August 31, 2012

Campaign Donations

I've learned a few things at Liberty on the Rocks, and I have shared some of those keen insights on these pages.

But the biggest thing I have learned is the valor of a losing candidacy. I have met several great and bright people who are running for RTD board, or a State House seat. Some of them are quite confident and might have good reason. But some of them know they don't have a chance in Boulder. These seats typically show up on Boulder County ballots with only a Democrat.

I have befriended a brilliant disciple of Popper and Bastiat who is running a quixotic campaign he knows he won't win. He eloquently told my (biological) brother about the value of his campaign and his opportunity to promote his ideas. When I first started attending, I considered these hopeless cases a waste of money. But I have seen the light. This is a great way to get our ideas out.

I don't quite enjoy Mitt's balance in my Cayman Islands account (mine is in Phoenix, actually -- but both locales are hot!) but I am lifting the credible victory requirement. I actually think Mia Love has a shot in Utah, and I was proud to join The Love Bomb.

Today, I throw a bit at some hopeless cases, but carriers of great ideas:

Don Bongino $51 for the 51st Seat (Maryland)
Barry Hinckley for US Senate (Rhode Island)

Hat-tip: Prof William Jacobson

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:58 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

JK, if you are still looking for places to help out. Someone I greatly respect but won't name without his permission is working to help elect Joe Coors in the Colorado 7th. Looks to me like he might meet that credible victory standard too.

Posted by: dagny at August 31, 2012 6:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Excellent Idea. Unseating Rep Perlmutter would be a good contribution to freedom. Done -- and your friend can remain anonymous.

Now I'm broke.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2012 8:01 PM

Marching Orders

Objective Journalist Howard Fineman:

I think this is for real -- here's a link. I'm actually shocked.

Wherever the orders originated, my Facebook friends received them and are marching. Ryan Liar is outpolling cute kittens.

UPDATE: &


All Hail Harsanyi

Anxiously awaiting a review from the ThreeSources Clintsphere. It was odd but I can't say I really get Mr. Eastwood to begin with.

But my pal David Harsanyi is in:

Honestly, I wasn't sure how Clint Eastwood's rambling appearance would play with voters, though I knew immediately how it would play with most Beltway types. For me, it was, without doubt, the most entertaining convention speech in memory -- hell, the most of any political event. But let's concede for the sake of argument that Eastwood's performance (with an empty chair as a prop) at the Republican National Convention is all the terrible things that Democrats and many in the media have been saying it is[...]

UPDATE: On Ann Althouse's advice, I just watched it again. It is brilliant.

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Two thumbs up. Clint Eastwood is an American legend, emphasis on the 'American.' A reminder is in order: "Democracy. Whiskey. Sexy."

What was the risk of an unscripted primetime monologue by the octogenarian prototypical leading man? He might say something embarassing. What was the upside? There were many more than one upsides.

A multi-generational Hollywood pop icon at a Republican convention endorsing Republican candidates made them and their party "cool" in a way it hasn't been since, when?

His non-doctrinaire positions show that the GOP is a tolerant bunch, under a big tent.

Letting him go "off-prompter" showed that Romney and his campaign is confident enough that whatever Clint said, it was still Clint saying it. It isn't as though Mitt spent twenty years in the pews of the Church of Clint Eastwood or something. That would have been much harder to disavow.

And last but not least, everyone in America got to see Republicans laughing. We the uber-serious "end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it" Tea "Baggers." Yes we're serious. Yes we're responsible. But we still know how to take a joke - and tell one.

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2012 5:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's a lauditory review from Breitbart.com.

"82 years-old, and Dirty Harry is still pissing all the right people off."
Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2012 5:11 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It was funny; "funny haha, or funny strange?" A bit of both. I don't think it won or lost any significant number of votes. I do admire the Romney team for allowing it, perhaps they are not quite the complete control freaks they've been portrayed as. Mitt came away from last night having left the impression of being more personal and less robotic, which is a win.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 31, 2012 5:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't get me wrong, I didn't say that I didn't like it. I was just curious what the real cognoscenti thought.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2012 6:32 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I hear that Florida may be important to the presidential election and there may be a voter or two there who've been big fans of Clint Eastwood since before the parents of Obama's biggest supporters were even born.

Posted by: AndyN at August 31, 2012 9:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think AndyN is on to something. Eastwood has been criticized for "rambling" and sounding like a "crazy old uncle." But it is foolish to abandon the crazy old uncle (and aunt) vote, especially in Florida. Clint was speaking in code, directly to them. Johnny Carson would have been proud.

And as JK's update link shows [I had to manually delete the ? and everything after it] when all the ums and aahs and pauses are clipped out, making it more understandable for the pre-Medicare crowd, the message is devastating, i.e. "Not only has the president failed, he's become a laughing stock."

Like Clint Eastwood himself, his cockamamie convention speech can be expected to age gracefully.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2012 11:36 AM

George Romney's Citizenship

I cannot have been the only ThreeSourcer unable to square Gov. George Romney's presidential ambitions with his birth in Mexico. My required tasks for this day being so very dull, I actually did a search. And it is a very good story.

The linked blog post sadly relates the difference in press coverage. George Romney's Constitutional eligibility was a serious topic in the NY Times in '68. Even Sen. McCain's birth on Guam occasioned a serious story.

I am not a birther and have never been one, but it is an example of the complete lack of vetting and curiosity shown toward Candidate Obama in 2008.

The "We The People of the United States" blog notes the disparaging way the New York Times has discussed persons raising questions about Obama's eligibility, always using the negative term "birther" to describe them. "She looks like a young Carol Channing, sounds like an overexcited Zsa Zsa Gabor, and has the ability to make absurd accusations with a completely straight face," the Times said of Orley Taitz, the attorney who has filed a number of lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility. How's that for a sexist description of a Russian female immigrant from the politically correct Times? The Times criticized news organizations that had covered the issue of using "the risible pretext of needing to be fair to both sides of an issue about which there was nothing up for debate--at least not in the real world." The law certainly didn't change during the 50-year intervening period between Romney's 1968 campaign for president and Obama's 2008 campaign, only the way the Times and the rest of the media chose to frame the debate--at least as far as Obama was concerned.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

[Convention organizers] have turned friendly little Tampa into something very unpleasantly resembling a prison camp, complete with rooftop patrols, combat gear, gunboats with weapons mounted on monopods, Green Zone-style barriers -- the whole works. It is all very un-republican, though it has been conducted with a great deal more professionalism and courtesy than one experiences at the hands of the TSA. Still, it is kind of gross: Either this sort of thing is necessary or it is unnecessary, and neither possibility says anything good about the state of our republic. -- Kevin Williamson (via Jim Geraghty)
They're doing the TSA impersonations at NFL games now. I think we need a little more Penn Jilette and less Old Aunt Sally.

August 30, 2012

1.58% GDP Growth is Great! You Whiners!

Now this stupefies.

Republicans ignoring signs of some economic gains

WASHINGTON (AP) -- You wouldn't know it from listening to the Republican National Convention, but the nation's economic picture seems to be slowly getting a little brighter.


Remember what incredible merchants of sunshine these guys were when a Republican was in the White House?

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Mar. 15, 2009 - The "green shoots" of economic revival are already evident, Bernanke told CBS program "60 Minutes"...

Aug. 2, 2010 - In an Aug. 2 op-ed headlined "Welcome to the Recovery," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that "we are on a path back to growth."

Mar. 8, 2011 - Enough economists have jumped on the “green shoots” bandwagon to pronounce a trend: “The worst is over, and the green shoots of an economic recovery are blossoming.”

Feb. 16, 2012 - NPR: "The number of jobless claims for January 2012 was at the lowest point since March 2008. Businesses are reporting profits, buyers are reporting confidence."

There is a theory that cheery confidence makes readers and listeners confident and the economy recovers through psychology.

Also, maybe the proles will buy it and reelect Obama.

I believe that similar reports on the War were in the Atlanta newspapers in the spring of 1864.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 30, 2012 8:16 PM

Partisan Hackery

Hey, it's convention week. We can have a little fun. @SKeeton welcomes Sandra Fluke to #RNC2012

UPDATE: If you have not watched her speech, do yourself a favor. Then give her $50.

UPDATE II: I meant give Mayor Love $50, of course (watch those ambiguous antecedents!) I fear Ms. Fluke might waste the money if you gave it to her.

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

Not sure Ms. Fluke's birth control is a waste of money. The country will be better of if she doesn't reproduce.

Posted by: dagny at September 1, 2012 6:20 PM
But Jk thinks:

I knew you'd admit to a public good someday!

Posted by: Jk at September 1, 2012 9:29 PM

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Forbes fact checks the palm-readers fact checkers.

The number 1 or 2 headline on Yahoo all day has been "Paul Ryan is a Lying Weasel" or some such thing. I think we are going to be hearing about these for some time -- these two links might be handy:

Yes, Paul Ryan Spoke the Truth About Obama's Fiscal Record at the Republican Convention -- Avik Roy, Forbes
Medicare, Debt Downgrade, Simpson-Bowles, Stimulus.

On That Janesville Plant, Ryans Not Lyin -- Jim Geraghty, NRO
Janesville [Hero of Canton?] GM Plant


Did I mention Secretary Rice's Speech?

I have watched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech three times now. I fear one more trip to YouTube might result in a restraining order.

But it struck me what the quintessence of the speech was. Of course, it was a superb and heartfelt speech, artfully delivered. If you can avoid corneal hydration during "the little girl from segregated Birmingham..." part you are broken.

Beyond even that, though, it occurred that Condi is the bridge from the Old GOP to the new. She represents the best of what President George W Bush (43) left us. The Sharanskyite appeals to the universal appreciation for liberty, American Exceptionalism -- American Greatness.

I harbor less antipathy toward our previous nominee than some around these parts, but Senator McCain's address was awful. He was preaching bellicosity to an auditorium of war weary Republicans to just-barely-polite applause. Rice was Reaganesque about American leadership without conjuring up mental images of Abu Ghraib and Karzai corruption.

I don't want to go back to No Child Left Behind, President Bush, Rep. Tom Delay, and Speaker Hastert, but the party did not begin in 2010. Rice bridges the best of both. The party of Lincoln.

Hoss RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

Kardashian was a great guess

But brother jg was right: It's Clint!

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

Let's have some fun with this. Which old Eastwood movie lines do you think will be featured in Clint's address tonight, and how? I'll start the festivities with an old favorite:

"President Obama is a good man. He tried hard, but things are worse now. What I don't get is why he wants to do it again. A man has got to know his limitations."
Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2012 5:32 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

"We had dreams of hopenchange. The old dreams were good dreams; they didn't work out, but glad I had them. Now it's time for a new dream, of an America that delivers insted of hopes, and that doesn't try to change the things that always worked."

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 30, 2012 6:15 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jg and Ellis: Let's just trot them ALL out.

http://youtu.be/vHEHhcVIOdY

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 30, 2012 6:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Four years ago the world witnessed a global financial crisis. Everywhere there was a television or a newspaper, somebody told us the principles and policies that guided America through two centuries of prosperity were reponsible. The Republicans 'drove us into the ditch' we were told, and the way out was a hard left turn, politically speaking. So we tried it, and after four years we're still in that ditch. It's now clear that the ditch we're in is on the other side of the road. But there is some good news. The good news is there's a simple solution to the problem: RIGHT TURN, CLYDE!" [Thrusts fist to his right.]

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2012 6:58 PM
But dagny thinks:

Game, set, match to KA. That link is hilarious. But, warning, it is NSFW.

Posted by: dagny at August 30, 2012 7:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well yeah, but did he build that? Besides, I ain't done.

"There's a word we used to use for a lot of the ideas and policies that have become popular in the last four years. Free healthcare? Cockamamie. Create jobs by raising tax rates? Cockamamie. Power cars with algae farts? Cockamamie!"
Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2012 7:44 PM

"Straight Outta Rand"

Via Althouse

"Thats straight out of Rand, and 50s anti-Communist paranoia."

To the tune of, well you know:

You are now about to witness the strength of reason

Verse One: Paul Ryan

Straight outta Rand, crazy m*********** named Ryan
From the gang called GOP
When I'm called off, I take the gloves off
Rhyme a syllogism, and bodies are hauled off
You too, Walsh, if ya f*** with me
Mitt Romney gonna hafta come and get me
Off yo ass, that's how I'm goin out
For the punk m*********** that's showin out
Progressives start to mumble, they wanna rumble
I throw the math and they cry and stumble
Goin off on a m********* like that
with a sharp brain that's pointed at yo ass
So give it up smooth.
Ain't no tellin when I'm down for a rational mind move
Here's a budget rap to keep yo thinkin
with a debt like that, you should be blinkin
Reason is the tool
Don't try and call me no m********* fool
Me you can go toe to toe, no maybe
I'm knockin liberals out tha box, daily
yo weekly, monthly and yearly
until them dumb m********* see clearly
that I'm down with the capital R-A-N-D
Boy you can't f*** with me
So when I'm in your neighborhood, you better duck
Coz Paul Ryan is logical as f***
As I leave, believe it, I'm manned
and when I come back, boy, I'm comin straight outta Rand

RNC2012 Rant Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

What can I say, it's rap day. That ain't no 'hip-hop."

(ADDED: If you are not familiar with the original source material for this parody it probably makes no sense, so http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33jyoyJNa2c)

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 30, 2012 4:08 PM

GOTV

In honor of the campaign season really heating up this week, an eloquent and nuanced appeal to the young people of this great country, in language they can understand. I know it's old, but it's still refreshing.

Most all Three Sourcers are likely familiar with this public service announcement, but just in case you need a reminder (WARNING: repetitive strong language bleeping):

2012 Election Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

What Government Program Again?

Smith Dairy paid for the facility and trucks from its own corporate funds, executives said.
I don't normally open a post with an excerpt, but Dammit Jim, I'm a pundit, not a grammarian!

The quote is pulled from a story on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a motor fuel. Smith Dairy uses this in its [What has a horn and gives milk?"] delivery vehicles. They opened a station to both service their trucks and sell the fuel to the public.

The station currently sells CNG at the equivalent gasoline price of $1.95 per gallon. The station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and takes credit cards. The natural gas comes in via a normal gas pipeline buried under the street and is compressed on site using two made-in-Ohio Ariel Corp. gas compressors.

I hear every day that we need government to provide the infrastructure for a conversion (T. Boone Pickens and blog brother Silence Dogood) or that it must mandate fuel types to automakers (Bob Zubrin) to provide demand.

But here's a dairy company (ice cream cones at the grand opening) fueling its vehicles and others with $2 gas. It is clear from the article that it is done purely to save the planet. But I wonder if somebody might be able to somehow make a buck at that.

Hat-tip: @Mark_J_Perry

But dagny thinks:

Doesn't UPS do the same thing? Seems like a bunch of the UPS trucks I see say they are Natural Gas Fueled vehicles.

Posted by: dagny at August 30, 2012 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Fleets are using CNG -- the hook here is making refueling available to others and the public.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 4:19 PM

A Blog Friend Sends a Fave

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

This was a great line because of how many college grads are jobless - half of them using Ryan's combination of no job in their field of study or no job at all - but also because of the way it made President Obama appear to be the tired old solution of yesterday compared to Romney and Ryan. To paraphrase Agent J:

Obama-Biden: Old and busted
Romney-Ryan: New hotness

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2012 5:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

FINALLY something about Paul Ryan! I haven't had time or energy to {insert verb} about Romney winning the primary process, but by picking Ryan he's hit one out of the park.

Romney's cautious, when the payoff is small, and oh is it oh so small (yet with tons of risk) on an average day on the campaign trail. Ask the man who's Akin 2B loser (MO).

I found it a bit odd that previous threads that started off with Ryan in the Title.... devolved?

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 31, 2012 1:30 AM
But jk thinks:

I hadn't noticed, but your charge has verisimilitude.

I think we all were so strongly in favor of Ryan that there was not much to argue about. I was very pleased when I heard it and have enjoyed it more every day after.

Jim Geraghty opens his Morning Jolt today with "Who Are You, and What Did You Do With the Old Mitt?" That's most notable to me that he has picked up Gov. Romney's game and picked up the level of seriousness in the debate.

So Yay Mister Chairman -- and the first person who mentions immigration, drugs or abortion on this thread gets his IP address blocked!

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2012 9:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Message discipline?" I'm on board.

It might be tough though, since there were no big ideas that came out of the Republican convention.

Because that baseless claim that he'll create 12 million jobs over four years is such a low bar. 'Obama for America' claims the president is "already on track to create that number of jobs by the end of this term."

And there's no way, says OFA, Romney can deliver energy independence without mandating that the average new car go 54.5 miles per gallon of gas, like Obama did.

And then there is debt reduction, lowering health care costs, saving Medicare, making schools better and less expensive, restoring hope to the middle class and college graduates and renewing the American dream.

Other than that though, no "big ideas." Nope, just, you know, wonky stuff with narrow appeal. The voters really are more interested in "access" to contraception and why there aren't more women and minorities in leadership positions in the Democrat party.

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2012 12:53 PM

Sick of Speeches?

I was sad to have missed this one yesterday, but thanks to the intertubes and HotAir -- Mercy!

UPDATE: 2:50 - 3:30 the best answer to "you didn't build that." evah.

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Terri thinks:

Thanks for posting these here on 3sources, all of you. I am loving the theme. Anyone who is listening is feeling each punch "you didn't build that" heading in Obama's direction.

Posted by: Terri at August 30, 2012 12:18 PM
But jk thinks:

And thanks for the kind words. Just adding them all to a new RNC2012 category.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 12:22 PM

Convention Schmovention!

This is an art & culture blog too! Michelle Branch posts a free cover of the Stones' "Play with Fire."

She should do a whole album of Rolling Stones tunes -- she has an intrinsic affinity for the Jagger stuff.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

I was right!

March 2, 2005: Condi '08

While searching, an interesting discussion from the same month on her pro-choice views. (In which I get smacked down for intemperate rhetoric -- ahh, 2005...)


August 29, 2012

Oh Susana

A public service to readers who only get NBC, ABC and CBS [reply 6.] Susana Martinez' speech at the Republican convention, introducing Paul Ryan.

RNC2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 11:56 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Network? Are you people mad? C-SPAN, government TV is the answer. Thanks for posting though, I enjoyed watching it again.

Byron York and Larry Kudlow are missing the forest from the trees. These aspirational stories sell a badly tarnished GOP brand to the base and to any undecideds that happen to see them.

And it is fundamentally conservative (not a word I use every day) to protect these American-dream stories against "you didn't build that" European statism.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 10:18 AM
But Terri thinks:

OMG!!! Can I vote for her too!!! She's awesome. And I love these immigrant stories.
And her "you did build that" about the debt was very cool.

Posted by: Terri at August 30, 2012 11:58 AM

Quick takes

The Refugee will commit the cardinal sin of a commentator by assuming that the reader knows what he's talking about. But, if you haven't been watching the RNC, then you won't have a clue. In more ways than one.

Huckabee: Surprisingly good warm-up act
Condi: Electric, goosebumps, misty eyes
Susana: Future Republican ticket. The only question is which line.
Ryan: Red meat, direct, real

The evening buoyed The Refugee's hopes for November. Way premature, but we've got a shot.

RNC2012 Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:07 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Did you catch Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty? We dodged a huge bullet that neither of them was chosen for VP. Portman's speech was boilerplate and delivery was B+ teleprompter. Pawlenty's speech was actually quite good, with some good one-liners. But it was completely unwatchable! Slow, weepy, poorly timed. What a wasted opportunity. I felt for the delegates who had to sit through it and supply their own enthusiasm, to whatever extent they could.

But Condi's critique of President Obama's absenteeism in foreign policy was objective, measured and convincing. Susana Martinez ("I'll be damned- we're Republicans!") was inescapably down-to-earth. And Paul Ryan, despite high expectations, exceeded them.

It's too bad that NBC found it more important to stick to their intro package, including graphics sequences, Brian Williams' preening, and a healthy dose of hurricane video instead of airing the start of Condi's speech. And they completely whitewashed Susana's speech, replacing it with a talking-head discussion lamenting that Condi didn't mention the Iraq war, or Russia or China. (Must've been listening to a different speech than I was.)

Last night was great. Tonight was better. (Discounting network coverage, that is.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2012 11:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the cheering up. I wasn't feeling well last night and while I liked it, I felt it had not risen to Tuesday's soaring heights. Reading your reviews and a compendium from Jim Geraghty ("Honey, I want to rename our sins "Paul" and "Ryan") I'm thinking it was me.

On my side, Tuesday's non-primetime speakers all caught fire (and I was too late for Mia Love!). Wednesday showed Governor Romney's sagacity in some of the Veep roads not taken.

But Gov. Martinez, Secretary Rice, and Chairman Ryan rocked.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 9:53 AM

Quote of the Day

As a matter of logic, of course, an endorsement from the candidate's spouse ought to be heavily discounted. And while a lovely wife and family is one measure of a man's success, it doesn't ensure that he will be an effective leader. Obama is a case in point. But if the Democrats are going to take the tack of making Romney out to be some kind of beast, it doesn't hurt to have a beauty make the case for him. -- James Taranto
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It recently occurred to me that this election features the hottest foursome of P/VP wives since heck, I don't know, evah? Jill Biden is strikingly good-looking and I have no idea how Slowjoe won her over. Mrs. Obama is very attractive when she smiles. Not so much when she contemplates the awfulness of the country that elected her husband First Citizen. Maybe after the election and her return to Chicago she'll be more relaxed and have that lovely look more often.

Ann Romney is meeoowww! Janna R., ditto! I am enjoying this part of the election very much.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 29, 2012 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Agree with all your points. But I cannot locate a picture of Mrs. Kefauver...

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 9:58 AM

Personhood measure fails to make Colorado ballot

I have quietly resolved to practice "message discipline" in the closing weeks of the campaign, but this just has to be acknowledged.

Denver's Fox 31:

Its an unexpected setback for the backers of what would have been Initiative 46, an amendment to change the application of the term person to define a fetus as a person in an effort to legally challenge abortion, a proposal Coloradans voted down by huge margins in 2008 and 2010.

But its also a political setback of sorts for Democratic candidates, hoping to highlight current and past GOP support for the measure Mitt Romney himself supported Mississippis Personhood initiative earlier this year in an effort to appeal to women voters in this critical swing state.



The Real National Disaster

Michael Ramirez.


Swing-State Two Step

I admit to a restrained giddiness at the prospect of a Clint Eastwood cameo speech at the Republican convention, but I also found myself wondering how it would help win votes to have an angry old white guy give another speech endorsing Republicans. I can't see it moving the needle here in Colorado. Then I read Investors' Editorial page and learned that, beside Wisconsin, another midwestern state is in play.

No GOP presidential candidate has carried Michigan in almost a quarter-century, and four years ago Obama won here in a 16-point landslide. This November, however, Romney sees Michigan as ripe for a pickup.

Most polls show Obama leading here narrowly, but Romney strategists point out that their man is nearly tied with the president before the TV ad war between the campaigns has even begun. Michigan is one of 11 states where the Romney campaign is fully staffed with a battleground footprint and money flowing in.

And having just filmed a famous television commercial for a Michigan automaker, who better to connect with those "socially conservative Reagan Democrats in Macomb county" and the "2.4 million Catholic voters in Michigan" many of eastern European descent? The theme: The first half hasn't gone very well. We're not moving the ball, much less scoring points. For the second half, let's try a new quarterback.

RNC2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Taranto quotes Sen. Toomey (Club for Growth - PA) "described himself as 'bullish' on Romney's chances of carrying the Keystone State, which hasn't gone Republican for president since 1988."

That little mirage gets triotted out every few years -- but you gotta hacve some cheesed off COal miners out West.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2012 6:03 PM

GOP "Mystery Speaker"

In what I find the most plausible guess yet, America may be treated to the roar of Republican engines.

Primetime. Thursday night. Be there, punk.

RNC2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 12:28 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Kim Kardashian. You heard it here first!

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2012 12:50 PM

Our Margaret

I'll dispense with the trajectory of my appreciating Peggy Noonan, save to say it went way up once. And it stayed there for some time.

But she was a gifted speechwriter, and her opinion -- on a speech -- seems worthy.

The opportunity Ann Romney missed was to provide first person testimony that is new, that hasn't been spoken, that hasn't been in the books and the magazine articles. She failed to make it new and so she failed to make it real.

