September 28, 2012

Stupid Internet Comment of the Day

I did my best to come up with an optimistic answer to today's Libertario Delenda Est but except for "Libertarians don't vote" I couldn't do it. Instead I'll distract with humor in the form of a "Stupid Internet Comment of the Day."

While searching reports of Mitt Romney's Home Run Tuesday I read some comments on the HuffPo version of events. If you've already read my post highlighting the significance of Romney's statement this will be even more transparently stupid than it already is:

Huffpo0927.jpg

But Jk thinks:

But how can I KNOW which words SHOULD be all caps and which words SHOULD NOT?

Posted by: Jk at September 28, 2012 10:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Apparently the HuffPo style guide says to only capitalize words which are MISPELED.

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2012 5:25 PM

None Dare Call it Bias!

MSNBC? Mai non! If you have time, this clip is interesting both from a media bias angle, but also for the reasons that an optical illusion is so fascinating.

If you don't have time, here's the short version: MSNBC shows Governor Romney taking the make after Rep Ryan has spoken. The crowd chants -- and you can tell because the text is printed -- "Ryan! Ryan! Ryan!" And Governor Romney breaks in and being all full of himself, coaches the crowd to instead say "Romney - Ryan! Romney -- Ryan!"

Only, as a talk radio caller explains, that is not at all what happened. When the text is removed from the screen, you hear that the crowd is yelling "Romney Romney!" The Governor is being magnanimous in ensuring that his VP is included, and Ryan waves it away with an "aw shucks" gesture.

Hat-tip: Insty


Libertario Delenda Est!

Every four years. They are sooooo very proud that they might steal Ohio from Gov. Romney. That is victory to them. The same Montana victory that brought us 60 votes for ObamaCare.

A childish headline for a childish political philosophy. Here's a link.

Libertario Delenda Est!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here's hoping that the Revolution finds itself on the receiving end of a swift kick to the ...

Yeah, I know; childish comment. But, say the good guys lose Ohio, and we wind up with the SCOAMF winning by just that much - for want of a nail, you know this song...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 28, 2012 5:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm a calm guy, brother ka. John "Equanimity" Kranz they called me in preschool. But this sends me non-linear.

It is usually understated but now they are coming out and bragging that the whole gorram enterprise of the Libertarian Party is devoted 100% to making Republicans lose. "Then, they'll feel bad about the way they treated us! We'll be invited to their birthday party next year, fer sure!"

I almost started out the blogging day with a "Viva Libertario" link to this poll which CATO shows demonstrates that Libertarians are supporting Gov. Romney 77% -- a record high.

And what poll are the lads at Reason quoting? It's the same one -- oh dearie freakin me!

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2012 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. I sure don't like President Obama but the most recent online candidate match survey I took said Mitt Romney only agrees with me 76% of the time. Even though I know he can't win - hell, if he did win he couldn't even be sworn in - even so, I'll feel a lot better about myself if I write in a vote for Ronald Reagan!

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2012 5:56 PM

Tax Something More, Get Less of It

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana was my favorite Democrat for a while. May still be. He has a guest editorial in the WSJ today opposing the medical device tax provision on ObamaCare. The former senator is eloquent, unequivocal, and correct. This industry creates jobs and wealth by improving lives.

The adverse effect of this confiscatory level of taxation on traditional device makers is already clear. In my state of Indiana alone, Cook Medical has canceled plans to build one new U.S. facility annually in each of the next several years, and Zimmer plans to lay off 450 workers, while Hill-Rom expects to lay off 200. Stryker, based in Michigan, anticipates having to lay off 1,000 workers.

As a result of the looming device tax, production is moving overseas, good jobs are going to Europe and Asia, and cutting-edge medical devices will now be produced elsewhere for import into the U.S.

Meanwhile, the impact on the quality of care is incalculable but no less real. Thirty billion dollars must be taken out of operations or R&D. Who knows what lifesaving devices that might have been developed will fall victim to this tax?


Here is the part of the blog post where I wish that Sen. Bayh more consistently used these principles on other industries -- maybe even some not prevalent in the Hoosier State.

But good doggy, going outside!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

This dovetails nicely with an article dagny sent me yesterday, reporting that Beer's Most Expensive Ingredient is Taxes."

According to a recent analysis by the Beer Institute, a national beer trade association that represents beer brewers and importers, 45 percent of what consumers pay for a beer goes to taxes.

But most of this comes from the universal corporate tax that all businesses pay.

Federal and state business taxes: Brewers, distributors and retailers are subject to the same taxes every other business pays. This accounts for 36 cents for every dollar spent on beer.

So Senator Good Doggy must think a full one-third of every company's profit is not "confiscatory." Let's see him run a successful business where, for every two employees he hires he must also hire a government bureaucrat - whose job is then to make his job harder through regulation.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2012 12:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It is perhaps no small irony that Pat Stryker, the granddaughter heiress to the Styker fortune and resident of Ft. Collins, CO, is a huge Obama supporter. She also bankrolls may liberal candidates here in the Centennial State and funds "issues ads" attacking Republicans.

So, any buyer's remorse, Ms. Stryker? (The Refugee doubts it - she's probably not that cognizant and would figure that 1000 workers is a small price to pay for the "greater good" - since she's already inherited her wealth anyway.)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 28, 2012 12:38 PM
But jk thinks:

One is proscribed from generalizing individuals into collectives at ThreeSources, but I will risk it to claim that producers' heirs form the backbone of the mooching community. The grandkids running Carnegie and Ford endowments use the producers' fortunes to eradicate all the conditions that made their creations possible.

The one good consequentialist argument for estate taxes...

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2012 12:46 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I know the Starnes heirs were fictional, so I can generalize away. Atlas Shrugged is so amazingly prescient that sometimes my jaw just drops. Ivy and her healthful soybean diet! It will save the planet and end aggressive behaviors!

Doesn't remind you of anyone real, right? :)

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 28, 2012 6:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I had forgotten that one, Ellis, I had forgotten that...

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2012 9:11 PM

Two Weeks!

What are you doing the Friday after next? The producers called me today and asked that I preorder my tickets instead of waiting and buying at the box office. Selling out the theater in advance is the goal.


September 27, 2012

Samuel Jackson WTFU

Oh my. There's a SFW version somewhere, but I recommend as much as you can stand of the default.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"WHAT DOES BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA LOOK LIKE?"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 27, 2012 6:52 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Do we look like a bitch, Barry?"

"YES! That's why I'm trying to screw you like one. Yes, I did, yes I did! I'm not done screwing you, and no one can screw you like Barcellus Socialistus."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2012 10:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was going to respond, "Sam: STFU."

Then I heard Frank Luntz say that this kind of language actually hurts the candidate Jackson supports - President Obama.

Hey Ohio, WTFU!

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2012 5:59 PM
But HB thinks:

I was amused by the fact that the one concerned about the Romney platform was a child -- the implication being that Democrats concerned with Romney's platform have the intellect of a child.

Posted by: HB at September 30, 2012 2:41 PM
But HB thinks:

I was amused by the fact that the one concerned about the Romney platform was a child -- the implication being that Democrats concerned with Romney's platform have the intellect of a child.

Posted by: HB at September 30, 2012 2:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does anyone know what an "Obama 2012" bumper sticker looks like? I saw one this morning. Okay, I've seen other designs before today, but my point is how few of them are out there, less than one month prior to the start of early voting in Colorado. Four years ago there wasn't a Subaru or RAV4 on the road without one.

To me this points less to a case of needing to "wake up" than a fundamental loss of appeal for the "transformative" politician whose last name starts with the same letter as Oprah Winfrey's first name.

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2012 11:57 AM

Can the replacement refs skate?

Here we go again...

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the remainder of the 2012 preseason schedule. The cancellation of the preseason schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL.
Sports Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee is pleased to report that his season tickets to the DU Pioneers arrived this week. Eat your hearts out, Avs fans!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 27, 2012 11:38 PM

What caused the end of Obamanomics?

My wise and dear father caught me at a loss this morning when he asked if I know what ended the Great Depression? "WWII production?" I knew it was wrong as soon as I said it, but I must confess his answer was more correct and succinct than any I've ever heard: "FDR died."

Investors: Weak Economy Dims Americans Hope In Obamanomics

Some may argue that Obama took office in the midst of an epochal financial crisis, with an economy hurtling downhill. Fair enough -- as far as it goes.

But after four years, that excuse rings hollow. Obama's record suggests he won't put into place policies that foster economic growth and job creation.

Even worse, Obama gives us scant hope for better times on his watch. He's the godfather of big government policies that burden the economy -- a new health care system that will add punishing costs to hiring and small business and financial regulations that will stifle lending.

Obama promised change. And indeed the economy has changed.

But President Obama is young and healthy, so America is fortunate that he is Constitutionally limited to two terms of office. Better yet, we can elect a businessman with a proven track record of rescuing failed enterprises to replace him.

UPDATE: Jay Leno agrees.

But jk thinks:

I like it! But FDR was replaced with Truman...

Here's a backup piece for your link. 55% of business owners would not start a business today.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2012 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And if Obama died he'd be replaced with Biden. Again, we're more fortunate now. Keep Barack on Michele's diet for the next 40 days (or, worse case, 4 years, 40 days.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2012 5:12 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

The decision that faces us now is a simple one: Either we are going to return to being a society and an economy where you have the right to pursue happiness, which allows for people to fail and has a safety net for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick to keep them falling too far or starving in the street ... or we will have a society built on a system of spoils and sloth, where redistribution and bailouts are a constant and ever-present aspect of life, and government seeks to guarantee happiness for all -- and fails.
Read More At IBD

A Cell Phone is a Civil Right?

Get yours today. Supplies are not limited. "The Obama Phone" from the Free Government Cell Phone Program.

The free Obama phone is a program that is meant to help the financially unstable who cannot afford access to a cell phone. Communication should not be limited to people in relation to what they are able to afford.

And like everything else in the Obama presidency, this too is Bush's fault.

During the Bush administration, there was the introduction of a project that gave subsidies to those who could not afford a phone. The basic principle of the program is that everyone should have access to emergency services like 911.

But if the phone could only be used for 911 who would carry it? Who would charge it? How could it "help the financially unstable?" Fear not.

There are different plans to choose from. Some plans offer fewer minutes and more texting and some even include rollover minutes. Make sure you check out all the plans before choosing the one that is right for you.

If one were able to look up "moral hazard" in a videonet dictionary, this clip would be definition number 1 or 2.

But jk thinks:

Viva Democracy! Did you see the Howard Stern interviews? A "reporter" interviewed random Harlemites: Do you like Obama? Yeah. Do you like his VP Pick, Paul Ryan? Yeah. Do you like Paul Ryan because he is black? Oh no, that doesn't matter. Do You think they'll beat Sarah Palin this year? &c. &c.

Like this, it is extremely difficult to watch. And I feel compelled to add as Howard Stern did "You know there are a ton of white people who don't know what the hell is going on either!"

ThreeSources was poorly represented at the last Liberty on the Rocks. I'd like to discuss it but don't know that I can be David Mamet's Rabbi and provide a glowing and comprehensive version of the other side. But I will try.

The speaker wants a Constitutional Amendment, first in Colorado and some other states, then hopefully Federal, that would allow citizens to challenge laws and have a jury -- not the Supreme Court -- rule it unconstitutional. He sees this as a fix for Kelo and it might be.

I see my Facebook friends and this woman hearing a challenge that the Paul Ryan budget contravenes the General Welfare clause. I suggested that almost every loss of liberty from the founding to present occurred when we chose "more democracy."

This video and the South Carolina lady who was happy in 2008 because now that Obama was President she didn't have to worry about paying her mortgage or putting gas in the car -- AND a selection of very stupid white people should be kept on file for when people think our problems best fixed by We The People.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2012 4:59 PM

How about a little guitar?

Tommy Emmanuel is playing a very little guitar. (I'll be here all week.)

Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a link to a Frank Vignola video of Tico-Tico ("No Stairway!"). And it is great. But, a fella gets clicking after a YouTube, and this one got the embed:

UPDATE: And some chatter praises Frank's great humor. I have seen him several times at Summit Jazz concerts in Denver and can attest. I also recommend the two Frank and Joe Show Albums: 33 1/3 and 66 2/3

Music Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Elizabeth Warren is the Madame Defarge of our shining city on the Potomac; the preeminent tricoteuse of our regulatory state. If Senator Brown isn't making an issue of it, that's because Professor Warren's ideological knitting isn't an electoral vulnerability. It is her principal asset--certainly in Massachusetts, and (I'd wager) in virtually every other state in the nation. The demand for her politics of resentment and regulation is broad and authentic. The case against it is obvious. Alas, it can no longer be explained. -- Michael S. Greve
I've picked an amusing conclusion to a serious piece on the proper role of government. Greve asks, as we all do, why we fight over the minutiae of gotcha quotes and petty personal behavior when there are obvious and massive philosophical questions.

Oh, and hat-tip: Instapundit

But johngalt thinks:

Favorite line (other than your excerpt, of course):

"The folks who tell me to buy a paintbrush are the same people who tell our children to buy their own contraceptives. This is a crisis. Where is the government?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2012 11:24 AM
But jk thinks:

Yup.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2012 11:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Could it be that more Americans live in older houses because our government values spotted owl habitat or "old growth forests" more than jobs and prosperity?

Or perhaps it has something to do with that 2008 collapse of the housing price bubble, which has since made much of the existing housing stock half as costly while material costs to build new homes continue to march onward and upward with the inflationary tsunamis called QE, QE2 and QE-threeeeeee!

But I don't know, I'm just a simple American trying to get by in flyover country. Who can understand all of the complex interrelations? Who can explain why anything is the way it is? Who can ever make things work again? Who is John Galt?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2012 11:31 AM

September 26, 2012

I Knew it!

If you want to know whom to blame for the surreal officiating fiasco that robbed Paul Ryan's favorite football team of a win last night, the answer is Paul Ryan's favorite political thinker. As improbable as it sounds, Ayn Rand's lunatic brand of Marxism turned on its head is to a significant extent responsible for Lingerie Football League castoffs refereeing America's most popular and profitable sport (with predictably catastrophic consequences). -- Paul Campos @ Salon: How Ayn Rand is Wrecking Football

Hat-tip: Taranto

Posted by John Kranz at 7:36 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I clicked through. He couldn't get to his Rand bashing on the first page though so he's done. What a steaming pile of class-warfare crap.

Please tell me you didn't read much past the paragraph you lifted either.

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2012 7:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I got a few in, down through how $62,000 is like a quarter to Mr. Ford who owns the Lions.

Send one's children to Colorado University and they might have the opportunity of taking a class from this man -- or is that a different Campos?

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2012 7:53 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I didn't get past the first paragraph. Rand's "lunatic brand of Marxism"?

Pure drivel. I don't care if the rest was a factually correct printout of pi to 5 million decimal places. The first paragraph makes it all worthless drivel.

To paraphrase Rand, you can't pour even a little bit of poison into water and expect the water to stay pure.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2012 11:41 AM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

No Perry, it's inverted Marxism ("Marxism turned on its head"). Just as Marxism kills everything it touches, reason gives life. I can't think of anything more wonderful than "Marxism turned on its head."

I don't believe he meant it that way, but he's a bad writer and sloppy thinker so sometimes he accidentally tells the truth through his incompetence.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 27, 2012 3:14 PM

Bring on election day - please!

The article linked in a Robert Pearson tweet says that preference polls by the New York Times and Washington Post were intentionally misleading in the 1980 presidential campaign between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. The last page of the article tells the interesting story and asks why anyone would take those polls at face value now, in the Obama vs. Romney race.

How does one explain a president who, like Jimmy Carter in 1980, is increasingly seen as a disaster in both economic and foreign policy? How does a President Obama, with a Gallup job approval rating currently at 49% -- down a full 20% from 2009 -- mysteriously win the day in all these polls?

How does this happen?

Can you say "in-kind contribution"?

With each day I grow more and more confident that President Obama cannot be reelected. My new chief concern is that nothing happen to derail the legitimate functioning and completion of the election.

But jk thinks:

Before the debates? How would anybody know whom to vote for?

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2012 5:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

De-bates, re-bates. Gary Johnson of course! (Or Jill Stein if one doesn't feel like being a he-man woman-hater.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2012 7:51 PM

QOTD II

PAUL RYAN HAS A COOL SENSE OF HUMOR, riffing on somebody else's remark that his future political career will require that he "wash the stench of Romney off of him." He's saying things on the campaign bus like "If Stench calls, take a message" and "Tell Stench I'm having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later." But he has political antagonists, and if they get humor they'll pretend not to. It's a shame. I like quirky humor! -- Ann Althouse
UPDATE: Fake? UPDATE II: Worse: satire!

UPDATE III: David Burge (@iowahawkblog) 9/26/12 2:48 PM @politico if you promise to stay out of the satire biz, I'll promise to stay out of the Obama stenography biz.

But johngalt thinks:

STENCH/GILLIGAN-2012

Still better than Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2012 5:06 PM

Quote of the Day

Look, we all know that if President Romney suddenly becomes ill or incapacitated, that once the immediate crisis passes, one of the first acts of President Paul Ryan will be a national effort to overturn that call. -- Jim Geraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Referee Scarcity

I have had an interesting email thread with somebody who disagrees with me on the NFL "refkerfuffle." I'll not share every point, but knowing I will be in the great State of Minnesota next week, my interlocutor suggests -- for my personal safety -- that anytime the subject comes up in a state that borders Wisconsin, I confine my answer to "Packers Was Robbed." I'll follow that sagacious counsel.

But I suggested that Fran Tarkington spent some time up there with the lakes and the long flat vowels. And that he and I were on the same page. Curiously, his tone and timbre in his WSJ guest editorial seems different. But here he is on Kudlow, standing up for the rights of capital:

Touchdown!

Where a dear blog friend and I agreed to disagree was that I claimed the scarcity of quality officials was artificial and he says that, like NFL players, these guys are on a high level and defy economic substitution. Fair suggestion. And, as I will be a guest, I'll close with "Packers Was Robbed."

But jk thinks:

I'm rooting for a face-saving way that most of the current guys could come back, but the rules change in favor of the NFL.

Double their pay, but a defined benefit pension for a part time job strikes me as goofy. Plus, I think the league has a legitimate, pro-quality case in expanding the supply and promoting the best. Kinda Chicago Schools-ish...

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2012 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Curiously, I was looking for solutions the other direction: I was thinking constant contact with league officials who can't run 40 yards but know the rule book inside out.

A very un-Hayekian solution, but inspired by the retired official that one of the networks has on staff to answer questions.

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2012 3:03 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

I guess it's silly to weigh in now that the strike seems to be settled but I would like to address a few points. I don't feel as if I am pro labor. Owners can bring in whoever they want; it's their league. It is not their game. With respect to John Galt, it takes decades to create an NFL referee and I think it's only fair to recognize that. These are men who have honed special skills over a lifetime of learning and they now sit in elite positions at the top of their profession. The difference between the referees and the air traffic controllers is the supply of competent replacements. Reagan had them, Goodell does not. He's not even close. What Goodell and the owners are doing is like building a finely tuned racing machine and then using a faulty driveshaft. Nobody talks about how cool the driveshaft is or reveres it like they would an engine but without it you are stuck on the side of the road and crappy refs sideline great football.
I am stunned that owners who typically spare no expense would draw a line in the sand over what amounts to less money than any particular team might pay one individual in a signing bonus. In Sugarchuck world I'd give them the money, let them keep their pension, and insist on creating a larger pool of refs in the future.

Posted by: sugarchuck at September 26, 2012 5:24 PM
But jk thinks:

The NHL has been effective with this model as well. Faceless, unelected bureaucrats in Toronto look at every goal real-time and it is unobtrusive.

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2012 5:25 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

I guess I am inclined to go with the guys on the field. Reviewing touchdowns, goals, baskets etc... is all fine and more often than not it confirms the ruling on the field. What is more crucial and more intangible is the subtle stuff; pacing, consistency and discipline, both on the field and on the sidelines.This is where our replacements fell so short. Mistakes, sometimes terrible ones are going to happen but watching NFL football descend into some sort of anarchic pickup style basketball game was awful.

Posted by: sugarchuck at September 26, 2012 5:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It'll be interesting to see which points the owners cave on, if any. I personally agree with you sc, and I think its the performance issue that was the main issue for both sides.

Reviews in hockey have one major difference versus football: If they reverse a call they'll turn back the game clock to the point in the game where the review began. Do you want to see that in football too?

I guess my point on replacements was that if they were intended to be permanent replacements a higher caliber of ref would have been applying for the positions. Who wants to leave a good gig for a few weeks of SCAB work? And it was clear from the start that that is what it would be.

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2012 7:00 PM

September 25, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip: Ed Morrissey (who does not quite agree with jk...)

But johngalt thinks:

I've had enough of this replacement president! America needs to do whatever it takes to get a pro-caliber president back in office. This guy is completely destroying the integrity of the United States of America.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 10:30 PM

Romney Home-Run

This is more than just quote of the day, it is the quote of the campaign:

"I just want to work."

Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.

What makes this free-market chestnut a home run is the context in which Governor Romney said it: In a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative, after a warm introduction by the former president, and in the context of Mideast unrest.

In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

He was just 26-years-old. He had provided for his family since he was a young boy. He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, "Why are you doing this to me? I'm a simple person, and I just want to work."

Awesome on stilts at the top of a mountain.


