate and share with each other if you'll just vote for me.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2012 12:46 AM

Damned Lies!

I'd suggest pronouncing the title as three syllables, but it is of course up to the individual.

What is not up to the individual is accepting a falsehood just because it is repeated. Case in point is "the auto bailout was necessary and successful because there was no private capital available." Ergo, the government bailouts were a huge success. Administration flacks mean "there was no private capital stupid enough to overpay and preserve overpriced UAW labor rates and work rules." Now we get closer to the truth.

When people ask for a specific example of the President acting outside the Constitution, I go first to the auto bailout. The preferred debt holders were deprived of their Fifth Amendment right to property without due process as their value was transferred to a preferred political constituency that would not have enjoyed a preference in court.

James Sherk and Todd Zywicki have a superb guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today: Obama's United Auto Workers Bailout. It details many things that went wrong: unequal treatment for debt holders, preservation of unsustainable labor costs -- but also the cost to the treasury. The entire piece is awesome on stilts, but this comparison at the end really hit home:

Instead, President Obama gave over $26 billion to the UAW--more money than the U.S spent on foreign aid last year and 50% more than NASA's budget. None of that money kept factories running. Instead it sustained the above-average compensation of members of an influential union, sparing them from most of the sacrifices typically made in bankruptcy. Such spending does not serve the common good. President Obama did not bail out the auto industry. He bailed out the United Auto Workers.

I am NOT a Geek!

It comes as quite a shock. I work as a software developer. I watch Buffy. My eyesight is bad.

But a Facebook friend is at some computer conference in Orlando and posts this:

No. That's just too far. I posted that I'd use the cupholder to hold USB drives and a laser pointer.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 3:09 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Bryan thinks:

I want one!

Posted by: Bryan at June 14, 2012 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ditto. Baseball game on left screen, home designer software on middle and right screens, noise cancelling headphones on my head!

(On first reading I thought you wrote, "I'd use the CD drive as a cupholder...")

It could be improved, however. Motorized rotation about the Y-axis anyone?

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2012 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 14, 2012 5:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2012 12:05 PM
But dagny thinks:

You can't spell geek without a Double E.

Posted by: dagny at June 15, 2012 1:03 PM


Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I know I should stop. Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them for their own good.

-- RAH, 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' (1966)

FNC's Chris Wallace Pulled Over for Using Cell Phone While Driving

Allman explained that Wallace had been pulled over. He also called the D.C. cell phone ban “ridiculous,” saying D.C. likes to take your guns away so why not your cell phone? “I hope he flees then winds up on a cell phone tower saying he won’t be taken alive,” Allman said, joking that maybe Wallace just robbed a bank or held up a 7Eleven, which is of course hilarious.

Quote of the Day

Once unassailable politically, the environmental community is fracturing between those thoroughly allied to rent-seeking capitalists and the Democratic Party and those still primarily concerned with preserving nature. The Sierra Club, for example, objects to Brown’s attempt to exempt the high-speed line from environmental review. Some Greens also object to Brown-supported projects like the massive tortoise-roasting solar farm planned for the Mojave Desert. -- Joel Kotkin
Hat-tip: Brother Keith via Facebook (Whole piece is great!)
California Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 13, 2012

I Like "Crying Man!"

Yes, I posted it. But let the record show I said:

Now, I get just as emotional during elections and don't mean to belittle this disappointed Wisconsinite. Just to enjoy it. Three times at most. Maybe four.

He went me one better. He called in to a Conservative talk radio show, introduced himself "the crying man" and attempted to engage the host. The host (man I just don't get talk radio) treated him very poorly.

Today he is again trying to reach Conservative talk radio listeners. And he is again facing ridicule.

I am passionate about the things I believe and I seek opportunities to engage with those who don't see things my way. Crying Man, I disagree with about everything I have heard you say, but if you want to talk on ThreeSources we will give you a fair hearing.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:40 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Of course we will, so long as for every question he asks us or every point he makes we, in turn, may ask him why he thinks he deserves to Demand the Unearned.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2012 2:41 PM


An armed society is a polite society.

-- RAH, 'Beyond This Horizon (1942)

Teenage Mob Attacks Couple on Chicago Subway Over iPhone

The teens had just stolen the man’s 27-year-old female friend’s iPhone 4S. She had dropped the phone, and a teen had picked it up and taken it for himself.

The man told the teen to give his wife her iPhone back. But they instead began punching him in the face.

But Robert thinks:

Beyond This Horizon is one of my favorite Heinlein works. It also explores the morals and consequences of human genetic engineering, which is something we are poised to experience for ourselves in the next few years.

Posted by: Robert at June 14, 2012 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's one possible example of human genetic engineering in our future. Did you have a different one in mind?

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2012 2:29 PM
But Robert thinks:

Heinlein (and I) had in mind bigger, stronger, smarter and healthier...sorta a polaropposite of THAT. :)

Posted by: Robert at June 14, 2012 3:26 PM
But dagny thinks:


Posted by: dagny at June 14, 2012 6:40 PM

Et tu ABC?

I don't know Devin Dwer at ABC News, but I am not feeling the love for the President here.

BALTIMORE -- As some high-profile Democrats question the focus of his pitch for a second term, President Obama today stuck closely to his well-worn script, telling a group of 500 donors here that the economy is moving in the right direction and that his policies will accelerate the recovery.

Hat-tip; Jim Geraghty [subscribe]

None Dare Call it Bias

'cept me.

Insty links to a The Hill story on a nutjob Democrat:

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Charles Barron calls Robert Mugabe and Moammar Gadhafi his "heroes." He compared Israel's government to the Nazis, says he won't salute the American flag, and once offered that he wanted to "slap" the nearest white person.

And come January, he could be central Brooklyn's newest congressman, if voters here give him an upset victory in the Democratic primary on June 26.

<ford_truck_guy_voice>It's free speech 101 baby, and I welcome the nutjob to the race.</ford_truck_guy_voice>

Yet it occurs that a similarly out-of-mainstream GOP candidate would be a big deal. Governor Romney would be forced to disavow him. And all my Facebook friends would post a NY Times story about him. But a crazy Democrat? Nothing to see here.

June 12, 2012


In honor of our new commenter Robert I'm going to attempt a daily quote by Robert A. Heinlein that relates to an issue of the day. This will surely test the limits of my Heinlein reading but I've no doubt dagny will have my back. We'll see how long I can keep it up.