Im not sure her speech was a loss but it doesn't feel like a gain. We'll see. The real reaction to a highly publicized speech emerges not overnight on twitter but over days and weeks as people chat in the office and on the sidewalk in front of school. So we'll see what they say, we'll see how it bubbles up.


What? She's kinder but just as strange to Gov. Christie. But I don't know...
I want to tell you they marched out of the hall Tuesday night on fire for their side. But I was there and they did not. They walked out like people who weren't quite sure what to think or how to feel but were hoping for the best because they love their country. A lot.

She was there and I was not. But my lengthening embarrassment of belonging to "the stupid party" halted and was regressed last night. That Republican Party I saw. The one with Govs. Haley and Sandoval and Christie. The one with Ted Cruz and Ann Romney. Yessir, that's the stupid party for me! I'll say it once and say it loud -- I'm a Republican and I'm proud!

If she was there in Tampa (I don't doubt she was there but suspect she may have written it off the written text so that she could earlier get to sleep or do body shots at Homocon, I dunno). If she heard Ann Romney on the floor in that mutual affection that came through the TV. If she missed that, it really is over between us.

But johngalt thinks:

Don't forget Mia Love! Look for the video of her speech.

But of course, now she is a Tall Poppy.

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2012 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Watched it just an hour ago. I liked it, but I'm not sure it would convince Ms. Noonan.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2012 1:32 PM

RNC Day 1.5

A good freind of the blog writes:

I watched far too many of the speeches last night. However, I was struck by one thing. The Republican party has changed more in the past four years than perhaps any other four year period in my lifetime. All of the familiar voices of the party from previous years were absent. And Romney is a sharp, sharp contrast with Bush and McCain. In some ways, I think that Romney is a throwback to the Republican party of his father. However, in embracing Paul Ryan and the other younger voices in the party, he seems to be ushering in a new era.

The new voices are young, diverse, and predominantly fiscal conservatives (that latter characteristic may or may not be due to the current state of the economy and the national debt). I hear countless pundits claim that the GOP is the party of white people, and especially white males. However, the leadership within the party is becoming (has become?) very diverse. One is tempted to argue that this was staged to make them look more diverse. Perhaps to some extent. However, in these speeches, I didn't hear token Republicans talking. They were talking as much, if not more, about ideas as they were Romney, Ryan, or the party.

And, of course, Ann Romney was fantastic.

The other highlight for me was that when I was watching the early speeches, I did so on PBS. Newt Gingrich came on the set and stuck around to talk about the speeches and it was fantastic watching the speaker tear apart the liberal talking points of the PBS hosts. For example, one of the hosts mentioned the point about the Republican party being predominantly white and the speaker asked the host, "have you even been watching the speeches? Does this look like a parade of white males?" and proceeded to rattle off the names and heritage of a number of the speakers. He also had a great line about diversity when one of the commentators on PBS said that Romney couldn't win Hispanics because of his draconian view on immigration. I am paraphrasing, but Newt said something like this: "I understand that immigration is an important issue, and especially so for Hispanics and admittedly there are differences within the party on the issue. But regardless of the party's stance on immigration, at what point does unemployment become too high? At what point do gas prices become too high? At some point, people of all races and genders have to realize that the president has failed and failed critically at an important time in this nation's history and frankly I think that is far more important to people right now than any other single issue." Ah, the speaker is his proper role...

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I need to do a little mea culpa. I feel a slight embarassment that I haven't been supporting Romney from the jump. (You were right, BR.) I'm glad, and our nation and party are fortunate, that nobody listened to me and nominated either Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul. Hermain Cain might have been acceptable, if his wife were 100 percent on board, but Mitt is, I think, the perfect man to be president at this decision point in history. An experienced business turnaround artist is just what this land of 106% debt-to-GDP ratio needs right now. And a successful father of five boys has the right temperament to engage in a productive partnership with Congress.

So the choice for the people of America is this: A world order where no one nation or group of people can rise above another, or, a Second American Century.

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2012 12:20 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee appreciates JG's kind remarks, but maintains that it is better to be lucky than good and is somewhat less sanguine.

During last night's events, The Refugee couldn't help seeing parallels between Romney and George H. W. Bush. Good, decent men of impeccable character who truly love their country and in true humility pinch themselves to be sure they're not dreaming. But, in the political arena, these men conflate compromise with the collective good. Sometimes, compromise simply dilutes ideas and delays needed reforms. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, intransigence in defense of Liberty is no vice.

While The Refugee fulsomely supports Mitt in this election, he would still have preferred a Christie or a Daniels.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 29, 2012 5:54 PM

Libertario Delenda Est

I should unfriend Reason and discard the magazine until the election. I do get worked up.

What's their review of the convention?

Forget meh speeches by Ann Romney and Chris Christie! At the Republican National Convention in Tampa yesterday, the most dramatically charged moment came when Ron Paul delegates stormed off the floor over a procedural dispute.

I commented "Really! Libertarians walked off in disgust! Shocking! Umm, that's what they do every four years adn [sic] that is why they have no voice."

UPDATE: And yet, Stephen Moore is corect that the RNC should be more welcoming.

Republicans stumbled in their unity efforts Tuesday afternoon by unnecessarily infuriating Ron Paul supporters with a new party convention rule to limit the delegate count of insurgent candidates.

Mr. Paul received 190 delegate votes, versus more than 2,000 for Mitt Romney. But on the convention floor the Paul supporters were seething as they booed loudly and shouted "shame" over the new rules to create an acclamation for the nominee. The GOP leaders said the rule is intended to bind delegates to their commitment based on the primary votes in their states, which probably makes sense.

But the incident was a misstep, according to former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, who said that the party doesn't need distractions and "overreaching" by the old guard.


"Mrs. America"

That was the Drudge headline after Ann Romney's speech on the opening night of the GOP convention. I heard it, and it's a good fit. Here are some highlights:

On women-

Im not sure if men really understand this, but I dont think theres a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!

And thats fine. We dont want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. Its all the little things -- that price at the pump you just cant believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. Its all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things -- the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder.

Were too smart to know there arent easy answers. But were not dumb enough to accept that there arent better answers.

On Marriage-

That was 42 years ago. Now we have five sons and 18 grandchildren and Im still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance.

I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a "storybook marriage." Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer.

A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.

I know this good and decent man for what he is -- warm and loving and patient.

On Mitt-

But let me say this to every American who is thinking about who should be our next president:

No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!

It's true that Mitt has been successful at each new challenge he has taken on. It amazes me to see his history of success actually being attacked. Are those really the values that made our country great? As a mom of five boys, do we want to raise our children to be afraid of success?

Do we send our children out in the world with the advice, "Try to do... okay?"

And let's be honest. If the last four years had been more successful, do we really think there would be this attack on Mitt Romneys success?

Of course not.

(...)

This is the man America needs.

This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.

I cant tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:

This man will not fail.

This man will not let us down.

This man will lift up America!

RNC2012 Posted by JohnGalt at 12:12 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Jk thinks:

Amazing speech..We watched Ann's twice. Gov. Christie was great as well, but Ann..........

I got the party fire back last night. Ted Cruz and Gov Haley -- incredible!

Posted by: Jk at August 29, 2012 8:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Cannot and will not agree with Byron York that Gov. Christie failed. Nah, we've all been blown away by the opening band; it just happens.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2012 9:41 AM

August 28, 2012

WHO WILL PROTECT THE CHILDREN????

ThreeSources is watching out for you, the folks! Seconding brother jg's superb piece on the evils of devil reefer, I want to share another interesting data point: Energy Drinks!

New York's attorney general is investigating whether the multibillion-dollar energy-drink industry is deceiving consumers with misstatements about the ingredients and health value of its products.

Eric T. Schneiderman issued subpoenas in July to PepsiCo Inc., PEP, maker of AMP, Monster Beverage Corp., MNST and Living Essentials LLC, maker of 5-hour Energy drink, according to a person familiar with the matter. The subpoenas asked for information on the companies' marketing and advertising practices.

The caffeine-heavy, carbonated beverages have become ubiquitous at grocery stores, gas stations and checkout counters across the country. Makers of the drinks, which are often sweetened with flavors such as grape or mixed berry, say they boost energy with a mix of additives including B-vitamins, taurine and ginseng. AMP's website, for example, says the B-vitamins and caffeine in its Boost drinks offers "the kick you need to tackle the early morning meeting." On its website, 5-hour Energy says it gives "hours of energy" with "no crash later."


Grape and mixed berry flavors. It's a scourge.

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 4:02 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Terri thinks:

Next thing you know they'll be suing McDonald's because "I'm loving it" doesn't apply to some lawyer someplace. Or suing Ford because their trucks don't actually "work hard", a person has to drive it.

Posted by: Terri at August 28, 2012 11:37 PM

From Paul Ryans Lips to Rewriting History

I heard an interesting young blogger on the Mike Rosen Show today. Tina Trent was describing the anti-GOP protests outside the convention, including "Code Pink" activists dressed in vagina costumes. A caller asked for her blog address so I decided to check it out. I found a very involved story about three college history professors rewriting history for consumption by grade-schoolers. Allow me to condense Tina's smart but lengthy History Mystery: How Fast Can PBS and the NYT Destroy a Generation of Young Minds?

In his first campaign speech as presumptive vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan related advice from his late father: "I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. 'Son, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.' Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution."

Soon thereafter, NYT published an article by ADAM GOODHEART, PETER MANSEAU and TED WIDMER which attempted to credit a former Black Panther with coining the phrase and all sort of innuendo about what that says about Ryan.

Tina then looks further and discovers that these three "historians" are part of Washington College's "Historically Corrected" program and contribute to a PBS feature called "History Detectives."

Think of it as replacing a dull slog through facts about the Revolutionary War with a bunch of equally dull (yet far less challenging) anecdotes about the time your moms brother smoked a bunch of pot while watching the Washington Monument levitate (Yes, I know, it was really the Pentagon. But arent facts bourgeois?).

Mary Grabar and I wrote about this PBS-fuelled erosion of learning about history in a report for Accuracy in Media, titled PBS: Re-Educating Americas Schoolchildren, Thanks to Your Contributions. In it, youll find our take on another History Detectives lesson plan, one that curiously parallels this lunatic New York Times piece. In Hot-Town: Pigs on the Streets (yes, that is the title), children are led through a fun, a-historical exercise in which they investigate the origins of a poster denouncing the police; contemplate police brutality at the 68 convention, and then hear from a former Black Panther client about all the great lunch programs the Panthers used to run.

There's more after this, including a timely expose into Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver's admission of raping white women as a revolutionary tactic. (No word yet on whether or not it was "legitimate" rape.)

Follow the link to the original article for voluminous hyperlinked sources.


Jon Voight: "Obama Turns JFK Mantra Upside Down"

Washington Examiner - Jon Voight: Obama turns JFK 'ask not' theme 'upside down'

Worse, he suggested that JFK wouldn't recognize his party. Voight said that the Democrats have turned upside down Kennedy's famous line, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Obama, he charged, "is saying, 'Ask what your country can do for you. Your government will give you everything. We'll take care of you."


Pot Smokers' IQ 8 Points Lower - Permanently

With all the usual caveats about the reliability of "scientific studies" here is another datapoint in the marijuana debate.

Prof Moffitt said adolescent brains appeared "more vulnerable to damage and disruption" from cannabis than those of fully mature adults.

Reliable figures on cannabis usage among today's British teens and twentysomethings are hard to come by.

But Prof Moffitt said there was growing concern in the US that cannabis was increasingly being seen as a safe alternative to tobacco.

"This is the first year that more secondary school students in the US are using cannabis than tobacco, according to the Monitoring the Future project at the University of Michigan," she noted.

"Fewer now think cannabis is [more] damaging than tobacco. But cannabis is harmful for the very young."

The news article, by UK Telegraph medical correspondent Stephen Adams, quotes study contributor Professor Terrie Moffitt on the cascading effects of an 8-point IQ diminishment:

"Research has shown that IQ is a strong determinant of a person's access to a college education, their lifelong total income, their access to a good job, their performance on the job, their tendency to develop heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even early death," she said.

"Individuals who lose eight IQ points in their teens and 20s may be disadvantaged, relative to their same-age peers, in most of the important aspects of life and for years to come."


But jk thinks:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! This is absolutely not a datapoint in the debate.

The debate is not: should you smoke weed? The debate is: do you own yourself? If not, then every "study" is a datapoint in the debate to restrict soft drink sizes, outlaw trans fats, ban cheeseburgers, &c.

If you want a real point in the debate -- I will share a Facebook post here. Lundy Khoy escaped Pol Pot's year zero when she was one. She has lived here her entire life. Now, she faces deportation for an ecstasy charge (and horrifically stupid perhaps criminally negligent candor).

We surrender our liberties, endure violence, lose billions of dollars to both crime and enforcement. But when we start deporting attractive young Cambodian women -- it's just got to stop!

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2012 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Apologies for treading so closely to a hot-button without a better disclaimer. Prior to posting I changed the first draft from "drug legalization debate" to "marijuana debate" but left the "War on Drugs" categorization because I thought it germane.

I completely agree that adult marijuana use should not be prohibited by law. I do, however, oppose the prevalent notion that marijuana use is harmless - either completely so or at least virtually.

A reading of the story reveals that harm is permanent among adolescent onset users, temporary for college and later onset. Perhaps an age restriction could be debated.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I may apologize someday for the vicious energy-drink attack.

But I feel disappointed, saddened, and surprised that the liberty argument finds no purchase at ThreeSources. On your age restriction, if you mean adults-only, by all means. If you suggest 25 or older to escape damage, then you really do not get what I am saying and deserve the rebarbative energy drink post. Grown ups can make their own decisions.

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2012 4:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"No purchase?" None? Oh, you mean those other guys.

But if I may, I do see a parallel here to 'Libertario delenda est.' Complete legalization of drugs, like complete free-market capitalism, is pragmatically a bridge too far in the political sphere, which necessarily requires consensus amongst "the folks."

Maybe in our lifetimes. We can both hope.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 4:45 PM

President Obama Doesn't Like Indian People!

Gov. Jindal slams FEMA and Obama administration over slow response to Hurricane Isaac requests.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:27 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe the administration will do something when the president returns from tonight's Colorado State University campaign rally.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 4:08 PM

Huck-a-Whack

Allysia Finley calls for Gov. Huckabee to issue a little "tough love" for his pal, Todd Akin

Mr. Huckabee has been the loudest voice--aside from Ms. McCaskill--urging Mr. Akin to persevere. Last Monday he offered Mr. Akin his syndicated radio show as a platform to repent. When Republicans continued to insist that the candidate step down, Mr. Huckabee sounded off on his party for leaving Mr. Akin "behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding."

"He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize," Mr. Huckabee added. "I'm waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves."

Mr. Akin is unlikely to drop out without encouragement from the pastor. Which means Republicans who want a prayer of winning in November ought to be working on Mr. Huckabee. Regardless of whether they've erred, GOP leaders will likely have to perform an act of contrition in order for reconciliation to occur.

UPDATE: My Facebook friends are having fun with this: "Akin Claims Breastmilk Cures Homosexuality."
Doesn't look very well documented to me (the quote that is -- the science is clearly dead on) but I'm quietly hoping it is true.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I really like Governor Huckabee's "wolves" analogy. In politics, as in nature, when a weak and foolish member of the herd wanders too far off in a given direction it is not in the interest of the herd to "rescue" him. Without the weakened member the herd can move faster, and without his genetic contribution future members will be less likely to repeat his particular error.

By all means, let the "liberal wolves" devour him, along with Mark Foley, Larry Craig and Andrew Johnson.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 12:36 PM

August 27, 2012

The most telling poll

Forget margin of error, sample sizes, sampling rates and other arcane statistical factors. The most telling poll had a sample size of one: President Obama in a recent AP interview. In the interview, the preznit said that he would be willing to compromise on a whole range of issues, including some that would anger his own party. Yes, compromise from the guy who in 2009 told John McCain, "John, there was an election. I won," when negotiating the stimulus. And the same guy who invited Paul Ryan to a speech about entitlements in order to belittle him. And the same guy who unilaterally did an end-run around Congress about welfare reform, immigration status, education waivers and Obamacare waivers.

The Refugee cannot imagine that Obama would offer to negotiate if he thought he was cruising to victory. No doubt The Refugee is making too much of this, but it reminds him of Saddam Hussein's words when pulled from a spider hole with eight Marines point rifles at his head: "I am Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq. I am willing to negotiate." A dictatorial leader does not negotiate unless his very existence is in question.

Politics Posted by Boulder Refugee at 7:33 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... cannot imagine that Obama would ***offer to negotiate*** if he thought he was cruising to victory..."

You misspelled "lie like a four-year-old caught next to a shattered cookie jar." Unless you're referring to the negotiating style of Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element, I'm not interested in negotiating with the SCOAMF. Allow me to politely point out that Obama is not negotiating from a position of strength.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 27, 2012 10:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...spew, sputter, slurp...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 27, 2012 10:55 PM
But AndyN thinks:

There have been various points throughout his presidency that Obama has claimed he was willing to compromise with Republicans but they weren't willing to meet him part way. The one that springs to mind is the debt ceiling deal. He was lying then, and he's lying now. Unless you think that he's believed throughout his presidency that he was losing, I don't see how hearing him tell the same lie as he always has is indicative of his belief that he's losing now.

By the way, any time I hear a leftist offer to compromise, I'm reminded of the chorus from the Jonathan Coulton zombie song Re: Your Brains...

All we want to do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise:
If you open up the doors
We'll all come inside and eat your brain

In their world, compromise means giving them everything they want as long as they allow us to claim a partial victory.

Posted by: AndyN at August 27, 2012 11:08 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN: Awesome! I can't match your metaphor in perfection, but now that they have moved the entire game on their side, now we're to worship compromise.

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2012 9:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or to reprise a favorite old BR metaphor, "Let us score the touchdown and then you can come party with us and our cheerleaders."

Very appropos "compromise" metaphor AndyN but I think you missed BR's point on the president's newfound polity. "I'll play nice" is certainly a tactic he's used before but he's counting on enough people to still believe he really means it that it will win him additional votes. What BR adds to this obvious interpretation is that President "ME" wouldn't stoop to the outstretched-hand genuflection if it weren't absolutely necessary. His electoral math must be showing him that the sum of his pandering to narrow interest groups does not yet equal the plurality who want America to be great again.

Great point BR. I hadn't recognized the full desperation this warmed over "new tone" bullcrap represents.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 12:16 PM

RAHQOTD

I've been waiting for a good opportunity to use another great quote from Life-Line. My star rating on the D'Souza film today is good enough to let it fly:

"If what he has to say is false, it can not harm us. If what he has to say is true, we should know it."

--RAH 'Life-Line' (1939)


Clever

Congressman Ryan has been giving numerous interviews with his childhood high school in the background where he "ran track and played soccer." if you examine the scoreboard in the background, you'll note that the time reads 20:12 and indicates that the game in the 2nd half. Now that's someone paying attention to details. Clever.

Politics Posted by Boulder Refugee at 6:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. They're clearly not the only ones paying attention. Good eye BR. To the rest of us it will be subliminable.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 6:30 PM

Clearly Not Really a Man

I've only seen two of the 10 Macho Movies Every Man should See.

I was going to tape a third one, but Oprah and Ellen were on, and my DVR can only record two shows at a time...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

We can comfort ourselves in the thought that some real men live lives that obviate the need to do so vicariously through the movies.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 27, 2012 6:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Conversely, we can brag that our film tastes have already led us, independently, to 8 of 10 of these titles. ('Hard Boiled' and 'Machete' just got added to my wishlist.) ((Never even heard of 'Hard Boiled' before this.)) (((Yes, I'm man enough to admit that.)))

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 6:25 PM

RIP Blinky

My first ever favorite television show was 'Blinky's Fun Club' on channel 2 in Denver. Blinky's real name was Russell Scott, who died today at 91.

blinky.jpg

But jk thinks:

Yes, Blinky! "HAPPY BIRF! day to you...HAPPY BIRF! day to you..." RIP Russel!

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 6:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To me, the memorable part of the song was the way he sang "chil, a-dren."

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 6:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup -- forgive us, out-of-staters, we're having a little moment here.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 6:32 PM

Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons

Join us on Monday, August 27th, where your featured speaker will be Mr. Richard Rhinehart, who will be discussing the privatization of national forest and park land. After Mr. Rhinehart'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 2:54 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Bryan tells me we're on -- no cancellation for Tropical Storm Isaac. Repeat: Liberty on the Rocks will convene at the regular time!

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 7:37 PM

Dudes get paid by the note

Why not a little music if the convention is postponed? Here, Joscho Stephan and Tommy Emmanuel run down the "Rondo alla turca." If you don't have seven minutes, don't worry -- they get the job done in 1:52.

Hat-tip: blog friend Sugarchuck.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 12:33 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Nay, 1:35. The last 18 seconds is applause! Fun.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 1:04 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Oh, YEAH.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 27, 2012 3:16 PM

"And they claim Paul Ryan's proposal is radical?"

The WSJ has a comprehensive editorial on "Cheesecake Factory Medicine." One could not do better for an intelligent comparison of free markets versus top-down bureaucracy in any field. In something as important as health care, it is damming.

"Fifteen unelected bureaucrats" has become a GOP talking point. Maybe people get what the IPAB is, but I suspect most do not.

The longer-run danger is that Mr. Orszag's cost board starts to decide what types of care "work" for society at large and thus what individual patients are allowed to receive. One way or another, health costs must come down. And if Mr. Ryan's market proposal is rejected, then government a la Orszag will do it by brute political force.

A murderer's row of liberal health-care gurus--Zeke Emanuel, Neera Tanden, Don Berwick, David Cutler, Uwe Reinhardt, Steve Shortell, Mr. Orszag, many others--recently acknowledged as much in the New England Journal of Medicine. They conceded that "health costs remain a major challenge" despite ObamaCare. That would have been nice to know in, oh, 2009 or 2010.

Anyhow, their big idea is the very old idea of price controls that are "binding on all payers and providers," much as post-RomneyCare Massachusetts is already doing. When that strategy fails as it always has, and the public denies further tax increases, the Orszag payment board will then start to ration or prohibit access to medical resources that it decides aren't worth the expense.


Yeah, price controls. That'll work.

The entire piece is superb This link should work for seven days without respecting Rupert's property rights.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 9:31 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Your FB friends will read this as, "WSJ calls those who want to end corporate welfare 'murderers."

But this is ThreeSources and we may speak substantively. FOO [Friends Of Obamacare] are scrambling to find a way to defend the PPACA's raiding of Medicare funds. It need not be substantive mind you, it merely needs to blunt the attack when it comes from candidate Romney. Therefore, anything that suggests Obamacare will work like Romneycare will suit their purpose. After all, candidate Romney said as recently as yesterday in a Fox News Sunday interview that he is still "proud of what we did in Massachusetts."

All right, that was political and not substantive. One of our Austrian fathers (or was it that Russian immigrant woman) taught us that scarce resources are always rationed - the choice is whether they are rationed by cost or by force. But of course if FB denizens ever figured that out there would no longer be a thriving marketplace for politicians.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 11:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Or, 'breathe from the diaphragm, Porky!"

The best shot to share with the lefties is the end, where they make a great point that degradation of middle class care will lead to a two-tier system, with the rich and connected getting much better health care relative to us plebes than they do now.

Now a bifurcated system might actually be a good idea. I call it "The Irish Model." In Ireland they have free, public, but terrible health care (compassion, check!) But everyone buys private insurance to escape it -- and it is arguably more free market than ours. But, I don't think that will fly with the left. Unless you labeled it "ObamaCare…"

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

August 26, 2012

2016 Movie - Food for Thought

I watched the Dinesh D'Souza film 2016-Obama's America yesterday with family and friends. My brother and father were the driving force and dad thought it so important we all see it that he paid for all of us. Having been cautioned by JK's distaste for D'Souza's conspiratism I was eager to see and hear for myself what evidence Dinesh presents, and what hypothesis he has formed.

As a starting point I read this critical review by Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan. His instinct is to dismiss it as a rehash of prior Obama hatred, but some of his dissmissals ring hollow.

