May 31, 2013
Quote of the Day
Those who know how I feel about Albert Jay Nock, the author of Our Enemy the State, should recognize that this is no small compliment.
A hero of mine offers a contrary point which is hard for me to wrap my head around.
I've always accepted his "good deflation" as "disinflation" and an excuse to follow a Brenanke-ish line to avoid actual deflation.
These are the End Times, Baby!
CNBC's John Harwood @JohnJHarwood tweets of "nice piece by @jonward11 on GWB post-presidency."
It is. Like FOX News Sunday's affectionate portrayal of Sen. Bob Dole on Memorial Day Weekend, one can appreciate the man even if one has come to doubt some of his policies.
Is this, however, a sign of how far President Obama has fallen? There are flattering stories in HuffPo? And John Harwood tweets about them? Anything else I missed -- water still flows downhill?
May 30, 2013
There Is Hope!
Colorado SecState Scott Gessler is making an announcement at 5PM Mountain (three minutes from now):
Honey Badger Don't Care!!!!
Tancredo legitimacy "startling"
That from National Journal's Josh Kraushaar:
Less noticed, but equally as damaging, is the party's persistent inability to contest statewide races in Colorado, which is rapidly becoming a Democratic-leaning state—in large part because of GOP mismanagement. The party's brightest recruit, Rep. Cory Gardner, just opted to pass up a Senate campaign against Mark Udall, leaving the GOP empty-handed. Even more startling is the reemergence of immigration hardliner Tom Tancredo as a legitimate gubernatorial candidate, jumping in the race this month against Gov. John Hickenlooper.
On the bright side, Josh observes that there is a path to a 2014 GOP senate majority by winning exclusively Red states, but adds that this "could easily blind Republicans to the long-term vulnerabilities it faces."
The New York Times?
That right wing rag is beating up on your President again. Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker:
On Wednesday, President Obama left the White House for two Chicago fund-raisers in the hope of helping Democrats retake the House in next year’s elections. The cost of flying aboard Air Force One to his hometown: $180,000 per hour.
Viva la Gibson!
Rep Marsha Blackburn (R - TN) wants some answers
"The recent scandals surrounding this administration raise a number of questions about who they choose to target and why," Blackburn said. "The arrogance and lack of transparency displayed by this President and his cabinet officials in events such as the raids on Gibson Guitar and the IRS targeting of conservative groups show a complete disregard for the rule of law....
(Best read in Rep. Blackburn's adorable Tennessee drawl...) I hope she and the IBD Ed Page can rekindle the controversy around this. It was always a great example of overreach; a credible foundation of political retribution raises its seriousness.
Hat-tip Brother Keith on FB
May 29, 2013
Headline of the -- ever!
Taranto misclassifies this as "We Blame George W. Bush."
I will misclassify it as Headline of the Day:
DUI sex blamed for crash that ejected naked woman
I say misclassify, because the farther into the story you read the bettrer it gets. In fear it will be edited, I offer the 05/29/2013 08:33:54 AM PDT update in its entirety:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A New Mexico man faces multiple charges after police say he was having sex with a woman while driving drunk and crashed, ejecting the woman from the vehicle.
I went to school in Socorro, and that is an Albuqurque story!
I will miss the Minnesoootan's flat vowels, but little else about the retiring "Tea Party Favorite" Michelle Bachman (R - MN). Her bombast and quick appeals to religion are not my particular cup of Tea Party, but she is who she is.
The joy from my Facebook friends is in bounds. "The death of the Tea Party!" assured a workmate. Fine and dandy.
But His Most Probitous, Glenn Kessler, The Arbiter of Truth at the WaPo tips his hand.
The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is not seeking reelection will leave the Capitol a much less interesting place to fact check. As one of our colleagues put it, "The entire fact checking industry may have to hold a national day of mourning."
Proof to these eyes that "The entire fact checking industry" should not exist as such.
Take this guy to the track next time
All right you knuckle-draggin', science-ignoring, global warming denialists! Here's your morning read. If you have a progressive friend on Facebook who watches Jon Stewart all the time, she'll be able to help you with the big words.
The Parliamentary Question that started this was put by Lord Donoughue on 8 November 2012. The Question is as follows.
Doug Keenan, guest-posting at the very interesting looking Bishop Hill blog, takes on that question from the standpoint of selecting the correct statistical model to evaluate the rise.
If that sounded interesting, click away. If not, you're not going to like the post any better than the description. Just turn FOX News back on and see if there are any more Cheetos® in the sofa cushions.
Hat-tip: Robert Tracinski [subscribe]
In a global recovery, Venezuela cannot produce enough wine and communion wafers for the Catholic Church (and take it from this altar boy, we ain't talking a 1949 Chateau le Fete) and Argentinians travel to trade currency at market rates. Professor Mead suggests it's "More Glittering Success for Latin American Socialism"
This is only one of the bizarre economic policies wreaking havoc on Argentina. The quack economists now running the country into the ground will continue to try one eccentric experiment after another until the money eventually runs out.
Hat-tip: Insty, who adds "Socialism never works as a policy, but thanks to human traits of envy and gullibility, it's often successful as a con."
May 28, 2013
Letting these Dairy Terrorists off Easy, are we?
Raw Milk? And he could be in jail less than a year?
Raw-milk proponents celebrated a Wisconsin farmer's acquittal on three of four counts related to selling unpasteurized milk and cheese, bolstering their hopes of legalizing the products in America's Dairyland.
Will no one step up to protect the children! Milk is a gateway drug to goat cheese.
May 27, 2013
Libertario Delenda Est
Reason comes out for the DH! That's it, it's over between us. I think we should start seeing other think tanks and foundations.
But I gotta admit, Steve Chapman has some style:
I once regarded the designated hitter as a hideous and cancerous blight that would inevitably lead to the collapse of civilization. I still do, but I can live with that. What I can no longer endure is the sight of gifted athletes victimized by a conspiracy to make them look like clowns.
Not Feeling the Love
A. Barton Hinkle is not feeling the love for President Obama.
A physician’s expertise makes him capable of inflicting great harm, noted Plato a couple thousand years ago, and no one is better positioned to steal than a guard. So perhaps we should not be surprised that the most conspicuous foe of liberty and the Bill of Rights turns out to be a former professor of constitutional law.
II was going to do a quote of the day for the closing sentence, which David Boaz (inline, implicit hat-tip) pulled out in his Facebook link: "When he retires from public life, perhaps he will return to teaching the Constitution. That should be much easier work -- given how little of it there will be left."