Maybe the World is ThreeSources

I'm going to present this as a screen grab in case the good folks at the Telegraph change the photo. But my new favorite writer, Thomas Pascoe, has a piece titled "Bundesbank's IMF rant exposes a divide at the heart of the eurozone." Here's the accompanying photo: a couple fräuleinen upset that the IMF has impugned their country's monetary policy. It's true -- read the caption!

Brilliant.


A Brit Gets it!

Thomas Pascoe at the Telegraph says that the riots in the Foxconn factory show "the misery of Communism and the hypocrisy of Western liberals." Two of my favorite topics.

At its base, the hypocrisy charge is one of sweatshop labor: at what level the iPhone shoppers should demand better working conditions. I have taken the other side of that argument many times (usually with an iPhone owner, but that might be coincidental...). If the labor is not coerced, these younger nations are in the midst of growing pains and need to bring their productivity up to enjoy the comforts we do. Sad and hard truth -- but as true as it is hard and sad.

That said, the level of coercion in a Communist society is ripe for debate. And Pascoe is dead on with his broader point.

This is a horribly sad story, and it ought to remind us of two horrible contradictions we often overlook.

Firstly, that in the People's Republic of China, "people" don't matter very much as individuals..

Communism is a degrading moral system because it dispenses with the Western notion of the value of the individual. The collective matters. The national economy matters. The perception of China as a manufacturing powerhouse matters.

For all that the Left deride the "injustice" of the quasi-capitalist economic system in Britain, it offers the gifted and the industrious the opportunity to advance from humble beginnings.

Despite this, we seem in the midst of a permanent campaign from all sides to mould our thoughts into a standardised way of thinking. Expressions of preference have become hate crimes, earning a higher wage than your peers is immoral and deserves to be punished with heavy taxation, the practice of education in Britain (at least before Gove's reforms take root) devotes itself to reducing the talented to the level of the less talented. We are all in this together, and the state commits all manner of economic larceny and social engineering in order to eliminate the differences between people.

However, as the Foxconn story shows, when all are equal in their supplication to the state, no one is of value (politicians excepted, of course).

But johngalt thinks:

Could this be the green shoots of an English Spring?

Maybe if they go first, America will follow. Or maybe Romney will be elected and America can lead the way - again.

Segue to today's Mitt Romney Home Run.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 2:58 PM

jk Takes a Contrarian Position

Brother jg and I both enjoyed the political pundits we follow on twitter mixing up replacement-ref-bashing and politics. You can see a few in the #3src Twitter widget. (By the way, if you have four characters, add it to your tweets -- this is not an exclusive club and I see a lot of blog friends' tweets that I wish they had tagged.)

But I am not abandoning my position of taking Capital's side against Labor. Even after that horrible game. Even after the Interc-- I mean touchdown that ended it. I encourage the owners to be reasonable but hold firm. And I decry that the entire sum IQ of the nation's sportscasters (over/under?) has been devoted to demanding capitulation.

Yes, they suck -- but they suck in a fair, random and chaotic/unpredictable way. Too bad about the bad calls in the last two minutes, Packers, but as my friend routinely tells his kids after a close loss: you want to avoid close losses, score more points. One of the nation's premiere quarterbacks was sacked eight times and held without a touchdown pass. You can't blame that on rookie refs.

I was at LOTR and just caught the last quarter. But I assume if the other games I have seen are anything to go by that lads in green and gold benefitted from a questionable call or two. Suck it up. Score more.

After the teachers' strike in Chicago, I do appreciate that the referees' walkout is legitimate, legal and moral. You guys cannot do this without us, they claim, and many think they are right. I am going to continue to be a stooge for capital and encourage the owners to stand firm.

But damn -- that was a bad call.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 9:42 AM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

My understanding is that the refs were locked out by the owners. They aren't on strike.

As bad as things are with NFL officiating I fully support the owners' position. BUT, they need to decide if saving tons o bucks in referee compensation is worth damaging their brand. Their companies, their choice.

I heard a known conservative-minded sports commentator say today, "The commissioner can do whatever he wants. The owners can do whatever they want." It sounded derisive at the time, but it is true and as it should be.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 1:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG, you appear to be accurate on the lockout-vs-strike issue. The way I hear it, though, it's not a "tons o bucks" issue; one person I read had calculated that for the 120 refs, the total increase in compensation costs is just $35,000 a week total for the lot of them - a drop in the bucket for a business like the NFL. They could completely underwrite that with just two more fines a week for helmet-to-helmet hits (okay, I'm guilty of snark on that one. Sorry).

If it's true that the money isn't that big and the real sticking points are the ability to replace poorly-performing refs and modification of a cherry pension, then the situation does equate in my mind a lot more with the Chicago teachers.

It's been written that on top of their jobs averaging $149,000 a year, the majority of refs have regular day jobs as well. I don't know whether that's true, but if it is, then I would extend your final thought. The commissioner can do what we wants, and the owners can do what they want (except choose who to sell their teams to and move to where they want to move, of course, but that's for another discussion). So can the refs. If they're not getting what they want, they're totally free to go do whatever else they want with their lives and let others compete for the vacancies their departures create.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 25, 2012 1:57 PM
But jk thinks:

You missed something (UPDATE: I mean by not viewing the game, I am not criticizing interleaved comments). The final play was somewhat the icing on the cake. The final five minutes were played pretty much by Lewis Carroll rules. Phantom pass interference and roughing the passer penalties were followed closely by non-calls of the same blatant offenses.

Business Week, which I consider farther left than The Nation, unsurprisingly misses the key difference. The NFL is a private entity which must consider damage to its brand versus discounted future costs and labor flexibility. The children and taxpayers of Chicago are underrepresented in negotiations, but I think the NFL owners are pretty well lawyered up.

C'mon. You gonna stop watching because the refs are bad? I didn't know there was such a thing as a conservative sportscaster -- but I think the rest are overplaying the damage card. Three hundred angry calls to the Wisconsin local sports talk radio station don't cost the league anything. I think it unlikely that people will stop watching or buying the terrible beer that is cleverly advertised.

Go billionaire 0.1% owners! Smash those poor $150K guys! Show no mercy!

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2012 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That cherry pension plan is probably costing a lot more than $35k per game. That was the tons-o-bucks I was thinking of. To the extent the sticking point is performance reviews and replacing bad refs, I'll posit that this is the Revenge of Ed Hochuli whose call in that 2008 Broncos game, by the way, effectively reversed the outcome of the game.

Let's step this debate up a bit though: Limbaugh points out that the poor officiating in today's NFL is analogous to partiality in the news media covering American politics. "Which is a greater outrage?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 2:21 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll go along with that: anyone upset by the damage done by the incompetent refs and not upset by the greater and more relevant damage done by the obviously-biased Obama Steno Corps - er, the Mainstream Media™ - ought to have his head and his priority examined.

But if we're going there, then consider:

LIFE IMITATES POLITICS: Bad calls have always been a part of football; we accept that refs aren't perfect, but we do require them to be neither incompetent nor partial. Green Bay was a victim of that last night, but here's a truism: if it's not close, you can't lose a game due to one last-minute bad call. You want the score to be outside the margin of ref error.

That applies to elections just like football. You want to make the margin of victory greater than the margin of fraud. If you do that, you can't get burned by bags of votes mysteriously appearing in the trunk of someone's car, or voting irregularities in the polling places.

Josef Stalin once reportedly said "It's not the people who call the plays, it's the people who make the calls." Stalin was, according to some anonymous sources, an ardent New England Patriots fan.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 25, 2012 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

You ever see a picture of Stalin and Belichik together? Just askin'...

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2012 3:05 PM

September 24, 2012

Meanwhile in Buffy News

Our Mrs. Reynolds did not look completely unappealing at the Emmy Awards.

The article lists the exact beauty products she uses. It couldn't hurt -- and yet they suggest I could get "her exact look." I am somehow skeptical.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 7:20 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Zowie! Quite a photo album.

Posted by: johngalt at September 24, 2012 10:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, indeed. I think I'm going to try that moisturizer she uses...

On a serious note, I'm glad Ms. Hendicks has a hit show -- does anybody watch it?

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2012 10:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If you are referring to Mad Men the answer is yes. I was a late convert.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 12:48 PM

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Mazel Tov, SMG! On the birth of new baby boy.

The little boy is the second child for the Ringer actress, 35, and husband Freddie Prinze Jr., 36, whose daughter Charlotte Grace turned three earlier this month.

"Mother and baby are doing great," the rep adds. "And Charlotte is VERY excited to be a big sister."

Television Posted by John Kranz at 6:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

Liberty on the Rocks Tonight!

Join us on Monday, September 24th, where your featured speaker will be Mr. Stephen Bailey, who will be discussing judicial review and the Constitutional amendment he is currently developing. After Mr. Bailey'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
Ralphie's Sports Tavern 585 E. SOUTH BOULDER RD., Louisville, Colorado 80027
Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Jk thinks:

Great and interesting talk. I was confrontational and contrary in the QA session, toward a man I voted for congress. Oh well...

Posted by: Jk at September 24, 2012 10:56 PM

Pollster Math

They're called "internals." The questions which break down voter opinion by issue and by demographics. Generally speaking they give insight into the reason why a particular candidate leads another in preference for the office they're competing for. But the Obama vs. Romney presidential contest doesn't really follow that pattern. According to an article today from Politico, Romney leads Obama in every issue category except one - yet still trails the overall national preference poll by 2.6 points.

Romney has majority support with voters over the age of 45 (+7 percent), with men (+6 percent), with white women (+9 percent), and with married voters (+14 percent). In addition, Romney has solidified his base. Support among conservative voters exceeds 70 percent (73 percent), his support among very conservative voters exceeds 80 percent (83 percent), and his support among Republicans exceeds 90 percent (91 percent). Romney is also receiving a higher level of support among Hispanics (40 percent), which is driven by higher support from Hispanic men.
But the focus of the poll was middle class voters, since that is the demographic that pundits, hand-wringing and gleeful alike, have criticized Romney for being "out of touch" with.
In our latest POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll with middle-class families, which comprise about 54 percent of the total American electorate and usually split in their vote behavior between Republicans and Democrats, Romney holds a 14-point advantage (55 percent to 41 percent).

(...)

All of this data make clear that Romney has won the strong support of middle-class families and is leading the president on an overwhelming majority of key measurements beyond just the ballot. In fact, when respondents were asked who, Obama or Romney, would best handle a variety of issues, Romney led on all but one including the economy (+9 percent), foreign policy (+3 percent), spending (+15 percent), taxes (+7 percent), Medicare (+2 percent), and jobs (+10 percent). Ironically, the one measurement Obama led Romney on was “standing up for the middle class” (+8 Obama), reinforcing that often the Democrats win the message war with the middle class, but not their hearts and souls. [emphasis mine]

And yet, the same poll shows Obama leading Romney overall. What gives? Perhaps if they re-weighted the internals the same way as the top line result, Obama could be leading there as well.

But jk thinks:

Another encouraging undercurrent is the growth in registered GOP voters. @jimgeraghty: Colorado currently has 98,000 more registered Republicans than registered Democrats. http://t.co/xdg9mSqT (Not that it feels that way just across the line from Boulder...)

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2012 4:39 PM

Quote of the Day

I know that someone is thinking that gas prices are going up, and when they do, electric cars will prove to be a smart thing. I'm not so sure. The CBO provided a breakeven on this line of thinking. If gas prices go north of $6, electric starts to make sense. When gas goes to $10, all of the vehicles break even to conventional autos. The problem I have with this line of reasoning is that if gas were to go to $8, the US economy (and the rest of the world) would come to an economic halt. In that environment a fellow would be grinning if he had an electric car, but he would probably be out of work, and most of the stores he would want to drive to would be closed. What good does the electric car create for him if things go very bad? Not much. -- Bruce Krasting Business Insider
Hat-tip: Insty imposter Ed Driscoll

September 23, 2012

Review Corner

There's more to life than politics and dusty old economic texts. Why there's culture and art and architecture and Minneapolis geography and the music of our youth and the understated excitement of sexual attraction.

Who better to serve as a spirit guide for these than James Lileks?

Leaf through this blog or my predecessor blog, and my appreciation for Lileks will be on full display. He is a clever, provocative and funny writer. His political stuff carries more force because of its rarity. In addition, he seems to be the renaissance man of the commercial Internet: always experimenting, always something new commercially or design or just outrageous content like the story woven around the matchbooks.

I set aside my non-fiction for his new novel Graveyard Special. In Lileksian Internet pioneering style, I think it is Kindle Only. It is light enough that it would be a fun and comfortable read on a PC or tablet's Kindle reader for all you luddites that have the books with the paper and the cover-thingies.

Whatever your method, read this masterpiece. It is vintage Lileks: a bit noir-y but with a great deal more humor. I was the annoying guy at the coffee shop last week LOL-ing with my Kindle. But Lileks lines come one after another:

Joe was depressed. But we'll get to that. You can't tell the story of Dinkytown in the End Times without dealing with Joe's epic, all-consuming, life-smothering depression. It probably showed up on weather radar as a small black dot.
[...]
I think she believed me, because she seemed to vibrate at a frequency that would summon wolves and confuse bats.

And politics is never missing, even if it is not central to the storyline:
The new cook was sitting in A-6, his right foot jackhammering up and down, smoking a cigarette, reading the Worker's World. He had a T-shirt that announced his solidarity with the latest batch of communists in Central America. Vic was the name. Dick's brother. He seemed friendly enough, but every so often I'd see him flick his eyes over the restaurant, and he'd get that "some day this will all belong to the people" look, and I had the suspicion that his people weren't, you know, people as the term is generally understood.
[...]
Tara had a story about campus reaction to the election, including a quote from Vic's group, the People's Committee on Loudly Demanding Things Be Different, or whatever it was called. They'd decided that the best way to raise people's consciousness was to protest Militarism on campus.

It's Lileks. It's 3.99 on Kindle. It's five stars. What are you doing still reading me?

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:51 AM | What do you think? [5]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thanks you for that, Lileks is one of the first people I ever read regularly on the web, circa 2000, and he gets me laughing, which is reason enough to love his work. The fact that's it's also intelligent, principled and insightful are welcome additions.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 24, 2012 3:35 PM
But jk thinks:

He's an amazing cat. Do you have any of his coffee table books? "Gastroanomalies" and "Interior Desecrations" anchor mine -- and I enjoy watching people leafing through them.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2012 4:13 PM
But dagny thinks:

Actual books jk?? Don't they have a kindle you can put on your coffee table? :-)

Posted by: dagny at September 24, 2012 5:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. They do have the DX... Guess I am just behind the tomes.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2012 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Behind the tomes. A typo worth keeping.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2012 5:14 PM

September 22, 2012

Coming Soon to a Virtual Coffeehouse Near You...

Just picked up this little jewel:

It has an ebony fretboard, which has always been my favorite. Gibson has expressed some concern that they may not be able to source demonstrably legal ebony. They can get it and they can get it legal but they cannot prove it is legal and they plan to move to other materials.

So vote for President Obama and the value of my guitars will skyrocket!

But johngalt thinks:

Mmmm, this one's a true beauty. There are nice guitars and then there is this one. If I were a guitar player (instead of a defunct, wanna be, maybe again one of these days bass player) I would play this guitar. Well, one like it that was mine, not yours.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2012 11:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Very pleased so far. It doesn't show in the picture but this is a very small guitar -- much smaller that the 335 (BB King / Chuck Berry) whose shape it mimics.

The result is a much more comfortable guitar that still has real depth of sonic range. This can do a lot of things and I can still pick it up. Nice.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2012 2:11 PM

Self-Evident

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday, "It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack." The only literate response to this definitive Administration judgement is, "Duh."

Some other self-evident judgements come to mind:

It is self-evident that the national news media, once respected for at least trying to appear objective, is as fully invested in President Obama's reelection as a diverse group of human beings can ever be.

It is self-evident that a Republican president who governed in the way President Obama has done would be excoriated by journalists to a degree that would have made the late President Nixon feel like a media darling.

It is self-evident that the only way government can lower health care costs is to ration patient care.

It is self-evident that when medical providers and insurers are allowed to compete for business they will find ways to lower their costs, and therefore their prices.

It is self-evident that when President Obama says something, he really means the opposite.


Got to have a Little Fun

Blog friend Perry is swamped with work but shares a couple funnies via email.

Did I say "a couple?" obamasith.jpg

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Just don't call him Darth or Dark Lord Barack or you will be called "racist."

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2012 12:03 PM

None Dare Call it Bias...

Oh, hell I do!

Yahoo/AP Headline to describe the tax returns of a guy who paid $2 million in taxes and donated $4 million to charity:

Romney gives Dem support for tax deductions claim

But johngalt thinks:

Can you believe it? Mitt could have paid less in taxes this year but elected not to for blatant - political - purposes. The nerve of that guy!

Despite this the worst that AP can say is Mitt promised to never pay more than he was obligated.

Romney probably also will be reminded by the Democrats [or by AP!!] by [sic] something else he said in August. Defending his right to pay no more taxes than he owed, he said, "I don't pay more than are legally due, and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president."

QED: Mitt says he's not qualifed to be president.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 12:46 PM

What he outta say

There is no shortage of people trying to help Romney by telling him what he outta say. With respect to the tax rate flap that the Dems are ginning up, here's The Refugee's suggestion for what he outta say:

"These taxes show that over the past 20 years I gave more money to charity each and every hour than Joe Biden gave per year. That's $479 per hour compared to less than $300 per year. The real difference is that when it comes to helping the less fortunate, I put my money where my mouth is. Barack Obama and Joe Biden want to put your money where their mouths are."

Might just shut 'em up.

2012 Election Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:02 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

OK, somebody beat The Refugee to it:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81529.html

It's still a great debate line, since it's not likely to be widely reported.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2012 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

There are some good points there. Here are some more:

"I pay millions of dollars in taxes each and every year. Don't I get a little credit for that? If I paid another million more would my critics be happy? Two million? What do they want from me?"

"I've been criticized for paying a low rate of taxes, but over the last 20 years the average total of my federal taxes plus charity was 33.65 percent. Try telling all the families I've helped that I don't do enough."

"Some believe that the percentage I pay in taxes is more important than the amount of the check I write to the treasury, but a formula doesn't supply our troops or house and feed those who need a little help - dollars do."

And, perhaps the best, subject to adjustment for the actual figures:

"When the tax rate on investments was 35% I paid 1 million dollars in federal tax. Since it was lowered to 15% I pay, on average, two million dollars. Which would you rather have?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 12:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As you said, no shortage of people offering advice.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 12:29 PM

Game of Inches

In discussing the merits of Mitt Romney's 47% comments, many are missing the forest for the trees - myself included. Until now. Mitt's purpose with the comments wasn't to judge those who oppose his election as much as to explain to supporters that they are firmly entrenched against him and they are nearly half of the electorate. The point being that none of us should expect a landslide victory. Or, in the near term, nothing that he or his campaign can do will result in a comfortable lead in the polls before election day.

Romney's "failure" to pull ahead in polling is scary as hell to those of us who imagine the worst if the "Affordable Care Act" isn't defanged and the boot of government isn't removed from the neck of America's private sector. Romney knows that he can't run away with this election, at least in public polling, and his victory will rest upon relative turnout of his and Obama's base, combined with undecideds who, if they go to the polls, are much more likely to vote for change - not the president.

While bloggers and pundits wring hands and charge incompetence, Mitt calmly assures that his campaign isn't in trouble.

Well, it doesn't need a turnaround. We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States.

We've seen a few instances where Mitt has made bold moves in this campaign - Paul Ryan selection, defending free-speech in a foreign crisis, embracing free market principles over entitlement populism - so there is reason to anticipate more in the coming weeks. Early voting begins in mid October, so that is where he should make his strongest push. Peaking in polls now, or more importantly in real electoral support, does no good if it fades before then. The debates will be his biggest stage for making a Reaganesque pitch of promise, prosperity and recovery. And his campaign has been spending far less in advertising than his opponent over the post-convention period, holding it in reserve for the final push.

This is my optimistic assessment. I'm not going to waste any time fretting over the multiple pessimistic assessments.

But jk thinks:

I am with you and br on the ankle-biting, hand-wringing, got-the-vapors section of the professional GOP class. And, were we not on the same side in an important election year, I might get a dig in by linking Peggy Noonan's column. But I am way above that.

But just between us and the Internet, the mighty roar ("am I a lion?") of the campaign's engines when Gov. Romney picked Chairman Ryan has subsided. The defensive, play it safe candidate seems back in charge. I hope you are correct that more bold moves are on the way, but fear it is not the default for the candidate nor his top advisers.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2012 12:07 PM

September 21, 2012

MIA!

Sister dagny and I get exasperated by bad message for candidates like Joe Coors and Mitt Romney.

Here is how it's done:


We make Washington smaller, and people bigger, we'll have a better country. (~1:00)

What else do you need to say but that?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:28 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I just forwarded the permalink for this post to the Joe Coors campaign.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 1:17 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"America's comeback team." Is it too late for Romney to change campaign themes?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2012 11:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Really? He doesn't need to change themes, just start executing the one he has.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 11:27 AM

Meanwhile, In Buffy News...

Anxiously awaiting a new season of Castle:

Nathan Fillion Needs Someone To Play Nathan Fillion In Castle's Firefly Parody

Ever since Nathan Fillion joined ABC's crime drama Castle, he's been such a good sport about slipping in references to his 2002 sci-fi western Firefly. After all, it was playing Captain Malcolm Reynolds that made him into a beloved cult figure, which eventually translated into mainstream TV stardom. So in the past few years, we've seen Nathan's character Rick Castle dress up in Mal's old tight pants to be a "space cowboy" for Halloween, or he'll look right at the camera when someone mentions "Serenity." Not to mention when he was reunited with Jayne Cobb, a.k.a. Adam Baldwin, last season!