As readers of the Forbes article know, the central thesis of "2016" is that Obama's worldview -- his "compass," as D'Souza calls it -- was largely shaped by the anti-colonialist, anti-white and anti-Christian politics of Obama's supposedly radical Kenyan father. Never mind that Obama, growing up, spent precious little time with the man, who for most of his son's early life was estranged from Obama's mother. D'Souza trots out a professional psychologist to speculate on how the senior Obama's absence reinforced his influence, rather than weakened it.

D'Souza makes it all sound almost plausible, but only if you're predisposed to believe that Obama hates America. It's bashing, all right, but with a velvet-gloved fist.

What is glossed over here is how he makes it sound plausible. That explanation is omitted and replaced with a cautionary "almost" to convince readers they need not bother to evaluate the plausability on their own. D'Souza explains that Obama's worldview was constructed not in the image of his absentee father, rather in the idealized image of him portrayed by his mother. Ann Dunham, an almost completely overlooked component of Barack's formative years, was as anti-American, or at least anti-capitalist and anti-"colonialist" as they come. So says D'Souza. He supports this claim with multiple facts. He concludes that diminishing America's influence in the world, in effect punishing America for its colonial heritage, is fully consistent with many of the previously inexplicable acts of President Obama: To repair America's "plunder" of foreign resources he gave billions of American taxpayer's dollars to Brazil and others to build up those nations' oil industries; to push back present-day colonialism he has sided with Argentina over Great Britain in the Falklands conflict; his mideast policy arguably reflects a prejudice against western influence in favor of native rule, whatever that may happen to become. Actions as seemingly unimportant as returning a bust of Winston Churchill and presenting gag gifts to the Queen of England also betray a lifelong hatred for that country, the once great colonial power which had colonized and "exploited" his father's native land - Kenya.

In the film D'Souza also shows how then candidate Obama diverted attention from these beliefs and tendencies by suggesting his goal was a racial reconciliation within America. When longtime mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-Americanism threatened to derail his campaign, Barack gave a nationally televised speech on race relations and distanced himself from the anti-colonialist values. And when other formative influences were called into question his campaign skillfully portrayed them as good-ol American leftists rather than the world socialists they would likely call themselves. When the President lectures America about the unfairness of the "one percenters" Americans think of wealthy corporate titans standing unapologetically on the shoulders of the working or "middle" class. But to a world socialist, EVERY American is a one-percenter, right down to the homeless shelter or overpass dweller who may freely beg for change and sleep opon the paved streets of American cities, free from scourges like disease, garbage dumps and open sewage running through the streets of a typical third-world village, always with ready access to medical treatment-on-demand in the shiny hospitals of the most prosperous nation on earth.

My opinion of the validity of D'Souza's original conclusions is buttressed by Elizabeth Reynolds' 'D'Souza's "Rage" a Middling Psychoanalysis' in The Dartmouth Review. After labeling Dinesh as an "ultra-conservative member of the Dartmouth Class of 1983" and praising Obama's book 'Dreams From My Father' she presents a fair, perhaps more fair than she intended, interpretation of the facts in D'Souza's book. Her conclusion:

Perhaps D'Souza's anti-colonial theory does help explain, as the Weekly Standard put it, Obama's omnipotence at home and impotence abroad. It is a matter of the reader's opinion. Regardless, D'Souza brings something new to the table with his latest book. It seems clear to me that D'Souza has done his research, with his extensive history of colonial Africa and insightful background information on Obama's early life. His concept of investigating the impact of Barack Obama's father had potential, but I'm afraid that D'Souza's conclusion, that Obama is trying to essentially destroy America, ultimately takes it too far.

Ironically, it is Reynolds who takes it too far for "essentially destroying America" is not D'Souza's claimed goal for Barack Obama. He merely wants to diminish our nation, not destroy it. The call to action at the end of the film? Every American must decide for himself if America should be diminished - and vote accordingly.

But Jk thinks:

#3 box office?

Posted by: Jk at August 26, 2012 11:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On entertainment value - 2 stars.
The music was good and the cinematography of exotic locales almost made one feel he was there. But really, how long can one enjoy listening to strange people speaking with strange accents?

On "must-see-ness" - 5 stars.
(Out of 5.) If he is right, don't you want to know?

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In reply to "did not" I might ask an Obama supporter why he asked a non-partisan commission (Simpson-Bowles) to develop a workable debt reduction strategy and then completely ignored their advice. "Can you tell me one reason why you believe the president seriously wants to lower the national debt?"

Big enough? Non-partisan enough?

(He [Obama] wants to raise taxes on the rich. "Okay, that's eighty billion dollars of debt reduction per year, assuming the rich agree to keep doing what they're doing. How many eighty billions are there in sixteen trillion?")

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Do I want to know? I don't know. Whether he is wedded to failed policies because of his academic background and ignorance (likely) or willfully wants to damage America -- does it matter?

My Dad used to correct me "you can't look into a man's heart." I think that advice may be handy here.

Then he'd suggest I get a haircut...

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 7:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great review! The Refugee will likely save his money, as he does not need to be convinced of something he already believes. However, it does start a very worthwhile conversation in the broader electorate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 27, 2012 8:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Barack Obama's academic background, such as we know of it, started at home and was reinforced by every leftist who crossed his path, either academically or socially. Barack Obama may indeed be ignorant to the efficacy of Austrian economics but not because he is an ignorant man.

I never claimed to be looking into his heart. Supposedly he showed us that himself in 'Dreams.' But there exists a tidy triangle connecting the points of the "Global Fairness" Movement, young Barack's friends and family, and President Obama's actual policies and actions.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 11:59 AM

Libertario Delenda Est!

Presented without comment:

But johngalt thinks:

I've been anticipating a messy divorce ever since what I saw during the Colorado GOP Assembly. During those heady days of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich (I was duped) and finally 'maybe Ron Paul could actually engineer a win in this thing' I actually looked forward to a floor fight at the convention. The passage of time, along with Ron Paul's deactivation of his campaign and, not least, Paul Ryan's addition to the ticket, have put me back into the "establishment" camp. Of course the party should seek to include everyone under the tent but how does one find common ground with someone who calls Mitt Romney a "monster?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 26, 2012 10:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I love heady days. Put me down as a yes for encephalodiemism! The primaries are a great time to exert all the influence you can for your ideas on the party. I won't retract my vote for Rep. Paul.

But this is the libertarians' quadrennial song. You just have to listen to the first guy. "Won't it be great when the Republicans lose! Then they'll wake up and realize how important we smarmy college know-it-alls are!! AND THEN WE'LL RULE THE WORLD!!"

Sadly, it is not confined to the young and over-enthused. Matt Welch does it every time. A "successful" election for the libs is when they can make a GOP candidate lose. They still get orgasms thinking of throwing the Montana Senate race to Jon Tester. Power to the people! Too bad that was the 60th ObamaCare vote.

But this time, mind you the GOP is going to learn. And they will kick out all the guys who give money, walk precincts, donate meeting spaces, and show up to vote -- and they'll come crawling to us who stayed home! And beg us to join their little party.

Libertario Delenda Est -- this is what it's about.

Posted by: jk at August 26, 2012 2:01 PM

August 24, 2012

What Liberals Get Wrong About Ayn Rand

Hint: a lot.

I had heard this article referenced a couple of times and finally followed a link from the Reason Foundation email. It is very good.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

A (mostly) very good article. I intend to share it with a relative who still has difficulty with the "harshness" of Rand's philosophy. It is the best explanation I've yet read of how her ideas are mischaracterized as extreme or not applicable to real life. I'll probably share it quite a lot.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 6:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I liked her dissevering of selfishness from money grubbing. I was curious what you thought and someday look forward to an expansion of "(mostly)..."

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 6:15 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It goes a long way toward explaining how such a panoply of people can speak admiringly of Rand while not being Randites. Paul Ryan gets it, while Paul Krugman doesn't. Krugman thinks that a cartoon version of Rand can be used as a bogeyman to scare his readers, but those who actually read her works are going to end up with a more nuanced view.

I do disagree with Cathy Young on one thing; Rand's affair with Branden was "disatrous" only in the sense that it splintered her movement. She got years of passionate lovemaking with a much younger man--given the events in her books, as she lay on her death bed she probably thought it was well worth it.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 24, 2012 6:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I told dagny this morning that I consider Paul Ryan's glass to be three-quarters full. This article fills a glass to nineteen-twentieths. I didn't want to be a "Debbie Downer" for a measly five percent disagreement.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 6:43 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Selfishness is misunderstood by people who make a strawman out of Rand's beliefs. Examples: at the end of "Anthem," Equality 7-2521/Prometheus says he is committed to going back to the city to share his freedom with others - including Union 5-3992, who has some sort of neurological deficit that makes him unable to help himself. That is not "selfish" as we commonly understand the word today. Were John Galt truly "selfish," he wouldn't give half a damn about throwing a lifeline to others to become like him and strike; he would have simply turned his back on the world, provided for himself, and the Devil take the hindmost. Both of these commitments meant cost to onesself - but they were VOLUNTARILY undertaken. Both of these characters are still other-oriented.

What Rand fought against was what we call altruism - the notion that the collective and/or the unfortunate have a claim, rightful or moral, on those of us who are individualists, our skills and our possessions, even if that claim is against our will.

Understood this way, Rand champions the free individual at one end of the spectrum against the collective, the all-powerful state, the voluntarily dependent, the cogs in the machine, and the state - collectively, the looters and the moochers. I, and all of us here, and seemingly Ryan, all side with the free individual. Frankly, I find myself to be in good company.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 24, 2012 8:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To KA's eloquent interpretation I believe it's important to add a few more words about altruism. The moral claim that the principle of altruism enables, by a claimant upon a defendant, has no power unless it is recognized as a just claim. Altruism, in the name of equality or holiness or whatever, gives power to the claim.

Notice that the code of altruism pronounces the defendant guilty without him having committed any crime. Having done nothing more than start and run a successful business and employed many others, trading a wage for their efforts, he can summarily be declared guilty of "greed" or "exploitation" or some other euphemism designed to villify the wealth he has created by purely voluntary interaction with his fellow man. Rand's shorthand for the guilt a man feels in response to these charges is "unearned guilt" for the guilt arises not from any crime he commits against another. Unearned guilt is a philosophical crime, committed against oneself.

The self-destructive power of unearned guilt should be on full display in the Atlas Shrugged Part II movie, set for release on October 12th.

Posted by: johngalt at August 26, 2012 10:23 AM

RAHQOTD

As an attempt to conclude the free-banking discussion that became a high-level abortion rights debate:

"The shamans are forever yacking about their snake-oil "miracles." I prefer the Real McCoy -- a pregnant woman."

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


Shameless Promotion of Others is Okay

Blog friend EE has an essay in this collection:

Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to tame the business cycle once and for all. Optimists believed central banking would moderate booms, soften busts, and place the economy on a steady trajectory of economic growth. A century later, in the wake of the worst recession in fifty years, Editor David Beckworth and his line-up of noted economists chronicle the critical role the Federal Reserve played in creating a vast speculative bubble in housing during the 2000s and plunging the world economy into a Great Recession.

Kindle version coming Aug 28.


But johngalt thinks:

Looks like a worthwhile read. Everytime I see something like this though I wonder how it will dovetail with Randal O'Toole's thesis.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 4:10 PM
But EE thinks:

Thanks for passing along the cheap plug.

Posted by: EE at August 27, 2012 11:49 AM
But jk thinks:

Looking forward to it, man! I think I will wait for the Kindle version, unless buying through the Independent Institute is somehow advantageous for the authors.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 12:12 PM

Three Cheers for Libertarians

Reason stuns me on Facebook today. I'm not going to promote the stupid picture with an embed, but it shows a wrist with a yellow Livestrong® bracelet that says "CHEAT TO WIN."

I got twitchy fingers and commented before reading the others:

Then I opened the current comment thread. It was like Christmas. You have to go way down the list to find even an equivocal one:

UPDATE: Sponsors sticking with Lance.

But johngalt thinks:

The back story is far more nuanced and interesting than are the headlines. After a federal court in Texas declined to stop the USADA's single-minded pursuit of Armstrong, "the USADA set an August 23 deadline to either choose arbitration or accept a lifetime ban for Armstrong."

But Texas federal judge Sam Sparks had plenty to say prior to dismissing Armstrong's injunction case against USADA:

In the opinion, Sparks takes USADA to task, stating, "there are troubling aspects of this case, not least of which is USADA's apparent single-minded determination to force Armstrong to arbitrate the charges against him, in direct conflict with UCI's equally evident desire not to proceed against him."

In another note, Sparks writes, "Among the Court's concerns is the fact that USADA has targeted Armstrong for prosecution many years after his alleged doping violations occurred, and intends to consolidate his case with those of several other alleged offenders, including - incredibly - several over whom USA Cycling and USOC apparently have no authority whatsoever. Further, if Armstrong's allegations are true, and USADA is promising lesser sanctions against other allegedly offending riders in exchange for their testimony against Armstrong, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that USADA is motivated more by politics and a desire for media attention than faithful adherence to its obligations to USOC."

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

And three cheers for ThreeSourcers! I expected to be lonesome on this.

Lance's politics have been an interesting question. He used to train with President Bush and sleep with Sheryl Crow (presumably at different times of the day) so one can speculate.

Thanks for the link. What I did not get from Lance's letter was the ultimatum set -- by the USADA -- of Aug 23. They leaked salacious accusations to a Danish paper on the second day of the Tour de France, then they set this up for the second day of the Pro Cycling challenge.

No the guys are clearly not headline grabbers -- they are just out to protect the children!

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The wiki page for "Lance Armstrong" has a politics section. It quotes Lance saying he doesn't choose a party because he fears it would diminish his access to the other half of government. It also cites his active support for a California ballot initiative to tax cigarettes an extra buck a pack to fund cancer research. (Perhaps gov't doesn't appreciate the competition?)

Sadly, this looks like nothing more than another case of Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 1:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Tall Poppy in the US and an undercurrent of anti-Americanism abroad. Perhaps if the US does not stand up for due process, her foes have a point.

I have commented negatively on his/Livestrong's smoking bans on Facebook and have been surprised there as well that I am not alone; I'm never the only one to disagree with coercion. But, if your gig is Cancer prevention, I can shrug my shoulders at your over-exuberance.

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 1:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't yet seen signs of anti-Americanism (at least, not from outside of America.) As Judge Sparks observed, "in direct conflict with UCI's [International Cycling Union] equally evident desire not to proceed against him."

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 2:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

USADA has little man syndrome, like so many wannabe pundits in our 24/7 media age. Best advice is to ignore them; and for Lance to have a headline photo next month, showing him holding his medals and wearing yellow :-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 25, 2012 12:15 PM

August 23, 2012

But He's Generous with Your Money!

VP Biden: Miser.

When nobody was watching or scrutinizing the Bidens' tax returns, they gave less than $200 to charity in 1998, which was less than 1/10 of one percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI) that year of more than $215,000 (see table above). According to income tax data available at Forbes, Americans earning the same AGI as the Bidens that year gave more than $5,000 to charity. The Bidens got a little more charitable over the years, but their gifts were never more than 1% of their income until Biden became Vice-President.

VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 5:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

Free Banking

Not a whole lot to say since I'm swamped today, but I saw this article and thought of EE and JK. I hope you enjoy.

The Economist On Money and the State

But johngalt thinks:

I believe we are in a transition era and that attitudes towards another's reproductive choices will continue to evolve toward liberty for reproducing individuals. But elections must be held in the interim and pragmatism is called for. It seems the GOP is tap dancing as well as the music will allow and for that, I thank my party. I just have a difficult time defending its non-position positions.

As for the inalienable individual right to life you seek the origin of, what's wrong with the point at time in which the individual becomes inseparable? How is any other definition defensible without first abrogating self-ownership? Until they become separated, how can they be individuals? Does every woman step onto some Semi-Individual's Authoritarian Island for 42 weeks upon impregnation?? 22 weeks? ONE week?

Yes, self-ownership is my premise. I realize a great many people are not similarly "encumbered." In their world my argument is defenseless. But then, so am I.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 5:29 PM
But jk thinks:

It perhaps lowers the bar of ThreeSources to spend too much time on poll results for items of philosophical importance, but my "hunch" is that this position is changing rather slowly. I happen to feel your way about gay marriage: its opponents do not notice the foundation crumbling beneath them in real time. Yet, 40 years after Roe, positions on abortion have extreme inertia. Taranto features both smart commentary and polling data on this topic today.

I respect your position but five minutes before birth and five minutes after do not suffice for me. Protecting the weak's rights from the strong is the highest if not the only purpose of government (that, and running the DMV...)

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 6:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The rate of the liberty movement is less important to me than the direction. But brother, please: Tell me you just wanted to see what would happen if you poked me with a sharp stick.

"Protecting the weak's rights from the strong is the highest if not the only purpose of government." Care to take a Mulligan?

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 6:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Protect the rights of the weak.

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 7:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop. I missed that nuance. Here's more of the same:

- The rights of the weak are no more valid than the rights of the strong.

- The rights of the strong (or the weak or the <adjective>) must be protected from the acts of the weak (or the strong or the <adjective>.)

- A government is the epitomy of the strong; the individual, of the weak.

I come not in defense of abortion in any of its forms, but in opposition to use of The Law to compel others in the disposition of their bodies. Some abortion procedures constitute an atrocity. All acts of tyranny are an atrocity.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 7:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Like Rep. Akin, I chose my words poorly. You do not; that is well said.

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 7:42 PM

Great Covers of History: "Raspberry Beret"

I don't have a thing in politics or philosophy I would like to talk about today, therefore:

Basically R.E.M with Warren Zevon on vocals...and it really rocks.

The secret history of the album:

Buck, Mills and Berry later joined Zevon as his back-up band while recording Zevon's solo album Sentimental Hygiene (1987). During an all-night (and supposedly drunken) session in the midst of recording Zevon's album, the four recorded ten cover songs, mostly blues standards. Although originally not intended for publication, these recordings were finally released by Giant Records on the album Hindu Love Gods (1990), with the artist credit going to Hindu Love Gods. The song that received the most attention was a rock version of Prince's 1985 hit "Raspberry Beret", which reached No. 23 on the Modern Rock charts

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

Telegenic President

Reuters:

Telebarack.jpg


August 22, 2012

Hmmm.

Potential suckage:

Hat-tip @GayPatriot

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:05 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Is it too soon to:

1) Blame the hurricane on human-caused global warming?
2) Declare a Federal emergency?
3) Confiscate all guns from every Floridian?
4) Blame the hurricane on former President Bush?
5) Villify the oil and gas industries?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 8:35 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It's actually a Republican plot! They can control the weather with their chemtrails jets, you know. So some kid is going to have a palm tree about to fall on him and Mitt and/or Paul will snatch him out of the way, saving his life and winning by a landslide in November...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 22, 2012 8:49 PM

Too Bad

The Denver Post is distraught over poor Governor Romney.

TAMPA, Fla.-- This is the convention prelude of the Republicans' dreams--their nightmares, that is. Mitt Romney wanted to preside over a made-for-TV gathering showcasing his economic credentials and GOP unity. Instead, he's heading to Tampa with the national debate focused on rape and abortion and with the divisions within his party--and with running mate Paul Ryan--on full display.

Even the weather is threatening to spoil Romney's party.


Did I hear high fives between those two paragraphs? Just me?

But Keith Arnold thinks:

On balance, though, we know that Joe Biden will be unleashed on Florida too. Imagine: all that local entertainment, and somebody goes and rents a clown.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 22, 2012 5:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Slow Joe, bless his heart...

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 5:58 PM

A New Magazine - Liberty Island

Liberty Island is the home of the Statue of Liberty, a cherished symbol of American freedom and (since 1886) a welcoming beacon to the rest of the world. The name also subtly evokes the spirit of non-doctrinaire libertarian conservatism that will animate the site. People will be drawn to Liberty Island not for reasons of ideological purity but because they love freedom in all its dimensionsand because it is entertaining and fun. Finally, the name is meant to evoke a kind of utopian nowhere, an island of freedom in a sea of conformity, a place where the imagination can run free.

I'm sure that the ThreeSourcers are going to want to read and/or contribute, so here ya go:

Liberty Island


RAHQOTD

As promised yesterday.

"Barbarians! Imbeciles! Stupid dolts! Your kind have blocked the recognition of every great discovery since time began. Such ignorant canaille are enough to start Galileo spinning in his grave. That fat fool down there twiddling his elk's tooth calls himself a medical man. Witch doctor would be a better term! That little bald-headed runt over there -- You! You style yourself a philosopher, and prate about life and time in your neat categories. What do you know of either one? How can you ever learn when you won't examine the truth when you have a chance? Bah!"

--RAH 'Life-Line' (1939)

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I've read "Life-Line" many times but never really thought about the wonderful word "canaille": an ignorant rabble, a mob; literally, a pack of dogs.

There are just so many people this could be applied to! The MSM, TSA, hell, whole bunches of federal bureaucrats, etc.

Might we even say that Todd Akin is a "one-man canaille"?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 22, 2012 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

During our recent re-reading I realized I had read it previously but had dissociated the name from the story in my memory. We also spent quite a time discussing "canaille" and trying to solidify the word in our vocabularies.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 8:40 PM

Speaking of Motor City

A great friend of this blog directs my attention to one Motor City Madman, expositing on l'Affaire Gibson:

My all-American sonic-bombast weapon of choice for 50 years has been those world-class pieces of musical art, the mighty Gibson guitar. I own a stunning arsenal of them. It wouldnt surprise me if some Fedzillastooge from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s Department of Gunrunning Injustice will try to tell us American guitarslayers that we can only buy one fully automatic Gibson guitar a month.

After that, it gets really good...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Love today's password!

I don't always agree with what Ted says, or how he says it. But I'll bet that the day he dies he's not going to be moaning about all the things he wished he had said and done, but didn't.

An example we all might well follow.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 22, 2012 3:04 PM

Imaginary Recovery

Hattip: Insty

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 1:05 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Imagine there's no layoffs,
It's easy if you try,
No unemployed below us,
Nobody wonders why,
Imagine all the people living on the dole;

Imagine there's no voting,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to stump or lie for,
And no elections too,
Imagine all the people living life in chains;

You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will love The One.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 2:58 PM

Did you hear what Todd Akin Said?

To be fair, I was sick yesterday. I could not carry my general equanimity in the face of gloating and venomous Facebook friends. Sadly, some had a point. I'm feeling better today and agree fulsomely with brother jg's trenchant comment. Let us celebrate the instant, unequivocal, negative reaction.

I need some schooling on one thing, though. There were many attempts to tie "Clod" to Chairman Ryan. I understand the lame ones (voted with Ryan 93.427183748% of the time) and can ignore the splenetic and irrational. But they have one good point, do they not? Among the venom and slobber and shouting?

The good point is the "forcible rape" language in HR 3. I am not going to abandon Rep. Paul Ryan over it, but that was ill advised. I have my talking point responses: It was not in the final bill. And: the nerdy, wonkish Ryan was clearly more worried about who was paying for abortions than how rape was defined.

Yet the first version, with Ryan among many GOP cosponsors, tried to sneak through a dilution in the definition of rape more in line with our buddy Akin than civilized people.

Forgive me as I have just read one book and am now an expert, but this is exactly what Justice Scalia's book was about. If I didn't have broken code, I would look up the exact cannon name, but when a new statute adds language to an existing law, it is a signal to judges that the meaning has changed and should be taken seriously. Had it passed, courts would not consider "forcible rape" a scrivener's error or a stylistic equivalent to "rape."

Some folks drafting the law tried -- on purpose -- to water down the definition of rape. Only for federal funding, yes. But post Roe, that's the only place they have authority.

Disturbing?

113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

This comment I posted below, clearly belongs here instead:

Todd Akin (R-MO) is the kind of person that makes me want to turn in my R membership card. And, unfortunately for the R's this year, many other women feel the same way.

Additionally, there was another discussion further down in the comments as to whether Paul Ryan could be considered a, "very dangerous theocrat." In my book, Akin absolutely qualifies as a VDT and Ryan is perhaps further along that road than I had hoped.

Posted by: dagny at August 22, 2012 1:16 PM
But jk thinks:

dagny, I have watched Rep. Ryan pretty closely for a long time and I find that difficult to accept. He is a wonkish, green-eyeshade kind of guy who is a lot more concerned with budgets than ladypart regulation. I find it hard to believe he had a hand in it.

