January 31, 2013
The right stuff
During Senate confirmation hearings, Chuck Hagel demonstrated that he is both clueless and incompetent. Unfortunately, those are probably the two most important qualifications that President Obama seeks In someone to run the U.S. military.
Quote of the Day
I want to begin by saying something that needs to be said: I am not going to tell you that we have the luxury of feeling good about where we are as a movement, or that we don't have lessons to learn. But this is the movement and the cause that rescued this country 30 years ago, when serious people thought we were too complex to be governed anymore. This is the movement and the cause that refused to believe freedom was exhausted, only that it was tired of not being defended. And you held up freedom and made it so vibrant that prisoners in Prague and shipbuilders in Gdansk and freedom fighters in Managua and dissidents in gulags in Russia saw it and were moved by it. And not only have you been right about these large, cosmic things, you have been right about more basic things: We can't grow an economy by making audacity cost too much, we can’t strengthen people by penalizing them for work, we can’t own our future by living on the credit of countries who want to dominate us. Those values are as right today as they were yesterday, and may they always define us. I have not always been with you, but I am with you now, and I am proud to stand with you to wage this fight. -- Newly-minted Republican Artur Davis (X - AL)
Charges that he is a deadbeat and welcher, however...
WASHINGTON (WaPo) -- Sen. Robert Menendez's office says he reimbursed a prominent Florida political donor $58,500 on Jan. 4 of this year for the full cost of two of three trips Menendez took on the donor's plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
And who wouldn't accept the word of a man who pays his debts in three years?
Goin' Back to Bed
You folks keep the lamp of liberty lit. I just don't think I can take it anymore. Pursuant to the "anti-dog-eat-dog act:"
The Justice Department filed suit Thursday to block Anheuser-Busch InBev NV's $20.1 billion deal to buy Grupo Modelo SAB, saying U.S. consumers would suffer harm if the makers of Bud Light and Corona Extra merged.
I should be glad they are doing their mischief out of the technology sector for a change; I assume that will be less harmful. But the beer cooler at DaveCo offers at least four or five different selections if my memory serves. I don't recall that market's being underserved.
January 30, 2013
Quote of the Day
I certainly will not claim the United Kingdom has more than twice the rape rate because American women are allowed to own guns while British women for practical purposes are not, but it does make you wonder, doesn't it? -- Clayton Cramer
Meanwhile, in Buffy News...
I'm looking forward to this film. Herald Scotland:
It was confirmed last night that Whedon, creator of the long running TV hit Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as well as 2012's Marvel blockbuster Avengers Assemble, will walk the red carpet outside the Glasgow Film Theatre.
I also like that they led with Buffy -- then added "as well as ... Avengers." Wha hae, Scots!
January 29, 2013
ThreeSources Book Club
The object of last week's Review Corner was not available on Kindle. So I have an actual, corporeal paperback edition to give away. I know I only gave it three stars but the price is right -- holler if you'd like it.
Challenging Republican Orthodoxy
On the heels of today's Pragmatic Republican Politics post I'll excerpt from the latest challenge to GOP orthodoxy, this time from Clifford Asness in The American: The GOP Must Lead (Again) on Civil Rights Clifford makes a well reasoned argument in support of three reform initiatives for the GOP - immigration, education and the failed war on drugs, then concludes:
And then, again, there’s the politics. Political stances should always follow truth not expediency. I do not recommend these things for political advantage. But, when embracing liberty and helping the disadvantaged and the economy happens to be great politics, I say make the most of it! Individually these policies make sense, but together they are more than the sum of their parts. Together they show our party’s avowed belief in equality of opportunity, not outcome, to be part of our true quest for justice and prosperity, not a rhetorical device attempting to preserve unearned privilege.
Position Paper from Colorado Sheriffs
The County Sheriffs of Colorado released a position paper [PDF] on possible gun regulation.
It is a thoughtful and serious look at many provisions being discussed to limit bulk ammunition purchases, magazine size, &c. They take each suggestion and quickly suggest real world examples in which it would impede law-abiding people.
Hat-tip: NRA-ILA spam.
Except six years later, little has changed. The cellulosic ethanol industry produced zero gallons in 2011 and zero in 2012. But the EPA still required oil companies and refiners to buy 6.6 million gallons in 2011 and 8.7 million in 2012--and then to purchase millions of dollars of "waiver credits" for failing to comply with a mandate to buy a product that did not exist. This is the sort of thing that led to the Protestant Reformation. -- WSJ Ed Board
Quote of the Day
Gitmo Closes! Wait, No, It's Just the Office for Closing Gitmo That's Closing
Pragmatic Republican Politics
Took Libertario Delenda Est out for a spin last night at Liberty on the Rocks.
I enjoyed a spirited conversation with Matthew Hess, who is running for Governor and made a passionate case that "guys like me" need to support the LP. I gave him the elevator-talk version of libertario delenda est and he parried politely and rationally.
The speaker was Mark Baisley, who is running for Republican State Party Chairman. He outlined his vision for the infrastructure he believes to be required for the GOP to win in this state. It was a more Republican and a more partisan talk than normal, and he fielded questions from some of the more Libertarian attendees.
But he opened his talk with victories. In Douglas County, the red-blue split is the inverse of Boulder County, and they have chased out the Teachers' Union and instituted a full voucher program that is wending its way through the courts.
So, while yes, the LP is right to cry foul at Republicans with errant principles or lacking strength to follow their better ones, it strikes me that the LP has no victory list (well, except for spoiling the Montana Senate election and sending Jon Tester to be the 60th vote for ObamaCare).
Baisley told the libs to keep their passion but to be delegates in the GOP to keep the party honest.
January 28, 2013
Here's Your Gun Hypocrisy
Okay, not all the goofballs on Facebook are lefties. A popular picture makes fun of the President by quoting an anti-gun line, and pointing out all the armed secret service near him. Bwa haw ha and all, but the other guys are very very -- okay too -- comfortable with government sanctioned professionals having guns. Who is going to defend us from the right wing militia kooks if the government doesn't have guns?
But fear not -- I bring you gun hypocrisy of great joy! Anti-gun activist Media Matters bought illegal guns out of state to protect founder David Brock:
Brock, whose struggles with mental health have seen him hospitalized in the past, became increasingly concerned by late 2010 that he was being targeted by right-wing assassins.
Well, right wing assassins after him and all, it seems all right to me...
That's "Secretary One Percenter" to you, boy!
We share a large percent of our genetic structure with dogs. Therefore, don't be surprised if you look at the monitor with your head cocked and a slightly puzzled look when reading this.