Television Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here's an interesting bit of old news, just recently unearthed. File this under "Once More, With Feeling":

http://is.gd/Rhs8UW

There are... there are no words...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 21, 2012 6:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I love this country.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2012 7:25 PM

Declaration of Independence for the iPod Generation

One of the problems with teaching American History and the Founding Fathers is the "crusty old white dude" barrier. Here, Soomo Publishing blends a new teaching tool with a cover of a popular song to teach a little good old revolutionary history.

In this one I like the music AND the lyrics.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Grammy!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2012 11:25 AM

All Hail Harsanyi, deux!

When jk posted AHH today I expected it was a link to yesterday's column 'Romney was wrong, but so were his critics' wherein he makes a better effort than mine to address Governor Romney's "47 percent" remarks.

When Romney says he believes that 47 percent of voters don't pay income tax, "believe that they are victims," think "government has a responsibility to care for them" and will never "take personal responsibility and care for their lives," he is confusing the average voter with the average Democratic National Convention speaker. Most Americans, no matter what party they're in, do not aspire to be parasites, despite the best efforts of their elected representatives.

But Romney's remarks compelled critics to forward the equally preposterous claim that government dependency doesn't affect elections at all.



But johngalt thinks:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag,
Of the Obama Administration,
And to the regime for which it stands,
One nation, under Obama, with tyranny and redistribution for all."

-FBN's Eric Bolling

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2012 3:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2012 11:38 AM

Quote of the Day II

I should never award before the G-File comes out [subscribe].

After all, if Romney loses this thing there will only be a vicious civil war on the right that will make the fight scene from Anchorman seem like one of the slower moments in My Dinner with Andre. -- Jonah Goldberg

Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

How About a Little Partisan Hackery, Scarecrow?

It is an election year!


Hat-tip: Jim Treacher (@jtLOL)

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Is this what he was referring to when he said, "Sometimes you just need to take a pain pill?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 1:18 AM

Quote of the Day

A Muslim world that can take to the streets, as far away as Jakarta, in protest against a vulgar film depiction of the Prophet Muhammad--yet barely call up a crowd on behalf of a Syrian population that has endured unspeakable hell at the hands of the dictator Bashar al-Assad--is in need of self-criticism and repair. We do these societies no favor if we leave them to the illusion that they can pass through the gates of the modern world carrying those ruinous ideas. -- Fouad Ajami
But johngalt thinks:

My sense from this side of the planet is that the muslim street is being whipped into these frenzys on demand by a small group of "community organizer" types, in the model of Sharpton and Jackson, et. al. We don't really need to have it out with all the muslims, just the self-interested rabble rousers.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 1:24 AM

Monetary Smackdown!

Correct me if I am wrong, but the running meme of contentious monetary policy debates around here is something of a myth. It's not that we all agree, but I don't know that we have any William Jennings Bryans around here who are devoted, passionate, and radically different than others. I consider myself a neo-Austrian Chicago guy of sorts. But the great ThreeSources rows I recall have been about immigration, drugs, or my voting for a Democratic Governor.

But Brother Bryan shares a contentious monetary policy debate. Joe Salerno wades into a Paul Krugman/Brad DeLong/George Selgin contretemps:

[...] but this was the gist of George [Selgin]'s bizarre and irrelevant comment on Krugman's column asking Austrians what their position is on money market mutual funds. In his haste to establish his mainstream bona fides to Krugman, however, George was blind to the fact that Krugman has been forced to recognize and address Austrian arguments precisely by those who George denigrates in his comment as "the anti-fractional reserve crowd among self-styled Austrians, taking its lead from Murray Rothbard."

Yes, we hate the Romans -- but it's The People's Front of Judea that really gets our goat!

In the face of Krugmanites who would inflate the currency without bounds to fund activist government, the pragmatist in me considers Austrian / Chicago debates internecine. I'm all for a robust difference of opinion and debate, but I wonder if there aren't times to circle the wagons against the Brad DeLongs and Paul Krugmans of the world. "Irrelevant and bizarre?" Here's the Selgin comment:

Rothbard, ...would ban 'acts of fractional-reserve banking among consenting adults,' and so, apparently, would Congressman Paul. Whatever such a ban might accomplish, it certainly can't be squared with monetary laissez faire, or for that matter with plain old personal freedom.

Can't we all get along?

Monetary Policy Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

All right, I'm coming very late to this. Rothbard is entirely misunderstood on fractional reserve banking. He would not have promoted a "ban" anything between consenting adults. What he would have done is removed the ability of a bank and government to pollute the money supply.

A bank can lend however it wants, and I'm free to leave my money with a bank or not. If I have savings at a bank that lends out only 80% of deposits when it claims 50%, and I try to withdraw my money *when the account agreement says I can do so anytime at full*, then the bank committed fraud beyond a simple breach of the contract, and I can take action. If the agreement says "only insofar as the bank has available funds to cover withdrawals," then I have no resource.

What Rothbard opposed was a central banking system whereby banks can keep a mere, say, 10% on reserve, and the government/central bank will cover banks' flimsy ability to meet withdrawals.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2012 11:49 AM

September 20, 2012

St. Michael's Blues

I never did come up with all five of my five best songs of all time. If I did there's a good chance this one would be on the list. A fantastic song from a great album: Tightly Knit. I first discovered these guys my senior year of high school and they've been a favorite ever since.

Five Best Posted by JohnGalt at 5:54 PM | What do you think? [6]
But jk thinks:

I thought I distinctly remembered reading that songs starting with the line "Woke up this morning.." were disqualified. Was that another contest?

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 6:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just listen to the guitars. If I want lyrics I listen to those other two genres: country and western.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2012 6:57 PM
But jk thinks:

You and Sugarchuck. He and I have had this argument 1,000,000 times.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 7:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hmmmm.

I primarily listen to country, though my tastes oddly include a lot of classical, a lot of classic rock, and whatever genre it is that Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs fall into (a subject of debate all its own, I'm afraid). We had a discussion here where several of us faced the question "What's the greatest album of all time?" My desk partner said afterwards that he was sure I was going to insist on something by George Strait. I had to explain to all my friends the album I chose.

I mean, how in the sphincter of Hell can five alleged music lovers NOT recognize the name "Physical Graffiti"?

I categorically deny the ability to narrow this down to just five best songs of all time. There are far too many, and humanity has produced a lot of good music. I'm a sucker for well-tuned harmony (which explains why Little Big Town is always a favorite), talented musicianship, and just general catchiness.

I don't know if I'm being contrary with this, or if I'm, like a wine aficionado, pulling out the rare find of a bottle no one expects, but I'm in the mood to nominate this little toe-tapper that's in my mind right now (so hate on if you must):

http://youtu.be/u4xp2lgiAjY

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

Anybody hates on Brother Keith for that tune, we're firing up the IP Blocker. That one is pure magic -- makes this grizzled old jazz snob tear up.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2012 5:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Album?" What's that?

My first challenge in considering a "five best songs" list was that I haven't heard every song ever recorded. The next was to actually remember all of the songs I have heard. So what this excercise amounts to is a fluid, dynamic ranking of one's personal preference in music. If you hear a new song or remember an old one that bests any of your top five then it can bump one of them down. And by sharing our lists with others we can learn more about music, and about each other's preferences.

Think of it as a music appreciation tool, not an objective contest. Carry on.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2012 10:29 AM

Please Listen to Kudlow!

Larry Kudlow joins me in denouncing the "ankle-biters" in the GOP who are causing more trouble than they are fixing with calls to restructure the Romney Campaign. "Ms. Noonan, Ms. Peggy Noonan...pick up a white paging telephone...Mister Nose, Mister Nose...Mister Dick Nose..."

Yet he is not above a little advice. And in this case, I think well worth heeding. Here he is with Ambassador Christopher Hill wishing cooler heads would prevail on the campaign trail:

Whole clip and transcript.

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

CO-7

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Newsletter [subscribe] is an interesting if maddeningly comprehensive look at polling data (guy's gotta work some).

Dr. S "sticks his neck out" in today's, and revises positions on many House races. Of big interest to me was Ed Perlmutter (Satan - CO)'s seat being moved from "Safe Democratic" to "Likely Democratic." Like a great line near the end of Cabin in the Woods: "We work with what we get."

As our House race charts show below, there are dozens of competitive races for the House, and many of them will be difficult to call, even right before Election Day. However, there is little indication that the majority of the closest races -- the leaners and the toss-ups -- are strongly moving in one direction or the other. A closely contested House race, with no wave building for one side or the other, is by default a good position for the incumbent party. But watch the generic ballot; if races start moving to Democrats en masse, the trend will probably pop up in that number.

113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

That makes The Refugee thirsty for a good, cold beer.

(For those not in the Centennial State, this is in reference to the fact that Joe Coors, Jr., of brewing family fame, is challenging Perlmutter for this Congressional seat.)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2012 4:44 PM
But dagny thinks:

Joe came to visit my place of employment. See photo here: http://www.joecoors.com/img/Conf.JPG

He spoke to the employees and took a tour of the plant. We are apparently in his district. I was invited to join the, "round-table," discussion afterward.

I was pleased that he stated that the social issues were important to some but not his priorites. My conclusion is that he was a nice guy and had a fair grasp of free-market principles and the damage being done to our economy by big government. He would probably be a decent congressman if he can get elected.

BUT, I think he will have trouble getting elected. I asked him how does he convince the guys in the shop that free markets are better for them? He didn't even understand the question. I wanted to shout at him, "Buddy, your last name is COORS, the people around here think you understand their needs about as well as the man in the moon!" I think this is sort of like Romney's problem. I drove home from the meeting considering how to convince people and help them understand and wishing I could help write campaign speeches.

One of the most effective campaigns I ever saw was run by Patty Murray (socialist - WA) when she first got elected to the senate. She called herself a, "Mom in tennis shoes," and ran around the state dressed in a suit carrying a pair of tennis shoes. She convinced everyone she was just like they were and knew what they needed from government. Mr. Coors and Governor Romney need some tennis shoes.

Posted by: dagny at September 21, 2012 7:09 PM

Get me to Twitter!

"Radical Past, Disastrous Present, Unsafe Future" any guess who Mrs. Malkin is referring to? Makes me want to tweet. I personally, am looking for a time/place event to place a post referential to "President Lockhart (as in Gilderoy)"

I'm just kidding about Twitter, by way; I still can't imagine investing in it, even if I bought an Iphone4 for $1.

Posted by nanobrewer at 1:02 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I don't know how they ever monetize Twitter. Everybody uses it but nobody goes there. It is a big public good and should probably be provided by government. It is a magical wonderful thing.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 9:57 AM

September 19, 2012

One for Brother JG

I enjoyed this article, but I was disappointed because I knew I was not enjoying it as much as Johngalt would. I could be wrong, but there's a taste:

When it comes to energy, most discussions focus on narrow specifics: Should we use less oil? Should we use less coal? More nuclear? Wind power? Solar power? Should we use less power altogether? All of these questions are important, of course, but they are too often discussed in the complete absence of context. The bigger picture is that biology and anthropology tell us something very interesting about human beings: We are not simply beings that use energy, we are beings that exist only because we harnessed energy, and our use of energy has shaped our bodies and culture for millions of years.

Kenneth P. Green asks "Homo Sapiens or Homo Igniferens?" He answers that our use of energy drove our evolution, instead of some lucky break when these hairless large animals with the small teeth discovered fire.

It is easy for an engineer or economist to wax about our relationship with energy -- the biology and anthropology is interesting as well.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, we did build that fire. Us and our opposable thumbs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 19, 2012 11:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, YES!

Politicians like to talk about how Americans are "addicted to oil" or "addicted to cheap energy." It would be more accurate to say that humans are biologically and culturally adapted to reliance on energy. Are we addicted or adapted? It makes a big difference in how one perceives the role of energy in our civilization.

After reading that article, and this excerpt from near the end, I need a cigarette.

Lemmie see, where was that comment again?

And finally, I can't help but credit cheap and abundant energy, together with means to use that energy to do work, for the standard of living that modern man has become not only accustomed to, but takes as a natural and automatic condition - one that will "always be that way." Let Hollywood live on the beach and make movies without electricity or fossil fuels for a few years and we'll likely see a shift Eastwood in their philsophy and politics.

Man produced enough to subsist on with the energy he liberated from burning wood, and later coal, and even began creating heavy machinery that used those fuels, but th date when petroleum was discovered marks the dawn of humanity's metoric advance in prosperity.

Thank you for linking this brother. I see it is part of a larger series.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2012 2:48 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"After reading that article, and this excerpt from near the end, I need a cigarette."

Yer killin' me, man!!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2012 4:54 PM

All Hail Joss Whedon

No doubt I am the last guy to this party, but most of the non Ayn Rand movies must wait to meet me at le condo d'amour. "Cabin in the Woods" is now out on Amazon Prime and it is absolutely brilliant.

Five stars. Not for the kiddies, mind you, but do not miss this film.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:40 PM | What do you think? [4]
But dagny thinks:

Really??? "Endless terror and bloodshed..." is not normally my preferred genre for entertainment.

All the trailers for this looked awful!

Posted by: dagny at September 20, 2012 1:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Umm, yes, there is terror and more than a bit of bloodshed. It is a Whedon twist on the typical teen terror flick that you fear it is.

Buffy, Whedon likes to say, was predicated on a joke: every horror movie has the moment when the big bad is alone with the cute blonde girl -- wouldn't it be great if she kicked its ass?

Likewise, this has all the trappings of the genre but there is something more. I'll refund an Amazon rental if you are disappointed.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

A lot of reviewers talk, talk, talk. People come to ThreeSources for the 100% money back guarantee reviews -- I think it is what sets us apart.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 1:52 PM
But dagny thinks:

Monsters from the Id?

Posted by: dagny at September 20, 2012 4:39 PM

Tax or "fee?"

The front page of today's Denver Post was covered with a giant pie chart and the headline, "Who are the 47 percent?"

20120919_032130_nd19romney47percentfooter.jpg

From the chart above, 18.1% of tax filers did not pay income taxes because they are elderly, non-workers or had an income less than $20,000 per year, while 28.3% "paid payroll tax" but still paid no federal income tax.

More than 76 million households paid no income taxes last year, according to the Tax Policy Center. But about 60 percent still paid federal payroll taxes that support Medicare and Social Security, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the tax center. Many also paid federal excise taxes, along with state and local sales, property and income taxes.

The implication here is that Mitt Romney is wrong - most Americans do pay taxes. But Mr. Romney is campaigning to become President of the United States. State and local taxes are not set by federal policy and are largely irrelevant to presidential voting decisions. And the Medicare and Social Security taxes? As contributions toward entitlements to be collected later in life, those are more accurately described as premiums or "fees" than as taxes. The president's lawyers made this case for Obamacare before the Supreme Court and although it didn't support the ruling in their favor, the description was apt. It is no less so for Medicare and Social Security.

So Mitt Romney is not wrong. The share whose tax bill is likely to be completely unaffected by any increases in income tax rates is, 47 percent.

But jk thinks:

You'll be staggered to hear I still plan to vote for the Governor in spite of this.

That said, I do not plan to spend a lot of cycles in defense. It was sloppy logic at best: Warren Buffett will be voting for the President, and he pays almost as much taxes as Warren Buffett's Secretary!

He conflates a 47% deadbeat set with a 47% Democrat base. I am not saying there is no overlap, but the Gov. has called it "inartful." I am prepared to take that as an apology and move on.

Anyone who is honestly offended needs to get out more.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2012 6:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Warren Buffett is that little green sliver way over there in the Top 20%.

In asking myself what was the point of this post I realized there are several.

First is the one I ended the post with, that it is difficult to win large majorities in the face of half the population being net tax receivers.

Next most important, I think, is that 28.3% of tax filers have no federal liability except for their mandatory participation in Uncle Sam's retirement income and retirement medicine plans. Both plans promise a "guarantee" written on the backs of future generations. My current tax liability was necessitated by actions and policies which happened prior to my birth. Shouldn't I have had a vote on that? But this 28.3% views their share of my largesse as something they "paid for" or "invested in" with their contributions, taxed and spent decades ago. So not only are they now net tax receivers, and a drain on the productive class, they have cause to believe that they DESERVE it. For them it's not so much class warfare as generational warfare, and they're on the Democrats' side. This is the biggest reason why bipartisan reform of SS and Medicare can never happen. It would threaten on of the Democrats' biggest core constituencies.

There were other points too but after that last one they hardly seem to matter.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2012 3:07 PM

Barack Obama- American Exceptionalist

There are several points to be made about President Obama's appearance on David Letterman last night and most of them are being made elsewhere. The one I haven't heard anyone mention is the point where the president says that America is the "greatest country on earth."

"Right now interest rates are low because people still consider the United States the safest and greatest country on earth. Rightfully so."

It's at 7:10 in the following clip of his entire appearance:

This comes dangerously close to "elevating one nation or group of people over another," and it clearly proves that the president understands nations are not equal. What is the word which describes the popular, yet ineffective, strategy for making nations or groups of people equal? Redistribution.

"Stay the course America" is the president's re-election strategy. "Pay no attention to that iceberg approaching our bow. That's just a little bump we're gonna have to roll over before we can all have the same opportunities as everyone else."

But AndyN thinks:

Of all the examples he could pick to demonstrate that the US is the greatest country on earth, he picked interest rates? Seriously? And besides, I was under the impression that interest rates were low because treasury kept printing more money to buy bonds from the treasury, or something.

Posted by: AndyN at September 19, 2012 7:31 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt jg & dagny's kids will soon be bringing home coloring sheets of FOMC Chairman Ben Bernanke: "Defender of the Faith and Crown!"

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2012 7:35 PM
But dagny thinks:

Jk makes fun of the stuff brought home from school but I will be spending many hours I would rather spend blogging writing carefully crafted philosophical (not political) responses to mush-headed 20-somethings brainwashed by education degrees and associated administrators.

How's that for a run-on sentence?

My only hope is that we have chosen a small enough school that my eloquence regarding the Main Points of the Constitution and second grade socialism of crayons will not fall on deaf ears.

Posted by: dagny at September 20, 2012 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Know that I applaud you for it! Once a response has been carefully crafted -- I would point out -- it would not take much marginal effort to share it where it might be used on mushy headed educators outside your immediate sphere.

Brother jg would set up a new category for these, and could likely be talked into posting them.

Think about it...

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 2:00 PM

Quote of the Day

Judging from the tone of NBC News' Chuck Todd, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, and Jonathan Martin of Politico discussing the news of the day yesterday morning on Daily Rundown, you would have thought that Mitt Romney appeared before a group of donors, suddenly tore off all of his clothes to reveal scales and full body tattoos written in Esperanto, started chanting Satanic verses, and pledged to use America's nuclear arsenal on all states with trees that are inappropriate heights. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 9:58 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 18, 2012

Locavoracious!

I haven't posted in "Dirty Hippies" for a while. I don't know how popular this is where y'all are, but this is a big deal in Boulder. My Boulder-based Facebook contingent is heavily invested.

I'll not have the gumption to share this story with any of them, but this AEI piece is right in there with Penn & Teller's incredible "Organic Food" episode of Bullshit.

Where does one start with the moronic concept of locavorism? Basically: discarding the myriad health, lifestyle, and economic benefits of Ricardian comparative advantage to genuflect at the altar of eating low-mileage grits.

Thankfully, Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu do the work I will not -- take the arguments seriously enough to debunk them. It's an awesome collection, and I will find it here the next time I need it.

Choir preaching: Locavores or Loco-vores?

Dirty Hippies Posted by John Kranz at 6:19 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

*smugvoice*"Live simply, so that others may simply live."*/smugvoice*

The ants came marching two-by-two hurrah, hurrah...

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2012 1:01 AM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thanks, very fine and educational article. See, my mistake was thinking the locavore crowd actually believed in "the affordable and abundant food" they promise. It turns out that their main point is to feel good about themselves.

It is much more efficient to just look in the mirror every morning and state, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" Then go get some eggs trucked in from a factory farm.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 19, 2012 1:12 PM
But jk thinks:

I suspect "marginal cost" is a couple standard deviations above the mean locavore logic, but it struck me that the actual, marginal energy expenditure to bring a bag of delicious, fresh summertime Chilean fruit here is likely far less than the fuel required to drive their Subaru Outback and all of its bumper stickers round trip to the Farmer's Market.

I'm fond of the last paragraph, but it is a complete lie. The locavores I know are extremely intelligent. I think, down deep that is what really frightens me.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2012 2:05 PM
But dagny thinks:

Intelligence and rationality are not necessarily highly correlated.

Posted by: dagny at September 19, 2012 2:56 PM
But Jk thinks:

I'm a Ricardo-vore.

Posted by: Jk at September 19, 2012 10:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Ricardovores (I don't care for the hyphen) use reason to exploit their comparative advantage and uncoerced trade to feed themselves from the world's bounty. They enjoy diversity in taste, supply, and seasonality.

And they require a small percentage of their output to consumption, allowing them to pursue other endeavors. Explain the terms "disposal income" and "vintage guitars" to a sustenance farmer.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 10:05 AM

Moon River

Ehrmigahd! This so deeply fit this week's vibe I could not wait to post.

