September 30, 2013
AP Covers the Shutdown
BUT BUT BUT . . . It's those intransigent Democrats that are "shutting down the government!"
Yeah, I'll even put my fair hat on and say it takes two to tango. When an agreement cannot be reached, it is difficult to pin blame on one side. Yet, John Hinderaker has the scoop: the AP has already found Republicans culpable. [That is a powerline link, apologize to your browser before clicking...]
Tomorrow, the AP will cover the current spending standoff in an article that will appear across the country, likely in whatever newspaper you read. The AP's piece, by Andrew Taylor, begins:
And that's the AP. How will it be covered on CNN, The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, local teevee news, and most importantly Stewart/Colbert on The Comedy Channel?
Pro-shutdown forces like to hide behind polls that the polity-at-large is more distrustful than 1995 and that ObamaCare® is unpopular. But this is all before the steady drumbeat outlined above.
September 29, 2013
I will stop the motor of the redistributionist state
Three Sources favorite Yaron Brook tweeted a reason Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz that was missing from the list compiled by John Dickerson of CBS. Dickerson's reasons include things like "he's fooled the grassroots" and created "false distrust" between members and their constituents. They're also jealous, says Dickerson, that "in a matter of months, Cruz has built a base of support that allowed him to act as the de facto Republican leader of the Senate."
But Brook nailed it, in less than 140 characters:
Why Senate Republicans hate Ted Cruz? Because they are unprincipled power-lusters.
Precisely. While Senate Republicans as a rule are more interested in going along and getting along, Senator Cruz is more interested in doing what he believes is right - acting consistently with his principles. Whatever a senator's principles, Cruz explained during the filibuster, he should be loyal to them and not to the dictates of party leaders. Cruz seeks to dismantle the power structure in the US Senate, where a cabal of senators from both parties effectively decides how every vote will transpire. That's not the way representative government works, it's the way a dictatorship tries to make itself look like representative government.
America's "dictators" employ wealth redistribution through government to maintain political power for themselves and, so far, Ted Cruz has shown he's not going to play that game.
I replied to Yaron Brook's tweet with an observation of my own: "In a very real sense, Ted Cruz has acted as a political John Galt - stopping the motor of redistributionism."
As hinted, today's Review Corner may be equal parts self-analysis and review. For openers, I didn't even read the assignment. Brother Bryan recommended Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea by C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook. Sounds easy enough.
I went shopping on the Kindle and found The Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (Cato Unbound). The actual book is not -- alas and alak -- available on Kindle. And the CATO book is 99 cents. It opens with Thompson's synopsis. No doubt it lacks some nuance and the supporting text sounds quite interesting. But one gets the idea:
The neoconservative vision of a good America is one in which ordinary people work hard, read the Bible, go to church, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, practice homespun virtues, sacrifice themselves to the "common good," obey the commands of the government, fight wars, and die for the state.
(We'll put you down as a "no" then...)
The author and the three essayists selected to comment share an appreciation for Lockeian liberty. It's a bit ThreeSources-esque to watch them quibble over finer points in various levels of grouchiness.
polis. This term fuses together the notions of society and state. So, when Aristotle claims the human beings are political and cannot live without the polis, he is more plausibly understood as noting the social character of human beings and not that humans are naturally creatures of the state. Thus, as Fred D. Miller has noted, Aristotle's claim that the aim of the polis is to achieve the virtuous and happy life is correct in one sense and not in another:
In the end none of the essayists are ready to accept the assertion that the Straussian roots of neoconservatism make it as dangerous as other -isms in opposition to individual liberty.
I find much to agree with in Thompson's critique. President George W. Bush (who gets surprisingly little mention) wanted to use the tools of government to advance "conservative" ideals. Nobody ever mistook him for a libertarian. There is immense antipathy directed at Senator John McCain of late, from the Tea Party and these pages. I celebrate ten years of cracking on the man whose signature issue was removing our first amendment right of free speech in the name of campaign finance reform. The day after he debated Senator Barack Obama on "the economy," The Boulder Refugee and I wept that "one of these guys is going to be president next year."
But I am not amping up my dismay. Senator McCain is the same guy. I don't regret my vote for him in 2008. Nor am I going to regret my two votes for President Bush or, gasp!, my support for the Iraq War. It did not turn out as I had hoped and I will accept serious commentary that it was a mistake, yet I will stand by my thoughts at the time with the information I had.
Like Taranto eloquently said, however, I will let it inform my future decisions. I have no taste for Syria. I'm glad that President Bush did not succeed more with "Faith Based Initiatives" and wish he might have lost on "No Child Left Behind." We need to reclaim the GOP toward liberty roots.
And yet, Mr. Thompson, many of the voices of liberty and actual achievements in recent years have come from those driven by either neoconservatism or national greatness conservatism. I don't find myself pining for the swellness of a Gore or Kerry Administration and I cannot reject the intellectual contributions of William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, et al.
The CATO Unbound is a great read: four stars (that's less than 0.25/star -- great value!) And I may break down and buy the actual book someday.
September 27, 2013
"Their Appeal is More Selective"
Applications to the University of Pennsylvania's business school have declined 12% in the past four years, with the M.B.A. program receiving just 6,036 submissions for the class that started this fall. That was fewer than Stanford Graduate School of Business, with a class half Wharton's size.
Pity Melissa Korn at the WSJ missed the Spinal Tap joke. It cries for it.
Senator McCain's "Democratic Response" to Cruz's Filibuster
Did anyone else hear John McCain's weak-kneed floor speech after Ted Cruz finished his filibuster? I was dubstruck by the praise he gave to Obamacare and the Democrats, juxtaposed with his derision of Cruz et al and the principles and ideas of which they spoke for 21 hours. Investors' editorial page shared my disgust.
Cruz wasn't long off the floor before Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a war hero, raised a white flag in one of the most disgraceful Senate speeches ever delivered.
There's more on McCain's fecklessness but the editorial closes with a look at the GOPs future:
Aged elephants like McCain make a Tea Party-based third party likely. That would cinch long-term Democratic dominance in D.C. McCain's 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, told Fox's Neil Cavuto there already are three parties: the liberal Democrats, the GOP establishment, and Republican "good guys" like Cruz.