The greatest irony is that given Mr. Lew's crisis-era resumé, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the bankers who President Obama says created the financial crisis and deserve federal investigation. But apparently there's an exception as long as your liberal intentions are noble and you're a loyal Democrat. Then you can get rich at one of Wall Street's biggest failures and end up running the entire financial system.
That's the elite WSJ decorum at work. They manage to describe Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's brief and magnanimously unsuccessful Wall Street career without appending -ass to any of the words. I couldn't do it.
Lew's a gub'mint guy through and through, but he takes a brief tenure at Citi that best represents a Matt Damon caricature of a Wall Street guy in the panic: bad guy comes in, total devastation ensues, gets a Federal bailout, leaves with a seven figure bonus. I just don't think Damon's screenwriters have the balls (see, I did not say ass) to have the villain nominated to be SecTreas.
Maybe Joss Whedon could pull it off..
January 27, 2013
Disturbing news from the GPI Deflator:
I have been dismissive of inflation projections from some of my blog brothers. Yet I must report today's potential "wake up call."
I have been playing finger style guitar for the last ten years or so. Before that time, I had a large supply of picks. I figure it has been 14 years since I bought them. Some new material I am working on requires them, and I took a nice convertible ride on a lovely day to stock up and try some new styles.
Where I recall their being about a quarter before, they are a dollar now. Using the rule of 70, I compute the GPI (Guitar Pick Index) deflator to be 70/(14/2). That's a seven percent annual increase in the price of picks! That Bernanke fellow has quite a bit to answer for.
In last week's Review Corner, I confessed that my lack of knowledge about the events, places, and people in Ancient Rome reduced my ability to appreciate Gibbon's work.
From Rome, I set the WayBack Machine™ to antebellum America. Blog friend TGreer surfaced on Facebook and recommended Harry L. Watson's Liberty and Power. Contra Rome, I know the stories in here chapter and verse -- enough that I found the exposition sections a little dry. Interesting that Watson accepts "The Corrupt Bargain" between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay as factual. The biographers of Adams, Clay and Jackson that I've read tend to think it more of a tin ear for politics well exploited.
If we're to travel well worn roads, what new insights can the author bring? There is one Watson does extremely well and one he does poorly.
The assembly and rise of the Democrat and Whig parties -- indeed the acceptance of a two-party system of governance is covered very well. I will recommend this book to a lot of big-L Libertarian and "No Labels" types. I'm frequently told that a new third party is going to come along and fix everything. "It happens all the time" I am told. Well, it happened three times, in a smaller nation under extreme exigencies.
I always credited Van Buren's vision and wizardry with the creation of a national Democratic Party. Watson shows the importance of Jackson's cult of personality. He perhaps soft pedals the Little Magician's use of spoils and patronage, but an accurate assessment surely requires both.
The foundation of the Whigs and the integration and recruitment of multiple small factions is especially interesting: probably my favorite part of the book. Not having voluminous exit-polling data from the 1836 and 1840 elections, he looks at the counties of Western New York that were growing after completion of the Erie Canal (damned, Whiggish internal improvements!), the factions they attracted and their voting patterns in different years.
Into what crucible can we throw this heterogeneous mass of old national republicans, and revolting Jackson men; Masons and anti-Masons; Abolitionists and pro-Slavery men; Bank men and anti-Bank men with all the lesser fragments that have been, from time to time, thrown off from the great political wheel in its violent revolutions, so as to melt them down into one mass of pure Whigs of undoubted good metal -- Millard Fillmore
Less well done was the book's premise. The title and colophon address the balance of liberty and power. It is often and well discussed but Watson is a history professor at the University of North Carolina. If one loves history one must read academics or chose from a very small pool of material. But the good professor cannot grasp liberty were it to bite him in his professorial ass.
There is a great discussion of the bank war and the nullification crisis. Watson tries to present all sides. No doubt he has forgotten more about the historical than I have known. But he cannot accept that the BUS might be (nay, is sir!) philosophically wrong. The viewpoint of capitalists, agrarians, craftsmen, workers and politicians from both sides are meticulously examined. But in a book that looks to examine liberty and power, the little-l libertarian side of monetary policy is not even considered. The same can be said for internal improvements, arrogation of power to the executive, and to some extent federalism.
A very good book, but I would give it three stars and suggest that most would prefer John Meacham's American Lion or David Heidler's Henry Clay: the Essential American.
January 26, 2013
Internet Knights Templar?
From ZDNet article Anonymous hacks US Sentencing Commission, distributes files:
For good reason the statue of lady justice is blindfolded. No more should her innocence be besmirked, her scales tipped, nor her swordhand guided. Furthermore there must be a solemn commitment to freedom of the internet, this last great common space of humanity, and to the common ownership of information to further the common good.
We make this statement do not expect to be negotiated with; we do not desire to be negotiated with. We understand that due to the actions we take we exclude ourselves from the system within which solutions are found. There are others who serve that purpose, people far more respectable than us, people whose voices emerge from the light, and not the shadows. These voices are already making clear the reforms that have been necessary for some time, and are outright required now.
It is these people that the justice system, the government, and law enforcement must engage with. Their voices are already ringing strong with a chorus of determined resolution. We demand only that this chorus is not ignored. We demand the government does not make the mistake of hoping that time will dampen its ringing, that they can ride out this wave of determination, that business as usual can continue after a sufficient period of lip-service and back-patting.
Not this time. This time there will be change, or there will be chaos…
In the vernacular of the posting, my voice emerges from the light. I ask those who would denounce hacking as a tactic to explain how else these alleged abuses of official justice could be effectively challenged?
Hat tip: Drudge
January 25, 2013
Quote of the Day
So, should one man control the fate of the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises? Is it too much geek power in one director? -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Read it, fat ass!
Lest you think Facebook is just a great wasteland of irrational people I know, I also "Like" the Ludwig von Mises Institute. They have a superb (somewhat lengthy) book excerpt: "Cartman Shrugged: The Invisible Gnomes and the Invisible Hand in South Park "
Author Paul A. Cantor takes a good look at the humor, political tilt and some autobiography of Stone and Parker. Then, a long investigation of the Gnomes episode. Which is of course, not really about about Gnomes as Tweek's Coffee's anti-competitive tactics against the giant Harbucks.