Hat-tip: Radio Deluxe on Facebook. That is guitar deity John Pizzarelli and his lovely bride, Jessica Molaskey. They have a syndicated radio show blog friend sc turned me on to. You can listen online to old episodes. And, for this crew, I'd recommend "Sexy Songs."

Music Posted by John Kranz at 3:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

Government Business Boondoggles, Alaska Style

This article from Alaska contains some nice illustrations of just how truly, truly awful-terrible government can be at business. Oh my, how easy it is to pony up huge sums when it's not your own money. We're not talking a mere few millions of dollars here and there, folks. No, in Alaska they do things big:

Point MacKenzie Dairy Project — early 1980s

Tipsy on a strange brew of Alaskan pioneering spirit, burgeoning oil revenues and Soviet-style top-down ambitions, the state set aside 15,000 acres of mostly well-drained forest and spent millions installing a grid of new roads and power. More than 2,000 people bid on 31 tracts, including 19 slated to be working dairies with 100 to 150 cows each.

The goals? At least 30 to 40 families would ultimately make a living milking cows and growing feed — reviving the flagging local dairy industry while providing a sure market for barley grown at the 10,000-acre sister project near Delta Junction and a quality product for a struggling local dairy. It didn’t happen.

“Most went under in just a few years, victims of crushing debt brought on by diving milk prices and the high cost of reshaping wilderness into viable dairies,” wrote Alaska journalist S. J. Komarnitsky here.

By one estimate, the state sunk at least $9.6 million directly into Point MacKenzie farms. The New York Times later reported that the state lost up to $120 million for its agricultural hubris, ultimately foreclosing on $40 million in loans by the early 1990s.

"You want to know how to lose money in a hurry?" said Harvey Baskin, the last of the original farmers and a stubborn, hard-working man who held on until his death in 2002, in this story. "Become a farmer with the State of Alaska as your partner. This is what you call negative farming."

The article has six fine examples, so here's one more taste:

Anchorage seafood plant

The stench of dead fish is part of life in a state that's home to some of the nation's richest fisheries, but this deal stunk to high heaven.

What started out as a grand idea to diversity the state's oil-trapped economy quickly began to rot and finally ended when Alaska Seafood International's huge seafood plant went belly up in 2003.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority gambled and lost on this mega-monster. Working with ASI founder Howard Benedict and Taiwanese investors, the state development agency blew $50 million to build the plant and millions more in failed attempts to save it.

The 202,000-square-foot Anchorage processing plant was supposed to employ hundreds of workers churning out frozen seafood meals, largely salmon and halibut. But for many reasons -- including distance from the fishing grounds and trouble lining up buyers -- production stank. The state never got paid rent.

But, hey, look what it spawned: A nondenominational Christian group, Grace Alaska, bought it with food distributor Sysco for $25 million after borrowing millions from AIDEA. Now it's ChangePoint church, a cold-storage distribution center and indoor soccer fields.

Well, the government is pretty good at building soccer fields, anyway.


Two tickets to Normal World, Please

Very small Internet value in underscoring Professor Reynolds's links, but if you ever think you are not living in Bizzaro World, read Joel Engel's description of the artist President Obama hung with after putting that cheesy filmmaker behind bars.

If Barack Obama consciously intended to demonstrate his contempt for this constitutional republic and its citizens--and who knows, maybe he does--he couldn't do it any more dramatically than tomorrow night's event.

Think about it. Just a few days after trying to deprive a man no one had ever heard of from enjoying his free-speech rights because some foreigners claim they were offended, the President of the United States flies off to party with another man who’s earned a pasha's fortune exercising his own free-speech rights with language that offends many more Americans than not.

Click through for some language that even I will not excerpt.

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Well what do you know, I was thinking about posting this too, and wondering how much of the lyrics to include...which was none. Here's an old song from before the Era of (C)Rap that explains the situation quite well if you're Obama and will do anything for votes and money:

"Well now we're respected in society
We don't worry about the things that we used to be"

(You may remember the rest. Even mentions the President and White House, how fitting).

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 18, 2012 2:31 PM

Quote of the Day

Perhaps my favorite of all time -- and I am not going to mention drugs:

That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise or even right. -- JS Mill

This comes from a smart Richard Epstein piece on religious fundamentalism versus Mill and Locke.

Nothing that would interest anybody around here...

Hat-tip: Insty


Media Bias?

The trouble with jk's posts is that he just opines. Why doesn't he get his hands dirty with a little original research now and then? Huh?

I just did some painstakingly accurate and highly scientific research for the post. And it shows -- mirabile dictu -- that I am right! I had better wash my hands.

I read this superb WSJ Editorial on our little side investment in General Motors. Even though management would like to unwind the taxpayers' position, well:

But the Administration is refusing GM's stock buyback because it would mean losing billions of dollars on this "investment." The auto maker's shares are trading around $24, which is not merely a tumble from the November 2010 IPO price of $33 but means the government would lose $15 billion if it sold today.

I got to thinking. Every day it seems somebody talks about the "failed" or "disastrous" Facebook IPO. I'm not advocating anybody mortgage his farm to scoop up FB equity, but it struck me that I don't hear the same adjectives thrown about in reference to our coerced investment. Bing® suggests I may be on to something:
  • failed facebook IPO 4,070,000 entries
  • failed GM IPO 471,000

Ten times as many stories about a private company that offered shares to an interested public and the stock price went down (you mean stocks go down too?), compared to a Fifth Amendment shattering piece of corporatism that was forced on us, which performed just about as poorly.

Bueller?

Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | What do you think? [9]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

For those of you who might not yet be following me on Twitter, I posted this yesterday in the same vein:

"US fights China over car subsidies: http://is.gd/pBZA6e Meanwhile, the US Gov't still owns GM."

If you do happen to follow me - as I have several of you, by the way, and no guilt intended - I promise not to flood you with thousands of mindless, repetitive nonsensical tweets. You'll find me as @masterescrow.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 18, 2012 1:36 PM
But jk thinks:

And those who do apprciate thousands of mindless, repetitive nonsensical tweets can follow @berkeleysquare.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2012 1:55 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I already do (have for a while, amigo, and JG too!) and can testify to the contrary. And after I put Bo Belinsky and a Budweiser commercial in the comments here, believe me when I say that I've got the market on mindless cornered.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 18, 2012 2:08 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Keith--I got around to reading your author page, which I liked a great deal. Please post your Twitter handle, because I'm having trouble finding you.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 19, 2012 4:40 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ellis: I hope this works:

https://twitter.com/masterescrow

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 19, 2012 11:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I know both your email addresses. If you'd like me to faciliate just jk at threesources dot com me. (And I think Brother ew is wearing ruby slippers -- look at the comments on the authoring page and the email addresses show).

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 9:53 AM

KATE MIDDLETON'S BREASTS

We should be good for four or five Monetary Policy debates after this...

I saw several tweets about but missed the story (and sadly, the pix).

Today I find a good story that all ThreeSourcers will dig -- as soon as they get over their disappointment at the lack of accompanying photos. One Guy Bentley (Briton name out of Central Casting) takes The Guardian to the woodshed for their accusations and, more fundamentally, misunderstanding freedom qua freedom:

However, the substance of the article is that The Sun is embroiled in hypocrisy for supporting the Duke and Duchess in their bid to sue the photographer, while displaying their page three model's breasts as per usual.

Let me be quite clear: there is absolutely no hypocrisy here. In fact, The Sun's position is by default, a defence of freedom of the individual.

The Sun supports the Duchess for the same reason many of its readers will. An invasion of privacy which has no public interest attached to it should be condemned. However, a young woman who chooses to reveal her breasts to the readers of The Sun, either for money, publicity or both, is doing so voluntarily exercising her freedom of contract.

This is the healthy attitude of a free society, not hypocrisy. The public can see the distinction between voluntary contract and the violation of someone's privacy on private property.

Brits, by and large, have no problem with breasts being used to sell magazines as we can see from numerous publications such as Loaded, Nuts and Maxim. The reasonable attitude of the tolerant majority in this country is, "if you don’t like it, don’t buy it".

Now, on to QE3...

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

September 17, 2012

Happy Constitution Day!

Brother AlexC says on Facebook: "It was a good run."

Thomas Woods shares a good speech fo his, suggesting if you can't read Lysander Spooner today, watch this:

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:57 PM | What do you think? [12]
But johngalt thinks:

I could scan the pages but for expediency I'll just transcribe the four coloring book pages from the "Our Constitution" kindergarten work. Since the pages appear to be in random order I'll present them in order of "least objectionable."

"Our Constitution gives us rights and freedoms."
(Pictures of a ballot box and a church.)

"Our Constitution gives us rules that help us be fair and honest."
(Picture of a handshake.)

"Our Constitution tells us to work together."
(Picture of a boy and girl playing a board game.)

"Our Constitution says we will be safe and taken care of."
(Picture of a little girl asleep in her bed.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2012 2:37 AM
But jk thinks:

No Free Contraception?

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

That might be for the fourth graders.

Seriously though, the first two are arguable given some latitude for terminology - but I'm ready to ask for some finger layin' on the third and fourth.

Okay, maybe A1S8- "common defence and general welfare" covers the last but c'mon, does anybody really believe that's how kinders will remember it?

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2012 11:38 AM
But jk thinks:

Serious finger layin'

You're kinder than me on the first two (maybe I am Meg Ryan...) The Constitution protects our rights. Abstract for Kindergarten? Perhaps, but important enough to use the right words.

Good thing I had a dog, huh?

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2012 1:00 PM
But jk thinks:

To tie it back to Thomas Woods, we should both be glad the coloring did not reference The Iroquois Constitution.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2012 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are oh so right, jk. I was intentionally lenient on the first to see if anyone felt as strongly about it as dagny. Your commentary is hers, verbatim.

To those who call it "nitpicking" I might ask if they'd be just as sanguine with "our Constitution explains our rights and freedoms."

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2012 1:14 PM

Kudlow: QE3 - Evidence Obamanomics Dismal Failure

Or, "What if they threw a big economic recovery and nobody came?"

Lawrence Kudlow points out in an IBD editorial that Bernanke's "desperate money-pumping plan" is a complete reversal of the "supply side" policy that his predecessor Paul Volker used to great effect in the 80's, with an unsurprising result.

A falling dollar (1970s) generates higher inflation, a rising dollar (1980s and beyond) generates lower inflation.

This is the supply-side model as advanced by Nobelist Robert Mundell and his colleague Arthur Laffer. In summary, easier taxes and tighter money are the optimal growth solution. But what we have now are higher taxes and easier money. A bad combination.

The Fed has created all this money in the last couple of years. But it hasn't worked: $1.6 trillion of excess bank reserves are still sitting idle at the Fed. No use. No risk. Virtually no loans. And the Fed is enabling massive deficit spending by the White House and Treasury.

The obvious implication being that if it worked then and its opposite is failing now, let's try it again. *Homer Simpson voice*"Hey, why didn't I think of that?"*/Homer Simpson voice* Kudlow explains that when policies don't encourage higher after-tax income for producers or greater return on investment for lenders, well, we'll see less of both.

On page 2 Kudlow explains how QE3, like QE2 before it, is murder on the middle-class that the president loudly and repeatedly boasts he cares most about. As my three year-old likes to say these days, "Nonsense."

But jk thinks:

Larry's point is politically devastating: "if the Administration's policies are so swell, how come the Fed has to keep a liquidity fire hose on full in perpetuity?"

A wonkier look at QE3, suggesting Nominal Income Targeting (somewhere blog friend EE cheers!) is available on the Free Banking blog today.

Among the alternatives to NGDP one in particular, the Dept. of Commerce's measure of (nominal) "final sales to domestic consumers" deserves particular attention. It is the measure that was favored by the late Bill Niskanen--yet another largely unrecognized but long-standing proponent of nominal income targeting--who offered several good reasons for preferring it to NGDP targeting, the most fundamental of which was that "demand for money in the United States appears to be more closely related to final purchases by Americans than to the dollar level of total output by Americans."

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2012 4:09 PM

RAHQOTD

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

-RAH 'Time Enough for Love' (1973)

Any questions?


Julie London - "Fly Me to the Moon"

A bit of heaven, made real here on earth:

I do believe that if I found out the universe was ending in one minute, forty-four seconds I'd spend it watching that.

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 1:00 PM | What do you think? [6] | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

Nice. Love the guitar. But isn't that the dress Ginger wore when she got shipwrecked?

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2012 1:31 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Long been a fan of Julie London, and I don't think anyone did this song as well as she did. It's like asking if anyone's cover of "Misty" was better than Sarah Vaughan's.

I don't know if Ginger wore that dress, but I'll date myself with this:

CONTESTANT: "I'll take Geography for $800, Art."

ART FLEMING: "The answer is: Crimea."

CONTESTANT: "What is a river made famous by Julie London?"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 17, 2012 1:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Now you say you're sorry.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2012 2:00 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

This was shot before Ginger was invented, so Julie was first, and she rocks the dress.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 17, 2012 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

ThreeSources seeks truth in all things, nicht wahr? This video is dated 1964 and Wikipedia says that Gilligan's Island aired for three seasons on CBS from September 26, 1964, to September 4, 1967. I suggest they are contemporaneous.

However, the Wikipedia entry also includes many unkind words about Tina Louise.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2012 4:00 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Wikipedia might, but Bo Belinsky didn't. I'll let you all Google the details of his famous four-bagger, for those of you who don't already know that prurient bit of trivia.

And for a chaser? A palate-cleanser: http://youtu.be/nfGgiETAg1I

I stand with Ellis on the issue - Julie London was class.

On the other hand, I hope you all didn't forget to wish a Happy Birthday to Cassandra Peterson, you TV trivia buffs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 18, 2012 12:07 AM

Two Tickets to Nomal World, Please

In a normal world, Luther Burbank would get a medal from regulators for its risk management, having chosen borrowers even at the height of the housing mania who could meet their monthly payments.
Ahh yes, normal world. I'd like to plan a holiday there. I have several weeks' vacation built up. Does Southwest® fly there? This not being normal world, the prudent lender described in the opening quote is not receiving a medal but rather -- the smart kids in front have guessed it -- a fine.
But Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez has a different priority: He wants banks to meet lending quotas to minorities--regardless of whether those borrowers can afford the loans. Many minority borrowers have low incomes that make them riskier lending bets. Is that a bank's fault?

Luther Burbank admitted no guilt and said it settled to avoid costly litigation, which makes sense for a small, local lender that has to worry about its reputational risk. The bank has agreed to ratchet down its minimum loan to $20,000 and will now commit $2.2 million to a "special financing program" for "qualified borrowers," payouts for local community groups, and "consumer education programs." Justice has the final say on who gets that money.


It's not like anything could possibly go wrong.


September 16, 2012

Review Corner

If I had a time machine, I would go back a couple months and try reading Niall Ferguson's Civilization first, then Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Dignity. Just an experiment, I'm not saying one order is better than another. But it is interesting to compare, as both try to explain the same thing.

Ferguson starts man's leap out of the primordial economic ooze a couple centuries sooner than McCloskey, and while his version of events does not contradict McCloskey, he cites six "killer apps" that allowed the West to outpace "The Rest." Ferguson provides the Cliff Notes to his book at the beginning and at the end:

Why did the West dominate the Rest and not vice versa? I have argued that it was because the West developed six killer applications that the Rest lacked. These were:

1. Competition, in that Europe itself was politically fragmented and that within each monarchy or republic there were multiple competing corporate entities

2. The Scientific Revolution, in that all the major seventeenth-century breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology happened in Western Europe

3. The rule of law and representative government, in that an optimal system of social and political order emerged in the English-speaking world, based on private property rights and the representation of property-owners in elected legislatures

4. Modern medicine, in that nearly all the major nineteenth- and twentieth-century breakthroughs in healthcare, including the control of tropical diseases, were made by Western Europeans and North Americans

5. The consumer society, in that the Industrial Revolution took place where there was both a supply of productivity-enhancing technologies and a demand for more, better and cheaper goods, beginning with cotton garments

6. The work ethic, in that Westerners were the first people in the world to combine more extensive and intensive labour with higher savings rates, permitting sustained capital accumulation.

That's the whole book. Saved you $16.99 I did! I would highly recommend the entire work, however. Ferguson, like McCloskey, is a serious student of history, pulling out amazing and illustrative anecdotes from Ancient China or the Ottoman Empire like I quote Buffy. It's an enjoyable and substantive book.

His examples fascinate. His explanation of "#6 Work" goes beyond Calvinism to tie Christianity fundamentally to freedom. That could keep ThreeSourcers up until the wee hours separating the finer points

Protestantism, [Max Weber] argued, "has the effect of liberating the acquisition of wealth from the inhibitions of traditionalist ethics; it breaks the fetters on the striving for gain not only by legalizing it, but . . . by seeing it as directly willed by God".

He joins Reason in highlighting Western Culture's contributions to bringing down Soviet Communism. This old Reagan/Thatcher guy rejects efforts to undermine their accomplishments (and Pope JPII), but rock and roll and blue jeans cannot be forgotten, either.
So why not just let Czechoslovakian students have all the jeans and rock 'n' roll they wanted? The answer is that the consumer society posed a lethal threat to the Soviet system itself. It was market-based. It responded to signals from consumers themselves -- their preference for jeans over flannel trousers, or for Mick Jagger over Burt Bacharach. And it devoted an increasing share of resources to satisfying those preferences. This the Soviet system simply could not do. The Party knew what everyone needed -- brown polyester suits -- and placed its orders with the state-owned factories accordingly.
[...]
In any case, for the Soviets to keep pace with the much richer Americans in the Cold War arms race, tanks had to take precedence over tank-tops, strategic bombers over Stratocasters.

Ferguson is not the freedom lover that McCloskey is. He's a British Telegraph reader who talks about "The Texas Terror" in the introduction and is quite concerned that we lose Civilization to global warming in the conclusion. In-between, he is eminently fair and allows the data to lead him to conclusions that ThreeSourcers would applaud.

In the end, his conclusions seem compatible with McCloskey's, though you can see areas where her bourgeois dignity idea would underscore or better explain his ideas.

Also interesting to read East v West in the shadow of the Romney Gaffe embassy protests and killings. Islam squandered world dominance because they refused reason, the East in general even refusing to adopt obvious Western advantages in medicine and finance.

And, in the shadow of the riots, one cannot argue with his fears for "Civilization's future:

Maybe the real threat is posed not by the rise of China, Islam or CO2 emissions, but by our own loss of faith in the civilization we inherited from our ancestors.
[...]
Civilization will not last, freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless a very large majority of mankind unite together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a constabulary power before which barbaric and atavistic forces will stand in awe.

Four point seven five stars. If you read just one, read McCloskey's. But read them both.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you, sir! You are a Grandmaster of reviews.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 17, 2012 12:57 PM

September 15, 2012

Tweet of the Day


Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

Huck a Whack

Can't quite make them "quotidian" any more, but I'll continue playing as long as the Governor does.

I received an email from Todd Akin (Trog - MO) today. Thanks for the missive, Todd, but I think we should start seeing other candidates.

Friend,

Party boss and Washington insider John Cornyn this week had two words for Todd Akin, and Missouri: "We're done."

Rather than swallowing their pride and admitting they were wrong to not help Todd Akin, Party Bosses are doubling down.

Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, had this to say about the Washington Party Bosses:


I resent the comparison to Sens. Rubio and Paul. Those two strike me as the opposite of Akin. Unsurprising that Gov. Huckabee does not see that.

113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 14, 2012

QE3 Deux

I did not forget nor ignore the question of QE3. I first hoped that Kudlow would post the video of his discussion with Don Luskin, but that is not on the CNBC site today. I also hoped to find the great graphic he uses -- it looks like a Spanky-and-our-gang vintage film of a baby tossing a pile of cash out the window.

Missing both of those, the WSJ weighs in with three concerns about "the brave new world of unlimited monetary easing:"

Then there are the real and potential costs of endless easing, three of which Mr. Bernanke addressed at his Thursday press conference. He said Americans shouldn't complain about getting a pittance of interest on their savings because they'll benefit in the long term from a better economy spurred by low rates. Retirees might retort that they know what Lord Keynes said about the long term.

Mr. Bernanke was also as slippery as a politician in claiming that his policies don't promote deficit spending because the Fed earns interest on the bonds it buys and hands that as revenue to the Treasury. Yes, but its near-zero policy also disguises the real interest-payment burden of running serial $1.2 trillion deficits, while creating a debt-repayment cliff when interest rates inevitably rise. Does he really think Congress would spend as much if he weren't making the cost of government borrowing essentially free?

The third cost is the risk of future inflation, which Mr. Bernanke accurately said hasn't strayed too far above the Fed's 2% "core inflation" target. That conveniently ignores the run-up in food and energy prices, which consumers pay even if the Fed discounts them in its own "core" calculations.

The deeper into exotic monetary easing the Fed goes, the harder it will also be to unwind in a timely fashion. Mr. Bernanke says not to worry, he has the tools and the will to pull the trigger before inflation builds.


Kudlow showed the Fed's balance sheet going from $800 Billion to $3T in a few years, with QE3 suggesting almost a full $1T being added every year. Governor Romney said that he does not plan to renominate Chainman Bernanke to another term. Let us hope he wins and The Chainman is sent back home to play with toy helicopters.


Q.E. THREEEEEEEEE!

