March 31, 2013

Review Corner

It's enjoyable to read the "it" book and be hip and up to date. Especially when one's fashion hails from the Clinton Years and musical tastes from Hoover's. But I found my inner Nassim Taleb and dusted off a moldy old book that was discarded from the Austin Peay State College Library in Clarkesville Tennessee. This contrarian is convinced that he may be one of the foremost experts on Vice President Charles G. Dawes.

There is, near as I can tell, one book on the General: "Portrait of an American" by Bascom N. Timmons, ©1953 Henry Holt & Company. And I've read it. I'm sure a little internet searching would disabuse me of my expert status quickly, but it is my dream, let me live it.(I will follow up with some of his writings.)

I was drawn to Dawes because he is a published composer; the haunting melody to the 50's hit "It's All in the Game" is his "Melody in A Major" from 1912 and I have a vintage piece of sheet music with his name. His Wikipedia page fed my interest:

After the war, the U.S. Senate held hearings on overcharges by military suppliers. During heated testimony, Dawes burst out, "Hell and Maria, we weren't trying to keep a set of books over there, we were trying to win a war!" He was later known as "Hell and Maria Dawes" (although he always insisted the expression was "Helen Maria").

This was a style Dawes used with great efficacy (and one I'd confess I'd like to cultivate): a generally reserved decorum punctuated by short and sharp blasts of well-directed anger:
And the Earl of Crawford, Chancellor of the University of Manchester, conferred the LLD degree on Dawes with the words:

"Strangely in his chariot is the tornado harnessed alongside the dove. And I trust I overstep no limits set by diplomatic reticence if I add that, under the tempestuous exterior and unconventional address, brimming over with picturesque expletives, none of which, however, he claims to have invented himself, he conceals the kindest of hearts and the most loving of dispositions.

(I'm cultivating the kindest of hearts and most loving of dispositions parts...)

After completing Amity Shleas's 5 star biography of President Coolidge, I wanted to learn a little more about his VP and scored the book used from Amazon for $7.98. As it happens, he did not participate much in the Coolidge Administration. Coolidge invited him, offering the courtesy Harding had extended him. But Dawes felt it was a bad precedent and Constitutionally dubious as the VP was more a Legislative Branch position. I recall our current VP laughing that off in a debate with Governor Palin.

He might not have been a big cog in the Coolidge Administration, but he is an amazing man with an amazing career and lifetime achievements. He personally met 15 Presidents; assembled and ran the Allied procurements for WWI attaining the rank of General; was ambassador to Britain after the war; built the largest bank outside of New York; made Sen. Robert Lafollette’s list of 100 robber barons; instituted huge philanthropy efforts -- oh, and was Vice President. And published a song.

The entire Dawes family shows up in American History like Forrest Gump. William Dawes rode with Paul Revere -- we know of one and not the other because Mr. Longfellow found one name more mellifluous. General Rufus Dawes was a Civil War hero and had tickets to see "Our American Cousin" at the Ford Theatre with President Lincoln. Dawes's mom was ill or else they would have been there.

Dawes goes west as a young man and meets William Jennings Bryan in Lincoln, Nebraska before Lincoln is served by rail. The two become fast and lifetime friends at a debating club. By 1896, Dawes has moved to Chicago and is heading the Illinois campaign to elect William McKinley. He tells everybody that Bryan will be the Democratic nominee "if he makes it to the podium at the convention." A paper in Lincoln is among the unbelieving:

"Just three people believe the boy orator of the Platte, who speaks in platte-te-tudes, has a chance for the Democratic nomination. They are: Bryan himself; his wife; and Dawes, a Republican."

The nominating speeches go late and it is not certain whether Bryan will speak. He takes the stage late and gives the "Cross of Gold" speech. Dawes telegraphs campaign HQ that Bryan will be the nominee and leaves the hall. All the large states withhold votes on the first five ballots. Then Bryan is nominated and quickly gets the nod.

He's there when JP Morgan rescues the banks in the Panic of 1907. New York says they'll keep the Knickerbocker Trust afloat if Dawes will run it. They telegraph that he can write his own ticket. Dawes demurs. The Man of the West will stay West.

Even in law school, he is in contact with future Presidents:

"I received the engrossed bill for the erection of the new building, and signed it as President of the Senate. Less than fifteen minutes later, Chief Justice Taft telephoned, asking whether I had signed the bill. He was anxious to have President Coolidge approve it today. This I arranged within an hour, to his considerable satisfaction. I have always felt grateful to Taft for, in 1886, he marked the papers of our graduating class in Cincinnati Law School, and passed nearly the whole class, including myself. He does not know it, but that was one reason why he got such quick service today. The friendship with the Chief Justice, which I have enjoyed during these last four years, has been one of the pleasant things of my service here. He is beloved by all."

Politically, Dawes joined Theodore Roosevelt's reform camp early, but like Taft and Coolidge, saw its flaws and veered away to a more lasseiz faire approach. TR begins coming after his friends:

Back in Chicago, Dawes told Armour and P. A. Valentine about the White House conversation.
"Armour is very much alarmed and worried over the matter," Dawes wrote. "He said to me in the most dejected tones:
"'Dawes, I am living and recently have been living the darkest hours of my life. I believe the intention is to indict the packers. Everyone eats meat and a suit against the packers would be politically popular. Roosevelt wants popularity. I am an accident in this business which I inherited from my father who was a great leader. I am not a criminal and if I am indicted as a lawbreaker it will be a great grief to me and my family.

"'I have endeavored strictly to obey the injunction. I have wanted to obey the laws always. All my life I have tried to be a good citizen. I have in this world only my mother, my wife, and my daughter. If I left my business to my little girl it would be a curse to her. I have felt almost as if I would like to quit the worry and stress of business life and sell out. Yet I have a sense of duty to the men who have grown up with the business and who would lose their places that has led me to abandon the plan. I have long since lost the desire for money and I feel I have few friends.'

The Bureau of the Budget was formed under President Harding at Dawes's request to cut spending:
"On the first onslaught, the Navy dropped out on a hundred¬million-dollar reduction I had put down for them. Admiral Coontz (Chief of Naval Operations) is a tough old buck. I had to accept his statement as far as the present is concerned.

"Agriculture followed by reneging on $25,000,000. Beads of perspiration formed on my forehead and, I regret to say, profane ejaculations characterized my vocabulary. Secretary Mellon, who joined me at the office, joined also in the perspiration, although naturally a cool man. By evening, I had raked up a dependable $305,000,000, notwithstanding the $125,000,000 that dropped out."

In spite of such signal achievements, Dawes never forgot the limits within which his bureau was to function.

The bureau brought spending down under Harding and Coolidge but was disbanded by FDR (surprise).

A great book about a most interesting American. Five stars. As I have a real live hardcopy, it is available to any ThreeSourcer who would like to read it -- I'll even pay shipping.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

The problem for the climateers is increasingly dire. As The Economist shows in its first chart (Figure 1 here), the recent temperature record is now falling distinctly to the very low end of its predicted range and may soon fall out of it, which means the models are wrong, or, at the very least, that there's something going on that supposedly "settled" science hasn't been able to settle. -- Steven Hayward

March 28, 2013

Ain't I a little stinker?

Change your profile picture to celebrate the RECORD S&P 500 closing high!!!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

"..America, America, God shed clear sight on thee. And crown thy past, with, at long last, a future that is free." -- Facebook friend and former Colorado state senator Shawn Mitchell (Tuesday "via mobile")

Headline of the Day

French Toast
By Matthew Kaminski
French Socialist President Francois Hollande takes to the national airwaves on Thursday night to defend his economic plan, as his approval rating sinks to a record low.
But johngalt thinks:

Is he planning to sit by a fire, in a cardigan?

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2013 3:18 PM

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Add to the list of things I do not understand: film distribution.

Joss Whedon screened Much Ado About Nothing" at SXSW this year but the first I have heard about actual release is today: a UK DVD Release on October 7 and in UK Cinemas June 14.

I cannot wait; the lovely bride and I watch the trailer every day:

Awesome, or what?

Art Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Terri thinks:

WOW! I love it already.

Posted by: Terri at March 29, 2013 9:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Doesn't it look great? We watched an Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington dramatization from the mid 90s. And we really do watch the trailer a couple of times every day.


Posted by: jk at March 29, 2013 12:58 PM

March 27, 2013

SCOTUS and Same Sex Marriage

Again, I think I will leave my Facebook friends to argue the important points of whether a red equals sign in a heart shows more compassion than a beveled-embossed red equals sign as a profile pic.

I will offer my scenario which I think to be correct and constitutional. And perhaps, likely.

1) I can DIG it!
In Hollingsworth (the Prop 8 case), I find myself rooting for a punt. The WSJ advocated a very narrow position or a (seemingly correct) finding that the litigants lack standing as the State of California declined to defend it. Damon Root at Reason suggests a more dramatic punt (kind of a quick kick by the QB on third down...)

Alternately, the Supreme Court might follow the lead of Justice Anthony Kennedy. During Tuesday's oral arguments, Kennedy repeatedly suggested the Supreme Court should never have accepted the Prop. 8 case in the first place. "I just wonder," Kennedy said at one point, "if the case was properly granted." Later he raised the issue yet again, telling the lawyer who was arguing in defense of Prop. 8, "you might address why you think we should take and decide this case."

If Kennedy can convince four other justices that the Court was in fact wrong to take the case, the Supreme Court might engage in a maneuver that lawyers refer to as a "DIG." That is, the Court would dismiss the Prop. 8 case as "improvidently granted." This unusual approach would leave the 9th Circuit's ruling against Prop. 8 in effect, thereby leaving gay marriage legal in California while the Court remained silent on the issue for the other 49 states.

2) Oh Canada -- find for Windsor!
jk gone soft on liberty? No way. In Windsor v United States, I hope for a decisive finding against DOMA. And never, ever, miss a chance to tell the red-equals-in-a-heart brigade that President Clinton signed that and his wife was fully behind it through my first couple of cups of coffee today.

By staying narrow on Prop 8 and going large on DOMA, the court could consistently underscore Federalism and allow the "national conversation" to continue through electoral methods. This should ruin Republicans chances of winning an election to dog catcher for many years, but it is still the right thing to do.

I'm very interested to hear from other ThreeSourcers: Red equals sign in-a-heart -- or on its own?

But johngalt thinks:

Rainbow equals sign inside a red heart sitting on a green dollar sign - beveling optional to suit. Equality in love (and everything else) resting on a capitalist foundation. The heart is required to maintain separation between the equals and dollar signs, for obvious reason... analogous to the way Oklahoma's panhandle protects Texas from touching Colorado. (As a nearly life-long Coloradoan I used to say, protect Colorado from Texas. But that was before "The Blueprint." Copyright 2010, Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer, Speaker's Corner Books.)

My motivation is primarily to get social issues out of the political arena so that they don't keep drawing our government closer to the one-world variety. As such I'd prefer to see the gay marriage activists get their way and let future SCOTUS cases address whether government may force individuals to live and act in accordance with the beliefs of others that are anathema to their own. Not holding my breath though. I don't think the court is this brave, or visionary.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2013 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry, your design uses thought and reason -- I am pretty certain that is not allowed.