I bring it up to suggest that Clod is not the only one.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 1:39 PM

Well, yeah, those RightWing NutJobs at CU!

That Koch-Brothers-funded rag, Boulder Daily Camera, has a most un-astonishing prediction:

A University of Colorado analysis that has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1980 based on state-by-state factors forecasts that Mitt Romney will unseat incumbent Barack Obama to become the new president in November's general election, according to a release.

The prediction model looks at economic data from all 50 states and Washington D.C., including state and national unemployment figures and changes in real per capita income, according to CU political science professors Kenneth Bickers and Michael Berry.

"Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble," said Bickers in a statement.


Polls look great today. I am trying to climb out of my Akinfunk® -- it's a long way.

Hat-tip: Brother Bryan on Facebook

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 12:09 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Well, yeahbut ... who would ever take the predictive ability of computerized forecasting models seriously?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 2:32 PM
But Bryan thinks:

I KNEW the Koch brothers were secretly behind the Daily Camera, and now I have my proof!!!!!

Posted by: Bryan at August 22, 2012 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

They try and keep it quiet, but I think we all know...

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 3:35 PM

August 21, 2012

Quotidian Huck-a-whack!

It's been a long time, but :


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM | What do you think? [9]
But jk thinks:

The deadline has passed. So, ThreeSourcers, for whom do you root in Missouri?

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2012 7:00 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Is there still time to get Cthulhu in as an independent?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 21, 2012 8:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Jennifer Rubin was on Kudlow last night suggesting that a well-known GOPer like Talent or Danforth might step in -- Connecticut style -- and run as an Independent.

Jim Geraghty sez:

We all have our lines in the sand. The prospect of a McCaskill-Akin race leaves me glad that I don't live in Missouri. We need to send the Left as thorough and far-reaching a rebuke as possible, and obviously, beating McCaskill is a high priority. She deserves to lose, if for no other reason than her faux-centrist, Obamacare-backing, lifetime ACU rating of 14.6 record.

I want a GOP 113th Senate badly. But I don't know that I want to keep Clod Achein around to embarrass me, nor do I want "Huck's Army" to feel they can get away with this.

Barring an Independent: Go Claire!!! ThreeSourcers for McCaskill!!!

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 9:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Rubin did not mention Cthulhu, but she is mired in that Beltway mentality.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Missouri's Todd Akin is an opportunity for the GOP to show the nation that it won't tolerate misogynistic cretins in its ranks for political expediency. So far, I'm proud of my party. More specifically I'm proud of Sarah Palin who supported Sarah Steelman in the primary and is making noises about her running as an independent.

"It's doable, it's winnable, Missouri is," she continued. "And that leads to winning the Senate."

She also said Akin could be replaced as late as September sometime.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Rubin referred to the September possibility as well. Loved this bit from your link:

"I won't gloat about it, but I was right," the former Alaska governor said, referring to her backing of Steelman over Akin. "And Sarah Steelman's supporters and campaign staff, we were all right in knowing that Sarah Steelman is the right person for the job to represent Missouri and to allow common-sense conservatives to take back the Senate."

She was right and who was wrong again? What's that guy's name? Hickenfinnich? Huckleberry?

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 12:20 PM

Welcome to the Jungle (As It Was Meant to Be)

I liked this song in the original. As with some other songs (e.g. Hendrix, "Like a Rolling Stone") I didn't fully understand it until I heard someone's else's version.

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 5:24 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AndyN thinks:

Their cover of Smooth Criminal is hands down better than the original.

Posted by: AndyN at August 22, 2012 10:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

BADASS!

Much thanks EW.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 2:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was going to suggest Gibson might be missing an opportunity by not offering an electric cello, then I saw this one.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 2:47 PM

Really Don't Mind If We Sit This One Out

--or, Deirdre McClosky, call your office.

Brick production in Britain, 1780 - 1850:

Via a new FRED dataset, you can see the Britain's economic takeoff during the Industrial Revolution as measured in brick production. It wasn't steady or immediate, but it was historic as economic growth finally picked up. -- James Pethokoukis


But Bryan thinks:

I love that you just referenced FRED!

Posted by: Bryan at August 21, 2012 5:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Really? No props on the titular allusion? I try and try...

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 4:11 PM

All Hail Taranto

Clearly remiss in not awarding a headline of the day on this yesterday. James is bemused that many left wing pundits complain that Chairman Ryan is not sufficiently orthodox to the tenants of Objectivism. Any port in a storm for these guys.

.Romney Calls for Fed Audit as Party Mulls Platform Plank

D'y'all see this?

"I would like to see the Fed audited," Romney said today. Still, he cautioned that Congress shouldnt be given the authority to run the central bank.

"I want to keep it independent," he said. "There are very few groups that I would not want to give the keys to. One of them is Congress."


But Bryan thinks:

I agree!

Legalize competing currencies and get the government out of it all together :).

Posted by: Bryan at August 21, 2012 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

The Federal Reserve? Didn't you hear? Todd Akin (R - MO) thinks that a woman doesn't get pregnant if she's raped. Don't you have Facebook?

The Federal Reserve...

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2012 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother Bryan: the Everyday Economist turned me on to George Selgin and I agree that what he calls "Free Banking" is the best way. DO you find that consistent with Article I Section Eight's "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin?" Would this require amendment (probability 0.0000000000000015%) or simple statue (probability 0.0000055%)?

(Me negative?)

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2012 4:20 PM
But Bryan thinks:

I am by no means an expert on "free banking" but from what I have read about it, I would not complain if that were the primary banking system of the United States.

But then again...I like complaining :)

Posted by: Bryan at August 21, 2012 4:30 PM
But Bryan thinks:

As to the legality, I would argue that you could implement a "free banking" solution without statute or amendment.

I think this system would create itself if the government simply revoked the Fed's charter and repealed legal tender laws. You could certainly codify it into law, but I don't think it would be needed for this system to function.

Posted by: Bryan at August 21, 2012 4:35 PM
But dagny thinks:

Todd Akin (R-MO) is the kind of person that makes me want to turn in my R membership card. And, unfortunately for the R's this year, many other women feel the same way.

Posted by: dagny at August 21, 2012 4:43 PM

Meanwhile, in the Motor City...

A good friend of this blog and former Michigander directs my attention to the WSJ's Notable & Quotable today. It seems that city of Detroit is both a) completely, flat out broke; and b) employs a full time union horseshoer -- despite having no horses. Could those two facts correlate somehow? Perish the thought says AFSCME:

A recent independent report about the [Detroit Water and Sewerage Department] DWSD recommends that the city trim more than 80 percent of the department's workforce. The consultant who wrote the report found 257 job descriptions, including a horseshoer. . . .

In response to the report, John Riehl, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207, which represents many of the DWSD employees, told the Detroit Free Press that the department needs more workers. "They don't have enough people as it is right now," Riehl said. "They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less."


The Union Label Posted by John Kranz at 10:44 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"They'll rock at health care."

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2012 3:20 PM

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

You've made me realize I dug a serious hole for myself...becuase I didn't have any Mercer in the Five Best Songs and I've only got one left, which I picked out a long time ago. I'll have to get creative.

I went to the Coffehouse today and listened to you play "Misty" which reminded me: I love Clint Eastwood's movie Play "Misty" For Me" which is set in Carmel, CA and I was just there last month for a family event. My wife's mother spent time there a child, her grandmother died there, Eastwood was mayor, and Robert A. Heinlein also died there. On my honeymoon I lit a candle at the famous old mission there and 13 months later little Ellis Jr. was born.

I know I'm rambling but somehow Johnny Mercer tied it all together.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 21, 2012 7:54 PM
But jk thinks:

He always does, man, he always does...

I played Misty for my lovely bride the night of our first date. She knew it from the movie and her Dad but did not know it had words. That is an amazing tune.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2012 8:04 PM

August 20, 2012

Family News

My brother (did I mention that I love him?) proudly boasts that he's "a tax and spender" and still -- to the best of my knowledge -- has a Jesse Jackson for President in 1988 sticker on his guitar case. He surprised me on Facebook today:

One historic outcome of Mr. Romney's VP selection is that after 50 years of thinking about it I am finally reading Atlas Shrugged. First impression: it is more complex than its admirers or detractors would have you believe.

I suggested that he should blog his experiences. That would be interesting to keep up with.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:37 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

A W E S O M E.

Related: Here's a vice-presidential value statement that ties in with said story, at least insofar as to put a face on some of the rail passengers your brother will soon read about.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2012 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm proud. His hippie friends are all on there telling him not to waste his time with such discredited nonsense, bla bla bla. He told them he is going into it with an open mind.

I don't think I sold him on blogging the experience, though. Too bad as he has serious intellectual chops. He'll be intellectually fair but has a lifetime of child-of-the 1960's, artist, academic, married to a minister, &c. in opposition.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2012 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If he really is intellectually fair, none of that other stuff will matter. RAHQOTD fodder!!

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2012 4:13 PM
But dagny thinks:

Intellectually fair is insuffcient. Rationality is required!

Posted by: dagny at August 21, 2012 4:50 PM

JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

Obama brought to the White House its first ever official videographer, Arun Chaudhary.

That should put those rumors of narcissism to rest.


Makes Gov. Dukakis Look Good Actually

Vroooom, vrooooooom, vroooooooooooooooooooom!!!!


2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

This comment wins the whole Intertubez for the day with this observation:

"Still no proof that anybody in Elizabeth Warren's family has ever ridden an Indian (@iowahawkblog)"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 20, 2012 11:44 AM
But jk thinks:

!!!

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2012 11:50 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You know, it occurs to me that Lizzie is riding too far forward. There is a name for that aft seat, the one that the British politely call "pillion."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 20, 2012 12:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder if Ms. Warren would still make that facial expression for the camera if someone told her the slang expression for high-rise handlebars such as those she's grasping is "ape hangers."

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2012 6:47 PM

August 19, 2012

Pre Review Corner

My fabulous and unprecedented streak of weekly Review Corners comes to a close today. I will be taking a bit more time with Deirdre McClosky's Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World. ThreeSources apologizes for the convenience.

I am intrigued enough to take the opportunity for a two parter. As this is book two in a planned series of six, the idea of two Review Corners is not completely out of whack. I'll begin with a partisan rant.

McClosky opens with The Fact (her caps) and it strikes me that The Fact is the most important philosophical, political, and economic question in the history of the world. I plan to make it a sine qua non of engaging with me that a prospective interlocutor accepts The Fact to some level and has some thoughts on an explanation. Not that arguing with me is such a privilege, but my Facebook friends who will not rise to this level will get Likes on their cute kitty pictures but no engagement on politics.

The Fact is the undisputable hockey stick. Not global temperatures, but rather global median income. For x years (anthropology is not my field but x is large) man skittered about the surface like other animals, then formed larger social groups, communities and cities. And yet typical consumption was in the neighborhood of 1-3 dollars per day equivalent to modern income. There are small bubbles in Ancient China, Rome or 12th Century North Italy, but they don't continue, spread or increase. Homo Sapiens return to Hobbesian privation.

It has been this way for all of history, and for that matter all of prehistory. With her $3 a day the average denizen of the earth got a few pound of potatoes, a little milk, an occasional scrap of meat. A wool shawl. A year or two of elementary education, if lucky and if she lived in a society with literacy. She had a 50-50 chance at birth of dying before she was thirty years old. Perhaps she was a cheerful sort, and was "happy" with illiteracy, disease, superstition, periodic starvation, and lack of prospects. After all, she had her family and faith and community, which interfered with every choice she made. But at any rate she was desperately poor, and narrowly limited in human scope.

Then in Northwestern Europe in the late 18th/early 19th Century, this figure begins to grow until the present day Norway where it is $137. Not even accounting for Google or jet travel or anything we enjoy that was not available at any price, we use sixteen times the food, clothing, lighting and housing of our ancestors 50-200 years ago (depending where you live).

This is astonishingly interesting! How did this happen? Deepak Lal divides the hockey stick into two blades and credits Ricardian economics. International Economic World Orders Liberal International Economic Orders allowed most of the world, under pax Britannica then pax Americana, to trade and realize the advantages of Comparative Advantage and specialization. Mises, Hayek, and Schumpeter would likely accept that and add the power of economic liberty. My man, David Deutsch says it was the scientific method and a structured epistemology. I suppose I have always accepted a virtuous mix of all these. The Calvinist work ethic is frequently mentioned as well.

McClosky -- are you sitting down -- says these are all great things but that you cannot make the numbers work or show that these factors did not exist in places and times where it did not take off. No, the answer is philosophy and rhetoric. We climbed out of the $3/day ooze when we accepted bourgeois values and valued enterprise.

Once buying low and selling high was seen as beneficial and the trader was viewed as an upstanding member of the community -- sez McClosky -- the world changed, and we began to accrue wealth. Bourgeois Dignity.

I am only a quarter in, and this is the second of a planned six books, but I am hooked. She writes for the academic and must spend a lot of time laying a meticulous foundation for things which are obvious to ThreeSourcers. Yes, we're richer, yes it is better to be rich than poor, yes human freedom plays an important role. Yet these parts are solid and enjoyably comprehensive.

You can score this one and beat me to the end -- I doubt you'll be disappointed. I will of course withhold my rating until I have completed the assignment.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I recall, when so-called 'anthropogenic global warming' was first floated as a theoretical phenomenon, thinking that nobody would ever voluntarily forego the prosperity of our plentiful-energy economy for the vague and infinitesimal goal of fractions of a degree of global cooling. This was before I was as learned in philosophy and came to understand the myriad reasons why an upright-walking human being would ever deign to advocate such a thing.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2012 2:45 PM

August 18, 2012

An Objectivist "Libertario Delenda Est"

I'm going to hang up my cleats and go home. I just can't play the "libertario delenda est" game at this level.

In "Even with Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party Undermines Liberty," Ari Armstrong attacks the LP from a rights perspective. I think it will be every popular around these parts and concede it's likely a better argument than my consequentialist appeals to pragmatism.

One crucial consideration is that it is impossible to support Johnson as a Libertarian candidate without promoting the Libertarian Party itself, and that party undermines the very foundation of individual rights.

Historically, the Libertarian Party (LP) has always been laced with moral subjectivism, the notion that right and wrong are matters of opinion or social consensus; and anarchy, the notion that the ideal society is one without a government. Although not every self-identified libertarian today embraces subjectivism or anarchy, these elements continue to characterize the Libertarian Party and the broader libertarian movement.

I consider my pragmatism important but contrary to idealism and a quest for a more pure liberty. While I hate to use this as an excuse, I have not been close enough to the LP to seriously consider philosophical flaws. I thing Armstrong is dead on.

But johngalt thinks:

You're right JK, I do agree with Ari's observation: That the Libertarian Party is a political organization that has no concrete guiding principles. Many of the Republican party's guiding principles are wrong but at least they are concrete and not subjective as a commenter at Ari's piece said, "Christianity is subjectivism where whatever God says is good, is good." Christianity gets some things wrong but it has concrete principles all over the place.

As is always the case, Objectivists must return to the words of Rand herself. Of government she said men need a government because, "If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules."

Those who ally themselves with the Libertarian party will never have such an objective code. The Libertarian Party has been shaped and guided by its membership over the decades but even in the sixties Rand referred to them as unprincipled "hippies." Beginning from a foundation of "anything goes" can only ever lead to "nobody agrees on anything." Philosophically it is a dead-end.

Those who strive to reform the Republican party have, at the very least, an unmoving target at which to aim their efforts. More importantly, putting individual liberty ideas behind the wheel of the GOP vehicle can actually take our government somewhere, while all the expertly driven Libertarian politicians in the country won't affect our governance one iota. (How many seats does the LP hold, exactly?)

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2012 10:26 AM
But Bryan thinks:

You need to add a "Like" button to ThreeSources. :)

Posted by: Bryan at August 20, 2012 6:36 PM
But Robert thinks:

http://www.libertarianinternational.org/apps/blog/show/6534264-lio-observer-ayn-rand-recalled-as-movie-opens

A lot of people who go on about the LP and Libertarianism have no idea of what was really going on or have read the actual LP or Libertarian goals. Get a fact, 'objectivists' OK?

Posted by: Robert at August 30, 2012 2:28 PM

RAHQOTD

Well, maybe he believed and maybe he didn't, but apparently he didn't spend much time fretting about it.

There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?

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


August 17, 2012

Libertario Delenda Est

I just rolled my eyes when Gene Healy's piece trashing Ryan came out. I've told everybody I know to buy his gorram book.

It's Jesse Walker today who is waaaaay too cool to vote GOP:

If Ryan were going head to head against Obama, you could make a case that the faux Randian is a lesser evil than the faux Alinskyan. In most of the places where Ryan is bad, after all, Obama is pretty lousy too. But for vice president? At least Joe Biden keeps me entertained.

Ha. What wit!

They hate the Romans, but it's the People's Front of Judea whom they despise!


Cleaned by Capitalism

Now, a tune for the choir! I almost get sick of saying it, but private enterprise is cleaning the air and reducing greenhouse gasses.

Thanks to natural gas, market forces, technology, and private sector activity, C02 emissions drop to a 20-year low

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.


Mark J Perry closes: "Another great example of how society is 'cleaned by capitalism.'"


No, it isn't just us.

While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn't get an appreciable bounce after naming Paul Ryan as his running mate, the late Ayn Rand sure did.

The philosopher who favored individualism over collectivism has won renewed attention with the choice of Ryan, who in 2005 credited Rand as being "the reason I got involved in public service."

Ryan has since scaled back that praise, citing Rand's atheism. Rand died in 1982.

The Rand box set of two of her works -- "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" -- cracked the Top 100 "Movers & Shakers" list on Amazon.com earlier this week. The online retailer's gauge measures the biggest increases in sales ranking compared with the previous 24 hours. Rand's books jumped 20 percent in the rankings yesterday.
Hat-tip: @yaronbrook
2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:09 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Giants walked the earth.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2012 1:30 AM

Correction of the Day

Or, as Taranto would say, other than that, the story was accurate:

C.W. Nevius' column about Most Holy Redeemer banning drag queen performers incorrectly stated that entertainer Peaches Christ appeared at an event at the church's hall with a dildo shaped like a crucifix. He did not appear at the event, nor does he use the prop. -- SFGate

Hat-tip: @pourmecoffee


Quote of the Day

No, no, no, he didn't.

Please tell me White House spokesman Jay Carney didn't attack Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity budget today for not balancing the budget fast enough, as White House reporter for Roll Call Steven Dennis tweeted. -- James Pethokoukis

August 16, 2012

Tweet of the Day


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 7:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

RAHQOTD

I had best post this one today, before Ellis Wyatt does.

"The Almighty-God idea came under attack because it explained nothing; it simply pushed all explanations one stage farther away. In the nineteenth century atheistic positivism started displacing the Almighty-God notion in that minority of the population that bathed regularly. Atheism had a limited run, as it, too, explains nothing, being merely Godism turned upside down."

--RAH 'The Cat Who Walked Through Walls' (1985)

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

A very good point. One of the (many) things that is so satisfying to me about Bill Patterson's RAH biography is that it clarifies that he was not a strict materialist; he believed in some form of mind/spirit surviving after death, and spoke favorably of his wife's Wiccan-type efforts to quiet a ghost in their Hollywood Hills home.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 16, 2012 7:53 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

"We're going around the country, talking about, How do we put people back to work? How do we improve our schools? How do we make sure that we're producing American energy? How do we lower our debt in a responsible way?' And I don't think you or anybody who's been watching the campaign would say that in any way we have tried to divide the country. We've always tried to bring the country together," President Obama said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

Well, perhaps just 99 percent of the country.


August 15, 2012

Romney, Rand, Ryan and Me

or, What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
The recent flurry of activity involving the naming of Paul Ryan as Vice-Presidential candidate, Dianna Hsieh's talk at the Liberty on the Rocks, Ari Armstrong's endorsement of Romney-Ryan, and the commentary on such by the brethern, leads me to share a remarkable coincidence: I was raised as a Mormon, read Rand at 15 and strove to be an Objectivist, and was baptized a Catholic earlier this year.

And so, a few insider insights in to the Three Rs:

Mormonism: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really tried to get people to drop the "Mormon" word but it's embedded in the cuture and we use it here. I grew up in a big Mormon family and thoroughly understand the doctines and beliefs in the church, and they believe they're Christians, despite the naysaying of various other Christian sects.

The most important thing to know about Mormons in the context of this election year is just how All-American they are; they believe that America is uniquely blessed and chosen to lead and save the world, they believe in hard work and prosperity, and they believe in Boy Scouts, apple pie and patriotism. During their early days they were set apart by Joseph Smith as a "peculiar people" but when they did the deal in 1890 to end polygamy and gain statehood for Utah, they quickly became more American than the Americans. Currently the church is experiencing some of the same fallout from liberalism and feminism as the Catholic Church (and the rest of the culture): more people using (theoretically not allowed) birth control, rapidly increasing rates of divorce, demands for women in the leadership, etc. But Mitt Romney grew up steeped in an atmosphere of American exceptionalism. It's ingrained as thoroughly as his religion.

I really began a mature questioning of the Mormon story at age 11 when I began to read Heinlein. This was another, bigger world, a whole universe, in fact. At 15 I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time and suppose that in some respects it replaced religion for me; it made sense, it was a worked-out Weltanschauung that relied on reason, rather than faith. You didn't have to buy it from somebody else; Rand told you to think for yourself.

This brings up something interesting that relates to Paul Ryan and his admiration for Rand, even as he clearly states he's no Objectivist. I have met quite a few Christians over the years who had read Rand and admired her work, her individualism and support for capitalism. Without exception they were high-IQ types, professionally successful--in other words something like Paul Ryan. But of course Rand or any person who calls himself "Objectivist" would conclude that despite some admirable applied rationality in business or other profession these people are hopeless mystics and second-handers, only marginally above Wesley Mouch and Ellsworth Toohey.

I won't go into a dissertation here on how and why I became a Catholic, but offer the insight that the Catholic critics of Ryan and his budget, those who claim that "Catholic Social Teaching" and Jesus Christ himself would condemn Ryan as a heartless selfish bastard balancing the budget on the backs of the poor...don't know the teachings of their own Church very well. There are certain unalterable truths taught by the Church, and then there are many desirable goals like peace between men and nations, food for the hungry and clothes for the naked, the reform of criminals and the treatment of disease, etc. These ends are not in question, but the means to achieve them is not a teaching of the Church.

People are free to disagree with theologians, bishops and the Pope on the proper tax rates, budgets, economic incentives, immigration laws, gun laws and many other political questions. Some Catholics on the left attempt to shame conservatives with charges that "Jesus would favor an increase in the Medicaid budget" but this is nonsense.

The common denominators between the Mormons and Catholics that really drive the socially-left libertarians crazy are the male preisthood and the refusal to "celebrate" homosexuality and sanctify "gay marriage." For some, even an Objectivist like Diana Hsieh, this negative more than outweighs all the happytalk about free markets, less regulation and getting bureaucrats off of our backs.

Having run the entire gamut from Mormon to Objectivist to Catholic gives me the perspective to state that in this imperfect and fallen world, Romney-Ryan is in some strange way my Dream Ticket!

2012 Election Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 7:00 PM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

I must correct an erroneous conclusion into which brother Ellis seems to have been duped- That he and Paul Ryan are "second-handers" in the Rand lexicon for "picking and choosing" from her philosphy rather than adopting it whole. No, that is not the definition of "second-hander." A second-hander is one who lives and profits from the creative effort of others.

The linked article by Ed Kilgore is responsible for this attempted redefinition. I suspect he did so intentionally, with malice toward the ideas of Rand and the electoral success of Ryan, for the former are a mortal threat to Kilgore's altruistic Progressivism. And to whatever extent Ryan may succeed in promulgating Rand's ideas in public policy, Kilgore's ideology loses.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2012 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

"There are things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, not dreamt of in man's philosophies."

That bit o' the bard alone keeps from being an Objectivist. Plus they never have enough cucumber sandwiches at their quarterly meetings... Yet I reconcile by allowing myself flights of fancy without altering my life. Read your horoscope if you must (I don't), but don't stay home because it warns of dangerous travel.

I'll collect all of your Catholic Trading cards and bid up Larry Kudlow (adult convert) and the bulk of the WSJ Ed Page. My leading lights are all bleedin' Papists! Larry drives Cadillacs.