Dagny's plea to the blog economists for someone to "explain to me, in small words, what the FED has just done" having heretofore gone unanswered, I'll link to a capitalist hack who gives a fairly concise summary of the "absolute final gasp of the central bank cartel" in Bernanke's Last Bullet.

Bill begins by explaining what the Fed did yesterday:

On Sept. 13, the Federal Reserve announced a program to purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities a month — at a pace of $480 billion a year. Unlike previous incarnations of quantitative easing (QE), this one is open-ended with no sunset stated or envisioned.

“If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the committee will continue its purchase of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability,” the Fed wrote in its statement.

And then he explained what it means:

When coupled with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Sept. 6 announcement of open-ended government bond purchases, this is the absolute final gasp of the central bank cartel. They are desperate. These coordinated actions indicate only one thing: the global economy is going over a cliff. Name one region or industry that is prospering. Not China as its exports dry up. Not Australia who is just now entering its own housing meltdown. Certainly not Europe where even Germany is starting to show signs of recession. And the emerging economy nations? They depend on others to buy their commodities and goods. They are just months away from their own problems.

Bernanke has now fired his last bullet. When this reckless move fails, nobody will believe just shoveling more money into a broken economic engine will do anything meaningful.

But jk thinks:

The best commentary emanated from a non-economics blogger. Jim Geraghty:

As Cam asked last night, "What's the last really good thing that had a '3' in its title?" I nominated The Return of the King, The Dark Knight Rises, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but Cam pointed out none of them have "3" in the title. Redskins fans, we're still deciding if "RGIII" counts.

The open-ended nature is disconcerting. The dual mandate, which I consider one too many, is now discarded in favor of GDP-targeting. The man from Princeton will now run the entire economy from the FOMC.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2012 4:16 PM

Quote of the Day

It's too late to get into all of it. But the whole thing [DNC2012] was sort of like an informercial homage to my oeuvre. In Liberal Fascism, I argue that liberalism is a political religion of the sort discussed by Eric Voegelin and championed by the progressive intellectuals like Richard Ely and Woodrow Wilson. They want to replace the Founders' vision of the government being (and here I am harkening back to my prison analogy) the Peoples' bitch and replace it with the Hegelian notion of the God-State where everyone is organically bound together and our collective will is expressed through the State. As (the Hegelian) Mussolini proclaimed in his definition of fascism, "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state." Or as the producers of the Democratic National Convention's introductory video put it, "Government is the one thing we all belong to." -- Jonah Golberg [subscribe]
UPDATE: Jonah is on Devil's Advocate tonight: "host Jon Caldara is joined by National Review Online Editor-at-Large Jonah Golberg to discuss Jonahs new book, 'The Tyranny of Cliches.' That's 8:30 PM tonight on Colorado Public Television 12."

Kumbaya!

A peace offering in the jg / jk contretemps. Gov. Romney does not need to bring Peggy Noonan on staff. She gives him advice every Friday and is remunerated by Rupert "Darth" Murdoch.

She is pretty good today. It pains me to admit. (No, really, visceral pain!) She clarifies her remarks on the Governor without walking anything back. First she takes my blog brother's side:

Guys, timing. Dignity. Restraint. Tragedy. Painful headlines, brutal pictures. Long view. Bigness. Think it through, take some days, and then come forth with a cool, detailed, deeply pertinent critique that will actually help people think about what happened.

Damn, where have I heard that before?

She is more harsh on the President -- it seems somebody has learned something in four years.

As for Mr. Obama, he didn't help himself with his snotty comment on "60 Minutes" that Mr. Romney has a habit of shooting first and aiming later. He could have been classy and refused to take a shot. But he's not really classy that way.

And then some free advice to Gov. R:
What is needed from Mr. Romney now, or soon, is a serious statement about America's role and purpose in the world. If such a statement contained an intellectually serious critique of the president's grand strategy, or lack of it, all the better. As far as I can tell, that strategy largely consists of spurts of emotion and calculation from his closest aides, and is not a strategy but an inbox.

Mr. Romney might also contemplate this, because it will soon be on the American mind: Our embassies under siege in the Mideast gives us a sense of what a war with Iran would look like. It would be bloody. Not neat, not surgical, but bloody.


And a WWI reference that ties in 9/11 and the expectations of the 2012 election and the guy who made the trailer and okay, yeah, it is pretty good.

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

Related: A broad international perspective on the 9/11/12 assaults and their effect on the US election can be found in this der Spiegel piece: 'Obama's Middle East Policy Is in Ruins.'

The last half of the article consists of excerpts from seven different German publications. They're all quite insightful but I'll try to give a flavor by excerpting from excerpts:

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"The murder of an ambassador in Libya and the attacks on US diplomatic missions in other Arab countries is sure to strengthen the skepticism that more than a few Americans feel toward Muslims and the political changes brought by the Arab revolutions."

The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:

"A crazy individual US citizen has uploaded a movie onto the Internet which denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. The US government can not be held responsible for that. But that clearly does not help US President Barack Obama very much. He has to bear the political consequences of the recent events by himself."

The center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Middle Eastern policy is a thankless task for America. But for precisely this reason -- and despite the election campaign -- it would be unwise to pour oil into the fire. The fact that President Obama has deployed destroyers and marines to Libya, and may soon send out drones, isn't a good sign, though."

The conservative Die Welt writes:

"Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era. It's a bitter outcome for Obama."

The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes:

"It's lucky for Obama that his opponent Romney is acting in such a hapless manner. Instead of condemning the attacks in a statesman-like fashion and assuring the president of his support, Romney criticized the government's alleged 'apology' to the demonstrators. That was not just nonsense, but partisan maneuvering at a moment when patriotism would have been appropriate. With his attack, Romney has scored an own goal."

The financial daily Handelsblatt writes:

"Mitt Romney has, however, failed to recognize the very core of the American dilemma. He attacked Obama with twisted facts shortly after the announcement of the death of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens."

The mass-circulation daily Bild writes:

"Naked hatred is raging against a country that many people in the world regard as a symbol of freedom. When US flags burn, embassies are vandalized, and diplomats are murdered, it is an attack on the West, and not just America!"

"We rooted for the demonstrators at Tahrir Square, and many of us have longed to see democracy in the Arab nations. But democracy includes honoring the lives of fellow humans."
"The turmoil in Libya, Cairo, and Bangladesh is a return to the Middle Ages, when people were beheaded and stoned to death. No pathetic anti-Islam film can justify hate-filled murder."
"The West must be tough on terrorism. And it must show that it can differentiate between rabble-rousers and peaceful Muslims."
Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2012 7:17 PM
But jk thinks:

We do need a like button; this is an awesome comment. If I may humbly suggest a segue: The Day I'm Inaugurated Muslim Hostility Will Ease

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2012 11:28 AM

All Hail Kim Strassel!

I fear she might be right. I was initially concerned when I saw that the title of her editorial concerned Governor Romney's pants. But it is a good allusion.

Strassel is worried that the old, over-cautious (belt and suspenders) Romney is back. The Ryan pick was just a fling and the campaign now will count on dissatisfaction with the President to sweep their challenger britches into power.

One problem: Mr. Obama is winning. The August unemployment numbers are horrid; the president increases his national lead. Labor-force participation hits a 31-year low; Mr. Obama moves up in swing states. Prices spike; the president takes Michigan out of contention. No doubt Part 39 of the Romney attack on Mr. Obama's welfare policies will propel the Republican to a blazing lead. Though, failing that, Mr. Romney might consider that the pure referendum strategy is a bust.

Voters know that things are rotten; the GOP needn't spend $100 million telling them so. What they don't know is how we got here. (Was it Bush's fault? So says Mr. Obama, while Mr. Romney says nothing.) And they don't know how Mr. Romney proposes to fix it.


Even Republicans (and I don't mean David Brooks and Peggy Noonan) are winging about "no plan." Unless his polls show something public polls do not, I suggest -- with Strassel -- that it is time to double down on boldness.
The press embarrassed itself this week by flaying Mr. Romney's criticism of the State Department while giving a pass to the policies of a president who, after announcing the death of four diplomats, flew to a campaign event in Las Vegas. The press doesn't care. Its goal was to let Mr. Romney know what's in store for him should he consider mounting more than a mediocre campaign. If he gets spooked by that, he's done.

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 10:16 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 13, 2012

All Hail the Onion!

I'm going to make you click to see this. Really not safe for anywhere or anybody.

WASHINGTON--Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday.

USA! USA! USA!

Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 6:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

Shameless Self-Promotion

ThreeSourcers who are also regular listeners of Denver talk radio host Mike Rosen may have heard him discussing a familiar topic yesterday. I've updated that post to include a link to the audio for any who may have missed it. (That would be ALL of you, I suspect.)

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Great--wish he had promoted the site by name, though. Oh well, I'll put something on Twitter, I am sure my mighty throng of 100+ followers will overwhelm the servers...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 13, 2012 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Way cool. I confess the double link exceeded my attention span when I first saw this. Ignore the squirrel and click here to go straight to the audio.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2012 6:05 PM

RAHQOTD

In a comment to last week's Hope-a-Dope post, brother Ellis made a reference to 'Have Spacesuit - Will Travel.' It pained me that I couldn't come up with a clever acknowledgement of his obscure reference. But this morning, the events of September 11, 2012 led to my recollection of another passage from that title. It speaks to the practice of exposing oneself to a visibly unprotected life amongst others who have proven by their past behavior to be hostile to your very existence - for the misguided purpose of showing that you "trust" and "respect" those others, and seek to live happily ever after in coexistence with them. That was, it now appears, the intention of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton's foreign policy in Libya.

We lived like that “Happy Family“ you sometimes see in traveling zoos: a lion caged with a lamb. It is a startling exhibit but the lamb has to be replaced frequently.

--RAH 'Have Spacesuit - Will Travel' (1958)

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Spot. On!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 13, 2012 4:56 PM

Quote of the Day

The Obama Presidential campaign jumped on the remarks Wednesday as inappropriate, yet a "senior Administration official" had told the website Politico later on Tuesday night that "The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government." So the White House can walk away from its own diplomats, but Mr. Romney can't criticize them? -- WSJ Editorial: Romney Offends the Pundits
UPDATE: I am disappointed and saddened that the media has chosen to attack Gov. Romney for serious and accurate remarks, instead of questioning the Administration or State Department on America's role in the world. I will not be on Facebook today. I have already seen too many stupid jokes about "the Romney Gaffe."

The Romney Gaffe, of course is to declare the importance of freedom and individual rights to expression. I got to wondering, though: who were these Republicans I read about who pounced on Gov. Romney?

Ah, yes. Peggy Noonan.

UPDATE II: James Taranto laughs at the headline (So Much for the War on Drugs: Romney takes hits from fellow Republicans), but the linked piece names GOP critics. All but anonymous ones are pretty tame.

But jk thinks:

I'm going to be less flippant as we have a serious disagreement. Hit the big red reset button that Secretary Clinton brought and let's chat.

I'm a bit surprised that I am arguing with two unlikely interlocutors today.

-- Guy insults religion.
-- Religious wackos go non-linear..
-- US diplomatic corps says religion should not be insulted.
-- Gov. Romney corrects. Problem is NOT insult of Islam -- problem is wackos.
-- US Chattering classes and media go non-linear.
-- Administration disavows first message but says "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others."
-- Media pounce on...Governor Mitt Romney.

I'm staggered that you and Ms. Noonan find Gov. Romney intemperate when he is refuting two egregious misrepresentations of individual rights by the Administration.

The President has walked back the original tweet (it was never approved -- guess Humphrey's Executor was overturned when I was on vacation) and now has been forced to walk back "Egypt is not an ally."

Media pounce on...Governor Mitt Romney. And Noonan (at 1:22) is complicit. Pouncing media point out "even Republicans were critical."

I suggest anybody who criticized Gov. Romney for making a fulsome defense of our free speech rights was wrong.

Now, if he'd hire Kim Strassel...

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2012 4:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Or Instapundit Reader Arthur Barie:

Glenn, you know what you're not seeing in all these stories criticizing Romney's statement?

Romney's statement.

Can't let a clear defense of the 1st Amendment, and of American interests leak out into the public eye.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2012 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does anybody else get the feeling that brothers jk and jg have swapped their tradtional roles?

On Romney's statement:

I don't find Romney's statement intemperate. I only criticize his timing. Noonan, at 1:22, says "No one should attempt to exploit it for gain." Well, of course he's going to exploit it for gain, but the trick is to do so without it looking like that's all you're doing. (Extra emphasis on the "looking.") Of course you're right that there's a double-standard for Romney vs. the prez and the media, but the fact that it's unfair doesn't make it unimportant. Just let the president take the full broadside of the shitstorm that blew up in his administration's face, just for one freakin' day. THEN make your measured and principled statement the next day. That's all I'm saying.

On Noonan: I'm not suggesting she set policy but she has a good ear for how the chattering classes will hear things, does she not? At least bring her on board as a consultant for the opposition in mock debates. And putting her on the payroll would take her off the talking-head circuit. Win-win.

Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2012 7:36 PM
But Jk thinks:

Yeah, it's like that movie, Prelude to a Kiss. Can I be Kim Basinger?

Posted by: Jk at September 13, 2012 10:06 PM
But dagny thinks:

Meg Ryan???

Posted by: dagny at September 14, 2012 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Aaaagh! That's why I don't do movie allusions! Yes, Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin (I just checked on imdb and yes it was Alec Baldwin).

Great movie, though.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2012 2:21 PM

Mayor Rahm -- Protecting the Children!

A good friend of this blog sends a link to a Nick Kristof column on the Chicago Teacher Strike.

I was pretty surprised Kristof dared to not back the union, but my blog friend points out a subtle difference in tone. I'm going to quote him without permission, shhh:

Republican mayor fighting teachers is sin against God and man, and a boon for Obama. Democrat, former chief of staff mayor fighting teachers... hmmm, that must be bad, especially if the Big O comes out looking damaged or unable to raise funds.

Jim Geraghty also points out something I missed (on Kudlow last night):
Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that "every issue we're talking about is the core thrust of Race to the Top," President Obama's signature education reform.

Obama's former chief of staff is trying to enact Obama's reforms in Obama's home town, and the president is silent and has no comment. This is a humiliation for the president. The Chicago Teachers Union has demonstrated who calls the shots in the symbiotic relationship between the teachers' unions and the Democratic Party, and the president is proven to be unable to speak up for his own purported agenda.


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

September 12, 2012

Foreign policy marker

The Refugee would like to humbly put forth a simple way to make sense of world politics. Foreign governments should be placed into at least one of three categories:

1. The country is an ally of the United States.
2. The country respects the United States.
3. The country fears the United States.

Any combination of the above is OK and leads to stability. However, "none of the above" is not an option and portends violence. Unfortunately, too many counties in the Middle East fall into this last category. When it comes to Islamic extremism, (paraphrasing President Kennedy), "To make violent confrontation acceptable makes peaceful dialog impossible."

Government Posted by Boulder Refugee at 8:26 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

On ThreeSources I see Machiavelli, Caligula, and Sun Tzu. On the news I see Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Maya Angelou.

Little disconnect somehow...

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2012 12:30 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I'll second that approval! Also, as North America steams toward energy independence is the next 8-10 years we will increasingly be able to just ignore most of the Middle East countres as irrelevant, which to my mind is even better than ensuring their alliance, respect or fear.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 13, 2012 12:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the news in 2003 we saw a manifestation of this three-pronged approach, did we not? And I was fully behind it. In retrospect I wonder how we would be worse off if Saddam were still the Iraqi dictatator. Seriously. I was convinced by the same argument that got Secretary of State Powell on board. Yet despite eliminating that threat, to the extent it ever was, we face the same exigency today in Iran. Yes we benefited the citizens of Iraq, but at what cost to ourselves and our brave soldiers who signed up to defend God and Country?

I assure you I have not gone wobbly on national security. But by purchasing a liberation for Iraqis, our government normalized a huge deficit spending that the current administration points to as both a template and, as the troops come home, a budgetary "spending cut." I'm not afraid to admit that supporting the Iraq war was a mistake, because I suspect history will recall that for America and her citizens, it was.

Three cheers for Ellis' energy independence strategy. And Sun Tzu is welcome in my cabinet. Machiavelli and Caligula (and Napoleon and Hitler) however are all contemptable tyrants, or at least proponents of such. Apology, "understanding" and pacifism are not any sort of alternative though, as today's forthcoming Heinlein Quote of the Day will demonstrate. What is needed is an ideological foreign policy based on the ideology of individual rights, freedom and capitalism. And nations or movements which threaten any of these ideals are to be opposed by every peaceful means. At such time as those opponents become non-peaceful, loose the dogs of [declared] war.

We do need a policy based on long-range principles, i.e., an ideology. But a revision of our foreign policy, from its basic premises on up, is what today’s anti-ideologists dare not contemplate. The worse its results, the louder our public leaders proclaim that our foreign policy is bipartisan.

A proper solution would be to elect statesmen—if such appeared—with a radically different foreign policy, a policy explicitly and proudly dedicated to the defense of America’s rights and national self-interests, repudiating foreign aid and all forms of international self-immolation.

[attributed via the hyperlink]

Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2012 3:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, thus far, our attempts to thwart radical Islam has been "surgical" in nature. When The Refugee says that we're going to have it out with them sooner or later, he means radical Islam regardless of borders. The Refugee predicts a regional war (unless China uses the opportunity for an Asian power grab, in which case it could be a world war.) Regardless, it will be one of necessity, not our choosing.

EW, we will never be able to disengage entirely from the Mid East for one reason: Israel. If we disengage, it is under siege.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 13, 2012 5:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Have it out with them sooner or later?" Probably so. I don't see them liberalizing their beliefs anytime soon. To the contrary, the muslim youths of 9/11 are now angry young twenty-something Madrassa graduates. Kinda makes American public school indoctrination look tame by comparison.

Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2012 7:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great idea... Let's unionize the mullahs!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 13, 2012 9:45 PM

Okay, I Think I might Riot!

At least the Danish cartoons were funny.

Hat-tip: Eugene Volokh, who includes serious commentary that Secretary Clinton still does not get it:

The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.

Really? What about Matt Stone & Trey Parker's hit Broadway Musical? Does that not denigrate the religious beliefs of others? Think about it, I'll wait... Does "The United States" deplore it?

Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

Islamists Wag the Dog?

The catalyst for riots and embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya yesterday, resulting in the deaths of four American diplomats, reportedly was a low-budget film that "appeared on the internet" and "insulted Islam." Demands by Egyptian citizens that the Egyptian president "take action" have apparently borne fruit as he asked the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to take "all legal measures" against the makers of the film.

But first there is the problem of determining who the makers of the film really are.

A high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles on Wednesday said that after numerous inquiries, it appeared no one in the Hollywood film industry or in the local Israeli community knew of a Sam Bacile, the supposed director-writer of the incendiary film “Innocence of Muslims.”

The official expressed some doubt that a person by that name actually existed.


But Keith Arnold thinks:

DOESN'T MATTER. The American government, like the government of any free nation, isn't in the business of allowing or disallowing the published free speech of any of its citizens. The savage goatherds of Egypt and Libya don't seem to understand how that works.

Several lefties I know responded to my statement "this is an act of war" with "the attack on our embassies wasn't done by their governments, but by individuals who are not part of government; you can't hold their whole countries and their governments responsible for the actions of a few."

Why not? The purported reason for the attacks and murders was a film produced not by the American government, but by a handful of individuals in America not affiliated with the US government. If the film justifies an attack on our sovereign soil, how does the attack not justify the reverse?

OBAMA OWNS THIS WHOLE SCREW-UP, PART AND PARCEL. He and his administration fostered and encouraged the whole "Arab Spring" mess, putting Islamists in charge. We supported the Brotherhood in Egypt; we sponsored the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and enabled the new regime ("We came, we saw, he's dead." Anyone remember that?). Syria is now in slow-motion freefall; Turkey has moved from moderation to the Islamists; Afghanistan is a fly's eyelash from becoming a proxy state of Iran, which has made it clear they intend war on Israel. This administration has turned the Middle East into a powderkeg, and the SCOAMF is sitting on it to light up a joint.

The SCOAMF no-showed the entire last week of his daily intelligence briefings. But that's okay, say his mouthpieces, because even if he doesn't attend in person, he reads the written reports daily. REALLY? Then how is it he and his administration got caught flat-footed? Why was the Benghazi compound unprotected, and the nearby safegouse compromised.

"Foreign Policy President," my muscular buttocks...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 12, 2012 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You make a rational point KA. However, American public opinion would never support military action against Libya in response to this act of war on the part of al Qaeda. Nor should it. We should, however, "hold their whole country and their government responsible" in every civil means possible. One of these is to not post an ambassador without a metric buttload of marines. Hell, we don't post an ambassador in Great Britain without a detachment of marines. THAT, among many many other failures, is on the president.

Yes, Obama "owns" this, as I wrote in the previous post. And not only because of his policy failures but also because he "spiked the football" at least 21 times at the Democrat convention last week alone, capped by his vice-president's suggestion that Obama's killing of their leader should be on a bumper sticker: "Osama's Dead. GM's Alive."

If al Qaeda sought revenge it was generally against the United States, but specifically against a president who told them one thing but did quite another.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 5:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If Obama has not attended a single briefing in the week leading up to 9/11 (especially following the killing of OBL), then THAT is a scandal!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2012 6:53 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Demands by Egyptian citizens that the Egyptian president "take action" have apparently borne fruit as he asked the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to take "all legal measures" against the makers of the film.