But the whole thing is pretty good...
May 26, 2013
This book's procurement comes with a funny story. And a funny story must always be told.
I have enjoyed meeting many new liberty lovers at Brother Bryan's Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons (LOTR-F), but none more than Russ. A garrulous and impassioned liberty lover, Russ would distribute copies of Bastiat's The Law before the meetings. I'm embarrassed to say my own lovely bride had not read it until she got one of those. (Learning about Bastiat on the street!)
The night Jon Caldera spoke, he interrupted. "Don't give away 'The Law!'" thundered my favorite speaker at my favorite listener. "People need to read "The Blueprint', or Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals!'" It was brutal but effective. Russ has now added both to his travelling library. I bought one of each at the last meeting and will review them on successive Sundays.
The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) makes much sense after hearing Caldera speak at LOTR-F. The Blueprint describes how "the other guys" built infrastructure. While the GOP runs a campaign and then retreats to the Country Club after they lose, a powerful and wealthy group of Democratic donors fund continuing enterprises. And these groups have very successfully flipped Red Colorado to deep blue.
I think we all remember 2004 as "what the hell just happened?" The GOP did very nationally but crumbled in Colorado. This book describes exactly what happened.
Governor Owens, who now had to spend his final two years in office dealing with a hostile legislature, saw it differently. "They bought the state. We ought to treat this the way we treat naming rights to football stadiums--let's just put Pat Stryker's and Tim Gill's names on the gold dome of the Colorado state Capitol, because that's what happened." While many factors played a part, Owens pointed to one in particular. "Before campaign finance reform was passed, people tried to use money to influence an individual legislator here or there. Nowadays, big donors just buy them by the dozen."
Is Colorado sui generis? Caldera himself is quoted in the book saying that the state is big enough to be important, yet small enough to be bought (my words not his*). The same players are expanding this to other states. They will not have surprise on their side, and some other media markets will be more costly to saturate. But they are very smart and very well-funded. And Republicans are ... well ... hang on a minute ... I had something....
The ThreeSources staple of tactics vs. philosophy is subject to examination. In short, do you hand out "The Law" or "Rules for Radicals?"
Discussion of issues that might divide the group was strictly verboten. "All the participants checked their political agendas at the door," said Polis later. "There was never any policy discussed. There were never any issues discussed. This was simply a group of people who believed that all of our issues, and regardless of what they were, what our differences were, would be better represented in a Democratic majority.
At the same time, what drove these people together? A very backward GOP dominated statehouse that was determined to push its social agenda. NARAL and Tim Gill and Jared Polis had a common enemy. A more libertarian GOP would not have been nearly as successful in uniting them.
Trimpa knew that equality for gays and lesbians would begin at the state legislature. "Ted understood that there needed to be changes in the legislature to move a more progressive agenda," said Lynne Mason of the Colorado Education Association. That meant electing Democrats and defeating Republicans.
The GOP -- I dearly hope -- will always fight public sector unions. Perhaps if they read more philosophy, they might not facilitate such a phalanx against them.
It's well worth the read -- I'll go 3.5 stars. I am quite convinced its ideas are valuable but not convinced they are a blueprint for the forces of goodness and light.
*UPDATE: The full Caldera quote:
The beauty of Colorado is that it's big enough to be important but small enough that just a few people can radically change the political landscape. It's the best bang for the buck in American politics.
May 24, 2013
Quote of the Day
And since I'm already in rant mode, let me add that it really pisses me off. I resent utterly and totally the politicization of everything. I hate it to my core. It is arguably the single most right-wing thing about me. The idea that people can refer to a left-wing clothing line or a right-wing pizza company strikes me as grotesquely ludicrous and ludicrously grotesque. It's like referring to a "Presbyterian fastball" or a "Fabian cloud."
I am very sad to report that JK will probably get to make good on his threat to start the "Weld County Republicans for Hickenlooper."
From Steve Laffey's FB page:
From the desk of Steve Laffey
Arnold Kling was the subject of a recent Review Corner, as well as a post before there was a Review Corner (we call those the Dark Ages...). Today, commenter tg directs me to Kling's review of Mark S. Weiner's The Rule of the Clan which "makes a libertarian case for a strong central state. In it, he directly challenges what many libertarians currently believe."
Societies of Contract enable citizens to forge their own professional lives and personal identities, but societies of Status provide their members with deep social and psychological security. Societies of Contract foster the economic growth that comes from individual competition, but societies of Status advance the principle of social justice. Societies of Contract liberate citizens from the dead hand of tradition, while societies of Status initiate kinsmen into a profound communion across generations. At bottom, liberal societies offer citizens personal freedom, whereas the rule of the clan provides its members with a powerful feeling of community and solidarity.
It is an excellent review. It underscores what I describe as "Deepak Lal libertarianism" and the tradeoff I suggested of abstract rights for prosperity. Per Weiner -- and I suspect Lal -- the trade is not giving away rights but accepting civilization and rule of law. I give away my right to drive 100 mph down County Road 7 in exchange for safety -- I don't think Ben Franklin would object.
It also ties together, per Kling's "Three Languages," the natural fusionism between conservatives who value civilization over barbarism and libertarians who value liberty over coercion. I want to be free to shoot heroin and marry my three hottest neighbors. That might disturb some conservatives. But my anarcho-capitalist friends are unconvincing that 65,000 private local constabularies can provide regular protection of rights consistent with the US Constitution.
This also segues nicely to a link going around "Are Savages Noble?" [SPOILER ALERT: No.]
Mister Jefferson nailed it:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Barbarism is incompatible with Liberty.
Wish I Could be at the Hayek Auditorium
Deirdre McCloskey at the Hayek Auditorium! Man, that rivals The Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East.
Alas and alack (what is an alack?) I fear I will be watching the live feed on cato.org. But still:
Featuring Deirdre N. McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago, Author, The Bourgeois Virtues and Bourgeois Dignity; with comments by Donald J. Boudreaux, Professor of Economics, George Mason University; moderated by Dalibor Rohac, Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.
May 23, 2013
All Hail Taranto
Demonstrating his ignorance of both architecture and dancing, he alleges that "conservatives have laid the groundwork for a cynical two-step. First, squeeze funding for government programs, making it harder for civil servants to do their jobs. Then, when the inevitable screw-up comes, use it as further justification for cuts." -- James Taranto
When self-driving cars reach the masses, thanks may be due to a 19-year-old high-school student from Romania who developed an artificial intelligence that slashes the cost of the technology. He took top prize -- a $75,000 scholarship -- Friday at an international science and engineering fair.