Don't let the door hit yer ass.
But They'll Rock at Health Care!
I trust I will not be accused of defending NSA privacy abuses if I admit to a hope that most of those empowered to snoop have undergone some kind of background check.
Hey, stop laughing in the back! My point is that the IT guys, insurance form handlers, and Community Organizer "Facilitators" that will have access to the health care information of an ObamaCare® exchange customer will be subject to far less rigor and will have access to even more private data.
The NSA has released some details of 12 incidents in which analysts used their access to America's high-tech surveillance infrastructure to spy on girlfriends, boyfriends, and random people they met in social settings. It's a fascinating look at what happens when the impulse that drives average netizens to look up long-ago ex-lovers on Facebook is mated with the power to fire up a wiretap with a few keystrokes.
What? Could? Possibly? Go? Wrong?
September 26, 2013
Energiewende means "energy revolution or transformation."
According to IBD, Energiewende has transformed electricity from a commodity to a "Third World Luxury."
Talk about turning back the clock.
Coming here soon! Matt Ridley, call your office.
September 25, 2013
Dear Senator Udall
Well, if we must truly try everything... I have been shamed by a less-political-than-me Facebook friend. She likely voted for both our Democratic Senators, but has contacted both to ask them to defund.
We're really trying everything:
& the same to Sen. Bennett with the bipartisan praise toned down substantively.
Quote of the Day
Naturally, the liberal Bill Clinton fared better on "The Simpsons" than Bush did. "[T]he show was surprisingly slow to satirize President Bill Clinton," observes Paul Cantor, a literary critic and professor at the University of Virginia. Still, Clinton was mocked over 40 times on the show, often for his wandering eye. More than once, Bart's chalkboard punishment was Clinton-related, including "Nobody cares what my definition of 'is' is..." and "'The president did it' is not an excuse." -- Tevi Troy AEI: The Simpsons: Poking Fun at U.S. Presidents for a Quarter Century
AWESOME ON STILTS!
I question the efficacy of tactics, but boy howdy, Senator Ted Cruz's not-a-filibuster was great in content, courage and spectacle.
Well done, HOSS!
September 24, 2013
Ted Cruz's "rule breaking" fillibuster begins.
"Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am," Cruz said of reading media reports that quote Republican lawmakers and aides critical of him. "Most Americans could not give a flying flip about politicians in Washington. Who cares? Most of us are in cheap suits with bad haircuts. Who cares?"
The once prestigious Scientific American Magazine has taken the "skeptic" label a step further and labeled Dr. Judith Curry, director of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, a "heretic." Then has the audacity to ask in the sub-head, "Why can't we have a civil conversation about climate?"
Her-e-tic: n. 3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle. Synonyms: 3. dissenter, skeptic, freethinker.
If science always conformed to established attitudes, doctrines and principles then the earth would still be flat and man would be flightless. At least as far as "science" is concerned.
So, how did Dr. Curry's apostasy begin?
But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Blackboard. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points -- and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty.
You mean, she's been trying to have a civil conversation about climate?
Ultimately though, I think this one quote is the most important one in the entire article:
Still, once Curry ventured out onto the skeptic blogs, the questions she saw coming from the most technically savvy of the outsiders -- including statisticians, mechanical engineers and computer modelers from industry -- helped to solidify her own uneasiness. "Not to say that the IPCC science was wrong, but I no longer felt obligated in substituting the IPCC for my own personal judgment," she said in a recent interview posted on the Collide-a-Scape climate blog.
That any scientist would ever substitute anything for her own personal judgment is the reason why science got off the fact-finding and truth-seeking track in the first place.
UPDATE: This article was mentioned by Mark Steyn yesterday, but it was published in November, 2010. [No matches found for "curry" in ThreeSources archives from November 2010.]
War of Words
My friends are quarreling. WSJ Ed Page:
If Republicans are looking for a more plausible strategy, one idea would be to seek a year delay in the individual mandate to buy health insurance. Mr. Obama has already delayed for a year the business mandate to provide insurance for workers, and it is hard to defend helping business but not people.
That's gotta sting a bit! Jonah Goldberg (and I) are a bit surprised that things have heated to this temperature over tactics: nobody is luvvin' the ObamaCare®, there is a valid disagreement over the best way for the party to move forward.
I will, sadly, stay in the WSJ camp (jk: Establishment Republican). I could go chain myself to the Weld County Courthouse to "do something" about ObamaCare, but it might be better to wait for something more efficacious.
September 23, 2013
Thinking of South Park...
I don't hate Apple. But I don't love Apple.
There was some mirth to seeing this as I recalled the South Park episode "HUMANCENTiPAD". Kyle was subjected to pornographically monstrous indignities that it turns out he accepted by clicking OK on the iTunes "Terms and Conditions." It was one of the South Parks that was a little over-the-top even for me. But the great comedic moment was when he talks to Stan, Eric, Kenny, and Butters -- all of whom are astonished that he clicked okay without reading the entire agreement: "Else, how could you know what you were agreeing to?" asks eight-year-old Cartman. Comedy gold.
Haha. But there is a property rights issue underneath that disturbs me. I had that decision thrust upon me today for a bunch of stuff that I purchased a long time ago. My Amazon collection is mine. It is delivered on MP3s that I can play anywhere. No DRM, no licensing, no sewing of your mouth on the butthole of another iTunes user...
I celebrate Steve Jobs's saving the music industry by figuring out a digital model which eluded the labels. But I don't buy anything from Apple unless it is not available from Amazon. Even then, I think pretty seriously whether I really want it.
A Global-Temperature Predictive Model that Works
Get out the grant money! Blogger Coyote Blog has nailed it:
In 2007, for my first climate video, I created an admittedly simplistic model of global temperatures. I did not try to model any details within the climate system. Instead, I attempted to tease out a very few (it ended up being three) trends from the historic temperature data and simply projected them forward. Each of these trends has a logic grounded in physical processes, but the values I used were pure regression rather than any bottom up calculation from physics. Here they are:
It works better than the others...