Today, in homage to the WSJs pugilism of one Billy Tauzin (PULL PEDDLER - LA)

Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of shrewd and evil and self-serving men.

-- RAH 'Assignment in Eternity' (1953)

I'll admit right up front: I haven't read it, merely pulled it from Wikiquote.

But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 12, 2012 4:22 PM
But Robert thinks:

That's great, thanks! RAH has a lot of quotables. Glenn Reynolds repeated the "bad luck" one about 10 times recently.

Posted by: Robert at June 13, 2012 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sad but true: I had never even heard of Robert Heinlein until, aged 38 years, I met my wife and soul mate dagny. Been trying to make up lost time ever since...

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2012 3:36 PM

Did I mention "Go to Hell!"?

I've been a shill and a stooge for Big Pharma since I started blogging. Sad to see that I was also a rube.

I did a smaller post on this a couple weeks back, but the WSJ Ed Page has exposed the cronyism to a larger extent than I feared.

On Friday House Republicans released more documents that expose the collusion between the health-care industry and the White House that produced ObamaCare, and what a story of crony capitalism it is. If the trove of emails proves anything, it's that the Tea Party isn't angry enough.

Over the last year, the Energy and Commerce Committee has taken Nancy Pelosi's advice to see what's in the Affordable Care Act and how it passed. The White House refused to cooperate beyond printing out old press releases, but a dozen trade groups turned over thousands of emails and other files. A particular focus is the drug lobby, President Obama's most loyal corporate ally in 2009 and 2010.

The business refrain in those days was that if you're not at the table, you're on the menu. But it turns out Big Pharma was also serving as head chef, maitre d'hotel and dishwasher. Though some parts of the story have been reported before, the emails make clear that ObamaCare might never have passed without the drug companies. Thank you, Pfizer.

After that, the gloves come off and they get a bit angry. It is a lengthy column that will anger a sentient reader several times but it should be read. In full.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"Outrage over this kind of cronyism is what animates the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, whose members aren't powerful enough to get special dispensations from the government—or even a fair hearing from their putative representatives."


Also noteworty, 4th and 5th from the last paragraph.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2012 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup. The whole thing is a fine excuse to subscribe, but for those on the wrong side of Rupert's paywall, my blog brother refers to:

The lesson for Republicans if they do end up running the country next year is that their job is to restore the free and fair market that creates broad-based economic growth. The temptation will be to return for the sake of power to the methods of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff. If they do, voters will return the GOP to private life as surely as they did the Democrats in 2010.

The warning to business is also fundamental. Crony capitalism undermines public trust in capitalism itself and risks blowback that erodes the free market that private companies need to prosper and that underlies the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. economy. The political benefits of cronyism are inherently temporary, but the damage it does is far more lasting.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2012 4:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I find it noteworthy that I was able to read the entire article on the WSJ site, and I'm currently not a subscriber.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2012 1:13 PM

Quote of the Day

Technically President Reagan, but from a smart piece for Anne Sorock rebutting Gov. Jeb Bush's claim that Reagan's capacity for working with Democrats would have made him an outcast among Tea Partiers:

As Reagan said in his 1981 inaugural address, "From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?"

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | What do you think? [0]


Ahh Happy Days...

Recycling a half cubic yard of political mailers yesterday, I saw one from Jon Huntsman and was curious to see what that was about. Glad I was curious as it contained a $55 check.

The Governor says "Hi" to ThreeSources (well, mostly hb and me...)

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 11, 2012

Earned Success

I dug Brooks's book, and I think my favorite may have been his equating happiness with earned success. I fear some folks 'round these parts might object to his pejorative use of the G-Word, but I invite them to enjoy earned success.

But johngalt thinks:

In a free-market capitalist system greed is a null word. Every man who holds accumulation of wealth as his highest value harms only himself.

Greed only has power over others in a non-free economic system. This includes the totalitarian systems and the mixed-economy system in every western nation. These are the systems in which greed can harm one's neighbor.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2012 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"If parasitism, favoritism, corruption, and greed for the unearned did not exist, a mixed economy would bring them into existence."

--Ayn Rand, "The Pull Peddlers" from 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal' p.170

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2012 4:01 PM

Quote of the Day

Sen. Rand Paul's (HOSS - KY) pragmatic endorsement of Gov. Mitt Romney is not going down too well in certain quarters.

The Atlantic's John Hudson dubbed it the libertarian equivalent of the folk purists' reaction to Bob Dylan going electric. Some of these modern-day Pete Seegers directed their ire toward Ron Paul himself: "We will never vote for Romney or your flimsy son." -- W James Antle III

Libertario Delenda Est!

No Reasonable Democrats?

The problem is that many voters (myself included) don't think government jobs are just another sector. We want the number of housing and manufacturing jobs to keep growing--the more the merrier, all things being equal. We don't want the number government jobs to keep growing, in part because we pay for them without the assurances, offered in a competitive private economy, that we're getting our moneys worth or that the jobs are necessary at all. It's one thing to boost government jobs as a temporary stimulus measure. It's another thing to never let federal, state and local governments shrink to a more sustainable size. -- Mickey Kaus

June 10, 2012

Review Corner

How is anybody going to learn any history if it is written by historians? That's not a quip attempt, I am serious.

First a whole mess of stars to Kevin Costner for the History Channel's miniseries on the Hatfields & McCoys. It was well done. Costner brought money and star power and some big ticket crew to a cable special. If you missed it, I strongly recommend your trying to catch it.

I knew nothing of the story except that they feuded. While I enjoyed the miniseries, I wanted to read a bit more and see what they got right and what they missed. A little Kindle® shopping led me to Blood Feud by Lisa Alther: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance

And for 11 chapters, murder & vengeance is what you get. Seriously, the descriptions of people and events throughout the feud are superb. While Costner's folks did a good job, a book is better suited to expressing ambiguity. Nobody knows what happened, and a researcher like Alther is faced with a McCoy book, a Hatfield book, oral histories and salacious journalism. Alther is humble but succeeds in a fair portrayal seeking outside references and corroboration.

I enjoyed the first 11 chapters and was ready to start dishing out the stars. The feud was complete and the loose ends were tied. Were this a miniseries the theme music would be swelling right about now -- and yet

And yet four full chapters and an epilogue remain. In this final third, Alther puts on her full professor hat and offers page after page of conventional academic nonsense.

I'm a big boy. I love history. And I am used to writers not sharing my liberty philosophy. I can roll my eyes at snarky asides and conventional wisdom. But it was as if the author went out for a cigarette and some evil grad student snuck in a hundred pages and sent the manuscript.