Now, I'm just a software guy, but would not optical solutions be less tolerant of weather conditions than radar? All the same, assessing my technical/engineering achievements when I was 19 and -- I think I'll give it to Ionut Budisteanu.
Meanwhile, in Buffy News...
Emma Caulfield (Anya) takes an online "Which Buffy Character are You" quiz:
May 22, 2013
A good [L|l]ibertarian is offended at receiving good service from the DMV. It invalidates all he or she believes.
I submit this as great example of government "service." Simply pick the range of the first letters of all the cities around you.
Headline of the Day
Father who set up video to capture 'paranormal' activity accidentally films his girlfriend having sex with his teenage son instead -- Daily MailIt's, like, she thought he'd believe anything...
I must thank blog brother jg for dredging up my old post "On Prosperitarianism." And saying some kind words about it. I think it holds up pretty well from 2008 -- far better than Senator McCain's liberty bona-fides from the same year. (Now, that was just plain mean!)
A quick Bing® search shows the unwieldy neologism has not caught on. Three of the four links returned are ThreeSources (or nascarretards.com). The other is a deeply hidden joke. But a preference for solutions which optimize Prosperity and Liberty seems worthy of a few more hits.
I offer it not as special philosophy but as a branch in the complex ontology of Libertarian thought. Some revel in privacy, absolute property rights -- any one of the ideals of a free society. I certainly like them all -- but I most like the ones which will promote innovation and prosperity. And more controversially, I am more willing than some to trade some absolute and abstract liberty for prosperity. A real Prosperitarian (of which it seems I am still -- like Tigger -- the only one) must concede this point. That's the dark side and we all must be willing to be honest.
I bring this up in the context of an exciting innovation which intrigues me to no end: the self-driving car.
I was only slightly surprised to hear that Greg Beato of Reason is less than enthused allowing Google to track our motion as well as our thoughts. Randall O'Toole denies it, much as I appreciate O'Toole, not totally convincingly.
Timothy B. Lee links to both arguments today and makes a Prosperitarian summary:
Beato is right: Self-driving cars will make it easier for the authorities to track you everywhere you go. But the benefits of self-driving cars are likely to be so enormous that American consumers will sign up in droves, regardless of the privacy implications.
I fear the tort bar will not allow driverless cars. The technology would save tens of thousands of lives every year. But it would completely extirpate the responsibility case law. We can somehow handle 40,000 deaths caused by culpable actors with insurance and sleazy lawyers who advertise on daytime TV. But will Google or Microsoft be sufficiently indemnified if somebody dies for the lack of a closing brace in version 2.04.22? We'll have laws named after victims and coders in prison before we go back to the numerous but litigable fatalities.
If Wally "The Killer Harp Seal" Ventricle, Esq. can be contained, however, I am -- like Lee -- ready to trade privacy for lives saved, fuel saved -- and a sudden billion man-hours of new productivity as commuters can truly focus on their texting and emails.
jk Sticks it to The Man!
"The Man" being, curiously, a very nice guy named Rob Taylor. Mister Taylor started a guitar factory with a genius-level blend of ancient craftsmanship and modern design and production. If you find yourself in San Diego and are tired of Filipino food in National City, be sure to tour the factory in El Cajon.
I have bought me a bucketload of Taylors over the years, including another great innovation of theirs: nylon string guitars with regular, narrow, radiused necks instead of the flat, wide classical guitar necks. That got sold or traded or given away to some brother-in-law, and I found myself reconnecting with blog friend Sugarchuck's. Time to buy. Birthday's coming up! Johnny's been a very good boy this year...
BUT WAIT! Taylor Guitars not only failed to stand up for Gibson in their contretemps with the US Fish & Game SWAT Team -- they actually released a statement leaning heavily towards gub'mint. I'm not a boycottin' man, but Taylor Guitars are not cheap and it chaps me to send a lot of money to an opponent of liberty.
This little jewel from Cordoba Guitars (nah, I never heard of them either) showed up yesterday:
It's a fine piece: made of Indian Rosewood -- unusual for a top, a lighter wood would be louder, but it has a pickup and a mic built in. I got amps, she'll be plenty loud. It's less bright but very well defined. All in all, very pleasing for half of what I would have spent on the brand that shall not be named any more.
Feeling even better when sc sends this link: Ed Markey cheered gov’t witch hunt against Gibson Guitar. It includes a nice summary of the still unbelievable actions against Gibson, details of the final settlement, and some crowing by Rep (soon to be Senator, Oh boy!) Ed Markey.
Ed Markey was the leading politician pushing to punish Gibson Guitar for what at worst was a paperwork error. Markey didn’t appear to understand that this was about protecting jobs overseas, not at home. Markey was all on board with the demonization of a U.S. company for no good reason other than that the government could.
SC assures me that I have bought an "entrapment guitar:" Indian Rosewood and an Ebony fretboard. Heh – wait a minute, there’s somebody at the door…
May 21, 2013
For alls of y'alls that missed it at Liberty on the Rocks -- looks like there's another chance. Stealing this from LOTR-F doyenne, Allison:
Have you heard conflicting stories about fracking? Have you heard rumors about how devastating it can be and are worried about the impact it will have on the earth? It can be super confusing, and knowing even the most basic facts can seem cumbersome. It can't just be me that feels this way.
CO Guv Race - Early Edition
And here's an interview with Jon Caldera.
Colorado's GOP chairman expects at least four others to test the waters and while I like and admire three of them, Laffey looks like a potentially transformational candidate.
UPDATE: Here's the audio of Laffey's official announcement as a candidate for CO Governor, this morning on KFKA's Amy Oliver Show. Best part is the second half of the segment. (Pull slider to the middle or so.)
Otequay of the Ayday
The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists [like economists] disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous [Consensus?] in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. -- Newsweek, April 28, 1975
Related: "Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in thirteen U.S. states." (Same article)
I know ThreeSourcers to be a generous lot; if there's any way: OK Humane Society
Quote of the Day
In notable contrast, liberal and "progressive" organizations got approvals with remarkable speed. The most conspicuous example involves the Barack H. Obama Foundation, which was approved as tax exempt within a month by the then-head of the IRS tax-exempt branch, Lois Lerner. -- David Rivkin and Lee Casey
May 20, 2013
Meanwhile, In Buffy News...