Wow, I wish all demands by foreign governments were that easy to resolve. All legal measures against an American accused of apostasy have already been taken.

Posted by: AndyN at September 12, 2012 7:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yup. So long as the Egyptian president didn't mean sharia-legal.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 7:31 PM

There's Still a War Going On

Mideast popular opinion, we were told by candidate Obama, is anti-American because they see us as meddlers in their local affairs. We based our troops in the land of Mecca, which was supposedly the final motivation for Osama bin Laden to found al Qaeda and target America, Americans and the World Trade Center on 9/11. President Obama promised to change all of this by bringing home the troops and extending an olive branch to Islamic states and shadow groups alike.

As long ago as 2010, when General Stanley McChrystal was recalled from the effort to "liberate" Afghanistan, the president sought to apply his strategy to the mideast conflict:

Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America's enemies.

(...)

Some Afghan policy specialists are sceptical about whether negotiations would succeed. Peter Bergen, a specialist on Afghanistan and al-Qaida, told a US Institute of Peace seminar in Washington last week that there were a host of problems with such a strategy, not least why the Taliban should enter negotiations "when they think they are winning".

At the same time he offers to "talk to America's enemies" he has intensified efforts to eliminate terrorist leaders, including a top al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi. Killed by a U.S. missile in June, Senator Ben Nelson today suggested that Ambassador Christopher Stevens' killing yesterday in Libya may have been meant as revenge.

Did the president really believe he could conduct covert operations throughout the middle east without incurring the same kind of backlash his mentor Jeremiah Wright claimed to be the cause of 9/11? Whether it is better to fight terrorists or talk to them is less at issue with this administration than the schizophrenia that leads them to attempt both at the same time.


Quote of the Day

Politico shares my understanding of the order of events, and points out that other Republicans are leaving Romney's cheese out in the wind. I can't wait for all the fact checks! I'll make a deal with my Obama-supporting friends. We'll trade you Citizens United for a media this compliant. -- Daniel Foster

A Burr in my Saddle

Better watch the horsey metaphors with this crowd, but something is bothering me. Tell me if I am wrong.

It was assumed that President George W Bush was responsible for the repeal of Glass-Steagall (Gramm-Leach, I believe allowed Investment banks and deposit banks to merge). And conservatives said "Who cares? That neither precipitated nor exacerbated the financial crisis!" (Damn, conservatives sure do talk funny...) But Matt Damon and the Occupiers had to pin it on W, without really understanding what happened, so it was made the poster child of Bushian deregulation.

Somebody got on Wikipedia or something and it turns out that President Clinton signed Gramm-Leach. And Sandy Weill has famously changed his opinion. Now, some of my heroes like Larry Kudlow and James Pethokoukis are suddenly great enemies of banking miscegenation. (You let the Investment banks merge with Commercial, and pretty soon a feller will want to marry his dog!)

I hold that this parcel of deregulation was good irrespective of who signed it. And I have at least one concurring opinion. John Stossel:

Ah, the progressives' George W. Bush deregulation myth: Bush's anti-regulation crusade caused our problems. This is a lie that seems true because of constant media repetition. In fact, Bush talked deregulation but vastly increased the regulatory state. He hired an astounding 90,000 new regulators. Under Democrats and Republicans, regulation grows.

A rare exception was repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which forbade financial companies from offering both commercial and investment banking services. You know who signed that?

Bill Clinton.

He was right to sign it (backed by Treasury Secretary and later Obama adviser Larry Summers) because outlawing full-service banking put American banks at a competitive disadvantage.

In some private emails with my economic betters, I have not found anybody who thinks Glass-Steagall was important. I'm queasy seeing its use for partisan gain.


Krauthammer for Sec State!

A good friend of this blog sends this with a suggestion that we "...appoint Krauthammer to issue the public statements on the embassy attacks."

Doctor the K can be a bit much for me on occasion. But there are times to speak the truth even if it a bit dour. And this is one of those times.

But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, double-take time: Is that a crude copy of the Obama logo on the upper right corner of the black flag displayed in the beginning of the video?

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 12:06 PM

Playing Israel's cards

As The Refugee watched Egyptian protesters burn the American flag on 9/11, he muttered, "Sooner or later, we're gonna have it out with these guys." And that was before our ambassador to Libya was killed.

Then, this morning's WSJ carried a front page article concerning a rift between President Obama and Our Bibi. It got The Refugee to thinking. How should Israel proceed in the face of existential Iranian nukes? If Israel attacks before the election and Obama does not support them, he loses in a landslide. If he does support them, he wins in a landslide. On the other hand, if Obama wins and Israel attacks after the election, there's a strong possibility that the preznit hangs them out to dry. Netanyahu is no idiot and neither is Obama. (Well, Obama may be an economic idiot, but you know what The Refugee means.) Of course, Romney could win, but can Israel take that chance in a very tight election? The Refugee expects an attack within two weeks after the upcoming UN goat rodeo.

Middle East Posted by Boulder Refugee at 8:15 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Carrying your analysis to its logical next-step, if Israel attacks before the election and Obama supports them and wins in a landslide, there's a strong possibility that President Obama hangs them out to dry for 'four more years' after the election.

It seems to me that Israel's fate, like America's, hangs in the balance of the coming election. I expect Israel to do nothing that might aid the re-election of America's first anti-capitalist, anti-Zionist president. After all, if I know the Israelis at all, I'm sure they intend to be "on the face of the map" for at least another 4 years and 2 months.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 11:53 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Yes, but once the US is engaged, it's much more difficult to disengage without repercussions.

The Refugee would also point out there are orders of magnitude difference between our shared interest in a Romney win. If Obama wins, we are faced with higher taxes and varying degrees with a welfare state. Israel is faced with the possibility of seven million citizens having their bones ground into nuclear dust.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2012 6:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A valid first point BR. On your second, every student of Rand understands that without freedom of action and choice a man is not fully human. Whether one's body is destroyed or one's mind, in either case his human life is ended. Granted, a nuclear detonation is essentially instantaneous and therefore irreversible - but the egalitarian fascist state which by most indications Mr. Obama desires for America is no less deadly.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 7:26 PM

September 11, 2012

There Must be Some Mistake!

UPDATE: If you prefer, rather than reading this post yourself you may listen to 850 KOA's Mike Rosen quote it heavily at the open of his radio show yesterday morning. [First mention at about 2:45.] (And yes, I have added "shameless self-promotion" to the categories for this post.)

Annenberg is at it again. A caller to Mike Rosen today [third hour, last caller] said her daughter referred her to a website called "Next Elect." I looked into it and deduced that she meant ElectNext dot com. It's a very slick site with lots of colorful interactive graphics and great big type (that even seniors can read.)

First a warning: If you want to read anything about what the site is and who is behind it, DON'T SIGN UP AND ANSWER QUESTIONS. I did so and now all of the "about us" stuff is gone. (But I do still remember the "Annenberg" Public Policy blah blah from the bottom of the welcome page.) I even tried clicking the "Log Out" button, but it automatically logs me back in. Why? Perhaps because, based upon my answers to about 10 questions on an intentionally limited set of issues: Economy, Energy, Taxes, National Security (the last having no questions answered) the site recommended my "matches" for President of the United States. Brace yourself:

Gary Johnson- 73%
Jill Stein- 65%
Mitt Romney- 64%

I think they really want to make sure I don't forget that my first choice should be the Libertarian Party candidate and my second choice the Green Party candidate. There are nice color photos of these three candidates stuck on my browser screen now, with the percentage figure placed prominently next to a cute red heart shape under each name and pic.

No mention, of course, of the fact that neither of those two candidates has a chance in Obama's Utopia of being elected. "Party not person" is one of Mike Rosen's mantras and in our two-party system he's exactly right. To elevate Johnson and Stein to equal stature with Romney and Obama is the epitome of political malpractice. (And, I'll add, Annenberg knows it.)

I dug further. I clicked to find out why I didn't have more agreement with Mitt Romney and found:

- Romney "agrees" that "The federal government should invest in domestic sources of fossil fuels."
- Romney "agrees" that "Ethanol subsidies should be maintained at the current $6 billion/year level."
- Romney "disagrees" that "The federal government should reduce taxes on manufacturing companies to create jobs and help stimulate the economy."
- Romney "agrees" that "The federal government should increase infrastructure spending to help stimulate the economy."

I used the "did we get this wrong?" button to "please let us know if we got our facts wrong" and rebut the last two items in the list with links to here and here. But it's a Sissyphean task. I'd sooner hold back the tide than to get objective and clearly worded position statements to appear throughout this cartoon-like website.

Even worse, most visitors will not be as circumspect as I was and will list all of their hot-button issues. Even with the illusion of "ranking your issues" the key issues that affect the future of our nation will be diluted by the social issues that are demagogued on the path to ever larger government and ever greater government spending.

All in the public interest, of course.

My advice: Avoid it. Denounce it. Stay on message. [My message is the one in comment #3.]


All Hail Harsanyi!

Qui Est John Galt?

In completely unexpected news, the fourth richest man in the world, the richest man in France, Bernard Arnault, is reportedly applying for a Belgian passport. Arnault emigrated to the United States during the last Socialist presidency in 1981. For some unexplained reason, the business magnate hasn't picked our country this time around.


Happy Patriot's Day

The name never stuck, but I still like it. I also still like this picture I took with a Palm Pilot iii (wicked modern tech!) and first posted Sept 11, 2004:

UPDATE: Interesting: 9/11 shot from space (Hat-tip: @BuzzFeed)

But johngalt thinks:

I and mine will never forget either. CNN and MSNBC viewers however, might. The latter did replay their minute by minute live coverage from 11 years ago, including a visible jumper's body plunging ground ward, but didn't see anything preceding.

I don't want to imply that 9/11 remembrance is a partisan activity but individuals clearly remember it differently. I remember the humanity and the senselessness - and the need for justice.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2012 11:28 AM

School's Out For...Ever!

I know I'm not the first to turn to Secretary of Education Alice Cooper for words on the Chicago Teachers' Strike. I hope everybody saw the Union guy on Kudlow last night spinning this. Teachers make half again what the Cops do, and are pouting because they will be evaluated. And yet, it is all about the children...and there aren't books in the Chicago Schools.

Reason.tv did a good job explaining this in "The Machine:"

UPDATE: MERIT PAY No WAY Another one for the children! (Hat-tip:@JonathanHoenig via @ariarmstrong )

UPDATE II: Here's that Kudlow clip, you can tell me if I am not fair:

Education Posted by John Kranz at 9:55 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"Merit Pay No Way" == "Equal Pay for Unequal Work"

*sarcasm* Who could argue with that? */sarcasm*

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

Glad I watched the Kudlow clip, and that you posted it. Despite the "Merit Pay No Way" picket sign, I don't think that is the teachers' gripe.

If only 15% of Chicago 4th graders are proficient in reading I wouldn't want my pay tied to their performance either. Then we get to the "why." Yes, a large part of the problem is 71% of the Chicago public school budget going to teacher and administrator pension funds. Teachers claim to have "no control" over that but they could vote themselves defined contribution pensions if they wanted. (And they might actually do so if union leadership was honest with them about the realities of the matter.)

But the larger, and unspoken, problem is a failed public education philosophy and curriculum. 15% reading proficiency by 4th graders in one of America's [once] greatest cities in the 21st century? Reading proficiency was higher in the post-apocolyptic dystopia of The Book of Eli (which is future review fodder when dagny and I get around to it.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2012 5:35 PM

September 10, 2012

Meanwhile, In Buffy News

How cool is this gonna be? Whedon's Much ado About Nothing.

Now, I dig Joss Whedon about as much as anybody, and I can appreciate actors' appreciation and even a need to ingratiate themselves a bit. But the fawning he gets from actors is borderline creepy -- just me?

However, Having "Caleb," "Fred," "Wesley," and "River's Brother the Doctor Guy" in a Whedon Shakespeare production is pretty much giddying.

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

Obamacare -- in one sentence!

Hat-tip: IBD

It's by Dr. Barbara Bellar, a motor-scooter-riding animal lover, Army veteran and Republican attorney who's taking on a massive challenge of the Chicago political machine for a state Senate seat to combat the fiscal insanity in Barack Obama's adopted home state, which isn't an easy job, as you might imagine, so she made this hilarious homemade video that captures the colossal stupidity of ObamaCare in one (very long) sentence, like this one.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Everyone laughs. It's not meant to be funny, it's the facts!

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2012 6:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2012 7:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Everyone but me I s'pose.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2012 11:17 AM
But jk thinks:

Concatenate the phrase "to keep from cryin'" on the end...

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2012 11:21 AM

Remembering who is the real "anti-science" party

Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell in Real Clear Politics:

A narrative has developed over the past several years that the Republican Party is anti-science. Recently, thanks to the ignorant remarks about rape made by Rep. Todd Akin, the Democrats have seized the opportunity to remind us that they are the true champions of science in America. But is it really true?

No. As we thoroughly detail in our new book, "Science Left Behind," Democrats are willing to throw science under the bus for any number of pet ideological causes – including anything from genetic modification to vaccines.

(...)

Indeed, the only reason Democrats are considered the “pro-science” party is because the media, for whatever reason, has decided to give them a free pass on scientific issues. It is time the free pass be revoked.

You may say, I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.


Liberty on the Rocks Tonight

Join us on Monday, September 10th, where your featured speaker will be Mr. Shawn Mitchell, who will be presenting a defense of the constitution. After Mr. Mitchell'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!
See ya!
Posted by John Kranz at 12:42 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I was sorry to miss last night's gathering. It's just so hard on the kids now that school is back in session. Fortunately I get a healthy dose of liberty talk here on these pages so I'm less dependent on in-person gatherings.

Speaking of which, I seem to recall this is the month we expected a fellow blogger to be in town. Any updates?

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2012 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

It was fun last night. Sen. Mitchell is an entertaining speaker and the Colorado Legislature is losing a major league Hoss to term limits (one if the many "Conservative" anti-freedom intiatives I abhor).

That said the talk was lighter than others -- I don't think he knew he was preaching to the choir and backed off before really addressing the wages of sin.

Last I heard, blogger visit was moved to October. I hope not the first weekend as I am off visiting good blog friends.

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2012 3:55 PM

Quote of the Day

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us. -- Justice Robert Jackson in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
Quote in an excellent WSJ Journal guest editorial by Mark Joseph Stern who gets honorable mention:
No such exception presents itself today. Tobacco companies may be despicable, their product malignant. But outrage over their existence or their conduct does not justify infringement on their rights. The district courts were right to strike down the new tobacco labels, and the Supreme Court should follow suit. The public furor that may follow is only further proof of why the First Amendment is so valuable in these controversies.
SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [0]

Monetary Policy You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

This is good. My hat's off.

Many people, even those who are not New York State residents, have probably heard the lottery slogan, "All it takes is a dollar and a dream." Now comes an actor, comedian and writer, seeking to make his way across the country in the next two weeks with only a dream and, oh, yes, instead of a dollar, a trailer filled with 3,000 pounds of a new bacon.

That would be Oscar Mayer's new Butcher Thick Cut bacon. Actor Josh Sankey leaves New York without cash or credit cards, to parley a trailer full of bacon into food, lodging, and transportation.

If you hanker for some tasty pork products, you can swap on baconbarter.com. Wonder if he needs a tape library?

Hat-tip: Insty (of course -- the Professor has the bacon beat covered).

Monetary Policy Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 9, 2012

Review Corner

We could have sent Steve Forbes to the White House, y'know. I look back on American History and look for inflection points which would have changed the country unrecognizably. My only actual serious effort to write a book was to flip the decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford.

Normally, a good counterfactual requires that something was close and almost happened and I confess we did not stay up late on a November Tuesday to see Mr. Forbes lose a squeaker. But he ran a serious campaign with a seriousness and honesty that caused Bernie Goldberg to see the rampant perfidy in his own profession of journalism.

A flat tax imposed 16 years ago would have changed the world. And listening to his wise words in Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn't we still might.

Freedom enabled people unleash their energies, sharpen their skills, pursue their dreams-- and reap the rewards. The combination of latitude and necessity spurs people to develop their abilities and increase their knowledge. It develops what the philosophers call "autonomy," the capacity to be your own person, to think independently and act responsibly in a free society. Nicholas Capaldi of the National Center for Business Ethics at Loyola University calls autonomy "our greatest ultimate and objective good."

I don't think any ThreeSourcer will be too surprised by the beginning, middle or end. It's choir preaching 'round these parts -- but it is good choir preaching.

He marries the consequentialist case to the rights case for capitalism well enough that someday all ThreeSourcers might live as brothers and sisters.

To paraphrase Mises, people may refer to a successful pasta manufacturer as "the spaghetti king." But this king did not build his empire through wars and conquest, but by selling pasta people like. What Marxists totally miss, Mises writes, is that "the rich" in free markets do not get their power by impoverishing wage earners -- but by producing goods that improve their standard of living.

Or how about a response to SEIU President Andrew Stern's concern that parent's "cannot see where the jobs of the future are"
Responding to Stern's complaint in the Times, George Mason University economist Donald Boudreaux asks, "when could Americans of any generation foresee future jobs?" Did the telegram-deliverer in 1950 foresee his child designing software for cell phones? Did the local pharmacist in 1960 foresee his daughter's job as a biomedical engineer?

Donald Boudreaux's questions highlight another flaw of apoca-liberal pessimism: it's fixated on the present. Unlike entrepreneurs who think in terms of the future, bureaucrats and their supporters are stuck in the here and now. They see market conditions like high prices as permanent and can't imagine how things could possibly change-- even though they always do.

In the case of health care, statists believe government is the only answer "because health care is so astronomically expensive." It's impossible for them to grasp the idea that, if you removed today's innumerable government constraints that are inflating the cost of both care and insurance, the entire universe would instantly change.

Forbes makes a consequentialist case for capitalism on the environment, wealth distribution, innovation and personal freedom. Four stars -- only four as little will be new to ThreeSourcers, but it is a great a powerful read.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 7, 2012

Obama Reelect Stragegy

All week at DNC2012 we heard "shared prosperity" from "shared responsibility" (since "shared sacrifice" doesn't poll as well.) Ayn Rand wrote about this when it used to be known as The Common Good.

And what is meant by "shared responsibility?" If you can bear the burden of your tax liability then your share of the burden isn't high enough.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

More bold stances from Ryan that will pique the interests of small-l libertarians, new Federalists, States-Rights and Tenth Amendment supporters:

http://is.gd/W1Qqms

That ought to engender some interesting talk here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 9, 2012 2:16 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, but.

Yeah, but it reminds me that Gov. Romney, on the head of the ticket, is dismissive. And that even Sen. Obama's promise to back the Feds off did not come to fruition.

I can't see this being productive politically or advancing the cause of liberty. Romney will be quizzed again now that professional unbiased journalists sense dissention in the GOP ranks. It makes me like Chairman Ryan a little more. Yeah, but. That really wasn't the problem.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2012 10:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I openly admit that my attitude is much more "Dagny Taggart" than "John Galt" but in 2012 I am a single-issue voter: National Debt.

That one issue also entails,
- Structural reform of government spending and budgeting.
- Tax rate reductions to move every individual and business to the left slope of the Laffer curve. Note that this implies different rate changes at different income categories.

My goal is to preserve the corrupt system of American governance and reform it to the open, transparent, pro-liberty nation it was originally intended.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2012 3:39 PM

Good Jon Stewart Line

In an otherwise horrible Jon Stewart clip (posted approbationally by a FB friend), Stewart makes a funny discussing President Clinton's "extended" remarks:

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, cause it's a half hour from now

Posted by John Kranz at 7:20 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

The link was required by the ThreeSources Style Guide; if I call something horrible, I offer a link in fairness. But I cannot recommend clicking on it.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2012 7:46 PM
But Jk thinks:

And: yes, but.

Yes, (and funny) but Elvis still sold out stadia in '77.

Posted by: Jk at September 9, 2012 8:53 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

My wife and I both laughed at that. The SCOAMF is going to need some cold cream for that BUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRNNNN.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 9, 2012 5:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I think the term you're looking for is "better put some ice on that."

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2012 9:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

He can't draw as many fans as the Carolina Panthers, but his post-convention bounce has him leading Romney again, with the support of half the American people. How's that again?

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2012 2:37 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jg: there's a phrase that explains Obama's post-convention bounce, and you economics guys ought to be more familiar with it than me:

http://is.gd/Hm4gNU

I wouldn't exactly recommend cashing out the farm and investing it at Intrade on Obama to win. I don't see it lasting.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 10, 2012 6:05 PM

Democrat Fact Check - Deux

JK treated us to DNC 2012 Fact Check - Day One. It was refreshing but I was left wanting more. Annenberg's Fact Check dot org does not disappoint. A highlight:

■A venture capitalist claims that Obama is “more than 60 percent” toward his goal of doubling exports by 2015. Government figures show the exports have increased by 29 percent since Obama announced his goal.

That venture capitalist was Steve Westly, but the claim was repeated by my own state's governor, John Hickenlooper. [eighth comment]

And there were some bogus claims about abortion and birth control, but since those are issues of concern only to Democrat politicians with a record of failure we'll just let them slide.

Most interesting to me was the fact check of the Clinton speech. While his talent for making statistics say what he wants them to meant that little he said was technically wrong, the former president did utter a number of exaggerations. My favorite, other than conservation [plus a boom in oil production] reduced oil imports to a 20-year low, was blaming Republicans for preventing the creation of more than a million new jobs because they "blocked the president's job plan."

