October 31, 2013

When You've Lost New York Magazine...

But jk thinks:

Umm, how many times is too many times to watch?

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 4:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, Duh. You only think you like, think you want, think you're happy with your health care plan. But you're WRONG you stupid NASCAR Retards. How many times does he have to say "if" for you to understand it was a conditional statement?

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2013 1:21 PM

None are Safe

I've had an office in Boulder County since 1988. I now work from home, but it is virtualized to Boulder space. I've seen a lot of nonsense. When the floor is opened for questions at a company meeting, and one can ask anything of any of the executive leadership team, a frequent choice of this valuable resource is to inquire as to "why the CEO was seen three weeks ago Tuesday throwing an aluminum can in the trash!"

I've inured to the zip code somewhat. But I sometimes let my mind slip to dream of what it would be like to work for the Koch Brothers or the Ayn Rand Institute, or AEI and ...

Oh. Wait: Et tu AEI?

Freedom. Free markets. Individual initiative. Independence. The pursuit of happiness unencumbered by the opinions and constraints of officials, "experts," and other such busybodies. Don't Tread On Me.

Those are the principles for which AEI stands, and I came to AEI precisely so that my work would promote them. Or. So. I. Thought. Until this morning, when upon entering my office--rested and ready for a productive day of work--I found... a recycling box. And not just any recycling box, but instead one listing on the sides in bold lettering "Acceptable" and "Not Acceptable" classes of trash respectively deemed kosher and treif for deposit in this equivalent of the Ark of the Covenant for the religious fads of modern political correctitude.

Gotta go, we always have the Tofu Chili contest every year on Hallowe'en...

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Pedants: does the title bother you? I am helping a friend through a grammar book and was surprised to find that "'None' is always singular" is now considered archaic.

Modern usage is to consider it plural as a replacement for "not any" and singular as a replacement for "not one."

Archaic. I consider it more "old school..."

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 1:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We are all archaic now.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2013 3:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And "archaic" is but one small step from "obsolete." Perhaps Rod Serling might share a bit of wisdom on that subject:

"... He was obsolete. But so is the State, the entity he worshiped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete."


(From back in the days when television wasn't yet a vast, intellectual wasteland. How old-school is that?)

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 31, 2013 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I recall a few episodes of The Twilight Zone in re-runs during my youth. I never saw, and would not have understood at that tender age, this one. A hundred thanks, dear brother. It has been said before and I will echo: Rod Serling was a genius.

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2013 3:15 PM

I Don't Know, Might be Worth a Try

Jim Geraghty says "But this... this is just too big. You can't just trot out another shiny object. ("Hey, the Obamas have a new puppy!") You can't ignore it. You can't wait for the media to forget about it. We're talking about perhaps as many as 15 million people losing their health insurance:"

I don't know, a new puppy fixes a lot. Have you all seen Harriet?


October 30, 2013

Where You Live

We don't throw out a lot of dedications in blog posts, but this one is for Brother jg:

But, the ACA law is littered with even worse economic incentives. One of them is mobility.

Obamacare will cause people to freeze in geographic location.

Insurance companies cannot compete across state lines, so your policy is only portable within your state. That’s bad for economic development. A person now has to deal with 50 sets of rules, 50 exchanges. Obamacare didn’t solve the problem.

Hat-tip: Insty

One o' them Red Solo Cup folks

The awesome Coyote Blog reports on a cancellation notice an ObamaCare Transition Opportunity:

These folks -- despite not knowing my income, my net worth, my health situation, my age, my family size, my number and age of kids, my risk adversity, my degree of hypochondria, my preventative care habits, my diet, my lifestyle, my personal preferences and priorities, or any details about my insurance policy that I spend many hours analyzing and cross-comparing -- have decided they know better than I what health insurance I should want.

My plan was not substandard. I graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and was first in my class at Harvard Business School. I spent hours shopping for my coverage and was fully satisfied with my coverage. May of the aspects of my policy that causes Obama to call it "Sub-standards" -- lake of mental health care, lack of pediatric dental care, lack of maternity care, lack of free contraception, a higher than average deductible -- were my preferences. I want these things.

But johngalt thinks:

Oh, right, so he assumes that since he graduated from Princeton and Harvard he knows what's best for himself? Idiot. In selecting his policy he didn't even give a moment of consideration to where he lives. [Fourth comment]

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 7:03 PM

Another Progressive Translation:

Red Solo Cup

Everybody is focusing on "whatever." Yet my favorite testimony so far is Marsha Blackburn (How about those glasses - TN) explaining that "some folks would rather drive a Ford than a Ferrari, and some would rather drink out of a red solo cup."

Video at the link.

But johngalt thinks:

Yet others believe that drinking from "a crystal stem" is a right, even if they cannot afford it.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 4:03 PM

The Audacity of Mendacity

"You lie!"

So this isn't a new claim. It also is no longer a partisan one, with the NBC News expose in our rear-view.

So let's review a list of the Affordable Care Act claims that were made, by a dishonest president, who DID care whether or not he could be elected:

"If you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period"

No, If -I- like your health plan, you can keep it. Until I decide otherwise.

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. No matter what."

No, If -I- like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Unless he's a Republican.

"Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance costs will go down."

No, under the ACA, "rich white people" will pay more, "lower income families and individuals will get the most help" and everyone will get less medical care. Well, everyone except the political class and their friends.

And today,, from HHS Secretary Sebelius, this:

"The website has never crashed. It is functional, but at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function."

Yes, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is not really dead after all. He's merely breathing at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function.

UPDATE: Holman Jenkins expounds on Lie #1.

But johngalt thinks:

Other mendacitudes are coming to mind:

"Mine will be the most transparent Administration in history."

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 4:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Time for some idiot to boldly step in and defend the President! 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

"Most transparent..." fails my mendacity test. Serious observers must bifurcate between mendacity and "the soft probity of political bull***t." On some level, Senator Obama likely believed that his would be the most transparent. There was no real mens rea there. It was an over-promise of biblical proportion, mind you, but I am not certain it was a lie.

IYLYHCYCKI, by comparison, is a lie. It was repeated when the President knew for a fact that it was not true. It was a lie that was required both to pass the bill and to reelect the President. Mens-freaking-rea.

If I live long enough to see a candidate I support win an election (I'm eating well and I don't smoke), I have no doubt there will be a few "most xparent" utterances which will fail to materialize.

Not expecting to expunge foolish promises, I think it behooves to keep a hard line between them and lying.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 7:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I really do want to give the president credit where it is due. Really badly. He's not an execrable man. As megalomaniacal Marxist Progressive statists go he's a swell guy. But his administration is not transparent, never has been and, in my opinion, was never intended to be. So yes, calling it a lie IS a matter of opinion. But does a "transparent" organization do this?

Downie writes, "The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration."

Part of that war on leaks is the "Insider Threat" surveillance program intended to tighten internal surveillance and set government workers to observing each other for signs of...well...transparency with information, which is officially labeled "tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States."

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 9:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Our only real point of disagreement is "was never intended to be." More specifically, I'm ready to elevate megalomania over mendacity.

President Obama believes absolutely in his abilities and those of his high-powered intellectual advisors. I'm not certain that he didn't think his whiz kids would put the budget and his calendar and his legislative agenda on the website [please wait . . . ], or that he would not go line-by-line through federal spending and eliminate waste. When his smart guys got in there and kicked out all those stupid and evil Texans, everything was going to be great.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 11:30 AM
But jk thinks:

New game: connect President Obama's personality defects to his policy failures! Ages six to adult.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fun! At least Marxist Progressive statist went unchallenged. :)

I believe that megalomania best applies in its informal sense, manifested most recently in the mandate by his signature legislation that we all "little" people have the kind of health insurance he permits us to have.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2013 3:40 PM

Meanwhile, in the Private Sector...