UPDATE: Speaking of "works," EPA admits its regulations won't help:
The moon is full. Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Venus is in the seventh house, and the Environmental Protection Agency actually has made a truthful statement about the effects of a proposed regulation, specifically, its new proposed "carbon pollution" rule for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new powerplants.
September 21, 2013
I Did Not Know That!
When media bias even gets through to me, the
Bias: Heard the one about how House Republicans have passed 40-plus bills to repeal or defund ObamaCare, all of which went nowhere? It's not true. Yet the mainstream press continues to peddle this blatant falsehood.
I keep hearing how they cannot do this anymore, now that we have FOX News and blogs. Yet, there is still an "official," "real" record that comes from the NYTimes and echoes through Jon Stewart.
September 20, 2013
I was not paying huge attention to the gubernatorial election in The Old Dominion. I hoped to see Clintonista snake Terry McAuliffe lose on the basis of his outrageous 'lectriccar crony capitalism, but I was just watching.
Kim Strassel (must be Friday) makes an interesting point. I have wondered since 2010 how we (Colorado Republicans, Kimosabe) could ever win against the tactics that opposed Ken Buck. Strassel nails it:
Virginia so far has been a carbon copy of what Democrats did so successfully in last year's Senate and House races. The approach runs thus: A Democratic candidate, assisted by unions and outside partisan groups, floods the zone with attack ads, painting the GOP opponent as a tea-party nut who is too "extreme" for the state. The left focuses on divisive wedge issues--like abortion--that resonate with women or other important voting constituencies.
She doesn't say "Ken Buck" but could not be more accurate in describing Colorado's 2010 Senate race. Buck was a tea party guy and an imperfect candidate. He is grouped with Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware as "Tea Party Overreach." It may be true, but nobody compared his actual beliefs with that of Sen. Bennett; they saw a caricature.
That will work every even numbered year in Colorado. The GOP candidate -- not likely to be Pro Life -- will be presented as Todd Akin's more conservative cousin on his mom and his dad's side. Media in Colorado is comparatively cheap and the left's SuperPACs can flood the zone pretty cost-effectively.
Virginia, Strassel says, has come up with a remedy. Just be true to your philosophy and engage your opponent on important local issues and -- oh who am I kidding? It's "don't bring a knife to a gun fight."
Enter a new conservative Super PAC, Fight For Tomorrow, which last week began running a creative TV ad against Mr. McAuliffe in the Washington and Richmond areas. Little is known about FFT (as a national Super PAC, it will be required to disclose its backers in January), but one thing is clear from conversations with those involved: The organization's primary focus is to directly take on the Democratic bare-knuckle strategy--and not just neutralize it, but throw it back at the attackers.
I like the geography verbs. And I guess I prefer low-information fodder to losing. But will anybody ever explain to these people that this is a direct result of campaign finance reform? Real live election buying because we could not let rich people fund candidates' campaigns. At least when The Adams Camp accused Andrew Jackson of polygamy everybody knew where it came from.
Meanwhile, in Buffy News
Tweet of the 13th and 21st Centiries
Hat-tip: Jonah Goldberg. [Matt Ridley Review Corner]
Quote of the Day
In love, as some of us learn the hard way, there's a really thin line between romantic and creepy. We all know that sometimes when a woman really likes a guy, it's adorable when he sneaks into her apartment and covers her bed in rose petals and maybe leaves a love poem on her pillow. When Arnold from accounting does it, after being repeatedly told by the love of his life that she just wants to be friends, it's grounds for a restraining order. Similarly, if you're John Cusack playing "In Your Eyes" on a boom box outside a teenager's window, it's adorable. But when Anthony Weiner does it, not so much. -- Jonah Goldberg [Subscribe]
Flood Resources and Info
Some folks at work have put up a pretty good website: ColoradoFloodInfo.com.
I'm not even sure who it is, but get help give help get info, pretty cool.
September 19, 2013
ALL HAIL . . . ME!!!!!
I alerted James Taranto yesterday of some dispute over the popular whack that President Clinton is responsible for disarming military bases. Taranto corrects under "Homer Nods:"
Contrary to an assertion in yesterday's column, the policy that forbids most U.S. military servicemen from carrying firearms on base did not originate in the Clinton administration. Rather, according to TheBlaze.com, it was the Bush administration--the first one--in a February 1992 Defense Department directive.
I got my props:
But I'm sad he did not borrow my heading: "We Blame George H W Bush." Dang. Solid gold that one.
Quote of the Day
I support defunding, but let me be blunt: I've been covering politics for over a decade, and I've never seen "and then a miracle happens" work as part of a legislative strategy. Absent use of Orbital Mind Control Lasers, this scenario almost certainly ends with the Republican leadership having to decide whether to play chicken with the US economy. In their place, I'd be damned hesitant to pull the trigger, too. -- Moe Lane (via Jim Geraghty)
September 18, 2013
Angela Giron -- ex of the Colorado Legislature -- gets it wrong on MSNBC:
Yes, Still Whining
American Automobile Association observes that Gas Prices Surpass $3.00 per Gallon for 1,000 Consecutive Days in Longest Streak Ever.
"Motorists took notice when gas prices crept past $3 per gallon," continued Darbelnet. "Spending more on gas concerns consumers because it reduces savings and spending for everything else we need. Our leaders can help alleviate this economic burden by encouraging a national policy that stimulates production, limits price volatility, ensures greater efficiency and promotes alternative energy."
I have argued that Stealthflation contributes to higher fuel costs, but regulation is probably the larger culprit. Mandates and limitations on production, refining, blending and distributing all make fuel more expensive and less plentiful. The author previously concluded "the reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives" but if "our leaders" were to alleviate this economic burden, as he later suggested, then the 62% of people who believe gas is too high when it reaches $3.50 per gallon wouldn't have to "stop their whining." After all, the average household pays only about 4 percent of pre-tax income on gasoline. That's less than the portion it spends on food prepared at home.
