July 31, 2012


On the occasion of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's brief foreign tour coming to a close:

I believe in-- I am proud to belong to -- the United States. Despite shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.

-- RAH 'This I Believe' written for the Edward R. Murrow radio show (1952)

Our Position Hasn't Changed...

I like this:

Hat-tip: Insty

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:24 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Waitaminnit- Did he just say, "And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided?" Did he really, truly also say, "The fact is that Jerusalem is Israel's capital." This isn't "right-wing spin taking him out of context" right?

This is important to get right because Saeb Erekat, a Mahmoud Abbas aide, made it quite clear that when Mitt Romney said this on Sunday it was "absolutely unacceptable."

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 7:45 PM
But jk thinks:

That Mitt Romney is such a flip flopper -- and unwavering ideologue! And bully! And Wimp!

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2012 8:09 PM

Statistical Proof That Pop Music Growing Worse

Special to Brother jk: As I noted below, my favorite period of American music ended circa 1962. Now comes a post from the brilliant statistician and blogger William J. Briggs with (insert hyperbole warning) unimpeachable analysis that shows how objective is my good taste.

New proof (which wasn't really need) that popular music is, as has long been claimed, been growing worse has arrived thanks to the diligent work of Joan Serrà and her colleagues in the Nature: Scientific Reports paper, "Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music." From the abstract:

[W]e prove important changes or trends related to the restriction of pitch transitions, the homogenization of the timbral palette, and the growing loudness levels.

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:39 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Looks like science. Can't argue with science.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2012 4:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Growing loudness levels" is worse? Hope I die before I get old!

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 5:29 PM

Happy 100th!

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Hoss, indeed. Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 31, 2012 1:40 PM

Why Can't Mitt Talk Like This? (Bumped)

I don't think any ThreeSourcers are going to complain about this. I did a screen grab so you could experience as I did:

UPDATE: AP/Yahoo -- more in sadness than anger -- frets over the Governor's gaffes:

GDANSK, Poland (AP) -- It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Mitt Romney outraged Palestinians on Monday, stirring fresh controversy on his visit to Israel just days after insulting the British on what was intended as a feel-good visit to the Olympics in London.

Brother jg is more concerned about disconcerting-gate than I. Anything that gets the Telegraph readers' panties in a bunch is okay by me. But if a Mulligan is offered, perhaps "fine" would suffice.

But to fail to see that the free, pluralist, racially tolerant state of Israel enjoys economic advantage over its kleptocratic, misogynistic, homophobic, bigoted, religious loony neighbors is such willful sophistry that only an academic could profess to believe it.

UPDATE II: Jim Geraghty compares it to Reagan's tough words for the Soviets and suggests "If a U.S. Leader Isn't Offending Palestinian Leaders, He's Probably Doing Something Wrong" [subscribe]

Regarding the Palestinians, when you teach your kids to become suicide bombers, and glorify that as one of the best things your children can aspire to, you're not going to find a lot of innovation, or education, or long-term planning. When Hezbollah and Hamas talk about their desire for a booming economy, they don't mean the term the way we do.

UPDATE III: Let it be recorded that MSM 100-day war on Romney started on foreign soil

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:06 AM | What do you think? [5]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

The only people he pissed off are people who can't vote for him. I think he should have shut up and smiled in Britain, but who will even remember this in November?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 31, 2012 1:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Romney's biggest deficit to Obama is the dreaded "likeability" factor. Just try to be friendly and upbeat fer cryin' out loud.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 2:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno. Let me lay out my concerns as a sort of syllogism:

1) All "undecideds" are complete morons devoid of any reason.
2) Undecideds will decide the election.
3) Yahoo/AP Headlines represent a conventional media view that likely reaches undecideds,
4) Yahoo/AP Headlines have had a Romney "foreign policy blunder" lead them all week. Olympics, pissed off Palestinians and perturbed Poles today (kiss my what?)
5) Undecideds decide that Governor Romney is incapable of foreign policy. He seems to make a big gaffe every day.
6) Second Obama Term

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2012 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I disagree with 1). If your premise is true, however, the end of America is unavoidable and we should all just go to the beach.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Bring sunscreen.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2012 5:10 PM

Best of the "Didn't Build That" ads

Hat-tip: Terri

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 8:01 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. No, Mister President, YOU didn't build that, and your big-ass government doesn't do anything either without taxpayers "somewhere along the line" making it happen.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 2:12 PM

July 30, 2012

Change that Works

I don't remember everything from 1985 - Ronald Reagan was president and I was graduating from college - but another vivid memory is the US Defense Department's decision to replace the venerable John Browning designed Colt 1911 pistol as the standard duty issue firearm for all armed forces. It was the height of a nascent competitive bid movement in government procurement and not enough attention was paid to quality or to a host of other issues. The Pentagon seemed to hope that making a change to a cheaper, foreign-made, smaller caliber pistol would deliver the same excellent service as its predecessor while also showing that they were a modern, non-discriminatory, progressive organization willing to take the "smarter" path. They selected the Beretta M9, a 9mm pistol made in Italy, to replace the seventy-four year old Colt. Now, some twenty seven years later, at least one branch of the U.S. armed forces is willing to admit a mistake. Fox News: Sticking to their guns: Marines place $22.5M order for the Colt .45 M1911

Some reports suggest Marines are not happy with their main Beretta M9s for their lack of accuracy and stopping power. With M1911's now supplying Special Ops, growing interest may lead to a better solution.

"To have the 1911 selected again for U. S. Forces 101 years after its initial introduction is just an incredible testament to the timeless design and effectiveness of the Colt 1911," Dinkel said. "This is truly a gratifying contract award."

Now, more than any time I can remember, it is reassuring to know that some Americans are willing to admit when they make a mistake - and act quickly to fix the problem the best way they know how.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I am delighted to see the Marines returning to the venerable .45. My father, who was in the USMC for two and a half decades, once told me the reason that the 1911 was the sidearm of choice of the Corps was because even after you'd expended all your ammunition, you still had a weapon; you could beat the enemy to death with an empty .45.

Sort of just to make the point, and have fun while I'm at it: http://is.gd/NtyeEy

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2012 12:35 AM

Newly Discovered Doors Recording!

I was thinking of including "The Soft Parade" among the greatest songs of all time. Then I saw this:

Now I'm having troubles, 'cause it's a toss-up.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 9:23 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Damn, that's pretty good!

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 10:49 PM


Cold comfort for Jordyn Wieber:

Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win.

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

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

Doin' the red carpet thing "Joss Whedon and Summer Glau on the red carpet. They were at last night's Celebration of Dance gala organised by The Dizzy Feet Foundation (Summer is on the Board of Directors)."

Television Posted by John Kranz at 6:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Like. Is this what they call authorized paparazzi?

Also liked this. @6 minutes or so... "Joss Whedon was the guy - gave me the best character I ever played. The best words to come out of my mouth."

Hollywood seems like a place where, as the President lectured, you really didn't build that. The whole scene is just one big boys and girls club where you have to hope that someone eventually "gives" you a role or "gives" you a movie.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 8:02 PM


I took to the comments of a recent post to defend the Olympic movement on the basis of individual competition and excellence, and the opportunity for athletes to measure themselves against each other to find the best in the world. I also said, "If the Olympics were a competition to see who could be the most "average" I would ridicule and despise them." I meant this as comparative example rather than the prescience it has now become.

United States artistic gymnast Jordyn Wieber is the reigning world champion in her sport. In qualifying events for the final field of twenty-four gymnasts from which medals in the Individual All Around competition will be awarded based on score, Wieber's score was the fourth highest. Despite this, Wieber will not be allowed to compete for a medal versus the three who scored higher than her and the twenty who scored lower. Jordan Wieber was disqualified, not by some infraction she committed, but because two of her American teammates also made the All Around final and did so with scores higher than hers. For reasons that can only be interpreted as egalitarian, IOC rules prohibit more than two individual athletes from the same nation advancing to the finals.

Boo! Ridiculous. Two other athletes, one from Great Britain and another from China, suffered the same injustice although their scores ranked them 21 and 22 respectively and neither of them is the REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION IN HER SPORT.

Weiber is not the only loser in this sad saga. Whomever ultimately wins the gold medal will not be able to say she is the best artistic woman gymnast in the world. One who may have kicked her ass all over the spring floor was told "get lost - thanks for playing."

I plan to write my congressman. On this count, the Olympics suck.

UPDATE: David Wallechinsky, author of 'The Complete Book of the Olympics' said the Olympic philosophy is "we want to spread the wealth, we want to spread sport to other parts of the world."

But Wieber's failure to make a final that her scores suggest she clearly deserved points to a philosophy run amok, says Mr. Wallechinsky. "Sure, let them compete in the Olympics, but you don't have to let them compete in the final," he says.

Click through for a good background on the rule, first imposed for the 2004 games.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

For the 2016 Summer Olympics, the IOC will be adding a new position to their staff, with the title of Handicapper General. There will be some interesting new methods for ensuring that no nation and no competitor dominates.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 30, 2012 5:24 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jg, to clarify - the sports federations make up the competition rules. The IOC and the organizing commitee make all the even stupider rules about teeth grilles and threatening businesses who arrange five bagels like the Olympic rings...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 30, 2012 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

And to clarify my position: nothing like this ever happens on "Kudlow & Company."

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2012 6:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop, Guv. And yet, I still love baseball despite the DH.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 7:25 PM
But Jk thinks:

Nooooooo! Kudlow is off for two weeks, for the Olympics.

Posted by: Jk at July 30, 2012 11:10 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Upon further review, including your update, I agree. The Olympics suck.

I will still watch women's beach volleyball, however.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 31, 2012 3:22 PM

Half of US "Global Warming" Due to Poor Thermometer Siting

...and "post measurement adjustments."

Question Authority, baby! Speak Truth to Power!

From the rational thinkers at Watts Up With That:

PRESS RELEASE -- U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.
Chico, CA July 29th, 2012 -- 12 PM PDT -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A comparison and summary of trends is shown from the paper. Acceptably placed thermometers away from common urban influences read much cooler nationwide:

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France's Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward. The paper is the first to use the updated siting system which addresses USHCN siting issues and data adjustments.

The new improved assessment, for the years 1979 to 2008, yields a trend of +0.155C per decade from the high quality sites, a +0.248 C per decade trend for poorly sited locations, and a trend of +0.309 C per decade after NOAA adjusts the data. This issue of station siting quality is expected to be an issue with respect to the monitoring of land surface temperature throughout the Global Historical Climate Network and in the BEST network.


Since this is SCIENCE I'm sure Mikey Mann and the rest will immediately back it up with fulsome praise for the authors and a nomination for some prizes.

But jk thinks:

I need guidance.

This was one of my "go-to" challenges for DAWG advocates and still seems credible. And yet, the BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) study was said to have compensated for that and still shown similar amounts of temperature increase.

I don't wish to make the leap from skeptic to denier but I've grown to not trust any of them.

It happens that BEST is back in the news today.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2012 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I'm personally very worried" and "I personally suspect that it will be bad" are not very persuasive unless you already believe what he supposedly now concludes in support of "the global warming cause."

The peer-reviewed science in this field has proven to be highly suspect, and this study doesn't even rise to that low bar.

But my ultimate answer is that measuring "global" temperature of both land and atmospheric masses is about as practical as measuring "the" level of all the world's oceans. There can never be enough data points to give an accurate and reliable reading. It's just too big and too complex to measure, much less to "simulate" on a supercomputer.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 2:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Put differently: Those who believe the earth's overall temperature and the oceans' mean levels can be precisely measured are also capable of believing that government bureaucrats can effectively manage supply, demand and price for whatever they choose. The scientific name for such people is "Democrat."

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2012 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said. My earthier response was always: "Even though I can swear my band has played there a few times, the Earth does not have a rectum where one can take its temperature."

But a brief perusal of the BEST study seemed somewhat convincing.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2012 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It may reasonably show that the average temperature of the sites measured increased but extending that to the entire planet is questionable.

But beyond that, how does BEST "prove" that the rise is "manmade?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2012 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

No way it does. I started out accepting the G and W in DAWG but neither the A nor D. After Climategate, I started to question the W as well (G is cool, the planet is basically round).

The BEST study when it came out put me back toward accepting the W.

Posted by: jk at August 1, 2012 4:06 PM

Take that haters!

In the ABC/Post poll, 47 percent had a favorable impression of the "horse-riding competition called dressage" and 27 percent an unfavorable opinion.
Hat-tip: Kelly Bowman, AEI
Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

Poor Jerry Sandusky!

If he would have had a job as a NYC Union Public School Teacher, everything would have been fine.

Campbell Brown, whom I have always considered left-leaning, opens her WSJ guest editorial with the growing unease of Hollywood in defending the Union. She adds that some Union teachers are now becoming uncomfortable belonging to an organization that protects pedophiles.

In the last five years in New York City, 97 tenured teachers or school employees have been charged by the Department of Education with sexual misconduct. Among the charges substantiated by the city's special commissioner of investigation--that is, found to have sufficient merit that an arbitrator's full examination was justified--in the 2011-12 school year:

-- An assistant principal at a Brooklyn high school made explicit sexual remarks to three different girls, including asking one of them if she would perform oral sex on him.

-- A teacher in Queens had a sexual relationship with a 13-year old girl and sent her inappropriate messages through email and Facebook.

If this kind of behavior were happening in any adult workplace in America, there would be zero tolerance. Yet our public school children are defenseless.

My big-L libertarian friends will rattle off statistics of spending in the George Bush years and things Eisenhower said to claim that the 2012 election does not matter. I suggest there is a great window of opportunity for pruning back the Teachers' Unions and possibly all public sector unions. A Romney Administration -- even with a GOP Senate -- may not be a libertarian paradise, but the reforms in Wisconsin and Louisiana might spread to the entire country. Well, the entire country west of the Hudson...

But johngalt thinks:

And your lefty Facebook Friends will claim that these cases are taken out of context or that a few bad apples don't spoil the important purpose of trade unions, if they don't assert outright that pedophilia is a "human right." Or, in keeping with the moral relativism they have been raised under, they might be so brazen as to say football coaches can't do things that other teachers can.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 3:10 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I am intrigued by the psychology of this vis-a-vis Catholic priests. For some reason, priests were the most horrible people in history, with front-page coverage day after week after month, but the hundreds of teachers who commit the same acts each year get very modest publicity. Of course most of the priests were homosexuals, whereas my impression is that the majority of teacher-student sex is hetero.

Logically then, much of the media is anti-Catholic, anti-gay and/or just protecting members of public employee unions. I leave it to the reader and Ockham to decide which is most likely.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 30, 2012 5:10 PM
But jk thinks:

I answer flippantly but not sarcastically that "the priests need a better union!"

This is a testament to the amazing power of the NEA and AFT that they can protect their members even in the face of the absolute worst crime imaginable.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2012 6:33 PM

Yes, Jim

I have indeed had the same thought -- even before Nanny Bloomberg locked up the baby formula.

Is anyone else dumbfounded that the most draconian of food and health laws are being enacted in "hey, fuggedaboudit" New York City? This is the city of pugnacious tabloids, the mafia, Archie Bunker, Taxi Driver, Joe Namath -- this city used to define its identity through toughness, and defiance, and independence, and disregarding authority. And now some pint-size billionaire has decided he's the city's healthy-living messiah, sent to save us from ourselves, to use the power of government to force us to make what are considered the healthy choices . . . today. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]

But Keith Arnold thinks:

THE GOOD NEWS: It's being done to promote breast-feeding.

THE BAD NEWS: New York City regulations now prohibit breasts larger than sixteen ounces.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 30, 2012 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Props for the 16 oz. breasts joke but "promote" breast-feeding? What promotion does it need other than government minding its own business?

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 3:12 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I used "promote" only because "impose" seems so heavy-handed.

That being said, the article I read mentioned that, because breast-feeding purportedly (and I use that would because I'm not a parent and have no knowledge myself) gives newborns a healthier start in life, Nanny Bloomberg has decided to go this route. Formula will be provided when requested, subject to the proviso that (a) momma must ask for it, and (b) she will get a sound scolding for asking.

I've read elsewhere that Nanny Bloomberg shall henceforth be known as Wet-Nurse Bloomberg as a result of this.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 30, 2012 3:31 PM
But Jk thinks:

Is that fair to wet-nurses? Seems an honorable profession?

Posted by: Jk at July 30, 2012 3:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Get ready for the class-action lawsuit against baby formula "corporations" and the tobacco tax-like settlement with governments far and wide.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the Wikipedia entry on "baby formula:"

"Meanwhile breastfeeding rates are substantially lower for WIC recipients;[75] this is partly attributed to formula being free of charge to mothers in the WIC program, who are of lower socio-economic status."

Dear Mayor Bloomberg- It would be simpler to just stop giving the crap away for free.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 6:30 PM

July 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

Capitalism is not, Monbiot is forced to admit, a fragile system that will easily be replaced. Bolstered by huge supplies of oil, it is here to stay. Industrial civilization is, as far as he can now see, unstoppable. Gaia, that treacherous slut, has made so much oil and gas that her faithful acolytes today cannot protect her from the consequences of her own folly. -- Walter Russell Mead
Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

Review Corner

The Necessary and Proper Clause has been widely misunderstood. Some have called it the "elastic clause," and suggested that it granted Congress vast authority that Congress otherwise would not have. But leading Federalists, including Madison and Hamilton, asserted the contrary. Even John Marshall, the Ratifier who as Chief Justice was accused of taking an overly-broad view of the Necessary and Proper Clause, specifically affirmed that it was a mere statement of what the rule would have been if the Clause had been simply omitted.
Robert G. Natelson filed amicus curiae briefs on ObamaCare with Dr. Dave Kopel, who spoke on NFIB v Sibelius at Liberty on the Rocks. (If you have not watched the videos Ari Armstrong took, you are missing something.)

He is also the author of The Original Constitution, an all night house party for Constitutional Originalists. Natelson goes through the Constitution, clause by clause, and clarifies it based on the law books of the time in addition to secondary papers like Madison's notes, ratification documents and The Federalist Papers.

It was an entertaining read (you know who you are, it might not displace Harry Potter), and I look forward to hanging on to it for reference. It is a superb way to go "one step deeper" than just the original text. Natelson is a lover of liberty and brilliant legal scholar -- he is not imputing his beliefs on the text but rather expanding understanding based on originalist knowledge.

The Founders would have seen permanent federal land ownership for unenumerated purposes as subversive of the constitutional scheme. This was partly because the government was to enjoy only enumerated powers and partly because extensive federal land ownership would render many people dependent on the government.
The other six twentieth-century alterations, however, embodied ideals fundamentally at variance with those that had inspired the Founders. Their addition to the Constitution significantly changed the system’s design.

The Sixteenth Amendment of 1913 ended the apportionment rule for the income tax. While in theory this did not otherwise expand the power of the federal government, it helped to realize two of the Founders’ fears: that some groups would be able to use the tax system to plunder other groups, and that the central government could impose a "direct tax" on citizens of a state without regard to the population of their state. The Seventeenth Amendment, ratified the same year, provided that the people, rather than the state legislatures, henceforth would elect United States Senators. There were strong arguments for such a change, but there is little question that it impaired the constitutional balance by weakening the voice of state governments.

The Eighteenth Amendment (1919), which established national prohibition of alcoholic beverages, was repealed only a few years later by the Twenty-First (1933). During the time Prohibition was in effect, however, federal agents became involved in routine law enforcement in a way they never had before--and Americans became inured to the practice.

Five stars.

But johngalt thinks:

This comports with my longstanding belief that American constitutional rule ended at the beginning of the last century, not this one - and that the Sixteenth Amendment was the lynchpin.

What is less clear, however, is why it happened then? Why was the government content within its limitations, at least economically, for over a century before seeking to expand its power? The passing of the Founders and their memories is one explanation. Anything more concrete than that?

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2012 3:55 PM
But Jk thinks:

I'm going with two clever parlimentarians: Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed made the house "efficient" and turned the reins over to TR; LBJ made the Senate work and took the reins himself.

These subverted Congress' avoidance of harm through inaction just in time for the Progressives.

Posted by: Jk at July 29, 2012 8:36 PM

July 28, 2012

Greatest Songs Countdown, Number 3: "Toxicity", System of a Down

Writing credit goes to Shavo Odadjian (bass) and Daron Malakian (vocals).