I hate to take my eye off the unfolding ObamaCare® debacle (really, I do, it is too much fun!) But we must wonder sometimes what magic might happen in areas where government left a modicum of opportunity for freedom and innovation.

Three stores in the Internet Segue Machine:

1. Energy fact of the day: Within months, the US will have three oil fields producing more than 1 million barrels per day

Recent U.S. production growth has centered largely in a few key regions and has been driven by advances in the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. Given the importance of drilling productivity trends as a driver for future domestic production, EIA has been developing new approaches to assess the productivity of drilling operations.

2, Natural Decarbonation U.S. carbon emissions fell in 2012, thanks to the oil and gas industry.

The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week, to too little media fanfare, that U.S. energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions declined 3.8% in 2012, bringing C02 emissions to their lowest level since 1994. The only year since 1990 with a steeper decline was 2009 amid an economic recession. The 2012 decline occurred even as the economy grew 2.8%

3. -- let me know if you'd like a copy mailed over the paywall -- The Coming Carbon Asset Bubble Fossil-fuel investments are destined to lose their economic value. Investors need to adjust now by Al Gore and David Blood

But when investors mislabel risk as uncertainty, they become vulnerable to the assumption that since it cannot be measured, they might as well ignore it.

That is exactly what is happening with the subprime carbon asset bubble: It is still growing because most market participants are mistakenly treating carbon risk as an uncertainty, and are thus failing to incorporate it in investment analyses. By overlooking a known material-risk factor, investors are exposing their portfolios to an externality that should be integrated into the capital allocation process.

Don't everybody get on E-Trade at once to dump their XOM! It's not ObamaCare, it was not designed to handle this kind of volume!

No, but I've got a fudge brownie with cream cheese icing!

But in September, when the state published its 228-page list of locations where navigators could be found, along with the days and times they were supposed to be available to the public, they published the wrong one, according to a DOH spokesman.

"That is not the correct list," said Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Health, when DNAinfo New York asked him about the list last week. "That's something we’re looking into. We can't tell you anything more about this."

Oops. The list included a cupcake store, limo service, and a pharmacy.

Hey, we all make mistakes. Why, the last time I took over one-sixth of the US economy, well, you've all heard that story...

Hat-tip: Insty

UPDATE: All hail Taranto!

Does Michelle Obama know that her husband's program is encouraging people to stuff themselves with sugar and other refined carbohydrates? If they're going to do that, they might as well just give callers the number of a funeral home.

Tweet of the Day

Progessives want "better" health care for the "citizens"

All of this talk about Affordable Care Act Horror Stories and "lifestage transition navigators" made me want to go back and listen to this old nugget from Progressive Clintonite Robert Reich, recorded before Barack Obama became president - twice.

Not just a prediction any more.

But jk thinks:

Points for honesty. And extra points for the scattered golf applause for "you're going to pay more," "you're going to die," and "there will not be innovation to allow you to live longer."

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 11:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, honesty here, but the precise opposite of honesty to persuade Americans to "I *heart* Obamacare."

A few Progressive translations may be illuminating:

"better" means - equal
"affordable" means - someone else pays
"happiness" means - you expect less from life than your parents did

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 1:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I have to underscore your second. Gov. Ed Rendell last night -- but almost every Democrat apologist I see -- defends sticker shock by suggesting people haven't applied subsidies. So: a person who goes from paying his/her own way in the private market with a $100 premium but is bumped into a $225 payment with $150 subsidy is "saving" $25 a month.

Such math is nails on the chalkboard of my libertarian understanding, yet I am surprised at how unabashedly it is presented. Is there not a thinking progressive who finds that paternalistic if not uneconomic?

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 2:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The thinking Progressives, as compared to the idealogues, get around any unpleasant feelings through a careful application of terminology. You call it a "subsidy." I doubt Fast Eddie did. More than likely, he referred to it as "a new tax credit."

And like most modern tax policies, we have been conditioned to accept as "fair" that "lower income families and individuals get the most help."

Here's a new one on me though - "The amount of the tax credit depends on your income, your age, the size of your family, and where you live." Your age? Where the f*#& you live??

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Agree 100% with the analysis. But Gov. Rendell, and Keith Boykin, and about everybody I hear do not bother to euphemize or obfuscate. They call them subsidies, while looking straight into the camera with good posture.

After Gov. Romney's 47% "gaffe" there is no allowable delineation between those pullin' the wagon and those ridin'. I almost wish they would do me the courtesy of using weasel words.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The aforementioned idealogues don't need to use weasel words any longer. Opposing redistribution along lines of income, family size, age, and even where you freaking live has now successfully been equated with "racism."

In addition to our president, American political thought is now a joke.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 3:58 PM

October 29, 2013

Aaaah! I get it now...

Top Democrat says those aren't "cancellation notices," they're "transitions" into Obamacare


But johngalt thinks:

George Orwell, call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 9:16 AM

Mon Dieu!

Enough is enough ... For 18 months now, French professional soccer has been fighting, without being heard, against the 75 percent tax project, the tax is not only unfair and discriminatory, but also threatens the clubs competitiveness and survival. -- Frederic Thiriez, president of the French Professional Soccer League

Oh, So THAT'S What "Period" and "Under Any Circumstances" Means

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, quoted in NRO's Corner:

"It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’”

Many of us knew it had to be a lie at the time. We just didn't know that "No ifs, ands or buts" doesn't also mean "no assumings."

But jk thinks:

From "what 'is' is" to "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

Bonus HS: Jay Carney Berates Insurance Companies For Complying With Obamacare

Posted by: jk at October 29, 2013 3:48 PM

Pity the Fool


ACA ad Hominem

This post is filed under television, et. al, because I'm going to rip on a television column in the L.A. Times, which in turn rips on former television star Suzanne Somers because she Calls Obamacare 'Ponzi Scheme' in Error Ridden Article.

The column never rebuts the characterization. Instead it attacks her accuracy on tangential issues, but not until highlighting her sex life, alternative health practices and past infomercial gigs.

"An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin ('Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state') that has been widely disputed," the Journal wrote in an addendum to the original piece. "And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill ('Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens') that the Journal has been unable to confirm."

That wasn't all. Somers pointed to a Canadian magazine article that criticized that country's nationalized health care system by arguing that animals could get better care than human beings. But in her original post, Somers mistakenly recalled which animal was pictured on the cover: It was a dog, not a horse.

Gasp! Well then, that's that I guess - Obamacare is clearly not a Socialist Ponzi scheme. Here's what she said, according to the (L.A.) Times:

"Boomers are smart," Somers wrote in a Monday opinion piece for the online version of the Wall Street Journal. "They see the train wreck coming… most I speak with think the Affordable Care Act is a greater Ponzi scheme than that pulled off by Bernie Madoff."

"And don't forget, dear reader, that the Wall Street Journal is owned by the same multimegabillionaire who owns FOX NEWS!!!" But what Somers wrote is that others whom she speaks with have called it that.

And then there was the Nuclear Option for discrediting a Hollywood Starlet, at any stage of her career - the mug shot. Try to figure out which of these headed the WSJ article and which one ran in the Times.



What? Oh, of course I read about her sex life. But the sex was, yawn, with her husband.

This Could be a Negative

Last week, we reported that the "honor system" is being used to confirm the identity and certification of Navigators/Assisters. The "Find Local Help" feature on Healthcare.gov refers consumers to potential predators. -- David Steinberg
Hat-tip: Insty
But johngalt thinks:

What [else] could go wrong?