I highlighted a few lines from the last section. Why did they fight? She has a few interesting suggestions: genetic, economic, political, philosophical -- but the bulk is devoted to her theory of "daddy issues"

On the McCoy side, Perry Cline lost his father at age nine, leaving him vulnerable to the machinations of Devil Anse Hatfield. Frank Phillips never met his father, who was killed in the Civil War, and he spent much of his time trying to live up to his father's reputation for bravery. Harmon McCoy's sons lost him to murder when they were very young. Ranel and Harmon McCoy's father, Daniel, failed in his traditional responsibilities by giving them no land when they started families of their own. Ranel McCoy failed his own sons similarly. Daniel left a legacy of shiftlessness, and Ranel of litigiousness.

I sometimes picture all these sad young men, and some not so young, fighting their shadowbox battles for or against phantom fathers, acting out their longing for fathers who had died or never claimed them, their hatred of fathers who had failed or rejected them -- and slaughtering one another in the process.

Mmmkay. Then again, it could have been. No, you tell them:
If only the feudists had spent as much money and effort on acquiring contraception (which was, in fact, available in other regions of the United States at this time) as they did on acquiring guns, ammunition, and moonshine, a different scenario might have evolved. With fewer children, their farms could have remained intact instead of being constantly subdivided into ever-smaller plots. Those angry young hillbullies would have had secure livelihoods and perhaps wouldn't have felt such a compulsion to charge around the countryside on horseback, expressing their fury by creating such terror and misery for others.

But the real feud was the Appalachians against the wicked Corporations
Once again, while audiences gasped in horror at the outrageous behavior of the fictional feudists, they admired their ruthless aggression. As one writer puts it, "Those forces, which were shaping a new American business and political elite -- and hence American mass culture . . . found the idea of man's 'wolf-law' nature a useful indulgence, a justification for annihilating one's rivals

But an unknown number of miners and guards alike had died on Blair Mountain, and many more had been wounded. The large corporations had originally refused to enter the Tug Fork Valley due to the supposed savagery of the people who lived there. But the system the corporations had set in place instead turned out to be far more savage and lethal than anything enacted by the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I left out the section on how great President Wilson was. I can email that if you'd like.

A sad and sour ending to an otherwise great book. Four-and-a-half stars for Introduction - Chapter 11; minus 2.5 for Chapter 12 - Epilogue. Two stars. But if you have Tyler Cowen's discipline and can put it down when she goes off, I'd recommend it highly!

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 6:26 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Lonely guys commenting on their own posts...

The Costner folks seemed to do a decent job on accuracy. There are many discrepancies between the book and dramatization, but it's a credible version of events.

The worst part is having the über-sympathetic Costner play a character, making him immediately a hero. There are several stories about how "Devil Anse" Hatfield got his sobriquet -- but none are for Costnerian equanimity.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2012 7:36 PM
But Robert thinks:

Regarding Costner, yes he's great at the sympathy. In "JFK" he managed to make Jim Garrison into some kind of hero, rather than a paranoid maniac who hounded and prosecuted an innocent man.

Posted by: Robert at June 11, 2012 3:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Costner AND Oliver Stone? You're Braver'n'me man.

Snark aside, Kevin did do a great job on the miniseries. He can't help it if he is likable.

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2012 5:14 PM

Denver Post Scolds Sierra Club

Last week I noted that Sierra Club is preparing a "Beyond Natural Gas" advocacy effort as part of its "none of the above" energy strategy. Today the reactionary big-oil shills at the Denver Post editorial board joined my disapprobation.

The executive director of the influential environmental group recently wrote: "It's time to stop thinking of natural gas as a 'kinder, gentler' energy source."

To be blunt, no, it is not time.

We are dismayed that this group is repositioning itself as an anti-gas group, going as far as to proclaim that it will lobby to stop all new gas-fueled power plants.

It seems to us that as market conditions and technological advances have led to a boom in availibility of cheap natural gas, the backtracking is born of fear — fear that this nation will come to rely on this "transitional fuel" as a long-term solution.

Disapprobation of environmental extremism deserves approbation. I don't say this every day but ... bravo, Denver Post, bravo.

But jk thinks:

Bravo, indeed!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2012 1:38 PM

Quote of the Day

This is all he does now. But hey, unlike those inbred monarchies with their dukes and marquesses and whatnot, at least he gets out among the masses. Why, in a typical week, you’ll find him at a fundraiser at George Clooney's home in Los Angeles with Barbra Streisand and Salma Hayek. These are people who are in touch with the needs of ordinary Americans because they have played ordinary Americans in several of their movies. And then only four days later the president was in New York for a fundraiser hosted by Ricky Martin, the only man on the planet whose evolution on gayness took longer than Obama's. It's true that moneyed celebrities in, say, Pocatello or Tuscaloosa have not been able to tempt the president to hold a lavish fundraiser in Idaho or Alabama, but he does fly over them once in a while. Why, only a week ago, he was on Air Force One accompanied by Jon Bon Jovi en route to a fundraiser called Barack on Broadway. -- Mark Steyn
The whole piece is hilarious. HT: Insty

June 9, 2012

Aspiring Tax Slave

Yes, I know that Three Sources is an intellectual blog.

Yes, I know that all children have feelings.

Yes, I know that everyone in this photograph is caucasian.

No, I couldn't resist.


"Can't stop the signal, Mal."

Humor Posted by JohnGalt at 11:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

Our Miss Margaret

A clever developer could attach to this blog's database of entries and graph my appreciation for Peggy Noonan. It would look a lot like a chart of FB on NASDAQ. I went all in an Noonan stock when I read her "What I Saw at the Revolution," a book I bought for a dozen people trying to explain who I had become during the Reagan Administration.

Her 9/11 book was moving; she was perhaps born to write it. Crosses, Hearts and Flags are her domain and her capacity to provide emotion without treacle is unmatched.

Then, if I may try hand at her style, the little elitist grace notes developed into dissident chords (okay, she does it better). And by the time she went-all-Obama-on-us I had stopped listening. I read her only occasionally now, but will give her a quote of the day for this:

President Obama's problem now isn't what Wisconsin did, it's how he looks each day--careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn't go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker's place, where the money is.

Nailed it Peggy. Nailed it.

June 8, 2012

Weasel Award

I should probably not compare this former Coke® executive to a weasel. I'm certain weasels have some positive benefit to the ecosystem. Todd Putnam not so much.