I would love a Gov. Mitch Daniels truce on social issues -- 48 years suits me just fine. But as you concede, that ain't gonna happen. I think you can clarify what principles underlie your positions, and show that they match your economic principles.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2013 6:49 PM

March 26, 2013

A right - to discriminate?

I need a little help here. Someone tell me where I'm going wrong. (I know, I know, "When you opened your mouth.")

As SCOTUS hears oral argument on a gay marriage case, Erick Erickson posts a piece declaring ‘Gay Marriage’ and Religious Freedom Are Not Compatible. Me being me, I want to prove him wrong.

Here are my premises:

1) Every individual is [morally]* entitled to birthright liberty and ownership of his life, including all of his preferences and actions that do not involve initiation of force against others.

2) In every question, refer back to premise number 1.

Erickson's ultimate conclusion is that, "Libertarians will have to decide which they value more - the ability of a single digit percentage of Americans to get married or the first amendment. The two are not compatible." Why?

Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.

Here he diverges into the other half of a package deal: That everyone be forced to accept a belief that contradicts his own. This is a key tenet of collectivism rather than liberalism. My counsel would be to ignore the latter and instead wage legal and ideological war on the former.

I made a brief attempt to argue this point with Mike Rosen today. There wasn't enough time for him to say more than, "There is no individual right to gay marriage, any more than there is a right to marriage to animals or to more than one other person." And in rebuttal to my suggestion that in accordance with Loving v. Virginia a STATE may not discriminate against individuals (due to race or, by extension, gender) but an individual SHOULD be able to discriminate against ANY individual for ANY reason, he simply said, "That's a weak argument."

Is it?

UPDATE: * Added the word "morally" to distinguish vis-a-vis "legally." The law still has some distance to travel.

But jk thinks:

I appreciate interesting dialog. It is a hard day to be jk on Facebook. Y'all know I am predisposed to gay marriage, but the combination of sanctimony and shallow thinking are too much to bear. Change your profile picture to George Takei's red equals sign -- and don't worry your pretty little enlightened head about Federalism, or the basic legal premise of "standing."

But you did not request a rant, you wanted an opinion...

I don't know if Rosen would prefer it, but I would have to lead me with a little "Render under Caesar."

As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world — never mind Islam -- will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God's intent.

With all due respect, we encroach on the poor Supreme Being’s intent all the damn time; not sure He has "standing..." Seriously, the cats and chicks in the robes are discussing marriage as a legal matter, and although he gets huge points for quoting Chesterton, I think Erikson's argument falls on its face when one bifurcates the religious and the secular versions of marriage.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2013 6:37 PM



Makin' Whoopie

"Give a guitar player a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Give him video editing software, and he'll probably try a crude form of multi-tracking..."

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

But johngalt thinks:

Sweet! Loved it! Even though you're clearly trying to disprove my assertion that, per the Identity Theorem, a thing can not be in more than one place at the same time.

Seriously though, this is excellent. Well done. Encore!

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2013 3:30 PM

March 25, 2013

I Love the Internet!

I have told this story many times, perhaps once or twice around these parts.

I went to CU for Engineering Days between my Junior and Senior year in high school to get recruitimented for possible matriculation. It was a lot of fun. We stole the lightning rods off the planetarium, visited Ball Aerospace, and saw some very cool exhibits.

And I attended a lecture by a Math Professor. The lecture sent me home in full-tilt, know-it-all-college-hippie furor about the scourge of over population. This brilliant neo-Malthusian captured my imagination and it took me decades to overcome his arguments. It's not fair to call it indoctrination; the man had his beliefs. I felt that I was one of the few cognoscenti to understand this great secret. Kirkpatrick Sale's "Human Scale" would be released in a couple of years. The Simon Erlich wager was down the road. President Ford was in the White House. It was easy to believe the worst.

On Facebook today, I see that the lecture is available on You Tube: The Most Important Video You'll Ever See. In eight parts.

The speaker is Professor Albert Bartlett and the math in the video is solid. I have used much of it since. I do not present is an object of ridicule.

And yet, this video was recorded sometime after 2000. After Erlich had lost the wager, Bartlett gives about the same talk. I'm guessing most of our CU Engineering alumnae might have seen it in between.

While his math is solid, the failure to appreciate the boundlessness of human is reason is not. Peak Oil? Meet fracking. Over population? Meet affluence and abundance. Out of space? Let's populate the universe!

I object to the Malthusian subtext, but they are well worth a watch. Well done, You Tube!

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:48 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure it was recorded after 2000. His Vail lift ticket example only went to 1993.

He's a physics professor. I was in his introductory physics class in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty one. (Whew!)

One of many memories was his explanation that colleague Linus Pauling was incorrect about something or other because he had assumed that growth (of whatever it was, maybe population) would continue at its present rate indefinitely. He was the first to teach me that things that can't go on forever, don't. Did you watch part 2? He gives a list of things that can slow down growth (without advocating for any of them.) My favorite is "pollution." There you have it: Carbon caps cause overpopulation!!! :)

P.S. I saw him in a Boulder Qdoba restaurant about a year ago, still kickin! I didn't see what I thought would have been a good opportunity to say hello. Regrettable.

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2013 5:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Nine minutes into part two he provides the 2000 census figures in his Boulder growth chart.

I certainly do not want to attack him personally. He's a dynamic teacher and the math parts of this stuck with me for the rest of my life. The rule of 70 is handy to assess vintage guitar appreciation. And he is right at 3:07 of part three "so you see, arithmetic doesn't hold in Boulder."

But I see my work here is not done. Part four, 0:55: "Now there's a wildly held belief that if you throw enough money at holes in the ground, oil is sure to come out." This, in tandem with the two-minutes-until-twelve riff, is strait out of Malthus: that we are limited by finite resources. Malthus, Erlich, and Dr. Bartlett do not accept the unlimited power of reason and human intellect. Next time, say hi and pass on a copy of David Deutsch's "Beginning of Infinity."

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2013 10:01 AM

F = Kx

Brother jg suggests a political pendulum below. And I was dismissive. In fairness, I must share a column from Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner. What the TEA Party Congress accomplished:

But if you look at the hard numbers -- if you look at the tax-and-spending trajectory that the United States was on before the 112th Congress was sworn into office, and then look at the path the U.S. is on now -- you'd see that Republicans in Congress have made tremendous progress in shrinking the size and scope of the federal government.

Plus they annoyed Ezra Klein! All is not lost.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 24, 2013

The GOP's "Democrat Majority" Act

Otherwise known as Senator Rand Paul's incredibly disappointing 'Life at Conception Act.'

I suggested in a comment on the previous post that Democrats are the most popular at election time, when the possibility that a Republican might be elected exists. The two chief reasons for this are, in my opinion, gay marriage and abortion rights. Here is Ari Armstrong discussing Rand Paul's extremely disappointing position on the latter:

Do Republicans really believe this is a winning political strategy in 21st-century America? If so, we're more likely to see Democrats take back the House in 2014.

But the criticism is not just political, it is also rooted in moral philosophy.

The government properly recognizes each pregnant woman's right to choose whether to seek an abortion or carry her embryo or fetus to term. If the government instead pretended that an embryo is a "person" with full legal rights from the moment of conception, the government would face an immediate and stark contradiction: It would have to outlaw all abortion along with common forms of birth control and fertility treatments, which would clearly violate women's rights to their bodies, their pursuits of happiness, their liberties, their lives. Paul's position is not only logically absurd; it is also patently immoral.

The linked article is short, and worth a read.

Has the pendulum finally stopped?

My high school history professor used to tell us that American politics is like a pendulum, which swings back and forth between Democrat and Republican control, and therefore, policies. Something completely unexpected happened last week that made me wonder if that pendulum, long on a leftward swing, had finally reached it's apogee: Senate Democrats passed a repeal of the Obamacare medical device tax.

The Democrat-controlled Senate voted last week to repeal the medical device tax in ObamaCare. They voted decisively to repeal it, with 79 senators including 33 Democrats on board. The House has already voted to repeal it with 270 members on board. That's a veto-proof majority in the Senate and very close to one in the House.

I cynically observed to friends last week that perhaps Obamacare was stuffed with many such bad ideas for the main purpose of giving lawmakers something to do to please campaign contributing lobbyists. As plausible as this sounds though it is probably too Machiavellian. The more likely explanation is that the bill's authors, whomever they may be, overreached, and the public backlash is more than even its champions can face up to.

But what we've seen here is that, when the truth comes to light and there's nowhere to hide, even Senate Democrats will vote to do the right thing - if only because they have no choice. Keep the pressure on. They've gone on record in favor of repealing this horrible tax.
Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [12]
But AndyN thinks:

I won't dispute that voters prefer Democratic Party views on abortion and gay marriage when confronted with the opportunity to vote for a Republican. Then again, I wasn't the one who proposed that American politics may be swinging back in the Republican Party's favor.

Perhaps what you had originally meant was that economic policy views are beginning to swing back in the Republican direction and had never intended it as a comment on political views as a whole. The problem with that is, when it comes to politics, almost everything has an economic component. At the risk of sounding trite, gays can get married now if they like, all they have to do is find a compliant clergy member. What they can't do is get their relationship recognized for purposes of receiving benefits that the government grants to straight couples. The sensible thing to do would be to say that the government really has no business giving preferential treatment to married citizens regardless of sexual orientation, but we know that's never going to happen. From a starve the beast/let it burn/precipitate a financial collapse and bring on the next revolution perspective, I'd be okay with granting the benefits of marriage to anybody who wants them so the government runs out of money faster and completely breaks the system so we can start over.

As for abortion policy, both sides have their extremists. The GOP extreme demands that abortion be denied even at the risk of the life of the mother, which obviously loses them votes despite the fact that it's not a position that holds much sway. The Democratic extreme - and by extreme I mean the position pushed by the sitting president - is that a woman should be able to have an abortion at any point up to and including delivering a live baby and leaving it unattended to die of neglect. I doubt that many politicians in either party would want to govern according to the views of their most extreme members, it's just unfortunate that only the GOP seems to be judged by its fringe.

Posted by: AndyN at March 24, 2013 3:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Both sides have their extremists" is a fact, but one that is often used to hide the fact that one side is right and the other is wrong. Before examining the two extremes I want to dispute your claim that the president's extreme position includes infanticide. He did support a do-not-resuccitate bill in Illinois, but as I recall that related to babies that had been aborted, not "delivered live."

So which, then, is right:

- No woman ever aborts a pregancy or uses post-conception birth control ever, for any reason.


- Any woman who wants to can abort HER OWN pregnancy at any time prior to birth for any reason that SHE chooses.

The first extreme clearly violates the personal liberty of every woman to control her own body. The second extreme denies an unborn person a chance to be born, and therefore attain the same rights as any other individual, including his mother. I do not see these two public policy descriptions as equal in any way. One is morally right and the other is morally wrong. What say you?