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2013 2:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

There is no honor system among thieves.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 29, 2013 5:24 PM

Quote (and ACAHS) of the Day

There's also the third possibility: The administration has learned that a large meteor will destroy the world on or before November 30, and wants to live out its remaining time on the planet in relative peace, rather than dodging "are we there yet?" questions about the website every day. So basically the possibilities are:

1) They know what they're doing.
2) They have fooled themselves into thinking they know what they're doing, but don't.
3) Meteor.

That's Obamaphile and Juicebox Mafioso Jonathan Chait, quoted in an (excellent) Megan McArdle piece.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States

Bret Stephens: "The president didn't know the NSA was spying on world leaders, but he's found time for at least 146 rounds of golf."


The WSJ Ed Page shares that dignified photo and Stephens enumerates several examples of the President's diffident, deracinated management style.

Mister Obama is truly going to keep historians busy for decades.

October 28, 2013


Those Right Wing Loonies at NBC News are at it again!

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a "cancellation" letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don't meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience "sticker shock."

Not to put too fine a point on it, they lied.

But johngalt thinks:

Ahhh, I long for those heady days when it actually mattered "what the president knew, and when did he know it?" But if said president has no sense of shame, and the congress is afraid to impeach because the "news" media won't back them up, how can it matter? Who cares?

More and more our only recourse is non-compliance with a government that is a joke. An administration that is a joke. A President of the United State who is a JOKE.

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2013 12:03 PM
But AndyN thinks:

There are a whole lot of things I'll beat up the House GOP leadership for, but not trying to impeach Obama isn't one of them. Whether or not they're avoiding it because they value the opinion of the press is beside the point. If the House voted to impeach, the Senate would never EVER convict as long as it's controlled by Democrats, and I think there's some value to the adage "if you're going to shoot at the king, don't miss." I don't think anything good can come of taking the shot knowing that it won't bring him down.

Posted by: AndyN at October 29, 2013 11:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Absolutely right Andy. I wasn't actually suggesting that this House impeach the president, rather lamenting the fact that, as KA reminds, there is no longer any honor among these thieves. This Senate is prosecution exhibit A.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 11:55 AM

Don't Take Away the Rope!

I really enjoyed reading this Investor's editorial and leaned toward posting. Then I saw who wrote it and couldn't get to the login page too quickly.

The mainstream media have in large part turned against ObamaCare, and all these factoids are going to be reported. So that raises the question regarding 2014: Do Republicans really want to bail out Obama by handing him a year's delay? If all the flaws in ObamaCare do pan out, they may well overshadow the shutdown negatives suffered by the GOP.

I think I am lining up on Chris Ruddy's side. There's an old political adage: If your opponent is determined to hang himself, for heaven's sake, don't take away the rope.

The "I" the author refers to is Lawrence Kudlow. And I agree.

But jk thinks:

Dude should get his own tv show . . .

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2013 5:15 PM

RIP Lou Reed

Like Elvis, I have to admit that I appreciate Lou Reed more as an icon than my being a big fan of his music. I heartily recommend The Andy Warhol Diaries -- and not on Kindle. It is an interesting look at some interesting lives and times.

For the Requiescat in Pace tour, Eric Alper posts 20 Best Lou Reed Quotes. I'll have to go with:

One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz.

I cannot not think of The Little Willies.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 27, 2013

Live From New York!

Review Corner

The Framers believed that the most effective way to protect liberty was not to create a list of specific rights that the government could not infringe, but instead to create a finite list of powers that the government could exercise. We call these "enumerated powers," and the ones delegated to the federal government are specifically set forth in the Constitution, mostly in Article I, Section 8. The Framers' intent to maximize the amount of space for liberty while minimizing the space for government is unmistakable. Put yourself in a shark cage and you have only a few inches of room to swim around. Put the shark in the cage and the rest of the ocean is yours.
That's from the beginning of Clark M. Neily III's Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution's Promise of Limited Government. I like the shark cage metaphor on many levels. And the book opens up as a good choir sermon, highlighting the Supreme Court cases we talk about on ThreeSources

If that were all the book did, it would be well worth the 11 bucks. Neily is an Institute for Justice lawyer and he lucidly covers the history of important decisions concerning liberty and draws the line all the way to the cases that IJ takes on.

That brings us to the granddaddy of all economic liberty cases, Lochner v. New York. If unbridled government were a vampire, Lochner would be sunlight, holy water, a crucifix, and garlic all rolled into one. Little wonder it is scorned by the establishment and taught to law students as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time. And for people with great faith in the political process--those who believe that government rarely acts for improper purposes like suppressing competition for the benefit of entrenched interests--Lochner may well be anathema. But those of us who see government differently tend to see Lochner differently as well. We admire its candor.

A few chapters in, my nodding head bumped against a two-by-four of an idea I have long opposed. And I have had to rethink my position of the Ninth Amendment, unenumerated rights, and even [duh duh duuuuuuh!] Griswold v Connecticut.

The only way out of the pro-government bias of the Judiciary is to keep the cage tightly around the shark. If that prevents majoritarian legislation -- well that is not a bug, it's a feature. And I take one more step away from Judge Bork.

Throughout history, including the history of this country, political majorities have embraced profoundly immoral policies, from slavery and eugenics to the racial apartheid of Jim Crow. Accordingly, even in those "wide areas of life" not specifically addressed by the Constitution--which include everything from getting married and having a family to putting food on your table and how to spend your free time--the Supreme Court nevertheless requires that there be a rational relationship between the regulation and a legitimate governmental purpose. The problem, as discussed in Chapter 3, is how much wiggle room the courts find in the word "rational." So much, it turns out, that the constitutionality of a given law often depends on the government's willingness to misrepresent its true ends in court.

In addition to the challenge, it also cleared up something that I have struggled to understand. The Constitution is so clear that you need no legal training nor abstruse theoretical instruction to understand it. That is, until you get to Amendment 14 and the idea of (selective) Incorporation of the Bill of Rights. Suddenly six dimensional Calibi-Yau geometry seems pedestrian.

Neily presents it as a failed workaround to proper resect for the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Had P&I not been eviscerated in The Slaughter House Cases, we would have an understandable and defendable protection for our rights. Without that (and Neily compares it to epicycles' place in non-Copernican astronomy) we have several convoluted mechanisms to enable courts to protect our 14th amendment rights . . . when they feel like it.

A great book. Five stars.

UPDATE: With a little different style than "Review Corner," Nick Sebilla at Buzzfeed presents 9 Unbelievable Facts You Didn't Know About Federal Courts

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Breaking Bad as a Conservative Morality Play

Jonah Goldberg's excellent review:

Money quote

many conservative themes in Breaking Bad, the one I appreciate most is the fragility of civilization: Preserving it requires a constant struggle. ... I mean families, communities, and individuals. These can be healthy only when individuals are willing to take on faith that some moral laws — whether grounded in nature, theology, or simple trial and error — are there for a good reason..

and this takeaway which goes to current politics:

The merely rational man will not make commitments to causes greater than his own self-interest. We need binding dogmas to constrain us even when our intellects or appetites try to seduce us to a different path. When, through the arrogance of our intellect and the promptings of our egos, we decide that we can make the rules up as we go, we invariably relearn why we need those rules.

And the Hollywood guy who did so much right to get this story in front of us gets it wrong at the very end "I don't think [White] is an evil man." Of course he is; our choices define us.

Posted by nanobrewer at 2:08 AM | What do you think? [4]
But nanobrewer thinks:

There's a review from Jason Pollack on Brietbart that catches what Dr. K missed in Stewart's nice-sounding repertoire:


I think Dr. K did all the right things, and agree mostly with Pollack. We must all remember - and if I ever have time, I'll join with TP to repeat this - not to be scolds (there's already an Ann Coulter) and play to the audience and stay focused. My votes for a "top 3" points to reiterate:
- limited gov't is what made us great (the subtext is the liberty we utilized);
- America has a spending problem, not a revenue problem;
- Free speech is essential.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 27, 2013 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the review. I had wondered what was the appeal, or the in-depth plotline, but had the inclination to go searching. I did't read to the end, but far enough to find Goldberg blaming White's bad choices on his being "untethered from traditional morality, he's set adrift, believing that he can chart his own course through raw intellect alone." Well, there is a moral system outside of "traditional" morality and progressive morality. One is not "adrift" if he doesn't adhere to one of the Big Two.