Putman, 51, shares that view. But he is also driven by another motive: From 1997 to mid-2000, he was a top marketing executive at Coca-Cola.

"It took me 10 years to figure out that I have a large karmic debt to pay for the number of Cokes I sold across this country," he said.

On Thursday, he came to settle it.

He wanted to give an inside account of what he contends has been a drive by Coca-Cola to replace not just its direct competitors but all beverages in the American diet -- a campaign for what the company called "share of stomach." He wanted to warn about the industry's particular focus on young people and minorities.

Thank all that is holy and decent that this brave whistleblower came forward to accept the accolades and approbation of the Washington Post and New York's mayor. What courage!

Nanny State Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | What do you think? [1]
But dagny thinks:

Think I might just have to go get a Coke from the machine today in honor of this post.

Posted by: dagny at June 11, 2012 5:25 PM

Doing Fine!

I read 100 tweets on this and just assumed it was a gotcha moment. James Pethokoukis brings the embed and it is cut so abruptly I assumed some Koch-Brothers-funded hack had removed the entire context.

Indeed he or she did. The whole quote is 1000 times worse!

The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Often times cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

That is not out of context -- the private sector is "fine" thanks to the Administration's bold and thoughtful policies! It's GOVERNMENT that is being starved!

The humanity!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

His rear end is not particularly large - so precisely where is he pulling these enormous numbers from?

4.3 million jobs? 800,000 just this year? So all these unemployed people are just a figment of our imagination?

I won't be the first to call BS on this, nor the last, but it's BS all the same. Or as someone else once said to him more eloquently: "YOU LIE!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 8, 2012 5:05 PM
But Robert thinks:

"We" created 4.3 million jobs? WE? Aside from the sheer political stupidity of the "private sector" remark, that really bugs me. "We" probably killed a million potential jobs through ObamaCare/Keystone/EPA etc. I second Keith: "YOU LIE!"

Posted by: Robert at June 8, 2012 8:35 PM
But jk thinks:

@Robert: thanks for the comment. I know every ThreeSourcer will enjoy clicking through your url Robert A. Heinlein: Commentary on His Life and Work.

Fun to watch the Democratic surrogates on Kudlow & Company and the "walk back" yesterday. As I said, John Hinderaker at PowerLine said, and Stephen Moore said on Kudlow: he did not "misspeak." The entire sentence conveys a single idea that the real problem is a lock of growth of government.

Yes, he could have phrased the first part better, I'll let him walk back "doing fine." But he said -- explicitly -- that sub 2% GDP growth can be tolerated but that local government cuts are the problem.

I think we have a choice in November.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2012 10:01 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I often put things in perspective, and this is a good one to do it for.

Obama, as he's wont to do, is cherry-picking start and end dates. He's included the first couple of months of this year that historically see more jobs created. But the facts of the matter are that job growth is slowing down again, and even the "good" job growth is nothing like what we expected in a genuine recovery.


When taxes are going up in half a year, who the hell wants to risk hiring anybody?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 10, 2012 12:46 PM

It's a Woman


"I'm a big believer in stuff. It can be very comforting. You can't have too much stuff. You have too little storage space. (...) As you get older, you hang on to pieces of detritus that keeps you connected with the past. It breaks my heart when I see people selling comics collections they've spent a lifetime collecting.

Q: Why are they selling their collections? For money?

A: Sometimes it's money. More often, it's a woman. They're the de-clutterers most often."

-- Chuck Rozanski, owner of Denver's Mile High Comics in a fun Denver Post interview.

Two Polls on Gay Marriage

The GOP seems pretty certain that opposition to gay marriage is a political winner. Minnesotans are confident that a marriage amendment will bring out the conservatives, who will then pull levers for Republicans. The Colorado State House used parliamentary tactics to avoid a vote on civil unions, running out the clock and adjourning early -- Lyndon Johnson would have been proud.

It has been suggested on this blog that any immediate gains might be shortsighted, and I confer completely. Yet I am not at all convinced it is a winner this year: "Tie now, and Lose the Future! We attack at Dawn!"

The first poll is from Denver Post on Facebook

More Coloradans support allowing gays to marry than allowing them to form civil unions, a sort of marriage lite, although the Colorado constitution stipulates marriage can only be between a man and a woman. The poll was conducted May 21 through 24, just days after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives killed two civil union bills in high-profile maneuvers that garnered national attention.
  • Gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as do a man and woman. 42 percent
  • There should be no legal recognition of a relationship between gay and lesbian couples. 22 percent
  • Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to form a civil union, which gives the same legal rights as marriage, but it should not be called marriage. (Supporters of civil unions says it does not give the same rights as marriage, such as on tax issues.) 31 percent

Click through for some quibbles and potential biases on the poll, but targeting that 22% strikes me as short of being short sighted.

A good friend of the blog from that state with all the lakes sends a link to a new poll identifying a shift away from the Minnesota amendment.

ST. PAUL (WCCO) -- A new poll suggests Minnesota voters may reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only being between one man and one woman.

On Tuesday, Public Policy Polling announced new numbers indicating that 49 percent of likely voters would be opposed to the amendment. The poll suggested 43 percent were in approval of it.

PPP said those numbers represent a swing from their January results, which showed the amendment passing with 48 percent in favor and 44 percent against.

I'm biased as my idea of lasseiz faire leaves the government little power over defining marriage, but suggest that those who like this for pragmatic political reasons look over the numbers.

Gay Rights Posted by John Kranz at 9:47 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Terri thinks:

The big question is really in those people who would not vote if there were no marriage amendment on the ballot though.
I'll go, vote for gay marriage and then vote Romney.
Those who don't normally vote who feel absolutely compelled to go to the polls because of the marriage amendment probably are more anti, than pro.
I don't think it loses on the right until/unless Romney starts harping on the issue as cut and dried. I think he's too smart and too socially liberal for that.

Posted by: Terri at June 8, 2012 11:28 AM
But jk thinks:

It is certainly possible that it will be a political plus in 2012. I'm suggesting that that is not a sure thing. This topic is difficult to pin down in a poll and attitudes are fluid to say the least.

I also cede principled opposition to full equality. I expected to be the ThreeSources radical here and find myself surprised to offer Van Buren's toast to "mutual forbearance." One can offer a Burkean concern to such a fast and drastic change, or even a limited-government uncertainty about fraud and abuse in distributing government benefits.

I'll risk both for full equality, mind you. I just don't want to climb on a perch and lecture.