I knew nothing of this group before I heard this song and saw the video at a friend's house about 10 years ago. The apotheosis of metal - soft to hard, sweet to screaming, and with a beautiful melodic structure to the chorus that is almost operatic.

These choices for "greatest" are obviously subjective but this one is Top Five in the impact it had on me when I first heard it.

Five Best Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:22 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Not really my genre nor is it in compliance with my concept of facial hair. But I'll confess to appreciating the precision, passion, and attention to melody. Many of my friends are big fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Seems the same that I can appreciate what’s going on on some level but don’t enjoy the listening experience.

After your first three, I will no longer dare to refer to my tastes as eclectic.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2012 10:38 AM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Eclectic, yes! I appreciate that you appreciated the musicianship--it's not my usual genre either, but this one is special. I even enjoy a very limited selection of rap/hip-hop, but nothing there is going to make the Five Best.

My favorite period of music is roughly 1912-1962, so I am wondering if you have a good idea of the next two.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 29, 2012 5:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Gotta be a Gershwin tune in there.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 1:39 PM

RAHQOTD - Post Facto Edition

I missed an important anniversary last week. It was overshadowed, temporarily, by the horrific acts of a sociopathic young man. In my adulthood I have generally categorized those younger than me as either pre- or post-moonwalk babies. Today's 'post facto' Heinlein quote celebrates the significance of that event, forty-three years ago.

This is the great day. This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race, up to this time. That is -- today is New Year's Day of the Year One. If we don't change the calendar, historians will do so. The human race -- this is our change, our puberty rite, bar mitzvah, confirmation, from the change of our infancy into adulthood for the human race. And we're going to go on out, not only to the Moon, to the stars; we're going to spread. I don't know that the United States is going to do it; I hope so. I have -- I'm an American myself; I want it to be done by us. But in any case, the human race is going to do it, it's utterly inevitable: we're going to spread through the entire universe.

-- RAH in a live interview with Walter Cronkite of CBS News on the day of the first moonwalk (July 20, 1969)

But jk thinks:

Awesome. As we roll into an enhanced private role, I am starting to get excited again. Pity we squandered [not fair, went slowly for] 40 years, but the Deutsch Book, Planetary Resources, and Sir Richard Branson's forays provide hope.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2012 10:59 AM

July 27, 2012

What's That Got To Do With The Price of Tape in America?

For five minutes recently, the floor of the US House of Representatives turned into a TEA Party rally. Rep. Mike Kelly (TPD-PA) courtesy of Breitbart.

"But we don't use red tape." "Oh yes we do. It costs one point seven five trillion dollars."

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Note to Mitt: Can you please talk like this once in awhile?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 30, 2012 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, yes that sounds good but aren't we in the electoral phase where he needs to "run to the middle" to achieve a plurality? Not that getting government boots off of employers' necks isn't a winning issue but the POTUS' demeanor needs to be more warm, friendly and reassuring. For example, I would have preferred Mitt to congratulate the British people for "what I'm sure will be a fabulous and memorable Olympics" rather than nitpicking - validity notwithstanding - a failing or two of some organizing committee.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow, I lose the ecletic music title yesterday and today brother jg out-pragmatists me. I'm clearly a worthless appendage on this blog -- oh, wait the hosting fees are due!

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2012 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the contrary brother, one of your responsibilities is to keep me grounded in realpolitik. Your cause is aided by two particular single-white-male individuals now interacting with me on a regular basis. Specific identities are unimportant but they don't make thirty-somethings the way they used to. (Or maybe I just don't remember what it was like to be a single 30-something male.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 4:38 PM

Olympics, Ho Hum

I've probably let it slip around here that I don't go all-in for the Olympics. I keep that pretty well to myself outside in teh real world. I've learned to smile and nod every four years -- and on the other two I get hockey.

Shikha Dalmia makes me look like a fan. In a harsh but accurate critique, she suggests the West has outgrown the Games:

The Olympics are a giant exercise in sports socialism -- or crony capitalism, if you prefer -- where the profits are privatized and the costs socialized. The games never pay for themselves because they are designed not to. That’s because the International Olympic Committee (an opaque "nongovernmental" bureaucracy made up of fat cats from various countries) pockets most of the revenue from sponsorships and media rights (allegedly to promote global sports), requiring the host country to pay the bulk of the costs. Among the very few times the games haven't left a city swimming in red ink was after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when voters, having learned from Montreal’s experience, barred the use of public funds, forcing the IOC to use existing facilities and pick up most of the tab for new ones.

Enjoy the opening ceremonies!!!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:44 PM | What do you think? [8]
But Jk thinks:

Insty's 15 hottest Olympians cheered me up a little...

Not just pruriently. Former Soviet satellites now send free, attractive athletes to the games. That is an improvement in my lifetime.

Posted by: Jk at July 28, 2012 9:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I disagree. A little.

Is there another venue where the full spectrum of humanity, from the individual through nations to the world and from the most populous and prosperous nations to the smallest and poorest, is on display all at the same time? At no time in my middle-aged lifetime have I ever felt interest in the Olympics because of a rivalry with the Soviets. To the contrary, I thought the limitations imposed by the iron curtain countries got in the way of a good Olympics experience.

Of course the over-budget single-payer model is a failure, but this is a failure of government and not of the games. And despite those failures I still get weepy-eyed every single time my national anthem is played in a medal ceremony. Heck... sometimes, depending on the particular athlete and his particular tribulations, I get downright bawly. And in those instances where an American doesn't win I know that the winner was better than what an American could achieve in that particular sport, in that particular Olympiad. What a magnificent accomplishment! And what a chance for some future American competitor to achieve greatness in another games.

If the Olympics were a competition to see who could be the most "average" I would ridicule and despise them, but as one of the few opportunities on earth where an individual can be found "best in the world" I will always celebrate them. Go USA! Go World! Go human achievement!

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2012 9:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Well said, man, well said. I think I can dangle precipitously from both positions. I don't object to or dislike the games -- though I would oppose my state's hosting on Dalmia's grounds -- but I do not really enjoy watching them.

This makes me an outlier irrespective of politics. Most everyone I know is glued to them and I spent last night watching Kudlow and Thursday's Burn Notice.

And I suspect you might agree that the saccharine-peace-and-brotherhood themes get a bit overwrought on TV. If they were to let you write the introductions, I would tune in.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2012 10:52 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. And there wouldn't be any not-so-subtle jabs at Mitt Romney if I wrote it either.

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2012 11:19 AM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I still enjoy some of the sports, as well. And cheer for the USA often. The opening ceremonies, MEH. At least the Red Chinese in 2008 asserted positively about their nation, though I only endured a small portion of that one, too.

"The sensibility of the show is very personal," he [Producer Danny Boyle] said.

"A group of us have created it, but we had no agenda other than" values that we feel are true.

"Not everybody will love that but people will be able to recognise as being honest and truthful really. I felt that very strongly. There is no b(expletive) in it, and there is no point-making either"ť

The show bringing the curtain up on the London Olympics began with sections showing idyllic rural Britain being overtaken by the Industrial Revolution, before moving on to a 10-minute sequence celebrating the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Britain's first televised lesbian kiss -- from a 1993 episode of soap opera “Brookside -- was shown in a fast-moving montage of flim and TV clips.

Later in the ceremony, dancers formed the shape of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament badge and other performers represented the struggle of trade union movements.

But no "point in it"?!

My point is they spent $42 million Euros or dollars or pounds to give that message to the world about the essence of Great Britain? And supposed "Conservative" PM Cameron thought it was bloody brilliant.

I will say no more about that. On to the sports! My son and I enjoyed the archery this morning and he now has ambitions to do that. This is the good of the games, I will put my focus there from now on.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 28, 2012 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg call your office! This is the thesis of "Tyranny of Clichés"

"'no agenda other than' values that we feel are true" truly belongs in the dictionary next to cliché. Goldberg's point holds that these people are so immersed in a society that ranks the UK's first Televised Lesbian Kiss as more important than John Locke, that don't see an agenda. Pathological clchéers, they have no idea they're doing it.

Was at a family party with a very left wing branch of the family and it was very well reviewed for spectacle and humor; parents of very small children object to "dark parts" but it was otherwise well received.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2012 10:30 AM

Hackuva Good Question

I have not been able to generate any enthusiasm for Rep. Ron Paul's quixotic campaign to "Audit the Fed!" One can criticize fiat money, wish Alexander Hamilton had read George Selgin or that Roger Taney had slayed Nicholas Biddle in a duel -- I get that.

But the equation "X is bad, therefore add Congress" has few if any real values for 'X.'

Daniel Hansen asks "Do we really want Congress controlling the Fed?" It being the AEI blog, he has to present a serious argument and take time to enumerate things that our 535 economists-in-chief have -- if I may use a technical term -- boogered up.

Ron Paul's recent Audit-the-Fed bill that passed through the House (with no hope of passing through the Senate or being signed by Obama) marks an interesting victory for supporters of Ron Paul. Should the bill magically enter into force, all aspects of the Fed's operations -- like monetary policy moves, discount window operations, agreements with foreign central banks, and so on -- could be subject to intense public scrutiny and Congressional oversight.

All of which begs the question: Would we be better off if Congress had more control over the Fed?

Compared to the rest of ThreeSourcers, I am Chairman Bernanke's biggest fan, telling his mom that Inflation Targeting remains valid and forcing her to accept Operation Twist's subtle manipulation of the yield curve. But no matter what your feelings of Bearded Ben, can you look me in the eye and say that the guys who gave us Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, Sarbanes-Oxley, the light bulb ban, ethanol and mohair subsidies, and the Designated Hitter are going to do better?

No. Hell no. Let Barney Frank yell at the Chair a few times a year by all means. But keep him or his replacement away from the monetary policy levers.

UPDATE: Okay, maybe I cannot blame Congress for the DH...

But jk thinks:

Fair cop on enumerated powers. That was my reference to Hamilton. "To Coin Money and regulate the value thereof" was one of our founding document's flaws. And I'll make you a deal: If we start following the rest of the Constitution, I will be game to let it dictate this.

I have read a bit of the Austrians, my friend, and have ABCT pretty well down. While anyone could learn more, I reject your suggestion that that is what holds me back from the wisdom of trading The Bernank for Barney Frank.

How many Congresspersons understand ABCT? You think our 535 Budding-Austrians-in-Chief want to ensure sound money? Looking at the hash they have made of fiscal policy, I hesitate to extend their authority even if it is in Section 8.

Though it would fix one thing. I think if Congress took over the money supply, all ThreeSourcers would soon be able to agree on inflation.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2012 5:38 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"To regulate the value thereof" is a dangerous can of worms to open. I can only imagine the temperature of the discussion that would ensue at this very blog, were we to open this up for debate.

"To regulate the value thereof" presently has a very different meaning than it had back when we were on the gold standard, and "we declare that the value of a dollar equals 'x' many grams of gold," or something meaningful like that.

[And I am NOT going down the road of "It says 'to coin money,' not 'to print money,' and paper money isn't in the Constitution!" That's a discussion for another day...]

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Perhaps all of us agree the Fed needs to be audited - heck, perhaps we might all agree the Fed needs to be eliminated - but do we want a Congress, two-thirds of whom can't balance the Federal checkbook or file their own taxes correctly, doing the math? I want Congress as far from the money as I can get them. An independent auditor? Sure, I hear Arthur Andersen LLP has all of next week free...

Question for the panel: how do you "regulate the value" of a dollar in a way that does not include setting prices of goods and services with those dollars? Remember, I'm the guy here who didn't blame Nixon for Watergate as much as for recognizing Red China and for the 1971 wage and price controls.

I suppose things would work better if we all understood that a dollar is not a thing of value intrinsically, so much as it is a nifty medium of exchange.

What if...

What if we lived in a world where the government produced meaningful, value-backed, relatively stable dollars, which free people were then allowed to use and decide for themselves how many they were willing to part with in return for goods and services?

What if we lived in a world where banks and lenders could decide for themselves by agreement with borrowers, without the diktats and pronouncements of a detached and irrelevant bureaucracy, what interest rates would be appropriate to the risk and the time-value of money?

Yeah, I know - purely hypothetically, of course. I mean, thinking it could be put into practice in reality would just be crazy talk...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 27, 2012 6:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Trying to segue me into previewing Review Corner early are we? Robert Natelson's The Original Constitution goes all the way through, imputing an 18th Century lawyer's understanding of the terms. And he is pretty sympathetic to an expansive view of "coining:"

For example, the Coinage Clause granted Congress power to "coin Money." You could read this as meaning "to make money in the form of metallic coins." If you read the Clause that way, then it did not grant Congress power to issue paper (or electronic) money. Alternatively, you could read "to coin" in the broader sense of "to fabricate" (as in "to coin a phrase"). In that case, the Clause would confer power to issue non-metallic money. The historical records show that the understanding of the ratifiers ("intent of the makers") was that this usage of "to coin" meant to fabricate. Thus, under the Founders' view this provision gave Congress power to issue paper money.

(Sorry, too good a diversion to resist.)

I think Congress gets its custodeo on during the regular hearings and advising and consenting to Fed appointments. And -- like you -- that's close enough for me. I don't see another regulatory appendage fixing the basically undemocratic nature of the Fed.

If we're not going to go full tilt on competing currency, I think the Fed is the least worst solution. But Brother Bryan is correct to call me out as a fair weather originalist on this. But I dare y'all to find many more.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2012 6:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Excellently written! And I will confess I did not intend to bring up something in a book you just happen to be reviewing; write this one off to one of those great-minds-think-alike thoughts.

I will be looking forward to that review, though; I've had some very similar thoughts, and I will offer an interesting experiment. Get a copy of the text of the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) and search for every instance of the word "regulate." You'll note that each one is a point of contention on today's scene. I have a theory on that, but I'd covet your thoughts. Hint: a little knowledge of 18th-century clockmaking is a dangerous, perhaps revolutionary, thing.

By the way - my tweets to #3src don't seem to be getting through. Are they showing up at your end, or have I completely hosed this up?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 27, 2012 7:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother jg pointed out that it had become case sensitive when he thought it used to be more open to diversity: #3src good #3Src bad. Playing with the widget to fix this, I could have broken you -- you use all lower?

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2012 8:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The widget seems to be showing only "top" tweets, not all of them. Possible?

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2012 4:21 PM


Hat-tip: CATO

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I have a list of T-shirt ideas in my head:

Obama Administration: Shovel-Ready

If you think it's expensive now, wait until it's free

What's Your Premise?

This clip added a new one:

Is This The Pose of a Free Man?

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2012 1:53 PM

July 26, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know about Fracking

And then a dozen more pages!

Kidding (sortof).

Independence Institute's Frack Attack: Cracking the Case Against Hydraulic Fracturing by Donovan D. Schafer looks very good. At 33 pages, I sent it to my Kindle for later consumption.

Bury the Lede?

Chicago Chicago, that Toddlin' Town. The town that Otis McDonald almost shut down...

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in the news for accepting the help of anti-semitic-whackjob Louis Farrakhan as he rejects the building of a new Chick Fil-A restaurant.

Fair segue. I'm no expert but -- oh hell yes I am and it's a very good segue! But the "Eat Mor Chikun" folks are a distraction.

Emanuel's city has a monthly bodycount twice the Aurora shooting, and the Mayor can get props for thinking outside the box. But applauding Farrakhan's paramilitary racist patrols as official vigilantes? Oh no -- hell no!

"People of faith have a role to play and community leaders have a role to play in helping to protect our neighborhoods and our citizens. You cannot get there on just one piece of an anti-crime strategy," the mayor said.

"The police have a role to play. Tearing down abandoned buildings has a role to play. Shutting liquor stores that are a cancer in the community have a role to play. Community leaders have a role to play. Pastors have a role to play. Principals have a role to play. And most importantly, parents have roles to play. They have decided, the Nation of Islam, to help protect the community. And that's an important ingredient, like all the other aspects of protecting a neighborhood."

The Rolling Stones tried this at Altamont, guys. It did not end well!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Shutting down liquor stores? Vigilante patrols? Are any of the Bill of Rights Amendments honored on the shores of Lake Michigan?

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2012 4:38 PM


I have several nieces and a nephew matriculating at CU-Denver. But I'm going to have to call Shenanigans on their recent study:

The researchers had a stack of 55 photos of male candidates and 55 photos of female candidates that they handed out to participants. Each participant was given a list of jobs and asked to sort the previously mentioned photos according to suitability for certain positions. Researchers found that women who were attractive were ruled out for certain jobs, while men who were attractive were always at an advantage.

And Boo-Freakin'-Hoo, the hot chicks did not land in the Truck Driver pile. Inherent, atavistic discrimination!

I was expecting at least they would stage some interviews or somehow mimic an actual hiring process. Sorting a stack of photos to find the Fireman sounds like a great activity for preschool (or a bachelorette party). But it ain't research.

Hat-tip: Insty.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Browncoats on Unification Day

A sagacious commenter once remarked that you cannot go wrong with a Firefly reference. Maybe some other blog, I don't know...

But on the "Unhappy Anniversary" of Dodd-Frank, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (HOSS - TX) recounts his days on the right but losing side of this atrocious bill. The whole WSJ Guest Editorial is superb, but this part is worthy of "Quote of the Day:"

Having incorrectly diagnosed the problem, Dodd-Frank's authors wrote 400 new regulations. These generally fall into one of two categories: those that create uncertainty and those that create economic harm.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 26, 2012 1:18 PM

Randal O'Toole, Call Your Office!

As the Obama Administration springs from the pages of Atlas Shrugged, so Colorado's Regional Transportation District leaps out of O'Toole's "American Nightmare" [Review Corner].

Under RTD's latest "rethink," transit will no longer take people from where they are to where they want to go. Instead, planners will try to coerce and entice people to live in places served by rail transit and go where those rail lines go. On one hand, this is far more intrusive on people's lifestyles; on the other hand, it is a far more limited view of the purpose of transit. Instead of "mobility for those who can't or don't want to drive," the new purpose is "mobility for those who are willing to completely rebuild their lifestyles around transit."

UPDATE: I am such a git! The linked CATO piece was written by . . . wait for it . . .Randal O'Toole.

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

July 25, 2012

Heeeeeeere's Johnny!

"Lost" Ayn Rand Tonight Show tape found!

And in 1967 her celebrity was officially recognized by an invitation to appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Those who remember it say that Carson was so fascinated that he scrapped his other guests and kept her on for the whole show. He invited her back twice more. Alas, many of the early Carson shows were lost in a fire at NBC's archive, and Objectivists have lamented the lost tapes ever since. Now a partial tape of that first Tonight Show appearance has turned up, and Libertarianism.org has it:

UPDATE: Hell, let's embed -- this is big news!

But jk thinks:

Could Leno or Letterman pull this off? I'm not much of a connoisseur, but I can't imagine their rising to Carson's level of urbanity.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2012 4:24 PM
But jk thinks:

...Or my correctly using the possessive with a gerund (they're rising, Jeeburz!) Since corrected.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2012 4:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is SOLID GOLD. I wrote a lengthy comment on it last night but when a technical glitch erased it at 1 am (mountain) I surrendered to the pillow. Dagny asked for the condensed version, one half of which I'll repeat now:

Forget Leno or Letterman, I'd give a month's pay to bring Ayn Rand back for three shows with Jon Stewart. Yes, he's anathema to individualism but he also strikes me as intellectually honest and the impressionable kiddies who follow his pied piping are America's most important audience.

As for the other half, it probably needed another proofreading anyway.

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2012 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry to hear the aether ate your homework, but I'm glad you are okay. I was going to call 911 if this went another 12 hours without a comment from you.

Totally agree on Stewart. He has the chops. But the -- may I say -- famously prickly Rand required the deferential treatment Carson provided. I suspect that Stewart might piss her off before she got a complete paragraph in but concede that I could be wrong.

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2012 3:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Carson said Rand required that he not "attack her." To me that means interrupting, ad hominem and voice raising. If Stewart held to those rules my money would be on the Russian. And I think he would - call me Pollyanna.

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2012 4:41 PM

Quote of the Day

But I will happily don the term "gun lobbyist" if the Denver Post editorial board will concede to being part of "the gun-restriction lobby"--or to state it more negatively, "the victim disarmament lobby." -- Ari Armstrong
I pulled the snarkiest quote from a serious and balanced piece on DP reporting.