White's moral fall began when he decided that making and marketing poison was a legitimate form of breadwinning. It is not analogous to Jean Valjean stealing bread to feed his child. That was an ethics of emergency. White's case is not.

Finally, while boastfulness may be distasteful and destructive - destructive due to the actual sin of envy on the part of others - pride is most certainly not a sin, mortal or otherwise, at least not in a system of morality that expects man to achieve happiness in the earthly realm. Both Gilligan and Goldberg could profit from this understanding.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2013 12:02 PM
But Jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg is my North Star of Conservatism. His mix of Burkean conservatism and liberty theory appealed to me. As I have allowed more distance on the conservatism, reading Jonah is calibration as well as entertainment.

Like Krathammer below, he is an honest and intelligent interlocutor for his "wing."

On Breaking Bad, I almost watched because of Jonah's tweets but I did not.

Posted by: Jk at October 27, 2013 4:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The other jg, I'll call him JG to avoid confusion, takes the same tack as, say, Immanuel Kant by dismissing "mere" reason as a license to live one's life by force in pursuit of selfish ends. But is it not more rational to live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you? This is the morality of rational self-interest and it makes zero allowance for another man, group, city, state or national government taking from one man, ostensibly to give to another.

JG and Dr. K have no qualms with such public policies, just so long as said redistribution is "reasonable." Then they are forever locked in debate over the reasonable amount of the "theft limit." Ultimately, that metric becomes an issue decided by majority vote and not, as the Constitution established, Equal Taxation for All.

Some find JG and Dr. K to be reasonable, measured men. I consider them enablers of tyranny, for they choose to compromise, ideologically, between food and poison.

Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2013 4:10 PM

Krauthammer and Stewart

I'm surprised JK missed this (all the ACA schadenfreude has clearly made him giddy) , but I'll be even more amazed if I imbed the video properly. This is very good, respectful debate. It's even a little spooky to see Mr. Stewart hold his ground so well (I had heard, now I believe). Stewart does present the liberal line effectively, and Dr. Krauthammer even more effectively brings the topic back to: too much government. Dr. K was smart enough to not parry all of Stewart's conjectures (Cruz would win a prez primary tomorrow / our current fiduciaries are not unprecedented...), and Stewart admitted that's what they are ... which in my mind, makes him a really big man.

Really, really good stuff. Hat tip to Steve Kelly's afternoon show on KNUS... Parts two and three on the Daily Show

UPDATE [jg] - Please allow me:

But johngalt thinks:

Stewart criticizing anti-big government politicians for irresponsibility is rich. What about the responsibility of able bodied men to care for themselves? Or, more pointedly, for big government politicians to accept the responsibility of objectively determining which individuals, citizens and non-citizens alike, DESERVE aid?

Let them float that olive branch and then I'm willing to negotiate.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2013 11:48 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Well worth the 25 minutes to watch the whole thing. It's a shame they were focusing on health insurance and not on government finances. I would have loved to see Krauthammer challenge Stewart on why it's important to raise tax rates if tax revenue is already around historical levels. If we're not already sitting in the fat part of the Laffer Curve, how far do we have to go to get there?

Posted by: AndyN at October 27, 2013 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Down, AndyN. WAY down.

For Democrats, Laffer Curve means "It's so freakin' funny how much of these losers' money we're taking!"

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2013 9:48 PM
But AndyN thinks:

John, from an individual liberty and property rights perspective, I'm with you 100%. The federal government should be asking us for revenues to cover the responsibilities that the Constitution has allowed it and not a nickle more. The point I was trying to make was, even if we agree to let the leftists define the terms of the debate, they're argument doesn't even support their ostensible objective. If your objective is to fund a bloated socialist utopia, you'd be better off finding the sweet spot where you're generating the most tax revenue, not just hiking rates for the sake of hiking rates.

Stewart said he didn't care that tax revenues were very good by historical measures, we ought to increase tax rates anyway. It's perfectly legitimate to ask him whether he thinks there's a point at which that becomes counter-productive, and whether he has any idea where that point is. Of course he is a supporter of a President who as a candidate said he'd be in favor of raising capital gains taxes as a matter of fairness even if it resulted in less money for the government, so it's not out of the question that the goal isn't actually to feed the beast.

Posted by: AndyN at October 28, 2013 8:31 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Oh dear. Their, not they're. That's what I get for commenting before I finish my first cup of coffee.

Posted by: AndyN at October 28, 2013 8:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And 'nickel' but I won't 'nitpick.'

The dichotomy you reference is between the advocates of sustainable socialism and fairness socialism. Sustainable socialists don't mind if there are millionares or even billionares, as long as they get to rob a hefty percent of those earnings. Fairness socialists can't live with the fact that anyone earns that much, so they're willing to starve government, relatively speaking, if that's what it takes to wipe out rich people.

I knew that president Obama is in the second group, courtesy of the statement you referenced among other things. Stewart's foot in that camp is a surprise. I thought he had more intelligence than that. But maybe I'm the idiot - maybe it really is possible to inflate the world's reference currency $85 b-billion per month forever, without negative consequence.

Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2013 3:46 PM

October 25, 2013

"Just a Glitch"

That's the meme from the O'care cheerleaders. Even the president claims, "The Affordable Care Act is more than just a web site." Perhaps, but all roads still lead to Rome.

But the truth is those applications - on paper or by phone - have to get entered into the same lousy website that is causing the problems in the first place. And the people processing the paper and calls don't have any cyber secret passage to duck around that. They too have to deal with all the frustrations of HealthCare.gov - full-time.

With apologies to the relatively much better managed National Aeronautics and Space Administration...


Cheers for Sens. Bennett and Mark Udall

Both my Democratic Senators have signed a letter to extend the open enrollment:

Ten Senate Democrats have signed on to a letter crafted by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) urging the Obama administration to extend the open enrollment period for the recently launched health-care exchanges.

Shaheen called for the extension this week in light of myriad problems with the HealthCare.gov Web site.

As of now, Americans are required to obtain health insurance by March 31 or will face a penalty under the individual mandate. Some have suggested the penalty could be delayed, given the problems with the Web site might prevent people who otherwise want insurance from obtaining it.

Udall is up in 2014 though I don't think he is in much trouble. Still happy to see my senators among what Glenn Reynolds calls "The Ranks of terrorists, arsonists, and seditionists."

UPDATE: Kim Strassel (is this a walkback of sorts?) piles on:

After 16 long days of vowing to Republicans that they would not cave in any way, shape or form on ObamaCare, Democrats spent their first post-shutdown week caving in every way, shape and form. With the GOP's antics now over, the only story now is the unrivaled disaster that is the president's health-care law.

But johngalt thinks:

Okay, fine, so Obamacare is twice as expensive as the old health insurance and still doesn't cover illegals - but what the hell is this restricted enrollment period horse shit in the first place? Don't extend it, remove the limit! I should be able to buy it anytime of year, even after I get sick. #ObamacareFail

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2013 6:42 PM

October 24, 2013

Obama Administration? Looking out for Number One

Not really looking out for the little guy though.

Some Problems with the "Shop & Browse" Feature

The right wing wackos at CBS are piling on ObamaCare® again:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But jk thinks:

Those wanting a "sedan" will be shown the price of a '97 Yugo...