I use "human spirit" loosely and could trade it in for a Rand approved term for individual human exceptionalism. I was raised on a steady diet of "you're not so hot." "You didn't build that." None of this is doctrine, just my experiences.

Lastly, I did not lose faith because of Ayn Rand. It was Jethro Tull: the liner notes to "Aqualung" (..and Man created God, and in Man's image he created Him...) and the final song (on the "God Side" of the LP).

How do you dare to tell me that I'm my father's son? When that was just an accident of birth. I'd rather look around me, compose a better song. 'Cause that's the honest measure of my worth.

A couple years with the Jesuits could have knocked that out of me -- but I never had the chance.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2012 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of dream ticket.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2012 3:53 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jg - you are correct to point out that Ed Kilgore is a poor example of someone to define "second-hander" per Rand. There is a continuum of Objectivism 30 years after her death, from the sola scriptura followers to the "Open System" of David Kelly to great admirers who disagree on certain important points (me) to Hillary Clinton.

My original and repeated readings of Rand convinced me that being a real Objectivist requires atheism, but I've certainly met some people who called themselves such but were open to reasons and argument about the existence of God and whether Christianity was actually a powerful positive good in society.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 16, 2012 6:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


@JK notes they were all so impressive in habit, integrity and decency that one really does wonder Yup, me three! I usually describe Mormons - admiringly - as "obnoxiously nice."

Faith vs. Reason? I'm not sure I see the conflict. I took Rand for what she was: entertaining, challenging and avant garde, not some anti-messiah. My backbone on the topic is actually from Einstein's Ideas and Opinions from which I'd happily cite, but it's somewhere in an unpacked box that I'll get to some day!

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 17, 2012 12:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

There is a longer, more rigorous answer to the question: "What is the conflict between faith and reason?" but an easy anecdotal answer presented itself in an @AriArmstrong Tweet today.

Faith in a supernatural authority can lead to conclusions like this, while reason, on a foundation of ownership of self, cannot.

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2012 3:51 PM

RAHQOTD

Today's entry is a two-fer on the subject of human overcrowding and political philosophy.

"When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere."

"Peace is an extension of war by political means. Plenty of elbow room is pleasanter -- and much safer."

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

UPDATE: It's a THREE-fer!

"Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself."

(Also from 'Time Enough for Love')

Yes I have read more than this one Heinlein work. However, if you only read one, this must be that one.

But jk thinks:

I'm going to come out squarely against Heinlein! It is Johnny Mercer week and "Fools Rush In" cannot be far behind...

But I reject this quote as neo-Malthusian in tone if not in content. Exciting, innovative, creative, wonderful Ricardian, Deepak Lal-ian things transpire when intellects join. It may be peaceful to have a farm in Weld County or your own spaceship, but I reject those who claim we cannot live together orderly just as I would harangue the radical environmentalist who wants us to live like indigenous Americans.

There you go. Y'all gonna take that?

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2012 6:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm going to take a safe middle ground squarely between the two of you.

Elbow room? The last time I heard someone speechify about the need for Lebensraum, it led to some pretty disastrous results, though I doubt either JG or Heinlein are talking about a desire to annex the Sudetenland. But "crowded enough to require IDs" is a reference not just to crowds, but crowds of strangers. I can have lots of neighbors - if I know them and can trust them. It's not a problem in JK's context of "when intellects join." JK's milieu of a bunch of people who are willing to live and interact cooperatively ("live together orderly") is different from JG's milieu of the hoi polloi who live anonymously in what are unneighborly neighborhoods.

Witness the guy in today's news who got beaten senseless by six yoots - because they were bored.

If I were given the option to live amongst a population of JGs and JKs, sure, no problem. Like-minded (mostly), congenial; but drop me down in your average Detroit or Chicago neighborhood? I'd be longing for some elbow room.

So I'd offer that you're both right, but that the issue is not merely the number, but the nature, of the neighbors. The wrong ones would make me positively "unmutual" (bonus points to whoever gets that reference first).

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 15, 2012 8:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

When I read this quote I think about Rand's 'Anthem' wherein the frustrated "citizen" and his correspondingly unmutual paramour found refuge on a mountain peak, completely removed from "civilization." The attribute being avoided is not overcrowding per se, but the authority that invariably comes along with it, as represented by identification documents. In my rural neighborhood no ID's are required. I know all of my neighbors in a 1-mile radius and anyone else who happens by generally has good intentions and is thus welcome to visit for a time. If they don't have good intentions, well, that is what dogs are for. (One thing, anyway.) Don't believe I've ever asked to see anyone's ID though. By the same token I still revel in my trips "into town" whether corporeally or telepresently.

"Unmutual." I learned the reference but won't claim the prize as discovering it required Binging. My unaided guess was that it came from the aforementioned 'Anthem.' I remember, from my youth, the name of the work which contained it but for whatever reason, never experienced it.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2012 2:12 AM
But jk thinks:

I don't know that annexing the Sudetenland into Weld County is a terrible idea...

Perhaps even Senator Goldwater would agree with moderation here. I was born in Denver and now get viscerally ill when I visit family, relaxing only as I cross 136th or so. This makes me a strange emissary for city life. I think I may have coined the term urbaphobe in the 1980s but there was no Google to verify.

Yet Libertarianism runs hand in hand with millenarianism and the utopian dreams of my leftist friends are not dissimilar to Rand's Atlantis except in economics.

Sam Colt in Connecticut, Silicon Valley, &c. launched humanity hundreds of years into the future -- perhaps the intertubes have obviated that but I am not certain. Don't everybody all wander off.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2012 9:48 AM

Edward Feser: The Road from Libertarianism

Philosopher Edward Feser has posted an exploration of how reason moved him from libertarianism to limited government conservatism. It fits beautifully with the naming of Paul Ryan as Romney's VP and with Libertario Delenda Est:

For reasons I have explained in my Social Philosophy and Policy article Classical Natural Law Theory, Property Rights, and Taxation -- where the interested reader can find my current views on the matters referred to in the title -- I think that an A-T natural law approach to those matters entails the rejection of libertarianism, socialism, and egalitarian liberalism alike, and in most areas requires at least a presumption in favor of private enterprise and against government action. In other words, I think that moral principle should lead us to take a broadly center-right approach to matters of politics rather than a broadly center-left approach. But beyond that, abstract moral principle cannot tell us much, and we have to look to common sense, experience, history, current circumstances, and whatever economics and the other social sciences can tell us in order to decide upon concrete policy. That doesnt give us anything like the single magic bullet approach to politics that the thesis of self-ownership seemed to provide. But if theres one thing any conservative should know, its that looking for single magic bullets is after all a pretty stupid project where social and political philosophy are concerned. All the same, on some matters -- such as opposition to the abomination that is Obamacare -- I am happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with libertarians.

Paul Ryan's statements about Rand, Aquinas and Catholic social teaching have received a great deal of scrutiny in the last few days: a professor who claims Ryan the social conservative is actually Rand's nightmare; another professor who produces at the Puffington Host what can only be described as an incoherent stew; a potty mouth in the Village Voice who puts long Aquinas quotes and the words "fucking" and "bullshit" in close proximity.

The quote which all of these people reference, directly or indirectly (and unfairly truncated in the first piece) is:

"If somebody is going to try to paste a person's view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don't give me Ayn Rand."

Emphasis added! Epistemology is not Catholic social thought. It is not economics. It is not political philosophy. These losers, and many others now coming out of the woodwork like carpenter ants either don't know the difference, or are intellectually dishonest hacks.

Feser's piece doesn't mention Paul Ryan, but I speculate that Ryan's intellectual development ran a similar course. Growing up Catholic, inspired as an undergraduate by Rand, Friedman and Hayek, he eventually came to a mature, limited government conservatism. That's not so hard to understand, and there is no inherent contradiction in it as imagined by those who are frightened by Ryan's intelligence, charisma and ability to explain the consequences of four more years of Obama.

But johngalt thinks:

Just started reading the first linked article but can't wait to ask the rhetorical question, "Can Vice President and candidate for re-election to said office Joseph Biden even pronounce the word 'epistemology?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 15, 2012 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I got as far as paragraph 22. I think he makes a fundamental error in his treatment of self-ownership in paragraphs 18-19 which caused him, erroneously, to dismiss the theory. Simply saying that, "I have not imprisoned you at all! I've simply homesteaded all the land around you" does not alter the obvious fact that you have, objectively, imprisoned me.

This points to a problem borne from high urban densities that does not exist in frontier environments and is why as populations grow their political philosophies become ever more statist.

Yes, there will be an RAH quote on this today (if I can find or remember it verbatim.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 15, 2012 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Hmmmm. Very challenging. I twisted my wrist a bit patting myself on the back for giving it a little-o objective reading.

Interesting as I have made the exact same journey the other way. What he calls pragmatic, I like Professor Myron's term, "consequentialist." As he has become more consequentialist, I have become more rights-based. As he has rejected self-ownership in favor of conservatism, I have discovered Locke and JS Mill like a child who thinks he is the first to experience sunshine.

I confess I do not perhaps understand his argument against self-ownership. The book he linked to was $47 on Kindle (the guy thinks he's Justice Scalia?) I'd like to return to a few of the TCS articles. But the small example included (the fence around the guy on the desert island) was completely non-compelling. Just because I own my body does not mean you own the rest of the world -- I don't remember signing that.

As that is the heart of his conversion and I concede not to understand it, I feel unable to offer a cogent argument beyond "says you." I do own my person -- inalienably. That indeed includes rights that can be misused (what rights cannot?)

Perhaps in the end parity is conserved. I moved from a Burkean if not theological Conservatism to a Hayekian Libertarianism. Like Feser, I carry a lot of respect for my old teammates, but the Mill-Mises-Hoppe axis of self-ownership remains defining and liberating for me. I'll read a couple of his linked articles (if they don't cast me $47) but have not yet seen something substantive enough to sway me.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2012 7:57 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It appears that Leonard Peikoff addressed a very similar situation, see here:

"The obvious, classic example of this is, which I’ve been asked a hundred times, you swim to a desert island — you know, you had a shipwreck — and when you get to the shore, the guy comes to you and says, “I’ve got a fence all around this island. I found it. It’s legitimately mine. You can’t step onto the beach.” Now, in that situation you are in a literal position of being metaphysically helpless. Since life is the standard of rights, if you no longer can survive this way, rights are out. And it becomes dog-eat-dog or force-against force. Now, don’t assume that any unsatisfied need therefore puts you in this metaphysical category. For instance, you are very poor and you are hungry. Well, you need feed. But in a capitalist society, even in a mixed economy, that is not a metaphysical deprivation. There’s always all sorts of choices and ways in a free society for you to gain food. Always."

So the rational, "Libertarian" thing to do is break down the wall. Since I can't acess Feser's paper either, I am not going to give him a pass on this.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 16, 2012 7:23 PM

Tweet of the Day


VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 14, 2012

Quote of the Day

As near as we can tell, Jesus would advocate a tax rate somewhere between 50% (in the vein of "if you have two coats, give one to the man who has none") and 100% (if you want to get into heaven, be poor). Mostly, he suggested giving all your money up for the benefit of others. And Jesus made no distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor; his love and generosity applied to all. -- Erika Christakis: Is Paul Ryan's Budget Un-Christian?
St. Laffer, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of April fifteenth, Amen...

Hat-tip: @jtLOL "Hey, let's pretend not to know the difference between charity and taxation!"

Posted by John Kranz at 5:20 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Since the thrust of the topic is theological, then let's pray that people see the difference between voluntary taxation and involuntary taxation. This may be one of the most ignorant things I've read in recent weeks on the subject of a religious take on politics. I'm stunned that she didn't go for the gold and bring up the example of the widow's mite - that one would have supported taxation at 100%, on the poorest citizens!

Indulge me a moment, brethren and cistern:

"So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, 'These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.'" (1 Samuel 8:10-18, ESV)

THEREFORE, it is clear that any government spending in excess of 10% of GDP is a sin. Deal with that, Ms. Christakis!

Bonus sermonizin' just for cogitation: http://is.gd/oGKmG6

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 14, 2012 6:27 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

The fact that she uses Simone Campbell as her go-to expert on what is "unpatriotic" and "immoral" gives me pause. Grabbing a Catholic at random (heh) and then saying "let's you and him fight" is a shabby trick.

From the good Sister Campbell's own website:

During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous “nuns’ letter” supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic Sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.

Blecchhhh.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 14, 2012 6:31 PM
But hb thinks:

I love when people quote Jesus out of context.

Posted by: hb at August 15, 2012 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Do not think I come bearing the sword; I come to build bridges.

My reading of the first sermon is that even taxation below 10% is a sin, because it is in service of a master other than the LORD. Further, it stands as admonishment against asking for a king to reign over you, for he shall eventually take more from you than you are willing and, in that day, if you cry out the LORD will not answer you. In other words, "I told you so."

The Bonus Sermon ends in a prayer: "We cry out to you because of the ruler that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation." But taken literally, the LORD will not answer us. We who are not educated in the way of the Lord need to have it explained to us: The LORD acts through US. WE are the instruments of our own deliverance - with the aid of NED if you like, or without.

Posted by: johngalt at August 15, 2012 12:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

If you read the comments at the end of Chirstakis' column, it's, oooh, about 14-1 against her idea of christian giving.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 16, 2012 1:55 AM

Robert Natelson on Romney, the Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Revival

First, buy Robert Natelson's awesome book.

Second, listen to Ari Armstrong's interview with him:

Third, and I should probably let it lay, but explain to me how Armstrong's associate and last night's Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons speaker is still "undecided."

UPDATE: Armstrong is "decided."

Prior to Mitt Romneys selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, I was going to vote "for" Romney in the sense of voting against Obama. In light of this development, however, I not only plan to vote for Romney-Ryan; I also emphatically endorse their ticket, and I urge readers of TOS, Objectivists, and fans of Ayn Rand to do the same.

2012 SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 4:41 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

A nice piece from Ari; I agree that this will bring Rand more into the public eye and stimulate real, substantive discussion of core issues--rather than who ate dog.

I disagree with him when he states that Ryan "doesn't understand what rights are or where they come from."

I will expand on that in a future post.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 14, 2012 8:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To clarify, Ari Tweeted the link but the "deciding" was by Craig Biddle, a respected Objectivist and publisher of TOS. I appreciate brother Ellis' comment and would also like to hear brother KA's take on the Biddle piece. If there is anyone on earth I know of who can properly address the Rand/Christianity duality embodied in Congressman Ryan it is he.

This is the cardinal topic of our age, for America - and all mankind - needs Objectivism in order to achieve a lasting freedom and prosperity, but Objectivism needs Christianity to achieve a plurality and a comfortability that Objectivism cannot, as yet, achieve on its own. Paul Ryan may well be a near perfect vessel for the first voyage of this journey. NED, please guide and protect him, and make sure the Secret Service is ever vigilant and undistracted. We embark upon a new Renaissance.

Posted by: johngalt at August 15, 2012 12:26 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you for the correction Brother jg--I garbled that rather badly. In note in the comments to Mr. Biddle's piece, Dianna Hsieh writes:

Ryan's interest in Ayn Rand doesn't make him any less of a very dangerous theocrat and big-spending statist than he is. If Objectivists actively support him and Romney, I think they'll have to overlook or whitewash their very, very serious defects to do that. As a result, Ayn Rand's ideas will be watered down -- and worse, even more strongly (and wrongly) associated with conservatism than they are already.

I think her use of the term "theocrat" is more than inaccurate. It is irrational.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 15, 2012 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Objectivists face a difficult task in reconciling the ideals of Ayn Rand's philosophy with the far from ideal state of human civilization at any given time.

John Galt had no interest in "saving" a corrupt government, yet Ayn Rand actively supported Republicans in defense of America's Constitional Republic which she called the greatest nation in the history of mankind. In her novel, Rand had her hero destroy the mixed economic system before returning to build a just system in its place. In reality Rand, like myself, had no interest in attempting to live through a complete economic collapse.

Support Romney/Ryan, postpone full-blown American socialism for another four years, and continue to advocate and educate and campaign for liberty. I'm betting that four years hence, this strategy will get Objectivists further than the one that necessarily must pass through collapse and civil unrest. That sort of thing is much more enjoyable to read about in you comfortably heated and lighted parlor than to actually experience - cold dark and hungry.

"To save the world is the simplest thing in the world. All one has to do is think."

Posted by: johngalt at August 15, 2012 6:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To the extent that Ryan has, or does, attempt to constrain others to his religious beliefs via the law the term theocrat is applicable. I would dispute the adjectives "very dangerous."

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2012 3:29 PM

RAHQOTD

The "global fairness" ideology discussed today includes among it's tenets, "Cutting military expenditures; negotiating to eliminate all nuclear weapons; sharing R&D priorities towards pressing domestic needs; stopping NATO expansion; banning landmines; ending subsidies for arms exporters and arms transfers for dictators; banning covert operations; shifting from unilateral military aid and US-controlled peacekeeping missions abroad to multilateral responses; and promoting real human rights abroad." In short, the pacifist, peacenik "no-nukes" platform of the sixties - as though elimination of the tools of war will end war. Yet Robert A. Heinlein correctly explained pacifism to the world in 1973:

A "pacifist male" is a contradiction in terms. Most self-described "pacifists" are not pacific; they simply assume false colors. When the wind changes, they hoist the Jolly Roger.

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


"Global Fairness"

Happy sounding words that mean, "If you have something we're going to make you share it." I was enlightened just how powerful the world socialism movement has become when researching examples of "global fairness" advocacy in defense of Dinesh D'Souza's latest works. Two examples from Progressive Australia:

Mature debate on our future needed, not Tea Party-style militancy

Australia stands at an intersection. Can Australians be convinced to forgo short-term benefits to secure greater prosperity in the future?

Californias referendum last November over Proposition 23 shows voters can still reject short-term populism. Polluting industries poured millions into a proposal to delay cuts in greenhouse gas emissions until the economy was back to full employment. But Californians said no 62 to 38 per cent because the debate was framed in terms of embracing the clean energy jobs and industries of the future.

Meanwhile, under the influence of the Tea Party, Kansas voted last November to make gun ownership a constitutional right. Its not the kind of issue that will build a better future but it was clever politics. Kansas embraced it lock, stock and barrel, 88 to 12 per cent. The Tea Party militancy of states such as Kansas is now infecting Australias Coalition parties and many opinion makers parochial, inward-looking and uninterested in the economics of the future.

Will Australia follow the road to California or to Kansas?

The False Trade-Off of Prosperity and Fairness

Individuals have also become less willing to sacrifice short-term prosperity in the pursuit of long-term outcomes which combine fairness and prosperity. Responses to Per Capitas annual tax survey show that Australians want higher spending on public services and infrastructure, but believe their taxes are too high. They believe higher income earners are taxed too little, even when they are themselves high income earners who describe themselves as overtaxed.

This community sentiment has got politicians scared. The Rudd Government retreated from the CPRS in the face of focus group pressure, and Labor has been surprisingly reluctant to trumpet the success of its Keynesian response to the global financial crisis, presumably for fear of being painted as antiquated Lefties addicted to debt.

(...)

The list of policy ideas that builds on these insights is long. We can capture the dividends of the mining boom by channeling super-profits tax into a sovereign wealth fund. We can increase housing supply by restricting negative gearing to new-build dwellings only. We can finance infrastructure by tapping the nations superannuation pool. We can stimulate R&D, not only through extra public spending, but also by promoting competition so that our large oligopolists are forced to compete on innovation as well as price.

Each of these initiatives will attract resistance from privileged incumbents threatened by change. Yet each advances fairness as well as long-term prosperity. As weve seen in the carbon tax debate, the battle will be fierce. Progressive leaders face no more important fight.

There is absolutely, without any doubt, a global movement toward an "egalitarian" world order. This means that the peoples of prosperous nations - America, Australia, Germany, Great Britain - must be made to "sacrifice short-term prosperity" in the dubious cause of a combined "fairness and prosperity" which these extreme ideologues promise as some indefinite "long-term" outcome. The foregoing is proof positive of such an ideology. Conspiracy theories not required. Does President "Spread the Wealth Around" and his "Forward" campaign for re-election and "Progress" adhere to that ideology? You be the judge.


August 13, 2012

Colorado Reaction

Ari Armstrong acquires reaction fron Colorado liberty lovers (and also Rep. Tom Tancredo) at the ATF party.

But johngalt thinks:

One negative reaction, at 5:30. "It was the natural liberal choice. Instead of freedom we'll get socialism-lite. We'll get efficiency with socialism instead of freedom. It's what I've come to expect from Mitt Romney."

I think I may have to turn over the mantle "John Galt" to that guy.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2012 2:58 PM

Greatest Songs Countdown...Number 2: Stardust

Music by Hoagy Carmichael. Lyrics by Mitchell Parrish.

Many think that this is the greatest song ever. I recall that back in the days of Web 0.1 there was a page titled simply "The Greatest Song Ever" that had a lot of facts and history. I can't locate it now, but it made the case well. Nearly everyone who is anyone has recorded it, of course; just a few well-known versions being by Louis Armstrong, Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson.

The fact that the song can be interpreted in so many wonderful way points to its universal quality, but the lyrics are a vital aspect of its greatness. It was originally an instrumental but the lyrics add a haunting sadness that completes a package of genius. So I feel the versions with the full lyrics are the best. Coltrane's is amazingly expressive, though.

Here are some wonderful interpretations to get started. Harry Connick, Jr. finds the right balance of sadness over his loss, and joy that it ever was:

The Hoagies, Live at the Coffeehouse (more happy):

Coltrane: genius. Period (also, a bass solo, bravo!):

Next: Number 1! Will you be shocked, amazed, or outraged? Tune in soon for another exciting adventure...

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 5:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

My Mom's favorite song! The lovely bride and I named our three dogs Misty, Stardust, and Skylark. So my heart's on my sleeve. Harry Connick, Jr.'s version has always been a particular fave as well. Nice.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 6:49 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

Such explosive growth in debt can't go on forever, and it won't. Yet our current leaders and their apologists insist that the problem will magically solve itself. Last year's deficit came in slightly below forecasts, and we've had one quarter of good economic growth -- see, we'll grow out of the deficit!

(...)

Let's hope that works -- but hope is not a plan.

Just as the federal government is in no immediate danger of running out of money, our forces in Iraq are in no danger of outright defeat. But in both cases, current policies appear to be unsustainable: we can't go on like this indefinitely. And things that can't go on forever, don't.

Paul Krugman (2003)

But jk thinks:

Would that be "Nobel Laureate, Dr. Paul Krugman?"

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 5:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh, not in 2003! :) And the "Dr." wasn't on his byline.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 5:32 PM
But jk thinks:

The Times Style Guide eschews honorifics.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 6:13 PM
But AndyN thinks:

He may not have been "Nobel Laureate, Dr. Paul Krugman" at that point, but I'm pretty sure he was already "former paid Enron economic adviser Paul Krugman" by then. A point that everyone who ever has to face off against him in public needs to remind their audience early and often.

Posted by: AndyN at August 13, 2012 9:46 PM

Another Election-Year Movie Trailer

This one a documentary, not a fiction. Based on the book by Dinesh D'Souza.

But jk thinks:

Y'know, I expect my friends on the other side to admit when one of theirs, say a Chris Matthews for example, goes off the rails. I'll reciprocate with D'Souza.

He is a smart guy and I have enjoyed two of his books and many of his columns over the years. But he has descended into a conspiratorial darkness that I don't appreciate and have no desire to defend.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 5:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't really out to get you."

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Frustrating because he is certainly right on many many things but I feel I have to discard all. Sad.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 6:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sometimes I can be pretty dense. This feels like one of those times.

D'Souza is a smart guy with a solid track record but this one movie, billed as a documentary that "shows how Obama's goal to downsize America is in plain sight but ignored by everyone" causes you to disavow him?

You have seen or read enough to classify this as "conspiratorial darkness?" The author was a fellow at AEI and Stanford's Hoover Institution. The book has five customer reviews, none negative. Hmmm.

It might be easier for me to understand your summary dismissal if I didn't know there is a prominent political movement that endorses global fairness.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2012 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

No. I have discarded D'Souza long ago, and as soon as I saw his name and heard the portentous music, I moved along.