Like I do on immigration...

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2012 3:12 PM
But Bryan thinks:

A slightly different opinion on the matter...

Liberals are chomping at the bit to pull any conservative they can into a debate about marriage equality. In my opinion, President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage was nothing more than a trap that he set for Romney to distract from the economy's poor performance under Obama's reign. After that happened Rick Santorum said that he thought Romney should take Obama to task on his new stance on gay marriage.

What did Romney do?

He responded by saying something to the effect that reasonable people can have a disagreement on that issue, but that he wanted to stay focused on the economy. He completely avoided the trap and it came back to bite Obama in the form of approval numbers. If you look at the approval numbers, not who are you going to vote for numbers, but approval numbers, Obama slipped and Romney gained.

I argue that Romney gained because he stayed on message, which is the economy. I will also argue that Obama lost because people saw what he did as a distraction from the economy. If Romney had taken the bait, I would bet good money that Romney's numbers would have taken a hit and Obama's numbers gotten a boost.

Gay marriage is a losing proposition for the GOP at this point. The national polls show that 50%+ of American's support some sort of civil union/same sex message legislation and the trend is only going up.

If there are ANY short term gains for the GOP in going after gay marriage, I think they will be wiped out in the long run because they do not have a consensus among the people.

Posted by: Bryan at June 8, 2012 5:25 PM

Quote of the Day

A reader submission, courtesy of a great friend of this blog from the Empire State:

A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves -- Bertrand de Jouvenel

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 9:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 7, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 6:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Beyond Magical Unicorn Farts

That is where the American environmental extremist group Sierra Club must intend to take American energy consumers.

On Monday I wrote about the use of natural gas as a political alternative to more prevalent and less costly coal as a source of electric power. That effort is supported by Sierra Club in their "Beyond Coal" campaign. But they aren't waiting for Phase I of Operation Nineteenth Century to be completed before launching Phase II: "Beyond Natural Gas." (Not "natural" enough?) Sierra's strategic coordination leaves much room for improvement.

Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. "Fracking," a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas. [Emphasis mine.]

After the requisite "what do you mean 'we' Kemosabe" the next thing I notice is how this message is designed to appeal to the feeler-perceiver contingent of the public but offers no evidence for the thinker-judgers among us. Fear, uncertainty and doubt anyone? Showing a glass of drinking water doctored with contaminants so expertly as to make Don Draper proud, the campaign against the hydraulic fracturing process seems to revolve mostly around the shorthand name for the method containing letters "F" and "K".

Blogger Jay F. Marks explains that Sierra Club took millions in donations from natural gas corporations for the purpose of bashing coal, but new Sierra Club director Michael Brune opened a new chapter in the war on reliable and affordable energy.

The Sierra Club once had a cozy relationship with the natural gas industry, taking more than $25 million in contributions from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries to fund the fight against coal.

Brune ended that relationship when he took over as the environmental group’s director in March 2010. He said the club originally worked with Chesapeake because staff and volunteers concluded natural gas might be a viable alternative to coal in electricity generation, but some local chapters developed increasing concerns about gas production.

Let's fast forward, shall we?

Incoming Sierra Club executive director Barnaby Owleton said today that building and maintaining thousands of acres of monstrously large industrial machines to convert wind to electricity is a thorougly discredited process and a clear danger to migratory birds across the nation. "Extinction of multiple species is not just a possibility, but a certainty, if we don't act immediately to move Beyond Wind."
One or two election cycles later...

Woody Weederstein, in his first official statement as new Sierra Club director, slammed the solar electric energy industry for the consequences imposed upon the areas of our planet that are permanently and unavoidably shaded by solar power conversion panels. "In the name of all that is green" he said, "we as Americans have no moral choice but to move Beyond Solar."

And after they succeed in eliminating energy produced by magical unicorn farts the only remaining strategy to "save the planet" will be energy efficiency, which is just another name for rationing. I have a better idea: Hey Sierra Club - Frack off.


Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Okay, even cooler...

The Venus transit as seen in the 171 wavelength. This channel is especially good at showing coronal loops -- the arcs extending off of the Sun where plasma moves along magnetic field lines. The brightest spots seen here are locations where the magnetic field near the surface is exceptionally strong

Hat-tip: Blog Brother AlexC on Facebook.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

I love science.

Posted by: AlexC at June 7, 2012 6:20 PM

Smartest Piece Yet on Wisconsin Implications

I like a good gloat as much as the next guy. And I am satisfied beyond measure at the results of the failed recall in the Badger State. And I have considered Wisconsin as part of my GOP electoral map even before Tuesday. BUT!

Suggestions that the +13% Obama margin now constitutes a gimme are a bit overblown. Wisconsin will be in play, forcing the Obama campaign to spend resources there, and it might be turned red. Yet it is not presaged by Walker's survival and I hear some of my favorite right wing pundits being overly effusive.

Russ Douthat, however, places it in a proper perspective -- and one that will not offend ThreeSourcers.

Yesterday's recall vote is not necessarily a bellwether for the general election, not necessarily a sign that Mitt Romney can win a slew of purple states, not necessarily proof that the country is ready to throw in with Walker's fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan on issues of spending and taxation.

But neither is it anything like good news for liberalism. We are entering a political era that will feature many contests like the war over collective bargaining in Wisconsin: grinding struggles in which sweeping legislation is passed by party-line votes and then the politicians responsible hunker down and try to survive the backlash. There will be no total victory in this era, but there will be gains and losses -- and the outcome in the Walker recall is a warning to Democrats that their position may be weaker than many optimistic liberals thought.

Douthat sees (and credits Jay Cost) an end to the moderate go-along-to-get-along politics that gave us a profligate George W. Bush and tax cutting William J. Clinton. The new era will be more philosophical but far more contentious because the easy, bipartisan stuff is no longer on the menu.

I'm paraphrasing poorly and strongly recommend he whole piece.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

You didn't see it in the mainstream financial media Wednesday morning. But stocks loved Governor Scott Walker's spanking of public-sector unions and Democrats in Wisconsin. The Dow jumped about 165 points right at the opening on Wednesday, and was up over 200 points later in the day. There really was no other news. There was some speculation about central bank stimulus in Europe and the United States. Blah, blah, blah. But there was nothing specific or concrete. -- Larry Kudlow
The Union Label Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 6, 2012

Seen at lunch

The Weld County equivalent of Boulder's Subarus:

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 4:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Bryan thinks:

EL OH EL!!!!!