Two independent economists -- Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and Joel Prakken of Macroeconomics Advisers -- had estimated that Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act would add more than 1 million jobs. Zandi claimed it would add 1.9 million jobs; Prakken 1.3 million. Senate Republicans blocked the $447 billion measure, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell denounced it as “a charade that’s meant to give Democrats a political edge” in 2012.

Let's follow Bill Clinton's advice and do the uh-rith-mah-tick:

$447,000,000,000
divided by
1,900,000 jobs
equals
$279,375 per government created job.

This reminds me of the legendary six-hundred dollar toilet seat. Since the national average wage is on the order of $42,000, the president proposed that Uncle Sam pay a premium of over $237 thousand dollars PER JOB "created."

Where is that damned Keynsian multiplier when we need it? It would cost less to just mail those 1.9 million folks a check for the next six years. Maybe by then we can elect a Republican president, take a couple of tax cuts, roll back some regulations, [second comment] and get some SUSTAINABLE private-sector jobs created!


Breaking News in the Pine Cone

The Carmel Pine Cone, of course. Clint Eastwood speaks:

AFTER A week as topic No. 1 in American politics, former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood said the outpouring of criticism from left-wing reporters and liberal politicians after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last Thursday night, followed by an avalanche of support on Twitter and in the blogosphere, is all the proof anybody needs that his 12-minute discourse achieved exactly what he intended it to.

"President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," Eastwood told The Pine Cone this week. "Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that's what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle."

RNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I did a quick summation of Utube views for the lead speakers at both conventions. (in hundred thousands)
............GOP ........other guys
Prez........300............230
VP..........370.............?
1st Lady....320.............500
Hoss.......3000............2000

(Dem's Hoss was WJC, of course). Who knew Michelle was so popular?

I'd say New Media is pointing a popular way, and on the side of the good guys.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 8, 2012 12:33 AM
But jk thinks:

Agree. I also suspect that media changes make older polling methods and proxies less reliable. Ratings for neither convention counted CSPAN (rilly?) and, while The Herman Cain got in trouble for saying it, I have to think that a connected, productive, possible GOP voter is more difficult to catch for an opinion.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2012 9:57 AM

Rev Up Your Engines!

I missed it but a friend of the blog and ex-Michigander sends this:

Quite a few are calling it Governor G's "Howard Dean" moment. I don't know. Other than Michelle, they were all yelling noon to night. She appears subdued next to Gov. O'Malley.

Our blog friend suggested "Somebody should tell [Governor Granholm] that it was George W. Bush who extended the bridge loan that actually saved General Motors:" Don't remind me man, do not remind me.

Here's hoping that Gov. Romney -- who has impressed me a few times -- will double down on the bailout. GM Lives, Osama Duzzent is Blue Team's best. I'd love to see some educational instructive debate about rule-of-law, the sanctity of the Fifth Amendment, and Schumpeterian gales. Win that fight and we win the election with a mandate for liberty.

GRATUITOUS SIDE NOTE A RESPONSIBLE EDITOR WOULD CLIP: When she rose to power, everybody talked about how attractive and telegenic she was. The GOP was warned that if they amended the Constitution to allow Aahnold to be President (tempus fugit, eh?) that Jennifer would be the beneficiary. I saw several angry, stern, moonbattish YouTube clips of the Governor wearing her librarian glasses and thought my friends on both sides were blind. But she looks great here. (And "the cars get the elevator, the workers get the shaft is a pretty good line.")

UPDATE: Taranto:

Last night gave us a few highly entertaining performances, but they were early in the evening. The performance of Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor, was like the famous "Dean scream" of 2004 only more frenzied. We can't do it justice in a description; you have to see the video. It may not be pleasant, but it's weirdly compelling, like the aftermath of a car wreck.

DNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 2:35 PM | What do you think? [13]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

My Dear Keith: I don't know if you want to conflate the "I'd hit that" theme with the "get the shaft" line...unless your desire is that hilarity ensue. I can build that.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 7, 2012 6:19 PM
But jk thinks:

A proud moment for us all, Keith. A proud moment for us all. Next time I shall stick with my internal reservation, but she was a rising star back when Gov. Schwarzenegger was and that was a definite part of her allure.

I should have shut up, but this is really the first time I saw it. I'll post some Sen. Barbara Mikulski videos for penance.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2012 6:36 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you, brother jk. I'm sure that will promptly drive out all thoughts of hitting it and shafts. But could you also post another image of Charisma Carpenter as a kind of cosmic balancer?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 7, 2012 6:55 PM
But AndyN thinks:

After I read this I had some errands to run, so I got in my car and put it in R to get out of my parking space, but no matter how hard I looked I couldn't find a D to put it in to go anywhere after that. Could it be that with cars, as with politics, there's a different type of vehicle you can choose if you'd prefer to surrender more control over how you get where you're going? And that if you'd prefer not to have the machine making decisions for you, you won't be looking for a D to get you somewhere?

Posted by: AndyN at September 7, 2012 8:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, AndyN -- and thanks for pulling us out of a prurient tailspin with a trenchant philosophical comment. My car lacks a 'D' as well.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2012 9:53 AM
But Terri thinks:

A gift.
She really is a hoot.

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2012/09/jennifer-granholm-on-dating-game-in-1978.html

Posted by: Terri at September 14, 2012 6:57 PM

Quote of the Day

One from "Our Margaret." You can accuse me of offering it only because she is whacking the Democrats and the President. Fair cop, gov! But she can still put the words one after another and make beautiful art out of punditry:

There was the relentless emphasis on Government as Community, as the thing that gives us spirit and makes us whole. But government isn't what you love if you're American, America is what you love. Government is what you have, need and hire. Its most essential duties--especially when it is bankrupt--involve defending rights and safety, not imposing views and values. We already have values. Democrats and Republicans don't see all this the same way, and that's fine--that's what national politics is, the working out of this dispute in one direction or another every few years. But the Democrats convened in Charlotte seemed more extreme on the point, more accepting of the idea of government as the center of national life, than ever, at least to me. -- Peggy Noonan


Hope-a-Dope

I was quite proud of my creative genius last night, thinking I had coined the phrase in this post's title. I repeated it around the house so many times, charmed by its lyricism, that dear dagny had to start pouring cold water on me with eye rolls and even a few pointed verbal cues. I was wrong of course - it even has an entry in the online Urban Dictionary, but my definition would be different from that passe version. When I summarized the President's re-election nomination acceptance speech with those words last night I was thinking much more along the lines of American Spectator's Aaron Goldstein:

President Obama says, "The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place." But how much more debt will this country have to accumulate before we reach that better place?

In 2008, Senator Obama spoke of hope and change. In 2012, President Obama gave us the hope-a-dope.

Click through for Goldstein's terse enumeration of hypocrisies and ironies in the president's speech.

But jk thinks:

I liked it!

Also, on the quote pulled, somebody tweeted "'The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place' -- you mean like where Grandma went?"

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2012 12:08 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brings to mind the line from Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, about being charged with "mopery and dopery of the spaceways." I think Obama can credibly be charged with mopery in the Presidency.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 7, 2012 6:44 PM

Libertario Delenda Est

Saw this last night and was not sure how to play it.

In the letter to the LNC, which is available at Independent Political Report, Root explains that his decision much is not unlike those of previous Libertarian Party presidential candidates, including Ron Paul and David Koch; both of whom left the LP to become prominent Republicans.

When I asked if he was now backing Mitt Romney, Root responded, "I am," adding, "I don't deny that Romney and Ryan aren't libertarians, but Romney is a pro-business capitalist and Obama is a Marxist-socialist."

This morning's email contains a suggestion for a post thesis: claim victory. A good friend of the blog says "He must be reading your work in Three Sources!"

Before I decide whether to accept, I must point out that this is not Root's first mention in the LDE archives. A month ago he was caught sullying the dignified reputation of the Libertarian Party, demanding to see the President's college academic records (we need a pejorative name for such folk: Transcripters?) and upsetting the delicate sensibilities of the "Establishment Libertarians."

But welcome, my friend, the water's great

But johngalt thinks:

"Truther?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2012 11:04 AM

September 6, 2012

In praise of the "dirty" jobs

I love Mike Rowe. My young daughters, I'm proud to say, also love Mike Rowe's Discovery Channel show 'Dirty Jobs.' Consequently, I'm a bit perplexed that I hadn't heard of this before today:

Dear Governor Romney,

My name is Mike Rowe and I own a small company in California called mikeroweWORKS. Currently, mikeroweWORKS is trying to close the country’s skills gap by changing the way Americans feel about Work. (I know, right? Ambitious.) Anyway, this Labor Day is our 4th anniversary, and I’m commemorating the occasion with an open letter to you. If you read the whole thing, I’ll vote for you in November.

(...)

Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.

Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)

Solid gold, on many levels.

But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Solid platinum. Dittoes x 1M!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 6, 2012 8:18 PM
But Jk thinks:

Holy crap,he read it!

Had to call roadside service for a blowout tire today. The young man was friendly, polite and professional. He's a big MR2 fan and we had fun talking.

I thought of this post driving home. I suggest he is happy, has little or no student debt, enjoys his work, and as a Toyota mechanic, can probably get work in any town in a day or two. Versus your newly minted French history major, I think this fine youngster is doing well.

Posted by: Jk at September 8, 2012 9:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had trouble with JK's link. Here's a non-mobile one that didn't require me to login again.

Now, to see if I can get Mike to read mine. :)

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 11:36 AM

The Almost Five Best Songs of All Time

I love politics, but for just a moment let us explore the good, the true and the beautiful.

As a prelude to the "big reveal" of the Greatest Song of All Time, here are a number of great songs that didn't make it, with comments:

"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by Warren Zevon and David Lindell. Warren Zevon was a brilliant genius, and this song combines his flair for the unusual with a bang-up finish. To say the least.

"When the Whip Comes Down" by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Just as Rand couldn't in a thoroughly rational way explain her liking for Mickey Spillane, I can't rationally say why this is my favorite Stones song of all. But it is, punkish and highly amusing.

" Summer Wind" music by Heinz Meier and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The fact that I didn't get a Johnny Mercer song in the Top 5 shows a lack of proper planning. Note: The Michael Bublé version of this song is not good. He sounds way too happy, given the lyrics. I have always loved the linked version by Sinatra. I kill it at karaoke bars.

"Take Five" by Paul Desmond (as performed by the Dave Bruebeck Quartet). It has no lyrics, but it speaks!

"The Soft Parade" by Jim Morrison. A tour de force encompassing life, death and all points in between. I think.

"Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan. Look, I love a number of Dylan songs but I gotta admit, Jimi Hendrix played this song in a way that will live on as long as human beings still have ears, and minds:

Music Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:39 PM | What do you think? [1] | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

No arguments here, bro.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2012 9:45 AM

The Trailer

Okay, so we watched the teaser for the trailer. Now the trailer is out. Anybody think we have "a problem?"

But johngalt thinks:

I do think a great many people are now "ready."

Content appears genuine.
Acting an order of magnitude better.

Let's roll!

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 7:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Just me, or do the posters (0:18 - 0:21) come off as "Obamaish?"

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 7:48 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Great catch jk! The "halo" shot. I think I need to read the book (it would be the eigth time) and get Pt. 1 on my Kindle and watch it to prepare for Oct. 12.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 6, 2012 8:30 PM

George F. Will - TEA Party "Radical"

I think it's fair to say that respected political columnist George F. Will was not in the vanguard of Obama criticism that found its first popular voice with the TEA Parties of February 17, 2009. I could be off base but I remember him being critical and dismissive of our dire warnings about the ideas, goals and dangers of the newly elected president. Nonetheless, yesterday Mr. Will became one of us.

In 1912, Wilson said, “The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of governmental power.” But as Kesler notes, Wilson never said the future of liberty consisted of such limitation.

Instead, he said, “every means . . . by which society may be perfected through the instrumentality of government” should be used so that “individual rights can be fitly adjusted and harmonized with public duties.” Rights “adjusted and harmonized” by government necessarily are defined and apportioned by it. Wilson, the first transformative progressive, called this the “New Freedom.” The old kind was the Founders’ kind — government existing to “secure” natural rights (see the Declaration) that preexist government. Wilson thought this had become an impediment to progress. The pedigree of Obama’s thought runs straight to Wilson.

All we are say-ing, is hear what he says.*
* Yes, that is what he means, literally.

Welcome to the Party George. Have some BBQ and a Bud with us.


I am owed a beer!

It was August the 24th. Nearing the end of a summer not quite so hot as this one, that two ThreeSourcers laid down a wager. It was perhaps not to rival the Simon-Erlich Wager, but ThreeSources monetary policy was on the line.

I'm not going to bet my sizable personal fortune either way. But I have a cold beverage of the winner's choice saying that Aug 24, 2012, a virtual $100 investment in GLD (0.578 shares) will be worth much less than the same in SPY (0.862 shares). Anybody?
I was looking good last December, and am proud to report that this morning's market finds me the victor (I forgot on Aug 24th and will recalculate on demand).
JG: GLD 0.578 * 165.10 = $ 95.42
JK: SPY 0.862 * 143.64 = $ 123.82

The good news for my opponent is that in the ensuing year, I have taken up the Atkins diet and can only have a low-carb Michelob Ultra® imitation kinda looks like beer beer. Cheap and available at Liberty on the Rocks...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Much I want to say here, but I'm just gonna let it breathe a while first - You win!

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 2:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not believe letting a Michelob Ultra® (2.6g carbohydrates) breathe helps...

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 4:25 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

The Rainbow Connection

Break out the Mandobird again.

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Live at the Coffeehouse.com

Quote of the Day

Jim Geraghty claims President Clinton "Saved the Republicans by being self-indulgent." I'm not getting cocky yet, but Jeeburz is he still going? Have to give Geraghty a QOTD for this:

The man impeached for committing perjury accused Republicans of lying. And the speech just kept going.

Subscribe to Geraghty's "Morning Jolt;" it is free and very good.

UPDATE: And he gets honorable mention as well:

How about the Democratic National Convention delegates loudly booing God and Jerusalem? (Somewhere in the Fox News workspace, Karl Rove just stepped away from his pundit desk to just breathe it in deeply and savor the moment.)

UPDATE II: WSJ Has video to Sandra Fluke's speech (referenced in the comments). Sadly, I cannot find my Governor's -- anybody see it?

DNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 9:54 AM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

Any Ron Paul delegates who were soured on party politics by the GOP convention need only look at the example KA cites to understand how very, very much worse it could have been.

As for the third party they likely still consider the holy grail, at such point it becomes big enough to have frictional factions - the same thing will happen there too. They'll never have to admit this though, because no third party will ever reach that point. There are and will always be a multitudinous array of "third" parties.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

I made it all the way at regular speed. But I was contemplating a return to a more prayerful life in the last 20 minutes.

The real hit for my FB was... wait for it ... Sandra Fluke! Two young and excruciatingly progressive women I know went nuts. I was sad when it looked like she might not speak, but when it happened I confess this old, republican, white male did not get it.

The "World's Greatest Orator!" sure seems like a letdown tonight -- no? No columns, no stadia, and nobody except the true faithful even expect a great speech anymore. A small man boasting of his incomplete record.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He'll have Biden to dumb things down first. That'll help. I expect a good speech from The One. Not good content mind you. Just a good speech.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 1:17 PM
But jk thinks:

He has a suddenly low bar to clear.

As far as I am concerned, he gave a great speech on 2004 as the DNC keynote, a lilting but over -the-top one in 2008 accepting the nomination in Denver, and only workmanlike performances since. All his pathways to glory are now inaccessible: post-partisan? Not really. Post-racial? Tell me another.

On a completely unrelated note, One Trick Pony is an underrated Paul Simon album and the movie is an enjoyable look at the less glamorous side of the music business.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They showed it on the local news last night so I know he was there, but I didn't hear a word of it.

Here is the Hickenlooper speech. The overall theme is "it takes a village to start a small business." But the most eggregious duplicity is something that Bill Clinton did as well: Lumping alternative energy or, in Clinton's case energy conservation, with the bountiful hydraulic fracturing ["fracking"] harvest of American natural gas to claim "energy independence." As I remarked to dagny last night, "that and a dollar bill will buy you a cup of coffee too."

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 3:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Text? What year is this again? The RNC had all speeches available if I recall. I guess one party is just backwards and anti-science.

I actually did want to see how he projected (future player? The guy is pretty good on a State level). Looked to be an okay speech. Many tweeted this line:

And as the first governor since Sam Adams to get his start brewing beer, I'm happy to announce that even craft beer production is up 35 percent.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 4:35 PM

September 5, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Why should jk get to post all of the Reason videos?

But johngalt thinks:

If I may: Irrational people are made up of contradictions.

"The Law of Identity (A is A) is a rational man’s paramount consideration in the process of determining his interests. He knows that the contradictory is the impossible, that a contradiction cannot be achieved in reality and that the attempt to achieve it can lead only to disaster and destruction. Therefore, he does not permit himself to hold contradictory values, to pursue contradictory goals, or to imagine that the pursuit of a contradiction can ever be to his interest."

Quoted from, guess who.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 7:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ich besitze selbst.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 7:50 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

jg - I wasn't sure if the irony would come through...should have put "These" before the quote. In fact wasn't this clip straight outta Rand? In Atlas Shrugged, right after this convention a factory would close and a bridge would collapse. Contradictions have consequences.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 5, 2012 8:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought it was an obscure reference I didn't get. No matter... I was determined to post the contradiction quote. It's one of my favorites. It's a wonder I don't use it at least twice a month.

Ditto on the "law of the lord" en Francais. Right over my head so I just went for "my law" not the lord's. Auf Deutsch!

Jus' havin' fun.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 1:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Explaining a joke is proof of its failure, but I need to risk it. Brother jg asks "Why should jk get to post all of the Reason videos?"

I started to type something about paying the hosting fees and thought Droit du seigneur (I had to look up the spelling). It may translate to "law of the lord" but the idiomatic use generally refers to the quaint and distinctly non-Lockean feudal custom of allowing the lord to deflower the virgins in his realm. (It is a French term after all.)

But we are blog brothers and I am glad you posted this Reason video.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 10:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Aaaah, brilliant! Thanks for explaining the joke. Perhaps if you'd called it prima nocte I'd have recognized it.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 4:00 PM

Breaking...

Too much politics? I find this funny. I was going to do the first one as a headline of the day. But they're all great:


DNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Rigid Principles"

A special dispatch from Galt's Garrison-

Feature release date: October 12, 2012
Next trailer release date: Tomorrow
Here's just a taste...
(Watch carefully at the very end. There are just a few frames you won't want to miss.)


Page link.

But johngalt thinks:

On reviewing the prior teaser trailer I noticed something interesting on a script that appears on screen for a few seconds. Check it out here.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 3:06 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

We can all agree that landing a Dwight Sanders monoplane in a mountain valley is much easier than landing a corporate jet...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 5, 2012 5:22 PM

Oy Vey!

Yiddish Curses for Rebulblican Jews. Keep hitting "Show Me Another Curse."

Or just enjoy this one:

Hat-tip: Peggy Noonan

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

A discouraging word...

I'm all about recognizing and promoting young talent.

But you don't make the "Rookie of the Year" your team captain do you? (That's like making a "Community Organizer" be President.)

I love Gabriel Landeskog and hope I am really really wrong. But he is a superstar-in-training who would profit from the advice of more veteran players. And other young teammates would benefit from a more experienced leader.

Nope, I just don't buy it.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

The Avalanche have a locker room chemistry problem.

Landeskog has a good attitude. One that team management wants to nurture.

Landeskog, aged 19 years, is named team captain.

If that doesn't send a message I can't think of anything that will. B'sides, could this be any worse than last season?

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 2:07 PM
But jk thinks:

By W-L, probably not. By potentially ruining an inchoate hall of famer, yeah. Hell, make him GM too.

I think John Elway was set back by the same mentality. Yeah, he got over it but three or four seasons of John Elway football or Gabe Landeskog hockey is a scarce resource not to be wasted.

You pull the rookie pitcher out of the ten run inning, you don't pull your 20 year old captain.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2012 3:11 PM

Battlespace Preparation

Never give up! Fight on the beaches! Fight on the editorial pages!

I appreciate the competitiveness/combativeness/bellicosity of the Romney campaign. After four years ago -- screw being nice. The concentrated pushback to the scurrilous lies that were "Fact Check" reactions to Rep Ryan's speech have paid off. In multiples.

A Facebook friend is shocked that even (I hope you are sitting down) even the DNC has been caught in a Fact Check. And busted they are: Read 'em and weep!

Without pushing back on the bogus Ryan checks, they would have let those slide. Curiously, all of theirs seem to be actual untruths. It is still in no way "fair." But it is way better than we'd have seen calmly accepting "just some media bias that we can't do anything about."

Now they are busted -- and some of the, ahem, lies are devastating.

But johngalt thinks:

A fact check? I counted eight "dubious or misleading claims" documented by, whom? Annenberg Public Policy Center? President Obama and the Democrats must have really gone too far this cycle, earning decisive slap-downs from both Newsweek and APPC.

Wow. Just, wow.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 2:23 PM
But AndyN thinks:

It's beyond deniable that fewer and fewer people believe that the legacy media have any credibility. Judging by the shrill desperation with which Obama has been conducting his campaign, it seems as though even insiders believe he's going to be crushed. Could it be that the press and the leftists who feed them realize that nothing they say can get Obama reelected, so they're willing to start reporting more honestly in an effort to restore their credibility so that they can exert some influence on the next election?