You may try to rehabilitate him in my eye -- I cannot remember all of the missteps that distanced us. It's funny to have you step up because he is a very orthodox Christian, and famous Creationist. I'm glad to see your branching out.

I owe you a better enumeration of nuttiness. Looking at his Wikipedia I see:

With regard to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, D'Souza asserted that the abuse to the prisoners was due to the "sexual immodesty of liberal America" and that Abu Ghraib reflected "the values of a debauched liberalism run amok."

I liked his "What's So Great About America" and "Letters to a Young Conservative" even though the latter was a swipe at my man Christopher Hitchens.

I've just heard a few too many bombastic, outré statements from him over the years and have tuned him out.

A perfect parallel with Ann Coulter. I enjoyed a few of her books too but I don't enjoy what I see as rhetorical overreach.

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2012 3:51 PM

Liberty on the Rocks

Join us on Monday, August 13th, where your featured speaker will be Dr. Diana Hsieh, who will be discussing the importance of philosophy in our political economy. After Dr. Hsieh's presentation there will be a short Q&A session, followed by the opportunity to network with other local liberty supporters. Come for the event, stay for the food and networking -- you're guaranteed a great evening no matter what!

This event is open to the public, you're welcome to bring friends!

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

My biological brother and my lovely bride are joining me tonight.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [8]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jk, if you are going, here is something she posted on her blog Jan. 10, 2012:

"Of course, if you know particular Muslims who support American values… that’s AWESOME. However, just as with Christians, those Muslims ought to abandon their religious beliefs, because they’re wholly incompatible with any concern or respect for individual rights."

Now there is more context there, but this is clearly her position. She is supposed to be a Big Objectivist Thinker and all, but check your premises, Doctora. Religious beliefs are not "wholly incompatible with any concern or respect for individual rights," and I'm surprised you'd make such a statement when there are numerous real-world contra-examples staring you in the face.

Like Paul Ryan.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 13, 2012 4:55 PM
But jk thinks:

@Brother Ellis: You may rest assured that Super Libertario Delenda Est Man will not leave without Dr. Hsieh's clear opinion on pragmatism and electoral exigencies.

I have been pleased with this group's seriousness in that direction. The crowd generally has several GOP candidates. One attendee once gave a "30-second talk" that called for purity over politics, but this lot tends to be pretty pragmatic, and a speaker who is wide off the mark will hear about it from others while your meek and humble blog brother waits patiently for recognition.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 5:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

@Brother Ellis- Your highlighted quote referred to Muslim religious beliefs, not religious beliefs in general. Regarding Christianity, she bifurcated between "theocratic Christians" and "American Christians" whose faith "has been tempered by the enlightenment."

Now, if she chooses to focus on Ryan's faith and social values I would personally say, "Yes, you're right, but that's not what's at stake this election cycle. The attack on liberty is coming from the economic flank at present, not the social flank. Let's not divide our forces in this crucial hour, in the face of this mortal threat."

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 5:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Excellent evening. Enlightening talk.

Sorry, brother ellis, you sent the wrong guy to take up your concerns. I asked one question on general pragmatism and one's my limit. Dr. Hsieh has an internet radio show where she answers questions -- you should engage her directly.

Again, I had a wonderful time, but I have heard her song before. I listen politely but think that Dr. Hsieh and some others I know are incorrect to imagine that we can educate and philosophize our way to a liberty plurality -- I just don't buy it.

She mentioned her Facebook Friends from High School. So I questioned her: "You have FB friends, I have FB friends -- do you still feel we can win enough over to reason and liberty or are too many uneducable?"

Ari Armstrong will likely post video again, I'll let you hear her answer.

But she hasn't yet decided whom to vote for in 2012. This engendered a mea culpa to brother jg: "No, not all undecideds are 'morons,' one of them is a bright young woman." But it left me speechless. If you cannot see the cause of liberty's being served by a vote for Romney-Ryan, I find it hard to take you seriously. You may go philosophize in the corner.


Posted by: jk at August 14, 2012 4:10 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you Brother, for this enlightening report. I will indeed communicate with her directly.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 14, 2012 5:12 PM
But dagny thinks:

I enjoyed what little I was there for last night. JK's comment brought up something I thought of on the way home. Perhaps JK's and Dr. Hsieh's FB friends are uneducable on the subject of liberty. Presumably such friends are of an age with JK and Dr. Hsieh.

On the other hand, I have 3 small children and jg and I are just beginning the task of trying to get them an education without a built-in leftist philosophical indoctrination.

Perhaps our education efforts might work better if we could find a way to start in the K-5 schools. I don't have brilliant ideas on how to accomplish that, however.

Posted by: dagny at August 14, 2012 5:49 PM

The Clerisy

In her fascinating book, Bourgeois Dignity, Deirdre McCloskey picks up the delightful term "Clerisy" from my man Coleridge.

Yet in the late nineteenth century the artists and the intellectuals--the "clerisy," as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and I call it--turned against liberal innovation. The treason of the clerisy led in the twentieth century to the pathologies of nationalism and socialism and national socialism, and in the twenty-first century to the pieties of radical environmentalism, and to the dismal pessimism of the union left and the traditional right.

In Britain, they're called the chattering class, but I never felt we had a good word for these folks in America. But I like "The Clerisy" very much.

Amy Walter of ABC submits a successful application to membership today. She tells what voters want (and don't) and why they voted as they did in the last few elections. How very handy. The Yahoo teaser caught my eye:

More government? Less? An ideological battle that voters don't want
In picking Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney assured an ideological campaign where a debate over the role of government will be front and center.

Icky. Voters don't want that. If you click through, Walter will explain that crazies like us want it
In picking Rep. Paul Ryan, whose eponymous budget plan has become synonymous with political polarization, Mitt Romney assured an ideological campaign where a debate over the role of government will be front and center. It is a debate the Obama campaign and partisans on both sides are also eager to have. But it's not a debate that swing voters want.

They aren't as interested in choosing whether government should be more active or less. They are more interested in simply having it work.

Who's gonna buy my condoms? Huh? Which candidate gives you Cancer? Who has better hair? (you gotta like the GOP this year on that important metric.)

I loathe her hubris. She goes on to explain the last several elections. But I must concede that she has a point. If only there existed some enterprise that could inform and educate people on important issues. Perhaps it would even be popular enough to fund with advertising. Hmm....

But johngalt thinks:

Haven't read clerist Walter's piece yet but I suspect she's alluding to this poll showing that, while more than three quarters of those polled believe the cost of government entitlement programs will cause major economic problems for the country, neither raising taxes or cutting those entitlements could garner majority support.

To summarize: "Voters" may not want the ideological battle but reality has delivered it to them. Time for "voters" to pull their collective heads out of the sand and do something at which they're neither accustomed or accomplished - think.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 12:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Her trite close is the most comment-worthy thing she said:

"In other words, voters are looking less at ideology and more at competency. And that's not something that either side has been able to show that can deliver."

These "voters" she talks about are specifically the swing voters. Those with no guiding principle or philosophy. No surprise then that the only metric available to them is "it works." If it is given a chance - enough of a chance that it works - then it is up to all of us to explain to the swing voters why. Rest assured that the ideology of government will spend its dying breath trying to deny it was a predictable result from a competing ideology of success and prosperity.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 3:33 PM

Quote of the Day

Goin' meta today. I don't know whether I prefer the interior quote or the wrapper:

The boldness of Romneys choice surprised some, including the mysterious blogger Allahpundit at the popular conservative Hot Air site, who invoked a science fiction analogy: "It's like watching C-3PO lead the raid on the Death Star." (This comparison of Romney to C-3PO, the comically effete robot of the Star Wars film series, might dismay Democrats who have spent the past several weeks trying to convince voters that Romney is actually Darth Vader.) -- Robert Stacy McCain

Hat-tip: Insty

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 9:07 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 12, 2012

Quote of the Day

When Ryan said in Norfolk, "We wont replace our Founding principles, we will reapply them," he effectively challenged Obama to say what Obama believes, which is: Madison was an extremist in enunciating the principles of limited government -- the enumeration and separation of powers. And Jefferson was an extremist in asserting that government exists not to grant rights but to "secure" natural rights that pre-exist government. -- George Will
But johngalt thinks:

Obama is starting to take the bait. In an appearance on Saturday he said that Ryan's vision is one with which he "fundamentally disagrees."

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oops ... PRESIDENT Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 11:56 AM

Review Corner

First, the elephant in the room. Scalia and Garner's Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts was $40 -- on Kindle! "Does the Eighth Amendment no longer hold, Nino?" If anybody wants I have an old, first-gen Kindle I could put it on and lend. Ow!

I cannot pass on any book by a sitting Supreme Court Justice at any price, and I cannot complain about this one; it was informative and entertaining. Like David Deutsch, Nassim Taleb, or Thomas Pynchon, it is great to get an invitation into a mind of that caliber.

Scalia's acerbic wit is on display throughout.

In a curious and lengthy passage, Judge Richard A. Posner has likened a judge who follows the unintelligibility canon to a platoon commander who, on receiving a garbled message, does nothing and presumably allows his troops to be slaughtered.
[...]
The analogy limps.

One more word than "Jesus wept." But Ow!

More importantly, he promotes his judicial philosophy of originalism versus both the purposivist, living Constitution crowd and strict textualists. The book is presented as 70 common law cannons which are frequently used in judging cases. Each gets a description and most get an example case or two and the authors' opinion of whether it was applied wisely in the particular instance.

One could hardly imagine a more sweeping negation of the possibility of laws that accurately represent the judgment of the people, laws whose content is predictable, and judges who subjugate their personal views to the rule of law. "A government of men, not of laws" summarizes this cynical view, which invites judges to do whatever they like, since they cannot do otherwise--the doctrine of predestination applied to judicial decisions.

It's jurisprudential philosophy -- but in a very technical wrapper. Actual cases, many outside of or predating the United States, and difficult cases provide an appreciation for complexity that your typical pundit-class commenter may not completely grasp.
Contrary to the praise heaped on the Shakespearean character Portia for holding that Shylock could take his pound of flesh but not spill a drop of blood ("O upright judge! . . . O learned judge!"), it was a terrible opinion. She should have invoked the principle that contracts to maim are void as contrary to public policy. Her supposedly brilliant rationale ignored the well-acknowledged predicate-act canon.

Most importantly, I enjoy the authors' respect for Constitutional principles, most notably separation of powers and the job of legislative bodies in drafting the text. Scalia may be the béte noir of the left, but he is extremely respectful of other Justices, judges, and circuits. He has no compunction in attacking their opinions, but reading this book (or Bryers's or Stevens's or O'Connor's) one is struck by a higher level of respect and congeniality than we artisans ascribe to the Court.

A great read and a deeper look than I was expecting. Four stars.


Veepsteakin'

A good friend of the blog (from whom I learned about the Ryan pick) emails:

Does anybody still think Romney is cautious?

By the way, the New Yorker already is concerned with his lack of private sector experience. I don't drink coffee, but I went and made a pot just so I could spit it at the computer screen.


Hahahahahahahaha!

Super Libertario Delenda Est Man (do I get a cape?) has his work cut out. My Libertarian musician buddy posted this yesterday:

My heart weeps. I suggested that when he produces such an enumeration of VP Joe Biden's great votes for liberty, we'll chat.

I am saddened but undeterred -- he admitted he will likely vote for Gov. Romney. Perhaps my niche is relevant.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

That list is illustration why it would be difficult for me to personally serve in a legislative body - compromise. Some members are loathe to compromise, e.g. Ron Paul. How much of his legislation has passed? How much influence does he possess?

More importantly, as a member of the executive branch Ryan will no longer have to vote with the caucus against his principles. His principles will help guide presidential policy. Ask you friend to show you the video or the op-eds where Ryan endorses any of those votes on principle. THEN you can talk.

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2012 10:55 AM

August 11, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

Democrats will no doubt try to make Paul Ryan into a younger version of the devil theyve tried to paint Mitt Romney as. But they should worry about fighting a campaign on fundamental issues in a weak economy. Thats precisely how Jimmy Carter, the last Democratic president to run for reelection during hard times, wound up losing so badly that it not only cost Democrats control of the U.S. Senate but damaging the liberal brand for years afterwards.

- John Fund in 'Smart Democrats Should be Worried' at The Corner


RomneyHoss2012

It is SO on!

UPDATE: 23 minutes well spent: Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"A debate between Ryan and Biden would look very much like Ryan pushing some old woman off a cliff."

Given the history, I would enjoy seeing the SCOAMF undone by a man named Ryan.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 11, 2012 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Very pleased by the prospect of a campaign of ideas over whatever usually passes for political discourse.

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2012 10:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

UPDATE DEUX: I really loved this six-minute monologue by Ryan at the president's "bipartisan health care summit." Dagny didn't remember it. Maybe the rest of America needs reminding of it too.

"And I've gotta tell you the American people are engaged. And if you think they want a government takeover of healthcare I would respectfully submit" you're full of crap.
Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2012 11:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lots of great ideas in the 23 minute speech to Heritage Foundation. Many could be distilled into 30-second spots.

Why do so many well intentioned people support Democratic politicians? Because they believe the claptrap that Democrats lecture them with. Some do so because it is easier than taking responsibility for their own success or failure. Others, because they never get to hear an alternative vision. For these people, this calm and thoughtful 23 minutes is a valuable input.

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2012 11:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And as for KA's 'private Ryan' reference, the private has just been placed on the fast track for promotion.

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2012 11:11 AM
But Terri thinks:

Where does one purchase such a great looking bumpersticker?

Posted by: Terri at August 12, 2012 3:29 PM

August 10, 2012

Buffytalk

Don't miss it 'cause it is scrolling down low! Buffy talk endures.

If I may paraphrase jg: ThreeSources is a place where two kinds of people congregate to talk about guitars: Buffy viewers and non-Buffy viewers...

Television Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I would say that a singular soul doesn't preclude the existence of multiple bodies, so long as those bodies are composed of unique molecules. There are examples of this in reality, like Sarah Palin and that Ryan kid.

[Don't be misled by the link I chose - I like the Ryan pick.]

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2012 9:19 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

As do I, jg. While I expected Romney to go with a safe pick, I am pleased with the Ryan choice.

(1) The choice is a public declaration that this election is all about the economy. The collectivist left will still portray the Ryan plan as pushing Grandma and her wheelchair off a cliff, but that myth has been repudiated everywhere except in the far left's little echo chamber. We have a plan - Obama's party doesn't even have a budget.

(2) http://is.gd/xNwVxg

(3) Any debates between Ryan and Biden ought to be a hoot. That'll be like shooting fish in a bucket. With an eight-gauge.

(4) It ought to take some of the Paulbots out of the equation.

(5) While Christie may have been the most vocal anti-union, state-fixin' governor recently, you know who came a close second? That's right. Scott Walker. What state does Walker govern? That's right. I smell a tie-in here...

Last week when the SCOAMF was telling anyone who'd listen that "Romney wants Petraeus," I would have paid good money to hear Romney say "Anyone who picks Joe Biden is no go-to guy for advice on running mates." With this, he can still say it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 11, 2012 9:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ryan will shape Romney's message too. I'm starting to think of him as the Peyton Manning of politics - a player/coach.

P.S. Love KA's point number 2!

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2012 11:23 AM

Happy Birthday Hoss!

Leo Fender would have been 103 today!

Hat-tip: JustStrings.com

Hoss Music Posted by John Kranz at 6:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Tweet of the Day

I don't get the allusion, but I'm still laughing...


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Nicely Done.

Hat-tip: @baseballcrank Not a fan of ads griping about negative ads, but well done. RT @Yousefzadeh More like this, please: http://t.co/1ODKzG9G

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 2:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Libertario Delenda Est

I'm getting some help from an unexpected quarter. Wayne Allyn Root is destroying the party -- and the lads at Reason are none too pleased:

Root's bio identifies him as "a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee" and "Chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee" and the author of a book titled "The Conscience of a Libertarian." You know what that means? It means Wayne Allyn Root is an ambassador for libertarianism, and that his columns are a direct reflection on the Libertarian Party, which has several times elected him to prominent positions despite the fact that he is a glistening PR disaster.

Wow! A wacko ex-Candidate is damaging the Libertarian Brand® What are the odds of that?

Libertario Delenda Est!

But johngalt thinks:

"...or even a 'libertarian.'" To the Libertarian party there is such a thing as a second-class liberty lover. (Perhaps 'libertarian Republican' is third or fourth class.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2012 4:29 PM

Must be Friday.

a) Terri has a Calf Blog (an awesome twofer today).

b) Kim Strassel hits one out of the park.

My blog brother, jg, suggested that opposition to President Obama was enough to "electrify the conservative base" (the phrase comes from the linked item in the post). That is fair and his point was to push for Senator Rubio instead of Chairman Ryan. So, true to ThreeSources code, we were in a death match over a trivial difference. Both would rock and I don't expect tears for either.

Strassel gets the "lede of the year" award though, opening "Is Mitt Romney the GOP's future, or is he the GOP's past? That's one way to look at his upcoming choice of a running mate."

Bingo. I've no doubt that Sen. Rob Portman is a swell guy and I appreciate his considerable intellect. On the admittedly low bar of the Senatorial scale, the dude is Einstein. But he is a throwback to the Bush filé years. Most are worried that that would allow the President to run against Bush's now fourth term -- and it might.

But to a libertario delenda est warrior, it is even more severe. "Republicans are not gonna cut spending," "Two wings of the same bird of prey!" "Babababababababaaaa -- we won't get fooled again!" Strassel correctly points out that he has to choose a reformer.

Republicans were thrown out of Congress in 2006 for a reason: They'd lost their reform spirit. They twiddled their thumbs on big issues, ran from the entitlement problem, spent, earmarked and were wrapped in scandals. They became more obsessed with power than with solving problems.

The tea party sprang to life as a reaction to Obama overreach. Yet it was equally a response to a wayward GOP. The grass roots gave a voice to a new generation of reformers and rewarded at the polls Republicans who had the courage to join in that movement.


Old GOP or New, Governor? The Veepstakes will decide.
The GOP has for some time been on two different paths. Mr. Romney's choice of a running mate will not be his only opportunity to show which road he is himself on. But it will be a big one.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Is this thing on...

Last in first out: the lovely bride was looking over my shoulder and forced me to order one of the prints at your link.

On our not-quite-everybody's-first-choice nominee: I concur, but while it might be partisanship, I am more quickly liking him better. The Photo-op at Solyndra separated him from that grumpy old guy of whom you spoke. He won "in the Commonwealth" as a moderate, his campaign is clearly looking to repeat, and he may be right. What appeals to me does not always enjoy a plurality.

I reclaim the blog optimist title, however. Once he, Ann, and the ponies have moved into 1600, he might be the first politician ever to surprise on the upside. A strong Tea Party caucus in Congress and the horror of the status quo could push the right direction. And once properly pointed, he is a competent achiever.

If he doesn't give all our spouses Cancer.

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 12:54 PM
But dagny thinks:

jg told me this belonged in a separate post but time constraints don't allow. Regarding the VEEPstakes, I think Marco Rubio OR Paul Ryan would be fine choices for all the reasons mentioned.

However, Rubio gets credit for dumb idea of the week for
this one.

The fact that it has the complete support of Democrats and President Obama should be his first clue.

If our medalists are 20 year olds living in their parents basements and without endorsement deals then their prize money will not be taxed anyway as they are part of the 47% of this country who pay NO income tax.

If our medalists are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James they won't even notice the tax.

In the meantime our already unimaginably complicated, and loophole filled, tax code gets even worse.

On the other hand - it might be fun to have Turbo Tax next year ask me if I won any Olympic Medals...

Posted by: dagny at August 10, 2012 1:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Great in the comments as Senator Rubio is on everybody's shortlist for VP. I agree 100% with your assessment of stupidity.

He is protecting his inestimable future and I have often been surprised at his cautiousness. He is a Tea Party darling but he is not a firebrand by any stretch. May be best considering electoral exigencies, but I do not get the sense he is a Paul Ryan or Rand Paul reformer.

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 2:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My intended point was far less cerebral than is being assumed. I'm only trying to point out that, IMHO, the area where Mitt needs reinforcement is "likeability." It's a fact that voters don't vote for the number two (well, unless it's a comely independent lass from Alaska) having Rubio around him on the campaign trail will rub off on Romney in a variety of good ways. And his willingness to add Marco to his two-man team will lead to multiple plusses as well.

I'm a great fan of Paul Ryan, but while he has been made the "throw momma from the train" face of the TEA Party his couterpart the Senator from Florida is the "boy scout who walks little old ladies across the street" version of the Spirit of 2010.

And to clarify my remarks on dear dagny's comment, she is right in principle but this is an election year and promoting ideas everyone can support is electoral gold, no pun intended. Don't nitpick the guy because there's a slightly tarnished spot on the back shoulder of his shiny suit of armor.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2012 2:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, dagny is spoiled with perfection from those in her personal life and expects it from politicians.

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But of course, as usual, I could be wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2012 12:45 AM

August 9, 2012

So, we lied -- Romney gives you Cancer!`

Politico gets the Obama campaign to admit that yeah, that guy we said we didn't know about was in a couple of our ads and yes, there is tape of his kinda being on our conference calls, and maybe Stephanie Cutter did tweet about it once or two times at the most.

Jim Treacher summarizes:

"We just lied because we figured nobody would remember, and we'd get away with claiming we had nothing to do with that ad about Romney causing cancer," Psaki didn't add, not having to. "We're really pretty irritated that we even need to explain ourselves to you people."

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 7:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

NY Times - What Cornfields Show, Data Now Confirm: July Set Mark as U.S.s Hottest Month

In the United States, the only hope for substantial relief from higher-than-average temperatures in the coming weeks and months would be a striking atmospheric change, like the development this autumn of the weather pattern known as El Niño or a tropical cyclone that moves into the central part of the country from the Gulf of Mexico, scientists said on Wednesday.

But, wasn't electing Barack Obama in 2008 supposed to accomplish this?

But jk thinks:

To deny the connection would be to thumb one's nose at science.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2012 4:48 PM

She Sees Dead People...

CNSNews.com -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) told a recent gathering of the Women's Political Committee that the spirits of suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul spoke to her at the White House. Pelosi said she heard them say: "At last we have a seat at the table".
If they tell you to hurt Leader Reid, Madame Speaker...oh, never mind.
But Keith Arnold thinks:

She forgot to mention Lizzie Borden.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 9, 2012 5:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ivy Starnes.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2012 3:08 PM

Quote of the Day -- Veepstakes

Mr. Ryan could electrify the conservative base in a way Mr. Romney doesn't. He's young and stylish, articulate, likable and sincere. Some have described him as the Republican version of President Obama because of the youth, charm, and the fact they both have darling families. "He's a new-age Jack Kemp (the late congressman from Buffalo and GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996)," says Arthur Laffer, a long time friend and adviser to both. Another Reagan supply sider, Larry Kudlow of CNBC says Ryan would be "a homerun." -- Stephen Moore
This is in "Political Diary." The lead WSJ Editorial today suggests Chairman Ryan (HOSS - WI) as the best choice.
2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Does the conservative base really need any more "electrifying?" The president is the A-bomb of conservative energization. My support at this late date is behind the Senator from the must-win state of Florida, Marco Rubio. He is as smooth and charming as Mitt Romney is not, and his fresh face and calming voice will pay far greater dividends in swing states like Colorado.

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 1:49 PM
But Terri thinks:

I agree with John. Marco Rubio is the man. I can just hear the ads for Ryan now....

They aren't pretty. We already know they lie, let Ryan have his quiet time budgeting in the background.

Posted by: Terri at August 9, 2012 1:54 PM
But jk thinks:

A: this shows how worthless "Conservative" is as a scalar quantity

B: in my new, full time, libertario delenda est role, I suspect that some Tea Partiers and Libertarians could experience voltage gain with a pick that promised fealty to limited government. And I think Rep Ryan would be best. Sen. Rubio is the guy he picked to win Florida and appease Hispanics in Colorado; Ryan says he is dedicated to reform.

C: Much truth in Terri's suggestion that we need him in the House. Reason said this about Sen. Rand Paul and changed my mind on him. Wasting a valuable player in the interstice between Article I and Article II is tactically dubious.