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2013 6:40 PM
But AndyN thinks:

He didn't just support a do-not-resuscitate bill, he repeatedly helped sink a born alive infant protection bill. At at least one hospital in Illinois while he served in the state legislature, the procedure for late term abortions was simply to induce preterm labor under the assumption that it would result in a still birth or the newborn would die immediately. Those who lived were left uncared for to die.

Given that, the question you really should have asked is, which is right:

- No woman ever aborts a pregancy or uses post-conception birth control ever, for any reason.


- Any woman who wants to can not only abort HER OWN pregnancy at any time prior to birth for any reason that SHE chooses, but may also deliver pre-term and leave the newborn to die.

Yes, the first is immoral, as it violates personal liberty and puts peoples lives and health at risk. But I'm not God so I don't see all sins as equal. If my two choices are to vote for a candidate who has party members down-ticket who think no woman should ever have an abortion under any circumstances, or vote for a candidate who's party is led by a man who thinks it's okay to wrap a newborn in a blanket and leave it in a closet to die alone, it's not a tough call to make.

Posted by: AndyN at March 24, 2013 9:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It does seem that you have brought infanticide into the debate. Once a HEALTHY baby leaves the mother's body a clear and definite line has been crossed. If the position of the Democrats, or even just their leader, were that infanticide should be legal while the Republican position drew the line on baby killing at the point of birth, this issue would be a nuclear albatross for the D's and not, as it is now, for the R's. Alas.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2013 11:25 AM
But dagny thinks:

Jg and I usually agree on everything but here I have a question. Pre-term (for whatever reason) infants are rarely born, "healthy." Are you proposing infanticide for those with apgar scores less than 6? Sorry I think you have a policy problem here.

Posted by: dagny at March 26, 2013 11:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dammit Jim, I'm a philosopher not an abortion doctor! ;) No, if an abortionist delivers an intact live baby then he should change the title on his business card. If they're going to induce a live birth anyway then stop calling it "abortion."

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2013 9:23 AM

A Man for whom 'Heh' is a Blog Post

When "Heh" is a blog post, 48 pages is a book. I'm not complaining. I am actually intrigued that these shorter works are enabled by eBook platforms.

This is the second of Professor Glenn Reynolds's "Broadsides" that I have read. Each seems long enough to discuss a topic. Yet there is not the urge to stretch an idea into book length. Much as I enjoyed Jeb Bush & Clint Bolick's Immigration Wars, Chapter Six out of six was about education with a threadbare segue that would make me blush.

Reynolds's two education broadsides are important because of his position. In The Higher Education Bubble [Review Corner], Reynolds bites the hand that feeds him: indicting a higher education system that overpromises and under-delivers.

In The K-12 Implosion, he spreads his concern to the system that feeds his. But it is more a return to Army of Davids [Review Corner]. While the flaws of K-12 education are well detailed, the thesis suggests abandoning the old model for new methods and new technologies. This model, even well executed, does not prepare workers for modern positions.

In addition, public education was seen as a key component of nation-building. As Ellsworth Cubberley wrote in 1934, the point of public education wasn’t that the student would suffer if uneducated; it was that the nation would suffer without compulsory public schools. The result was the growth of publicly financed and, and, more significantly, publicly operated school systems. As Seth Godin writes: Part of the rationale used to sell this transformation to industrialists was the idea that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers.

Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn't a coincidence -- it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they're told.
As Godin says, "Every year, we churn out millions of workers who are trained to do 1925-style labor." That won’t work when the kids entering school today will be on the job market in 2025.

Reynolds, Glenn (2013-01-15). The K-12 Implosion (Encounter Broadside) (Kindle Locations 97-99). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

Not in the book but included in many blog posts is his asking whether it is parental malpractice to send a child into a public school system where a seven year old is suspended for a pop tart gun. His daughter finished her high school degree online and interned at a local TV station.

Rueven Brenner at AEI wonders if we would not benefit from additional production from young workers currently mired in the system.

There are at least 16 million youngsters enrolled in post-secondary education, with approximately 4 million graduating every year. Assume that from now on, each year, 4 million students join the labor force a year earlier. Each generation would stay one year longer in the labor force. How much annual income and how much wealth would this generate?

Assume that after graduation the average salary would be just $20,000 and remain there. With 4 million students finishing one year earlier, this would add $80 billion to the national income during that year. Or at an average annual income of $40,000, it would add $160 billion. Assume now that the additional $80 billion in national income would be compounding at 7 percent over the next 40 years. This would then amount to an additional $1.2 trillion of wealth -- for just one generation of 4 million students joining the labor force a year earlier at a $20,000 salary. At $40,000, this would amount to $2.4 trillion by the fortieth year -- again, for just one generation of 4 million people joining the labor force a year earlier. The added wealth depends on how rosy one makes the assumptions about salaries or compounding rates. Add 10, 20, or 30 generations, each starting to work a year earlier, and the numbers run into the tens of trillions of dollars.

How frustrating to see all these opportunities for improvement and wealth unrealized. But on the optimistic side, I must close with Reynolds's open -- the Herb Stein quote "Something that can't go on forever, won't." Millenarians have the schools system so dysfunctional and damaged, there might be real opportunity to change it.

Reynolds provides several good ideas -- for $4.99 and a short afternoon read, you have nothing to lose. Four stars.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 10:08 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:


1. I am not an apologist for public schools.
2. I have not clicked through any of the links.

Individualized education is great but before children can learn, regardless of student to teacher ratios, they must first be cooperative. Sitting still, whether in straight rows or random arrangements, is a prerequisite.

Human history has much to teach and the childhood years are indisputably the best time to do so. If a given student is no longer increasing his earning potential through an extra year of education, by all means excuse him to begin his career of manual labor. But the remainder are more productive as a result of that additional knowledge, assuming of course that what they learn is consistent with a rational life and not more "social science" claptrap.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2013 1:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Great review. You've clearly read much in this subject. (How do you ever find time for Dancing with the Stars?')

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2013 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought Professor Reynolds did a great job on Dancing with the Stars. He's no Kurt Warner, but who is?

I'm going to push back a bit on your first comment. Yes, some structure learned in school is well taken (I received Nun Whacks® -- the best kind!) But I am going to appeal to my blog brother to reject the 12-years of Prussian conformity currently enforced. Does that comport with your work?

I don't envision kids locked in their room with Salman Khan videos until they're 18. I'd see many structured activities for group education, music, arts, and activities.

On Brenner's column, I think you misstep by assuming that is for industrial workers. A year could easily been cut out of my K-12 education. I'm jealous of the lads in history books who went off to Harvard at 15 or 16. Don't know your experience, but I was the recipient of nine years of superb educational opportunities -- jammed into twelve years!

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2013 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair enough. It doesn't take 12 years to teach discipline. The army does it in 6 weeks!

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2013 6:57 PM

March 23, 2013

Explaining Freedom to your Facebook Friends

I recently discovered a few video discussions of scenes from the Atlas Shrugged movies (Part 1 and Part 2) by David Kelley of The Atlas Society. They are well done and I hope can inspire more people to see the movies, if shared with people who otherwise wouldn't be interested.

In this one I found an answer to my Facebook question, "Why are so many people so certain how OTHER people should live their lives?"

"The system bred hatred among people and they began meddling in each other's lives. In this collectivized system where need is a claim on the common pool, everyone's needs are a threat to everyone else."

Now all you have to do is catch them at a time when they're willing to watch a video longer than 3 minutes without cute animals.

March 22, 2013

All Hail Taranto!


Plus, honorable mention for "Attainder? I Barely Knew Her!"

Israel Posted by John Kranz at 5:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Besides, I'm in California with the wife and kid. They're upstairs asleep in our hotel room. I'm in the lobby drinking the 4:00 a.m. coffee writing the G-File with sweaty feet. I don't mean I'm typing it with sweaty feet. My prehensile toes are fine for strangling a man, but the detail work is still hard. What I do mean is that I couldn't find my socks in the dark without waking up the ladies. So I'm wearing sneakers without socks, which has the unpleasant consequence of making my feet smell like Harry Reid, albeit with less of that "urine and failure" bouquet. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Jonah's serious side: a link to Albert Jay Nock's Isaiah's Job essay.

The longest-running ThreeSources argument is settled

I may have mentioned that blog friend Sugarchuck and I go back a ways.

I was a goalie (his Dad called me "sieve" as long as he lived), a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, and my hero was Ken Dryden. SC, the defensemen, preferred the Bruins and Bobby Orr.

I must cede our longest running argument: The best hockey player ever turns 65 this week.

This kid, this prodigy, was a force that never had been seen in the NHL, an offensive-minded defenseman. He controlled the puck for longer stretches of time, skated wherever he wanted as if he were playing a game of keep-away back home on a pond in Parry Sound, Ont. He became the first (and only) defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring. He did it twice. In a seven-year span, only he or teammate Phil Esposito led the league in scoring. Esposito, a large-size center, did much of his work on rebounds and redirects of Orr shots from the point.

Even better than the kid's scoring was his style. He moved in great loops and swoops, one end of the ice to the other. Defensemen mostly had been restricted in their movements in the past, required always to stay in zones, think about turning back to help protect the goalie. Orr was fast enough, confident enough to get back from anywhere. There were no boundaries. Not for him. The entire ice surface was his zone.

The greatest. Changed the game.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 21, 2013

How About Peyton Manning?

Rich Lowry wonders"Where is Today's Jack Kemp?" I cannot tell a lie, I am a Kemp fan as well. Substantive ideas that are rooted in free market principles that help people: these are more valuable than re-branding.

Kemp did his most important work as a backbencher in the House. Where is his equivalent today? It’s too bad John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy don't tell some promising member to spend the next three months coming up with 10 ideas for promoting work in America, or for a new welfare reform agenda, or for replacing Obamacare, or for making college affordable. Instead, it's all federal debt, all the time.

UPDATE: Larry chimes in:

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:59 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Paul Ryan?

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2013 5:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Paul Ryan [Question Mark] ?

Yeah, I'm with Darth Grover on this. Kemp was a wonk and a crafter of legislation. Kemp's enterprise zones and Ryan's premium support plan for Medicare were both pragmatic attempts to use market forces to solve real-world and seemingly intractable problems.

And they both got the VP nod on a losing ticket without holding statewide office.

But, no, I don't think Chairman Ryan can throw a bullet spiral.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2013 10:30 AM

March 20, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

Colorado Republicans have developed a reputation -- largely earned -- for being the anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-women party, and then Republicans stand around after getting their asses kicked, election after election, scratching their heads and wondering what happened.

Ari Armstrong, on why Republicans Bear Responsibility for Colorado's Anti-Gun Laws


Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California wants us to know that she is "not a sixth-grader."

Anyone who saw the recent exchange before the Senate Judiciary Committee between Feinstein and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas over guns and the Constitution might speculate that the reason she said this is because she couldn't pass the entrance exam. -- Ruben Navarrette Jr. SFGate
Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 3:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

It was a great exchange, and worth watching again.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2013 3:25 PM

Why Did CO Governor About-Face on Guns?