But what about the gnomes, who, after all, give the episode its title? Where do they fit in? I never could understand how the subplot in "Gnomes" relates to the main plot until I was lecturing on the episode at a summer institute, and my colleague Michael Valdez Moses made a breakthrough that allowed us to put together the episode as a whole. In the subplot, Tweek complains to anybody who will listen that every night at 3:30 a.m. gnomes sneak into his bedroom and steal his underpants. Nobody else can see this remarkable phenomenon happening, not even when the other boys stay up late with Tweek to observe it, not even when the emboldened gnomes start robbing underpants in broad daylight in the mayor's office. We know two things about these strange beings: (1) they are gnomes; (2) they are normally invisible. Both facts point in the direction of capitalism. As in the phrase "gnomes of Zurich," which refers to bankers, gnomes are often associated with the world of finance. In the first opera of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, the gnome Alberich serves as a symbol of the capitalist exploiter--and he forges the Tarnhelm, a cap of invisibility. The idea of invisibility calls to mind Adam Smith's famous notion of the "invisible hand" that guides the free market.
jk Stands Up to The Man
In this case, The Man is named Ariella:
Blame the Movies!
On the one hand, it is great to see any solution to our so called grisly national gun violence epidemic that does not involve contravention of our Second Amendment rights. But, sadly, it is often at the expense of our First. Here's Melissa Henson in Politico, linked by Insty:
Entertainment industry has blood on its hands.
"Mental Health" is play #3 and there are certainly opportunities for improvement. But it will not be improved by hastily-penned, post-Sandy Hook responses to do something. I love Megan McArdle: "This is something. We must do something. Therefore, we must do this!"
I don't want Senator Feinstein writing our movies or designing our firearms.
January 24, 2013
Two Important Pieces on Climate Change
Quite a week from two non-deniers.
Walter Russell Mead points out that The Economist magazine has given up on global climate treaties: "Once a believer in the global approach, it appears to have given up"
The good folks at The Economist suggest "[V]oters appear more willing to accept domestic environmental laws than international ones. If true, that is an indictment of years of green activism that has pushed for a global treaty first."
Just tactics, so far, although one appreciates the nod to reason -- especially remembering President Bush's being blamed for every weather incident for not signing Kyoto (after the Senate opposed it 0 - 95, but whatever...)
More important were a couple of, dare I say, scientific concessions:
The Economist also brings us big news on the "settled science" of climate change. A new study has found soot to be twice as bad for climate as was previously thought, making it the second most damaging greenhouse agent after CO2. This is actually good news for two reasons.
To oppose CO2 is to oppose modernity. The dedicated warmie settles for nothing less than "back to the caves." Keystone Pipeline? Fracking? Mai Non! We've a planet to protect! I think even some grouchy old ThreeSourcers could get behind reasonable action on soot. I might be wrong, perhaps there is a pro-soot faction. But reducing soot seems a natural by-product of efficiency. Cleaner fuels, complete combustion should move toward CO2 + H2O as exhaust. Plants' two best friends. As more change is attributable to soot, this reduces the impact of CO2.
If that doesn't melt your cold, cold heart mosey on over to the WSJ Ed Page. "Skeptical Environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg has a guest editorial. True to his designs, Lomborg -- like Professor Mead and the editorial staff at The Economist -- believes completely in Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe. But he wants it addressed scientifically and economically.
This makes his criticism of the hype credible:
Unfortunately, when the president described the urgent nature of the threat--the "devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms"--the scary examples suggested that he is contemplating poor policies that don't point to any real, let alone smart, solutions. Global warming is a problem that needs fixing, but exaggeration doesn't help, and it often distracts us from simple, cheaper and smarter solutions.
Lomborg knows the plural of anecdote isn't data. Wildfires have been reduced, droughts are holdin' steady and the damage from hurricanes is set to halve as a % of GDP by 2100.
This does not mean that climate change isn't an issue. It means that exaggerating the threat concentrates resources in the wrong areas. Consider hurricanes (though similar points hold for wildfire and drought). If the aim is to reduce storm damage, then first focus on resilience--better building codes and better enforcement of those codes. Ending subsidies for hurricane insurance to discourage building in vulnerable zones would also help, as would investing in better infrastructure (from stronger levees to higher-capacity sewers).
That's the news on the science front. Now, from Facebook:
Pretty much captures the important discussion points, does it not?
UPDATE: Insty provides this link to the Lomborg piece, might be free.
Our 68th Secretary of State
Reporting for duty!
Photo credit: Reason
January 23, 2013
Quote of the Day
Too bad Lefty [California golfer Phil "Lefty" Mickelson ] will no longer help educate the lefties on the incentive effects of marginal tax rates. But he can still vote with his Gulfstream and take his tour winnings and his endorsement income to a more friendly locale, such as Florida, Nevada or Texas. All three still have no state income tax, which may be one reason Tiger Woods and so many other golfers (including many Europeans) also live in Florida. Expect a continued migration. -- WSJ Ed Page
Under pressure from gun-control advocates, Groupon abruptly canceled all gun-related deals in North America on Friday. -- HuffPoI inquired as to how to cancel my subscription.
Hi John,Alfred! Another bitter clinger...
There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
"I Am Not Making This Up!"
Were it a Dave Barry column, no doubt this WSJ guest editorial would be so captioned. But as close as Burleigh C.W. Leonard can get is "You read that right."
When the farm bill (why do we have farm bills again?) expires, the rules reset to the New Deal's "permanent law." These are so awful as to present a fiscal cliff style food bomb.
Permanent law is embodied in the Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1938 and the Agricultural Act of 1949. It directs the federal government to provide financial help to farmers by artificially inflating the prices of the commodities they produce.
For all their faults, I think my bright but misguided Facebook Friends can understand this. I have most of them converted against ethanol subsidies. Here's the same deal and I suspect they'd say in their best Mr. Mackey voice: "That's bad, mmkay."
And yet -- how do you get them to make the leap to view whatever thing they're grinding for today: more education subsidies, free abortifacients, wind farms, &c. Mohair and ethanol subsidies are "bad," as are billion dollar checks to Ted Turner from the US Taxpayer. But their thing is good.
January 22, 2013
Quote of the Day
Then, as you point out, there's the horrible strawman argument about "no single person." This is a rhetorical constant of Obama's presidency. The choice is always between the atomized individual or the loving embrace of federal government in Washington. Either Julia's all alone, or the government has got her back. Any acknowledgment that civil society, families, the free market, etc. are collective enterprises is always omitted from the equation. Either you're the sort of reactionary fool who champions individual freedoms -- indistinguishable from the sort of idiot who'd fight the Wehrmacht with muskets -- or you understand that now is the time for collective action. The problem is that devotion to our individual freedoms isn't merely a "constant of our character" (and would that that were still as true as it once was) it's also a bedrock principle of our constitutional order. That principle is not like a musket or a whale oil lantern or an 8-track tape. And comparing it to one is a horrible category error. -- Jonah Goldberg
January 21, 2013
Quote of the Day
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other -- through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security -- these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. -- President Barack ObamaUPDATE: Thw WSJ Ed Page highlights this same line.