Quote of the Day
After each shooting, we hear pundits and columnists declare, "it's time for a national conversation on guns." But we actually have had national conversations on guns after each one of these awful events; the conversation usually ends with lawmakers rejecting new restrictions on gun ownership. The pundits and columnists pretend the national conversation hasn't occurred because they keep losing the argument. -- Jim GeraghtyPart of a long and thoughtful response to an NPR correspondent who made an honest inquiry to understand the other side. I can't link, but you oughtta [Subscribe].
If I get some good swimsuit pictures, I'll post them as an update. Not to be prurient, but I think it important that we all have a clear idea of Ms.Nina Davuluri's flesh tone. What better way to become acclimated than to see a lot of it?
In a country of 300 million+ people, I refuse to judge our culture by a few -- even a few hundred -- ignorant folks on Twitter. I love Twitter but some of its allure is its capacity for spontaneous stupidity -- sort of an intellectual NASCAR where it is always rainy and slick.
H8ers got H8. People who are outraged for a living gotta be outraged. But does it not say more that she won? How many of the vicious tweets were legitimate? Is our standard that we are a racist society until there is not one racist thought unexpunged?
Daily Beast has a video montage of ugly tweets and a trenchant piece by noted Muslim Terrorist Tunku Varadarajan, who points out that Davuluri is too dark to win a beauty contest in India or Brazil. But she does here.
Take a victory lap America!
UPDATE: Look closely, it's for science:
September 17, 2013
Better Than any Movie!
Making the rounds on Facebook. The three minute commercial that puts all movies to shame. Better than the last movie you saw. People really do love this.
Funny, it seems rather like every movie you see. Is it that well done? May I use the term "cloying?"
But I don't post so that I can whack it down. (Of course, if anyone else wants to, go ahead). I post it to remind ThreeSourcers that Jonathan Haidt is correct and there are multitudes out there that see the world this way, wish the world were this way, and enjoy wishing.
UPDATE: The second I post this, I see The 51st State Initiative has posted the video.
Great three minute video about paying it forward. We have a long road ahead of us in the dozens of communities impacted by this tragedy. We are Coloradans. We will band together and take care of each other! Pass it on!
Goin' to bed...
NOT The Onion
Poor President Obama. He wants to strengthen the middle class, restore the economy that Bush ruined, promote green energy, and see that we all drink enough water.
But: "A term filled with unpredictable calamities"
As reports of the deadly shooting broke, Obama was forced to rewrite prepared remarks on the economy.
Gosh darn it, has any President ever faced such adversity?
Please click. It exceeds parody and -- by far -- my sarcasmic gifts. David Nakamura is serious.
UPDATE: All Hail Taranto!
Meanwhile, in Buffy News
Joss's (Is Joss Whedon like Jesus and Moses and Bill Gates that he gets a singular possessive of Joss'?) Much Ado About Nothing gets a scholarly review from Shakespearian Hoss Stephen Greenblatt in the New York Review of Books.
The squabbling between them takes place in public, under everyone's watchful eyes. This is a world in which everyone is constantly observing everyone else--"nothing" in Elizabethan English was pronounced "noting," and this is indeed a play of much ado about noting. To understand the culture out of which Shakespeare is writing, it helps to read Renaissance courtesy manuals like Baldassare Castiglione's famous Book of the Courtier (1528) or, still better, Giovanni della Casa's Galateo or, The Rules of Polite Behavior (1558, available in a delightful new translation by M.F. Rusnak).3 It is fine for gentlemen and ladies to make jokes, della Casa writes, for we all like people who are funny, and a genuine witticism produces "joy, laughter, and a kind of astonishment." But mockery has its risks. It is perilously easy to cross a social and moral line of no return. Whatever quality or error is being mocked "must be such that no noticeable shame or serious harm could arise from it; otherwise it would be hard to distinguish quips from slander."
Out on DVD/Blu-ray/Amazon Instant October 8.
Quote of the Day
These critics portrayed the Boehner plan as a sellout because of a campaign that captured the imagination of some conservatives this summer: Republicans must threaten to crash their Zeros into the aircraft carrier of ObamaCare. Their demand is that the House pair the "must pass" CR or the debt limit with defunding the health-care bill. Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots. -- WSJ Ed PageThe editorial is titled "The Power of 218." We cannot undo the President's signature initiative from the House. Sad but true. Purists demanding a pointless gesture are endangering actual efforts.
UPDATE: NO! NO! NO! Rasmussen: 51% Favor Government Shutdown Until Congress Cuts Health Care Funding
That's a majority, innit? I appreciate research and I am genuinely pleased that the ACA is so unpopular. But 100% of media disapprove. I call to mind the best episode of the best show.
Simon: I don't think my last act in this verse is gonna be betraying my sister.
It's not your moment, Tea Partiers.
September 16, 2013
Ein Klein Barackmusik
Stolen from professor Hayward, he plays it nice, compared to Time4Klein Joe, who says
It has been one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever witnessed.
A very nice entry in the growing chorus of those noticing the BarackMobile in the ditch, digging furiously while grinding the gears in the process, and Time magazine's cover tells us we need to be focused on college football (while the RoW front covers say: "America’s weak and waffling, Russia’s rich an resurgent–and its leader doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him.").
God help our low-information voters when the Shrillery starts her campaign by harping on voter suppression!
September 15, 2013
Professor Perry Attacks Blog Brother jg
It's almost too much to bear. Dramatis Personae:
Dr. Mark J. Perry: is a full professor of economics at the Flint campus of The University of Michigan, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in economics and finance since 1996. Starting in the fall of 2009, Perry has also held a joint appointment as a scholar at The American Enterprise Institute.
Prof Perry tells jg (the academic in him does not permit him to call out one blogger by name, he hides it in generalities) "stop whining!"
It's a favorite pastime in this country -- Americans [like johngalt @ threesources] love to complain about rising food prices. Even when they aren't. In fact, given all of the complaining you would never know that average food price inflation in recent years is actually the lowest in several generations. Below are three reasons that Americans should stop whining about food prices, and be a little more appreciative of how affordable food is in the US today, especially when compared to other countries, or when compared to previous decades in US history.