On the O.K. Corral

An understandable and prevalent misconception of self defense with firearms is that the cinema shooting would have been far worse with return fire. People educated on TV Westerns no doubt envision a dozen cowboys firing at will. Stray fire everywhere. Scary.

In fact the first gun control I heard was on Facebook. A normally apolitical musician buddy said "Stop the Politics! (Facebook code for "listen to me and then shut up!") Had they fired back, 50 or 100 would have died!"

I have heard this echoed by more responsible commentators including some on the right. Firearm self defense clearly breaks down more among regional lines and elitism than left/right. I have been watching Bill Kristol and Larry Kudlow acquiesce to all kinds of restrictions that they'd never accept on speech or taxes. The NRA clearly has a point being non-partisan.

John Lott puts the rumors to bed in the NY Daily News today.

The ban against nonpolice carrying guns usually rests on the false notion that almost anyone can suddenly go crazy and start misusing their weapon or that any crossfire with a killer would be worse than the crime itself. But in state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. They can lose their permits for any type of firearms-related violation.

Nor have I found a single example on record of a multiple-victim public shooting in which a permit holder accidentally shot a bystander.

And I haven't even touched upon the pure deterrent effect of a potential mass murderer having to worry that one of his targets might be armed.

Not a single example of a permit-holding defender... ThreeSourcers have a very different picture of a responsible citizen's capacity to interrupt such an event than my drummer friend.

Even Lott's piece specifies that "And it’s true that the gunman, wearing protective body armor, would have been tough for a civilian to stop." I think this is more bad media coverage from the people who told us he was a tea partier and that his Mom thought he was a likely mass murderer (oops).

The sterling record of self defense provides a superb consequentialist argument to the rights argument. Believers should promote the truth.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hoplophobes (it's a word, dagnabit) love to assume that the average armed citizen will fall back to the "spray and pray" method of defensive fire. The environment becomes a lead snowstorm, more brass falls to the pavement than it did in the Matrix, and bloody carcasses get stacked like cordwood.


One of the first rules of responsible firearm discipline is being aware of what's behind whatever is in your sights. Bullets have a remarkable propensity for going through the intended target and into innocent bystanders behind them. I submit that armed citizens have a remarkably clean record of taking out innocents - probably fewer than the recent months' history of no-knock warrant service, for instance.

I have no problem with hoplophobes' frequent reminder of what could go wrong; such reminders keep us all sharp, and aware. In return, though, history demonstrates that it happens only rarely in real life.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 25, 2012 1:31 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And, just to be a pain in the butt, two points:

Point The First: I don't know because I wasn't there, but several reports I've read say that the gunman wasn't wearing "protective body armor," but simply a tactical vest. Lots of pockets for extra mags and stuff, but no plates, no ceramic, no more protection that your off-the-rack windbreaker. Just as some weapons were placed on the "assault rifle" list because they just looked vicious and nasty, a tactical vest is black, looks like something a gun nut would wear, and scares the ignorant - therefore, body armor, noob. Would love some clarification on this.

Point The Second: even were he wearing gen-u-wine body armor, it doesn't make him immortal. A quality body armor outfit will prevent a significant range of bullets from penetrating to the skin, there's still that whole mass-times-the-square-of-velocity issue to contend with, and all that momentum gets transferred to the target. Someone wearing body armor may survive immediate death, but he will know he's been tagged but good, and he will probably need a few seconds to get himself up off the deck. Think Zoe at the end of the Firefly pilot (never a bad time for an obligatory Firefly reference).

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 25, 2012 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

You're more generous than I. I don't reckon Hoplophobes are promoting firearm safety. They use ignorance or deception to oppose reason. (I warned about my generosity...)

Lott shows on one side MANY lives saved from armed innocent parties intercepting perpetrators of violence. On the other hand we have (carry the one, divide by fifteen, convert to hex...) ZERO examples of innocent lives mistakenly taken. Something that has saved a lot of lives and taken none seems like a pretty good deal to me. Hoplophobes seek the exchange of fact for their private imagination.

Much we don't know, but I was proceeding on the assumption of no body armor, that the exact item was found and it just has a lot of handy pockets and menacing style. This could be proven wrong, but with ABC's record on everything else, I'm leaning toward PJ.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2012 2:13 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

The first time I ever heard the term "hoplophobe" was in the writngs of Col. Jeff Cooper (God rest his heroic soul). I don't know if he invented it but believe so. Hoplophobes are generally fearful of all weapons and not just firearms, by the way.

I have been diligently searching and it's known that the PondscumWho Shall Not Be Named bought an "assault vest" which is emphatically not "body armor," but the complete blackout on the case is delaying finding out what he was actually wearing. I am inclined to believe now that one COM shot from a .45 would have ended the carnage. But of course Century had made it a Designated Victim Zone.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 25, 2012 2:27 PM
But dagny thinks:

Seems appropriate to repeat a previous RAHQOTD here:
"An armed society is a polite society."
From Beyond this Horizon.

Also, for those not familiar (possibly none on 3srces), I highly recommend John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime."

Posted by: dagny at July 25, 2012 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If I may sharpen a point, self-defense rounds are loaded with hollow point bullets. This is not primarily to increase the damage done to the target, but to lessen the danger from shoot through to bystanders.

The - hoplophobes? - chide us that the police are there, paid and trained, to protect us. The Aurora police chief said officers were on scene engaging the suspect "within one to one-and-a-half minutes." Rumor has it that a police substation is even in the same complex as the theater. And yet, 70-odd citizens shot, twelve dead. Trained policemen fired a sum total of zero rounds in apprehending Mr. Six Thousand Bullets. Beside applying handcuffs to the scumbag grad student the other service provided by police was documentation of the crime scene. A process colloquially referred to as, "drawing chalk outlines around the victims' bodies."

In my opinion, gun haters don't really feel less safe in the presence of armed fellow citizens. Instead they merely recoil at the fact that those armed citizens feel safer than they do. Some others, on the other hand - women in particular - decide that their own life is worth protecting. (A friend told me this week that his wife is now giving in to his years-long cajoling to get her carry permit.) "It is better to be armed than not."

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2012 2:36 AM

No They Didn't!

Am I the first to this obvious and terrible joke?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Like." Gotta admit though, I liked the song way better before seeing this video. Ugh.

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2012 2:07 AM

July 24, 2012

Tweet of the Day

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 7:37 PM | What do you think? [0]


Thanks to blog procreator JK for the subject of today's Heinlein quote:

Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist -- a master -- and that is what Auguste Rodin was -- can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is... and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be.... and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart.... no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn't matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired -- but it does to them. Look at her!

-- RAH 'Stranger in a Strange Land' (1961)

Happy Birthday, Garota de Ipanema!


Girl from Ipanema

"Happy 50th!"

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Had to pull out an old version to commemorate this tune's fiftieth.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Love your guitarwork on one of my favorite songs - you do credit to the piece.

I can't make out a lot of the conversation at the end (listening in the office, with the volume subdued; had I any sense, I'd wait until I got home to see if you mention what I'm about to write here) but if you're interested is a little trivia, the woman who was the inspiration for the song, HeloĂ­sa Pinheiro, is still walking past the guys in Rio, just celebrated her 67th birthday this month, and is still quite the attractive lady. She has aged as gracefully as the song she inspired.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 24, 2012 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words -- the link to "fiftieth" takes you to a picture and a story on Ms. Pinhero.

The persiflage at the end is our commercial for Devil Dog Brew -- "The official Coffee of LiveattheCoffeeHouse.com." Sad to report our unofficial sponsor may not be much more active than the coffeehouse of late.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 4:56 PM
But jk thinks:

And, yes, when she passes, I'd still go "ahhhhhh..."

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 7:04 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Was thinking hard yesterday about whether this was a Best 5 Song of All-Time. Since you've given the tribute here I will move on to another. But it is timeless.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 24, 2012 7:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Awesome tune. But I cannot call it my favorite Jobim tune: that would be Dindi

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 7:34 PM

Anthem Against Obama

Interesting email today:

I just read the blog post by Ellis Wyatt about Cato and John Allison for the first time while searching on Ayn Rand tonight. My book, Anthem against Obama, was just published. It's an adaptation and expansion of the short novella, Anthem, by Ayn Rand, which did not have its copyright renewed in the USA. (The book is not sanctioned by any Ayn Rand related organization or individual.)

Anthem against Obama is about a precocious child growing up abused by the government during the future Dark Ages of America -- until he rebels in a frantic bid for freedom against impossible odds.

Anthem against Obama is an action-adventure parable against ObamaCare, BAD ObamaNomics, and socialism. It also has an extended afterword with many more lessons.

If you want to read more about Anthem against Obama, here are related URLs:

The paperback version of Anthem against Obama:

The Kindle version of Anthem against Obama:

A reader's 5-star review of Anthem against Obama:

Anthem against Obama Facebook page.

Thank you and best regards,
Brad Hennenfent

Sounds fun, Dr. Hennenfent! I just picked up the Kindle version.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

I confess to being a big fan of "Anthem."

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd love to read this. Checked out Dr. H's biography on Amazon - he has all the right "isms."

So, an Obama version of Anthem? Julia45101.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2012 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

...and I'm the 100th "Like" on the book's Facebook page. Should be worth a cappuccino or something...

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 3:27 PM

Jon Stewart Nails it!

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Brian Ross Blows It
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

UPDATE: Of course, compared to their coverage of the suspect's mother, the Tea Party smear is Pulitzer stuff!

But johngalt thinks:

Kudos to Stewart. It would be funnier if ABC's bias wasn't so (*@#ing transparent and dangerous.

Related: Via web search I've learned that New York City GOP membership files contain the name "Brian Ross." We don't know if this is the same Brian Ross but it is "Brian Ross, New York, New York." Hey everyone, BRIAN ROSS IS A REPUBLICAN!!

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2012 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I understand there were 25 in the Denver Metro area. Considering that he could have not been any, Ross had an almost 4% chance of being correct. I suggest that is the new ABC News standard.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 3:31 PM


I have been thinking of this quote for a few days. It's time I can say it and apologize if I offend. I found it in an old post of mine. (I hope my Google searches for "penn jillette terrorist" and similar variants don't cause my hero too much consternation...)

Life, my friends, is both tenuous and tenacious. I think we owe it to the world to live it bravely. I bring you Christopher Beam ridiculing Penn & Teller's soi disant rigid libertarianism:

When I was in high school, I owned a book by Penn & Teller called How to Play in Traffic. It's mainly a series of jokes, gags, and madcap yarns by the magic-comedy duo. But it also channels the libertarian id of Penn Jillette. "I sincerely don't want to offend any of our readers, but I've got something to say," he writes. "It's very simple, but a bit controversial: The United States of America does not have a problem with terrorism. We just don't." Airport security is not worth the hassle, he continues: "Hey, we're alive, there's risk. Some planes are going to go down like falling twisted burning human cattle cars and there's no stopping it. No one can make any form of travel 100 percent safe. We'll take our chances. As for the victims of a security-free transportation system? Let's consider those terrorism victims heroes," he writes. Let's say they died for freedom. They didn't die for us to have our phones tapped and have our time wasted at airports." He then describes a prank where you create a screensaver for your laptop that looks like a countdown to detonation.

This, I'll confess, was about my first thought after the Aurora movie shooting. Let us live freely and act courageously. And when our brave companions die in the sky, at the cinema, or in the hospital, let us cheer the valiant heroics of a life lived freely.

July 23, 2012

AlterNet's Worried Sick About John Allison at Cato

I didn't think it was THAT big of a deal, but if this Little Stalin has his panties in a bunch THIS bad, maybe it's Doubleplus Good:

That's why this recent bit of news is so startling: John Allison, a former bank CEO and a leader of the Rand movement, has just become president of the Cato Institute, the oldest and most influential libertarian think tank. This received only a modest amount of attention when it surfaced late last month, and you had to be a real political junkie to even be aware of it. But it is a seminal event in recent political history—a dramatic indication of the mainstreaming of the radical right.

What it means is that the Rand movement, which was little more than a cult when the Atlas Shrugged author died thirty years ago, has effectively merged with the vastly larger libertarian movement. While many differences are likely to remain—particularly as far as Ron Paul’s fading candidacy is concerned, given the Randers' support for abortion and opposition to his foreign policy views —this means that Objectivism, Rand’s quasi-religious philosophy, is going to permeate the political process more than ever before.

Also includes cool pic!
Sleek and Smoky

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 7:08 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

The phrase "age of enlightenment" comes to mind. Color me giddy. Just imagine - Libertarians with objective principles.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2012 2:11 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I had heard a little about Luskin's book, but just went and read a bit at Amazon--now I want to read the whole thing.

They seem to have left out one person. Our current Chief Executive, Mr. Thompson.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 24, 2012 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

A great clip of Luskin discussing Allison.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 5:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In the 2011 clip you linked Luskin repeats that discredited meme that "Fannie and Freddie nearly wrecked the U.S. housing market."

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2012 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Intrigued by Mister O'Toole as the next guy, but I am NOT letting the GSEs off the hook as being a bad idea if not the seed crystal of the panic.

If I may preview a new Review Corner this Sunday for Edward Conard's Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong:

Advocates of subprime mortgages don't want that answer, especially the ones who support the efforts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase subprime home ownership. Unfortunately, wishful thinking is the scourge of critical thinking.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

...and if that quote has not got you wishing the weekend were here, Conard credits Roe v. Wade with saving us from European Socialism. In short, we nominated the wrong Bain Guy...

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 7:28 PM

Liberty in Boulder Tonight!

They only allow it two Mondays per month -- don't miss it!

Join us on Monday, July 23th, where your featured speaker will be Dr. Jill Vecchio, who will be discussing free market healthcare reforms. After Dr. Vecchio'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!

Quote of the Day

"We all have friends we love dearly that couldn't pass for human in a strict Turing test." -- Penn Jillette
Posted by John Kranz at 12:46 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically
and without pity."
-- RAH


Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 23, 2012 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And many thanks to brother KA for the guest RAHQOTD yesterday as I was indisposed.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2012 2:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

'Twas a pleasure - reading about the utility bill scam just made me think of that one.

I don't know whether Heinlein was the inspirational source for one of my people, the famous philosopher Ron White, in the following public presentation; but I will confess that the next time some city-boy starts talking about us dumb hicks from the sticks, I'm going to play this, and then start with, "Let me tell you what happened to a bunch of Yankees from New Jersey..."


Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 24, 2012 5:40 PM

Drawing the Line

I'm going to stretch for a segue here. Very young or feeble readers may want to hang on to something.

But there is an important aspect of liberty hiding in a frivolous and a not frivolous example. When somebody calls for regulation, I always ask "Who draws the line?" If there is no regulation, free people will choose.

Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, of course, thinks he can draw the magic line at 16 ounces. Seth Goldman of Honest TEA dissents. He makes healthy, low calorie, all natural drinks that Boulder Mommies would love. Uh-oh...

Under the proposed changes to Article 81 of the NYC Health Code, food-service establishments would not be able to sell packages larger than 16 ounces for drinks that have more than 25 calories per eight-ounce serving. Honest Tea's top-selling item is our organic Honey Green Tea, which has 35 calories per eight-ounce serving and is in a 16.9 oz. bottle. We label 70 calories on the front of the package so consumers know what's in the full bottle.

We initially went with 16.9 oz. (which is 500 milliliters) because it is a standard size that our bottle supplier had in stock at the time. We subsequently invested several hundred thousand dollars for 16.9 oz. bottle molds. Is 16.9 ounces the perfect size? Who knows? As a beverage marketer, we willingly submit to the unforgiving judgment of the market. What we did not anticipate was an arbitrary decision to constrain consumer choice

So 16oz of Mountain Dew is fine; 16.9 of organic Honey Green Tea -- not so much. Not that I am going to outlaw Dew, but climbing into the nanny brain, this seems an unintended consequence at best.

I could quit now and this would be a good post, but I promised a tortured segue.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) was on FOX News Sunday yesterday, bravely drumming up interest in her lapsed "Assault Weapons Ban." She disingenuously rattled off statistics of gun violence after it was not renewed implying it would have helped. Her most convincing point was railing against 100-round magazines: "Why do you need that?"

Well, Senator, as an inalienable right, one doesn't have to explain to you. I'd agree it sounds pretty excessive -- Jeeburz, that would cost a lot to fill it. But you are asking me to let you declare the right number. Ten rounds? Five? Twenty? If we're attempting to impede mass murders, smaller is better. But manufacturers like Seth Goldman (Tea guy, remember?) have capital invested in making certain sizes. Larger firms will be able to lobby Congress to allow my seven-round but not my competitors' eight -- why eight is irresponsible!

Frighten people with 100-round clips and 44 oz sodas, then you can take away their 500ml Teas and 11-round magazines -- all the while arrogating power over the manufacturers and consumers.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:19 AM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Somebody say "Unintended Consequences?"

Andrew Biggs, AEI Resident Scholar and AR-15 owner:

Large capacity magazines. One proposal that seemed convincing (even to me) was to ban large capacity magazines, such as the 100-round rifle magazine used in Aurora or the 32-round Glock magazine used in the Tucson, AZ shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Magazines this size aren't particularly practical. But one reason they're impractical -- and thus one reason why banning them won't save many lives -- is that they jam a lot, which happened in both Aurora and Tucson. That's one reason you don’t see military and law enforcement using them. If large capacity magazines were banned, potential mass murderers would shift to standard capacity magazines, which are lighter, fast to change, and almost never jam. It's not clear what the trade-offs are here.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2012 1:29 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Ah, but that's way too rational. It focuses on results, rather than feelings. Legislators feel good about empty symbolic gestures. Facts are too difficult to explain to the 50% of the voters who are below average...which is why we don't actually have a "democracy."

My eternal gratitude goes out to the "elitists" who wrote the Constitution.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 24, 2012 3:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is an awesome post. Not a "tortured" segue, but an excellent integration of two instances of leftist nannysense.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2012 4:52 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I was also 50% amused, 50% disgusted by the babbleheads on the TV talking about his 3 or 6 thousand rounds of ammunition. "Shouldn't there be a limit? Shouldn't it have raised a red flag"

No, fools. He surely wasn't carrying 3,000 rounds on him. Again, something that has utterly nothing to do with actual events, would not have prevented them, but sounds nice to the controllers. I don't even know if they actually believe this stuff or if it's just robot programming they got when they were kidnapped from South Park Elementary and probed by Lizardoid aliens. ;)

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 24, 2012 7:17 PM

July 22, 2012

Thomas Wolfe, Call your Office!

This Review Corner might become a midlife crisis -- thou art forewarned.

Insty linked to the Kindle Deal of the Day or whatever and I picked up Kurt Vonnegut's "Welcome to the Monkey House" for $2.99. My first apartment (below) was littered with Kurt Vonnegut paperbacks. I had read each a dozen times, but they were out and I would pick them up and reread them. "Sirens of Titan" was on the coffee table and I must have read it 20 times. "Welcome to the Monkey House," however, was in the car.

I continued to read Vonnegut -- if less obsessively -- as long as he wrote. Even though I came to abhor his philosophy, his percussive, poignant, and amusing writing style always made it worthwhile. He deteriorated as a writer pari-passu with my growing impatience with his ideas. The cruel joke was that his paean to Socialism, "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater," is an unappreciated flop while the damning scorch of "Harrison Bergeron" lives on.

I had reread Bergeron many times recently, but the rest of the stories in Monkey House were dim memories. I laughed out loud, the man was brilliant. But his dystopian themes and überhip irony grate on me. I could not really get into them. I don't know if have outgrown childish things or lost my youthful sense of whimsy.

About that apartment. I don't want to overplay my brush at fame, but I got on Google to look at my old 'hood that is on the news 24 x 7. It was closer than I thought.

Thomas Wolfe reminds "You can't ever go home again." True that -- and not just because it has been evacuated.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:46 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I'd delete this post were it not for bloggers honor. A bit of reflection and a reread of a few stories show this is waaaay too harsh. Quite a few stories are brilliant and even the ones that bug me are superbly well written.

The author himself conceded that he was not on top of his game in the novels of his later years. These, conversely, are from the apogee.

A bit like hating the Grateful Dead for Deadheads, I placed some undeserved scorn on the author. He deserves scorn for other things, but not these amazing short stories.

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2012 9:50 AM

July 21, 2012

Economic Freedom or Economic Dependency?