The "takers" line was a clear shot at Mitt Romney's most famous campaign gaffe. This should have been beneath a Presidential inaugural, but then again it fits Mr. Obama's post- re-election pattern of continuing to demean and stigmatize those who disagree with him as if the election campaign is still on.
Happy Inauguration Day
Some serious words from Juan Williams, in a serious piece: The Clouds Over Obama's Second Term."
But when it comes to judging his place in American history, it is impossible not to address his minority status. The first blacks in any field, much like the first women, are always held to strict standards.
Hyperinflation in Hell!
The Stand-up Economist,Yoram Bauman.
Understatement of the Day
The district [IL - 2] represents a steep challenge for Republicans; the district gave 90 percent of its vote to Barack Obama in 2008 and was until recently represented by Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr., who managed to easily win reelection in 2012 even though he was under criminal investigation and on medical leave. The district scores a D+32 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index, but it does have some less heavily Democratic sections, stretching from 53rd Street on the city's South Side through the south suburbs of Chicago, all the way to Kankakee County. -- Jim Geraghty
January 20, 2013
Linquo (I quit)
The victory over the senate was easy and inglorious. Every eye and every passion were directed to the supreme magistrate, who possessed the arms and treasure of the state; whilst the senate, neither elected by the people, nor guarded by military force, nor animated by public spirit, rested its declining authority on the frail and crumbling basis of ancient opinion. The fine theory of a republic insensibly vanished, and made way for the more natural and substantial feelings of monarchy.It's easy to draw parallels between the United States and the Roman Empire. Easier still to be concerned with that which brought down the last great world hegemon. Without discounting them entirely, I fear they are overblown. But I am getting ahead of the review corner.
I finished Volume I of Edward Gibbon's (2011-10-14). History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, It is very interesting, but I think I will find my inner Tyler Cowan and move on to some other material before tackling Vol. II.
I was concerned that it would be too dry. You know those 18th Century guys can go on sometimes. Rather, any difficulty is that he is too conversational and assumes too much background knowledge of the reader. Gibbon's 18th Century readers knew the emperors and key historical events. This allowed the author to comment and draw broad themes. Imagine somebody in 2325 figuring out the Clinton Impeachment from Hitchens's "No One Left to Lie To;" one could...
I enjoy old history books for the meta layer of how people at the time of authorship viewed the events. Carl Swisher's 1935 biography of Chief Justice Taney is pretty short of opprobrium for the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision. To read a contemporary of the Founders exegete on millennia old events is a great mental exercise. Kind of like playing video games at a Rave on Ecstasy.
The takeaway after one-sixth, however, is the Hobbesian cheapness of life. Tens of thousands are slain in battles. The whole Senate is poisoned (or was that a dream I had?). The Imperial purple is pretty much a death sentence. I wonder if a lot of the didn't go to battle for personal safety. There is the occasional 40 years of relative peace and safety if the dice come up two benevolent and sturdy monarchs in a row. But these patches seem awfully rare -- and include absolute slavery, a pervasive but not absolute caste system, foreign adventurism. Most every history book elicits an "I'm glad I didn't live then" out of me. But Ancient Rome: especially no thanks.
I chose to infer parallels between the Roman Empire and the USA more as universal truths than comparison of democracies. The franchise was so limited and temporal that I find it difficult to assess Rome as self-rule. Capricious monarchies controlled lives and fortunes more like the EPA than any system we would call "democratic." The near provinces enjoyed the services of government without paying their fair share. They financed services the old fashioned way: plundering neighboring lands.
The conquest of Macedonia, as we have already observed, had delivered the Roman people from the weight of personal taxes. Though they had experienced every form of despotism, they had now enjoyed that exemption near five hundred years;
Still, there are eternal truths. The first example of supply-side economics?
Constantine visited the city of Autun, and generously remitted the arrears of tribute, reducing at the same time the proportion of their assessment from twenty-five to eighteen thousand heads, subject to the real and personal capitation.40 Yet even this indulgence affords the most unquestionable proof of the public misery. This tax was so extremely oppressive, either in itself or in the mode of collecting it, that whilst the revenue was increased by extortion, it was diminished by despair: a considerable part of the territory of Autun was left uncultivated; and great numbers of the provincials rather chose to live as exiles and outlaws, than to support the weight of civil society.
Roots of the IRS?
About that time the avarice of Galerius, or perhaps the exigencies of the state, had induced him to make a very strict and rigorous inquisition into the property of his subjects, for the purpose of a general taxation, both on their lands and on their persons. A very minute survey appears to have been taken of their real estates; and wherever there was the slightest suspicion of concealment, torture was very freely employed to obtain a sincere declaration of their personal wealth.
Interesting and good clean fun. I think my time would be better served with a more modern, chronological, structured history of the period. Between Gibbon's loose style, and my ignorance about the people and places mentioned, this reads like a science fiction novel Illyricum/Alderon? Some place.
But I spent 2.99 and have five volumes left! Three-point-five stars.
Boulder's Respect for Differing Opinions
Weld County MILF (umm, that's Mothers In Love with Fracking) Amy Oliver talks to Jon Caldera. I embed because I have referenced this clip a couple times. The whole thing is worth a watch, but be sure to see how the sweet peaceful hippies of Boulder behave (7:00 - 10:00) when encountering a discussion of science.
January 18, 2013
He's Dead Tonight
We had some chortles on these pages at the expense of the kooky denizens of Boulder, Colorado, who were holding candlelight vigils for "Big Boy" the elk who was slain at 9th & Mapleton.
I had chance to discuss the incident with a good friend of this blog. She (and that is the absolute last hint you can expect) suggested that it was rather un-ThreeSources-ish of us to assume that the good and brave representatives of Boulder Government were on the up and up -- and that the people were wrong.
That stings a bit, but I rubbed some dirt in it and had to confess that there were some disquieting elements of the story. Clearly, an officer discharging a weapon in the city limits should file a report. And clearly there was a lot of activity outside of official sanction.
It is hard to choose between what is correct, consistent, and honest -- and what can be construed as agreement with Boulderites. It's hard and our friend admitted such.