Posted by: AndyN at September 5, 2012 4:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think there's something to that AndyN. But this is also a big factor: Fox News drew more viewers for the GOP convention, not just than their cable competition, but than the "free" over-the-air networks NBC, CBS and ABC. That seems like a first.

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

I strongly hope you're right, AndyN. Certainly among the informed, you are. But I fear they continue to hold sway among the Bryan-Caplan-call-your-office uninformed voters.

I hope your polling is on as well. I'm strangely contented for me, but Professor Reynolds needn't worry about my getting cocky.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2012 5:52 PM

Tweet of the Day

I fast forwarded through the fond remembrance, but @IMAO nails it:


DNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 4, 2012

Viva Libertario!

Early signs suggest that President Obama may not get another free ride from the lads at Reason.

Five Broken Democratic Promises from 2008

Good stuff, Maynard!


Fauxchohantas Campaign Theme Song

JUST POSTED BY THE ELIZABETH WARREN (D) CAMPAIGN - THEME SONG FOR THE STRETCH DRIVE:

I am a real Cherokee Faker
Spent my career as a Taker
Lied about my way of life
I run on class and racial strife

(Chorus)

Cherokee faker
Stole Cherokee tribe
So proud to grab
That racial bribe

They took my pre-tend native tongue
English all I learned when young
The class warfare that I made
Is obscured by this charade!

I used the whole Indian schmeer
To advance my law career
And though I wear a skirt and scarf
Sometimes my lies make me barf

(Chorus)

But maybe someday when they see
Cherokee Nation will punch me
Will punch me
Will punch me
Will punch me
Will punch me

The original (which I once saw performed in Reno, Nevada. These guys were a hoot!):

But johngalt thinks:

Ah, the good old days of my youth: When the cheap consumer crap was made in Japan instead of China! (First verse mention.) It seems we thought that was a permanent condition too.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 2:51 PM

Being a Parent is Hard.

Hat-tip: Ari Armstrong

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:11 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

A+! She needed to smash the statue a little better though. But the parents were soooo right on.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 4, 2012 7:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Those "trickle-down" supply side Tea Party extremists are just so ... childish.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 12:51 AM

Unapologetic

Hat-tip: @mkhammer who says "Super-creepster"

DNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Essentially, "We all belong to government."

If this is the DNC's alternative vision to Clint Eastwood's: "The government works for us. We own it. They are our employees." It's gonna be a tough sell outside of Carousel.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 2:31 PM

Tweet of the Day


DNC2012 Posted by John Kranz at 5:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Okay, One More...

But drive safely and don't forget to tip your waitresses and bartender!

My blog brother has successfully cajoled me into sharing a few more quotes from Deirdre N. McCloskey's Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World. This makes this the third post in the review One and two here. To catch the new visitor up:

It initiates a humanistic science of the economy, "humanomics" as the economist Barton Smith calls it. Speech, not material changes in foreign trade or domestic investment, caused proximally the nonlinearities, or (expressed in more conventional theorizing) the leaping out of the production possibility curve, the imaginings of possible lives.

We know this empirically in part because trade and investment were ancient routines, but the new dignity and liberty for ordinary people were unique to the age. What was unique was a new climate of persuasion, out there in the shops and streets and coffeehouses populated by the bourgeoisie. As I shall try to persuade you, oh materialist economist.


I'm predisposed to join jg's critique that it is a product of many factors and that I am willing to accept her devotion to a rhetorical acceptance of bourgeois values if she'll concede the importance of liberty and energy and trade.

McCloskey does appreciate the value of other factors, but she is a data-driven economist and shows that these are fractional improvements from which we gained magnitude gains. She spends much time on energy, in her case the availability of coal in Britain in the 17th Century. Again, that is swell, sez McCloskey, but others could have bought and shipped coal or developed more wood or whaling -- energy is an input and it is great that it is cheap. But if it is expensive it shaves off percentages, it does not stop growth. Mister Rockefeller's energy revolution is 150 years and a continent away. The colonies experience mad growth with water power.

She pours through literature, looking for heroic bourgeois characters. Think "Merchant of Venice;" traders are outcasts, minority people a little too canny for their own good. McCloskey and I do share some heroes:

In 1913 Willa Cather without the antibourgeois sarcasm which her fellow members of the American clerisy were beginning to develop, has her heroine, Swedish-American Alexandra Bergson, exclaim, "There's Fuller [the real estate man] again! I wish that man would take me for a [business] partner. He's feathering his nest! If only poor people [such as Alexandra's unenterprising brothers] could learn a little from rich people!"

We still have Babbitt and Disney movies to fight though.
Or at any rate so enlightened Europeans and the new bourgeois liberals claimed, contrary to the zero-sum notions that had governed the world up to then, in which every win to Europe was supposed to have arisen from a comparable loss to the rest. It lives on, I repeat, in recent talk about "competitiveness." "Win minus lose equals zero. Profit is evil." No, said the enlightened liberals like Mill, not usually-not if the social accounting is win-win-win-win-win-lose.
[...]
It has given many formerly poor and ignorant people the scope to flourish. And contrary to the usual declarations of the economists since Adam Smith or Karl Marx, the Biggest Economic Story was not caused by trade or investment or exploitation. It was caused by ideas.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 3:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

Idiot Quote of the Day

"The reason the economics fail in the US is not a failure of Wind, its a failure of greedy corporations to allocate costs in a manner that is for the common good. Energy is like air - it comes from God and should not be for-profit. COOPs are the most cost efficient way to deliver electricity. Remove the corporate overhead with multi-million dollar salaries for CEO's and the economics of wind are obvious."

Posted 3 hours ago as a comment on a blog post at one of my engineering trade magazines. The post itself is noteworthy, for it represents the first I can remember where the realities of alternative energy sources are given as much weight as the pollyanna political correctness.

And then there is the cost of wind per MW hr with the subsidy included. Without the subsidy - fuggedaboutit. And it looks like the forgetting will be happening soon. The tax credits for "alternative" (read unreliable) energy have not been renewed. What was that again? Renewables have not been renewed? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? There is a simple explanation.

Wind power does not succeed by capturing wind. It succeeds by capturing government.


But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... the economics of wind are obvious..."

I've got your "obvious" right here...

http://is.gd/DMfhCI

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 4, 2012 3:43 PM

KUMBAY-FREAKIN-YA!

I think I can finally unite ThreeSourcers on one aspect of drug policy: This is absolutely shameful:

In a promotional video released yesterday, President Obama "calls" actor Kal Penn, the former Associate Director of Public Engagement for the Obama administration, and tells him to get ready for the DNC Convention. On a split screen, Penn is seen with his Harold and Kumar co-star John Cho. The two are watching cartoons, surrounded by pizza boxes, soda, candy, and other junk food. The none-too-subtle suggestion is that, like the characters in the Harold and Kumar films, Cho and Penn are stoned.

I emphatically suggested that the drug question was a philosophical one of self-ownership and was not about condoning drug use in any way.

Leave it to the President to get a fundamental question completely, totally, 100% wrong (and drive a good blogger to redundancy)!

He makes light of drug use, which we might all admit to be damaging. And, yet, on the question of protecting individual rights, he has been home eating Doritos® and watching The Flintstones.

Hat-tip: @radleybalko Obama ad idea: Call up a cancer patient wasting, vomiting from chemo b/c of your marijuana policy; make stoner jokes. http://t.co/cHKioRrF

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Terri thinks:

No, no, no. There will be no eating of Doritos in the White House or anywhere. That would be wrong.

Posted by: Terri at September 4, 2012 1:48 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Mayhaps the SCOAMF is planning to get the Choom Gang back together once he retires in January.

That explains the fancy crash pad he's got planned in Hawai'i - being paid for with someone else's money, of course...

http://is.gd/CxgOTr

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 4, 2012 3:36 PM

Now This is a Good Idea!

Clearly, there is not enpugh indoctrination of youth in the Public Skools. But the Colorado legislature and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are stepping up to the plate.

In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the Denver public schools system are adding a fourth 'r' to the curriculum: rebellion.

According to NBC affiliate KUSA, Denver Public Schools is implementing a new system to evaluate teachers. In order to achieve a coveted "distinguished" rating, teachers at each grade level must show that they "encourage" students to "challenge and question the dominant culture" and "take social action to change/improve society or work for social justice."

The new DPS teacher assessment system, called LEAP (Leading Effective Academic Practice), stems from state legislation passed in 2010 and is overwhelmingly funded by a $10M grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Hat tip: The VA Viper who points out "Half of the kids in DPS aren't even reading at grade level, yet the school district wants to make them into little social activists."

Education Posted by John Kranz at 10:01 AM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

I saw this last week but couldn't bring myself to be the bearer of the bad news.

On the positive side, since this program effectively makes "social justice" a mainstream idea I wholeheartedly endorse encouraging students to challenge and question the dominant culture. Let's start with the popular idea that those with "less" deserve more simply because they have less, not because they've worked for it or anything. If people get stuff without working for it, and people who work for it don't get it, where will future "stuff" come from?

Pencils up!

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2012 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I think I have to go with dagny on this one. Glenn Reynolds has a line he uses from memory: "it is becoming child abuse to send your children to public schools."

Jonah Goldberg has an outstanding chapter on "Social Justice" in his Tyranny of Clichès (Review Corner). The entire concept is based on weasel words that can be twisted -- by even a blog brother -- to mean whatever the user wants.

Goldberg's case was weakened for me, however, as Robert A. Caro used the phrase to describe President Johnson's legislative successes right after his ascension to the Presidency. The term seemed strangely appropriate for that. But just as clearly inappropriate here.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2012 12:13 PM
But AndyN thinks:

But wait... isn't the dominant culture in Denver the one that's currently encouraging students to challenge and question the dominant culture? By making it an academic expectation for students to change the dominant culture, aren't the people who implemented this new system just obtusely asking the students to protest against their own indoctrination? Will the next new public school in Denver adopt as its mascot a snake eating its own tail?

Posted by: AndyN at September 4, 2012 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Not THAT dominant culture!

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

You're right again, jk. AndyN and I were, as usual, thinking too objectively and consistently. We'd never make it through the rigours of the public school meatgrinder.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2012 5:26 PM
But dagny thinks:

From the movie the kids were enjoying last night:

"How do you explain school to higher intelligence?"

Posted by: dagny at September 4, 2012 5:42 PM

September 3, 2012

Meanwhile in Buffy News...

Will jk ever tire of "Top Ten Buffy Episode Lists?"

Likely not -- and never if they are as generally right on as SciFiNow's. This so closely matches my own, I need to watch the two or three that don't make mine again. This cat (Samuel Roberts) gets it.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 7:41 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Jk thinks:

Watched "Fear, Itself." Very good episode, but not top ten. The rest I cannot argue.

Posted by: Jk at September 3, 2012 11:36 PM

Tweet of the Day


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 7:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

I do like this one...

Hat-tip: Insty

2012 Election Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

It's a delicate proposition, warning voters that they might be too stupid and/or venal to understand a politician's brilliance. We don't know yet how that strategy will pay off in the voting booth, but if the president and his party get the kid-gloves treatment from the media this week after the RNC festival of overheated fact-checking, then the institution of political journalism may creep into still more unchartered territory: taking sides in the very polarization it usually claims to abhor. -- Matt Welch: Obama, Democrats, and the Media: You Can't Handle the 'Truth'

September 2, 2012

Romney Convention Bounce

In the first post-convention poll I've seen, Mitt Romney's national preference poll number has jumped 6 points since before the convention. Rasmussen has the race at Romney 48%, Obama 44% while Obama led by 2 before Clint Eastwood asked voters to "make my day" and let Obama go.

Since the link looks like it is to a continually updated page, I will excerpt:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 48% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns 44% of the vote. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

Just prior to this past week's Republican National Convention, Romney trailed the president by two. Today’s four-point advantage confirms that the GOP hopeful has received the expected convention bounce. See daily tracking history. Romney also has gained ground in the swing state tracking results updated daily for subscribers at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

The swing-state tracking shows Romney and Obama even in Virginia, Colorado and Ohio, Romney trailing by 4 in PA and 6 in MI but leading by 1 in Wisconsin, 2 in Florida and 5 in South Carolina.

In an interesting side note, Rasmussen also notes that voter self-identification now reveals "the largest number of Republicans ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports" in the wake of the convention.


Review Corner

Some intellectuals, though, look with suspicion on the Bourgeois Era, calling it "globalization," which they think they detest, along with McDonald's and the bourgeoisie and capitalism. The suspicion has been expressed since 1848 in repeated assaults by the clerisy on the bourgeoisie, commonly their fathers, each new assault presented as a courageous speaking of truth to power, a daring new insight, though expressed in identical form from Flaubert and G. B. Shaw to Sinclair Lewis and David Mamet.
Conversely, the Bourgeois Era to the author of those words, Deirdre N. McCloskey, represents the move from $3/day privation to modern abundance and personal freedom.

Her Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World is a challenging book -- and it is only book two of a planned six. I hope both McCloskey and my pal Robert A. Caro are eating well and taking care of themselves.

Challenging because McCloskey is a Chicago School Economics Professor of tremendous intellect and reading. Clearly the book was written for much smarterer people than me. It is not turgid prose by any means, it is an entertaining read. It is thick with ideas and precise documentation. (Also like Caro -- you have to stop and let your brain catch up with the author's sometimes.)

[John Stuart] Mill was too good a classical economist, in other words, to recognize a phenomenon inconsistent with classical economics. That the national income per head might triple in the century after 1871 in the teeth of rising population is not a classical possibility, and he would have seen the factor of sixteen in Britain from the eighteenth century down to the present as science fiction.

And challenging because it contradicts my deepest beliefs. Contradicts is too strong a word because, as a Chicagoan, she is a devout believer in liberty and free markets and property rights and the importance of trade. No ThreeSourcer would pull out a single sentence and say "that is wrong." But her claim is that all those great things existed elsewhere and did not produce an enlightenment or a 16-fold increase in consumption.
Until the view suddenly changed in academic circles in Spain and in commercial and some political circles in Holland and then in Britain and then (in all circles) in the United States, dignity and liberty for the bourgeoisie was viewed as an outrageous absurdity. Of course the bourgeoisie was contemptible, in Confucianism the fourth and lowest of the social classes, or in Christianity the rich man of the gospels who can scarcely enter heaven. Of course the market needed to be regulated in the interest of the rich-or at least in the interest of the continued rule of the rich by way of giving a little to some selected and favored and relatively well-off poor people (unskilled automobile workers earning $30 an hour, high-school-graduate administrators in Cook County (now "Stroger") Hospital earning $1oo,ooo a year, members of local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union earning more than what Wal-Mart employees are eagerly willing to work for). Of course people should be arrayed in a great chain of being from God to slave, and kept in their place, except by special royal favor or state examination or party membership

My theme in short is the true liberal one of the de la Court brothers, Richard Overton, John Lilburne, William Walwyn, Thomas Rainsborough, Richard Rumbold, Spinoza, Dudley North, Algernon Sidney, Locke, Voltaire, Hume, Turgot, Montesquieu, Adam Ferguson, Smith, Thomas Paine, Destutt de Tracy, Jefferson, Madame de Stael, Benjamin Constant, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Charles [not Auguste] Comte, Charles Dunoyer, Malthus, Ricardo, Harriet Martineau, Tocqueville, Giuseppe Mazzini, Frederic Bastiat, Mill, Henry Maine, Richard Cobden, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Cavour, Johan August Gripenstedt, Herbert Spencer, Lysander Spooner, Karl von Rotteck, Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, Carl Menger, Lord Acton, Josephine Butler, Knut Wicksell, Luigi Einaudi, H. L. Mencken, Johan Huizinga, Frank Knight, Ludwig von Mises, Willa Cather, Rose Wilder Lane, Walter Lippmann until the 195os, Nora Zeale Hurston, Karl Popper, Isaiah Berlin, Michael Polanyi, Friedrich Hayek, Raymond Aron, Henry Hazlitt, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Ronald Coase, Milton, Rose, and son David Friedman, Murray Rothbard, James Buchanan, Ludwig Lachmann, Gordon Tullock, Thomas Sowell, Joan Kennedy Taylor, Roy A. Childs, Julian Simon, Israel Kirzner, Vernon Smith, Wendy McElroy, Norman Barry, Loren Lomasky, Tibor Machan, Anthony de Jasay, Douglas Den Uyl, Douglas Rasmussen, Deepak Lal, Chandran Kukathas, Ronald Hamowy, Tom Palmer, Don Lavoie, David Boaz, Richard Epstein, Tyler Cowen, David Schmidtz, Donald Boudreaux, Peter Boettke, and the young Robert Nozick. It is the obvious and simple system of natural liberty. It contradicts the aristocratic sneering by conservatives at innovations and at the bourgeoisie, or the clerical sneering by progressives at markets and at the bourgeoisie. The true-liberal claim is that unusual bourgeois dignity and personal liberty in northwestern Europe, and especially in Holland and then in Britain, made for unusual national wealth, by way of a revaluation of ordinary, bourgeois life..


Nor have I ever highlighted so many sections. I painfully culled it down to the few presented here. I'd love to share ten times as many, but I know ThreeSourcers will be holding big rallies to celebrate trade unions this weekend. You'll just have to buy it. Five Stars.

Parting thought: "So, do I 'believe it?'" It is consistent. It explains much. It cannot be effectively contradicted. In the end, like the Panic of '08, one is forced to weight the importance of different factors. Am I prepared to reduce my votes for liberty, free trade, and a codified scientific epistemology? No. But I will and suggest others should value more highly the acceptance of bourgeois dignity. And, who knows, maybe by book four or five she'll have me.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

If one skips over the "Galt's speech" listing of great names which comprise "the de la Court brothers" your collection of excerpts is quite modest. So much so, in fact, that the point remains distant from my full comprehension. Perhaps, with some discussion...

If I understand correctly, the bourgeoisie are most responsible for modern western prosperity yet are universally reviled by Marx-inspired progressives as well as the aristocratic segment of conservatives, which some have taken to calling the "establishment" and wherein I include Republican progressives or "RINOs."

So that we're clear, I take "bourgeoisie" to mean the ambitious, self-employed middle-class who, through innovation and sweat routinely become members of the "one percent." The "new rich" if you will.

What's not to believe? Why would any of this lead to a conflict with "votes for liberty, free trade, and a codified scientific epistemology?" To me it only reinforces the necessity and rectitude of a TEA Party revolution in the Republican party, where such votes are at least welcome if not universal.

And for such a conclusion to emenate from an academic treatise is both rare and of revolutionary value.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2012 12:10 PM
But jk thinks:

One must be extremely cautious standing in front of a guitar player yelling "more!"

But keep in mind this is part two of this review: part one lives here.

You're correct in that she does not credit Cheetos® or astrology with the rise in living standards. But four weeks ago, I was very comfortable suggesting that scientific epistemology deserved credit (cf. David Deutsch) or a critical mass in good old Ricardian trade (cf. Deepak Lal) or an amorphous idea of "liberty" (Hayek, Mises, and presumably at least one of the de la Court brothers).

McCloskey says "No." They had science in 500 BCE China, they had free trade in the Ottoman Empire, they had movable type in ancient Korea, &c. There are 49 Chapters in this book and almost all of them are "No, it wasn't X." Somebody, somewhere had X in abundance and produced naught a knot on the hockey stick.

She knows Professor Lal. I don't remember Deutsch's name, but she quotes all of my heroes chapter and verse, understands them but says 'uh-uh, you don't get 16X from that."

What does give you 16X is the rhetorical acceptance of innovating, belief in buying low and selling high.

Went straight from that into Steve Forbes's book. He quotes McCloskey on a couple occasions, but a Forbes Quote of Thomas Sowell (meta-hoss) captures it:

But to his loud and vociferous critics, Romney was just "moving money around" and had gotten an unfair tax break.

These sentiments are rooted in age-old prejudices. Economist Thomas Sowell has written brilliantly about the long-standing distrust of "middleman minorities" that cuts across cultural boundaries. Middlemen include not only Jews and Asian immigrants in the United States, but groups like the Ibos in Nigeria and the Parsees in India. Prejudices against them, Sowell explains, were never about ethnicity. "Retailing and money-lending," he explains, "have long been regarded by the economically unsophisticated as not 'really' adding anything to the economic well-being of a community."

Like Michael Moore, people for hundreds of years have been unable to see how those who "make money off money"ť are really making anything.

Forbes, Steve; Ames, Elizabeth (2012-08-21). Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn't (Kindle Locations 1625-1626). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2012 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The easy critique to McCloskey's theory seems to be that a combination of factors was required. Did any other civilization ever have everything we do except a dignified bourgeoise and fail to prosper?

Further, the Industrial Revolution is widely regarded as a prerequisite for massive wealth creation. Aren't all civilizations that predate it excused for not producing more crops than one's family could consume in a year?

Let me be fair: I haven't read the book and am only going on your excerpts and summaries. As much as being critical, I'm just trying to pry more specifics from you. (More! More!)

And finally, I can't help but credit cheap and abundant energy, together with means to use that energy to do work, for the standard of living that modern man has become not only accustomed to, but takes as a natural and automatic condition - one that will "always be that way." Let Hollywood live on the beach and make movies without electricity or fossil fuels for a few years and we'll likely see a shift Eastwood in their philsophy and politics. (Yes, I do remember when American movies actually glorified Exceptionalism. It was before my time but the celluloid lasted long enough to bring it to my eyes.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2012 3:22 PM

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