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has artfully crafted an image as a reasonable, moderate, modern western politician - until now. Today he signed "landmark new gun laws" in the "traditionally firearm-friendly state" of Colorado. Why?

Colorado blogger Joshua Sharf explains that it is part of a national political strategy on the part of the Obama Administration:

It has been clear from the beginning that Obama plans to use gun control, not merely as a diversion from governing, but as a battering-ram issue to achieve his major 2nd-term objective: regaining the House of Representatives for the Democrats. To do that, he believes he must isolate the Republican House as being an obstruction to common-sense, practical gun control measures that most of the country agrees on. To do that, he must persuade enough Senate Democrats - especially Western Democrats - to back proposals that they really, really don't want to even vote on, much less support.

Colorado becomes the key to providing them cover. The proposals - poorly-written, full of absurd outcomes - will have to be portrayed as practical compromises. The debate on the national level will mirror the deceptive line taken here: confusing sales with temporary transfers, or even loans to friends; outlawing magazines of more than 15 rounds, but forgetting to mention that inheriting such a magazine from a deceased parent is a criminal act, a felony, even. Colorado's reputation as a western, freedom-loving state works in their favor.

So when Hickenlooper said, after the Aurora shooting, "Well, I mean I'm not sure there's any way in a free society, to be able to do that ..." it was a ploy to keep the gun debate out of the pending election.

This suited Hick just fine, since any suggestion that he was seriously looking at the sort of laws passed last week might have complicated the Dems' narrative about te Republican "War on Women" and civil unions.

But there is hope:

Ultimately, it makes the recalls of Sen. Hudak and Rep. McLachlan - along with whatever other vulnerable Dems can be included - even more important. Those recalls, like the recalls in Wisconsin, take on a national significance and urgency, not merely because of the issues involved, but because of the political implications at the national level. The promise of protection, of resources and money, to vulnerable Dems who backed him on this legislation, is the application of national resources to state races, just as the Blueprint was the application of state resources to local races. It is the Blueprint raised to a national scale. If Obama is able to implement that, then he will indeed have locked in substantial political changes that can change the society for the worse, for the long run.

On the other hand, if those promises can be shown to be empty - before the House of Representatives comes up for election, or has to vote on the national bills - then the entire narrative is turned on its head. Not only does Obama look like an unreliable friend, but the power of the issue dissipates. (That's one reason why an initiative is more useful in the event that we fail to take back both the legislature and the governor's mansion: only fiscal issues can be on the ballot in odd-numbered years.)

Hickenlooper, in 2012, specifically avoided charging voters up over this issue. Even in 2010, he didn't really mention it at all. Colorado has not had a vigorous debate on these bills or these issues. This was not something done by us. It was something done to us.

It's our move, Colorado.

UPDATE: This Denver Post story contemplates the Governor's political future:

Only a few months ago, Hickenlooper was mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. In poll after poll, his favorability ratings were higher than President Obama's and most governors.

But now Hickenlooper is attracting national attention as the Western governor backing gun control.

Asked whether the debate had hurt his image as a "quirky, lovable governor." Hickenlooper smiled.

"I'm still quirky," he said. "I'm not sure I was that lovable. And I am still relentlessly pro business."

Dear Governor - Magpul Industries, Alfred Manufacturing, other suppliers - they are BUSINESSES. With friends like you...

But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's also going to be interesting in a state where many sheriffs and their deputies seem to be prepared to tell their governor, in no uncertain terms, to hike to hell on this issue.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 20, 2013 3:38 PM

Quote of the Day

It's instructive to view ourselves through a Russian mirror. The term "paranoid Russian" is a pleonasm. The fact is that all Russian politicians are clever. The stupid ones are all dead. By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards. A deadly miscommunication arises from this asymmetry. The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look, and conclude that Washington wants to destroy them, -- David Goldman
Government Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 19, 2013

How Dare He??? Well, Okay.

Please, jk. Can we ppppleeeeeaaaaseeee fire up the Internet Segue Machine®?

Why, sure! We start the day with this dreary business found by blog friend Terri at Ruminants. This is hard to watch. How. Dare. That. Little. Freshman. Senator. Turd. Question. The. Great. Feinstein?????

That about ruined my day until I saw this: Savor the Richly Deserved Defeat of Feinstein's "Assault Weapon" Ban

But this time around it was not enough to obscure the absurdity of Feinstein's attempt to distinguish between good and evil guns by reference to irrelevant features such as barrel shrouds and adjustable stocks. With no evidence or arguments to offer, Feinstein despicably invoked dead, "dismembered" children in a transparent bid to short-circuit logical thought.

As Jacob Sullum says "At the risk of reading too much into this delightful development, I count it as a victory not just for the Second Amendment but for rationality in lawmaking."

But johngalt thinks:

"Rationality?" We should be so fortunate.
"Pragmatic?" You bet. The survival instinct takes over in Washington (but not, strangely, in Denver.) At least, not yet.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2013 6:44 PM

March 18, 2013

Incentives Matter: How Gub'mint Killed Swing

Those flatted-fifths in bop got you down? Blame the Feds:

The tax-law regulation's other exception had the biggest impact. Clubs that provided strictly instrumental music to which no one danced were exempt from the cabaret tax. It is no coincidence that in the back half of the 1940s a new and undanceable jazz performed primarily by small instrumental groups--bebop--emerged as the music of the moment.

"The spotlight was on instrumentalists because of the prohibitive entertainment taxes," the great bebop drummer Max Roach was quoted in jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's memoirs, "To Be or Not to Bop." "You couldn't have a big band because the big band played for dancing."

Now, there's some bebop I dig, but American Swing music was our gift to the art world for all eternity. Anything that cut that short is to be decried.

But jk thinks:

An emailer calls Shenanigans (on the WALL STREET JOURNAL????)

Big band swing might have given way to bebop in New York but every where else in the country it was overtaken by a new forms of dance music, R&B and the rock and roll. The late forties and early fifties were a time of transition but nobody stopped dancing to listen to Thelonius Monk. The stopped dancing to Glen Miller and started dancing to Bo Diddley. The guy was probably right when he said guys were coming back and starting families and working.

Fair point, but I'm still clinging somewhat bitterly. The whole economic proposition of a Big Band is suspicious. I was in an eight-piece bar band in the 80's and that denominator kills ya. Smaller ensembles -- perhaps without the dinner or elaborate setting -- left room for Uncle Sam that a busload of jazz guys with expensive heroin habits did not.

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2013 12:50 PM

Quote of the Day

After years of often bitter debate, health care reform--a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, or if you prefer, Obamacare--will take full effect January 1, 2014. How will it affect your company? Good question. Like Tolstoy's unhappy families, every business will be made unhappy in a different way by the new law. -- Adam Bluestein, Inc Magazine
Hat-tip to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt.
Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 17, 2013

Review Corner

In 2001, my wife, Shawnna, and I moved to Arizona. I love nearly everything about my adopted state, but the one thing that troubles me greatly is Arizona’s widespread hostility toward Mexican immigration, not just illegal but legal as well. Among many Arizona conservatives, opposition to immigration dwarfs all other political issues, even in the face of economic recession. The vehemence on this issue initially puzzled me, given that Arizona still is the land of Barry Goldwater and largely reflects his libertarian, live-and-let-live philosophy.

Indeed, I have often joked that if Arizonans are really serious about protecting our traditional values against assault from hostile newcomers, we should wall off our western border to California rather than our southern border.

Governor Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick provide a solid blueprint for moving forward in Immigration Wars. I don't agree with every word of it, and I'm rather certain it would not be any ThreeSourcer's idea of perfection. It is a contentious debate, and apart from the bitter clingers on both extremes, I think the authors understand it is about compromise and understand it is about moving forward. While imperfect, if Congress were to pass it exactly as written, there is nothing in this book that I could not live with.

The best part is its two foundational premises:

We believe comprehensive reform should be constructed upon two core, essential values: first, that immigration is essential to our nation, and second, that immigration policy must be governed by the rule of law. Those who expound only one of those values to the exclusion of the other do violence to both, because the two values are inseparable.

Many of our circular, circuitous, and cicumlocutious immigration debates have danced around this, because I was unable to state my premises so clearly.

The authors are as pro-immigration as I am and the book celebrates many reasons for increasing and legalizing/normalizing additional immigration. The talk shows and political reviews have focused on their solution to current undocumented aliens. Those who came here as adults are offered a pathway to permanent legal status but not a head start toward citizenship. This is not the plan I'd write, but I can sign on if this is un-am-nasty enough for a plurality.

This is the most contentious issue, and the position of a prominent Republican is newsworthy. Some of the more subtle points are more interesting. Bush and Bolick call for refocusing preferences on skills and economic need in favor of "family reunification."

Reuniting someone with their long lost third cousin twice removed is sweet. But it sets up a chain migration that can grow without bounds. Plus, it is biased toward less productive new citizens. Spouses and children can follow an immigrant but no further. We're sending home doctors and entrepreneurs and physics geniuses to bring more grandmothers in. Sweet, but not in our best economic interests.

One hopes that this might get resolved. We cherish rule of law, yet look the other way for startling abuses to people and equal enforcement.

It is in no one's interest for illegal immigrants and their families to live in the shadows. We need everyone to participate in the mainstream economy, to pay taxes, to participate openly in their communities, to be willing to report crimes-- that is to say, to be accountable, responsible members of society. That cannot occur when people fear they will be arrested if their immigration status is known.

It is an enjoyable and quick read touching economics, education and politics. If the debate were moved forward in this direction, that would be a huge net positive.

Four stars.

UPDATE: That other fella named Bush has a very good guest editorial in the WSJ today.

March 15, 2013

Stan Kronke buys Outdoor Channel

In my prior post I linked to a Weekly Standard story entitled "Colorado Poll: Gun Control Politically Dangerous for Democrats." At least one thing is certain - this issue is bringing out the big GOP money to an extent I have not seen before. To wit: Kroenke Saves Outdoor Channel From Being Bought by Obama Advisor

Still unclear is whether Kroenke will become involved with the Outdoor Channel’s battle with Colorado Democrats. Executive producer Michael Bane said in a letter to state Sen. Steve King (R-Colorado Springs) that the channel had already cancelled a filming session scheduled for late March in reaction to the gun-control bills.

“The message we will take to our viewers and listeners is that these proposed laws are so dangerous to hunters and any other person, be she a fisherman or a skier who brings a handgun into the state for self-defense, that we cannot recommend hunting, fishing or visiting Colorado,” said Bane in the letter dated March 5.

“We reach millions of people, and quite frankly, we have a credibility that the Colorado government officials can no longer match,” he said.

So far the sale to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment hasn’t muted Bane’s views. He posted a message on his website Wednesday saying, “Urge Governor Hickenlooper to veto the mag ban!”

Colorado Sheriff would defy feds

The Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, Terry Maketa, told constituents yesterday that he would prevent gun confiscation in his jurisdiction if a "lawfully signed warrant" were not in play.

"I would step in the way if federal law enforcement was acting under some directive and seizing weapons without a lawfully signed warrant," he said, adding that he's not worried about that because he's received emails of support from federal law enforcement agencies.