The perps are going down, and I have to admit that -- candlelight vigils notwithstanding -- the police operate under scrutiny to be entrusted with force, and they should be held accountable.
District Attorney Stan Garnett today announced that Boulder police officers Sam Carter and Brent Curnow were arrested this morning in connection with the Jan. 1 shooting of a towering bull elk on Mapleton Hall, saying investigators determined the two men conspired to kill the elk as a trophy and for its meat.
Article V State Amendments
I wanted to post video (thanks Ari Armstrong!) before discussing this. Find 35 minues sometime this weekend, it is pretty good:
UPDATE: Q & A: [Man, who is that long-winded bore asking the first quetsion?]
January 17, 2013
Uncle Milton Crushes the Hanging Curve
If the world is sufficiently dangerous that the police require semi-automatic rifles with large-capacity magazines, then do not the free citizens who are sovereign over the police and who also live in the same dangerous world deserve to similarly protect themselves from it? In fact, are not the citizens -- not the police -- always the first ones who are forced to face those dangers? -- Milton Wolf MD
January 16, 2013
Quote of the Day
[Instapundit] READER DENNIS MULCARE WRITES: "Perhaps, if you can encourage your readers to have their young children write Obama about their angst regarding the national debt, he will publish 23 ways to address federal spending." -- his Glennness
Stealthflation "Race to the Bottom" *
Politicians generally make noise or law, but rarely both at once. That's why I'm not too concerned about the gun-grabbing hysteria in the news these days. The noise achieves multiple goals: It makes the loudest politicians look like they care the most and are "doing" the most; It also distracts from real issues like debt, spending, Benghazi, and the "Global 'Currency War.'"
The massive Fed balance sheet expansion has resulted in the U.S. dollar declining about 11 percent against a basket of world currencies since QE began in 2009. In the meantime, stock prices have doubled since their March 2009 lows and the Morgan Stanley Commodity Related Index has gained about 80 percent.
And yet, fuel prices continue to fall as domestic production soars (and world demand shrinks.) Think how inexpensive energy would be if you could buy it with a sound dollar.
* You thought "race to the bottom" was my characterization, didn't you? Actually it was, even before reading the article in full.
January 15, 2013
Kafka would have liked the zoning folks. -- Roger Kimball: This Metamorphosis will require a permit
Quote of the Day
So let's get this straight. Mr. Powell holds it "disgraceful" to allege anti-Semitism of politicians who invidiously use the phrase "the Jewish lobby." But he has no qualms about accusing Mr. Sununu--along whose side he worked during the George H.W. Bush administration--of all-but whispering the infamous N-word when he called Mr. Obama's first debate performance "lazy." -- Bret Stephens
January 14, 2013
Don't Attack Humor
I'm a big fan of Dr. Helen (once known as "the InstaWife.")
She has exposed some serious issues in "the War on Men" and has skillfully shown that many unwanted social phenomena are perhaps unintended consequences of devaluing male contributions to society.
But -- I'm too lazy to search but I have commented before -- when she veers off and attacks humor in commercials, I fear it makes her substantive points easy to dismiss. A broad brush stroke against "the continual debasement of Fathers in media" would probably suffice. Pizza Hut's joking about Daddy buying pizza for his cooking night probably is an invidious stereotype. And there are certainly several equivalent jokes one could make about gender-reverse that would invite boycotts and marches. But I want to stop the scolds -- not join them.
She is on the case for one of my favorites today. The VW Passat spot where Dad teaches his son to throw "like a girl" (to put it kindly). I admit to wondering whether the commercial would be criticized by women's or LGBT groups for its deep hidden subtext. Nope, Dr. Helen is on it from the other side. At least "a concerned reader" is very concerned:
I wonder what your reaction was to the latest salvo in the War on Men and Boys. I refer to the Volkswagen Passat commercial which shows a heartwarming scene of a father bonding with his son by playing catch with him. The problem is that he is teaching his son to throw like a girl, except that girls who play softball don't throw that badly. It was painful to watch. I have no idea how this will sell cars, or to whom.
Umm, people with a sense of humor? The tag is "pass him down something he will be grateful for." I take it as Pops's not being a star athlete but he is a good provider of time, attention, and material comforts including a safe and robust vehicle.
If you have not followed her writings, she makes poignant comments about the lack of due process in academia and its effect on matriculation ratios, and the effect of alimony and custody biases as marginal costs on marriage for young men: smart and serious stuff. Critiquing culture in commercial humor undercuts the substance of the message.
UPDATE Fellow convertible driver @donsurber agrees:
Examine your Conscience?
I suggest the President examine the Constitution -- and perhaps peruse Federalist #10 on executive power while he is at it.
Quote of the Day
Health-insurance premiums have been rising--and consumers will experience another series of price shocks later this year when some see their premiums skyrocket thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.
Registration for Ammunition?
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Satan's Minions - CT) was on FOX News Sunday yesterday to display how he earned his 'F' rating from the NRA. He called for registration of ammunition. This put me in mind of an email my (biological) brother forwarded from a friend of his:
There was a bit of confusion yesterday when I went to the sporting goods store to pick up some items for a hunting trip I was planning. When I was ready to pay for my purchase of ammunition, the cashier said, "Strip down, facing me."
January 13, 2013
Train your child for an NFL career -- I'm thinking any athletic child could be trained to place kick with a lot of work. I further suggest that the roster and 11 count render that specialty expensive.
Watching several big returns in the playoffs, imagine how valuable a great kicker who is a good special teams cover would be. A big, athletic tight-end sized guy who could kick could write his own ticket. Let the 135 lb. guys play soccer.
I love Penn Jillette. He is funny, appreciative of liberty, and celebrates the rational.
I have mentioned that his evangelism gets on my nerves. He can be the Governor Huckabee for Atheism, but I try to respect others' beliefs. Like Hitchens, I buy all but his most devout writings. Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No! was on the edge, but I was due a Penn book so I picked it up.
The book is a collection of short essays and stories. It starts with "the title cut" including a very funny riff on the severity of Christmas Carols. I had family over for Christmas right after finishing this book, and there were quite a few choruses everyone was laughing at. So here is the thesis to the book:
The word "holiday" comes from "holy day" and holy means "exalted and worthy of complete devotion.” By that definition, all days are holy. Life is holy. Atheists have joy every day of the year, every holy day. We have the wonder and glory of life. We have joy in the world before the lord is come. We're not going for the promise of life after death; we're celebrating life before death.