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2013 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Misleading advertising? Quick, alert the CFPB!

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2013 7:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Do NOT get me started on the CFPB. The CFPB is about to become the Obamacare of the real estate industry. Not a fun time that the escrow business is looking forward to.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 24, 2013 8:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Sadly, I did not have time to watch the instructional videos...

But what could be wrong with having Elizabeth Warren (Wahoo - MA) oversee all financial instruments? Sounds good to me.

Posted by: jk at October 25, 2013 11:04 AM

Now it's our turn

I must admit, not every ACA horror story is all that horrible.

For some time now I've been trying to explain that democrats in general, and President Obama in particular, have become Health Insurance salesmen instead of politicians. Meaning, that their popularity now depends on voters being happy about the cost benefit ratio of their health insurance plans. For most of my lifetime Republicans have never had a better cudgel with which to bludgeon their opponent. But now my point is being made in the "On the left" column at IBD Ed page by Dana Milbank:

This is perhaps the biggest problem facing ObamaCare and probably will haunt it long after the technical problems at HealthCare.gov are fixed.

Because of all the noise and disinformation, President Obama and the Democrats don't just own ObamaCare as a political issue. They own health care. Anytime something bad happens -- premiums rise, or employers change plans or pare coverage -- ObamaCare will be blamed, even if the new law had nothing to do with the change.

"It's one of the most frustrating things," says Brad Woodhouse, the former Democratic National Committee official who runs Americans United for Change. "If anybody has a problem with health care, Republicans say it has to be a problem with ObamaCare."

Does Woodhouse believe Democrats now own health care? "In some ways we probably do, which is unfair," he said. "Nobody said ObamaCare was a panacea for everything."

Rilly? That's sure what it sounded like when he was campaigning for President. Other than that though, I agree! (Who says we can't compromise.) It's Obamacare's fault!

But jk thinks:

The needle to be threaded is dissatisfaction with the status quo ante which will be revised down. "Yeah, he broke it, but it was so terrible -- and those damnëd Republicans wouldn't let us have single payer!"

I am tempted to defend it -- there were enough free market parts that people came from all over the world to have what we had until last week. And, it saved my life and my wife's without financial ruin.

But the nonsense of employer tax breaks leaves many with a bad memories. And I think the left's current play is to foment and magnify those.

On whose side will the media cheerleaders be?

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2013 7:17 PM


Honest to God, you want to know the good news about the exchange sites? Right now, there just isn't that much personal private information on it for identity thieves to steal. -- Jim Geraghty
UPDATE: There seems to be little else to frustrate them.
As you can see, you can enumerate valid and invalid user accounts in the database. Even worse is there are no form or appearance of automation deterrents such as CAPTCHA or image verifications that a human is attempting this. We can easily feed this through Burp Intruder for the content length from the response to see which usernames were actually valid. Essentially you could enumerate the entire database of user accounts in the new healthcare.gov website through brute forcing the response codes and finding valid usernames.

Additionally, developer comment code is plastered everywhere which gives an attacker a significant amount of understanding about the application -- these are literally everywhere on almost every page that's opened and all third party files

[This is me, putting on my shocked face...]

Establishment GOP Got Them No Good Walkin' (Back) Blues

That shutdown that was the worst thing to happen to the GOP since John Wilkes Booth got a TicketHub® account? Kate Bachelder gets some WSJ Ed Page space:

In the midst of the public relations shellacking that Republicans have endured for shutting down the government, the GOP can take heart that at least one prominent red-state Democrat up for re-election next year is suffering in the polls.

A survey released Tuesday by the University of Arkansas shows that a mere 34% of likely voters in the state approve of the job Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor is doing in Washington. Just last year, Mr. Pryor enjoyed a 53% approval rating, and the government shutdown may explain the 19-point drop. In 2014, Democrats must defend seven Senate seats in states that President Obama lost last year, and Arkansas is considered one of the likelier pick-ups for the GOP

Shellack our way to a majority, babies!

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

October 23, 2013

Annie Mack, Live at the Wicked Moose

That's blog friend Sugarchuck on guitar (the rather tasty solo starting at 2:19)

Bonus track: Baptized in the Blues

Buy the CD/Official Website (unlike ObamaCare, I was able to quickly log in and purchase the MP3s)

Music Posted by John Kranz at 5:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

Vote for Me, I canceled your health insurance!

I don't think there would be any debate that this constitutes an "Affordable Care Act" horror story - Millions of Americans Are Losing Their Health Plans Because of Obamacare. Sixteen million, for starters.

Kaiser Health News called up a few insurers around the country and found that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already received cancellation notices.

"[T]he cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them," according to Kaiser Health News reporters Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby.

And that doesn't include small groups or, after their 1 year delay, large group plans.

You'll love it! Trust us!

But jk thinks:

Got to break some eggs to make an omelet!

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2013 5:48 PM
But AndyN thinks:

A lot of detractors have been focusing on the mandate and people getting fined, um, taxed come April if they don't have insurance, but I think this is the part that's really going to bite the Democrats in the butt. It's one thing to tell people that you'll probably have the web site glitches ironed out well before the end of the 6 month open enrollment, and if you don't you'll put off the mandate. It's another thing entirely to tell people who are insured right now that come January they'll either have to go without insurance or buy at increased rates without the potential government subsidies they were promised to ease the pain.

Posted by: AndyN at October 23, 2013 9:35 PM
But Jk thinks:

A Kudlow guest discusses a popular loophole where insurers offer to change the renewal date to December to avoid Obamacare mandates. Those offered are choosing this 15:1.

Like the President said: if you like your plan, you can keep it for another 11 months.

Posted by: Jk at October 23, 2013 10:29 PM

Obamacare Rollout Could Hurt Dems in 2014

Don't take my word for it. Here is the spin from NPR:

For the congressional Democrats whose votes made the Affordable Care Act a reality and who will have to defend their support for the law in the 2014 midterm elections, the problems with the federal website are a political nightmare.

Not only do the website's problems embolden the Republican opposition to the law; they place Democrats on the defensive at a time when the party appears to have the advantage coming out of the shutdown/debt default crises.

Several recent polls suggest that Republicans greatly damaged themselves by forcing the crisis, a self-inflicted wound Democrats are eager to exploit. Some of the more ebullient Democrats even claimed that their chances for retaking the House had improved significantly.

But now there's a chance 2014 could find Democrats conducting their own version of damage control, as a result of the disastrous digital rollout.

We may yet learn which profession is most reviled by the American public: politicians, or insurance salesmen.

Cui Bono?

H8ers got H8.

In a gentle reminder that not all the crazies on Facebook are lefties, Dr. Sharon Schuetz @ Lady Patriots.com claims that the fainting prop which blog friend AndyN and I enjoyed so much was faked!

For some strange reason, Obama has to have props around him when he does one of his con-jobs in the Rose Garden, or wherever he chooses to receive his worshipers. This was no different, except that he had animated props this time. Although it was well staged there were enough holes in this little scene to drive the proverbial truck through.

I don't know that the success stories' dropping like flies really sells this product, but you can click through and view a Three Minute Proof.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

My brother peddled this claim too, in a family email thread. I chastised him vigorously for being a boy who cries wolf. Hey, freedom lovers, Leviathan just took a false step and is about to fall on the head of the president whose policies you so abhor. Stop creating distractions! Let everyone get his popcorn and a comfy chair and watch the spectacle unfold. The domino is already falling and you can stop looking for hand-holds to push against.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 3:08 PM

"Nobody is more frustrated than me

The transcript of President Obama's Rose Garden speech on Obamacare glitches is available, curiously, in the Atlas Shrugged Quote of the Day Archives: "I order you to solve it!"

