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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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:
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."
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."
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!
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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!
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.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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."
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]
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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".
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.]
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
■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:
$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!
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."
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.")
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.
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
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.
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."
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.)
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:
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.
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).
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...
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?
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.
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 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.
"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.
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
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."
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'
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.
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.
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.