Huffington Post (who says there's nothing good there?) enumerates Ten things we like about Buffy (on the Tenth Anniversary of the final episode). Number nine is fun:
Willow And Tara's Relationship
Saw (and reposted) this on Facebook thanks to John Pizzarelli's Radio Deluxe. Jimmy Stewart was born 105 years ago today.
Quote of the Day
Gripping entertainment. Can I bear the excitement? As I sip my coffee and stare at the ice my thoughts turn to what the polar ice might do this year. Might it also be late breaking up? That would set the cat among the pigeons. -- Commenter Ian H.Mister H is watching -- live -- what may be the latest ice break up in the Nenana Ice Classic. "The latest the ice has ever gone out was May 20th, 1964 at 11:41 AM Alaska Standard Time. As of this writing there is about 28 hours to go to break that record."
May 19, 2013
Housekeeping task: First, here is your definition of friendship:
Last week's Review Corner was G.K. Chesterton's "What's Wrong with the World," a bit of indulgent but intelligent retrospective from a 70-year-old academic. This week's is curiously similar: Deepak Lal's Poverty and Progress: Realities and Myths about Global Poverty
At the start of my seventh decade, as I look back over the past 50 years, during which I have studied, engaged in various debates, and traveled in the Third World, I am amazed at the transformations that have lifted billions out of poverty. One of the saddening experiences in writing this book, and of reading what younger scholars have written during the last 20 years, is the realization that many of them have little sense of this amazing achievement or its causes.
Despite some sadness in that excerpt, Lal's book could be called "What's Right with the World." Professor Lal is quite pleased with economic liberalism's record of lifting people out of poverty. He did his early work in India, which has expanded its economy by judicious application of freedom and property rights (though still too bureaucratic for its true potential). China opened up and hundreds of millions of people escaped $1/day poverty. Now, Lal is optimistic about Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
As in Asia, the answer to Africa's economic problems must lie in beginning to set its citizens free of the shackles of the state. Africa has for too long been used by western ideologues as a laboratory for their latest dirigiste ideas. They have made Africa’s problems worse. The best thing the world can do for Africa is to keep its goods and capital markets open and let the continent’s entrepreneurial multitudes make their own future, beginning by learning how to hold their predatory rulers to account and ensuring that the state becomes a civil, not an enterprise, association.
So...what is Lal's "magic bullet" that propelled us from privation? For Deirdre McClosky, it is "Bourgeois Dignity," for my progressive friends it is good vibes and labor unions. To what does Professor Lal attribute this miracle?
I hope brother jg is seated securely. Lal talks about "Promethean Growth" as cultures discover the limitless energy of fossil fuels as opposed to wood, peat and dung. He is an economic historian and suggests England superseded the Dutch because the lowlands ran out of Peat and Britain had plentiful coal.
The biggest lacuna in this theory of the transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy is its failure to account for the ending of the energy constraint posed by fixed land, with the increasing substitution of land-based organic energy by the unlimited mineral energy provided by fossil fuels (Wrigley 1988).
Chapter Ten punctures the research on global warming and expresses concern that, just as we are poised to bring the last groups out of poverty, promethean growth is threatened.
This use of an unbounded energy source, accompanying the slowly rolling Industrial Revolution, allowed the ascent from structural poverty, which had scarred humankind for millennia. To put a limit on the use of fossil fuels without adequate economically viable alternatives is to condemn the Third World to perpetual structural poverty.
Not to say that Lal does not appreciate bourgeois dignity nor the individualism and freedom that animates ThreeSourcers.
By contrast, the alternative technocratic approach to poverty alleviation is necessarily infected with egalitarianism because of its lineage. At its most elaborate, it is based on some Bergson-Samuelson-type social welfare function, laid down by Platonic Guardians. 8 Given the underlying assumption of diminishing marginal utility, any normative utility weighting of the incomes of different persons or households leads naturally to some form of egalitarianism. But this smuggling in of an ethical norm, which is by no means universally accepted, leads to a form of “mathematical politics.” Poverty alleviation becomes just one component of the general problem of maximizing social welfare,
Why did England have an Industrial Revolution and China did not? All ThreeSourcers had better sit for this. It's a McClosky-esque turn from individualism and science
This cultural divergence, as I argued in Unintended Consequences and which was summarized in Part 1, was due in part to the family revolution of Gregory the Great in the sixth century in the West. This gave rise to the individualism that led to the Renaissance and the scientific revolution, but also to the rise of nuclear families and the creation of statist safety nets for the poor, replacing the communal ones provided in the past and which continued in the other Eurasian civilizations-- including China. It was not the welfare states, which were a necessary consequence of its newfound individualism, that led to the rise of the West, but the sheer escape from tradition in art and science that individualism promoted.
I put my Kindle down and shook in this section because of my decades working in Boulder, Colorado where most people just assume the superiority of Eastern philosophy, medicine, science, thought, religeon, art, and cuisine. I am totally down appreciating Thai, Himalayan, Chinese, and Vietnamese food.
But -- and I am clearly putting words in Lal's mouth here -- the codswallop of eastern spirituality over science denied this great, wealthy and brilliant culture their renaissance. Lal mentions that they did not have a Shakespeare -- I suggest they needed a Martin Luther.
I have picked a few items of interest to folks 'round these parts more than I have covered this magisterial work. It is five stars and highly recommended.
May 18, 2013
Our Precious Bodily Fluids at Stake!
I'm choosing a side. I think I might do it American Idol style and become a passionate advocate based on your votes.
I have a good friend on Facebook who is a lover of liberty and a world class musician. A few months ago, he surprised me with an impassioned post against Fluoridated Water. I thought only nuts rallied against that.
That matches my perception. And yet. This is -- ahem -- government. Putting something in the water. Because it is good for us. There is no opt out. Let's look at the players:
On paper, the fight over fluoridating Portland's water supply looks absurdly uneven. The pro-fluoridation group Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, as of May 13, had received $689,376 in cash and $65,093.64 in the form of donated supplies and labor. The anti-fluoridation Clean Water Portland received $194,333 and $59,137. Healthy Kids enjoys the backing of a diverse coalition that ranges from major health care and dental providers, such as Kaiser Permanente and the Oregon Dental Association (both have donated tens of thousands of dollars), to organized labor and almost all of the region’s major groups representing and organizing with people of color and low-income communities. Oregon’s Wild West campaign spending laws (they basically don’t have any) allow huge contributions: The Northwest Health Foundation alone has donated well over $200,000. The Urban League is the premiere advocacy group for Portland’s African-American community and it has an organizer devoted full-time to the cause.