Posted by: Bryan at June 6, 2012 5:07 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

But there are a lot of good people in that [Romney's Bain Capital] business doing good things. That's the point I was making.

-- Former President Bill Clinton

If he keeps this up I predict a 50-state sweep for Romney. 1980 all over again. Well, okay, 44 states.

High Octane Gloating

Jim Geraghty celebrates Badger State elections with a quote:

"What is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."-- Conan the Barbarian.

And some video:

Now, I get just as emotional during elections and don't mean to belittle this disappointed Wisconsinite. Just to enjoy it. Three times at most. Maybe four.

UPDATE: And a new word: #Wisconsinfreude (via @CuffyMeh)

But johngalt thinks:

Something tells me they'll keep finding newer and better ways to demand the unearned.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2012 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Only used two of my viewings so far...

"The end of the USA as we know it just happened." (...) "Democracy is dead."

I would fully welcome that, if only it were true. Democracy, i.e. "majority rule" is inconsistent with liberty. That is why America's founders established a Constitutional Representative Republic, not a Democracy. They wanted liberty, freedom, prosperity, for themselves and their posterity.

The Wisconsin victory is indeed historic in many ways. Once again, I am proud of my country. But, the battle against statism will never end.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2012 3:32 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If only, when I read the Geraghty quote, it weren't in the voice of my state's former, big-government, RINO governor.

Oh, look! The Oxford comma!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 6, 2012 3:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg embeds the same clip and comments:

Still, if you pull back a bit and look at this in historical perspective, I think the Walker victory is a big win for a more traditional form of democracy and a big loss for what Herbert Croly called "progressive democracy" in his aptly titled book, Progressive Democracy. Croly took the corporatism and anti-Constitutionalism of The Promise of American Life and expanded it in Progressive Democracy (I believe he actually wished he'd written the two books as one). He favored a polity governed by syndicalist associations, trade unions, businessmen, farm leagues etc. Obviously, Croly's vision was never realized fully (Croly even wanted to get rid of states entirely and fold them under federal authority)...

I'd accept jg's or Jonah's as correct answers. I agree with all the knocks against unfettered majority rule, but Democracy lives as a shorthand for self government and 33% of the unforgettable "Whiskey, Democracy Sexy" description or America by an Iraqi. One needs more time, attention and clarity (sorry Oxford!) than one usually receives to make that point. (I generally just start with why motherhood is evil...)

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2012 4:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, point made. Words whose definitions I intend to rehabilitate before I die:


Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2012 6:21 PM

Best Venus Transit photo yet!

As advertised. NASA/SDO,AIA (Venus approaches the Sun's rim)

Hat-tip: IBD

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

Quote of the Day

Thanking Scott Walker is exactly what the people of Wisconsin showed they wanted to do, both at the ballot box and last night. For all the countless hours volunteers put into to ensuring Walker and the others stayed in office, the people of Wisconsin are overwhelmed with gratitude for what his strength and courage has meant for their state. -- Anne Sorock @ Legal Insurrection.
On the other hand, a journalist-reader who asks anonymity writes: "Over at memeorandum.com the AP, NYT and WaPo heds all say 'Walker survives' ... I dunno, 53-46 sounds more like 'Walker spanks.'" -- Insty

June 5, 2012


Fox projects the recall fails.

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2012 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

You're not getting older, you're getting freer.

Really? Have a great one!

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2012 4:48 PM

Million Dollar Idea

And I will let you all in on the ground floor.

Insty links to this Popular Mechanics post

Where has all the darkness gone? Appliances, toys, and gadgets fill our nighttime hours with an ever-present glow. In this edition of "Don't Ask Glenn," PM Tech Editor Glenn Derene says it's time to turn off the extraneous illumination.

The chances that designers will listen to either Glenn is low. I think constant LEDs are here to stay.

I was thinking of buying LetraSet® ScreenTone to tone down LEDs in le condo d'Amour. That would allow you to see if it were on but not light the world like the 1000W Ellipsoidal Green LED on front of my TiVo.

Would people buy this? No. I want to sell it as an advertising specialty. Give away a sheet at a trade show with 20 little 3/4" self adhesive dots and room to print the company's logo and URL. You could provide different screen percentages or just expect people to use two on a harsh one.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 5:38 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Terri thinks:

I'm thinking more of another switch that says "turn off/on indicators".

Modem and router lights that blink, outlet strips that shine, even the breathing of the macbook pro.

I want to choose to have them off please without actually turning them off.

Posted by: Terri at June 6, 2012 8:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Dang Libertarians! Making perfect the enemy of the good again!

Well, yeah, but you are not going to redesign every piece of gear you buy. But you can put a sticker that blocks 50% of it, or two on a particularly offensive one.

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2012 9:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The last LED alarm clock I bought had a "bright/dim" switch. The dim setting was distracting to aircraft in the nearby DIA landing approach so I had to disassemble the darn thing and apply translucent red tape across the face of the amber (as I recall) display to attenuate it. It still wasn't enough so I applied a second layer of tape. Now I can sleep (and aircraft don't buzz the bungalow.)

Sounds like a winning idea to me, man.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2012 2:57 PM

Girls and Guns

I found this cool video on the Reason.com page while reading an article on liberty posted to Facebook by brother JK.

Gun Rights Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | What do you think? [0]


Posted by John Kranz at 2:18 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"A government that helped to work with business and its citizens to get things done?" Mercantilism? Crony capitalism? Two more minutes of encouragement to "put aside our partisan differences" and to "work together for the good of the country?" Not feelin' the Hoss in any of that.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2012 4:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair Cop, Guv! The "purpose of government" bit almost precluded my posting.

Working together, by comparison, is a key Christie strength. He has enacted reforms of which you and I would both approve in the bluest of states with a heavily Democratic legislature in Trenton.

The HOSS bits include the humor value of "and we are too small (0:47)" and the hossesque ending of accepting the pain, damning the consequences, eschewing comforts to make America better for our children and grandchildren.

That remains a bit of key importance to me. Will we be comfortable France or will we secure the blessings of liberty for posterity?

2:22 give it another try!

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2012 4:18 PM

FAT Head!

Certain things from the other side disturb me. Some make me roll my eyes. Some things opponents of liberty and prosperity do annoy me.

But there is a special place in my heart for Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me!" That pisses me off to no end. I get mad thinking about it. I get angry typing it.

I was actually on the Atkins diet with great success when it came out. Ergo, the movie bothered me nutritionally as McDonalds fare sans bun and ketchup is quick and easy "diet food" on the run.