Another good Atlas Shrugged vid. This one with Congressman Allen West. Ten minutes long, it includes very good short answers to questions like "How did Atlas Shrugged inspire you" and "Do you see any change in the American culture back towards individualism?" He even uses the ladder to prosperity analogy I use to explain how minimum wage and equal pay laws hurt workers instead of help them.

But jk thinks:

Awesome. Rep. West is always visible for his "firebrand" comments. Great to see his more reflective side.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2012 9:30 AM

Teaser Indeed.

July 20, 2012


A modest and civilized society would give room to the families and friends of the dead to begin to process their shattering losses. It would give room to the police to do their work and gather evidence. It would leave room for citizens of this nation to reflect with soberness and seriousness on what has happened; to participate, if only for a brief time, in a national mourning of sorts. And it might even resist the impulse to leverage a massacre into a political culture war. It would be helpful if members of the press and politicians understood this, and acted in a way that showed some measure of decency and compassion. -- Peter Wehner
But jk thinks:

Interesting. My first apartment was a block away from the suspect's; my first house about a mile from the crime scene.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2012 8:25 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Didn't L. Neil Smith's Probability Broach series center around Aurora? Also, have any of you ladies and gentlebeings met Mr. Smith? I have enjoyed his works for over 25 years.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 20, 2012 8:46 PM

Quote of the Day

Chris Christie is not a wimp, a hippie, or a countercultural icon. He's not known for taking time out from budget negotiations to smoke dope, or for his sympathy for drug dealers.

Yet he is a soft-liner on the war on drugs. That the combative New Jersey governor and Republican rock star -- just tapped to keynote the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. -- vocally dissents from drug-war orthodoxy is another sign that the tectonic plates of the drug debate are shifting. Perhaps our appetite for spending billions and incarcerating millions, in the service of pieties immune to rational analysis, is not limitless after all. -- Rich Lowry

Today the world, tomorrow ThreeSources!

But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to show evidence of hypocrisy on Cristie's part, or at least a flip-flop, but I can't lay my hands on the article I remember reading last week saying Cristie wasn't likely to sign NJ bills to legalize pot and gay marriage. At least that is my recollection. It would seem that this mandatory drug treatment bill is a compromise he thought he could not be seen refusing.

For my part I'm glad to see this. The GOP must make a hard sell for the kiddie vote and Cristie is influential enough in the party to drag other opinion makers along with him, at least to a degree. Grizzled old TEA Partiers like me can approve on the basis of reduced goverment spending for fighting the so-called drug war.


Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2012 12:31 PM


Bad people do bad things.

I've heard all the usual Sweetness and Light that kids get pushed at them -- how they should always forgive, how there's some good in the worst of us, etc. But when I see a black widow, I step on it; I don't plead with it to be a good little spider and please stop poisoning people. A black widow spider can't help it -- but that's the point.

--RAH 'Have Space Suit - Will Travel' (1958)

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

A great quote from a great book. There is much more critique in it of "modern" education--published in 1958, many years before most people came to believe public ed had gone to hell.

I am happy to be back in touch--a week of vacation with very intermittent web connections has interrupted my "5 Best Songs Ever", amongst other things. Will be catching up in the next couple of days.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 20, 2012 6:39 PM

He Built That.

Fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka took government nanotubes, cool stuff a great teacher had shared with him, and a few things that the US Postal Service delivered over some public bridges to create "a new, improved test for diagnosing pancreatic cancer that is 90% more accurate, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than existing methods."

See what happens when we all work together?

Hat-tip: Mark J. Perry's Carpe Diem blog.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Just think what a hellhole America would be without the US Mail!

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2012 4:21 PM

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

Emma Caulfield has started a vlog. I link without necessaily recommending. (Like most if you will stay away...) She is funny and looks lovely, but it is celebrity chatter. Were it anyone else, I would compare it to torture.

But Anya gets a link. Life isn't fair.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 1:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

Free the Fretboards!!!

"Free the fretboards!" is not exactly Patrick Henry, but it comes with a much cooler picture:

Gibson guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has a guest editorial in the WSJ today in support of a house bill to prevent business from what befell Gibson (discussed extensively 'round these parts). More importantly, a broader look at the criminalization of ticky-tacky business regulation:

This is an overreach of government authority and indicative of the kinds of burdens the federal government routinely imposes on growing businesses. It also highlights a dangerous trend: an attempt to punish even paperwork errors with criminal charges and to regulate business activities through criminal law. Policy wonks call this "overcriminalization." I call it a job killer.

In America alone, there are over 4,000 federal criminal offenses. Under the Lacey Act, for instance, citizens and business owners also need to know--and predict how the U.S. federal government will interpret--the laws of nearly 200 other countries on the globe as well.

Many business owners have inadvertently broken obscure and highly technical foreign laws, landing them in prison for things like importing lobster tails in plastic rather than cardboard packaging (the violation of that Honduran law earned one man an eight-year prison sentence). Cases like this make it clear that the justice system has strayed from its constitutional purpose: stopping the real bad guys from bringing harm.

Lobster guy was on Stossel, whose show last night discussed minimum sentencing and prosecutorial misconduct. At the risk of a short digression, I used to believe that economic battles were most important and I was willing to let Radley Balko and the occasional meritorious ACLU suit police the justice system. Yet liberty lovers can no longer ignore the growing criminalization of -- well -- everything.

Tweet of the Day

Peter Burns ‏@PeterBurnsRadio

This fucking coward doesn't deserve his name uttered or picture shown. Give zero publicity to this monster.

Peter Burns is a friend of Jessica Ghawi, handle @JessicaRedfield, who was caught up in the Aurora movie theater shooting last night and died. Redfield was a sports reporter covering the Colorado Avalanche and also interned at Denver sports radio station 104.3 The Fan.

Burns also Tweeted:

Sorry for the outburst. Just upset, angry, confused. So many lives, so many futures.


Just talked to @JessicaRedfield mom. She's asked to everyone share the wonderful stories. Please trend #RIPJessica. She loved Twitter.

UPDATE: Obviously my heart goes out to all of the victims and their families but as a semi-public figure Jessica is the first we've been able to get to know. Here is a tribute from a colleague. And a tribute blog by her brother.

Colorado Posted by JohnGalt at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

And Ari Armstrong's "He chose Evil. We choose to live" which links to this post of his.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2012 12:27 PM

July 19, 2012

Two Guys that Did Build That

The best answer to the President's "You didn't build that" which I have encountered. And it's not even silly.

John Kass describes his Dad and his uncle, getting up every day, driving the old white Chrysler out of the driveway before dawn to open their grocery store.

There was no federal bailout money for us. No Republican corporate welfare. No Democratic handouts. No bipartisan lobbyists working the angles. No Tony Rezkos. No offshore accounts. No Obama bucks.

Just two immigrant brothers and their families risking everything, balancing on the economic high wire, building a business in America. They sacrificed, paid their bills, counted pennies to pay rent and purchase health care and food and not much else.

But what about those government helpers, John? Your Dad didn't pave the streets did he? What about government?
One of my earliest memories as a boy at the store was that of the government men coming from City Hall. One was tall and beefy. The other was wiry. They wanted steaks.

We didn't eat red steaks at home or yellow bananas. We took home the brown bananas and the brown steaks because we couldn't sell them. But the government men liked the big, red steaks, the fat rib-eyes two to a shrink-wrapped package. You could put 20 or so in a shopping bag.

"Thanks, Greek," they'd say.

That was government.

The link requires (free) registration to the Chicago Trib -- no doubt David Axelrod has my IP address now. But it's worth it to read the whole thing and see a brief clip of Kass feeling it.

Powerful -- Hat-tip: Robert Tracinski (RCP email)

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I'm just going to keep excerpting more, everytime I read it.

And for their troubles they were muscled by the politicos, by the city inspectors and the chiselers and the weasels, all those smiling extortionists who held the government hammer over all of our heads.

And the end:
And [President Obama] offers an American dream much different from my father's. Open your eyes and you can see it too. He stands there at the front of the mob, in his shirt sleeves, swinging that government hammer, exhorting the crowd to use its votes and take what it wants.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2012 8:33 PM


Inspired by a Joss Whedon quote: "And nobody has the perfect answer."

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can -- and must -- be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly-- and no doubt will keep on trying.

-- RAH 'Time Enough for Love (1973)

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Women and children first" also seems to be the search-and-grope guideline for the TSA Frottage Squad, if recent news articles about their perverted and humiliating incidents is any indication. I'm not sure they had Heinlein in mind, though.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 19, 2012 5:06 PM

Ten Things Obama has not Released

I have a new Internet friend. I met Tim Ross by insulting his Joss Whedon post.

Perusing the excellent A Hollywood Republican site, and some of Ross's other work, I noticed that we have another thing in common: lefty Facebook friends. Thankfully, mine are not writing for Disney and polluting any young minds but their offspring. But we most both endure hate and rumor and lies about the things we believe and the people we choose to support -- all presented as matter-of-(non)-factly as a cute kitten video.

My FB friends have been on Defcon 3 over the Romney tax releases and his precise exit date from Bain. I may or may not share Joel Pollack's Top Ten things Obama has not Released with them. That would be an exercise in porcine vocal coaching.

But ThreeSourcers will dig it:

As the Obama campaign and the media continue to press Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, and to suggest--without a shred of evidence--that he is a "felon," it is worth noting how much critical information Barack Obama has withheld from view--both as a candidate in 2008, and during his term in office. Here is a Breitbart News top ten list of things that Obama has refused to release (a complete list would fill volumes):

Gotta click for the list.

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

The list is well done and is so damning that a Republican president with that record would have been impeached by now.

This post is full of linkety goodness. Another good Tim Ross post was the one on the UN Arms Control Treaty Obama and Hillary are set to sign in a few weeks. I had read about it from Dick Morris and thought it deserved a post but have been dissuaded by the need to give it a thorough treatment. Ross does so, including the observation that 10 NRA-friendly senate Democrats are in a position to scuttle the President's plan. One of them, Harry Reid, caused mutiny amongst a portion of NRA membership when the organization endorsed him for re-election over his TEA Party challenger. If Reid doesn't come through on this vote, including enough fellow Democrats to defeat ratification of the treaty, the NRA will have been exposed as a rube of the highest order.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 3:53 PM

Huh? What?

ABC News's Jonathan Karl pens a piece reporting that the DNC is pulling videos of Ann Romney and her dressage horses, and offering apologies.

"Our use of the Romneys' dressage horse was not meant to offend Mrs. Romney in any way, and we regret it if it did," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse told ABC News. "We were simply making a point about Governor Romney's failure to give straight answers on a variety of issues in this race. We have no plans to invoke the horse any further to avoid misinterpretation."

For those unfamiliar with the genre, that constitutes a Democratic apology. "I'm sorry I called your six year old nephew a 'queerbait c*******ing a******' but I was just trying to highlight your willful misrepresentation of the fractional reserve banking system!"

We discussed this issue a bit around these parts, and I suggest that sentient observers were unmoved by political ads which ridiculed the therapy of a woman with a chronic disease. Yet Karl, with no proof, suggests this as an example of the high-mindedness of [President Obama?] [Speaker Pelosi?] [David Axelrod?] [The Pope?]

This is already a brutal campaign, but the Obamas have long said families are off limits. Apparently somebody high up reminded the DNC of that.

No doubt the Romney camp would enjoy the same approbation if it pulled objectionable ads.

But johngalt thinks:

But what does the DNC have to apologize for? "The DNC didn't write that ad! Somewhere along the way, somebody helped them. Somebody else made it happen!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 7:32 PM

Quote of the Day

The popularization of Derridaian post-modernism since the 1990s has generally been a lot of fun, turning mainstream Americans into sharp observers of signs and meaning who are sure that either there's nothing outside the text or everything is outside the text or both. But at some point it helps to look at that thing above the subtext, which is generally known as "the text." Up to this point the presidential election has been Obama vs. Obama Junior. With "You didn't build that," which his campaign has made no effort to clarify or redirect, the president has drawn a line in the sand.

There is no nebulousness here. Beyond the paragraph quoted above, Obama calls government spending "the investments that grow our economy." He ridicules the tendency of Americans to brag about being hard workers with a variant of "So's your old man." ("Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.") He instinctively names "a great teacher" when looking for somebody to credit for causing success in the working world. The president has boldly presented his view on how an economy works. His supporters should give him the respect of taking his words seriously. -- Tim Cavenaugh

July 18, 2012


Can President Obama possibly believe all of his demagoguery, recent and otherwise?

A confidence man knows he's lying; that limits his scope. But a successful shaman believes what he says -- and belief is contagious; there is no limit to his scope.

-- RAH 'Stranger in a Strange Land' (1961)

The cost of government "help"

I finally made a cogent point out of a post I put up day before yesterday:

Government tax revenues as a percentage of national GDP:

China - 17%
USA - 26.9%
France - 44.6%

Doing much to explain why manufacturing [of Olympic uniforms and other necessities] is less costly in communist China than in "free" America. Also revealing why leftists think Americans are whiny losers for claiming we are Taxed Enough Already.

Even so, wouldn't France be much better off if they didn't waste so much tax money on smart bombs and aircraft carriers?

You Didn't Write That!

But johngalt thinks:

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmmmm!

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ayn Rand just called. She said to tell Obama's TelePrompTer technician the same thing - and she's waiting for a royalty check for everything he plagiarized from her.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 18, 2012 7:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And YOU didn't write THAT!

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 3:57 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well played, JG. I think you just won the Internet Snappy Rejoinder of the Year Award for that. When I plariarized that comeback, trust me, you will get full credit.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 19, 2012 5:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And it only took me the better part of 21 hours to come up with it! In our family we call that "L'esprit de l'escalier."

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 6:00 PM

Quote of the Day

Is it really so shocking that that the dying companies Bain tried to turn around shed jobs? Is it fair or intellectually honest to hang a global trend of the last 40 years around Romney's neck? Do all the liberal activists tweeting on their made-in-China smartphones actually believe what they're saying about the evils of outsourcing? -- Jonah
2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Atlas Shrugged QOTD

What? I can't play? An especially germane selection from the Ayn Rand Facebook page:

"He didn't invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?"


"Rearden. He didn't invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn't have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it's his? Why does he think it's his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything."

She said, puzzled, "But the iron ore and all those other things were there all the time. Why didn't anybody else make that Metal, but Mr. Rearden did?"

- Atlas Shrugged, P1C9

But Terri thinks:

I KNEW there was a quote like that in there. I googled, and googled to no avail.

It makes a good category. "Quotes in Atlas Shrugged that could have come from today's news stories"

Posted by: Terri at July 18, 2012 12:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Sadly, they all can. As Professor Reynolds always says "this Administration views 'Atlas Shrugged' as an instruction manual."

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2012 1:30 PM
But bigjim thinks:

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will be in theaters Oct 12, 2012.

Posted by: bigjim at July 18, 2012 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

We're counting the days, bigjim!

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2012 5:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You play well, Obi Wan. And your timely post is a perfect place for me to piggyback dagny's [my dagny] observation of yesterday morn:

"If roads and bridges are what make people rich then why isn't everyone in America a millionaire?"
Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 6:14 PM

July 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

Having learned that the U.S. olympic uniforms were manufactured in China, Senator Harry Reid said, "I think they should take all of the uniforms put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again."

Will some enterprising reporter please ask Senator Reid for the opportunity to inspect the senator's closet and check the labels of his clothing to make sure they are all American-made? I look forward to seeing Mr. Reid's bonfire.

In the alternative, I would be happy to send the senator of copy of my favorite textbook. He should pay particular attention to Chapters 3 and 9. -- Prof. N. Gregory Mankiw

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm confused.

We have no problem borrowing 2.6 metric buttloads of cash from Red China in order to prop up this administration's government, but we want to refuse them the trade, and thereby the opportunity to make money to lend us.

Am I missing something here? Do I have some misunderstanding about the way international trade is supposed to work? Aren't we supposed to be the ones teaching them about the benefits of free markets?

If we're going to go this route, why not just reenact Smoot-Hawley and be done with it?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 17, 2012 5:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Larry Kudlow likes to call them "Smoot" Schumer and "Hawly" Reid. I'd be cautious of making the suggestion.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2012 5:16 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

But still - we'll happily borrow lucre from them, just not buy their Olympic costumes?

Granted, I saw pictures of the costumes, and they looked like castoffs from Glee, but still...

Hey, waidaminnit - I seem to recall the SCOAMF just had a campaign fundraiser in Red China.


(Yeah, that's a topic in itself, isn't it?)

That's got to jar you from a customer-service standpoint...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 17, 2012 7:15 PM

Better than Sand Millionaires!

Why oh why do leftists want to conscript poor children to poverty?

LORDI, India -- Sohan Singh's shoeless children have spent most of their lives hungry, dirty and hot. A farmer in a desert land, Mr. Singh could not afford anything better than a mud hut and a barely adequate diet for his family.

But it just so happens that when the hard little bean that Mr. Singh grows is ground up, it becomes an essential ingredient for mining oil and natural gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing.

The increase in guar prices is helping to transform this part of the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India, one of the world's poorest places. Tractor sales are soaring, land prices are increasing and weddings have grown even more colorful.

Hat-tip: @adamsbaldwin

But johngalt thinks:

So enriching a few privileged children in rural India is important enough for you to risk a 0.000000001 percent chance of that guar contaminating the groundwater used by American children? That's why people like you and Mr. Romney should never be president. Unlike President Obama, you don't care enough. (/sarcasm)

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 6:19 PM

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

Happy 20th Anniversary, BtVS! (James Marsters offers the link -- I have not been able to make it work all day.)

More important to ThreeSourcers -- the tape and transcript are in (HT: @jtLOL).

It ain't pretty.

Tim Ross's transcript rather rudely includes every "umm." The man is extemporaneously answering a rather serous question, I'll allow him a few cycles to compose. And he ends with a smack at the atheist Whedon being called "A God" by a fan.

But in-between, he makes a substantive case that Whedon was actually embracing and promoting socialism.

Whedon's socialist hero, John Reed, received horrible grades as a youth, was a socialist in college, considered a bully, committed several crimes, promoted the Communist movement, belonged to the Communist Labor Party, and was indicted for sedition.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 1:33 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Tim Ross thinks:

Rude and substantive, I suppose, is better than overly-sensitive and trifling. Nevertheless, thanks for the read and the promotion.

"Joss Whedon, um, is a, you know, great, uh, orator."

Posted by: Tim Ross at July 19, 2012 4:13 AM
But jk thinks:

Rude and substantive rock my friend! Welcome to the blogroll.

ThreeSourcers: Ross contributes to A Hollywood Republican -- a great read.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2012 10:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I think the "umms" are germane, for they show where Whedon spoke freely and where he did not. These contrasts seem to show an academic training that egalitarianism is necessary for the "personal dignity" of the "working class and middle class." Yet he stumbles in the transition to talking about it being "really, really important that we find a system that honors both our need to achieve, and doesn't try to take things away from us..."

And what is Joss's companion liberty to this TEA Party boilerplate? The "both" that he refers to? "...everybody's need to have a start, to have a goal, to have a life, um to have an income, to have a chance..."

This is the heart of the #Occupy/TEA Party confluence I first noticed here. Could Joss not see, if he started to pal around with a different sort of Facebook friend, that the antidote to "giant corporations and the enormously rich people who are very often in power" is not restricting corporations' free speech, but restricting their government bailouts and government guarantees and back-room, back-scratching deals with government officials? Join your votes with those of the Liberty Movement and we'll throw the cronies out together, Democrats and Republicans alike!

What prevents this, of course, is the feeler/perceiver's (colloquially known as "liberal's") innate desire to "help" others by giving to them from the public treasury in order to prove how much they "care." But honestly Joss, buddy, how can anyone have a start, a chance, an income, a life, if everything is given to him? Dignity has nothing to do with equity and everything to do with earned ownership.

Whedon's overarching lament is that "... nobody has the perfect answer." True. There is no perfect answer, but purely free-market capitalism in a libertarian social society is as close to perfection as humanity can get on this July day in the year 2012.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 3:31 PM


Best thing I read all day!

Insty links to a poignant piece on, well, the Humanities and Liberal Arts, President Obama's "Julia" character, Elvis, Freedom, Jack Ruby...