That's the thesis, but it quickly devolves into autobiographical sketches, philosophical musings, and general libertine madness. One of the items Jonathan Haidt uses to test psychological reaction to unexpected depravity appears in this book as a humorous anecdote. I'll not share that particular tale here. But there is much good fun to be had:
My girlfriend could now convince me to put on jeans and a shirt, so we decided to have a Thanksgiving celebration at our house. We invited a creepy elderly sideshow sword swallower, a lighting designer, Teller, a guy who had just quit dealing angel dust in Fresno and was hanging out with us to help him stay clean, and a geologist. It's always important to have a geologist around so that if you end up in space, there's someone to die first. At least that's what happens on Star Trek.
He explores what art is and his belief in Magic as "using lies to tell the truth."
I couldn't have put myself in the same category. I aimed for poet and hit Vegas headliner. Billy West, the greatest voice guy in the world (he's Futurama, Ren & Stimpy and the best M&M-- red), once said there was just one showbiz and we were all in it. Teller says art is anything we do after the chores are done.
A wee bit of politics sneaks in:
The real corporate EPCOT follows the libertarian ideal of making money. Goddamn, they are good at that. Losing on Dancing with the Stars got me VIP treatment at all the Disney properties "forever," which turned out to be about a year. We took our children over to California and down to Florida and we were treated great. I did worry a little that my children would be spoiled by not waiting in lines, but then ObamaCare was passed and I know they'll get to wait in lines when they're sick and that'll build some real character.
If you're getting the idea of a grab bag, you've got it. But they are unified by the Jillette's humor, and incredible underlying honesty. They're great stories, they're funny stories -- from a true believer.
No Joy in Mudville
The mighty and righteous Broncos has ten chances to win yesterday and left each ticket on the floor. The thuggish Ravens had one chance and took it. The officials were bona fide suck-ass but nobody can credibly blame them for the loss.
So well done, birdies, hope the Pats smash you next week. If you want me, I'll be crying into my coffee.
This being ThreeSources, there is a public policy angle: I'm expecting a push for a subsidized domed stadium in Denver now that we have a brilliant but weather-challenged QB.
January 11, 2013
NO! NO! Lance is innocent!
I only have one peeve about this story and it has to do with the following question: Since when is it outrageous to suspect that a Clinton is being less than wholly forthcoming or honest? If doubting the veracity of a Clinton is outrageous, is it also outrageous to question why dogs attend to their nethers? Is it beyond the pale to ask why men slow down when walking by the Victoria's Secret display at the mall? Is it irresponsible to shout "Allahu Akbar! That's good coffee!" on a plane? Okay, maybe so on the last one, but you get my point. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]Honorable mention from same G-File:
You have to admit it would have been cool if Boehner had shouted that at Obama during the negotiations with Eric Cantor -- saying in that monotone voice of his: "Who run Bartertown? Master Boehner run Bartertown."
How About a Little Music, Scarecrow?
I know I am riding at the back of this train, but in case somebody on the internet is even less trendy than I am...
I tripped across a couple "The Civil Wars" YouTube videos six months ago and liked what I saw and heard. Amazon had their "Barton Hollow" Album on MP3 for $5 (Still today) and I picked it up right before Christmas and got distracted.
I dusted off the ones and zeros yesterday and am pretty enthralled. I am a sucker for "purity" in music, and their sparse, acoustic instrumentation jumps out against the hyper-production. At the same time, their dramatic harmonies and extreme vocal range belie the simplicity.
On their web page, one can view VH-1 Unplugged clips if you don't want to pony up half a sawbuck. It almost seems unfair to have them "unplugged" though. They should be forced to use distorted electric guitars, synthesizers and autotune. Only fair.
[Embed removed for not playing nice!]
Quote of the Day
Given the coin's purpose, it would be far wiser to fashion it out of the same junk now used to make pennies, or for that matter out of plastic, or out of cardboard made from recycled copies of the Congressional Record.
A New National Debate About Guns.
Finally. A national debate. Okay, </sarcasm>
I think my betters in punditry and journalism, and my Facebook friends are all missing the battlefield topology. Yes it will be Democrats who lead on gun control. Yes Republicans will oppose.
But legislative pluralities happen or fail at the margins, and that battle looks far different than ObamaCare® or The Fiscal Cliff™. Pointy-Headed East Coast Elite Kim Strassel is mostly on it (thanks to her Oregon roots, no doubt):
Montana's Jon Tester and Max Baucus, Alaska's Mark Begich, Arkansas's Mark Pryor, South Dakota's Tim Johnson, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu--all are quiet on that red-state Democratic front. North Dakota's brand new senator, Heidi Heitkamp, declared proposals mulled by the Biden task force as "way in the extreme" and "not gonna pass." Unlike Mr. Obama, all of these members still face elections.
Before you pop the champagne corks, these red-state defections are offset on some level by the wobbliest bunch of blue-state Republicans you've seen since "West Wing" was on Tuesday nights.
It's unbearable to watch my pal, Larry Kudlow. Love the man but he does not get it. He lives in a Park Avenue apartment with a doorman and the Second Amendment is most notably about duck hunting to him:
Now, look, I have said i am totally against the jack lew nomination for treasury secretary. but regarding these gun issues, jen, so far, i haven't heard anything that's so bad. in fact, from what i gather, they're going to reinstitute the ban on assault weapons that was law for ten years. what's wrong with that? (~3:23)
Talk show host Lars Larson is the first guest since Sandy Hook who pushes back at all, and I am not sure he is effective. Überpartisan Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo points out inefficacy but -- like every pointy-headed East Coast guest -- concedes the philosophical foundation:
i don't have any problem, larry like you, with either one of these provisions. i'm a second amendment supporter and i don't think these go to that level.
You hear the same concessions on the FOX News Sunday panel and probably on MSNBC: a Republican PHECE (Pointy-Headed-East-Coast-Elite) arguing vociferously with a Democrat PHECE about some fringe piece of legislation.
But nobody says what I read on blogs all day (cocoon much?): that we have an inalienable right to self-defense, that the good guys should have as many rounds in a magazine (umm, they're not really "clips"), and that more guns in the good guys' hands means less crime and less violence. That view is not to be found on cable news.
And a new ThreeSources Debate about Guns...
Make that 100,002. We've traded barbs about the NRA's support for Harry Reid and lack of philosophical footing. I'll confess that armed guards in schools is the gorramnest stupidest idea I ever heard. (If it's needed, let a local district do it, but the real solution is letting the shop teacher who served in the National Guard and has a carry permit not leave hers at home.)