I dunno, my heart kinda goes with the Wingnuts against the ADA, EPA, WHO and Big Doctors Lobby.
My friend's post was full of nonsense about how the fertilizer corporations' greed causes it because there is no other way to get rid of by-products than to sell it to cities to put in Junior's water...oh, dearie me... I called shenanigans (or some similar term) and the advocates agreed it was over the top but many of his friends insisted it is bad.
Any passion for Fl in ThreeSourcesLand? For "Against," Text WINGNUT to 800-3SOURCE...
May 17, 2013
Like B.B. King Knew Something...
Hat-tip James Taranto. But how he avoided his own "what would we do wothout experts?" riff is hard to fathom:
May 14, 2013 -- Consumers experiencing relationship problems are more likely to prefer aesthetic experiences that reflect their negative mood, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. -- Science News
I open with a QOTD, from Ben Domenech (h/t Jim Geraghty):
When this period of scandal draws to a close, if the idea still survives that a more competent and ethical president would be able to effectively govern a $4 trillion bureaucracy, it will be a sign Republicans have failed. They can succeed by ignoring the tempting bait of making this about the president they despise, and focusing instead on the false philosophy of expansive government which represents the true danger to the American experiment. Doing so will require them to go against their own short-term viewpoint, so prevalent in recent years, and look instead to the long game.
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Using these to bring down President Obama might be quite satisfying in a "vengeance is mine sayeth the RNC" kind of way. But it leaves us with: a) President Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton Pee-Ayy; and, b) a $4T bureaucracy full of tenured bureaucrats (it is a bureaucracy after all) who will seek to expand the size and scope of government whether Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton sits in the Oval Office.
It's Friday and I have not linked to Kim Strassel in what seems like weeks. Read her coast-to-coast today in spite of my lengthy excerpt:
In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."
Another light-haired woman who writes for the WSJ Ed Page on Friday has a good piece as well. But I liked Professor Reynolds's take on Ms. Noonan:
Peggy's right, but I was saying the same thing -- right there in the Wall Street Journal -- way back in 2009, when she was still going on about Obama’s transformational energy. So welcome to the party. Wish you’d gotten here before the re-election.
May 16, 2013
Atlas Shrugged as Owners' Manual
We're here. James Pethokoukis links to a study that shows that "Public companies that did the most lobbying easily beat the S&P 500 from 2007-2012"
My take: Two ways to make money in 2013 America: add value or have government put a thumb on the scale for you. Clearly, the second may be more important than the first.
Meanwhile, In Buffy News...
Can't wait. Can't wait:
Hat-tip: Whedonesque blog
We have not taken potshots at a popular religious figure since, well let's see it's 2:06 Mountain...
Pope blasts "cult of money" that tyrannizes poor
No doubt a good Jesuit has read more Michael Novak than I. Does he need a refresher? I would also suggest some Deirdre McClosky [Review Corner]. I take him at his word for his compassion for the poor. Yet they'd be better served by some papal recognition of bourgeois dignity.
Actually, Sir, it is tyranny that tyrannizes the poor. The "cult of money" lifts them up.
Twin Tunnel Widening
This is cool. Colorado skiiers and mountain travelers are no doubt familiar with the Twin Tunnels on I-70 between Floyd Hill and Idaho Springs. They are a minor pinch point which cause major traffic delays. After many decades of inconvenience the Colorado Department of Transportation has finally managed to wrestle some funds away from riderless light rail train projects to improve infrastructure for - cars.
Sarcastic sniping aside, here is the project website. And below is the animation they made to show how the detour works. This was of particular interest to me because since the days of my youth I've always wanted to drive that abandoned road around the corner of the mountain. It looks like they've made a newer wider road instead, along with a new bridge, but I still want to get up there and check it out.
Or: All Hail IBD! A good friend of this blog emails a link, with the suggestion "Nothing in here you haven't seen but it's nice to have it put so concisely."
Tyranny: Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the president's parade of scandals is that just days before they broke, he mocked as paranoid those concerned about government excesses.
Followed by a handy enumeration of abuses current as of this morning (it's early yet...)
May 15, 2013
I need hardly mention -- in this crowd -- that I am nobody's idea of a full-throated Objectivist.
But I do fear for the Republic when I see a headline like this:
Jury foreman David Misko explained today outside t courthouse what made the jury decide on first degree murder.
This monster committed infanticide for hire, torturing and abusing his own patients in the grisly process.
His crime is greed? Did he not floss or did he frequently jaywalk into his murderous palace of horrors? I wish to make allowance for jurors who endured a difficult ordeal in performing their civic duty. At the same time, that "greed" was mentioned among such atrocity signifies a deep philosophical rot.
I hope I am being too harsh and that I regret posting this. But it grabbed an ABC news editor's attention to get elevated to the headline. Really -- greed is what disturbs you here...
Noooo! Nooooooo! Noooooo!
I will chair the "Weld County Republicans for Hickenlooper" if this turncoat gets the nod.
Otequay of the Ayday
"But it doesn't make any sense for us to use the coercive powers of the state to avoid the creation of future Teen Mom Porn Stars -- what are we going to do, imprison every knocked up moron teenager? What does make sense is to use the coercive powers of society. And society has few tools more powerful than shame. Pretending that an action is value-neutral to spare the feelings of a miscreant will only create more miscreants. I, for one, would prefer a society with fewer miscreants." -- Free Beacon Blogger Sonny Bunch, on model Christine Teigen's Tweet: I believe in shame and having shame and being shamed.
UPDATE: I rushed this to press and relied on readers to click through for the rest of the tweets. The one I cited was her conclusion, but she began by telling a young woman known as "Teen Mom Porn Star" that "you're a whore and everyone hates you..."
And if that's not tittilating enough to elicit commentary... Christine Christie Chrissy Teigen Pics Pictures Photos. (Check the traffic stats!)
Tweet of the Day
And a pretty good open letter to the MSM to go with it.
May 14, 2013
On Friday, May 10, President Obama ventured into Ohio to give a Mother's Day defense of the sagging fortunes of his signal achievement, the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law, the President assures us, "is here to stay"--a comment that is best regarded as a threat and not a promise. His conclusion was not coincidental; support for the ACA has dropped from 42 percent to 35 percent between November 2012 and April 2013. -- Richard Epstein
UPDATE: QOTD2 -- that is some lazy-ass blogging!
This is an exceptional and important article. Epstein clearly, concisely -- and fairly -- demolishes ObamaCare's implementation. It would be easy to ignore this during the administration's multi-scandal defensive. But don't -- this one is a keeper.