The right wing commentariat was in stitches about Julia (who resembles an international symbol for "Ladies Room"), but really, her story is not funny at all; it is chilling to someone who has experienced the liberal arts. The practice of the liberal arts, especially literature, involves comparison, contrast, allusion, resonance, recognition of irony, suggestion, implication--all the artistic architectonics of meaning and sensation that arouse in us what it is to be human. Julia is only a cartoon but what is so unfunny and repellant about her is that she represents what her creators think about human beings. Let me explain by contrast and allusion.

The whole thing is great and super short. Sadly, one is shocked to encounter liberal arts used in defense of liberty. It is sad that that is sad, but I don't want to get too meta. David Clemens knows that liberty is universal from literature. What an odd thought that must be in a modern classroom.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

More Cowbell!

It's not that "more cowbell" is overused, it's that it's wrongly used. Gene Healy correctly ties it to the President:

There you have it. Contemplating the policy wreckage that surrounds him, the president has concluded that what this country needs is a fresh injection of presidential hope. Like "more cowbell" in the old "Saturday Night Live" skit, it's the magic ingredient that makes everything better.

Obama considers himself a sophisticated and nuanced guy, so you wouldn't think his descent into self-parody would be quite so unsubtle.

Anyone else out there for the explanation that a lack of storytelling, explaining and inspirational speeches was the great sin of the Obama presidency? According to CBS's Mark Knoller, in his first two years in office, the president clocked 902 speeches and statements and gave 265 interviews. Anybody who talks that much runs the risk of saying too much. Case in point, this gem from the president's speech Friday in Roanoke: "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Inspiring

But johngalt thinks:

Saw a bumper sticker today pushing some woman's car from Longmont to Boulder. It read: OBAMA CARES.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2012 10:24 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Prius, Volvo, or Volt?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 18, 2012 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. You obviously don't know Boulder since you didn't ask if it was a Subaru. Every morning I'm escorted by at least three of them on my drive in from Longmont. But no, it was a run-of-the-mill Chevy - white four-door something or other.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 12:44 PM

July 16, 2012

International Tax Misery Index

Well aware that I'm risking graphic chart overload here, I couldn't resist posting the graph below showing the combined total, in percentage points, of corporate income tax rate, personal income tax rate, employer SS tax rate, employee SS tax rate, VAT/sales tax rate and wealth tax rate for the countries that have such a thing. Sixty-one countries are listed, including China. Since both corporate and personal taxes are listed I suppose the theoretical maximum index score is 200, or 100 percent of personal income plus 100 percent of corporate income. But this is no justification for US federal government confiscation of 42.65 percent of both personal and corporate income. (61.6% and 53.9% in NYC when state and local taxes are included.)


Of sixty one nations, four have a TMI below 52 points: Qatar, UAE, Hong Kong and Georgia. The rest start at 70 points and go up from there. I find it mind boggling that Americans take to the streets to protest taxes that approach 50 percent, while Frenchmen sit still for tax rates of 79.4% on corporations and 86.7% on individuals. I realize these are top marginal rates, paid only by evil "one percenters" and corporations. Nonetheless...

And despite the second highest Tax Misery Index in the world, China is still better disposed to make American Olympic Team costumes. (Perhaps this is better explained by an average US hourly compensation cost of $34.74.)

But johngalt thinks:

After posting I realized that while this chart is eye-catching it doesn't really give much information. The figures listed are tax rates, not revenues, and top marginal rates at that. The chart shown at this Wikipedia page can be sorted by 2012 Heritage Foundation tax revenue as percent of GDP thus revealing:

China - 17%
USA - 26.9%
France - 44.6%

And thus proving my original thesis, that manufacturing in the USA is more difficult because of government imposed costs.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Take a look at the countries with tax revenue less than 15% of GDP. They include:

Dominican Republic, Philippines, Singapore, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Guatemala. A who's who of country-of-origin tags I've seen on clothing goods.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:26 PM

Right/Wrong Track

Now that I've returned home from my family summer vacation in Disneyland the election season may begin in earnest.

After JK's suggestion that job creators are not an electoral plum but merely a goose to be plucked I went looking for 2008 presidential exit polling to see if small business owners voted for Obama more than McCain as I suspect. I couldn't find that split but did notice the strong split in Right direction / wrong track voters when candidate Obama promised "Hope and Change" to an electorate who believed, by a 2-to-1 margin, in 2008 we were going the wrong way.


Although candidate McCain was not the incumbent he was of the incumbent party and thus was saddled with the "status quo" albatross. But now the shoe is on Obama's other foot as he attempts to defend the change he has wrought. The incumbent president seeks re-election in the face of this:


This, combined with the unemployment situation, will make it harder even for those who like the president to choose four more years of "status quo-bama."

Sand Millionaires, Duex

No risk of dating myself further after posting a wedding picture, but the post below reminded me of the first intelligent political argument I ever made. There have been so few it seems I can catalog them.

But Kirkpatrick Sale's "Human Scale" was the it book when Georgia Gov. James Earl Carter was president. I was running with a fairly apolitical crowd, but everybody I knew had read it. And everyone accepted its Malthusian limitations. It is thankfully out of print, but Amazon has links to used sellers and this handy blurb:

Size matters. And "progress", as it translates into sprawl, congestion, resource depletion, overpopulation, the decline of communities and the rise of corporate rule, is quite literally killing us. In his landmark work Human Scale, Kirkpatrick Sale details the crises facing modern society and offers real solutions, laying out ways that we can take control of every facet of our lives by building institutions, workplaces and communities that are sustainable, ecologically balanced, and responsive to the needs of the individual. As relevant today as when it was first published in 1980, this remarkable book provides a fascinating perspective on the last quarter-century of "growth" and anticipates by decades the current movement towards relocalization in response to the end of cheap oil.

I was accosted by some Sale-ite that it was obvious that our resources were limited. I shrugged and said "they make computer chips out of sand. I don't think we're running out of sand."

Pre Rand. Pre Kudlow. But I saw T.J. Rodgers and Andy Grove as the first sand millionaires.

Someday, I might have another good one -- I'm not giving up yet!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Dozens of "Sand Millionaires"

Not a phrase one expects to encounter. But that good fracking sand has to come from somewhere, don't it? Why not "America's Sandbox?" Prof. Mark J,. Perry:

I spent the weekend along the Mississippi River in Buffalo City, Wisconsin, about 120 miles south of Minneapolis-St. Paul (across the river from Winona, Minnesota), where there is a growing controversy in sand-rich southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin ("America's Sandbox") about mining for frac sand (the silica sand used for hydraulic fracturing). While starting my drive this morning to the Minneapolis airport, I took pictures of the two signs above that help tell the story of the controversy

Free markets make millionaires out of sand farmers.

But johngalt thinks:

A challenge to the "fixed economic pie" crowd: Whom are the sand millionaires taking wealth away from in the process of their personal enrichment?

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 6:54 PM
But jk thinks:

You're just a shill for Big Sand!

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 7:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's a little more esprit de l'esclaier:

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "go pound sand."

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 6:06 PM

Quote of the Day

All Hail Taranto! On the President's "If you've got a business--you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen:"

Finally, Obama didn't even come up with this noxious idea himself. He ripped it off from Elizabeth Warren. First the white man steals her ancestors' land--well, 31/32nds of her ancestors steal the other 1/32nd's land, anyway--and now this.


As California cities declare bankruptcy like dominoes, a pair of them are now holding public hearings on a proposal to sieze underwater private homes from lenders via eminent domain, paying the lender a "fair value" for the property, then assisting the borrower in refinancing at a lower principal and with favorable interest rates. The scheme was apparently concocted by a private corporation:

Steven Gluckstern, chairman of the newly formed San Francisco-based Mortgage Resolution Partners, says his main concern is to help the economy, which is being held back by the mortgage crisis.

"This is not a bunch of Wall Street guys sitting around saying, 'How do we make money?'" he said. "This was a bunch of Wall Street guys sitting around saying, 'How do you solve this problem?'"

Thus preparing us for today's Heinlein quote:

Every law that was ever written opened up a new way to graft.

-- RAH 'Red Planet' (1949)

Otequay of the Ayday

"Every small business is not indebted to the government or some other benefactor. If anything, small businesses are historically an economic and job-creating powerhouse in spite of the government."

-- NFIB Spokesman in response to President Obama's claim that "If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Speaking as a small business owner myself - http://www.masterescrow.com/ - I have a reaction to the SCOAMF's comment. My wife and I built this. With no assistance and a full complement of interference from government. Reading someone who's never held a responsible private sector job in his life and who wouldn't be able to run a dog-walking business at a profit say that makes steam whistle from my ears.

The remainder of my reaction is not printable, or at least, would sully the reputation this blog has for civility.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2012 4:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A universal reaction amongst job creators, no doubt. (And among those sympathetic to job creation.) Which makes me wonder how it is in his interest to say it with an election looming - it certainly can't energize the non-job creators in his favor as much as ye against him.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 4:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Not sure the small business, job creatin' segment of the population is solidly behind the President. And no doubt Mister Axelrod will be stunned to hear that Brother Keith is wavering.

Seriously, when Elizabeth Warren said the same thing, my Facebook lit up with people who thought it brilliant. I think the President is happy to both fire up the base and paint Gov. Romney's support of free enterprise as (sorry Randians) selfish and overly individualistic.

President Clinton differentiated himself from Leader Dole with wanting to "build a bridge to the 21st Century together."

Those who are incensed were not in Obama's camp before he said it. And this -- sadly -- plays very well among the moderates.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 5:42 PM

Headline of the Day

Obama to mark birthday with Chicago fundraiser

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will mark his 51st birthday next month with "a little celebration" at his Chicago home.

First lady Michelle Obama says in a fundraising email to supporters that the campaign is planning a fundraiser at their house in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood -- and grass-roots donors can win a chance to get on the guest list.

Supporters who give $3 or more to Obama's re-election campaign automatically will be entered into the contest to join Obama at the fundraiser.

That is just soooo sweet. A fundraiser birthday -- with a guest member of the hoi polloi!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Meanwhile, In Buffy News

The news isn't good. Love Joss Whedon's work but never suspected he shared my love of liberty. Clearly, all those great Captain Mal lines were just good dialog to the man who was hosting fundraisers for Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

A great friend of the blog sends a link to a depressing reminder: 'Avengers' Director Whedon Goes On Anti-Capitalist Rant

So says the guy probably worth somewhere around a gajillion dollars and who likely made somewhere around a thousand times more money from "Avengers" than anyone on the crew.

But Whedon's obviously talking about socialism for, you know, other people:

John Nolte is a little harsh, perhaps, but Whedon deserves it. The shining silver lining to Firefly's cancellation is that I felt that the Blue Sun Corporation was shaping up to be the villain. Whedon had to wait for Dollhouse.

Ah, well, I always say if I enjoyed only the art of those who agreed with me, I would have an extremely un-ornate life.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Well said.

But when is Brother Keith going to accept a login so that he can make on-topic rants on the weekends?

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 12:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Two minor, fussy things to add:

(1) When I write "it's easy to write a story that's a projection of yourself," I don't mean to denigrate Atlas Shrugged or anything else Rand wrote. Her fiction is stunningly important. They are also "message" stories, intended to portray her political and economic views, which clearly are the driving force of all her fictional work.

Her good-guys largely agree with her views, and her bad-guys largely oppose them. She isn't famous for writing stories in which the heroes would have argued with her in real life. It is difficult to do that.

(2) Perhaps many of us have taken Firefly wrong, or perhaps in the writing of it, it grew into something larger than Whedon intended. Most of us look at the statist, big-government Alliance seeking to impose itself on the libertarian, freedom-loving Independents, and that's what it is; but perhaps Whedon intended it more along the lines of the fascist military-industrial complex of the Alliance and Blue Sun stifling the disenfranchised (or the 99%); insert the rhetoric of your choice here. Perhaps he meant to write one story, and we see the politics of the real world better that he does to give us a better understanding.

Food for thought.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2012 12:13 PM
But jk thinks:

... and I like Chris Rock. His portrayal of Rufus the 13th disciple in Dogma makes it worth overlooking a bit of his unfortunate recent outburst. One is also reminded of some tough-love components to the African-American community in his SNL days.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 12:22 PM
But Terri thinks:

I saw this too and figure that he is only human.
Except that in many ways he is right and Ayn Rand would agree. It's not just government, it's government in collusion with big business who don't really want to compete on merit, but would rather compete on government perks.

Building up business is a great endeavor. Using the government to oust your competition and screw over the serfs is not.

Joss's stories often have evil corps, but they are just as often in collusion with government. These companies have the dollars and the infiltration to do the master plans that he has cooked up in his head. (These are far more likely than a lone Dr. Horrible who really needed to be part of the cabal.)

His underlying story is that regular people can be empowered if they would just take the power for themselves. (see the buffy ending, the scooby gang, Dollhouse policeman guy and of course Mal)

We speak of liberty and it is good, but surely even the right can note that sometimes big and powerful corporations are willing to cheat in evil ways to get their way, using the government as a crutch as they become "too big to fail". A nation of laws is available to us to stop that, but even then money often wins over right.

Another term with Obama in office may easily turn us into Tsarist Russia and so he could be correct, but he's just seeing it from a different viewpoint. It's the viewpoint I fear less than others but it's valid.

Posted by: Terri at July 16, 2012 12:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd love to see video or read an entire transcript. Terri's interpretation is certainly in line with his corpus of work. But his "rant" specifically promotes socialism and decries those evil Reagan Republicans for destroying such a beautiful concept. I'm thinking Ms. Rand wouldn't be too keen on that.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 1:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to try pulling Joss out from under the bus. The original article by Lucas Shaw seems to me to be reading more of Shaw's views than Whedon's. The attributed quotes are primarily observations rather than causes or conclusions.

Since Reagan the country has changed in ways that have made it more difficult for regular people to succeed - largely through the creation of social structures purportedly intended to help the middle and working class. In actuality, they do the opposite. It isn't clear to me that Joss holds anti-capitalist, pro-socialist ideas but it is clear to me that Lucas Shaw does and wants us to believe Whedon agrees with him.

Still waiting for in-context quotes to draw a defensible conclusion but promoting libertarian ideals is popular with #Occupy as well as #TEA. A successful businessman finds ways to sell his product to the entire population, not half of it.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 3:03 PM

Happy Anniversary!

My Darling Bride initials Section XIV, Paragraph 9, declining the "Obey Clause..."

But Terri thinks:

Congratulations to you both! (I assume this is an anniversary announcement) You look great and very very happy!

Posted by: Terri at July 16, 2012 12:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, Terri -- yes, 29 years today.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 12:45 PM

July 15, 2012

Review Corner

Or, Why didn't we nominate this Bain guy?

Edward W. Conard is, I believe, the current Managing Director of Bain (you know how hard it is to figure out when those guys come and go!) but for our purposes, the author of a magisterial book on the "Panic of '08," which Conard refers to as "the Financial Crisis" (caps his).

Unintended Consequences, Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong. is a very serious look at the banking system, political economics, and policy. He pulls no punches and he goes into the weeds when he must to explain complex financial instruments.

Anybody who remains interested in the Po08 needs learn about MBSs, CDSs, SIVs and the like. I considered myself -- not a financial whiz -- but self-congratulatory that I understood what these were and why they were used. Conard's book took me to a brand new level. On a good day, I could now explain whey the mezzanine tranches of subprime mortgage backed securities were as deserving of AAA status as a 20% down home mortgage. But I'd still suggest you pick it up from Conard.

More interesting to the average ThreeSourcer is his philosophy. I would compare him to Larry Kudlow: he is an outstanding proponent of free markets and their benefits, yet he is in no way "all-in" on freedom when it conflicts with asset prices. He sees roles for government that many ThreeSourcers will not appreciate, yet his cogent appeals to liberty make his heterodoxies difficult to dismiss [If we had editors at ThreeSourcers, that last sentence would have a big red line through it...]

Speaking of Heterodoxy, he opens early with a numbingly-counterintuitive chapter to get things flowing. Conard credits Roe v. Wade as the source to American freedom vis-à-vis Europe. Fusionism writ large, the alliance of anti-abortion social conservatives and free-market folk saved the country from the general human disposition toward wealth redistribution. US and European GDP growth tracks closely through the 1960s, splits near Roe, and diverges from there.

By the random dint of history, the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade brought pro-investment voters to power in the United States. This faction, representing about 35 percent of the electorate, combined with enough of the now-mobilized social conservatives-- principally the Christian Right, who vote Republican and represent 15 percent of the electorate-- seized the majority and permanently shifted the political economic center to the right. Without a similar legal ruling in Europe and Japan, a similar shift in political power never occurred.
Nixon was the last Republican president before voters contested Roe. Without the 15 percent bloc of evangelical Christian voters in his back pocket, Nixon had to accept a 70 percent marginal tax rate to capture 51 percent of the vote. Even then, he only won the election because of the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. Eisenhower only won by accepting a 90 percent marginal tax rate! Clinton was the first Democratic president in office after voters contested Roe. With only 85 percent of the vote available to him, where 40 percent of that vote supported tax reduction.

He is brilliant on trade and immigration. I don't think he is up late worrying that the Chinese are sewing our Olympic Uniforms. He asks "if offshore workers were to offer their labor to US consumption for free -- how much would we want?" All of it, right? As much as we could get. Well, seventy-five cents an hour is essentially free. Let us have Americans do something more wealth-producing and have others stitch up our homoerotic, paramilitary athletic uniforms.
In addition to talented workers thinking about how to improve future outcomes, there are other forms of overlooked investment. Immigration has freed many talented workers from household tasks and increased their availability for more productive activities-- namely, work.

This is a hefty and serious book, which I do no favors by summarizing in a blog post, but he does see a role for government as lender of last resort. FDIC prevented bank runs for 75 years. If institutions keep sufficient liquid reserves to prevent runs, there will not be sufficient risk capital and growth will be slowed. Much has been written as to why Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers received different treatment. Conard would have had the Fed and Treasury save both. And backstop AIG.

The crisis was an old fashioned bank run -- only the investment vehicles were changed. As only government can provide enough warm fuzzies to depositors to prevent withdrawls, it makes sense to have them backstop these 75-year storms so that the economy can grow at full strength in-between. He has some innovative ideas to address concerns of moral hazard.

Of greatest appeal 'round these parts is his appreciation for the morality of freedom. I wish that "that other Bain guy" could explain so well the benefits of risk taking and capital accumulation:

Who captures the value from the tractor? Not the farmer who competes with other farmers for unskilled tractor-driving wages; his return comes largely from avoiding the cost of not investing. Not the tractor manufacturers who compete fiercely with one another on price. Not the landowners-- tractors make it easier to plow more difficult land-- and not investors, such as banks, that compete with one another to supply the capital at perhaps a 7 percent return. The consumer captured almost all of the value through lower food prices.

Long review corner, sorry. And I have still not captured much from this fascinating book. Five Stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:06 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 14, 2012

Good Doggie!

I have admonished a certain blog brother that appraising politicians -- like training a dog -- should be done on the most recent event. Yes, I could point out that Senator Mark Udall has raised taxes and opposed tax cuts over his years as my Congressman and my Senator.

Or I could applaud him for a supply-side beer tax cut.

"Beer is an important part of our economy. With the excise tax lowered, capital will increase and we can invest that back into the companies," he said.

Under Udall's proposed Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009, excise tax on a barrel of beer would drop from $18 per barrel to $9 per barrel, and from $7 to $3.50 per barrel for smaller producers.

If only that same effect of increased capital and investment worked for other industries.

But johngalt thinks:

The irony is obvious. Less obvious is the tacit admission that free-market policies are electorally popular - in Colorado at least, if not nation wide.

On the other hand, he did say of that increased capital that "we" can invest it back into the companies. How's about the company owners decide where and how to invest it?

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 3:27 PM

July 13, 2012

Dave Kopel on NFIB v Sebelius (Bumped)

I have delayed discussion of Monday's Liberty on the Rocks because Ari Armstrong was recording it. And I was waiting for him to post. Here is the first of what may be ten parts:

Don't let "ten" scare you. It was a short and very interesting talk.

Hope you will all watch Dr. Kopel, but I'm going to engage in an appeal to authority and suggest his views very similar to what I have been saying. Imagine if I were smart and well spoken and knew what I was talking about, and wore a tie -- I would be just like Dr. Kopel!

On the serious side, he does elaborate several liberty-protecting parts of the decision: starting as you can tell with the Commerce Clause, but proceeding to some important limitations on Necessary and Proper.