But dagny thinks:


Posted by: dagny at October 23, 2013 12:17 PM

Never Mind

Remember how one of the arguments in support of Obamacare was that insuring everyone would be cheaper and more efficient than paying for uninsured people to use emergency room care? Uh oh.

The bottom line, though, is that even if the Affordable Care Act delivers everything its backers hope to see, more than 2 million Californians will still be without insurance and a dependable source of health care. And nearly half of those people will be undocumented immigrants.
But jk thinks:

Brother Keith predicted a surfeit of ACAHSOTDs, but jg's posting at 12:11 AM Mountain Time strikes me as over competitive...

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2013 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If only Obamacare web techies were so dedicated!

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 3:04 PM

New York Health Insurance Rates "Fall" Under Obamacare

As linked in a comment yesterday, New York State has at least one Obamacare subscriber as of Monday. Fox News left-wing contributor Sally Kohn wrote,

"Honestly, I couldn't wait to sign up for ObamaCare -- not because I talk about it on television, but because I'm tired of being ripped off by my insurance company.

I live in New York State -- which for several decades has had the highest individual insurance premiums in the nation."

Not surprising since we're accustomed to everything costing more in New York, at least in NYC. But Ms. Kohn herself gives the clue to why this is so in her earlier piece, Five Reasons Americans Already Love Obamacare

Personally, as someone who pays through the nose for individual insurance in New York State -- a state where, historically, few individual insurance options have even been available == I can't wait to enroll in ObamaCare and see my premiums plummet, as they are expected to by at least 50% [hyperlink in original]

From the link:

Economists expected the law to significantly decrease premiums in the Empire State, which in 1993 prohibited insurers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, required carriers to charge "all consumers the exact same rate," but did not compel young and healthy people to enroll in coverage. As a result, insurers dramatically increased prices and enrollment in the individual market "steadily diminished."

Essentially, New York imposed some Obamacare rules on its own, resulting in massive rate hikes and subscriber flight. Now that Obamacare is here to "spread the pain around" New York's rates are expected to be relatively lower. Relative, that is, to what they had already soared up to. Why? Because of the individual mandate. No wonder delaying it was "non-negotiable."

October 22, 2013

Stop the Presses, Markets Work!

Well, that's how I would read this Yahoo News piece. But Liz Goodwin sees things differently.

It seems that Jean Laurie of Long-GUY-Land faces something of a conundrum. She got her $30,000 check from FEMA (finally!) to fix her house's Sandy-induced repairs. But, suddenly, Fed subsidized flood insurance now comes with . . . conditions.

But that rebuilding comes with a catch. New flood maps drawn up by FEMA, along with reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) enacted in 2012, meant that many residents, including the Lauries, must lift up their homes or face dramatically higher flood insurance rates.

Can I get an "Ehrmigawd!!?" The deal where Colorado desert dwellers continually pay to rebuild seaside housing that would never be built by rational people will now require at least architectural consideration.

As the article describes reason, insurance, and risk, it is of course written as a pity party.

Joanna Tierno, a Staten Island resident facing a 4,000 percent rate hike under the new rules, says she's considering borrowing money to pay off her mortgage and then going uninsured, because it would cost so much less. "We're up against not just recovering from a disaster, but being hit by superhigh rates that's basically ... taking people's homes from them,"

Finally, I agree. You want to rebuild please, please, oh pretty please do it without insurance that I have to subsidize. John Stossel does a great riff on this: he's rebuilt his home once (maybe twice) on our dime but at least has the decency to go on TV and tell us how stoopid it is that people who make much less than he does allow repetitive foolishness ignoring the oldest known real estate advice. And Ms. Laurie?
"We were not going to try to come back unless we could come back how we wanted to," Jean Laurie told Yahoo News on a sunny day in October. She stood on the empty lot where her home used to be, nostalgically pointing out the spots where she had built a Japanese garden and installed a heated pool before the storm swept it all way.

"It was gorgeous," she said.

But johngalt thinks:

I remember, one time, I built this totally awesome sand castle...

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 4:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Two words: FEMA claim.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 4:53 PM

Can't Spin This Turd

Even when I agree with Stewart, I find him difficult to watch. But there are some gems in here if you can take 9:51 of smarm:

Aren't those supposed to be ones and zeros? They've used fours and fives! (~8:30)

Hat-tip: Libertarian Republic

But johngalt thinks:

"A TRON-like bureaucratic nightmare with no escape." Sounds like wacko-bird talk to me!

'Epic fail' only begins to describe what we are all witnessing from our omnipotent federal government right now.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 11:33 AM


Methinks the Establishment Republicans (boo! hiss!) might be walking back the absolutism of their attacks on Senator Ted Cruz (HOSS TX). I offer, as Exhibit A, the following headline:

Fred Barnes: The Upside of the GOP Shutdown Defeat

I love the WSJ Ed Page and I like Fred Barnes, but one must admit that the combination is about as establishment as it gets. Yet the "defeat" suddenly enjoys an "upside."
Now across-the-board cuts go into effect annually without the need for a fresh vote in Congress or the president's signature. Nor are Republicans forced to offer Democrats the sweetener of tax increases. The sequester is cuts and only cuts. As a result, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted proudly last week when announcing the end of the shutdown that "government spending has declined for two years in a row [for] the first time in 50 years."

Mr. McConnell negotiated both the 2011 agreement, known as the Budget Control Act, or BCA, and the shutdown deal. He's not about to let go of either, unless Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies offer a serious slate of money-saving entitlement reforms. A special Senate-House conference has been given until Dec. 13 to reach still another budget agreement that theoretically could restrain entitlements and soften the sequester. But Mr. McConnell doesn't expect this to happen. Neither does Mr. Reid.

All we need are a few more defeats, n'est ce pas?

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Oui, c'est bon!

But what about this:

"For Republicans eager to corral federal spending - and that's most of them..."

Some would argue that "most" Republicans deserted the 'wacko birds' who actually attempted to corral federal spending. But I'll not do that - I'd just like to ask if it is acceptable to have, as a goal, a congress wherein ALL Republicans are eager to corral federal spending? Or is that too "extreme?"

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Barnes (and Strassel and Kudlow) would say that all Republicans wish to cut spending but differ on tactics. Do you risk an unpopular ploy close to important midterms?

I find that argument compelling, but would like to see all three of them discover what Barnes begins to limn. All accept rather generic poll data on "likeability of GOP Congress" as proof of defeat.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Who says the wacko bird tactics are unpopular, generic polling data? I don't for a second believe that McCain or Graham would ever cut any pentagon spending. Ever. And the Dems know they'll sell their souls for DoD, so they never get to cut any other spending in any other department. Ever.

I, for one, am fed up with business-as-usual in Washington D.C. I'm beyond ready to attempt other tactics, even ones that some may malign as "unpopular."

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 7:20 PM

Quote of the Day

The White House pitched President Obama's Rose Garden event on Monday as a new transparency, but the event amounted to an infomercial, complete with a 1-800 number. Operators are standing by and "the product is good," the President said. -- WSJ Ed Page

While the Giants Improve to 1 - 6

The Empire State's Obamacare® franchise is still Oh-for:

In New York, one of only 16 states that has its own exchange, not one person had succeeded in using the site to enroll in a plan as of Friday.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

So, Obamacare is basically the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 22, 2013 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd never insult an actual NFL team thusly.

Good excuse for a pre-review-corner peek at a good line:

Lawmaking has been compared to making sausages. Modern constitutional doctrine calls for judges to act as if most of those sausages were being made in a sparkling clean laboratory by skilled technicians wearing latex gloves and hairnets. Public choice theory suggests otherwise. Indeed, the owner of a sausage factory near Washington D.C. remarked that he feels “insulted” when people compare his business to lawmaking.