"I think they would turn first, quit and join me before following something as ludicrous as that," he said.

This is welcome reassurance to the majority of Coloradoans who oppose big-city mayors' politically motivated gun control railroad job in the Democrat-controlled Colorado state government. Speaking of which,

"I don't have any plan to run for governor, for senate, for house," he said. "I say that knowing full well things can change."

Quote of the Day

The clear premise of all this political activity is that taxpayers are still on the hook if Wall Street blows up again. Mr. Levin's staff doesn't spend a year investigating beer companies that fail to engage the age 25 to 34 demo with new advertising campaigns. Software executives don't have to explain to Congress why they missed the scheduled launch of an important app. In those industries, big mistakes are issues for customers and shareholders, not taxpayers. -- WSJ Ed Page
113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 14, 2013

Senator Cruz Strikes Again

I pumped my fist when he said, "And yet at the same time I would note that she chose not to answer the question that I asked."

Robert Laurie explains the "child porn" canard here:

It's a false premise, since the very act of creating underage porn represents a felony. This is not true of manufacturing or owning a gun. Firearms can be used for perfectly legal, ethical, reasons. No crime takes place until someone uses the weapon for a specific criminal purpose. There is no non-criminal purpose behind the manufacture or ownership of child porn, thus its illegality.
But johngalt thinks:

Soon I expect him to declare that the IRS is a de facto violation the 13th Amendment. Tell me how it ain't!

Posted by: johngalt at March 14, 2013 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Surely, the 2200 books on our exemption list are enough -- who wants to read more than that?

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2013 4:28 PM

Feed the Jar!

A great email from a good friend of this blog contained a reference to the jar into which you must put a dollar if you say "If George Bush had done this..." I had forgotten that.

The context was an NPR story about "benign" inflation. I, sadly, joined the snooty-pointy-heads as a monetary phenomenon but must agree -- and feed the jar -- that NPR would take a different look at lower income people paying high prices for gas and food if that malaproping cowboy were walking the halls at 1600. I mean, seriously, does anybody question that?

How about a VP Dick Cheney jar right next to it? D'Angelico has just released these extremely affordable import reissue versions of their classic sell-your-'59-'vette-to-make-a-layaway-payment models. So we need to raise cash.

Did'ja see this?

Biden’s office forces reporter to delete photos, apologizes

The "reporter" was University of Maryland J-school Dean Lucy Dalglish:
In her letter, Dalglish said: "Rockville is not a third-world country where police-state style media censorship is expected." Biden press secretary Kendra Barkoff apologized to Dalglish and Barr in phone calls but wouldn't speak on the record to Capital News Service's Lucas High.

The Dean didn't tell them to bark off???? (Hat-tip Insty who is a hair more harsh.)

Whatever, I'm certain that Jon Stewart would be just as silent if VP Darth Cheney had... (I think I like the Excel.)

VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 13, 2013

Politicians are not kings

One more of several great videos/radio spots from Colorado's Laura Carno, proprietor of I Am Created Equal dot com. This one looks like it was filmed outdoors and her lighter colored hair makes her look more ... friendly?

She also explains her new "political crush" on my fanboy fave Ted Cruz.

Gun Rights Posted by JohnGalt at 8:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Q: Why Are Libertarians So Powerful?

A: Unanimity!


Sorry to those who saw this on Facebook, but it made me laugh.

Guilty as charged.

Insty links to Dreadful Phrases. I must admit I used one of them for many, many years:

for all intensive purposes (Tara)

Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

H.B. 1224 -- Worse than Advertised!

And the ads were pretty bad...

A Puff of White Smoke Rises over Dove Valley

As the Broncos sign Wes ^*@%^ing Welker!

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Yeahbut - Isn't he the guy who Tom Brady's wife blamed for a Super Bowl loss? Just trying to keep yer feet on the ground. Yes, he's definitely an upgrade from Stokley. Uh-rah.

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2013 6:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, if I looked like Tom Brady's wife, I would say a lot of outlandish things on the Inter -- wait a minute...

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2013 7:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does Ashley Manning have a Twitter account?

Posted by: johngalt at March 14, 2013 11:33 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I don't know, but I understand that Peyton Manning sent Tom Brady pictures of himself throwing short passes to Wes Welker.

Cruel and unusual, and I heartily approve.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 15, 2013 12:17 AM
But jk thinks:

Mondo heh: "'That really hurt Tommy, because he and Wesley always liked to pretend that they won Super Bowls,' said Bundchen. 'They never did together, of course, but what imaginations!'"

Posted by: jk at March 15, 2013 9:50 AM

Atlas Shrugged Part III - Summer 2014

Oh yeah!

"We're not going to get critics coming on board,"Aglialoro said. "The academic-media complex out there doesn't want to like the work, doesn’t want to understand it, fears the lack of government in their lives, wants the presence of government taking care of us."

Insists on demanding the unearned.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has expressed support for some of Rand's writings, and Aglialoro says Ryan's 2012 campaign alongside Mitt Romney could have used a bit more of her thinking.

"It would have served the campaign well if he would have embraced the natural way to capitalism that Ayn Rand, and I think Romney and Ryan should have quoted [her] over and over and over again during the campaign, that it's the producers who should be applauded and appreciated and not denigrated, that 'rich' is not a dirty, four-letter word. It's a good, four-letter word."

But that's in the past and we're looking forward.

Aglialoro is looking at a different politician to carry the mantle of Ayn Rand in Washington: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

"Since they're starting to beat up on Cruz, there must be something good about him. Cruz is new on the scene, on the side of the free market, of limited government, of capitalist instinct in our society. So I think Cruz is somebody who could fit the bill."

But jk thinks:

Great news.

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2013 2:07 PM

March 12, 2013

Governor Hick on Devil's Advocate

Serious discussion, great show.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 4:27 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Terri thinks:

Thanks for sharing. That was worth a listen.

Posted by: Terri at March 12, 2013 7:35 PM

Colorado is America's Canary

Dear America,

If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government, just look at what is taking place in Colorado. Editorialist Anthony Martin suggests Colorado Democrats appear determined to start a civil war.

A state that was once friendly to gun rights has now become a hotbed of leftwing political activism that directly challenges citizen rights -- unless that citizen wishes to smoke pot legally.

This scenario only further enrages gun rights activists who view such things as the height of hypocrisy -- touting citizen rights to smoke pot while at the same time attacking citizen rights when it comes to guns.

If you want to read about the "civil war" part you'll have to click through. I'll not be accused of incitement.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government..."

Dude. Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 12, 2013 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

See how easily we fail to notice when the pot is warmed gradually? We just glibly refer to the "Californication" of our state without looking to see how much further Kalifornia is trying to go at the same time. I'll share this around in Colorado circles.

My caution was meant for those in swing districts who might choose to replace their Republican congressman with a Democrat in 2014 because some Republican somewhere "frightens" them.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 5:56 PM
But AndyN thinks:

If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government...
Were you worried that if you didn't appear balanced you'd offend someone? I believe that there are currently 24 states in which the GOP controls both the legislative and executive branches. Is there any evidence that those state governments are attempting to trample on the rights of their citizens?

The GOP has many problems, but this particular problem is specifically a Democratic party problem.

Posted by: AndyN at March 12, 2013 6:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good question! I love good questions.

I wasn't concerned about offending anyone, as yesterday's "On Legislation and Human Rights" post should illustrate, but I was seeking to illustrate a general principle rather than a partisan lament. Now I will try to defend it.

I am less affected by the anti-liberty of Republicans than that of Democrats but I do recognize it when I see it and, as a proponent of consistency in ones principles, oppose it. For example, Arkansas just overrode the veto of its Democrat governor to implement what some call the nation's most restrictive abortion ban. If one accepts the premise that a state prohibition on abortion tramples a right of the mother, namely to control her own bodily functions, then this is an example of Republicans doing exactly what I condemn Colorado Democrats for: A partisan infringment of individual liberties.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 7:08 PM

A Shermanesque Response to the Conclave of Cardinals

"If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."

Quote of the Day

Starbucks will continue selling sugary coffee drinks under the "half milk" loophole, a special little loophole created by Bloomberg and his minions to make sure that the Crusading Liberal White People who support this ban are actually not affected by this ban. If Starbucks had been included in the ban, the shrieking from Bloomberg's Crusading Liberal White People supporters would have been deafening, and the thing would have been killed. So they made certain that the ban didn't apply to White People's Big Gulps, even though they contain nearly as much sugar and much more caffeine than Other People's Big Gulps." -- Ace (h/t Jim Geraghty)
Nanny State Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 11, 2013

Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons

I've missed the last two, but it looks as if we are dug out of the fearsome "Blizzard of '13" and will attend this evening:

Join us on Monday, March 11th, where your special guest speaker will be Colorado Secretary of State, Mr. Scott Gessler. After the Secretary'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!

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 4:00 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at March 12, 2013 9:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

What did he discuss?

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

There are rumors of a video. Takeaways for me include:

-- "Honey Badger" Gessler is something of a HOSS. You can whine that there's not a dime's difference between Democrats & Republicans, but Sec. Gessler is a serious, grown-up friend for liberty. With just the right touch of partisanship, he gave a personal look at the undivided state government you decry in another post.

-- As Sec. State, he drastically lowered the fees and red tape around business licenses. Milton Friedman, call your office! We may not be Hong Kong yet, but that is an important marker of economic freedom and Colorado has moved forward.

-- Questions were heavy on vote fraud. Sec. G has done great work in this arena, but we are facing tsunamis in same-day-registration, registration of 16-year-olds when they get licenses, and mandatory mail voting. A bright spot has been his work to facilitate ballots to military voters in theatre. He served (I forget the branch) and this has a personal meaning.

-- like all LOTR-F: what's the best way for each to promote liberty, and encouraging anecdotes about how letters-to-editors, showing up at meetings, capitol testimony, &c. have actually moved legislation.

-- He is a good humored, likeable Republican. Folks are asking who the next R Governor is -- he'd get my vote.

Film at 11, if Mike gets it posted...

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2013 3:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I met Scott at a backyard BBQ, in 2010 I believe. I've tried to follow the partisan witch hunt against him over election reform issues but the full story is hard to come by. Would've been there last night but the in-laws paid a visit.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 5:19 PM

On Legislation and Human Rights

I just left the following comment on Senator Giron's FB page after reading her (linked) blog entry, which states that she plans to vote yes on the five gun restriction bills in the Colorado senate today. I do hope that she reads it, and that she is willing to look into her heart and find a sense of consistency.

"For what little it may be worth, Senator Giron, I apologize for the classless behavior of some on the other side of this Constitutional issue from you. I can only guess that they feel powerless as a basic human right - the right to self defense - is being ever further questioned and eroded in the Colorado legislature. In these deeply contentious issues I, like Governor Hickenlooper, find it helpful to examine the issue from both sides. A good way to do that in this case is to imagine the reactions of you and your supporters if a Republican legislature and Republican governor were railroading seven (or even five) "common sense" abortion restriction bills. On the basis of Constitutional protections and the basic human rights of every individual, they would be just as wrong in doing so as the Democrats are in what they may choose to do today. Please reconsider whether the remainder of your legislative agenda is worth risking over this one issue that so many of your constituents will never forgive you for. Please tell the single-issue anti-gun lobbyists that you have more important things to do than to (politically) live or die on their hill. Please work to unite us around individual rights, not divide us along ideological lines."