The raucous bar noise (and this is a musician talking) is a little distracting -- as it was live. But I think Brother Bryan would point out that these are "tavern" meetings. Casual comfort is a great part of their charm.

Hat-tip: Terri, who sat across the table from the lovely bride and I and saw this posted before I did.

UPDATE: The second segment (on N & P) is up.

UPDATE 1.5: Link? No embed? Huh? What?

UPDATE II: Part III (Medicaid & State Spending)

UPDATE III: (ObamaCare's "Seinfeld Tax on Nothing")

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 5:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Gold Medal in Demagoguery

Senator Bernie Saunders, who insulates himself from a clever (?? - VT) appellation by being an avowed Socialist, is pretty upset mind you about this Ricardian Economics thingy!

This was posted on Facebook by a very nice new grandmother woman I work with and with whom I don't wish to pick a fight.

What are you gonna do? Gramma said "it makes me sick to my stomach" and I am confident she doesn't mean the demagoguery and Sen. Saunders's failure to appreciate competitive advantage.


UPDATE: Heh. Professor "White Power Toothbrush" Reynolds piles on "to me the real issue is that they're terrible. They look like something from an SNL skit about America becoming a gay military dictatorship."

There is a certain Lady Gaga-ness about them . . .

But johngalt thinks:

That's right USOC, let's show the world that US domestic manufacturing is so admirable that American consumption of American products must be mandated.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 11:56 PM

Quote of the Day

Hence, many of the early pop anthems of the baby boomers -- technically, those born between 1946 and 1964 but or all intents and purposes folks 55 years and older -- focused on how stupid old people were ("don't criticize what you can't understand") and how young people would rather croak themselves then end up like their parents ("I hope I die before I get old"). "We are stardust, we are golden," sang Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at Woodstock. "We got to get ourselves back to the garden." Flash forward four or five decades, a couple of hundred pounds, the odd organ transplant, random arrests and jail stints, and the only garden David Crosby is getting back to is the Olive Garden with its unlimited pasta bowls and breadsticks. What small parts of American life and power the boomers don't yet run they will soon enough. -- Nick Gillespie
Libertario Delenda Est still, but tomorrow, this is a very good and important piece.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

Friday Calf Blog


And some good news at the link for Firefly fans.

One for Brother HB...

All Instapundit, all the time today. But this book was a fave, and at $1.99 I am looking forward to recapturing my youth.

White Power?

Damn. Those right wingers are all alike!

July 12, 2012

Mom Jeans-Gate

We can't be serious ALL the time can we? The President channels Ann Romney:

Courtesy of Lee Stranahan. Warning: if you click through, you see the Romney's picture is cropped and she actually has shorts, Yet as Stranahan observes: "Still. Dude."

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

Libertario Delenda Est

On queue: the Reason puff piece on Governor Johnson. The man who is so interesting, he has to protest outside CNN's office's to get coverage.

Yeah, that's a winning vote!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Could be worse... I just saw the Green nominee announcement. At least I have to give them one smidgeon of credit: Roseanne Barr was too wacky even for them, even as the Veep nominee.

Though I really was hoping for Ms. Barr assimilating a chunky bite of the SCOAMF's leftmost votes...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 12, 2012 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sure they're swell guys. I LOVED Governor J. But Reason's quadrennial drip drip drip attacks on the GOP drive me mad.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2012 6:02 PM

Quote of the Day

The usual way to mourn someone's passing is with a moment of silence. I think everyone who knew Anna even a little realizes that that would be absolutely the wrong way to remember her. So instead, let's remember her this week by being loud, forceful, and argumentative, and by interrupting one another when we feel really strongly about something. To honor her, we also need to keep our discussions and debates focused on the substantive questions at hand and firmly grounded in the evidence. -- David Romer in tribute to Anna Schwartz
Hat-tip: Prof. Mankiw

Peyton's Place

The Internet Segue machine was firing on all eight this week and I am trying to keep up. But this is pretty important. If you live in Colorado, extremely important.

First I read Matthew Scoenfeld's Air Jordan and the 1%

Even without a segue, it is an important piece, summarized perfectly in its subtitle: "There was a lot more income inequality on the Chicago Bulls roster after Michael Jordan's years with the team, but everyone was better off." Did the third-stringers sit around and stew that their big star was overpaid? I am guessing not.

An hour later -- or a millennium in Internet Segue Time (IST) -- I was alerted to a real estate transaction in the Denver post.

Peyton Manning buys Denver Mansion for $4.5 Million.

With only two weeks to go until the start of training camp, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has found his new home.

Manning finalized the purchase of a seven-bedroom home in Cherry Hills Village on Tuesday, according to a Denver real estate source.

Manning purchased the home for $4,575,000. The home was originally listed in March 2011 at $5.25 million.

They showed some video on the TeeVee news last night; it looks like a nice place.

Aside from a few disgruntled union teachers, I am thinking most Denverites will be pretty placid with our now elevated Gini coefficient if we make the playoffs.

UPDATE: Even the DP Comments feature minimal kvetching. I dug:

Hope they're comfortable, because I don't want him going anywhere!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

So Mitt Romney's big problem is that his throwing arm never was NFL caliber.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2012 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

And Jack Kemp has died.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2012 3:19 PM

July 11, 2012

Great News for the President

The DJIA is only down 48.49 today.


Posted by John Kranz at 6:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Under the President's Bold Leadership!

The Peace Garden State's oil production has surged.

All of this in spite of vigorous Republican opposition and obstructionism!

But johngalt thinks:

Another Obama "accomplishment." "See what can happen when we get those $#*&?#! Republicans out of the White House?"

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2012 3:28 PM

Libertario Delenda Est

Firstly I must define this phrase. Somehow, it seems made-up, ungrammatical phrases with made up words in dead foreign languages are not as easily understood as their supercilious coiners imagine. (Though it was pointed out that ThreeSources owns the locution in a Google Search -- I am King of all I survey!)

Cato the Elder (234-198 BC) would end every speech with Carthago Delenda Est or "Carthage must be destroyed." Follow the link for gerundivicy goodness if that's what you enjoy.

I give money to the Reason Foundation every year, wear their T-Shirt with pride in my Facebook profile, read the magazine, tune in to TV shows where The Jacket or Matt Welch, or Veronique du Rugy appear. I agree with every word they say. Our ideal government and philosophy is all but identical.

And yet "The Libertarians Must be Destroyed!" There is no force so opposed to realizing the goals of Liberty than the Bleedin' Libertarians. I suggested that we were close enough to election season, that they would shortly start to diss Governor Romney to show how cool they are. On queue: Obama and Romney Are As Different as Two Peas in a Pod

Yet for all the distinction-drawing, the candidates' visions often sound strikingly similar. Not long ago one of them said he wants "an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living, [with] children even more successful than their parents....This America is fundamentally fair....In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded." And "poverty will be defeated," and yadda yadda yadda. Can you tell which candidate said that? Of course not.

So don't get all uptight about the election people. It doesn't matter. You can vote for the President, stay home and watch The Flintstones, or vote for Rep. Bob Barr -- I mean Gov. Gary Johnson. It doesn't matter.

That is until next year, when the Reason folks will be wondering how we got Mister Obama for a second term. They'll be stunned! Bastards!

Quote of the Day

Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilisation, what there is particularly immortal about yours? -- GK Chesterton
To be paired with Insty's (and my) favorite RAH Quote: "On Bad Luck."

Facebook Bleeding into ThreeSources

Can't help it, this is too awesome:

If you are on Facebook, you want to like George Takei; he has a direct conduit to the funny.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 10, 2012

Sad to See a HOSS Fall

That sound you hear is the stumbling of a Congressional giant, mixed with my sigh of disappointment. Rep Jeff Flake (HOSS [Ret.] - AZ) has been a champion of not only spending restraint but also a gifted expositor of the non-intuitive benefits of liberty. He can tell it like it is and make a powerful case for less government.

How sad to see him joining the Tancredo wing to try to win a Senate Seat in The Grand Canyon State. Jason Riley on the WSJ Ed Page:

Mr. Flake has represented suburban Phoenix since 2001 and distinguished himself as, among other things, a champion of comprehensive immigration reform that includes not only more border security but also viable guest worker programs to meet U.S. labor market demand and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers already here. These days, he sounds more like Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio, denouncing comprehensive immigration reform as "a dead end" and saying it's no longer "possible or even desirable." He touts his support for walling off the Mexican border and suggests (incorrectly) that illegal Latinos drive violent crime in the U.S., telling one interviewer that "virtually all" of the people entering the country illegally today are tied to smuggling rings and drug cartels.

Riley concludes:
A Senator Flake would surely be an additional vote for spending restraint in the Upper Chamber. Unfortunately, he might also be another vote for the immigration status quo that he once bravely fought to change.

The idea that the WSJ Ed Page (and me) would be lukewarm to the candidacy of a fiscal hawk like Flake would have been unthinkable.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

If Only

The Onion:

Obama Pledges To Repeal Health Care Law If Reelected

WASHINGTON--Calling it a "poorly conceived and irresponsible piece of legislation, pure and simple," President Obama made a public pledge to voters Tuesday that, if reelected, he would fight to repeal the recently upheld Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

Birth Announcement

It's a Blog!!!

Blog friend and liberty lover, Terri, has moved her calf blogging and trenchant commentary to Ruminants.

UPDATE: Changed in blogroll.

But Terri thinks:

Thanks JK!

Posted by: Terri at July 10, 2012 5:52 PM

Understatement Award

I suggested to some fellow liberty lovers last night, that Jim Carlton and Max Taves must have been biting their mouth severely enough to draw blood as they penned this WSJ Politics Blog piece:

For Now, Bullet Train May Go Nowhere

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--After clearing a major legislative hurdle, California's proposed bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco still faces obstacles--including lawsuits and uncertainties over future funding--that could delay it for years

Negative Nellies, huh. I've a mind to reserve my tickets for the Bakersfield-Modesto link.

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

The Moral Case for Free Enterprise

Two of my favorite things from Arthur Brook's Road to Freedom were his optimism and his appreciation for earned success (~2:20). Here is a great overview:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

July 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

Densie Rich leaving the good old USA? Sure hope we get that Canadian model to balance things out.

4) And this leads me to the biggest problem with Rich. As far as I understand it, Denise Rich raised millions for Democrats who supported policies to raise taxes on wealthy people (and many others). Now, she's packing up and leaving after supporting politicians who created the very conditions that prompts her to leave. That’s not merely pathetic, it's disgusting. Admittedly she raised at least some of that money to buy a pardon for her ex-husband, but that's hardly a great excuse. -- Jonah Glodberg


In praise of the potted plant:

If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for, but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.

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

W. R. Mead on the Energy Revolution (Part I, the Losers)

We all seem to be WRM admirers here, more or less, so it was probably only a matter of time before one of the blog brothers posted this but...is it wrong of me to be so happy about these losers?:

If the US, Canada and Israel are the likeliest big winners, the biggest losers in the coming shift will be the Gulf petro-states and Russia. Their Gulf losses aren’t going to be economic; the Gulf will still have the world’s cheapest oil to produce and so its oilfields will be the most profitable at any given price point.

Russia, on the other hand, is going to have a harder time. Its oil and gas are more expensive to produce and so Russia’s profit margins are likely to fall.

But regardless of the simple economic impact, in different ways and different degrees the Gulf countries and Russia are going to lose a lot of the political advantages that their energy wealth now gives them. They will have less ability to restrict supply and to manipulate prices than they have had in the past. Oil and gas are going to be less special when supplies are more abundant and more broadly distributed.

The Whole Thing is here.

Oil and Energy Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 4:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

Election 2012: Barack Obama vs. Potted Plant

Speaker Boehner, in response to a guest at a West Virginia GOP fundraiser, said,

"The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. I’ll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama."

"Mitt Romney has some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons ... some people that are going to vote for him. But that’s not what this election is about. This election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failed economic policies."

This could be an effective strategy if nobody else were running. Nobody who, for example, promotes a clear policy of more freedom and less government designed to appeal to the influential Liberty Movement. Someone like that could attract pro-votes away from a GOP potted plant intent on collecting all of the anti-Obama protest vote. This could be especially important in western swing states like, Colorado. For team Obama it is AP to the rescue with a puff piece on the TEA party explaining why they should vote Libertarian.

The unknown, of course, is Johnson, who is working to ensure his name is also on the ballot in all 50 states. Paul supporters may very well desert the GOP for Johnson, especially in Western states where the former two-term New Mexico governor is better known. A June poll in the swing state of Colorado showed Johnson garnering 7 percent support, mostly coming from potential Romney backers.

Brian Doherty, a senior editor at the libertarian magazine Reason and author of a new book about Ron Paul, predicts that most Paul supporters won't vote at all for a presidential candidate, "which doesn't mean they're disengaging but that they won't give their support to someone they don't believe in 100 percent."

He and others take the position of McCobin — that the election itself is far less important than effecting lasting philosophical change over policy and politics.

Sheer and utter madness. With Obamatax and Obamasityourassdownandshutup hanging in the balance of this election, any pro-freedom folks who vote for Johnson or don't vote are risking decades of Euro-socialism in America. If they think their chances are better with a third party in 4, 8 or 12 years than by co-opting the GOP now, a feat that the AP piece shows is already accomplished in Nevada, they are too stupid even for politics.

Dear Gary Johnson - Please take your ego and GET LOST.

But jk thinks:

I don't like to criticize my blog brothers, but this post belongs in "Libertario Delenda Est."

If it's not Governor Johnson it will be another. And considering how he lit up the electorate in the GOP Primaries, we're getting off easy.

The problem is Doherty -- and Matt Welch, and Nick Gillespie, and Veronique du Rugy, and ... All of them are way too cool to be pragmatic. And Reason will run a vicious hit piece on Gov. Romney every month until the election. One month will feature a cover story on Johnson with a puff piece.

Then next year, they will wonder how Obama won a second term.

Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2012 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mea culpa. Category suggestions always appreciated.

Wondering why you don't use "quote of the day" category?

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2012 5:49 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I don't want to "fall in love" with the country's leadership. The very notion is New Age gobbledygook. Can you imagine what Ike would have said if his campaign team reported "the voters aren't in love with you, General"?

I want someone to respect for their vision, persistence and mental toughness. If you want to be loved in Washington, talk to God, or your dog. :)

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 9, 2012 6:48 PM

And Just What is a Fair Share Again?

Mark J. Perry offers an interesting graphic:

Bottom Line: A small group of 400 of America's most successful earners in 2009, about the number of residents living in a typical apartment building in Washington, D.C., paid almost as much in federal income taxes as the entire bottom half of America’s 138 million tax filers, which is a population equivalent to the combined number of residents living in America's 29 least populated states, plus the District of Columbia. What makes this disparity possible is the fact that an estimated 47% of individual income tax returns filed in 2009 had a zero or negative tax liability.

When you have only 400 Americans paying almost as much in federal income taxes as the entire bottom 50% of American filing income tax returns, I think we can dismiss any notion of the rich not paying their fair share of taxes. In fact, maybe the IRS should publish the names and addresses of the Top 400 (or provide a forwarding service to protect anonymity), so that we can all send them “Thank You” letters to express our gratitude for shouldering such a disproportionate share of our collective tax burden.

Merle Hazard

The Fiscal Cliff:

As always, my embed does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Mister Hazard's musical arrangements or economic conclusions. But I always enjoy them Hat-tip: Mankiw.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons

Tonight at Raphie's

Join us on Monday, July 9th, where your featured speaker will be Dr. Dave Kopel, who will be discussing the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Healthcare Act. After Dr. Kopel'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!

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Wishing I was there!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 9, 2012 12:56 PM

July 8, 2012

Review Corner

First. Apologies. In discussing Randal O'Toole, I had been dutifully looking up his last name to ascertain spelling -- all the while adding an extra l to his first. I hope some of the Colorado ThreeSourcers were able to catch O'Toole on Jon Caldera's "Devil's Advocate." He is a fascinating man and a serious mental hoss.

I'm on my fourth book which purports to explain the financial crisis I like to call "The Panic of Oh-eight." If you add the inane Matt Damon documentary, that's five different viewpoints. O'Toole's (the third book) is perhaps the most unusual and counterintuitive. Yet his knowledge of history, supporting statistics and anecdotal evidence force you to take it seriously.

Being a CATO guy, O'Toole is not a big fan of the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, fiat currency, or Countrywide cronyism. And yet, he shows that the housing bubble did not devastate Houston, which had all of those, but did affect Vancouver which had none. The real problem, detailed comprehensively in American Nightmare, is zoning, growth restrictions, and urban planning that seeks to enforce the leftist utopia of dense urban housing and public transit.

In Houston, if you want a house, you can buy a plot, get a permit, build a house and move in within 120 days. Texas does not give counties the right to zone or restrict residential housing. Supply and demand are therefore matched and prices are non-volatile: when more housing is needed, they build it. What a concept, eh? In Boulder, you bid up the price of an existing home or start a decadal permit process.

Slow-growth advocates say, "Only the wealthy can move to our city." Smart-growth advocates say, "Less-wealthy people can move into our city as long as they are willing to live in one of the high-density enclaves we have prepared for them."

Houston is his favorite example but not an anomaly. Raleigh, Atlanta, and a host of other cities without onerous growth restrictions escaped the housing bubble. In his interview, Jon Caldera suggests homes are affordable in Houston "because nobody wants to move there." Turns out, Houston is the fastest growing metropolitan area and is adding another Boulder to its ranks every year. Yet $90,000 buys you a large three-bedroom house.

It's difficult to summarize this argument and not sound like a fruitcake. You've got to read the book or watch O'Toole (sadly, I don't think Caldera's show is posted online; if I find it I will link). He has a serious grasp of historical trends in housing and property ownership and a firm statistical/economic footing for his theory. Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:35 AM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Really glad you saw it. They are rerunning it today at 12:30 PM (Mountain) for those who missed -- set DVRs to "stun!"

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2012 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Really glad you helped me see the big-picture conclusion. (I was multitasking while I watched it, like it was a Rockies game or something.)

I tried to "summarize the argument and not sound like a fruitcake" in a July 8 Tweet that for some reason is not showing up on the #3Src topic page yet.

#3Src What really caused the housing bubble that popped in '08? [link to blog post] Hint: It wasn't the CRA. Thank you Randal O'Toole!

I think my followers can see it though.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2012 1:51 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

However, Nevada is one outlier that I'm very familiar with, and O'Toole notes in the linked article. As Elmer Keith said, "Hell, I was there!" I was planning to move to Reno and the way the market shot up in '03 was startling, so I congratulated myself on buying in fall '04 and moved about 9 months later. Peaked at about +20% and then Rock Lobstered ("down, down, down").

Anyway, the point is Reno and Vegaas were much more sensitive to recessionary shocks than places like Texas or some of the other states mentioned.

Not disagreeing with the role of the government in distorting the housing market, not at all. But there were some fairly free markets overwhelmed by other factors.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 9, 2012 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

EW, he addresses Nevada several times directly in his book. There are many areas which have various proxies which provide the same impedance between supply and demand even if they cannot be laid directly on planners.

One section on Nevada:

Speculation plays a role in housing bubbles. It appears that the real demand for housing in California was probably met in late 2004 or 2005, but speculators kept pushing up housing prices through 2006. An overflow of speculation from the California market probably contributed to the housing bubbles in Nevada and Arizona. Without California's land-use regulation, California speculators would not have imagined that prices in Arizona and Nevada would increase fast enough to satisfy their desire for profit from the real-estate market.

O'Toole, Randal (2012-04-23). American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership (Kindle Locations 4472-4475). Cato Institute. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2012 3:52 PM
But jk thinks:


All these states except Nevada have growth-management laws; as described in Chapter 11, Nevada’s housing supply is constrained by the limited amounts of private land available for development.

O'Toole, Randal (2012-04-23). American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership (Kindle Locations 4333-4334). Cato Institute. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2012 4:08 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you gentlemen for the additional information. I'll have to read the book, because while I don't doubt that eeeevile California speculators were part of the problem in NV, my experience actually living there was that the cities and counties were very enthusiastic about encouraging housing development of both (local) public and private lands. The vast federal holdings were generally not a problem (yet - the cities were starting to grow up against them in some places, though).

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 9, 2012 7:23 PM

July 6, 2012


In shameless self-promotion of my own DAWG whistle Tweet today:

"Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get."

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

Oh No, Mr. Bill!!! Noooooo!!!