While I agree with Perry, I don't think this level of ad hominem attacks is appropriate.
Something short today. At least one blog brother has some underwater property and we have one more day of predicted rain plus the mountain floods hitting the plains in earnest (Earnest is about 20 miles south of the county line...)
Always Right is a Kindle Single ($0.99 -- ThreeSources takes care of its readers in the Obama economy). In this short but serious work, Ferguson, rightfully gives props to PM Margaret Thatcher, her governing philosophy, and its results.
While President Reagan's reputation has been reformed on this side of the pond (lefties can get verklempt over dead Republicans), I suggest that the even more stark success of PM Thatcher has received less recognition in Old Blighty. My previous line of work had me cavorting with members of the "Chattering Class" and they were positively gobsmacked that I thought highly of The Iron Lady. It is just accepted by all thinking people that she was an idiot. Ferguson details the incredible turnaround:
For the British stock market, the Eighties were comfortably the best decade of the twentieth century. Naive economists look at the wrong indicators when trying to assess the Thatcher achievement. They fail to see what the project to restore British capitalism should be measured by capitalist, not socialist standards.
Ferguson was a punk in more ways than one during her tenure but he saw where the revolution was heading and got on board. Glad he is around to document her achievements.
American Republicans do come off as silly waiting, Beckett-Style, for "the next Reagan." But reading this and Sagebrush Rebel [Review Corner] one is reminded that ideas need a champion.
Historians of my generation were taught to despise the "great man theory of history". The Reformation had not been the work of Luther, Calvin or Henry VIII, but of great social forces -- the rising gentry, I seem to remember. The English Civil War was not Oliver Cromwell's triumph but the defeat of a declining aristocracy. The reductio ad absurdum of this approach was the erudite German professor who set out to write a history of the Third Reich without mentioning Hitler.
Would Governor Romney had benefitted more from better ideas or from a better capacity for explaining them and dealing with the Candy Crawleys along the way? We all love ideas here, but it is fantastic to read about Reagan and Thatcher and their capacity to advance their ideas. And this is a great piece of it. Five Stars (bringing Ferguson asymptotically toward five).
Bonus: shortly after finishing the book, I ran across ThreeSources's favorite Yaron Brook answering "How did someone like Margaret Thatcher get elected?"
September 13, 2013
A Man with Nothing to Hide
I do not think ThreeSources will make a formal endorsement in the Minneapolis Mayoral election.
But there are a lot of lakes around there, and Jeff Wagner is all dressed up.:
Over a million dollars is gonna be spent to become the mayor of Minneapolis, a $100,000-a-year job. You're not the one’s that are deciding who you vote for -- the media and the money is," he says. "I'm cool with making $100,000 a year. I will not take money from the developers; I will not take money from the political angle. I will not even go to the strip clubs anymore. Wake the f**k up! I'm Jeff Wagner, and I approve this message."
Not sure that Hubert H. Humphrey started out this way, but he launched that office into an extensive national career.
Look for Da Yoonion Label...
Ezra Klein: Obama administration denies labor's request for health care waiver
Wow! Unions gotta be in ObamaCare® -- harsh!
Now if the Congressional Republicans can be principled and (stop laughing in the back!!!) make Congress have to live with it, we'll have some powerful allies.
If you can make it there...
Yahoo News: Is New York unwilling to elect a gay, woman mayor? In Quinn's loss, no clear answer
Got an hour to kill?
Much as I admire George Will, I have derided him on occasion as a conventional wisdom guy. I take all of that back. He and I have some differences but they are all well founded and philosophically consistent on "the Indiana Whig."
Click it on, you can work. But this is a masterful interview:
September 12, 2013
A blog friend shares a Jon Stewart quote on Facebook.
I get that Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence. -- Jon Stewart on The Daily Show Tuesday night
"Nicely distilled ..." says our friend.
I'll give anybody points for using "succubus," but after that I wonder if we are living on the same planet. That and widespread flooding across our normally-arid high dessert plains give me pause.
Now wouldn't you know it, I missed Stewart last Tuesday. I will take <redacted> at his word that the transcription is accurate. It certainly seems in character. To make things worse, this was approbationally linked by another friend who added "So very true! Keep your critical thinking caps on folks! Don't let any media outlet tell you what to think! Investigate and think it all through!" Great advice.
Maybe it is the continual rain but I. Just. Can't. Take. It.
-- The "Syria peace plan?" Again, I missed mister clown-nose on, clown-nose-off on Tuesday, but is that the "peace plan" where we rain down a billion dollars worth of high-tech ordinance on an impoverished nation? Is that the peace plan those damnëd FOX people dare oppose?
-- We have a difficult time finding a friend in the contretemps (I'll see your succubus and raise you a contretemps!) Assad is a tyrant who gasses his own people, the rebels are interleaved with al Qaeda and desecrate the corpses of their opponents.It is pretty difficult to tell who the good guys are. That is one of my first problems with action in the theatre. But: we sure know who the enemy is, do we not? FOX and its viewers!
I am frustrated by the lack of reason and I am frustrated at yet another ad hominem attack. People who oppose the "peace plan where we blow a lot of shit up and then just bask in the peace after" clearly have no legitimate grievance with the C-in-C or plans as outlined. No, there is no room for honest disagreement. They are evil and anti-peace.
I typed but removed incriminating evidence that could identify these two; it is not about them. The whole blessed Church of Stewart-Colbert surely nodded along, not noting that the President's "peace plan" has been attacked by Democrats and supported by Republicans. No, that is not interesting to those who find us un-nuanced.
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down...
September 11, 2013
Don't Tread on Us
"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids -- She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. -- She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. -- As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal: -- Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her. -- Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?" -American Guesser, aka Benjamin Franklin December, 1775
Ready, Aim, Fired!