And it bothered me economically. Spurlock finds an easy target in McDonalds as snobbery plus vegetarianism plus anti-Corporate bias leave the firm with few vocal defenders. My entire development team saw it and thought it was the greatest. These are some of the smartest guys I have ever worked with -- albeit in a PhD kind of way -- and I could not get them to see my side. I asked "what if you ate at The Mediterranean (a superb restaurant across the street from our office) every day? Have dessert if they offered? You'd gain 300 pounds."

Leading to the interstice between annoyance and visceral anger: the movie is mostly an affront to reason. It is NOT McDonalds which makes him fat. What makes him fat is turning off his decision process. Pussy 165 lb filmmakers should not eat 5,000 calories to prepare for a day of evaluating lighting choices. I don't think it matters whether it comes with a toy surprise.

Today brings word I am not alone. Jim Treacher links to an anti-Spurlock documentary, Fat Head "by a guy named Tom Naughton, who decided to try Spurlock's experiment for himself."

Naughton ate nothing but fast food for 30 days, but with two important caveats:
1. He didn't eat whatever the clerk suggested, as Spurlock did. In other words, no super-sizing if he didn't want to.

2. He kept his carbs to under 100 grams a day and his calories to under 2,000, using publicly available nutritional information about all the national fast-food chains.

Why these two important differences? As Naughton puts it, "Because I have a functioning brain." If fast-food joints are forcing anybody to eat anything they don't want to, if they're making you order more or different food than you choose -- the underlying premise of Spurlock's stupid movie -- wouldn't we have heard about it by now?

Man, I feel better. Thanks for listening.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:23 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

There's an awesome bumper sticker idea in here:


Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2012 4:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It wasn't until I saw it posted that I realized how my functioning brain wanted to replace the word "functioning" with another word that starts with the letter "f." ThreeSources apologizes if any reader suffers offended sensibilities.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2012 4:11 PM

Liberty on the Rocks

Huzzahs to Blog Brother Bryan for a successful Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons meeting last night (that's a Facebook link).

Speaker Christopher Doss was most entertaining, provocative and educational; I also was able to meet several candidates, bore the house with two questions for the speaker -- and the food was good.

The group meets in the heart of Boulder County (Doss made some hilarious comments about Boulder from a national strategic perspective) every first and third Monday's at Ralphie's, 585 East South Boulder Road in Louisville. As a side note: anybody remember the name of the Italian restaurant in that space? I used to go all the time and hear Fred Shelton play.

Irrespective of the speaker, it is energizing to be in a room full of liberty lovers. I highly recommend attending. Of course, Blog Friend Terri and I cannot attend on the same evening. Were we to meet in person the space-time continuum would likely collapse...

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Terri thinks:

Which reminds me.....I plan on attending on the 18th. :-)

Posted by: Terri at June 5, 2012 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

I suddenly feel my old lumbago acting up...

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2012 12:21 PM
But Bryan thinks:

Thank you for the kind words JK. It was great to finally meet the legend in person after 7 years of working at the same company. It was also a pleasure to meet your wife.

A sincere thanks to both of you for attending the event and your questions! They were most certainly not boring!

Posted by: Bryan at June 5, 2012 3:55 PM

June 4, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

The Keynesian government-spending model has proved to be a complete failure. It's the Obama model. And it has produced such an anemic recovery that frankly, at 2% growth, we're back on the front end of a potential recession.

--Lawrence Kudlow, in a blow-by-blow explanation why you don't choose an anti-capitalist to set policy for the economic engine of the world.

President Obama's War on Heat and Light

Last week I wrote about the Denver Post's utter bewilderment that presidential candidate Mitt Romney would give a stump speech in rural Craig, Colorado (after all, there haven't been any layoffs there ... yet) and countered with the news coverage of the event by Routt County's Steamboat Today.

Today that much more objective publication runs an editorial by Rob Douglas that delves deeper into the contrast that Governor Romney is offering.

Agree or disagree with Obama’s goal, one fact is undeniable. When Obama’s intent became public, every man and woman working in coal-related jobs realized that Obama had placed a bulls-eye on their livelihood. Many of those men and women call the Yampa Valley home.

So when Romney sought the perfect venue to confront Obama’s claim of an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, Northwest Colorado was a natural choice. Romney is calculating that he can increase his odds in November by siding with folks employed in fossil fuel industries in states like Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania — all battleground states this year.

After all, Romney has a point when he argues that Obama has continued his war against coal.

This spring, having watched his cap-and-trade legislation die in the U.S. Senate when Democrats abandoned the bill in 2010, Obama bypassed Congress and used the Environmental Protection Agency to start implementing mercury emission, cross-state pollution and greenhouse gas regulations that will kill the coal industry.

But Douglas articulates a much more important message - one I have recognized but as yet not really written about: Coal is not the target. Pragmatic politicians cannot merely "sacrifice" the coal industry conifident in the fact that lost jobs will be replaced by growth in the natural gas industry. If coal is ever defeated the next environmental villain will be natural gas.

Coincidentally, on the same day Romney was speaking to the crowd gathered at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to the International Energy Agency, “global exploitation of shale gas reserves could transform the world’s energy supply by lowering prices, improving security and curbing carbon dioxide emissions, but the industry might be stopped in its tracks if it doesn’t work harder to resolve environmental concerns.”

Of course, everything after the “but” in that last sentence is where the battle lies. Because as can be witnessed even here in the Yampa Valley, there are some who will never accept fossil fuels as part of America’s energy policy. And just as coal is under attack, these individuals and organizations are mounting battles to prohibit the use of fracking to extract oil and gas — the same oil and gas that Americans have been led to believe could replace coal as an energy source.

And hydraulic fracturing is only the first battlefront in the coming War on Natural Gas. That little "feature" of natural gas called "curbing carbon dioxide emissions" will be its undoing for natural gas is not without CO2 emissions, and once its use has been predicated on reducing that "pollutant" it can hardly remain a viable energy source since it can also be shown to be a "dirty" fuel.

"First they came for the coal, and I said nothing."

Not me. I *heart* coal.

Libertario Delenda Est

Which post do you prefer?

1) Is this the stupidest thing ever?
Only two Presidential candidates opted for Federal funds: Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson.

Roemer, 68, received $285,479 from U.S. taxpayers. "We assumed no debt and we end this campaign with money in the bank," he said in a statement. "We ran like we intended to serve."