George Monbiot is realy, really bummed that "We were [really, totally] wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all."

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. In 1975 MK Hubbert, a geoscientist working for Shell who had correctly predicted the decline in US oil production, suggested that global supplies could peak in 1995. In 1997 the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010. In 2003 the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes said he was "99% confident" that peak oil would occur in 2004. In 2004, the Texas tycoon T Boone Pickens predicted that "never again will we pump more than 82m barrels" per day of liquid fuels. (Average daily supply in May 2012 was 91m.) In 2005 the investment banker Matthew Simmons maintained that "Saudi Arabia … cannot materially grow its oil production". (Since then its output has risen from 9m barrels a day to 10m, and it has another 1.5m in spare capacity.)

Peak oil hasn't happened, and it's unlikely to happen for a very long time.

The horror. The horror.

(Note, I am about to head out to the wilds for 24 hours or so, sorry but next 5 Best Song not quite ready...)

Oil and Energy Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

Only 310,000 Jobs!

Damn that President Bush!!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:44 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"After three dismal years of job loss, we all welcome encouraging statistics."

There's another accomplishment the President can boast of: Successfully predicting 8 years into the future.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2012 7:28 PM


David Boaz looks beyond the bad jobs numbers to give the President some solid accomplishments: most medical marijuana raids, most fundraisers, most drone strikes -- but I don't want to spoil them all.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Must See TV

& it's not even Buffy.

O'Toole's "American Nightmare" will be the subject of Sunday's Review Corner. He has an unorthodox -- but superbly developed -- explanation for the Panic of Ought-Eight. Save yourself my cicumlocuitous prose and bad typing and get the story straight from O'Toole.

He might also wear that cool, trademark western tie of his.

Bill Patterson: Three At-Risk Children of the Enlightenment

Robert A. Heinlein biographer Bill Patterson has posted a very fine essay at Cato Unbound:

Three At-Risk Children of the Enlightenment

Liberty, commerce, and literature do have at least one thing in common — as we now think of these very different subjects, they are all products of the Enlightenment. This is not so surprising, given that so much else in our culture is a product of the Enlightenment.

He also makes another point that we here are no doubt already considering; but are most of our fellow citizens merely sleepwalking along?

We live in another end period now: the old world is visibly, palpably, passing away. The Enlightenment has been set aside in this country; it just does not cooperate too well with the nanny state, with the imperial presidency or with neocon globalist agendas. The drive to roll back the Enlightenment entirely kicked into high gear on September 12, 2001 — and it continues to accelerate.

And what comes next?

If the lessons of history mean anything at all, the next wave will be a dialectical reaction against the deadening hand of neocon globalism and the nanny state. Of some kind.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

Massachusetts Experiment - The Verdict

As a leading expert on the Massachusetts health care system, candidate Romney is in an excellent position to explain why the health plan he helped create for Massachusetts (quite different from what he would have done without his "partners" in the Democrat-controlled state legislature) was a failure. Here's the message:

So "Obamacare" is not only now "Obamatax" it's also "Obamasityourassdownandshutup."

JOBS Numbers are out

Concerning the abysmal 80,000 jobs figure from the BLS -- did you know Romney once put his dog on the roof?

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

He also cut a kid's hair when he was 15, don't forget. Look, a squirrel!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 6, 2012 1:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does anyone remember the President's 2009 claim that passing the Stimulus bill would prevent the unemployment rate from surpassing 8 percent? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Congress gave the President his stimulus, then this happened.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2012 1:34 PM


Anybody can just get on a blog and whine. I like to fix things!

Paul Caron @ TaxProfBlog brings news that IRS Goes on 'Hiring Frenzy' After Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Affordable Care Act

I think it's a superb job opportunity for all the doctors who are quitting medicine to escape ObamaCare®

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 9:31 AM | What do you think? [0]

All Hail Harsanyi!

Herewith, this sixth day of July, Anno Domini 2012, I do coin Kranz's Law: "The token member of the opposition party in the cabinet will undoubtedly become the greatest embarrassment to both parties."

Videlicet: Secretary Ray LaHood:

It's not every day you hear a cabinet member praising authoritarians abroad. Then again, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unleashes so many preposterous statements he makes Joe Biden look like a high priest of Vulcan.

July 5, 2012

Five Best "Dirty Harry" Lines

Brother Johngalt has expressed his desire for a "Five Best" category and here it is. I will continue to work my way through the Five Greatest Songs tomorrow, but for today:

The Five Best Dirty Harry Lines

(I leave out "Do I feel lucky...?" as far too easy). Even if you've never seen the film Dirty Harry (1971) I believe these distilled pearls of the English language stand on their own, whether as practical wisdom or koan:

5. Harry Callahan: We’re not just going to let you walk out of here
Crook: Who’s “we”, sucker?
Harry Callahan: Smith, Wesson and me.

4. Harry Callahan: Yeah, I’ve been following him on my own time. And anybody can tell I didn’t do that to him
Chief: How?
Harry Callahan: Cause he looks too damn good, that’s how!

3. Mayor: All right, let's have it.
Insp. Harry Callahan: Have what?
Mayor: Your report. What have you been doing?
Insp. Harry Callahan: Oh, well for the past three quarters of an hour, I have been sitting on my ass in your outer office, waiting on you.

2. Mayor: I don't want any more trouble like you had last year in the Fillmore District. Understand? That's my policy.
Insp. Harry Callahan: Yeah, well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard; that's my policy.

1. Callahan: That's o.k. Look, I want you to tell Chico that I understand, you know, him quitting. I-I think he's right. This is no life for you two.
Gonzalez's wife: Why do you stay in it then?
Callahan: I don't know, I really don't.

Five Best Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 7:21 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2012 2:55 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm in big trouble. Well, if Anderson Cooper can be brave . . . I've never seen any Dirty Harry movies. I never saw any Clint Eastwood films but the loveley bride is a big fan and she has been trying to educate me.

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2012 9:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"A man has got to know his limitations."

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2012 12:01 PM


Recommended by dagny, inspired by her comment on the Culture War post.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

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

Quote of the Day

Abolitionist minister Thomas Wentworth Higginson (via Jay Nordlinger)"

These men and women, who have tested their courage in the lonely swamp against the alligator and the bloodhound, who have starved on prairies, hidden in holds, clung to locomotives, ridden hundreds of miles cramped in boxes, head downward, equally near to death if discovered or deserted -- and who have then, after enduring all this, gone voluntarily back to risk it over again, for the sake of wife or child -- what are we pale faces, that we should claim a rival capacity with theirs for heroic deeds?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

The GOOD News for Colorado

Please ignore the headline and refer to the end of this AgJournal article-

Back at the Colorado Climate Center, however, Doesken is a little more optimistic. “If we’re going to have extreme heat, the last week of June and the first couple of weeks of July is historically when the most intense heat is recorded,” he said.

Not only is it likely summer heat is at its peak, meteorologists believe the Southwestern monsoon, a seasonal wind pattern that brings subtropical moisture and summer rains to the Front Range in mid-summer, appears strong and is arriving earlier than in some years. Indication that an El Nino weather pattern is forming over the equatorial Pacific also hints at the prospect for relief.

“The onset of El Nino is usually a good thing for Colorado,” Doesken said. “We’ve had more summers with heavy rains when we are transitioning from La Nina to El Nino like we are now.”

Struggling to find the Losers

Jonah Goldberg steps in to help an NPR journalist with a difficult question:

Someone in the audience asked NPR health-policy correspondent Julie Rovner this question: "Today’s decision is a positive decision for the estimated 50 million uninsured Americans. Who are the losers today?"

Rovner seemed to struggle to find losers. She came up with insurance companies that want the so-called individual mandate -- now a punitive tax, according to the Supreme Court -- to be much more punitive. After thinking through her answer, she later added that another group of losers might be the citizens of states whose governors opt to not participate in the law's expansion of Medicaid.

So, Obamacare creates no losers except where it fails to tax people sufficiently and where GOP governors fail to accept the wisdom of the law. In short, the only thing wrong with Obamacare is that it isn't even more punitive, more mandatory, and more intrusive.

After that, it starts to get good...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Colorado Burning" because "Climate Changed?"

Anyone who has read many stories on the Colorado forest fires has surely seen at least one account that links the events with "climate change." Stories like Huffpo's "Stunning NASA Map Shows Severe Heat Wave Fueling Wildfires" are an extreme example. But Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken has a much different explanation:

While it’s true that this June was the hottest June on record, averaging 75 degrees, or 7.6 degrees above normal, he said extreme heat was just one of the ingredients–and maybe not even the most important one–involved in this year’s perfect wildfire storm.

Mr. Doesken noted that July is inevitably hotter than June, but there are fewer wildfires in July because it’s also wetter. May and June are typically drier and windier than July and August, which are hotter but more humid.

He said the key to this year’s wildfire season was the lack of snow in March, which left trees more stressed than usual going into the dry spring. Was that caused by manmade climate change? His answer: a definite maybe.

"It’s tempting to say, ‘Ah-ha, this is the face of climate change,’ but it might not be. Or it might be one of several things," said Mr. Doesken. "The forests burn when the meteorological conditions are right, and when that’s the case, it’s going to happen with or without anything we call climate change."

The story continues, exploring more likely factors:

Forest-health advocates say there’s one thing missing from the climate-change-causes-wildfires theory: The forests are so poorly managed that it doesn’t take much for them to go up in flames. Twenty years of reductions in timber sales and environmental lawsuits have gutted logging on public lands, resulting in densely packed, tinder-dry trees that are practically designed for crown fires.

Bill Gherardi, president of the Colorado Forestry Association, said the state has historically seen 20 to 80 tree stems per acre in its national forests. Today, he said, the density has increased to 400-1,200 stems per acre.

The problems associated with the lack of forest management are well-documented. A 2011 report by the Forest Service found that the bark-beetle outbreak was partly the result of a drastic reduction in timber sales driven by appeals and litigation by environmental groups, as well as an inability to reach some areas due to inadequate roads.

In Region 2, which includes Colorado, the timber industry declined 63% from 1986 to 2005. “Consequently, few industrial resources were or are available to help the Forest Service in applying management practices in response to the bark beetle outbreak,” said the report, which was requested by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

So one explanation is 7.6 degrees warmer temperatures for a month and the other explanation includes 15 to 20 times higher density of trees that are diseased and dead, at least partially due to that very overcrowding. Given that tens of thousands of wildfires occur each year in the United States, Colorado's fire disasters are unprecedented for their severity rather than frequency. And that severity is driven more by wind and fuel density than by a dubious, anti-scientific theory called climate change.

But jk thinks:

I cannot believe you are letting gun owners off the hook so easily.

Posted by: jk at July 5, 2012 4:29 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Glad you provided that link to the good ol' days when the Climatgate emails came out. I've been reading some archives but there are seven years of stuff here and I doubt I'll get to it all. I read some from around the 2008 election to get a flavor, and it was Good. Classy, If BHO wins a second term I don't think I'll be able to keep as cool as you guys.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 5, 2012 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. If this president wins a second term I don't think I will either!

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2012 5:27 PM
But JC thinks:

"Sometime people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Posted by: JC at August 2, 2012 9:45 PM
But JC thinks:

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Posted by: JC at August 2, 2012 9:46 PM

I Don't Need Your (Culture) War. However...

In response to my post Law of the Day on Tuesday, Brother jk notes "I tend to run from this stuff because it is tainted with "The Cuture War" which I avoid."

Amen, brother. The "Culture War" belongs with the Wars on poverty, drugs, cancer, etc. They aren't "wars" and they can't be won. However, neither can we disconnect our love of liberty from the culture that sustains it.

I'm not planning to make this an wide-ranging essay, just a few observations and assertions that can be tested and critiqued. I am a huge fan of Paul Johnson's epic Modern Times, and on the Fourth of July Ed Driscoll of PJ Media taps it, if only to partly disagree with Johnson's main thesis.

It's a great, wide-ranging piece, but I don't think Driscoll has quite hit the nail squarely on every point, this time. The New Man theme, the "starting from zero" conceit, got its big debut with the French Revolutionaries, not the scientific socialist eugenics technocrats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. About a million died in that 18th century effort to change the very nature of humanity, admittedly a pittance compared to the tolls of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and their heirs, but given the old technology the French had available, pretty large, non?

One of the many, many wonderful things about the U.S. of A. is that we managed to have our culture "wars" over the last five decades with hardly a handful of persons actually killed on either side. Lots of court battles, from Griswold to Roe to Lawrence and all points in between, have broken the legal power of the State to ban birth control, abortion, adultery and sodomy. The battle in most educational institutions to "celebrate" homosexuality, teenage oral sex and condoms for every 12-year-old has been won, and our third graders are being drilled on how "proud" people should be about, well, you know, THAT.

We are in the middle portion of a vast experiment in yes, moral relativism. Nothing is bad, except "trying to tell other people what to do." The funny thing is, the Founders, who ranged in religious conviction from hard-core Christian to Deist to (closeted) atheist, all seemed to believe that individual liberty and continued self government would have to stand on a base of a moral people.

I consider myself a libertarian. I don't believe the power of the state should be used to enforce all of my personal beliefs about the Good, the True and the Beautiful. However, I don't believe that a culture that says it's beautiful to have children with no fathers and no means of support except the state, to screw who- or what-ever you want without social censure and to "tolerate" the intolerable is going to continue to thrive.

I don't want a war, for sure, but I want to be able to apply social pressure to meet the standards that allow for freedom and prosperity. These standards include some restraint and delayed gratification. I'll keep speaking up for those, call it what you may.

Rant Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:37 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Speak up, by all means available. Convince, cajole, even tell "other people what to do." But do so privately. Keep the power of the state out of it.

I'm reiterating rather than contradicting (except on the point that humanity can't win a "war" on cancer) but the focus of your ire should not be those engaged in anti-success behavior, rather the government policies which enable and encourage them. The Siamese-twin of liberal social policies must be a complete dedication to allowing individuals to succeed or fail by their own lifestyle choices. The social safety net is the root cause of cultural decay, not freedom.

I'm reminded at this point of an awesome Tweet by brother Robert last week: "Reality doesn't listen to speeches."

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2012 5:24 PM
But dagny thinks:

"The social safety net is the root cause of cultural decay, not freedom."

I would add that the government coerced social safety net is the root cause of decay.

The VOLUNTARY social safety net that indicates that we have the wealth to support our children, parents, friends and neighbors and even complete strangers if we wish to is the hallmark of a hugely successful society.

Posted by: dagny at July 5, 2012 6:23 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Your points are well taken, and I could have been clearer--all of the things I see as undermining the culture are indeed national government approved or supported laws, programs or education system initiatives. I would argue that states should have the right to restrict or ban some of the things I rant about, see Justice Scalia's many dissenting opinions...

I fight with myself on whether I would vote for them, though.

"Nobody ever said it was gonna be semi-tough."

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 5, 2012 6:25 PM

July 4, 2012


Special Fourth-of-July Edition:

"It may not be possible to do away with government — sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and inoffensive — and can you think of a better way than by requiring the governors themselves to pay the costs of their antisocial hobby?"

-- RAH 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' (1968)

All in all, a good day blogging

I got in Ray Charles, George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, Curtis Stigers, and Joanie Loves Chachi, Just another day at ThreeSources.


"...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."

Courtesy the New York Times, which ran a companion piece yesterday describing their history of printing the Declaration on July 4. Take a close look at the image accompanying that article. (Who knew that "18th-century English extant" read right-to-left?

But they redeem themselves today with this nicely transcribed reprint:

[Hint: Right-click and "save picture as" to open in a viewer allowing magnification.]

Many have publicly encouraged the reading of this foundational document on the holiday celebrating our nation's birth. I was surprised to learn one of them is Bill Moyers, but not surprised to learn why.

Moyers calls it "the pathology of white superiority that attended the birth of our nation." Jefferson, he said, got it right when he wrote about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the core of our human aspirations," but he denied these liberties to others on the basis of their race.

In this way, Jefferson embodies "the oldest and longest battle of all," Moyers asserted, "the battle of the self with the truth, between what we know, and how we live."

Let us hope that future historians have the luxury of a similarly derisive view of Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion on the 2012 'Obamacare' case, for buttressing an originalist interpretation of the commerce clause but "allowing the prevailing mood of the era to dictate his ruling on questions of taxation." Thomas Jefferson and John Roberts - apparently, a pair of "cowardly clowns."

Independence Day Money Bomb

Fellow ThreeSourcers -

I wanted to ask a personal favor of you today.

As a few of you know, I am the campaign manager for Ellyn Hilliard's state house campaign. Ellyn is in a VERY competitive race against an appointed candidate that has spent his life as a career bureaucrat. Due to redistricting, House District 11 went from being solidly democrat to a toss up.

Ellyn is the PERFECT Republican to run in Boulder county as she holds a PhD in Holistic medicine and runs an organic and sustainable farm. Our campaign is starting to build a lot of momentum and we are very close to earning "on the radar" status with the state Republican party. This will give us access to additional money, speaking engagements, and booths at future Republican events between now and election day.

Recently, Ellyn out-raised her democrat opponent by a margin of 10:1 in the last two weeks of June. While this is great news, as soon as the Boulder progressive democrat machine sees this, they will surely start pumping large sums of money into what has always been a safe seat for them.

The personal favor I wanted to ask today is this:

Would you consider contributing to our July 4th money bomb?

July 4th Money Bomb

Your donation of $17.76, $50, $177.60, or the maximum of $400 will ensure that not only do we hold onto the one seat majority in the Colorado State House, but that we elect a candidate who will tirelessly fight for the principals on which our nation was founded 236 years ago.

For Liberty,


But jk thinks:

Done and good luck! A small token of my esteem for running as a liberty candidate in the People's Republic.

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2012 5:56 PM
But Bryan thinks:

Thanks JK!!!!!!

Posted by: Bryan at July 4, 2012 6:12 PM

Happy 4th, Deux

Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" is the anthem of the überpatriotic. It's blasted to misty eyed Americans at NASCAR and TEA Parties. And I get it. It's a fine song and an interstice 'twixt those who can comfortably express such love of country and those what cannot. I get it

But if we're going to have a Pop country anthem, may I nominate this:

This is what our country is about and what I fear may be slipping away. But it's a unique look at the corporeal reality of liberty versus the abstractions we discuss around these parts.

But johngalt thinks:
"Bye bye Obamacare, I'll catch ya later, Got a lead foot down on my accelerator and the rearview mirror torn off, I ain't never lookin' back. And that's a fact."

Allow me to challenge anybody to find patriotic songs that aren't associated with the "eww country" genre.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2012 2:53 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

John Philip Sousa

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 4, 2012 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

I was going to suggest that your bold throwdown required a time period. Although The Refugee beat me to the joke, I was going to lead with George M. Cohan, then move to Irving Berlin so that I could get to my eye-mister: Ray Charles America the Beautiful.

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2012 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, you got me. I was thinking, but did not say, contemporary music. Or at least, music written after the year of my birth. (And I'm an OLD guy!)

Patriotism certainly existed in every musical genre before I came along. And in movies. There was even a time, I am told, when Republicans held seats on the City Council of Boulder, Colorado!

(Maybe I went too far there. Nobody will ever believe another word I say.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2012 12:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee was too young to pay much attention to the Boulder City Council back in the '60s and lived in the County in any event. However, he vaguely remembers some band concerts in the band shell (Broadway and Canyon) that undoubtedly featured some patriotic songs. The annual fireworks show at Folsom Field was replete with patriotic "sing along" songs certainly up into the '70s.

The last Republican to hold public office in Boulder County, as far as The Refugee can recall, was Don Brotzman in the US House. He was re-elected in 1972, but lost to Tim Wirth in 1974. There may have been (and probably were) some Republicans as County Commissioners later than that, but the political tide had fully turned by 1976 when Paul Danish introduced his famous plan to limit growth. By then, elephants were an endangered specie in Boulder.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 6, 2012 3:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I actually have to admit forgetting about dear Bob Greenlee on the Boulder City Council during my Boulder years.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2012 7:11 PM

Happy 4th

July 3, 2012

Law of the Day

Taranto includes this paragraph which stands on its own:

SB 1476 stemmed from an appellate court case last year involving a child's biological mother, her same-sex partner, and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.

Hollywood is on the phone right now. Has there ever been a better description of what it foolishly thinks Americans want to see?