Yet I am all in. It would provide a theme and a focus on substantive issues.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2012 5:24 PM

Elevator Talkin'

Been way too long since this category was hit. It's a short ride today, but while we wait for the delivery guy to get in I have a short digression.

At the last "Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons" I was asked to describe ThreeSources. Here I was in a friendly setting, describing something I love to a sympathetic party and... Sadly, blog friend Terri was there to hear the ensuing abortion. Memo to self: create elevator talk for blog (suggestions gleefully accepted). It was sad.

Today's elevator talk is a suggested term for what I am. To the cognoscenti, I call myself a "classical liberal" for those I'm unsure will get that, I love Milton Friedman's "I'm a little-l libertarian and big-R Republican." That's what I say on my Facebook profile.

But try this out: "I'm a Constitutional Libertarian." I recognize it is difficult to organize society. I hold that anarcho-capitalism is no more viable than full-tilt communism. "Both," blog friend Sugarchuck would gravely intone, "assume a pre-lapsarian human perfection." And then he'd make you read Michael Novak.

Once we admit that some structure is desirable, we have to draw the line. I suggest the American founders did as good a job at that task as we are likely to encounter. I therefore champion the freedoms protected in United States Constitution as amended (Article V is no less valid than the others). I'll accept that with which I disagree -- if others will honor the limits on government with which I concur.

This is my floor, but I'll give you this pre-printed handout with quotes:

...although certain contradictions in the Constitution did leave a loophole for the growth of statism, the incomparable achievement was the concept of a constitution as a means of limiting and restricting the power of the government.

Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals--that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government--that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens' protection against the government. -- Ayn Rand


It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what is will be tomorrow. -- James Madison

Have a nice day!

Elevator Talk Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

ThreeSources is a place where two kinds of people congregate for rational discussion: guitar players and non-guitar players.

ThreeSources is polite but not politically-correct.

We welcome all points of view but demand consistency both intellectually and with reality.

We love our fellow man to the point of brotherhood but we are not our brother's keeper nor wish any man to be ours.

We believe in happiness, liberty and prosperity and seek to not only live our own lives to their highest potential but to leave an even greater potential to our posterity.

Every ThreeSourcer understands that private individual property rights are the greatest exponent of liberty and any economic or political system which does not respect this right as an absolute is inconsistent with liberty.

In conclusion, the dominant sentiment of contributors and commenters at ThreeSources can be summarized in the words of author Robert A. Heinlein who wrote in 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' (1966) - "I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 3:14 PM

Cannot Please Everybody

A good friend with whom I tussle on Facebook has commented on a very old post.

"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

Three Sources should consider re-branding to "Three Sources of Cognitive Dissonance" ;-) Rationalize, ignore and deny anything that does not fit within your core beliefs. Spotted owls, fracking, deforestation, pollution, environmental degradation and job loss included. Cheers! ;-)


I'll confess to being a bit concerned by the tone. I verified on FB that he is okay and no more peeved at me than usual. I get passionate, he is certainly allowed.

There is (unsurprisingly) a Buffy quote that is perfect for this situation. At the risk of flippancy I recall Cordelia's "Project much?" My friend is completely convinced that we are destroying the planet. He rejects my suggestion that innovation is the best path to a cleaner environment and the elimination of poverty.

Fine. Many people reject my sagacity. And I do appreciate his willingness to engage. But I suspect that I have been at least as flexible in my positions than he.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 9:36 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

This was the subject of June 29's RAHQOTD.

It is of course rich irony that he accuses you of cognitive dissonance, when that is exactly what is required to simultaneously describe the concept and be a glittering example of it.

The last hope is to ask, "Do you acknowledge the existence of reason?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 12:27 PM

August 8, 2012

Quote of the Day

So on four separate occasions what TPC says is "mathematically impossible"--cutting tax rates and making the tax system more progressive--actually happened. Hats off to the scholars at TPC: Their study manages to claim that what happens in real life can't happen in theory. -- WSJ Ed Page
From an important takedown of the "Romney Hood" Tax Policy Center study. Let me know if you want a copy emailed over the pay wall.

UPDATE: This link should be free for seven days.

UPDATE II: How to fix the study.

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Yes please.

Posted by: johngalt at August 8, 2012 7:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the article: "In fact, it's a highly ideological tract based on false assumptions, incomplete data and dishonest analysis. In other words, it is custom made for the Obama campaign."

Why wouldn't a jovial reaction to this ad hominem turn the attack back on the president? e.g. "'Romney Hood' eh? My recollection of that story was that Robin Hood stood up to a greedy, self-righteous king and his heartless tax collectors. He repossessed gold from the king to return it to the working people his tax collectors took it from. 'Romney Hood' sounds like a badge of honor to me. By the way, does anyone realize that China, communist China, collects nearly ten percent less tax revenue from her people than the United States?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I am trying to heed the words of a pundit who cautioned not to second guess the campaigns too much. As naturally as it comes.

Did I say trying Yoda?

Governor Romney's campaign seems much less a train wreck than Senator McCain's. But holy cow. I MT-ed a @davidharsanyi tweet yesterday to this.

Mitt Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul attacked a pro-Barack Obama PAC ad which links the GOP presidential candidate to the cancer-related death of a former steelworker's wife. Saul veered off message, however, when she said that the fired steel worker would have had access to health care if he had lived in Massachusetts where, under Romney's plan, health care coverage is extended to the uninsured.
@davidharsanyi nearly every time the romney gets the upper hand they blow it.

Many called for Ms. Saul to be fired -- are you available to replace her?

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2012 12:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My services can be secured for a pittance. I did, in fact, email the China/US tax revenue info to two contacts in the Romney campaign. Leading a horse to water, as it were...

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 12:34 PM

Libertario Delenda Est

Some go their whole lives without realizing their true purpose. But this morning, I now know my calling. "Libertario Delenda Est: the Libertarian Party must be destroyed."

Reason puts Gov. Gary Johnson's new ad up on Facebook. And, what can I say, it is awesome! (Not sarcastic -- it is a very good ad.)

Jump in the pool -- the water's great! Be a Libertarian with me just this election! Establish the popularity of libertarian principles!

But they are not popular as in plurality popular. Yes, 50% favor treating marijuana like alcohol -- but do those 50% vote? Sixty-five do not believe troops in Afghanistan make us safer. Sixty two believe in marriage equality. I'll take his word on the figures, but how do those overlap? When you do a Venn diagram of who believes all of those, you'll see less than fifty (you're starting with 50 -- there isn't one guy who likes weed but favors traditional marriage?)

Uh-oh, we're already in electoral trouble. And we haven't mentioned -- over the snappy acoustic guitar beat -- that we are going to cut aid for poor people and privatize social security and legalize prostitution and heroin and quite possibly even lower the mandated percentage of ethanol in our nation's fuel supply.

How popular are we now? Before a single unfair withering attack ad is put on TV by an opposing Super PAC.

The answer is 9-19%, which polls always cite. I am proud to be in that small but wickedly intelligent minority. But I am not so naive to think that we will prevail in a first-past-the-post election. We need to make friends and build coalitions.

And that, dear readers, is my new raison d'etre. I cannot persuade my lefty Facebook friends -- they lack devotion to reason and critical thinking skills -- but I can perhaps bend the libertarian contingent into a more pragmatic voting pattern.

Libertario Delenda Est!

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Well, I am with you brother. I voted for Ed Clark for President in 1980 and missed a chance to vote for RWR twice. I switched registration to Republican 22 years ago. As to how hard it was to vote for the George H.W in '92, perhaps I'll write a post someday.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 8, 2012 8:52 PM
But Jk thinks:

I voted for John Anderson in '80! The shame of my life. You can at least claim principle -- I bought into the Reagan is going to nuke us all nonsense.

I was a child, what can I say.

Posted by: Jk at August 9, 2012 8:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I wish I could find some discussion of this but I recall a report that one or the other (I can't remember which) of Gary Johnson and Ron Paul would siphon more votes from Obama than from Romney. An interesting prospect.

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 3:25 PM

August 7, 2012

We Are Now in "The Diamond Age"

You may have noted in a reading of my biography over there to the left that I am a fan and admirer of Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. I mentioned the "NeoVictorians" (in your heart, you know they're right!) and another aspect of the book that expanded my mind was the notion of computer-controlled manufacture, molecule-by-molecule, of practically anything.

Well, this ain't that but it's close enough to be a complete game changer:

A Working Assault Rifle made With a 3-D Printer:

An amateur gunsmith, operating under the handle of "HaveBlue" (incidentally, "Have Blue" is the codename that was used for the prototype stealth fighter that became the Lockheed F-117), announced recently in online forums that he had successfully printed a serviceable .22 caliber pistol.

Despite predictions of disaster, the pistol worked. It successfully fired 200 rounds in testing.

HaveBlue then decided to push the limits of what was possible and use his printer to make an AR-15 rifle. To do this, he downloaded plans for an AR-15 receiver in the Solidworks file format from a site called CNCGunsmith.com. After some small modifications to the design, he fed about $30 of ABS plastic feedstock into his late-model Stratasys printer. The result was a functional AR-15 rifle. Early testing shows that it works, although it still has some minor feed and extraction problems to be worked out.


(Note, it is not a sturmwehr, you dopes!)

Okay, this tech has already been around for a little while, but this brought it into focus for me; think about the possibilities. What is going to happen when you can print household appliances, kitchen knives, shovels, coffee cups , WHATEVER, at home for 10-50% of the cost of buying crap at the Big Box? Much less guns.

I want to print a lot of things. I suppose the tech will just get better and it'll be Stat Trek-lite soon.

That will be an economic game changer, and in a short time. I am sure someone in the Gummint will try and ban it to protect the rent-seekers, but you might as well try and ban lathes, saws and chisels.

What would you like to print?

Technology Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 7:03 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Computer: print - tea, Earl Grey, hot."

Kidding aside, there's one flaw here: according to the fine details, he fabricated a plastic lower receiver for an AR-15. That's not the whole weapon, not by a long shot, and includes no metal parts. He gets points for making a working part to excellent tolerances, but - NOT a complete worknig firearm.

That doesn't mean I'm averse to the technology; it may be the only way I'll ever have a Shelby Cobra or a midbulk transport. We're not there yet, but to quote someone greater than myself: faster, please.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 7, 2012 7:42 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

On the other hand, when it can be used to manufacture me a Mark VII Iron Man suit, call me.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 7, 2012 7:49 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Behold: Metal!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 7, 2012 8:09 PM
But jk thinks:

My inner software guy wants to print money.

Not currency, but this technology will free a lot of smart people to make money selling designs without a lot of infrastructure. iPhone App guys of today will be selling guitar designs tomorrow.

And that gun is the calendar out of the dot matrix printer. Materials and resolution will explode.

But, yeah, I'm with Brother Keith. Print me a Breve Cappuccino, super dry -- and I will stock up on cartridges.

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2012 8:16 PM

Sports vs. Politics

Thomas Sowell wonders "Do our IQs just drop spontaneously when we turn to politics?" Why can we not exhibit the rationality we use for sports?

To take one common example, there are many people who believe that if the market fails, the government should step in. But, if Robinson Cano strikes out, does anyone suggest that the Yankees should send in a pinch hitter for him his next time at bat?

Everyone understands that a pinch hitter can also strike out, and is less likely than Cano to get a hit or a home run. But the very possibility that the government can fail when it steps in to substitute for a failing market seldom occurs to people. Even among some economists, "market failure" is a magic phrase that implies a need for government intervention.


Government hits well below the Mendoza line, and dreams of the Win-Loss record of my beloved 2012 Colorado Rockies.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"...Why can we not exhibit the rationality we use for sports?..."

The majority of Raiders fans do.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 7, 2012 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2012 4:32 PM

Keeping in mind...

Keeping in mind it is a felony, bad taste, and in direct contravention of the ThreeSources Style Guide to suggest physical harm to an elected official.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Went to the site. Essentially, the SCOAMF is soliciting "letters to the editor" - I assume to the Dead Tree Media - from small business owners in support of his presidency.

Basically, blatant astroturfing, right?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 7, 2012 4:21 PM

August 6, 2012

Quote of the Day II

My natural inclination is to encourage the boycott. Not because of my political views, but because I figure it will help me get through the drive-thru faster. Though it's a tough call. For the controversy centers around three things I hold sacred: marriage, all God's children (both straight and gay), and Chick-fil-A's rapturous spicy-chicken sandwich. Not necessarily in that order. Because when you make that last a combo platter, with waffle fries and coleslaw, it's no longer a contest. -- Matt Labash
Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

No, it's not Thursday yet, but Brother Ellis has a couple slots still open in his top five -- and I wanted to lobby for Johnny Mercer...

Coffeehouse

This Time the Dream's on Me

"Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer"

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

But Riza Rivera thinks:

Thanks!!! Loved it!!!
love, Riza

Posted by: Riza Rivera at August 6, 2012 1:30 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

How is is it that I have only heard this song a couple of times in my life? Okay, now I have to go into reconsideration mode on No. 2!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 7, 2012 5:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Several people commented on this tune's obscurity. It's a great request to give you some cred at the piano bar. I recommend Allison Krause's version on the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" soundtrack.

I'm ribbing about your top two, but Mercer's "Skylark" would certainly make my top three -- top one on a good day.

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2012 6:16 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Five stars!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 7, 2012 8:02 PM

Quote of the Day

Sorry, Keynesians. There was no discernible two or three dollar multiplier effect from every dollar the government spent and borrowed. In reality, every dollar of public-sector spending on stimulus simply wiped out a dollar of private investment and output, resulting in an overall decline in GDP. This is an even more astonishing result because government spending is counted in official GDP numbers. In other words, the spending was more like a valium for lethargic economies than a stimulant. -- Art Laffer
But johngalt thinks:

"Keynsian multiplier" is a theoretical fiction that has been allowed to occupy the public consciousness unopposed for far too long. Henceforth it shall be known as the "Keynsian divider." It divides productive people from their earnings and, after funding cronyism and payola, any remainder is given away to "the needy."

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2012 5:20 PM

August 5, 2012

Flash Mob

Haven't been real keen on the flash mob concept. But this might change my mind:

Music Posted by John Kranz at 9:07 PM | What do you think? [1]
But dagny thinks:

This is cool!

And here are 2 others I like to help JK with his flashmob fan conversion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrEk06XXaAw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp_RHnQ-jgU

Posted by: dagny at August 7, 2012 6:40 PM

Yes, Let's Emulate China!

Elizabeth Warren has a new campaign commercial in her effort to take back "Ted Kennedy's seat" in the US Senate. In it she looks at the camera and says,

"Weve got bridges and roads in need of repair and thousands of people in need of work. Why arent we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America? Were at just 2.4 percent. We can do better."

I cannot continue without first asking, "What do you mean 'we' kemosabe?" But there's more to this story than pointing out the difference between a (partially) free state and a communist dictatorship, as the Boston Herald does very well, and than reminding Ms. Warren that the lion's share of infrastructure "investment" in the U.S. is made privately and thus won't show up in her government spending statistic.

Warren wants to compare America to China on spending? Then let's compare them on taxation as well: According to data from the Heritage Foundation that I blogged last month, China's tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is 17 percent. America's is almost ten points higher - 26.9%.

Let's make America more competitive with China. Let's return 9.9 percent of the nation's GDP to those who earned it so that it can once again be invested in prosperity. (And who would ever have believed that America's tax receipts could grow to become a greater share of the economy than that of communist China in the first place?)

But AndyN thinks:

How much of that 9% was spent building cities that still stand unoccupied? Likewise, if the US increased federal infrastructure spending, how much of it would be spent on rail lines to nowhere and the like?

Posted by: AndyN at August 5, 2012 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

At least in China, people listen to their betters!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 1:41 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In America, we don't HAVE betters.

Of course, try telling that to our elected overlords, their appointed czars and bureaucrats, and the self-appointed special-interest activists...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 6, 2012 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

...and the Haavaahd Professors...

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It figures, even "our betters" are Made in China.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2012 5:08 PM

Review Corner

I hope ThreeSourcers appreciate how unseriously I take "Review Corner." When moved by a book, it is great to share it with both of my dedicated readers. But all in all, I took the name from Bullwinkle's "Poetry Corner" and take it about as seriously.

Authors work the social media and blogs, and it has been a great joy to get little thank you notes on good reviews and even a kindly defense on one that was less than five stars.

I happily picked up Brad Hennenfent's Anthem Against Obama when Dr. Hennenfent commented on one of Brother Ellis's posts. I traded a couple emails with the author and hope to preserve an alliance.

The book is a great read. I think every ThreeSourcer will dig it. He has repurposed Ayn Rand's "Anthem" to a modern dystopian post-Obama world. And it is done brilliantly. Hennenfent captures the timeless ideas of freedom and individualism and brings them to life.

We had never heard of these mountains, nor seen them marked on any map. They had never been mentioned in the Home of the Students. The world was much larger than they had taught us.

Long time Review Corner readers hear a "but" coming and here it is. The author mentions in an introduction that he might revise the book after the 2012 election. While the jabs at President Obama are enjoyable for a partisan like me, I think they present two problems.

First, they detract from the timelessness that Rand and Hennenfent capture. There are philosophical enemies to liberty everywhere and every when. Of course, that's the books concept and premise. "Did you think there were too many monkeys in Jane Goodall's book, jk? Huh?" Yet I found those to be fun but less satisfying than the rest.

Second, the level of Dystopianism that the story requires attributed to the current administration is a strawman argument. I'm sympathetic, but I imagine one on my Facebook friends picking this up -- or I imagine a book that has Mitt Romney forcing society into coerced Mormonism with all the Starbucks closed down. I'm not what most people would call a big fan of our 44th President, but the line from his bad policies and philosophy to this is tenuous (not non-existent to be fair, but tenuous).

Humorous to the dedicated opposition and enjoyable. But I found it turned a good and serious philosophy book into a "red meat for partisans" polemic. I think I might prefer the revision.

All said, you still have to buy and read this quality work: four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

Review Corner: Cloud Storage

TRAGEDY! I take my Kindle in my very small car because I know I will have to kill some time. I put it on the console knowing someday I am going to lean on it too hard and. Oh. Crap.

It is my negligence and I won't whine -- I might take one star off my review of the case, but c'est la guerre.

Got the new one (thanks, lovely bride!) and have to wonder at how painless it was to set it up. Get on Amazon, choose the books I want, and click "Send to device" and I am back to Justice Scalia's world in less than a minute.

Now I know Apple is moving to iCloud but it is not the default. When I have broken an iPod or had a computer crash, it is a huge all-day hassle to recover -- and some things are always lost. Again, iCloud might have brought Apple to this level, but Amazon built its hardware around its cloud, so this has always been available, and everything I have EVER bought from them is there to load onto any of my devices.

Five stars for the platform.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

None Dare Call Him libertarian

There's an interesting candidate for US Senate in the state of Tennessee this cycle. Mark Clayton:

The Clayton campaign's Facebook page champions three major positions: strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, family stances that are pro-life, and keeping the country from turning into "AN ORWELLIAN SUPER STATE."

Yet this is not a "TEA Party candidate" proffered by Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin or some small government super PAC trying to take over the GOP. Clayton defeated six others in his state's Democrat primary. Personally I see this as the revenge of the Southern Democrats, but Tennessee's Democratic Party credits another factor for Clayton's success:

"Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support."

"Unfortunately?" The state Democratic party is somehow displeased with the candidate their registered voters selected? Yes, so much so that they have disavowed him as their candidate to oppose Republican Senator Bob Corker.

"Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November."

Yet it seems that the Tennessee Democrat "candidate of choice" is Mark Clayton! Who is "out of touch" now? After all, this is the Demo-cratic party.


August 4, 2012

Blast from the past

Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a link to a photo of a fixture of our youth (diagram that, babies!)

The "Voxmobile" was owned by the extremely colorful owner of Strings & Things Music on Colfax Avenue. Colfax -- like the Speaker/VP for which it was named -- has a colorful history. The longest commercial road in the USA, much of it houses red-light districts, head shops, seedy night clubs, the State Capitol - you get the idea. The Zanza Bar, featured in "Every Which Way but Loose" is on Colfax. I had a house gig on Colfax three blocks from my famous apartment. Even where it runs through a nice Denver neighborhood, Colfax is somehow seedy.

"Bill," I cannot remember another name, was a Colfax Entrepreneur right out of Central Casting. The History Channel show "Pawn Stars" reminds me a lot of both Bill and Strings & Things. We hung out there, I bought a few things, and one night we encountered him drunk on the street and ran for our lives from threats of violence.

But Bill owned this car and would drive it in parades or just park it out front to attract attention. He said it had appeared in a Beatles movie, but I have not been able to confirm that. And a great lie from this colorful character is somehow better than a true story.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Poe thinks:

The vox car at strings and things,...one of my deepest memories of childhood, ...I used to check it out through the front window of the place almost everyday after school. I lived close by and frequented the place as I grew up and bought equipment from there as needed when I had the dough and still have some pedals and such that I cherish very much. I was wondering whether I would ever find anything on the internet about the place as I've searched before and found nothing so it was cool to see this post. The old guys name was Bill Baker and I remember after a few years his throat was screwed up, probably cancer from smoking who knows, but after that he had a little round talk box thing that he would hold to his throat in order to communicate/ talk, ...he sounded kinda like a Ceylon from Battlestar Galactica, ...it was kind of spooky at first. I remember he had a beautiful red el dorado convertible that was always parked on the side. his wife pretty much sat in the place keeping an eagle eye on you and they later had two doberman pinchers that they would (and could tell they intended to actually do so), ...let these dogs run right up to you and sniff your balls so as to warn you not to steal I guess, ...not exactly very cool to me or other customers to do that kinda shit I thought but then again as I look back on it they were kind of wierd mthrfkrs every time I was in there and who knows what the hell else they were into, ...probably whatever they could be ...who knows. I remember they had a daughter but she was in a wheelchair every time I saw her. I think they may have lived or owned the house or small apartment behind the music store and had always meant to go down there and find out whether the daughter was still around and say hi to her as she would always say hi to me but I never did. There was a guy named Dave who would tend to me when I went in there and he sold me my first guitar a Teisco/ Kawai which I still have, ...he was always cool every time I was in there through the years and I had heard from some fellow by the name of rex who worked there later before the shop went down that Dave had died in a car wreck in the mountains or on the way back from a concert or something, ...he was always cool to me when I was in there from the age of 7 on up until I never saw him again. I don't think Rex was there long and I think bill's wife sold the place shortly after that, I don't know the exact particulars. I remember hearing from Rex maybe or someone else that someone had stolen the smaller guitars off the back of the vox car and I don't know if they ever found them or not. I always remember seeing bill or Dave walking down colfax towards where I lived to eat lunch at the Azars big boy which was right up the street from my house and would sometimes see them in there eating when I went in and ordered a plate full of fries which I would smother with ketchup and Heinz 57 sauce, ...man I was living in luxury HA! I wish I could find some pictures inside and outside of this store because I have a lot of memories of the place. I can't seem to find anything much except an old picture of the Childrens Home which was taken from the corner where they built the Azars. Well, they were good memories of that area I grew up in, ...most of those people are long gone now unfortunatly and would have loved to talk with them now that I'm older ...if I ever think of more about this place I'll write some more. Take care everyone.

Posted by: Poe at December 28, 2012 2:31 AM
But Dangerous Dan thinks:

I remember Strings & Things, with all the Hammond organs in the front, and the weird guitars, like old Vox Grand Prixs and such. Toward the end, Bill would talk through one of those throat boxes. I knew Dave who worked there, he played bass in a local band. He was killed when the car he was riding in, which was being driven by a young Hispanic woman, went the wrong way on I-70 at night. She was real drunk and ended up doing jail time.

Posted by: Dangerous Dan at March 12, 2013 1:04 PM

August 3, 2012

I Didn't Know Who Charisma Carpenter Was

I hope brother jk will forgive me because I have never seen "Buffy" and didn't know of Charisma Carpenter. Just in case this is true of others, I append the following, so that when reading the post below you will know of whom he is speaking:

Carpenter

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:21 PM | What do you think? [18]
But jk thinks:

Anya made the opening credits -- she would have made my top ten. And, yes, number one for economics!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 8:10 PM
But Mrs. Keith Arnold thinks:

Anyanka the demon, YAY! Anya the human, from a capitalist point of view, gets a soft yay. Anya, Xander's partner -- not even!