If I had checked a "Yes, I'd like to give $3 to a candidate I don't give a crap for" box on my 1040, I'd suggest that was "our money" in Roemers's bank.


2) Did you say Governor Gary Johnson?
That's right -- this year's brave principled, libertarian LP candidate (Bob Barr is working at Walmart now, and could not get time off) took $100,000 in Federal campaign jack? That is just wrong.

Johnson recently received a $100,000 installment after applying for $146,603 in matching funds, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:25 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Bryan thinks:

That is disappointing. It is especially so in Gary Johnson's case.

The thing that bothers me the most about Gary Johnson is that he chose to run for president on the LP ticket instead of running as a Republican for the New Mexico Senate seat that is in play this year. He has money, favorable ratings, and name recognition there and could have probably killed it.

Think about what the US Senate would look like with Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Gary Johnson? Its not perfect, but that is a damn fine start to getting Congress filled with Liberty candidates. Gary Johnson has done a great deal of damage to his name in politics, so much so, he is unlikely to have a political career after this election.

If, which some polls show he will, manages to get a significant amount of votes, he could spoil the election for Romney. If he does, the party will never let him back in. I do not understand his logic in going this route.

Posted by: Bryan at June 4, 2012 5:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen on the Senate seat.

I know he is angry that party poohbahs did not make more efforts for him in the debates and primary process, but I cannot abide by a third party run whether he spoils or not.

Sad because Gov. Johnson is a principled defender of liberty. But declaring third party is goodbye for me. He can hang out with Tom Tancredo.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2012 6:36 PM

Tweet of The Day


Nanny State Posted by John Kranz at 2:16 PM | What do you think? [0]


(And perhaps III if you care to include Ms. Loesch.)

Proud of my Party Today

If you want less of something, tax it. So who ordered fewer innovative medical devices?

So though it is destined to die in the Democratic-run Senate, GOP leaders plan to push legislation through the House this week to repeal an excise tax on the makers of medical devices sold in the U.S. sales.

Democrats say the growing medical device industry can afford the 2.3 percent tax due to take effect next January. They describe the tax as part of the price device manufacturers and other providers agreed to pay in exchange for the tens of millions of new customers they will get through the sweeping 2010 health care law’s expansion of health insurance coverage.

That's not the view of Republicans or the medical device industry, which has lobbied Congress heavily to kill the tax before it takes hold. GOP lawmakers have named their legislation the Protect Medical Innovation Act, and insist it is not aimed at dismantling Obama's health care law.

"That’s not part of my agenda," said chief sponsor Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., whose state is one of the centers of the nation's $130 billion-a-year medical device industry. He said the tax would eat up dollars that otherwise might go toward research and development -- and jobs.

Yo! Crony capitalist Democrats! It was not innovators and creators of tomorrow's life saving devices that "agreed to pay in exchange for the tens of millions of new customers they will get." That was the existing manufacturers who like the status quo.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

We have GOT to figure out a way to tax government.

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2012 3:12 PM


T.J. Rodgers on "The Buffett Rule:"

Hoss Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Buffet Rule "is bad, wrong and immoral. Somebody has to say that."

What he said.

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2012 3:24 PM

June 2, 2012

Our Tough-guy President

Blog friend Terri is reading the NYTimes so you don't have to.

I remember being concerned in 2008 that President-elect Obama would not be suitably tough with our nation's enemies. Like Terri, I don't now know what to make of our droneslayer emperor.

On the plus side, it does help to know that when a President becomes a president he/she will (usually) make the decisions that are needed to be made to keep us safe.

On the down side....what the hell? Do words exist only to twist in the wind while the President does whatever the hell he wants to do no matter what he said previously?

Was that one of them rhetorical questions?

Review Corner

I have another data point, if not a direct answer to Brother jg's superb post on "Underdogma."

[Author Michael] Prell's premise is that our country's electoral preference for collectivist policies stems not from ignorance, but from a healthy American proclivity to root for the underdog.

On my brother-in-law's recommendation, I just read Winston Groom's Patriotic Fire which details Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite and the battle of New Orleans. Underdogs indeed.

I'll reach back to a pre-blog Review Corner. One of my favorites and a book that launched my interest in history is What If? A collection of counterfactual essays well, I'll let the subtitle say it: "The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been." This 12 year old book is cheaper in paperback than Kindle but it moved me because the continuation of our American Experiment is so improbable. It starts (working from memory) with Washington and the Battle of Brooklyn. Without an unusual fog to hide the General's audacious retreat, American Independence would have been a footnote in British textbooks.

Thirty years in, we find ourselves back at war with the world's foremost military and, much as I dig James Madison, things ain't going well. Then a curmudgeonly Anglophobe General leads a small band of untrained and ill-equipped militia and a band of pirates to defend a near-undefendable city. [Spoiler alert -- the US wins!]

Staggeringly improbable! A great read. Four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 1, 2012

Green Energy

In January, the Spanish government ended absurdly lavish subsidies for its renewable-energy industry, and the renewable-energy industry all but imploded. You could say it was never a renewable-energy industry at all. It was a government-subsidy industry where in exchange for creating conscience-soothing but otherwise inefficient windmills and solar panels, the government gave the makers piles of cash consumers never would have. -- Jonah Goldberg
Bloody spaniards! I'm glad we are so much more sophisticated over here.

What Crony Capitalism Looks Like

I have spent a lot of typing defending Big Pharma from those who do not understand innovation nor property rights.

But they can pretty much go to hell!

Newly released emails give an inside look at how the White House struck a deal with the pharmaceutical industry in 2009 to get support for the health bill that ultimately passed the next year.

Drug makers and their lobbyists believed they got a good bargain, the emails show. As The Wall Street Journal and others reported at the time, the companies escaped price controls and forced the president to back down on his 2008 campaign promise to allow the reimportation of cheaper drugs from other countries.

In May 2009, after the administration was hit by negative stories about the rising costs of its proposed health care overhaul, a drug industry lobbyist emailed colleagues, "Perfect timing to cut our deal w the White House as this is swirling."

Adam Smith nailed it in 1776.
[Interest] in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public...The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention.

And Milton Friedman -- centuries later -- reminds that the interest of the corporation is to increase its asset value. And yet, this deal with the devil seems rather short-sighted. Even wicked guitar skills last a lifetime once bestowed. Government regulation will pull this "industry benefit" away the first chance it gets.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 8:31 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

James Taggart, call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2012 1:10 PM
But jk thinks:

A Mr. Mouch on line one. . .

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2012 1:25 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)