Review Corner

Due to the bone-crunching blizzard this weekend, I regret that Sunday's Review Corner was not completed. (Out-of-staters, that's a joke -- the teevee news people prepared us for Snowmageddon all week and we got six inches and immediate heat to melt it).

In lieu of my completing, y'know, actual work, I offer the author c/o Prager University:

And some quotes:

Our ignorance of Coolidge hurts more than our understanding of the presidency; it diminishes our understanding of his era, and our past. The education in rhetoric, religion, classics, and geometry Coolidge received at his quirky independent school, Black River Academy, and at Amherst College reminds us how our schools have changed since then. Coolidge and the poet Robert Frost never knew much about each other; Coolidge was a Republican, Frost a Grover Cleveland Democrat. But the lives of the pair crossed in odd ways, including at Coolidge's college, Amherst. And Frost's themes-- independence, responsibility, character, property rights -- also preoccupied Coolidge.

It is hard for modern students of economics to know what to make of a government that treated economic weakness by raising interest rates 300 basis points, cutting tax rates, and halving the federal government, so much at odds is that prescription with the antidotes to recession our own experts tend to recommend. It is harder still for modern economists to concede that that recipe, the policy recipe for the early 1920s advocated by Coolidge and Harding, yielded growth on a scale to which we can aspire today.

Of particular interest to ThreeSourcers, however, will be Coolidge (and Harding's) fight to reclaim the party from TR and the Progressive wing -- enough to split Sen. Lafollette into a third party run in 1924.
But Roosevelt did not stay decorous long. By temperament Roosevelt was neither judge nor solicitor but prosecutor. In fact, he treated the White House as a prosecutor's office. In McKinley's time the Sherman Antitrust Act had not been used aggressively; Roosevelt, however, found it a useful tool. Roosevelt moved against the Northern Securities Company and J. P. Morgan aggressively, asking for the great company's dissolution. Astonished, J. P. Morgan asked TR if his other companies would be assailed. "Not unless we find out," said Roosevelt, "that they have done something we regard as wrong."
Roosevelt's cockiness piqued other Republicans. One was Warren Harding, the proprietor of a newspaper in Marion, Ohio. Roosevelt, Harding thought, resembled Aaron Burr in the magnitude of his egotism, with "the same towering ambitions."

I knew the facts and personal anecdotes. Where Shlaes truly breaks a new intellectual trail is in identifying the break of the Boston Police strike not only as the event that launched the plainspoken Yankee Governor onto a national stage, but the event which separated him -- permanently -- from Progressivism.
Still, Coolidge felt certain of one thing. The progressives could not be met. Conciliation would not work. As he made his rounds in the now quiet city, he went over the police strike and kept coming to the same conclusion. This time, there was no middle ground.

Shlaes, Amity (2013-02-12). Coolidge (Kindle Locations 3244-3246). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

A-freaking-men. Five Stars!

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"Coolidge was sympathetic to the farmers, but helping them wasn't the government's function."


But this comports poorly with "for the general good" and one should naturally expect today's response to be, "Well make it government's function then."

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2013 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Seven years -- and counting...

But the public good includes farmers and non-farmers, 'lectric car makers and non-'lectric car makers. I submit you can make the correct policy decision considering the public good.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2013 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can. You can. Government can't. They will always default to "yes" whenever asked.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2013 7:08 PM

Obama XIV

They can't find the money to let schoolchildren tour the White House, but Beyonce and Adele will perform at a "a huge celebrity-packed party for [Michelle Obama's] birthday at the White House next year." Via Jim Geraghty who hopes "they'll invite any of those furloughed federal workers"

Having picked up an Oscar, Adele might have thought her incredible US adventure couldn't get much better.

But now I can reveal the Skyfall singer has landed the biggest gig of next year -- singing for Michelle Obama during her 50th birthday party at the White House.

The 24-year-old star will join Beyonce at the bash on January 17 -- proof she has been given the ultimate seal of approval in the US.

"America's First Lady will be holding a huge celebrity-packed party for her birthday at the White House next year and, as she adores Adele and Beyonce, she has asked them both to sing," says a source.

Isn't that special.

March 9, 2013

Quote of the Day

If I had planned to speak for 13 hours when I took the Senate floor Wednesday, I would've worn more comfortable shoes. -- Sen Rand Paul (HOSS - KY)

March 8, 2013

That "Constitution" Thingy

"Can the governor call in question the right of a non-felon to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property?"

This is my starting formulation for a #StandWithRand type filibuster question, to be asked during Monday's third and final vote on numerous gun control bills in the Colorado legislature on Monday. Bills that quite clearly, I would argue, call this right into question.

HB1226- Calls into question the individual right to bear arms to defend one's person.
HB1229- Calls into question the individual right to keep arms.
SB197- Calls into question the right of a defendant to keep arms.
HB1228- Calls into question the individual right to keep arms.
HB1224- Calls into question the individual right to keep arms.
SB196- Calls into question the individual right to keep and to bear arms.

Those usurpations are not written into the bills of course, and their sponsors would certainly argue they do no such thing. That is a valid debate, and one which should transpire on the floor of Colorado's highest deliberative body, but until the governor answers in the affirmative the opening question, derived from Article 2, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, any other discussion is moot.

But jk thinks:

Not up on yet, but did you see Jon Caldera's interview with Governor Hick? Media and government were everything they should be for half an hour. Caldera doesn't go for gotchas -- but he asked tough questions about disarming the young rape victim and precluding his future estate's passing his Glock 17 to his daughter, and capricious enforcement if he goes to Wyoming to buy replacement magazines.

I'll post an embed when I see it, but they rerun those on Monday nights and if you have it on a DVR somewhere, it is well worth watching.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2013 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I did see it. Devil's Advocate is on DVR autopilot at our house. Jon promoed it on FB so I was eager to watch. Even though no gotcha questions, Hick stepped in it when he said he thought guns could be bought on the internet without a background check. Not NEW guns. All gun dealer internet sales must ship to buyers via a local FFL dealer, and be delivered in person like every gun store sale.

There was more than this though too. Like his suggestion that issues be examined from both sides, which I leveraged in a FB comment to Senator Angela Giron this morning.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2013 12:17 PM

CNN: Global Warming is Totally for Real!

A new study makes an interesting point: a very long term study concludes that the temperature swing from 1910 - 2010 is unprecedented. Perhaps it has been colder, perhaps warmer, but it has never shifted so much in only a century. Pretty interesting point.

Furthermore, the study authors feel that we should be in a cold period and that the last, very warm decade would be catastrophic if the same amount of DAWG were present at a warm part of the cycle.

Interesting. But I must -- its being CNN -- excerpt another part of the story. Deirdre McClosky, call your office! We have figured out why prosperity happened -- it was a predictable climate!

Humanity in the last 11,500 years

The scientists chose the period of time known as the "Holocene" for their research, because it is the most recent natural warm phase in Earth's history. It began at the end of the last Ice Age about 11,500 years ago, and we are still in it.

The Holocene has also been the epoch of human achievement, the beginning of civilization. Stable weather patterns helped people do more of everything they wanted to, partly because they no longer had to fight the cold of an ice age.

They began farming, which extended their own life spans and increased population on Earth. They built cities and roads, made art, developed languages and laws. They formed empires and nations.

Eventually, they invented machines, landing themselves in the industrialized age, driven by engines and turbines, which are powered by combustible fuel.

Thus began man-made greenhouse gases.

No mention of the Enlightenment. Stopped fighting an ice age; became prosperous and wealthy -- then ruined the climate. Oh irony, thy name is Man!

But johngalt thinks:

Stable weather patterns or warmer weather patterns? Check your premise, new studiers.

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2013 7:39 PM

Rand's Filibuster

Blog friend T.Greer has an interesting post. Did we hear echoes of great statesmen in the US Senate?

Senator Paul's actions are placed in proper context by a simple question: what was the last speech -- or heavens, even the last sound byte -- made by a legislator on the Senate or House floor that garnered this level of national attention? When was it? Was it delivered within the last year? The last decade?

Senator Rand famously downplays the fact that he holds Henry Clay's seat. He proudly asserts -- and repeated in his filibuster -- that he identifies with Cassius Clay, the uncompromising abolitionist over the author of two compromises which preserved the Union.

TG compares Rand to "the Godlike Daniel" and finds him wanting. Me, I heard echoes...

113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [11]
But jk thinks:

Perhaps comparison of elocution style is spurious, but a "where we went to hell" study could easily conclude that this Ol' republic of ours was chugging along pretty well when legislative power was ascendant. (Gene Healy, call your office!)

The President is on the local news every night, with his every press release treated like the law of the land. Yet nobody knows their own Senators' names.

TG's post is about reclaiming the body's relevance. The world stopped to hear "the Godlike Daniel" speak. Sen. Harry Reid -- not so much. Clay, Calhoun, and Webster steered the country through the antebellum period Part of reclaiming legislative power is to have Senators like Paul offer the substance and style that the legends used to.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2013 11:00 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

"art of reclaiming legislative power is to have Senators like Paul offer the substance and style that the legends used to."

Exactly. Could not have said it better myself.

As for the Clay-Adams bit - my feeling is that theres was a bargain and it was real one, but they didn't see it as anything but "business as usual." It was pretty standard practice to groom the President's successor by putting him at the head of State - every other President before had done it. The "corrupt" part of it seems to have been propaganda brilliantly conceived to play off of the new yeoman majority's fear of conniving, monied elites hijacking the country.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 11, 2013 1:04 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps I'm misreading the erudite elocution or oversimplifying but are you suggesting the only antidote to runaway executive power is greater legislative power? Or even, the only practical antidote? Whatever happened to "that government is best that governs least?"

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 11:41 AM
But jk thinks:

"The only?" I dunno.

But I am a Madison fanboy -- separation of powers is a rockin' antidote to runaway power. The Constitution offered balance in spades so that states could check the feds, tripartite branches could check each other -- even the bicameral legislature offers a shot at beautiful gridlock!

I think much of the reason we're in the soup we're in is that Congress abdicated its authority to the Executive, greasing the wheels for runaway government.

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2013 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet the only parts of said Constitution the tripartite branches adhere to are those which expand the power of one or more of them.

I get your drift. I may be guilty, at some point in the past, of supporting a stronger executive. If that proves true then I was a fool. But it is possible, as evidenced in Colorado today, that all three tripartite branches may come under the control of a single party. In such circumstances the only limits are the collective ambitions of the ruling party and how efficiently the mechanism may be operated before the next election.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 2:48 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"is the only antidote to greater executive power greater legislative power?"