Neily III, Clark M. (2013-10-08). Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution's Promise of Limited Government (Kindle Locations 1630-1633). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As of Monday, however, there has been one sale of Obamacare. Fox News contributor Sally Kohn saved 24 percent on premiums! (More later on why that savings is specious.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 7:24 PM

October 21, 2013

ACA Non-Horror Stories

Fair and Gorram Balanced -- that's ThreeSources! Let's take a few minutes to dwell on ObamaCare®'s success stories. Thankfully, the Administration gathered many of them together for us today to highlight his speech. No doubt, these were representative samples of Billions and Billions of satisfied customers, but you can fit only so many on a stage.

Even better, Byron York has gone over the details and distilled them into an article in the Washington Examiner (your other home for feel-good ACA news!)

For example, a Pennsylvania man named Malik Hassan was in the group, and this is the White House description of his situation, in full: "Malik Hassan works at a restaurant in Philadelphia. Hassan, who does not receive coverage through his employer, is looking forward to enrolling for health coverage this fall. He recently used Healthcare.gov. to process his application and is waiting for the options for potential plans in Philadelphia."

So, Hassan is employed, not covered, and has not yet succeeded in finding coverage through Obamacare. That is, in the White House's estimation, an Obamacare success story.

Well, Byron, that's just one of success stories. He's got more where that came from -- just click on through!

UPDATE: Three of the 13 had actually signed up!

Of the 13 people who flanked President Obama during his speech defending Obamacare in the Rose Garden Monday, just three had successfully registered for the new Obamacare exchanges.

UPDATE II: We were told there would be no math. Taranto counts one fewer:
Of the 13 White House success stories, only 2 actually seem to have bought policies through the exchanges. A few others have benefited from those other ObamaCare provisions that, according to the president, "you may not have noticed." But you'd think the White House would be able to come up with a baker's dozen people who've actually benefited in some way. And again, none of the success stories involve people who've willingly signed up to pay higher premiums--those without whom ObamaCare's economics cannot work.

But AndyN thinks:

I think there's no better illustration of "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" than having a pregnant diabetic woman stand behind you as a photo op prop while you extoll the virtues of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for long enough that she almost passes out.

Posted by: AndyN at October 21, 2013 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. The TeeVee news showed the woozy prop and her subsequent tweet that she was "okay." They did not apply the harsh judgment of ThreeSources, cutely adding that she knew she would not be able to go to the bathroom, so [the aforementioned pregnant diabetic] did not drink any water. Then the anchor staff giggled perkily.

I'm sure they'd have been as accommodative had President Georg -- dang, dollar in the jar!

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 11:03 AM

Otequay of the Ayday

Now, that the shutdown is over, the public can focus on this unfolding disaster. And thanks to the fact that conservative GOP lawmakers fought a valiant fight to stop ObamaCare, they'll know exactly who to blame. -Investor's Ed Page: Meltdown Now in Plain Sight

Today's Ramirez cartoon is also a must-see.

But jk thinks:

Yeah, I'm in. Larry Kudlow and Kim Strassel are still 100% certain that this exercise was a complete failure for the GOP.

ThreeSourcers will recall that I advocated caution. But -- for a couple of weeks -- I heard articulate and energetic Republicans discussing liberty; that is an omelet worth breaking a few eggs over.

My new concern is that the RINO backlash is going to cause too much consternation in the upcoming midterms. We need some amazing electoral results in '14; disunity doesn't seem to be the key.

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2013 4:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny received a CNN news flash email this am that she characterized as saying, "Evidence that the Republicans are going to lose their house majority." Can you believe it? From CNN even!

Posted by: johngalt at October 21, 2013 4:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yahoo's on it as well.

Democrats could win "a significant majority" in the House if the voter anger aimed at Republicans over the government shutdown carries into 2014, new surveys commissioned by a progressive group show.

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2013 5:11 PM
But AndyN thinks:

My new concern is that the RINO backlash is going to cause too much consternation in the upcoming midterms.

I think this may be a real concern. I have a friend from high school who's fairly active in local politics in his corner of Texas, and he's been raging on facebook about what a plague the Tea Party is on the nation as a whole and on the GOP in particular. It could just be wishful thinking on his part, but he's convinced that the Tea Party is done as a force within the GOP, that Cruz is history, and that Tea Party favorites in the House are going to lose primary challenges to "reasonable" Republicans. Of course, most of the people I see agreeing with him are sympathetic Democrats who hope that the GOP can once again become a cooperative partner in government.

Posted by: AndyN at October 21, 2013 5:34 PM

What would we do without "experts?"

From the same Matthew Segal article:

Nevertheless, I recently read an article in Forbes from an opt-out proponent who said "using insurance to pay for routine health care services distorts price signals and increases costs through layers of administration." This argument is specious on a few fronts.

First, 18% of our GDP (overall spending) goes toward health care costs. Experts estimate that much of this can be reduced through preventative care -- which is encouraged through Obamacare coverage.

Golly, encourage people to seek out and use preventive care. Why did nobody think of that before Obamacare?

This situation is a direct parallel for one that John Stossel has been highlighting recently - the Johnson' Administration's 'War on Poverty.' By instituting sweeping government programs (like Obamacare) the progress toward a particular goal that was already underway, ceased. If we assume that poverty levels would have continued falling, the "War on Poverty" actually caused more poverty, since the poverty rate flattened immediately. In essence, "government created poverty." Remember this next time some Tea Bagger says government never produces anything!

Tough Sell

From a Fortune Magazine article by Matthew Segal, President and co-founder of 'OurTime-dot-org' entitled: Why Millennials Need Obamacare

Lastly, there is an argument that Obamacare disproportionately helps older people because healthy young people who pay slightly higher premiums subsidize them. Irrespective of the fact that this is how health insurance has always worked, boycotting a system because a segment of the population other than yourself will also be better off under a policy is in no way a credible reason to invalidate it. But even more importantly, you won't be young and healthy forever. Health circumstances can change at a moment's notice, and your age circumstance definitely will. You may or may not get sicker. But you will definitely get older. Do not be so myopic to think otherwise.

Mr. Obamacare apologist, did you just say that health insurance "worked" before Obamacare? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Quote of the Day

No, not the Atlas Shrugged Quote of the Day. Sadly pulled from the headlines:

The tentative $13 billion settlement that the Justice Department appears to be extracting from J.P. Morgan Chase needs to be understood as a watershed moment in American capitalism. Federal law enforcers are confiscating roughly half of a company's annual earnings for no other reason than because they can and because they want to appease their left-wing populist allies. -- WSJ Ed Page

But johngalt thinks:

"In a post Dodd-Frank world, banks are public utilities and no CEO can afford to resist the government's demands."

"The lesson is how government has used the crisis to exert political control over even the most powerful private financial companies. The real lords of American finance are Attorney General Eric Holder, Treasury chief Jack Lew and their boss in the White House.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

IBD's Ed page concurs: "Another Mugging on Wall Street"

Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon figured it was cheaper to settle - a grave miscalculation. Holder hasn't waived criminal prosecution. He can continue to squeeze JPMorgan for more payola. The entire banking industry will regret not fighting this unprecedented federal extortion operation. Settling hasn't protected them. It's just encouraged more muggings.

Compared to Attorney General Holder's, Reverend Jesse Jackson's corporate extortion schemes were mere child's play.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 3:18 PM



Stars Fell on Alabama

Time to take the new guitar out for a spin. In honor of her difficult humidity journey to Colorado: Stars Fell on Alabama by Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish ©1934

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

A friend-of-a-friend on Facebook makes beautiful bows at S&S Archery. The owner is branching out to make guitars and I picked up Serial Number 6. It is a very pretty and well crafted instrument. The humidity change from Alabama to Colorado created a bit of havoc on the setup. I will take it in for some pro adjustments after it gets a little more used to the high desert.