Like Jim Geraghty, I went to bed last night (before my blog brother it appears) thinking the recall elections had been split. I saw Morse's grouchy concession speech, but the
If I may quote Geraghty: "Nope,"
None of it worked. This was the recall that was never supposed to happen -- let alone be successful. The nine men who set the ball rolling weren't supposed to be capable of organizing a town hall, let alone taking down the state-senate president. And yet they did it. Victor Head, a 29-year-old plumber who had never been politically active, took down a senator in a district that went Democratic in 2012 by ten points; a group of six concerned men from the AR15.com chat room removed the state's top-ranking legislator. "We are a quiet people," recall founder Tim Knight told his victorious friends when the results became known at the Stargazers Theater. "You may be tempted to ignore us. Clearly, that would be a mistake."
Perhaps Dave Kopel said it best:
UPDATE: Too good not to embed!
UPDATE II: Speaking of Glenn Reynolds. I'll give him quote of the day after linking to this same article:
The message the defeat of Morse and Giron sends to legislators all across the country is unmistakable: If you are thinking about pushing for new gun-control laws, you could face swift consequences.
Headline of the Day
In a historic recall election Senate President John Morse was booted from office, capping the end of a long and passionate fight over gun rights in Colorado. It marks a wake-up call for Colorado Democrats, who are suddenly coming to the realization that they're not invincible after all.
A hearty congratulations to my compatriots to the south. It wasn't my fight but I cheered loudly and rooted you on.
Oh and by the way, the headline says "total" recall, alluding to the other senator facing a no-confidence vote, Pueblo Democrat Angela Giron. She's toast too, by a 20-point margin.
September 10, 2013
No, no, no... anything but that!
Hollywood Reporter (magazine): "Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to Asner, is fear of being called racist."
Last week I asked, "So, you're on board for going to war with no more justification than 'the black president decided we should?'" Days later Ed Asner answered, "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama." In other words, "yes."
It's not a partisan thing, according to Ed.
"Whether it's a Republican or Democrat president, or Republican or Democrat Congress -- and it doesn't make a God-damned difference -- it behooves us to get off our ass and ask these questions," Asner said.
Just don't ever disagree with a black president.
More good anti-war schadenfreude at the first link.
$1,200 in your pocket from Fracking
Given the unambiguous atmospheric benefits of fracking -- it produces far fewer greenhouse gases than coal or traditional petroleum products -- and the big savings it's producing across the economy, expect the attacks on it to become more heated and vitriolic. Because the only thing many environmentalists hate more than a cheaper, cleaner potential energy source is an actualized one.So says Nick Gillespie on a study of the positive effects of hydraulic fracturing. It adds $1200 to the average household. So: more protests!
Tweet of the Day
Hard to argue.
Maybe Make it a "Gay Pride" Park
The City of Chicago infamously blocked a Chick-Fil-A store last year, sending me to eat chikin sandwiches in solidarity with many folks whom I would normally oppose. While I support gay marriage, it is trumped clearly by right to contract and does not trump others' right to worship.
And: people, people, people. When you fight business we all lose. Here is the lot that could be offering 60 jobs to Chicagoans of all sexual preferences:
Moreno claimed "Aldermanic Privilege," to deny Chick-Fil-A a zoning variance which would have allowed subdividing an unused portion of a Home Depot parking lot to open the restaurant. As a result, an uproar over freedom of religion spanned across the entire country, as supporters of the fast food chain waited hours to buy chicken sandwiches in a massive show of support for the first amendment against Moreno's progressive-bully tactics.
That's why I am not a big boycott guy.
September 9, 2013
These People are Animals!
We hereby pause from our Syria coverage (well, now that Vladimir Putin is going to ride in and save the day, we mightn't return).
The antecedent in the title is the whole gorram Kennedy family! Every few months, I read of some absolute depravity: JFK whorring out 19-year old interbs, Chris Dodd & Teddy sandwiching a poor waitress, the younger males all with rape lawyers on speed dial. Helen Maria! What gives with these people?
A diary belonging to Robert F. Kennedy Jr has emerged containing details of encounters with 37 different women during 2001
Camelot? Caligula's Palace is a better analogy. Brutal, murdering rapists all of them -- at least Papa Joe was an honest bootlegger.
Speak softly and carry an "unbelievably small" stick...
September 8, 2013
Ahh, epistemology. There are so few things that we know with absolute conviction. The Moon orbits the Earth, VP J. Danforth Quayle was stoopid. Global Warming is real, man-made and catastrophic. Warren Gamaliel Harding was a terrible president. James Watt was a crazy man who wanted to pave the West.
Wait -- that last one might not actually be true. In Sagebrush Rebel, William Perry Pendley takes on the task of defending President Reagan's environmental policy and concomitantly rehabilitating the reputation of Interior Secretary James Watt. Those Augean Stables were a light dusting job in comparison.
Younger readers may not appreciate the enmity directed at Watt. Even being a Reagan guy I bought in. I left a copy of Atlas Shrugged out once at blog friend Sugarchuck's house. His New Dealer father read it in one sitting (still impresses me) and greeted me with "Who wrote this? James Watt's Mother?" The popular bumper sticker of the time showed the Colorado license plate mountains -- but leveled flat with a bulldozer and "James Watt's America" or some such caption.
Pendley tells the story that was never told. Watt understood exactly what Reagan wanted and was tough enough to take the heat for it. Coming out of the Carter years, where environmentalists had tied up energy production and economic development, America lacked the economic footing to defeat Communism.
Stop me if you've heard this, but by opening energy production, the entire economy was, ahem, fueled. And that was the same economy that crumbled the Soviet Union with a few harsh glares. No energy and none of the other Reagan initiatives worked. Cut taxes. swell. Negotiate firmly, nice. But the world knows what strength lies behind an American leader. Thanks to Watt's carrying out the shared vision, the strength was undeniable.
If ThreeSourcers are all picturing President Obama right now instead of President Carter, that's easily forgiven. Pendley brings the context around to today at the end of several chapters -- and ties it up in a bow toward the end:
In 2013, America's situation is similar to that of 1980--an economy in distress, vast natural resources locked up with no plans to put them to use, and a regulatory regime that inhibits the development of resources and the creation of jobs. What lessons can we take from President Reagan's policies and the responses to them?