Nanny State Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 8:00 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Wasn't there an episode of "Joanie loves Chachi" like that...?

I tend to run from this stuff because it is tainted with "The Cuture War" which I avoid. But I read that piece and it contained a few headscratchers.

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2012 6:23 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I don't want a culture war either. But you can only have two parents. We have enough complications with just those, in many cases. And the quoted paragraph was just too good not to share

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 4, 2012 7:34 PM

Dan Riehl is Grateful

...for civilization:

Maybe gratitude has something to do with it. It almost sounds silly, now. But if you're sitting there suffering somehow, large or small - and trust me, people were and still are from this .... The minute it all came back on, when you heard and felt that air conditioning kick on and you knew you could take a hot shower, again - or just go to the refridgerator for a cold drink, or something you wanted to eat? Strange as it may sound to you, there's a gratitude, a beauty in that moment you can only hope to never forget. Imagine that? Hmm. What can I say? It was an experience. Leave it at that.

I don't choose to leave it that. I'll add that this is one of many reasons we should all have a sense of history; it produces such appreciation. I make a major effort, every day, to notice the bricks in the sidewalk of our downtown. Man rose out of the muck and mined the materials and built a plant and a road and a truck to bring it there, and a man placed it just right to make a nice sidewalk, rather than the dung-splattered mud that was here only 100 years ago. Electricity? That's such a miracle that we should give thanks every time we turn on the bathroom light.

Every pole, every wire, every part of your car. To give Ayn Rand credit, she's the one that really cemented this is my mind. I knew, but didn't know.

The Watermelons would take this away, and allow millions to die in the midwestern heat, because we're producing too much carbon.

Never forget that, either.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 7:27 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Every brick -- I like that. I tend to be pretty grateful as well. The Internet makes me a somewhat valuable member of society instead of a patient in an institution.

I love David McCullough's "Brave Companions." The hundreds who died digging the Panama Canal and laying the foundation for the Brooklyn Bridge.

And we won't pay our doctor bills.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2012 7:53 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Bricks. I like that. A lot of other things you could bring up are luxuries or abstractions. Bricks are a good reminder of the lives that the left would like to see the rest of us living.

Here's what that life looks like...

Posted by: AndyN at July 4, 2012 11:09 AM
But jk thinks:

WATA POOR, Afghanistan. Not a promising zip code...

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2012 12:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Another energy-blogger on ThreeSources. Hallelujah!

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2012 2:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee's mother always professed thanks whenever flushing a toilet or turning on a faucet. She grew up in Eldora, CO, with an outhouse and hauling buckets of water from Boulder Creek. Imagine the winters. She always joked that she married my dad because he promised indoor plumbing.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 4, 2012 4:07 PM

Headline of the Day

Oh my.

Adidas gives Andy Murray new shorts after balls pop out

Adidas has provided Andy Murray with a new pair of shorts after his tennis balls repeatedly popped out of his shorts during his victory against Marcos Baghdatis.

Of course. And you thought they meant ???

Hat-tip (in the context of "completely lifted from"): @pourmecoffee

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 5:38 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

And now, you cannot even read ThreeSources "for the articles..."

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2012 5:43 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I thought the HOTD was going to be "Bloomberg Exclaims During Speech: 'Who Wrote This Sh*t?" but this is even better!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 3, 2012 6:51 PM

JK Links Rush

Mister Limbaugh that is -- not the Canadian, Objectivist Rockers. These are the end times. But when the man is right...

If youre in the DC area, are you happy you don't have an electric car? Yeah, with the power outages, are you happy you don't have an electric car? Because two million, five million, three schmillion, whatever. Aren't you glad you don't have an electric car? By the way, how are those windmills working out for you? How are the windmills and solar panels working out? Are they running your air-conditioning for you? As you sit there and sweat away, how are things doing in the nation's capital? All those windmills are really working out, huh? Solar panels, yeah, man, that's the future. There you are, sitting there, sweating, stinking like a stuck pig for three days, and it's gonna be this way for another week..."

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Cheap shale gas will save us! Thank you to all my friends in the industry.

The watermelons will no doubt do their best to kill it (well, they're already trying) but see here, not only is the gas cheap, carbon dioxide emissions are probably down to 1990 levels!

How anyone could be against this would be a conundrum, unless you've read that little book Atlas Shrugged. They're people who worship pain.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 3, 2012 2:54 PM

Good RNC Ad

I like cerebral but know emotional ads are more effective. This baby hits a legitimate topic in a capturing way. The graphics are well done.

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

For the Record

I am not accepting the word of CBS News's two unnamed sources that the Chief Justice of the United States put his finger to the wind before deciding NFIB v Sibelius. My defense stands until I see something more substantive.

It's quite a serious charge. The strum and drang on the right takes the story at face value, and I am in no way sure that the home of Rathergate has earned the benefit of the doubt better than Justice Roberts.

UPDATE: So Now We Have Supreme Court Leaks Disagreeing With the Substance of Other Supreme Court Leaks

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

My sources in Malta say that Roberts smokes a gram of Lebanese hashish every night after his classes are over. He figures after two weeks of that he'll be able to come back to the States and be mellow with whatever all sides throw at him. He is also staying off the internet and drinks half a bottle of Porto after dinner. Probably just what the doctor ordered.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 3, 2012 3:43 PM

Unlikely Sharanskyite

Or, "No wonder they kicked him out or NPR!"

Juan Williams pens a perfect and beautiful piece on the WSJ Ed Page today. I hesitate to excerpt, but the ThreeSources Style Guide is pretty explicit on this point.

Williams supports the US decision to refuse Castro an invitation to the Summit of the Americas, by tying freedom to prosperity and tyranny to privation, with the latter underscored by a visit to his hometown of Colon, Panama.

Secure markets are necessary for successful trade policy, and investment cannot take root when dictators can usurp property rights. Real, vigorous trade also leads to global investors and an educated workforce--all of which threaten dictators' power. That is why the U.S. stance on Cuba is so important for the region.

This spring brought a personal reminder of how important it is. I was born in Panama, in a poor city, Colon. For my birthday this year, I walked around there for the first time since my mother brought three children, including me (as a 4-year-old), to Brooklyn, N.Y. No joke, we came to this country as added freight on a banana boat.

I was never quite sure why I waited so long to go back to Colon. My wife and sons also accompanied me and, ever wiser than his old man, my youngest son, Raffi, said my reluctance to visit might have had something to do with the fear of the intense, ugly poverty that eats up people

Juan? The token prog on FOX? It is beautiful. This link should be free for seven days for non-subscribers.

Quote of the Day

There will be no Morning Jolt on July 4; the family and I have to put up our Fourth of July Tree, so that on Fourth of July Eve, Uncle Sam comes down the chimney and delivers presents to all the good little American children around the world. I joke, but that's not that different from how many of our friends think their government benefits are paid for . . . -- Jim Geraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 9:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 2, 2012

He's All Edumacated now!

CPAC Wünderkind Jonathan Krohn "took the conservative world by storm" in a 2009 speech about Conservative values.

Now that he's 17, however, he doesn't buy it. He was simply parroting things he had heard around him in Georgia.

"I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff," Krohn said. "I started getting into philosophy -- Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers."

I think it is great now that he is so grown up that he is not merely repeating what people around him think. It is great that he has formed his own adult intellectual self.
Gay marriage? In favor. Obamacare? "It's a good idea." Who would he vote for (if he could) in November? "Probably Barack Obama." His favorite TV shows? "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." His favorite magazine? The New Yorker. And, perhaps telling of all, Krohn is enrolling this fall at a college not exactly known for its conservatism: New York University.

Thirteen-year-olds are so impressionable. But a 17-year-old reading Wittgenstein and watching the Daily Show, that's a powerful thing.


Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:12 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Like many 17-year-olds he no doubt beleives he's the Übermensch. Let's talk again after he waits for six months to get his knee surgery circa 2024. That will show him his place.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 2, 2012 4:31 PM
But Bryan thinks:

He lost me when he said "Kant"...

You would be surprised how many people buy into his nonsense. They buy into it without even knowing who he was or what he said. Had an interesting debate with a co-worker about their Kantian leanings.

Posted by: Bryan at July 2, 2012 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

I threw Mr. Kant out as cheap comment bait for Brother jg -- but it is open season.

Karl Popper devotes a good portion of Vol. 2 of "The Open Society and its Enemies" to demolishing Kant. I realized reading it, however, that Kant is the reason I exist and live in the US. Great-grandpa Kranz fled Westphalia to escape conscription in Prince Wllhelm's Prussian Army. Popper connected the dots to the attempt to create a Kantian Utopia.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 4:43 PM

Greatest Songs Countdown: Number 4

Following on to the initial Greatest Songs entry, we present the fourth greatest song ever (IOHO) written:

"All the Things You Are" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein. As Wikipedia notes:

The modulations in this song are very unusual for a pop song of the period, and present challenges to a singer or improviser, including a semitone modulation that ends each A section (these modulations start with measure 6 in the A and A2 sections and measure 9 of the A3 section), and a striking use of enharmonic substitution at the turnaround of the B section (last two measures of the B Section), where the G# melody note over a E major chord turns into an A-flat over the F minor 7th of measure 1 of section A3. The result is a tune that in the space of every chorus manages to include at least one chord built on every note of the Western 12-tone scale - a fact that was celebrated in jazz pianist Alex von Schlippenbach's serialist reimagining of it on his album Twelve Tone Tales.

Something that Three Sources very own Brother jk would know about, since he and his most excellent band Berkeley Square recorded it on their debut album.

That's just beautiful.

Here's a very early version in a different style (Artie Shaw with Helen Forrest on vocals).

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:28 PM | What do you think? [9] | TrackBack
But Jk thinks:

Umm, yeah.

Posted by: Jk at July 2, 2012 10:21 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

My bad, thanks bro. I think I'm ready for the lockdown unit.

Posted by: Sugarchuck at July 2, 2012 10:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Actually, I owe you a nice telecaster version I worked up last year but never recorded.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2012 9:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Enjoying the "Five Best" series and looking forward to posting my selections too, though I'll do it in one post and possibly without links for all of them. This one surprised me for its music theory accolade.

May I suggest a Five Best blog category? It can be used for more than just songs. Guitars? Race horses? Chick flicks? ... Guns? ;)

Go ahead brother Ellis, just click on "new category" and inaugurate it for us!

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2012 3:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'know, we could do a five fave versions of "All the Things You Are."

A perennial soft spot is Curtis Stigers's. He does a slow version of the incredible verse (that nobody ever plays) then walks it right into the head so perfectly.

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2012 6:53 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I will happily inaugurate the "Five Best" blog category later today.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 5, 2012 1:18 PM

YouTube of the Day

I'll respond to Brother jg's thoughtful and serious post on Federal intrusions into appropriate fire mitigation and forest management with . . . . . . a cool YouTube:

Five-day time lapse of the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 3:15 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Amazing images. The audio track however... Does anybody else find it out of place? Almost a celebratory tone accompanying a biblical disaster.

And where are the slurry bombers? Saw the lights of several jetliners but nothing closer to the ground. The high winds were certainly a factor, and this evidence now has me reconsidering what is the principal culprit in these firestorms: not fuels, but the oxidizer - sustained high winds.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2012 8:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I turned audio off about eight seconds in.

On your second point, I believe the President retired all the firefighting aircraft to invest in education, infrastructure and green energy jobs.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2012 12:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What, did he reach the credit limit on his Chinese Express card? No, I don't think it was a matter of fiscal restraint. I think he just agrees with the enviros who don't think folks should build homes in forests.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2012 3:18 PM
But dagny thinks:

Enviros don't think we should build homes at all. We should all live in caves.

Posted by: dagny at July 3, 2012 3:22 PM

Forest Fire Analysis Paralysis

Given the utter devastation that can result from forest fires near urban areas, and the near unanimity about why their frequency and magnitude is peaking, one may wonder why no efforts to reduce the threat seem to be under way. The good news is that 11 years ago, five federal government agencies joined efforts to create an integrated wildland fire managment system called Fire Program Analysis or FPA. A comprehensive computer modeling system, FPA would "help them weigh the benefits of fire suppression versus forest thinning, evaluate where to station people and equipment and decide how many planes to buy." The bad news is that the effort was undertaken by federal government agencies. Denver Post:

The idea was to figure out how much money to devote to fire suppression, and to reducing fuels to improve overall forest health, and where to do it.

But when the tool was used for a preliminary analysis in 2006, not everyone liked what it found, Botti said. The results showed which areas needed more resources and which needed less, throwing into uncertainty budgets used for staff programs and some administrative overhead, he said.

For instance, one recommendation was to move resources from coastal Alaska, where wildfires are relatively rare, to California, where they regularly wreak havoc in populated areas, Botti said.

"We're talking about a couple of billion dollars in federal wildland-fire funds here," he said. "Any time you tinker with that, it becomes political in a hurry. There was pushback from the bureaus that the answer was not acceptable.

Part of the problem turned out to be the presumption that a computer model could provide a sort of holy grail of fire management planning.

"Quite honestly, I don't think there was any plot" to scuttle the original system, he said.

But he agreed that people in Forest Service field offices feared -- and still fear -- a computer model that could deprive them of people and equipment.

Naaaah, nobody ever invests too much confidence in the pure and objective conclusions of comprehensive computer models!

But the failure of the computer modeling solution seems to me merely a scapegoat.

Asked how this year's fire outbreak might be different if the original FPA were in place as planned, Rideout said: "I think the responses to fire would be more cost-effective. I'm not sure whether we would have gotten to these fires any faster or later or better, or with less expense."

"More cost-effective" but not sure there would be "less expense?" How's that again?

Most officials seem to agree on the basic problem:

In 2008, the GAO reported to Congress that federal wildland-fire costs had tripled since the mid-1990s to more than $3 billion a year, citing three factors: "uncharacteristic accumulations of vegetation" from fire suppression; increasing human development in wildlands; and severe drought "in part due to climate change."

Setting aside the suggested causes for accumulations of vegetation and severe drought, both are clearly evident conditions. So why has the firefighting aircraft fleet been cut from 40 planes to 9? And why, during this period when the air fleet was dismantled, have federal wildland-fire costs tripled? Unfortunately, sometimes technology prevents the application of common sense: More potential for fire - expand fire mitigation and suppression resources. QED.

Liberty on the Rocks -- Next Week!

Second & Fourth Monday in July

Join us on Monday, July 9th, where your featured speaker will be Dr. Dave Kopel, who will be discussing the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Healthcare Act. After Dr. Kopel'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!

[Facebook link]

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 1:22 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Bryan thinks:

I am forever indebted to the folks at Three Sources for promoting our events!

I can only hope to pay off your kindness by bringing in great speakers and sparking interesting conversation and/or debate!

Posted by: Bryan at July 2, 2012 1:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Or buying us a round...

Kidding! These are great events and I salute you and your cofounder for making an effective contribution to liberty.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 1:48 PM

July 1, 2012

Review Corner

With my company's fiscal year end and rollout of a new ERP system on adjacent days, hopes for a Sunday Review Corner were fading fast. Randall O'Toole's "American Nightmare" is superb but not really a page turner. And the RMA automation section for which I am responsible is not going that well...

How fortuitous, then, that Professor Glenn Reynolds's The Higher Education Bubble is finally out on Kindle®. I teased him a bit over email that -- of all people -- his electronic version should not have been two weeks after hardcopies were shipping. Among its many virtues, it's a quick read. ($4.99 on Kindle and the stats say 56 pages).

Regular readers of Instapundit will not be bedazzled by new concepts. But he very clearly lays out what I agree to be an important new trend. And it's short enough you might be able to get a teacher to read it (now that was just mean!) I'd pair it up with Change.edu (free borrow for Prime members) to really see some of the flaws.

He opens with Herb Stein's superb dictum of "Anything that can't go on forever won't." Then he makes a compelling case that while the utility of a liberal arts education has fallen, its cost has soared. I remain pleased that my nieces and nephews in college today have chosen less expensive institutions and generally less debt. (That said, I'll package up a NBS [Niece Backed Securities] bond and offer it to ThreeSourcers at about .03 on the dollar if anybody is in -- but I digress). Most are following the recommendations of completing the first years at community college. Even our budding MD completed her undergrad downtown.

I'm less sanguine than the Professor that government bailouts are not going to be the answer. In the fever-pitch-shadow of the Tea Parties, all of our legislators fell all over themselves to make a 3.1% college loan a new American Right; they fought only over how to fund it.

A great, quick, read. A bargain at $4.99. A Karmic indulgence for all the free use of Instapundit all these years. Four stars.

But johngalt thinks:

Glad the nieces aren't taking the path that leads to an appearance on the Huckabee show and saying, "I have sixty thousand dollars in student-loan debt that I don't know where it came from."

One counterpoint, however, to your close. Congress didn't "fall over themselves" to pass the student loan bill. It was more of an Obamacare, Stimulus bill, sorta thing. You know, here's this mondo bill we wrote and now we're all gonna pass it. But don't worry that you haven't read it. That is so four years ago.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2012 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

WHOA! Danger -- extreme hossness at brother jg's link. Don't read it within one hour of eating.

To bring it back to topic (and the digressions were all mine) that dysfunctional Congress will not be seen as obstructing education. Both Presidents Bush prided themselves on shoveling money at education. And Democrats...well...let's say the Teachers' Unions are a core constituency and move on.

The system Reynolds describes will have to fail before it is repaired, and it is "Too Sacred To Fail" by Congressional standards.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 10:30 AM

Google Gun Ban

A Tweet from Doug Giles alerted me to this story posted yesterday at a blog called Freedom Outpost. It includes the original text of a written notice from Google Shopping (Mountain View, CA) to weapon’s parts and accessories vendor Hamlund Tactical.

We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center.

So glad I'm already practicing a "boycott Google" policy. For those inclined to join me, just say no to:

Google search
Android phone
Chrome browser
Google Docs

and one I just learned -


But jk thinks:

Boycott is a big word: smaller than dirigible, but big.

I remain disturbed by Google, and I use many inferior and less popular platforms, not purposely but just because. I have had a Yahoo portal home page since Clinton was President. I like the photos on Bing® I moved The Virtual Coffeehouse to Vimeo in search of better audio and more control over player parameters (yet these require a "premium" membership which I let lapse).

This is another disappointment, but I cannot call this a boycottable offense. I believe in more trade more trade more trade and need steeper transgressions to stop.

Compounded that all the services you list are free. If I controlled an ad budget, I might ponder some punishment. But one fewer guy on GMail®? I dunno....

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 10:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fewer people than that bought a Chevrolet Volt, and that was purportedly to "save the planet."

My disdain for Google is at least as much for their one-party loyalty as for the gun ban. I won't blacklist anyone who uses a Google product - I merely wanted to educate readers what the Google [lefties do know that it is a corporation, right?] is up to and what are the consequences of using their "free" stuff. Red pill/blue pill.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2012 12:48 PM
But jk thinks:

No. Google, Apple and Target are good corporations. I'll never understand it if I live to be 100. I once watched a visiting sister-in-law cower in revulsion when I suggested Walmart* for something she needed. We drove a few extra miles to go to K-Mart. Ah, yes, K-Mart - the gentle savior of mankind. I internally reasoned that retailing is honorable if you completely suck at it.

My most anti-corporate niece (stiff competition) is the most Google obsessed person in existence. In fairness, she has turned me on to some cool Google stuff (their translation is light years beyond Yahoo or the old Alta Vista babblefish).

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 1:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some years ago I read a piece by Robert Tracinski called "The Tall Poppy Syndrome." The premise is that any individual in a group that outpaces the pack becomes a target to be "cut down to size." This syndrome manifests in human behavior in places like employee unions. Also wherever government is involved such that "opportunity" can be "equalized."

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2012 3:07 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Rand certainly described "The Tall Poppy Syndrome" well. It's practically the whole book...saddest is when Dan Conway gets his railroad seized. Creepiest is when Lillian Rearden talks about how when you have a powerful horse and you pull back on the reins (or something like that). The "Equalization of Opportunity" bill is already drafted in DC...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 2, 2012 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt that is a part of it. But Apple? Google?

I laud both of those corporations for innovation, productivity and wealth creation. Yet both have a secretive side and habit of playing a bit loose with customer privacy. And are now #1 and #2 market cap in the world (that's from memory, correct if wrong). Starbucks bad, Target good.

It's almost as if these people are driven more by emotion than reason.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 3:28 PM

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