I'm happy to renew and add to that statistic, but they are an imperfect vessel at best. Discuss?
January 10, 2013
Everything I believe.
Here it is:
I swear the guy has been cribbing off my notes!
Lance and Oprah
Two people with superfluous last names are set to meet, according to Jason Gay in the WSJ.
Blog friend Sugarchuck has a great riff. Whenever a politician is in the soup for a deep scandal, sc will say "wait eleven months, he'll cry on 'Oprah' and will be back in business." He is usually correct.
As the ESPN writer Don Van Natta Jr. posted on Twitter, "You don't go on Oprah to confess. You go on Oprah to be forgiven."
I think the count of Lance defenders now stands at about three. But it includes me and the lovely bride. To be fair, I am not certain of his innocence, but I remain a big fan of due process and proportionality in punishment.
If you care about pro cycling you get used to being swept aside in the cultural mainstream. You're accustomed to cycling being a low priority. When you watch pro cycling on TV, it's always on the funny channels at the end of the dial, next to stations that sell abdominal flexors and pantyhose that also make waffles. You get used to the fact that bike racing in the U.S. is mostly an unglamorous place.
I remain an ex-cycling fan and have distilled a reason I can explain.
Concerns of performance enhancements have caused MLB to induct zero baseball greats into the Hall of Fame this year. Kudlow points out that this will devastate Cooperstown businesses. But a statement is being made, and the astonishing careers of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and an impressive list of potential inductees will likely not get so honored. And I am cool with that.
I am fine with fines.
Even making them answer questions from Rep. Henry Waxman (Vampire - CA) seems almost humane.
But they did not ask players to return their rings. They did not rewrite the books. Even in the Black Sox Scandal and the replacement refs' Green Bay game, the scores went down in the books. This idea of stripping titles is an insult to the fans and deleterious to the already small seriousness the sport enjoys. You stand on the podium, you wear the Maillot jaune, you won the Tour. You don't get a FedEx package of yellow jerseys and a certificate that says you won in 1997. That's crazy.
UPDATE: All Hail Taranto!
The Greatest Day of All Time!
Chuck Berry was right about many things, including "you never can tell."
You wake up in the morning, thinking it's just another day to serve corporate interests and enjoy some coffee. Then boom! If you're me, you see it on Facebook -- Facebook!
Heading the list of the unhappiest U.S. cities to work in is Boulder, Colo., with an index score of 3.45. Boulder workers expressed the most pessimism in the Growth Opportunities and Compensation categories, which scored 2.81 and 3.29, respectively.
Boulder, Colorado -- the unhappiest city in the US to work in! I am so happy I might cry.
January 9, 2013
On consensus in science
A Facebook friend (not one of the Facebook friends) links to a nice piece on scientific consensus. He says all the things I try to say, but the author, Jonathan DuHammel does not quote Karl Popper or use the word "epistemology." Probably the better for both points!
[Dr. Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology] goes on the write: "With genuinely well-established scientific theories, 'consensus' is not discussed and the concept of consensus is arguably irrelevant... While a consensus may arise surrounding a specific scientific hypothesis or theory, the existence of a consensus is not itself the evidence." And she notes: "If the objective of scientific research is to obtain truth and avoid error, how might a consensus seeking process introduce bias into the science and increase the chances for error? 'Confirmation bias' is a well-known psychological principle that connotes the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or an existing hypothesis. Confirmation bias usually refers to unwitting selectivity in the acquisition and interpretation of evidence."
Warm up for next Monday's Liberty on the Rocks:
Natelson's book in Review Corner
When I was reporting on Wall Street, I used to be told with some regularity that government was needed to counteract the short-term thinking of the business sector, who never thought much beyond the next quarterly earnings report. This now seems as quaintly adorable as picture hats and daily milk deliveries. An ADHD day trader with a cocaine habit and six months to live has considerably more long-term planning skills than our current congress. -- Megan McArdle
Quote of the Day
I too have come to respect Obama's tenacity, even as I deplore his illiberality, but I think [Marc] Thiessen's recommendation makes a deadly miscalculation: He forgets that Obama's single-minded pursuits are fully backed and protected by the mainstream press.
January 8, 2013
The Worst Senator Ever?
Not counting the president, that would be impolite.
Bret Stephens demolishes Senator Chuck Hagel (Jew-Hatin' Homophobe NE) on the WSJ Ed Page. You have to read every word (holler for an email version), but here is the summation:
In each case, Mr. Hagel was articulating a view that was exactly in keeping with received Beltway wisdom. In each case, he was subsequently disproved by events. In no case was Mr. Hagel ever held to any kind of account for being wrong. In no case did he hold himself to account for being wrong.
The rest of the column chronicles decades of saying whatever is popular at the time and changing positions when they fall out of disfavor. It makes one appreciate a Rep. Xavier Becerra (D CA) or Senator Bernie Sanders (I VT). My respect for their consistency precludes my providing a silly party - state identifier.
January 7, 2013
Quote of the Day
Take, for instance, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, who flatly titles a post on the subject "No, a $1 Trillion Platinum Coin Is Not Legal." Drum, doubting there is enough of the requisite straitjacket brand of strict constructionism in the U.S. court system to uphold such a tortured reading of the statute, dismisses the ploy as "the kind of thing that Herman Cain would come up with" (the dread reductio ad Hermanum, a conversation-stopper in progressive circles). -- Daniel Foster NRO
How Do You Deal With?
What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: "At one point several weeks ago," Mr. Boehner says, "the president said to me, 'We don't have a spending problem.'"This is from a Stephen Moore interview with Speaker Boehner. Also well excerpted outside the paywall by Matt Welch. The President thinks we have a health care problem and that once that is fixed (by the addition of large quantities of government, natch) all of our other priorities will be seen to be very affordable.
I don't know where I got the job "President of the Speaker Boehner Fan Club" (my card just arrived in the mail). But how do you negotiate with a man who a) believes that; b) is not a compromise politician; c) has a Senate majority; and, d)can expect sympathetic press? "I need this job like a hole in my head" is the other takeaway quote.
One can find fault with the Speaker but I think it requires context. All in all, another grim reminder of IowaHawk's wisdom:
Happy New Year
When all else fails, go with storage. Here's a 5MB disk drive being loaded onto a plane, circa 1956.
January 6, 2013
When I went to purchase Justice Scalia's "Reading Law" [Review Corner] I accidentally purchased another book by the same authors: Scalia and Garner's Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. It might have been wishful thinking, as "Making Your Case" was $15 and "Reading Law" was $40. In the end, Nino got $55. Damned one percenters.