Quote of the Day
The motivations and fundraising of those who disagree with you are irrelevant to whether or not you're telling the truth, Mr. President. -- Jim Geraghty
May 13, 2013
The Moral Foundation of a Free Society
“The picture was made for the apple--not the apple for the picture.” - Abraham Lincoln
The Declaration of Independence is a document for all people, for all time, and from all walks of life. It recognizes the moral principle of individual rights, and by implication, the facts of reality that give rise to it. In doing so, it sets the ethical standard by which all systems of government can be judged, and forms the moral foundation of a free society. Lincoln correctly understood this relationship when he described the apple and the frame; governments must have a moral foundation to claim legitimacy.
Moral principles, such as individual rights, are not created by whim or impulse. They are derived from an objective moral code based on the fact that an individual’s life is an end unto itself. This fact forms the system of teleological measurement an individual uses to make choices. That which sustains, improves, or enriches the life of the individual is the good; that which does not is the evil. The primary method by which man distinguishes between the two is his mind.
The requirements of rational human existence are not tied to race, ethnicity, creed, nationality, or any other means of demographic categorization; to live, man must hold his own existence as the standard of moral value, and he must use his mind to provide for the material and spiritual necessities of his life. From the creation of tools to the composition of symphonies, the source of every life-affirming value is man’s reason.
To exist in a social setting, man requires one thing: Freedom. He must be free to think, to act upon the conclusions of his own judgment, and be the beneficiary of his actions. It is therefore essential that he be free from the initiation of force, fraud, or coercion. It is this fact that undergirds the only moral purpose of government: the protection of individual rights; it is on this premise that the Declaration of Independence is based.
By identifying these facts, the Declaration of Independence recognizes the requirements of human existence and creates the standard by which social systems are to be judged.
A moral government protects the individual rights of its citizens and derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed”. The word just in this context means, “Acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good.” This distinction is vital, as it qualifies to what end government power will be used, thus forming the principle of limited government.
If one holds man’s life as the standard, reason as his means of gaining knowledge, and the pursuit and achievement of values as the requirement of his life, it is unreasonable to judge any form of collectivist government as moral. Those social systems hold that the group is the standard of moral and political value, that the individual’s reason is impotent, and that one’s values should be sacrificed for the good of society. The foundation upon which collectivist societies are built is anathema to the requirements of human life and as such cannot claim legitimacy.
The practical results from these two governing philosophies are easy to distinguish. In those societies founded on individualism, there is eudemonia; in those where the collective is the standard, there is decay. However, despite this fact, advocates of collectivist ideologies continue to allure new acolytes. Through the siren song of altruism, they deceive would be followers by claiming egalitarianism as the ethical standard upon which the United States was built.
Like Lincoln, the Founders understood the relationship between morality and politics. They understood that man would not be willing to pledge his life, fortune, and sacred honor for political revolution without first knowing that he was morally right in doing so. The enemies of individualism have exploited this fact to erode the moral foundation upon which the Constitution is based.
Those who champion these principles must learn to defend them on moral grounds. They must understand that not only is it practical for man to be free, it is moral for him to be free. It is only on this foundation that a society can flourish, and it is because of this foundation that government may exercise legitimate power. If the political system created by the Constitution is to survive, the foundation created by the Declaration of Independence must be defended on the grounds that it is morally right.
Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons:
Join us on Monday, May 13th, when we will be celebrating the first anniversary of the Flatirons chapter with a showing of "FrackNation" -- a documentary that follows journalist Phelim McAleer as he seeks out the science behind, and truth about, fracking. After the movie there will be short Q&A with Americans for Prosperity, 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!
Six to Nine PM at Miller's Grille
Hat-tip: Terri See you there!
May 12, 2013
I'm going to infer from 11 substantive comments to last week's Review Corner that the topic of political language is still of interest and that Arnold Kling's division of American polity into Conservatives, Progressives, and Libertarians has been accepted on some level. Because I wish to marry this to another tenured ThreeSources discussion: canons. (One n -- looking up the plural I see I have been discussing aircraft armament. Oops. my bad).
Homonyms aside, I have frequently complained that the Progressives have a substandard canon. I hold that, but in the spirit of fairness must admit that my beloved Libertarian canon is inferior to the Conservatives. Mises, Hayek, Bastiat, Wollstonecraft, Locke and Rand excite me and I hold their ideas in great esteem.
But I spent last week with GK Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World. And I have to admit that Chesterton and Edmund Burke lay a timeless foundation for Conservatism (blog friend Sugarchuck would throw in C.S. Lewis; probably JRR Tolkien and Jonah Goldberg deserve slots in the pantheon).
Chesterton gets five stars for clarity and five for sparkling prose. I highlight quotes for reader's corners and it is difficult to stop and leave any lines un-highlighted. Sugarchuck compares his humor to Monty Python:
Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.
Gilbert Keith uses his gifts in support of conservatism. Jonah Goldberg loves to quote his line "Tradition is the Democracy of the dead." I'm a modernist and a libertarian, but the argument that we discard the proven is compelling.
Our modern prophetic idealism is narrow because it has undergone a persistent process of elimination. We must ask for new things because we are not allowed to ask for old things. The whole position is based on this idea that we have got all the good that can be got out of the ideas of the past.
I think the natural affinity between Kling's L's and C's is a common belief in property rights. GK is eloquent, as usual:
The average man cannot cut clay into the shape of a man; but he can cut earth into the shape of a garden; and though he arranges it with red geraniums and blue potatoes in alternate straight lines, he is still an artist; because he has chosen. The average man cannot paint the sunset whose colors be admires; but he can paint his own house with what color he chooses, and though he paints it pea green with pink spots, he is still an artist; because that is his choice. Property is merely the art of the democracy. It means that every man should have something that he can shape in his own image, as he is shaped in the image of heaven.
TGreer's comment on last week' Review Corner segues into this week's. I, too, came to little-l libertarianism through conservatism. For me it was Bill Buckley and National Review (and I still subscribe to Frank Meyers's Fusionism). Buckley subscribed to Milton Friedman's libertarian ideas on economics, school choice and drug legalization.