But, jk, my Facebook friends intone gravely, "at what cost to the environment?" And "Would you like to play Candy Crush?"
None. And no.
Reagan and his Interior Department acted like grown-ups in that they made choices. Many many square miles were set aside for wilderness. The National Parks were upgraded for use. But the Feds own 1/3 of the nation's land mass and it is not all pristine wilderness. Reagan rejected the idea that man is not part of nature or ecology. Carter's folks -- and I fear Obama's -- do not sort, strategize, and allot. They see every acre of Federal land as something to be regulated and removed from economic use. That not only damages an energy hungry economy, but also reduces the efficacy of the actual lands that should be protected.
Reagan adhered to what one social scientist called the "human exemptionalism paradigm," according to which "human technological ingenuity can continue infinitely to improve the human situation." Carter, the Earth Day organizers, and the environmental groups embraced a neo-Malthusian "ecological paradigm," which posits environmental limits on economic growth.
Pendley doesn't say it, but I'd suggest that defeating Soviet Communism was probably the best thing that's happened to the environment in modern times. Look at the state of stewardship in Romania in the documentary Mine Your Own Business.
The other thing that makes it so relevant to today is the successful battle against bureaucracy and elite opinion. From its onset, the Interior Department was so squishily defined as to promise runaway scope and bureaucracy.
Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina had opposed creation of the Department of the Interior, fearing, "Everything upon the face of God's earth will go into the Home Department." He was prophetic. Soon the department was called the "Great Miscellany," "[a] slop bucket for executive fragments," and a "hydra-headed monster," or, more kindly, "Mother of Departments," for the tendency of agencies it adopted as orphans to become grown-up, stand-alone agencies,
Score one for the Gentleman from South Carolina. But Watt's courage and Reagan's righteousness prevailed if but for a short time. There's a lesson
There are, in fact, many lessons in "Sagebrush Rebel." As we discuss urban vs. rural, Democrat vs. Republican, Libertoid vs, Randian &c., Pendley details the very real War against the West. The title comes from the Californian's willingness to choose sides with the West. Democratic Western governors are pitted against Carter's policies, and most -- some more begrudgingly than others -- end up conceding agreement with the 'R' in the White House.
Environmental extremists had another reason for their rage toward Ronald Reagan; he was an unabashed Sagebrush Rebel who pledged to put an end to Carter's War on the West. He had made common cause with Westerners who were fed up with an arrogant environmental movement that was entrenched in positions of power in San Francisco, New York, and especially in Washington, where the federal bureaucracy was filled with environmental activists.
Side note: my growing nostalgia for the free-trading, cost-cutting, President Clinton is truncated by his enthusiastic escalation of the W on the W.
ThreeSourcers will love everything about this book: dedication to ideas, and the success of that dedication. Good fights, good choices, good victories. And a very good book: five stars.
September 6, 2013
Insty shares an odd story. It speaks to my inner engineer: newer cars have some unusual and unexpected issues (no keys to shut them off, &c.)
SO A FRIEND HAD A WEIRD EXPERIENCE LAST WEEK -- her car was struck by lightning on the Interstate. All the electronics were fried, they managed to coast to the side of the road, and then they couldn't get out because the door locks and windows were frozen. The guy she was with managed to kick out a window, cutting himself a bit in the process (but impressing her with his derring-do). The cops told her she should have had a Lifehammer in the car. Good idea. Or a ResQMe tool.
Or, in my case, a good pair of scissors:
It used to be that if dozens of foreign countries signed onto a U.S. military intervention, but not France, we were "going it alone." Now, if we have a military coalition consisting exclusively of France, we are leading the world. -- Rich Lowry (via Jonah's G-File; dude owns QOTD like Peyton Manning owned Tyrell Suggs)
Quote of the Day
"The genius of you Americans," the Arab-nationalist and one-time president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, once explained, "is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them which we are missing." -- via Jonah Goldberg
September 5, 2013
Usually, when I write my (Democrat) Senators and (Republican) Congressman, I am pretty certain how they'll vote. This time, I truly have no idea:
I'll be Post-Feminist in the Post-Patriarchy!
The title of this post is my favorite bumper sticker ever from "the other side."
But the President was certainly right that there is "more work to do." There are still employers out there -- Prof. Mark J Perry has found -- that think they can get away with paying women less than 87 cents for every dollar they'd pay a man:
September 4, 2013
But, jk, What do Your Facebook Friends Think?
This was written by -- not one of my loony moonbat friends -- just a musician buddy. I don't recruit him for GOP GOTV efforts, but don't consider him a partisan on either side. Ergo, a bit of surprise:
Since when did Republicans in Congress suddenly become a bunch of 60s countercultural "make-war-no- more" peaceniks? Since Obama arranged for a strike and gave them the deciding vote, that's when. Bipartisanism and anti-Barack no-matter-what-ism runs pretty deep when you go against your own deeply held principles simply to say "no" yet again to Obama in a transparent attempt to humiliate the administration you resent so much for keeping your full power from you.
I suspect the President would much like to cultivate this opinion. Is this a one off or is it working? Is this the Katie Couric/Jon Stewart view of the world?
I respectfully pressed him (and delivered a little historical perspective on Robert Taft and Charles Evans Hughes, baby nobody can out-isolationist Republicans!) I asked if he was 100% in favor of the President's response and he said "Yes I am!!"
A data point of one, but interesting.
Through the Looking Glass?
UPDATE: She upon whom war hinges:
September 3, 2013
Wampum Generating Idea
Wampum. Even when I come up with a serious idea, I cannot avoid the puerile. Put that racist transgression aside and hear me out.
You can get the jump on a future Review Corner by picking up Sagebrush Rebel by William Perry Pendley. It is the story of President Reagan's environmental stewardship, his universally maligned Interior Secretary James Watt, and the primacy of good energy and mineral policies. And it is very good.