Making Your Case is targeted at lawyers -- and I do not even play one on TV. But I do like to argue (Do Not! Yes I do!) and I would like to communicate my positions more clearly. And a bit of time in a mind so expansive as Justice Scalia's is not time wasted.
You need to give the court a reason you should win that the judge could explain in a sentence or two to a nonlawyer friend.
I love internecine debate, and the authors split over a few items. Bryan Garner (O tempora, O mores!) suggests that you can even use contractions in you brief:
In some sentences, are not contractions all but obligatory? Do you not think?
Formality bespeaks dignity. I guarantee that if you use contractions in your written submissions, some judges--including many who are not offended by the use of contractions in the New Yorker, Time, Vogue, the Rolling Stone, Field and Stream, and other publications not addressed to black-robed judges engaged in the exercise of their august governmental powers--will take it as an affront to the dignity of the court.
An interesting look at a career I never considered. From what I gather between the virtual covers of this book, that was pretty wise on my part. Yet, I admit it has fascinated me later in life. This book gives a good glimpse and much advice that is valuable outside of law. Five accidental stars.
January 5, 2013
Fair & Balanced
AP: BOSTON (AP) -- The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.GODDAM IT!!! How can they print LIES like that!!! Republicans ARE NOT %^*@^&ING ANGRY!!! WE ARE JUST TRYING TO PRESERVE LIBERTY! WHEN WILL THOSE THICK-HEADED NUMBSKULLS GET IT!!
On a more serious note, one waits patiently for the Yahoo/AP Headline: Democrats as Monodimensional and pandering as ever.
January 4, 2013
Liberty on the Rocks
Now that you know where it is Ellis...
Join us on Monday, January 14th, where your special guest speaker will be Mr. Rob Natelson from the Independence Institute, who will be discussing Article V of the Constitution, the article that allows a convention to amend the Constitution. After Mr. Natelson's presentation there will be short Q&A, 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, bring your friends!Brother jg mentioned this in a comment and I went looking for video of Natelson on Jon Caldera's TV Show. Guess it'll have to wait until the 14th.
January 3, 2013
Mom & Dad
Insty links to some very cool pictures of a 1940s dance in Oklahoma.
My Dad met my Mom in Oklahoma in the 1940s. I grew up on stories about "rolling up the rugs." After the USO closed, a large crowd would show up at Grandmother & Grandfather's house, where they would roll up the rugs and dance for several hours.
Though these Farm Security Administration photos look a million years old, and the UK Daily Mail presents them as what people from outer space might look like, I suspect these scenes would have been pretty commonplace to my folks.
Yes, I am still a spring chicken, but I was the youngest child of late bloomers (Dad at least). The generations quickly disappear into ancient history in my family.
Nobody owned up to being a "Return of the Secaucus Seven" fan, but this one is out of the script:
Mystery solved: Boulder police admit officer shot elk, but failed to tell anyone
Ell Oh Ell
Very much NSFW, very much funny:
HT: Brother Keith on Facebook
Quote of the Day
I really don't like the idea of an extremist propaganda outlet that seeks the destruction of America airing on U.S. cable. Fortunately, sounds like Al Jazeera's about to get rid of it. -- AllahpunditHat-tip: Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt
January 2, 2013
I tease about Facebook, but there are some jewels:
Politics lovers viewed the fiscal cliff negotiations in strategic and tactical terms.
Some time around 9PM Mountain on New Year's Eve, I confess I lost interest. I knew they would do what they would, that I wouldn't likely like it, and that it would not really solve anything. I didn't dream that we would get a full $0.02439024390243902439024390243902 in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, but there you have it.
And yet, I close the day in good cheer. The S&P 500 is up 36.23 (The Nazz almost a hundred!). American business will put up with all kinds of bad $%&*. When given the opportunity, there are more Dagny Taggarts than John Galts.
And, hey, there are now going to be more Famous Dave's!
"I've had four calls today from existing franchisees wanting to expand," said Dan DiZio, chief executive of Philly Pretzel Factory, a chain of 125 pretzel shops. "Uncertainty is a killer in any business and the pretzel business is not exempt."
I see very little likelihood that a cataclysm would have -- in this political environment -- lead to better policy and more liberty. I toast the 112th for putting just enough oil in the engine to make it to Jan 20.
Pretzels and Brisket for everyone!
I supported John Boehner's Plan B. I did so because it had so many income tax fixes and made them permanently.* I didn't follow the holiday-lawmaking closely but what I did hear and read was depressing. The "millionaire's tax rate hike" was lowered from $1M to $400,000 ($450,000 for couples [marriage penalty anyone?]) and the ratio of tax revenue increases to spending cuts was forty-three to one. But dagny emails an article that looks at the full portion of the glass.
Yesterday, the government voted to extend almost all of the Bush Tax Cuts permanently.
This is not to say our market economy is in the clear but as far as the legislative action taken yesterday, it could have been much worse.
* "Permanently" only means without an expiration date, but it is still important because significant political capital must be expended before it changes again.
But it does focus the mind...
Still, death is not everything. Even if "being overweight doesn't increase your risk of dying," Dr. Klein said, it "does increase your risk of having diabetes" or other conditions.That's the NYTimes walking back a study which suggests a lower mortality rate for overweight people.
"But don’t scrap those New Year’s weight-loss resolutions and start gorging on fried Belgian waffles or triple cheeseburgers." says Pam Belluck.
Okay, I'll pass on the waffle, but the cheeseburger sounds pretty good. What I'd rilly rilly like to pass on is the nanny state laws from Mayor Bloomberg and the First Lady, and the new school lunch guidelines that are starving some students.
Maybe -- if it's not killing us -- y'all could let us decide for ourselves? Like a free citizenry?
Hat-tip: Insty who adds "But remember, most of the anti-obesity crusading isn't really about health, it's about not wanting to look at fat people. So this won't change much."
Quote of the Day
Fume at Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all you want, but here's the problem: The chance to gain leverage in these negotiations was on Election Day, and the GOP came up with bubkes that day. Sequestration and the expiration of all of the Bush tax cuts presented an awful status quo to begin with, and there was really no better alternative that would get A) passed in a Senate controlled by Harry Reid and B) signed by President Obama. They don't want what we want, and we don't want what they want. And time was on their side in several ways, not least of which was that as of noon Thursday, a new Congress, with even more Democrats, is sworn into office. -- Jim Geraghty
January 1, 2013
California Gun Safe
Because guns are DANGEROUS!