Well, I guess you could put it that way. The central problem with an unrestrained executive is that it is quite a bit harder to get rid what the executive does - we do not elect bureaucrats, nor can we vote them out of office. Thus we get in this kind of situation:

Under current constitutional law, Congress can delegate virtually all of its functions to the Executive Branch. Indeed, it mostly has. Executive agencies add 60,000 pages of new rules every year, vastly more than the volume of new laws passed by Congress. -Mario Loyala, "The Federal State Crack Up", American Interest January 2013

When done properly, the legislature is closer to the people and has far less capacity to enact regulations, unlike executive bureaucracies.

But I think your broader point is correct. Even the most limited government will be hijacked by foes of liberty and justice if we allow such to be elected.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 12, 2013 7:44 PM

March 7, 2013

A miss.

The Journal Editorial report is without question the best show on FOX News. I look forward to it every Saturday.

The last segment is "Hits and Misses" -- a descendant of the paper's "Tony and Tacky." Though they never read them, they encourage readers to "send your own hit or miss to" Well:

WSJ Editorial Board:

I have to issue my favorite Ed Page a "miss" this week, for its failure to appreciate Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster.

I, too, support a muscular foreign policy. And -- though leery of executive power -- concede that the President enjoys broad power against enemy combatants. Yet I do not see Sen. Paul's filibuster as an attempt to permanently restrict the C-in-C’s options as much as clarifying that our rights to due process will be honored.

Your dismissive attitude does not comport with your institution's history of defending liberty.

Sincerely yours,
John Kranz
Erie, Colorado

UPDATE: It's a Conservative Smackdown! The Washington Examiner: "And some have even chosen to defend such government authority -- including the usually sound Wall Street Journal editorial board."
The Journal's editors argued Thursday that the endless global war on terror knows no national boundaries, and therefore every square inch of creation is part of a battlefield where only the laws of war restrict government's power. They concluded that "the U.S. could have targeted ... U.S. citizen [and terrorist] Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia."

This thinking cannot be reconciled with the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It states clearly that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," and it provides no exception for cases of especially evil people.

But johngalt thinks:


It could only have been better with, "I doubt you'll use this - you're no more objective than CNN or the New York Times."

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2013 6:57 PM

A Truly Liberal Thought

An extra bonus QOTD from Peggy Noonan:

The Tanenhaus and Berkowitz essays reminded me of two recent conversations.

The first was with Vernon Jordan, the veteran civil rights activist and Democrat. We met up on the train to Washington in January and he asked me why people weren't making more of the appointment a few weeks before of Tim Scott to South Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat. I said it was true that not enough had been made of it, the first black man to serve in the Senate in that state's history, the first from the South since 1881. I asked Vernon why he was moved at the rise of a conservative Republican. He said, "I didn’t expect when we were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge that we’d all agree on everything when we got to the other side."

That's beautifully put, and a truly liberal thought.

Filibuster Hangover

I all but wept when Senator Rand Paul (HOSS- KY) yielded the floor. I, too cheered through the furious gaveling.

While it is not quite a hangover, today dawns a beautiful day in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, but:

  • I was up too late;

  • Nobody else really paid any attention. ThreeSourcers and the liberty crowd were enthralled, but the rest of Facebook has no idea anything happened;

  • My buddies at the WSJ Ed Page were not impressed.

Blog friend Terri shares my joy and woe. Ruminants requires a Wordpress login lately, you can yell at her here.

On the WSJ editorial, I am pretty hawkish for a libertarian-of-any-case, and similarly lenient to executive war power for one distrustful of that branch. I will even confess to wishing a couple of times yesterday that the debate were on spending. The abstract freedoms ("not to be nuked in a café") are more difficult for me to get excited about than consequentialist regulation and taxation policies.

At the end of the day -- into the night in this case -- being a nation of laws and not men, and Fifth Amendment protection of due process have to be defended and celebrated. "A Miss" to the Journal Editorial Board.

But Terri thinks:

from my sister...a good and loyal Republican regarding the Graham/McCain ridiculousness.

"... but I never get why our own people won't take the opportunity to do a little victory dance instead of just handing over more ammunition to the other side."

Posted by: Terri at March 7, 2013 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Eww! You're related to Republicans?

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2013 5:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ask your sister if she thinks it's possible that Graham/McCain doesn't consider the filibuster a victory. Maybe they are more likely to feel like cockroaches when the kitchen light was switched on.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2013 6:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Besides, somebody really did notice.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2013 7:01 PM

Quote of the Day

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves. -- T.S. Eliot
The quote ends a superb Cliff Asness piece in The American about the "No Labels" folks. I am confident every ThreeSourcer would enjoy it in its entirity.

When it all went to hell.

I enjoy speculation on exactly why, when, and where humans stepped out of the primordial economic soup to increase consumption from $1 per day toward $130. Countless review corners have considered this.

Just as interesting, though, is when we abandoned enlightenment values. When did we chuck wealth creation in the gutter? When did I begin to use such overwrought metaphors? And does anybody miss the two-line (offsides) pass in modern pro hockey?

If I may answer those questions back-to-front: No, I objected to the rule change but admit I was wrong. Always. And -- in America -- the Progressive-era. If I may borrow a riff from my blog brother, that is when her citizens began to "demand the unearned."

I've long been troubled by the phrase "Robber Barons." Those who ennobled and enriched us with heat, light, steel, transportation, capital accumulation, and risk-management are confined to history's villain section. I understand the incentives for a President Roosevelt or Wilson, and I understand the Cardinal sin of envy. But David Henderson adds a piece to the puzzle in a brilliant essay: Neither Robbers nor Barons.

Why do we get such a distorted view of the era of the so-called robber barons? One reason is that the popular press at the time trumpeted that view. Interestingly, Ida Tarbell, the famous "muckraker" who gave Rockefeller his bad press,6 was not a disinterested observer. Early in her life, she had seen her father, an oil producer and refiner, lose out in competition with Rockefeller. Her father had been prospering, and her family, as a result, was enjoying "luxuries we had never heard of." All that came to an end and Tarbell never forgave Rockefeller.

Indeed, virtually none of the impetus for antitrust laws came from consumers. Much of it came from small producers who had been competed out of business. They didn't want more competition; they wanted less. DiLorenzo quotes one of the "trust busters," Congressman William Mason, who admitted that the trusts were good for consumers. What he didn't like was that when large trusts cut prices, small firms were put out of business.

A perfect storm of spreading Hegelian statism, patronage politics, and disproportionate "pull" of smaller producers through government set up a Progressive movement that lasts to this day.

Sunday will see a Review Corner of Amity Schlaes's "Coolidge" (spoiler alert -- five stars!) Harding and Coolidge have to devote every minute to reclaiming the GOP from the TR Progressive wing. Coolidge is more successful than Harding, and of course has to turn the keys over to Hoover at the end.

Yes, the two-line is okay, but we went off the rails when we allowed our real-life Randian heroes to be defamed as Robber Barons.

But johngalt thinks:

Great article. Thanks for posting. It even includes a good application of the Constitution's commerce clause, in Gibbons v. Ogden, which struck down a state (NY) sanctioned monopoly. Unfortunately, this decision was interpreted by New Dealers to justify unlimited application of the power, essentially rendering it unlimited, in Wickard v. Filburn.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2013 3:04 PM

March 6, 2013

CO Gov. Hickenlooper: Pro-gun demonstrators "a small minority"

Amid the controversy over disarming rape victims and outlawing the products of a large Colorado manufacturing company, our state's governor recently told a news reporter he doesn't think that signing these bills into law would cost him during a re-election bid.

For all of their fervor, Hickenlooper sees the demonstrators a small minority.

"Not only do they not represent the middle, I don't think they represent the Republican party. I don't think they represent a large number of people," Gov. Hickenlooper said.

The governor may be right, particularly since he says the bills are being watered down "to fix certain issues, like not having to run background checks on family members when giving them your gun." But even if the measures are "reasonable" the state legislators have sat through hours of testimony by witness after witness, both in favor and opposed to the laws, who say the laws would not reduce crime or accidents, nor even have prevented any particular incident. The only valid justification for passing these new laws was offered by state Senator Ted Harvey who said, "What we are trying to do here tonight is to protect students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable by you carrying a gun to protect yourself. Every witness that has come up here tonight has said they want to feel unintimidated and feel free to debate on a college campus, and having you have the right to defend yourself against a violent attacker weighs more for them than for you and the right to self-defense." Or, to paraphrase, your right to defend yourself is, in the opinion of the majority, junior to "students and teachers" right to "feel unintimidated."

Governor Hickenlooper was, he says, troubled by the prospect of losing gun accessory and magazine manufacturer Magpul Industries, Inc and its 200 local jobs, plus several suppliers. But in true pull-peddler fashion he said he intends to make up for any lost business to the company by "trying to win Magpul more government business through his Washington connections."


From the Magpul website:

Magpul's view on profits (and money in general) is summed up in the following quote by Ayn Rand (Francisco's Money Speech, Atlas Shrugged):

"Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value."

Good luck trying to buy them off with political favors, Mister Governor.


No, not that pansy-assed cloture crap. A stand at the podium and "speak until I can no longer speak" Mister Smith goes to Washington style fillibuster. From "I will not let Obama 'shred the Constitution."

"The point isn’t that anyone in our country is Hitler," Paul said, repeating that he is not comparing anyone to Hitler. "But what I am saying that is in a democracy you could somehow elect someone who is very evil . . . When a democracy gets it wrong, you want the law to be in place."

Video still live here:

Damn I'm proud of the United States Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul.

UPDATE: The Filitracker - HT: Brother Bryan

UPDATE: Senator Rand Paul's fillibuster for individual rights and against an ever more powerful central government attracted an unusual ally to the Republican's side: Code Pink.

Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor — which delayed the vote to confirm John Brennan as director of the CIA — was unusual in that it brought together unlikely allies: libertarian-leaning Republicans, establishment Republicans, Democrats and even left-wing activists like Code Pink.

They're still as misguided a group of lemmings you'll ever see, but it is refreshing to see any willingness to stand with traditional foes over a particular principle. I'll say this for Code Pink: Their principles are almost completely wrong, but at least they have principles.

But jk thinks:

AWESOME ON STILTS!!! (Not conducive to work, but...)

Paul - Ayotte 2016!

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2013 5:03 PM

My Best Goofy Photoshop

Suddenly germane! Thanks for dyin'!

Venezuela Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

Tweet of the Day



Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee announced early Wednesday that it's postponing its environmental subcommittee's scheduled 10 a.m. hearing on the state of the science behind climate change. As a reason, it cited "weather."
Of course, that doesn't mean anything. Climate isn't weather -- unless it is very hot.

Hat-tip: Insty

March 5, 2013

From Outside of the Reservation

Some refer to the city of Denver as a "victim disarmament zone." My new term is Sheeple Reservation. The video below was made by a woman from El Paso County, Colorado, addressing the Rulers of the Reservation as they attempt to impose their beliefs on the rest of our great state. Laura Carno represents the principles we are teaching to our daughters.

Gun Rights Posted by JohnGalt at 6:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

On Being a Statistic

Don't know if this will get much play outside of Colorado.