I had a side thought, not suggested in any way by Pendley. But among Reagan's achievements was a respectful and honest relationship between Reagan's Interior Department and the governments of indigenous Americans: a "government to government" relationship.
Reservations are sovereign nations are they not? Why not trade in the casinos and cigarette sales for a Libertarian Utopia? I saw the folks on Stossel who were mooring a cruise ship 12 miles off San Francisco to populate with engineers who can not get H1-B visas. (Sort of a Pirate Radio for geeks -- were I a younger man...)
Instead of a million dollars for a ship, weather concerns. and expensive transfer of supplies from the mainland -- why not New Mexico or Oklahoma? Lay some fiber optic cable and develop world class business facilities. Tenants would enjoy non-restrictive immigration policies and lenient taxation. The reservation would attract capital. jobs, and educational opportunities.
UPDATE: The seasteading venture is Blueseed, and its founders are interviewed by John Stossel (~20:20)
Tweet of the 2013 MLB Season
I have a new favorite non-Rockies player. Brandon Phillips was on 2nd base for the Cincinnati Reds when Todd Helton hit his 2500th. (I'm not sure BP didn't tag him out -- I notice on the replays they don't look too closely at that). But Mr. Phillips is a class act. He enjoyed the moment, then warmly congratulated Helton. During yesterday's game, they displayed the following Tweet:
September 2, 2013
Failed Government Programs
I don't mean those that didn't deliver 100%, nor those that delivered a barely perceptible effect (like Dodd-Frank). I'm talking about the ones that made things WORSE.
Here's my list, feel free to add on:
ADA (Americans with Disabilities); Wiki article cites how it's decreased employment opportunties;
McCain Feingold - "let's get the money out of politics!" ooh yeah,
ADC Aid to Dependent Children - hurts, as do arguably all the war on poverty programs
Affirmative Action - hurts
Brings to mind Murray's law: The less likely it is that the unwanted behavior will change voluntarily, the more likely it is that a program to induce change will cause net harm
There's an article here, methinks. It spins off Romney's comment about Government picking Winners & Losers, which seems to lead them to always pick losers. This makes perfect sense, of course; only losers need government, and Government needs to be needed. Think on it; does Apple need government? No way! (well, they could use help with antennas...) Solyndra, Enron, GM need gov't. Where there aren't enough losers, the gov't steps in and lends a hand.
September 1, 2013
One Cheer for Sec. Kerry
I am turning into an Administration cheerleader, but Secretary of State John Kerry was pretty good on FOX News Sunday. He has been given a bad hand, yet was forceful and statesmanlike.
I have 100 points of disagreement, but if I may damn with faint praise: he is immeasurably better than Sec. Clinton. He is silver-tounged and diplomatic -- pretty good in his line of work.
It's a floor wax! It's a Review Corner! No -- it's a social conservative rant from jk! I don't know that today's Review Corner will bring back the luster to your laminate, but it is all of the others.
I've read Nick Schulz for a long time in several different forums. And like me, he is not one to push a social agenda or tell private individuals how to behave.
I come to this project as someone who writes primarily about economics and not primarily about social and cultural issues, but I also have found it impossible to write about economic topics without reference to some dramatic social shifts.
And so, more in sorrow than anger, does the liberty loving economist leap into Home Economics: The Consequences of Changing Family Structure.
This book will advance a few related arguments. First, the collapse of the intact family is one of the most significant economic facts of our time. The discussion of the family is often tied up in culture war politics-- debates about feminism, gay marriage, birth control, abortion, and the like. Those are important and interesting topics. But because the debate about family structure is so thoroughly tied up in the culture war, those who think of themselves as primarily interested in economic topics-- business media, corporate leaders, Treasury and Commerce secretaries, macroeconomists, and so on-- often avoid this subject.
Right with you, Nick. I am one of those of whom you speak: preferring to stay silent rather than firing first shots in culture wars. But you read this book, or Charles Murray or Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and you realize that the topic cannot be ignored.
In an ideal world with only private charity, the topic could be ignored. But in the meantime, I believe there is plenty of time for a tortured segue. The conservo-libertario-sphere went to Defcon Five last week over Allison Benedikt's "You're a bad person." ThreeSources participated enthusiastically. Reading Home Ec right after, it struck me that -- not even for linkbait -- would anyone dare dish disapprobation on the behaviors that actually cause poverty. Schulz doesn't and I do not intend to.
McLanahan and Sandefur are careful researchers and point out that "growing up with a single parent is just one of many factors that put children at risk of failure." But there is little doubt that the economic problems created by single motherhood are sizable.
We all, Schulz discloses, know innumerable examples of great success from poor situations and no smaller number of ne'er do wells from great situations. But there is this thing called statistics.
My own research and writings in recent years have primarily focused on technology and entrepreneur-led growth. Like many people who think about the economy, I considered the debates over family structure a cultural issue distinct from economic issues. But over time this bifurcated view became untenable.
Nor is Schulz the only right-wing crazy to address this:
For example, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, who has spent years investigating the lives and material conditions of poor people around the world, writes, “Liberals sometimes feel that it is narrow-minded to favor traditional marriage. Over time, my reporting on poverty has led me to disagree: Solid marriages have a huge beneficial impact on the lives of the poor (more so than in the lives of the middle class, who have more cushion when things go wrong).” 58
You know the end from here. The poverty rates among those who finish high school, get a job, and wait to have kids is miniscule. Shultz asks if that's such a high bar. Not an MBA, not getting a cartoon published in The New Yorker, not a platinum album.
At the start of this book I argued that when Americans talk about economic problems today-- poverty, income inequality, wealth disparities, unemployment, and the like-- they rarely bring the enormous changes in family structure over a half century into the discussion. They are far more likely to focus on things like trade and globalization, tax policy, deregulation, immigration, "Wall Street greed," and more.
ThreeSourcers know the story, but I still recommend you buy ($1 on Kindle!) and read (one afternoon sitting) this. He goes deeper than you're expecting by examining the effects on human capital and the foundations for entrepreneurship. That he is not Dana Carvey's Church Lady but rather a reluctant economic warrior makes it all the more potent.