But Buckley and Chesterton "stand athwart history, yelling 'Stop!'" For Chesterton, that includes a large portion of the book devoted to Women's suffrage which a modern finds difficult to read. Chesterton is agin it, not because women are not good enough to vote. But because they are too good
Many voteless women regard a vote as unwomanly. Nobody says that most voteless men regarded a vote as unmanly. Nobody says that any voteless men regarded it as unmanly. Not in the stillest hamlet or the most stagnant fen could you find a yokel or a tramp who thought he lost his sexual dignity by being part of a political mob. If he did not care about a vote it was solely because he did not know about a vote; he did not understand the word any better than Bimetallism. His opposition, if it existed, was merely negative. His indifference to a vote was really indifference. But the female sentiment against the franchise, whatever its size, is positive. It is not negative; it is by no means indifferent.
Some things, sir, are not worth conserving.
But it is an awesome read and it is available on Kindle for $0.00. At five stars, that is an undefined value.
Click "Continue Reading" for more quotes.
Men have votes, so women must soon have votes; poor children are taught by force, so they must soon be fed by force; the police shut public houses by twelve o'clock, so soon they must shut them by eleven o'clock; children stop at school till they are fourteen, so soon they will stop till they are forty. No gleam of reason, no momentary return to first principles, no abstract asking of any obvious question, can interrupt this mad and monotonous gallop of mere progress by precedent. It is a good way to prevent real revolution. By this logic of events, the Radical gets as much into a rut as the Conservative. We meet one hoary old lunatic who says his grandfather told him to stand by one stile. We meet another hoary old lunatic who says his grandfather told him only to walk along one lane.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What's Wrong with the World (pp. 241-242). . Kindle Edition.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What's Wrong with the World (pp. 281-282). . Kindle Edition.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What's Wrong with the World (p. 271). . Kindle Edition.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What's Wrong with the World (pp. 246-247). . Kindle Edition.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What's Wrong with the World (p. 228). . Kindle Edition.
May 11, 2013
A beloved relative posted this today. I cannot embed, but you'll want to go read the headline on Upworthy.com. "The Earth-Shatteringly Amazing Speech That'll Change The Way You Think About Adulthood."
For those who do not have progressive friends on Facebook: a) what in the hell do you do for aggravation?, and, b) know that Upworthy.com belches out a constant stream of stuff like this which is fawned over by Facebook Progs in search of something really deep. I'm being mean and petty -- but you have not yet watched the video. Watch it coast to coast and tell me I am being harsh.
It's humorous in a David Sedaris -NPR kind of way; you can hear the chattering classes tittering in the audience. Talk about first world problems -- the wheel on his shopping cart sticks! Can't Harry Reid do something about that? Children ride in these carts ferchrissakes!
Yes, life sucks so bad. Your sweet car gets stuck in traffic, and the supermarket is so full of plenty that you have to walk through clean and "over-lit" aisles full of inexpensive varieties of goods to get what you want. The f***ing humanity!
But the solution, kindly provided (that's what makes it soooo amazing!) is to realize everybody else's life sucks too! Maybe worse! Damn, I feel better.
How about you appreciate the affluence that a bad shopping cart wheel is the worst part of your food acquisition experience (vis-a-vis hunting down a mammoth with a spear...)? Or hows and aboutin' you plan ahead to shop at a less congested time. Or order online? Or start a company that delivers groceries to the others who find this unpleasant?
I came here to rant, but I left a comment for my dear cousin:
"I hope this guy does not work the 'suicide hotline.'"
May 10, 2013
We're from the California EPA, and we're here to help
They gave us be-bop. "Soap doesn't work. Toilets don't flush. Clothes washers don't clean. Light bulbs don't illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It's all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice."
Surely, the gas can is protected. It's just a can, for goodness sake. Yet he was right. This one doesn't have a vent. Who would make a can without a vent unless it was done under duress? After all, everyone knows to vent anything that pours. Otherwise, it doesn't pour right and is likely to spill.
May 9, 2013
Otequay of the Ayday
The common denominator of most of these examples is that they are failures of diplomacy, which is precisely what this administration had promised to be better at.
May 8, 2013
Washington. Coolidge. Cruz.
"I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I've seen in the last 30 years."
"If defending Americans' constitutional liberties and fighting for policies that will spur job growth and economic recovery is [the] Democrats' definition of 'extreme,' it confirms that their convoluted, misguided priorities do not represent the best interests of New Yorkers," a spokeswoman for Cruz, a Princeton and Harvard Law honors graduate and one of just three Hispanics in the Senate, told The Post.
UPDATE (05/09 13:25) Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater
As for Perry, he’s old news. Public Policy Polling announced this week it’s dropping the GOP governor, who barely registers following his bungled White House bid last year, and replacing him with Cruz in future surveys of potential presidential candidates.
Benghazi in 5:30
About all you need to need to know.
President Obama's Commencement Speech
Civic education in America took a hit on Sunday when President Obama, giving the commencement address at The Ohio State University, chose citizenship as his theme. The country's Founders trusted citizens with "awesome authority," he told the assembled graduates. Really?
ThreeSourcers -- you know who you are -- will dig the whole thing.
I'm a natural optimist. Almost nothing can scare me out of my belief in the great American economic engine.
Review Corner (Bumped to propagate comments)
I gave away the premise of Arnold Kling's The Three Languages of Politics in a Pre-review corner. Kling takes on one of my favorite philosophical questions, videlicet, "How can my Facebook friends be such incredible Gooberheads?"
Perhaps they are and perhaps they are not. Kling suggests that each polity speaks its own language; that Conservatives, Progressives, and Libertarians not only judge policy on different axes as Jonathan Haidt suggests, but that each communicates in a different political language.
Progressives believe in human betterment. They see nearly unlimited potential for humans to improve materially and, more important, morally.
To bring it home, I am always surprised how frequently people just do not recognize liberty and coercion. Good old Republican-voting family members support smoking bans and are receptive to helmet laws, nannyist food directives and the like. When I describe the issue as property rights, they look at me blankly, as if -- wait for it -- I am speaking a different language. Touché, Kling.
Kling and I fit quite well into the L's:
Libertarians also look at government as the ultimate source of the problem. Libertarian economics is closely aligned with the Austrian tradition, and Austrian economists view central banks as the Dennis the Menace of capital markets, distorting interest rates and causing bubbles.
It is impossible not to compare it to Haidt's superb The Righteous Mind. Kling references it and includes an appendix describing it. Where Haidt starts with data and infers some interesting political observations, Kling takes the "why can't we all get along" question head on, using Haidt and other behavioral books to assemble his thesis. I cannot imagine anybody not reading both.
Kling's is brief and direct -- I give it five stars.