I'm not going to add anything to this powerful clip, but when did the phrase "Don't be a statistic" drop out of our lexicon? Rep. Evie Hudak (D - Arvada) tells a rape victim -- to her face -- that "statistics are not on her side." If there is a better example of the collectivist mindset, I have yet to see it.

But johngalt thinks:

Denver Post:

"The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that for every one woman who used a handgun to kill someone in self-defense, 83 were murdered by them," Hudak said.

A typical gun-grabber misleading statistic:

- How many women prevented an assault because they had a handgun, without "killing" the attacker? If it saves a single assault, isn't it worth it?

- How many of those murdered women never had their own weapon, but were victims of domestic circumstances? I'm willing to wager nearly all of them.

- Show me the statistic, CCAGW or whoever you are, for how many armed women were killed or injured versus how many attackers they deterred, killed or injured.

I have no idea who "Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence" is. The Post story seems disinterested as well, only going so far as to dupe the witness into conceding that "the stats are against me." Yellow.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2013 5:22 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

More shocking to me is the first Senator's answer! Tell me if I am wrong, but he pretty much said "the issue is not protecting you from violent attacks but ensuring that other students on campus feel comfortable when they are around you", right? In what world is this the right way to look at things?

I think Zenpundit might have been right when he suggested that for many, gun control is more about enforcing culture than it is making people safe.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 5, 2013 10:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Sen. Harvey's comment sounds very odd at first. In the end, he is apologizing for those who elevate their feelings of this woman's safety.

The ZenPundit post is right on. He even hits a riff I have been harping on:

Douthat's criticism of a reflexively angry but unimaginative and politically inept Right is correct, but class trumps mere Left-Right distinctions regarding gun control, with celebrity pundit Fareed Zakaria and conservative press baron Rupert Murdoch aligning with fellow Manhattan West Side billionaire and gun control zealot, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and various worthies in calling for UK style "gun bans".

Add the WSJ Ed Page and Larry Kudlow to the list. This is not your Daddy's left-right divide.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2013 9:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Replacement link at

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2013 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Replaced the embed -- thanks.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2013 3:32 PM

Goalposts, moved.

Sequester-mageddon-palooza is here! But before you get to thinking that the human race has survived the draconian cuts -- they never said it would happen right away! No, this is long-term destruction of all that Americans hold dear. Josh Hicks at WaPo explains:

The reductions, known as the sequester, haven't yet diminished the country's forecasting system and will not impact disaster-relief funding in the near-term, according to government officials.

But the story could change in coming months as the cuts start to materialize more, possibly around the same time hurricane and tornado seasons begin.

So, you see, the next hurricane will be the fault of the sequester -- don't you just hope it hits Speaker Boehner's house in Ohio?

In completely unrelated news, the DJIA hit an all time high and closed at 14,253.77. In spite of government cuts. In. Spite. Of.


Celebrity "fractivists" Conflicted:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The scene: a Manhattan art-house theater. The cause: a campaign against the gas drilling process known as fracking that's being led by more than 100 celebrities, including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo and Mario Batali.

You guys can keep at it, but if Yoko is going to sing, I'm ready to quit fracking. And heat. And electricity.

All Hail President Carter!

<homer_simpson_voice>Jimmy Carter! He' s History's greatest monster!</homer_simpson_voice>

The Obama Administration does much to rehabilitate the legacy of our 39th. But one thing -- honest and true -- is that President Carter deregulated air travel and trucking. We forget about that's impact on our lives but it is huge.

Mark J Perry notices:


Professor Perry also makes some trenchant points about the hated-by-travelers fees as loved-by-economists unbundling.

At the end of the day, though, you can draw that graph for almost everything provided by a market not controlled by regulation. (I doubt many attorneys in the aviation industry would accept that it is "unregulated.") It is the government-meddled industries that show the rising costs.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 2:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 4, 2013

Outrageous Conspiracy!

It cannot be a mere coincidence that this senseless and outrageous assault with a deadly weapon was perpetrated on the eve of the Colorado State Legislature's hearings into seven new proposed gun control laws. There can be no doubt that this incident was staged by bill opponents to cast doubt on the ability of commonsense gun laws to fully and completely protect the public from assault with a deadly weapon. I can hear them now: "After you criminalize gun ownership, next you'll want to criminalize brooms as well." @$% extremists.

Gun Rights Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

When brooms are outloawed...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2013 4:52 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hogwart's hardest hit.

OH COME ON! Harry was flying without a license - at eleven! Sure England requires registration...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2013 6:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Apparently, legislation has just been introduced to limit large capacity dust pans to 15 inches.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 5, 2013 2:01 PM
But jk thinks:

No reasonable person would ever need an "assault" dustpan.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2013 2:19 PM

Inverse Iatrogenic Alert

Jonathan Haidt is back for a cameo in Arthur Brooks's WSJ guest editorial today. It seems that some popular ThreeSources memes are crashing into one another again in the blogosphere.

Brooks says Haidt's findings, coupled with exit polls showing "only 33% of Americans said that Mitt Romney 'cares about people like me'" spell problems for an agenda of economic freedom.

Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support--care for the vulnerable--to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.

The irony is maddening. America's poor people have been saddled with generations of disastrous progressive policy results, from welfare-induced dependency to failing schools that continue to trap millions of children.

Meanwhile, the record of free enterprise in improving the lives of the poor both here and abroad is spectacular. According to Columbia University economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin, the percentage of people in the world living on a dollar a day or less--a traditional poverty measure--has fallen by 80% since 1970. This is the greatest antipoverty achievement in world history. That achievement is not the result of philanthropy or foreign aid. It occurred because billions of souls have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to global free trade, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship.

I apologize to those who do not know the inside humor around this post. The headline in a meta-inside joke. I used the following Nassim Nicholas Taleb quote as a blunt object in a long-time argument:
Perhaps the idea behind capitalism is an inverse-iatrogenic effect, the unintended-but-not-so-unintended consequences: the system facilitates the conversion of selfish aims (or, to be correct, not necessarily benevolent ones) at the individual level into beneficial results for the collective. -- Taleb, Nassim Nicholas (2012-11-27). Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (p. 114). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Blog brother jg recognized the inference to an almost seven-year-old feud between us.

Objectivism wants to educate people to understand the value of self-ownership and I can certainly dig that. But (McCoy!!!), we have what everybody wants -- a solution to poverty. I'm ready to join my buddy Brooks and give the people that for which they clamor.

Instead, the answer is to make improving the lives of vulnerable people the primary focus of authentically conservative policies. For example, the core problem with out-of-control entitlements is not that they are costly--it is that the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens. Education innovation and school choice are not needed to fight rapacious unions and bureaucrats--too often the most prominent focus of conservative education concerns--but because poor children and their parents deserve better schools.

Defending a healthy culture of family, community and work does not mean imposing an alien "bourgeois" morality on others. It is to recognize what people need to be happy and successful--and what is most missing today in the lives of too many poor people.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:36 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

It is conceivable that dagny has been corrupted by my innate tendency to argue too quickly to the ideal conclusion rather than take the listener along at his pace, such that he may adopt each idea as his own before proceeding to the next. I concede that "for the general good" is an easier sell, in our age, than any of the other justifications I have to offer.

A quote came to mind:

No one in this world, so far as I know - and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me - has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. -H.L. Mencken

7 years? Boy are we stubborn!

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2013 5:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Are not!

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2013 5:52 PM

March 1, 2013

Brother Bryan on Radio

"I'll be co-hosting Grassroots Radio Colorado with the lovely and talented Molly Vogt. Be sure to tune in tonight from 5-7 PM at 560 AM or at"

But johngalt thinks:

I'm listening. He sounds like a radio Pro!

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 7:40 PM

Quote of the Day

Among the myriad problems with this sort of thinking [President Obama's SOTU call to band together, just like Seal Team Six] is that it confuses the fundamental reason we have a military in the first place. We have a military so Americans don't have to live militaristically -- i.e., take orders, march in step, etc. We rely on the collective endeavor known as the military so that the rest of us can enjoy our individual endeavors. That is what the pursuit of happiness is about. We do not have a military so it can provide a good example of how we can more productively abandon our freedoms. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]

Why we Fight Over Beliefs

I've mentioned once or twice a relative who took to dating a redistributionist, and the heated discussions which were thus precipitated during family gatherings. She says she just wants us all to get along or "enjoy each other" because all of us are "great people" and should share some "common ground." So an article called Science Asks: Why Can't We All Just Get Along? was just what I needed at the moment.

We've discussed Jonathan Haidt's 'The Righteous Mind' here several times, most notably, I think, here. But Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward prefaced an excerpt with a summary that parallels Rand's idea (in 'Philosophy: Who Needs It?') that all of us have a philosophy but while some of us arrive at it consciously, others form their philosophy by accident through the myriad experiences of life.

Haidt theorizes that this kind of blindness to the real motivations of others is driving discord in Washington and around the country. Our political personalities emerge from a stew of nature, nurture (which is in part a result of feedback from the world on our natures), and the narratives we build up to explain the progression of our own lives and the working of the world around us. But they also wall us off from others:
Morality binds and blinds. This is not just something that happens to people on the other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We circle around sacred values and then share post hoc arguments about why we are so right and they are so wrong. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects. Morality binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say

I challenge the conclusion that "we all" suffer from the delusion he describes, but I agree it largely applies to every ideological bent. The essential point here is that "everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects." Again, I dispute that "everyone" does but for the most part, yes.

So what can be done about this? Before reading the article I proposed to aforementioned family member a new discussion. One relating to premises and not conclusions:

"The idea is everyone can state as many premises as they like and others simply agree or disagree. No debating. We find all the things everyone agrees on."

Premise -n. (World English Dictionary) 1. logic Also: premiss a statement that is assumed to be true for the purpose of an argument from which a conclusion is drawn

I'll let you know how it goes.

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

Sequester Update

Thanks to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt:

Stephen Gutowski: "Just tried driving but since sequestration went into effect the roads have all crumbled into dust."


Jonah: "It wasn't until I ate my neighbor's pancreas that I realized president Obama was right about the sequester."

Iowahawk: "The corpses are piling up outside my window like cordwood, oh my God the humanity."

Sebastian: "Nothing to worry about! I grabbed my double barrel shotgun & blasted #sequester through the door, just like the VP said."

Ari Fleischer: "President Obama is right. Undo the sequester! I can't stand it already."

Becket Adams: "I don't think my neighbors are taking sequestration seriously. They're giving me weird looks and making fun of my war paint and loincloth."

Exurban Jon: "So this is what anarchy feels like . . . From now on, I shall be known as ;ExJon, Warlord of the Western Deserts.'"

Buck Sexton: "Did America lose 170,000,000 jobs in the last 10 minutes? Keep me informed, everyone."

Brandon Morse: "The #sequester may now join the Mayan Calendar and the Y2K bug in the "[Stuff] Everyone Survived" Hall of Fame."

But johngalt thinks:

I just found a leaky water pipe valve on the building where I work. #Sequester effects already happening!!

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 5:02 PM
But jk thinks:

You still have water?????

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2013 5:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm chalking that up to Boulder's political pull.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 5:52 PM

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