Dawn wasn't even real -- a ball of light sent to the slayer to be protected if I recall correctly. Although by the end of the series, I was sort of rooting for her and all them other slayers.

Glory? As a god she was indestructible despite her skanky, lopsided.... The best they could do was teleport her to the atmosphere care of a Willow spell. Too bad Ben got in the way.

Pre and post-chip Spike was always a favorite although the "I'm in love with the slayer" arc sort of diminished him in my eyes.

Faith as Buffy gets a thumbs up. Faith as crazy, lunatic, maniacal faith also gets a thumbs up but at an 89 degree angle.

Willow, post Oz, and by extension, Bad Willow, are in my opinion the most developed character of Whedon's Buffy-verse. The difference between Season 1, Episode 1 through the destruction of the hellmouth is astounding.

Rupert Giles vs. Wesley Wyndham-Price? Giles any day until Wesley grew a pair the last two seasons of Angel. Then it's a toss-up

Buffy herself is a little uneven. On one hand, capable of great and self-sacrifice. Skewering one's lover to a broad sword to prevent the end of the world even as she reassures him that everything is just peachy is classic. On the other hand Double-Meat Palace and Riley? Really?

Other honorable mentions: Xander, a soft yay, Bad Xander - awesome! Seth Green was a revelation as Oz. Could've done without the Tara angle, and yet her demise brought about Bad Willow and of course Cordelia.

Not a fan, but I respect the attitude. Moving her to Angel was the best thing that could've happened to her character, higher-being notwithstanding.

Thanks of the indulgence. I couldn't resist getting into mix. After all I claim full responsibility for Keith's exposure to the BtVS and Angel universe. I made watching both shows a condition of our courtship. And in return, he's hard at work turning me into a browncoat. :)

Posted by: Mrs. Keith Arnold at August 10, 2012 3:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Indulgence - schmindulgence, we could talk about Buffy all the time and just let politics work itself out.

Capitalist, human Anya is interesting because the things she says are 100% right - but then everybody laughs. Sometimes it is disturbing to have Milton Friedman cast as the straight man, but I have to think some teens think "you know, she's got a point..." And they are not likely to hear it anyplace else.

Two points for Cordy.

1) In "Earshot." Buffy acquires mind reading powers and is disappointed in all her friends' machinations and masquerades. Cordelia -- alone among the entire cast -- says exactly what she thinks. It's something of a gag but I find it long-term endearing.

2) To come home to philosophy (this is ThreeSources), I collect the episodes where the characters turn from a childhood sense of duty to an adult's rational acceptance of their role: the Catholic sacrament of Confirmation as it were.

For Angel, it is "I will Remember You;" for Buffy, "Normal Again;" Anya, "Selfless." I can and do go on. But for Cordelia, it is "Birthday." She is given everything in life she has ever dreamed of. Yet the spoiled little rich girl prom queen exercises free will to choose her office manager role in fighting evil. That is powerful and praiseworthy and everything everyone could aspire to.

And then to complete the dénouement of her odd story arc in "You're Welcome." I've seen that a dozen times and it still gives me chills. "You're Welcome."

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 4:08 PM
But Mrs. Keith Arnold thinks:

You're Welcome is a personal favorite but the sentiment behind "I Will Remember You" is probably the most important reason behind my disapproval of the whole Angel/Cordy affair that never really came to fruition.

I will concede that by the end of You're Welcome, Cordy was barely recognizable as the brat from Sunnydale but then her character, outside of Buffy's two deaths and subsequent resurrections, suffered the most from supernatural intervention.

Posted by: Mrs. Keith Arnold at August 10, 2012 6:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Blog friend SC denies my quantum-multiverse interpretation of "Normal Again" by insisting that Whedon believes in a singular soul and that Buffy therefore cannot -- as I claim -- exist both in the hospital and in Sunnydale.

I suggest that in "Birthday," Cordelia connects with something in her that is deeper than the supernatural forces which have altered her. She chose her life and is solely responsible for the sweet young lady we encounter in “You’re Welcome.” She built that.

Speaking of incredible Whedon characters – what about the demon “Skip” in “Billy” and “Birthday.” Genius!

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 6:43 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Well, I did read the linked article about the top 10 characters. So now I know something of what we're talking about. And I do remember firefly pretty will. But "I am only an egg."

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 10, 2012 8:33 PM

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Charisma Carpenter has got a new gig:

Beverly Hills, CA -- Charisma Carpenter, best known for her role as Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, has signed a deal to host Investigation Discovery's new series, I SURVIVED EVIL (wt). The show will feature dramatically compelling and emotional stories of victims who fought back against their attackers and, against amazing odds, survived. The 10-episode first season of I SURVIVED EVIL is slated to begin filming in August 2012.

I did not realize that she is a survivor herself. Click through for a grisly story.

UPDATE: An SFW photo of the lovely Ms. Carpenter:

Television Posted by John Kranz at 5:18 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Sounds good. I'd like it even more if it was retitled "I Killed Evil" and focused exclusively on cases where armed (or for that matter, unarmed) citizens refused to be victims, or to stand by and stay out, and actually killed the goblin(s). Slow-mo reenactments would be a nice touch. Maybe more people would be encouraged...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 3, 2012 6:19 PM

Photo of the Quadrennial!

Mercy! A great friend of this blog sends a link to a photo.


2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And the SCOAMF had the nerve to say that it was the Republicans who drove the car into the ditch. Man, I need to get me a big ol' Slurpee so I can watch the skinny Boy King in his mom jeans, slipping and sliding and sweating, trying to push it out.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 3, 2012 5:51 PM

Teaser, Indeed!

But johngalt thinks:

Just noticed on the written script from a scene in the movie (0:35 in clip)-

"ON Hank Rearden moving through a wasteland of tangled... housing with broken windows. Rearden Steel glowing in the ... background. A distance off, a partially broken neon sign... BLINKS. Whatever is said before, ("Stanhope Furniture... Less!"), it now flashes: ...HOPE ...LESS.
Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 3:00 PM

None Dare Call it Bias

Let me give my standard rant, for those who have just tuned in. The media is cowardly, incurious, lazy, and biased. Those who attribute all those four flaws to bias sound black-helicopterish. Recognizing bias as part of the fourth estate's four cardinal sins puts it all together.

And. Yet. The jobs numbers are out:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama got new figures Friday to buttress his argument that he's presiding over steady, if slow, economic growth. But the government's report that the overall rate of unemployment actually crept up to 8.3 percent allows Republican rival Mitt Romney to keep pressure on Obama to defend his record.

You have to dig into the second paragraph to get the headline number (169,000), but first we must ascertain that our sheep readers are aware that the President is doing swell.

No mention that 169,000 is not enough to keep up with population growth. Less than no mention that after quarter after quarter of sub-par growth, we should be seeing breakout numbers. They did mention the 8.3% unemployment -- I suppose I should be pleased.

UPDATE: Matthew Continetti, going for a quote of the day:

With Romney the storyline had proven more elusive. Before settling on "gaffe-prone" the media had difficulty choosing between extremes. They shoot at Romney coming and going. One day he is a bully, the next day he is a wimp. One day he has "no core," the next day he is a radical. One day he is out of touch, the next day he is pandering to his base. In the morning they say Romney is too vague, in the evening they say his specific policies will be ruinous. Romney is too secretive, but what we know about him is scary. The whiplash from attack to attack provokes nausea. Some, like Harry Reid, have taken simply to making things up.

But johngalt thinks:

Personally I enjoyed the news analysis that said the new jobs report is the cause for the 200-point rise at the open of the stock market this morning. "Unemployment is up, but hiring is too!"

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2012 1:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

169,000 new jobs? Nice. Just 10,831,000 to go...

http://is.gd/o4fbUr

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 3, 2012 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Slow but steady Keith -- under the President's firm leadership!

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2012 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

That's not bias, that's true. As the jobs numbers continue to suck, the pressure will be on The Bernank to fire up the presses. The market loves that.

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2012 6:39 PM

Must be August

In the Centennial State, every August brings a new scheme to increase education funding. Union front groups spend buckets of dough running commercials about our state's starving education funding. There is never a mention of any problems -- or any reforms. Always "Dear Colorado: Please send money...Love, Teachurs!"

Thankfully, they always lose, but complacency is for fools. And it must be August. Sunana Batra of Colorado News Agency is on the case.

New push for school funding lacks punchline; backers mum

Are supporters of last year's failed ballot drive to raise statewide taxes for public education back for another bite at the apple? It's hard to tell for sure; organizers of a new campaign to address school funding aren't talking.

The campaign, billed as Colorado Commits, began running primetime television commercials on Denver-area stations in early July. Sponsored by the civic group Colorado Forum, the effort also has set up a website and a Facebook page arguing that the state's school system is underfunded. And an ad posted on Craigslist seeks to recruit field workers for the campaign, paying up to $12 an hour.



August 2, 2012

"Baby, Please Don't Go" - The Amboy Dukes

Just for fun; not one of the Five Best Songs but a good one, and there is such joie de vivre in Ted Nugent's guitar work and the vocals. Nugent was 18 years old when this was cut. Wow.

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 5:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice! Motivated me to go looking for an old personal favorite: The Climax Blues Band. 'Tightly Knit' is a very good album all the way around.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2012 3:29 PM

ZUCKENFREUDE!

I'm going to coin the word, claim credit, and deposit my royalties in a Cayman Islands account.

But I am not otherwise going to engage in the trendy denigration of Facebook as a corporate entity. I did not purchase an equity interest and suspected that those who did were not paying attention in 1999. And yet, it's hip to hate Facebook. Watching FOX Business (methadone for Kudlow withdrawal), it is a veritable religion. Plus the hipsters cannot abide by anything popular, and the tech-savvys need to be seen on the latest platform.

I'd sell a put on Facebook at 16 though. It is a real platform with hundreds of millions of users, and many millions of devout users. That is not without value, even if that value is not $28.

Professor Reynolds of Knoxville engages in a little Zuckenfreude from time to time. Today, linking to a real concern that Zuckertaxes was the last trick up the Golden State's sleeve.

California state officials had been counting on a big boost to state revenues from the social networking company FB+0.70%.

California Governor Jerry Browns office put the number as high as $1.9 billion, assuming that Facebook shares are trading around $35 later this year when restricted stock unit lockups end.

Now however, with Facebook barely above $20, those assumptions are very much in doubt.

And as the Legislative Analysts Office told the Sacramento Bee "if the companys stock price remains depressed, hundreds of millions of income tax dollars assumed in the 2012-13 state budget plan are at risk."

Ruh ro.

UPDATE: Patent rejected:

[June 06 2012] Business journalists are having fun chronicling the stock market woes of Facebook (FB). I call the phenomenon Zuckenfreude. But when it comes to technology train wrecks, Facebook can't hold a candle to the disaster that is Sony.

California Posted by John Kranz at 5:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

A Headline I Doubt Very Much

Odds of Syria peace get bleaker as Annan quits U.N. mission
UNITED NATIONS/GENEVA (Reuters) -- Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is stepping down as the U.N.-Arab League mediator in the 17-month-old Syria conflict at the end of the month, the United Nations said on Thursday, the latest sign that the outlook for a diplomatic solution is bleak. "Mr. Annan has informed me, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil Elaraby, of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012," Ban said in a statement, adding that he and Elaraby were in discussions on appointing a successor to Annan.
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It gets bleaker? This is possible? That sort of implies that the hopes of peace previously were previously less bleak.

I withdraw my demand that we exit the United Nations and make them pack their bags. We need to keep them around - for the laughs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 2, 2012 5:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Possibly, Syria could get bleaker. My amazement is that somebody actually thought "It's going to be okay -- Kofi Annan is there!" And somebody is now distraught that the kleptocrat has gone home.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2012 8:23 PM

In Dressage News...

Ann Romney's horsey in 6th...

Rafalca, the mare co-owned by Ann Romney--made her Olympics debut at Greenwich Park, competing in the individual Dressage Grand Prix event against a crowded field that included horses from at least seventeen other nations.

Rafalca and her rider Jan Ebeling scored a 70.243 in the first round of competition, which put them in sixth place as of 8:30 a.m. ET.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:11 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Is it appropriate to say "Go baby, go!"?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 2, 2012 8:12 PM

Senator Reid, Pederast!

Senator Reid has still not disproven the allegations of Pederasty against him! Why, if somebody wanted to be an author at ThreeSources, and had accusations of pederasty, he would not be approved. I see no reason not to expect as much from the US Senate Majority Leader...


But johngalt thinks:

I'm trying to resist reflexively arguing about the tax returns issue, as Reid is trying to goad us, and turn the attack right back at him but there are a couple of problems. First, Reid isn't up for re-election for another four years. Second, Democrat-electing constituencies don't care about personal decrepitudes. So I'm back to defending on taxes.

So what if he didn't pay any taxes? Did he owe any, according to the tax codes we all live under?

So what if he has bank accounts in foreign places? US bank funds are only guaranteed to $250,000 anyway.

Tax returns aren't a problem. Harry Reid isn't a problem. What really is a problem is that "Romney is a candidate in the grip of performance anxiety." The reality is, "The Republicans have nominated a bad candidate." (Well technically he isn't nominated yet but I ain't goin' down that road. At least not today.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Sometimes, you have to do something just because it is a good time. Getting that hashtag trending on Twitter or getting Google to recommend "harry reid pederast" when you hit an h is just good clean fun.

I'm liking our presumptive nominee. He was not my first or second choice, but he has displayed sharper elbows than Sen. McCain, and pleased to the upside with the Palestinian culture comment, and some pretty deft pouncing on the President's gaffes.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2012 4:15 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Two things come to mind, one the old saying, "He may be a son-of-a-bitch but he's our son-of-a-bitch!"

Second, Reid is a Mormon and Romney is a Mormon and what the hell happened to the 11th Commandment of Mormonism?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 2, 2012 5:16 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

Ahmadinejad added that "liberating Palestine" would solve all the world's problems, although he did not elaborate on exactly how that might work.

--From a Jerusalem Post article, reporting a speech published on the Iranian president's website today renewing his call for "the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom."


August 1, 2012

Randal O'Toole, Call your Office!

Brother Ellis has a couple slots left in his Top 5. I respectfully submit Dean Martin "...goin' back to Houston, Houston, Houston."

When you leave people alone, you not only avoid housing bubbles, you also become. . . cool:

Houston is known for many things: Oil, NASA, urban sprawl and business-friendly policies. But the Texas city deserves to be known for something else: coolness.

The Bayou City may not be the first place you associate with being hip or trendy. But Houston has something many other major cities don't: jobs. With the local economy humming through the recession, Houston enjoyed 2.6% job growth last year and nearly 50,000 Americans flocked there in response -- particularly young professionals. In fact, the median age of a Houston resident is a youthful 33.


Is freedom the answer? I used to play there, and trust me good people -- it's not the weather.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

Taking a Stand

I felt queer -- I mean queasy -- engaging in today's protest. I support marriage equality 100%. But the ACLU did not support Nazism, they supported First Amendment rights.

I think the folks at Chick-Fil-A have a right to think and say what they think and say. Ergo, after reading about "Flipping the Bird to Rahm" and seeing pictures of long lines in Chicago. I got a little hungry:

Amanda served us and said that "everybody who lives within 100 miles of the place had been there" today. I nodded. It was almost 2:30 PM and I was five cars back in the drive-through, and the restaurant looked full.

UPDATE:

Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Tweeted a couple pictures from dinner hour at what I suspect is this same CFA. I've never seen so many people so pleased to be standing in line. "God bless America and God bless capitalism," I said to one fellow after we discussed the length of the line inside the restaurant.

I looked at all of the pictures on the "Flipping the bird" link and the UPDATE link at that page. The scene in my town was repeated all over the country. So this is what a boycott looks like!

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 12:04 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Went to the same Chick-fil-a tonight (did somebody say "boycott?") and all seemed normal. Ordered dinner (no water) at the drive thru and asked if there had been any demonstrators today. "No, we haven't seen any." A pity. I was hoping for a picture to post.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2012 11:27 PM

Will Obama Play the "Mormon Card"?

Professor Reynolds agrees with the WSJ's Holman Jenkins that "Team Obama will play the Mormon card at some point too."

The gist of the article is that BO's campiagn has no point, except to try and suppress Romney voters and somehow squeek though to victory. Fine; from a game-theory perspective, I suppose that's all they have left. "It could have been even worse" is obviously not going to do the job.

However, the "Mormon card" would be the equivalent of a tactical nuke set off 100 yards ahead of your own trenches in the hope it will harm the enemy more than you. I don't know exactly what the "Mormon card" is supposed to be, but I take it that it would mean surrogates saying, more in sorrow than in anger, that certain Mormon beliefs are so far out of the mainstream, so crazy, that (hint, hint) can we really trust someone who believes this stuff to make rational decisions about world-historical issues?

I don't think that this can work for Obama, who happens to have attended the Rev. Wright's sort-of anti-American church for many years and whose Christianity seems to stay in the closet most of the time. Maybe he'll be seen attending more services at various mainline Protestant churches (all of which will, of course, have put on the record their support of "gay marriage') in the next few months.

Reynolds and Jenkins are both very smart men, but I just don't see how the "Mormon card" can help Obama win. There is a scenario where, late in the race, his campaign is desperate and throws every last piece of trash out there in an attempt to pull off a miracle. That's embedded in the implications of the whole piece.

My conclusion: If we see the "Mormon card" it means Romney is going to win and Obama is willing to sacrifice his dignity and his ethics in a desperate attempt to stave it off. I hope it doesn't come to that, but it well could.

2012 Election Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:50 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Al Smith will have the last laugh when that happens. Jack Kennedy may have been the first to overcome it, but if that card gets played this go-round, it will never get played again. The backlash will be incendiary.

There are a handful of my brethren (and cistern) who have made comments about their inability to vote for a Presidential candidate of unlike faith. I don't share that concern (and there are ThreeSourcers here who will testify that probably no one here unloaded on Huckabee as virulently as did I); I'm not voting for a Pastor-in-Chief.

Not that long ago, when it started looking like Mr. Romney was going to be the likeliest to get the nomination, an Obama supporter who I tolerate shot off his mouth and asked me "So, are you going to be able to vote for a Christian heretic in November?"

"Better than an apostate Muslim, I suppose," I shot back, not missing a beat.

And therein lies the danger in the SCOAMF playing that particular card. That weapon has a nasty kick.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 1, 2012 5:11 PM

Theater Shooting Not an Original Idea?

In the wake of the Aurora, CO mass murder at a movie theater it has remained a mystery why the murderer did such a thing. Charles Feldman of the Los Angeles affiliate of CBS reports that MTV's "Diggity Dave" received two phone calls from the murderer about a month before the crime.

Dave told KNX 1070's Charles Feldman that a young man who called himself "J**** H*****" phoned him in June about his upcoming film, "The Suffocator of Sins."

Dave wrote, directed and stars in the forthcoming takeoff of the Batman movie, which shows a young vigilante Batman shooting down evil doers. Some have said the YouTube trailer resembles a crowded movie theater. He describes the film as a "very sick and dark twist of the Batman movies."

Dave said H*****, 24, claimed to have watched the trailer more than 100 times. He was obsessed with the violence depicted in the trailer and dismayed that the film's character didn't use bigger guns, according to Dave.

I found the "official trailer" page for 'Suffocator of Sins.' "This video has been removed by the user."

Colorado Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, that's a plausible thesis, but I'm not really seeing it in the data. Not counting school killings, workplace killings, hate crimes or familicides (the list you linked) there have been 8 "rampage killings" in the US. One in the 40's, 50's, 80's, two in the 90's and three since Barack Obama has been president. Hmmm, maybe there's a different correlation.

Beyond that anomaly, who among us remembers hearing about thirteen people murdered in New York and ten more in Alabama in 2009?

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 11:17 AM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Well jg, the theater killing had better staging, make-up and special effects, making it irresistable to the so-called "news media." I do recall the NY and AL murders, but AL was spread out in multiple locations, and the guy in NY was Chinese, which I cynically believe is not as interesting as a white guy for the carrion-feeders in "news". Also, both the perps were dead immediately, which ruined the opportunity for the networks to obsess for days and weeks over court hearings, etc.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 2, 2012 2:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe I'm the only one who didn't hear, or don't remember, those 2009 rampage killings. I do feel quite certain I would remember them, however, if someone had connected the dots that both killers were distraught over having lost or been unable to get a job.

(Deduced from reading the Wiki page on each of the killers linked from the Wiki link in the first comment.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 4:03 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Murder as a result of not being able to get a job? You're thinking of Charles J. Guiteau, surely.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 2, 2012 5:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Stalwart of the Stalwarts!

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2012 5:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Guiteau was a 'demander of the unearned' one century too early. He'd have been right at home under FDR.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2012 12:39 PM

You can fix this Mr. President!

Unless of course he believes that American Olympic athletes are "those at the very top" and therefore deserve to have one-third of their Olympic honoraria confiscated by their government.

Americans who win bronze will pay a $2 tax on the medal itself. But the bronze comes with a modest prize--$10,000 as an honorarium for devoting your entire life to being the third best athlete on the planet in your chosen discipline. And the IRS will take $3,500 of that, thank you very much.

Silver medalists will owe $5,385. You win a gold? Timothy Geithner will be standing there with his hand out for $8,986.

So as of this writing, swimmer Missy Franklin--who's a high school student--is already on the hook for almost $14,000. By the time she's done in the pool, her tab could be much higher. (That is, unless she has to decline the prize money to placate the NCAA--the only organization in America whose nuttiness rivals the IRS.)



TEA Party Slays Another GOP Dragon

The women's gymnastics gold medal isn't the only awesome thing that happened yesterday.

"Tonight is a victory for the grassroots. It is a testament to Republican women, to tea party leaders and to grassroots conservatives," Cruz said in his victory speech. "This is how elections are supposed to be decided--by 'we the people.'"

In a Texas GOP primary runoff that effectively selected the next senator from the conservative state Ted Cruz defeated prospective "time-serving Republican placeholder" David Dewhurst, promising to add one more voice of principle over politics to the US Senate.

In the end it wasn't even a close race. Cruz had a victory margin of 13 points.

But jk thinks:

Was happy the TEA folks triumphed but was concerned that this was more marginal cost than marginal benefit (Dewhurst really does not eat babies).

Now, reading George Will, I am pumped:

Before Cruz, now 41, earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude, he wrote his Princeton senior thesis on the Constitution's Ninth and 10th Amendments, which if taken seriously would revitalize two bulwarks of liberty -- the ideas that the federal government's powers are limited because they are enumerated, and that the enumeration of certain rights does not "deny or disparage others retained by the people." Both ideas are repudiated by today's progressives, as they were by TR, whose Bull Moose Party, the result of his bolt from the GOP, convened in Chicago 100 years ago Sunday -- Aug. 5, 1912.

Viva Cruz!

Posted by: jk at August 1, 2012 7:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "time-serving Republican placeholder" link gives many reasons why Dewhurst was a threat to the GOP brand. Our most important task as Republican activists is to make the GOP the party of freedom, and no longer the party of puritanism and slightly lower marginal rates.

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 12:08 AM

Me and Greg...

That's Professor N. Gregory Mankiw to you. He and I agree on Edward Conard's Unintended Consequences:

The subtitle (Why everything you've been told about the economy is wrong) is unnecessarily contentious and not really an accurate description. But the book, written by a former Bain partner, gives a good overview of the forces behind the financial crisis. It is far smarter and more thought-provoking than most economics written for the general public.

Greg's post contains a link to a free preview of the Introduction and Chapter One.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

Perfection

We've all agreed that, to some extent, certain aspects of the Olympic Games suck. But if you didn't watch the women's team gymnastics final this evening because of disgust over subjective scoring or some other shortcoming of the spectacle then you denied yourself a moment of history. For the second time ever the US women's team won the gold medal. They did it in style, with a 5-point margin over the silver medal Russian team, and a rapid-fire barrage of nearly perfect routines including one vault by McKayla Maroney that, by every account was in fact perfect. On vault. On beam. The floor exercise. The confidence and competence of the US gymnasts was breathtaking. They would have given the best Romanian and Russian teams in history the fight of their lives.

Awesome.

Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 12:25 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I confess that despite my earlier pronouncements about not watching judged events I couldn't help myself. It was terrific. I embrace and celebrate my hypocriticality.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 1, 2012 1:16 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)