Addendum: Blog friend TGreer, commenting on the pre-review corner, applies the scale to politicians (Specifically ones which he knows will torque me...) Kling applies his to journalists and pundits, which is certainly cleaner. Taking FDR's entire 17 terms as New Dealer, War President, and party leader, I would find it hard to shoehorn him into one of Kling's boxes, even though the two Presidents Roosevelt are the archetype of Progressivism. I don't know whether that is a failing of Kling's micro-taxonomy or the lack of purity in actual legislative politics.
UPDATE: John Stossel (High Prince of the "L's") posts this quote to Facebook today:
Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end. -- Lord Acton
May 7, 2013
Headline of the Day
Just kidding! It's: "South Carolina voters decide fate of disgraced ex-governor"
Otequay of the Ayday
Not buyin' it
I am all for due process. Rule of law dictates attention to procedure and documentation. The State Constitution need recognize that.
BUT -- fercryinoutloud. The Denver Post reports on Lisa Kay Brumfiel, who has persuaded a Federal Judge to block the upcoming sale of her four-bedroom home "until the judge can decide whether parts of state law are unfair to homeowners facing the loss of their house."
Repeat boilerplate about rule of law here. It seems she is being foreclosed on by a different entity than that from which she procured her mortgage. She contests their standing to collect. Uncontested is that she has lived in her home since 2011 without making any payments.
Brumfiel bought her tri-level home in 2006 for $169,350. It was an interest-only loan with an adjustable rate.
I think rule of law and due process also dictate that the current mortgage holder can kick the current mortgagee's ass out (bumpkis evictus) after what must be at least 18 months non-payment.
The angle of the story is that she got a Federal Judge involved and that she did it without an attorney. Swell. But I read it as U.S. District Judge William Martinez's willingness to impede lawful if distasteful exercise of property rights's superseding precedent and reason.
Quote of the Day
The best gateway episode of Buffy. Slate makes the case for "Earshot", saying that "[it] offers the best of Buffy: human themes explored by way of superhuman phenomena and a skillful latticing of playful comedy with suspenseful misdirection, and moments of heart and vulnerability". -- Whedonesque Blog
The President can still stop the train wreck that is his signature piece of legislation and legacy. All he has to do is -- make a speech! He's awesome at that!
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, "senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, is vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and a former health-care adviser to President Obama." And today's guest editorialist at the WSJ. Emmanuel concedes that enrolling "young invincibles" is required to keep this monstrous ship afloat. A less charitable blogger than me would point out that the plan's fiducial framework is built on those who will pay for services they do not use. But Dr. Emmanuel is undaunted:
Fortunately, there are solutions. First, young people believe in President Obama. They overwhelmingly voted for him. He won by a 23% margin among voters 18-29--just the people who need to enroll. The president connects with young people, too, so he needs to use that bond and get out there to convince them to sign up for health insurance to help this central part of his legacy. Every commencement address by an administration official should encourage young graduates to get health insurance.
I sure feel better -- you? No doubt this addresses all of Cato's concerns.
May 6, 2013
Don't Worry -- they take care of YOUR money!
Financial Planning Magazine is agape at the First Family's Poor financial stewardship:
Digging deeper into their finances, the Obamas seem to have an immense amount of what advisors often call low-hanging fruit -- the ability to earn much more with less risk.
Whatever, they're swell people. Hat-tip: Prof. Mankiw.
Not Very Neighborly
"The FBI believed there was a terror attack in its planning stages, and we believe there would have been a localized terror attack, and that's why law enforcement moved quickly to execute the search warrant on Friday to arrest Mr. Rogers," FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said Monday.
These PBS guys...
Quote of the Day
Which brings me to another belief I should update. Three years ago, after Obamacare passed, I predicted that Obamacare would not result in significant reductions in mortality. I now think that this is more likely to be right than I did before. A number of people have been out there saying that the study vindicates their belief in the health benefits of insurance. I would like to hear them say, in clear and simple language, "After seeing the results from Oregon, I now believe that the US mortality rate will fall even farther than I expected, to . . . " with a number, not a hedge about statistically significant studies, attached. -- Megan McArdleUPDATE: Same topic, from Robert Tracinski:
Jonathan Chait responds by dismissing the significance of the Oregon study--based not on facts but on an emotional appeal which leads off with a bizarre and unintelligible comparison about "throwing puppies out of skyscraper windows."If a study found that puppies survive steep falls at a higher rate than expected, then you could say the case for throwing puppies out of skyscraper windows has marginally weakened, but would remain extremely strong. Indeed, data notwithstanding, either throwing puppies out of skyscrapers or throwing people off Medicaid are both acts of sadism.Take that, Republicans, you puppy-killing sadists!
May 3, 2013
Campaigning for US Gun Control - Foreign Edition
Do guns in "the hands of criminals and dangerous people" in the United States lead to gun violence in Mexico? President Obama seems to think so:
"Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," President Obama said during a speech at Mexico's Anthropology Museum. "I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will."
But the single greatest source of American guns in Mexico appears to be the U.S. Government. No, not via Fast and Furious, but via legal "direct commercial sales" authorized by the State Department.
Here's how it works: A foreign government fills out an application to buy weapons from private gun manufacturers in the U.S. Then the State Department decides whether to approve.
But the real outrage is Obama suggesting that the US Constitution has anything to do with Mexican gun "incompetence and corruption." The reason for this strawman is patently obvious.
May 2, 2013
News today that the FBI has placed Joanne Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorists list. The closest the FBI comes to an explanation why this fugitive, who was broken out of prison by armed confidantes 34 years ago and was put on the US government terrorism watch list in 2005, is now a "most wanted terrorist" is ... the 40th anniversary of her crime.
"Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style," said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of our Newark Division. "Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster's death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice."
Well, they've known she's been under sanctuary in Cuba for almost 30 years. Why not do this on a prior anniversary? Not knowing any better, I'll speculate it is related to her movement to the terrorism watch list 8 years ago. No other information is given by the FBI, except that Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur (Tupac's aunt) "is only the second domestic terrorist to be added to the list." The first appears to be Daniel Andreas San Diego, a vegan eco-terrorist accused of bombing a San Francisco biotech company in 2003, for whom the "information leading to arrest" reward is $250,000. Chesimard's reward - $2,000,000.
And why did I include this in the Obama Administration category? For this, from the ABC News story: The rapper Common told her story in "A Song for Assata," which caused a stir after Michelle Obama invited him to a White House poetry slam two years ago. Rashid "Lonnie" Lynn a.k.a. 'Common', who traveled to Cuba to meet with Shakur prior to recording the song, has been associated with Progressive Hip-Hop as early as 2000.