October 18, 2013

It's Friday. More ACA Horror Stories

First, another data point:

"I believe everybody should be able to have health insurance, but at the same time, I'm being penalized. And for what?" said Weldzius, who is not offered insurance through his employer. "For someone who's always had insurance, who's always taken care of myself, now I have to change my plan?"

Impacting more than just "the 15 percent of Americans who don't currently have health care."

"It's been major sticker shock for most of my clients and prospects," said Rich Fahn, president of the Northbrook-based insurance broker Excell Benefit Group. "I'm telling (clients) that everything they know historically about health plans has changed. They either have to pay more out-of-pocket or more premiums or both. It's an overwhelming concern."

Where's that free lunch we were promised?

Insurers say the price and cost hikes result from new benefit mandates, additional taxes levied as part of the law and a requirement that they can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

But all of this is worth it, because more Americans now have access to quality care.

Brokers say they worry most about people who qualify for lower subsidies or none at all. Those with more modest incomes might not have enough in savings to pay for medical expenses.

They "could get slammed if they get sick," said Pollitz, of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "They just won't have the money. They just won't."

A potential consequence could be that some individuals may not seek medical care beyond routine office visits when they should, dissuaded by the specter of having to pay for it out of pocket.

"They'll just live without," Pollitz said, "kind of like they do now."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

The horror stories are unavoidable - they're not accidents, they're math.

I've spent a lifetime in the insurance industry (well, okay, thirty-one years; it just SEEMS like a lifetime), but you don't need that experience to make plain what's wrong with Obamacare: insurance is not magic. An insurance company has to take in (through premium dollars and investment income) at least as much as it pays out (in benefits, salaries, and overhead). It's a business, not a charity with an endless cash supply. To survive, the insurance company needs to set premium based on the risk they're taking on. That's called "underwriting."

Obamacare supporters are among the stupidest people I talk to, and that's saying something. The typical Obamacare supporter wants omnibus coverage; they don't want to have to pay a higher premium for pre-existing factors or risk conditions, and by the way, they want to pay $85 a month in premiums to get that coverage (and have their employer or the government subsidize as much of that as possible). What fails to register is that if everybody's paying $1,000 a year in premium, and using $3,000 average per year in services, the system breaks down.

Let's talk about pre-existing conditions. If your average policyholder has a 1-in-1000 chance of getting seriously sick (and let's say we define "seriously sick" as anticipating $100,000 in medical costs), the oddmakers can forecast how much premium they have to charge to cover that bet. What happens when the odds are 1-in-1 (after all, that's what pre-existing conditions are - a 1-in-1 chance of sickness)? You have to take in a lot more to cover that, doncha?

My sweet mom-in-law, at 78, is a career diabetic, along with a host of other ailments. I counted her pill bottles a few weeks ago. No lie, she takes 28 different meds, not counting her insulin. I know what she costs her medical insurer.

Let's talk about keeping kids on daddy's coverage until they're 26. What demographic are these people? They're people who are young and generally healthy. They're exactly the people who need to go out and buy coverage to offset all the expensive patients, aren't they?

People complain that the cost of medical care is rising so fast. Well, okay, some of that is innovation. If you want MRI scans and CAT scans, they're going to cost more than a chest X-ray. Robotic surgery and things like that cost to invent, and cost to use. But a big case can be made that insurance itself is a big cause of rising costs. When the end user is not writing the check for the treatment rendered, there's a disincentive to self-regulate. Prices do signal information, after all. Any non-Keynesian economist knows that. Hell, I know that, and I'm relatively illiterate.

But if Hugeco is paying $92.50 for an exam that a patient with cash in hand would pay $60 for, what happens to prices overall? They rise to match what Hugeco is paying - especially when the government is imposing a fee schedule on third-party payers like insurance companies.

So, with no natural restraint on demand and bureaucrats setting fee schedules based on what campaign donors like the AMA "suggest," is it an wonder that costs go up?

Ideally, if you did away with insurance and public benefits, and had people pay directly for their own treatment, what would happen to the price of treatment, do you think?

More pragmatically, here's a manifesto for you:

(1) End Obamacare.
(2) End the requirement that employers provide subsidized coverage for employees. Offer it voluntarily to attract better employees? Hell yes. But that should be a voluntary agreement between a willing employer and a willing employee. Of course, so should wages and working conditions, but that's another post.
(3) Allow shopping for coverage across state lines.
(4) Separate routine health-care plans from catastrophic illness coverage. That way, if I don't want coverage for what I evaluate as expensive but rare medical needs, I don't have to buy it.
(5) Allow cafeteria-style coverage. I'm a male; I don't personally need pregnancy coverage, and my policy will cost less without it. I don't anticipate ever needing substance abuse treatment (though in the face of the daily news...), so why should I pay for it? I don't want psychological treatment coverage, and I'm persuaded that chiropractors are quacks. What am I not allowed to shop for an inexpensive plan that doesn't cover these things?

Why does my government think I'm not competent to make my own intelligent choices? And more ominously, what makes them think they are?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 18, 2013 9:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm calling BS on "I'm relatively illiterate." Relative to what? The inhabitants of Vulcan?

Now, while I usually strive to avoid novel-length comments, today is Saturday and the subject of this post virtually demands it, ergo...

You have ably described the fiduciary nature of "insurance" i.e. financial risk mitigation. But there is a natural component of this that Obamacare's stupid supporters have latched onto and sought to expand even further, i.e. risk sharing.

When someone believes it is perfectly moral to take from some people and give to others because they "need it" there is no leap required to convince them that healthy people should pay to care for sick people.

When medical insurance first came on the scene the definition of "sick" was far simpler than it is today. Now it also includes "anxious" and "addicted to monthly spinal 'adjustments." Since these maladies are, or were, in relatively small demand compared to the large number of providers of such services, said providers petitioned government to make coverage of their services mandatory. The floodgates were opened.

I'm not prepared to demonize requirements like covering dependent children until they complete college or even maternity care premiums charged to males (after all, every maternity event involved a male at the front end so males should share in the costs at the back end, whether present or not) but these are not the provisions that destroy the insurance system.

In addition to mandating boutique coverages for all and writing policies for pre-existing conditions, i.e. those with 100% likelihood of costs that exceed premiums, Obamacare goes a giant step further with income-based premiums. This is disguised somewhat by its implementation - individuals up to 4X impoverishment are given public "subsidies" to pay for this thing that has now been made twice (or more) as costly. The result is that everyone who earns more than this arbitrary income is paying for those earning less, and doubly so since they pay confiscatory taxes in addition to their multiplicative new health insurance premiums courtesy of Obamacare.

Item 2 of your manifesto requires correction - There is no "requirement" that employers provide subsidized coverage for employees, even under Obamacare. That most employers do so is a result of the tax treatment of medical insurance premiums. This is merely one of the market-distorting effects of government's involvement in the insurance industry. As with every other industry, it would be better off if government did nothing.

In conclusion, the advent of Obamacare is not the death knell of the insurance industry. Regulatory distortion has been killing the industry for decades now, but it was a slow death. What Obamacare has done is to accelerate the effects of the immoral and unsustainable principles of "social justice" in this large segment of the American economy. As blog pragmatist I suggest that it will ultimately do more to precipitate the unraveling of health insurance, health care, and progressive taxation than its stupid supporters could have foreseen.

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2013 9:45 AM

October 17, 2013


I clicked too soon. Take it away Perfesser:

SO IT LOOKS LIKE more people have applied to live on Mars than have signed up for ObamaCare so far. -- Glenn Reynolds

But Keith Arnold thinks:

It begs the question: which group is likelier to get satisfaction first?

That cabin on the eastern slope of Olympus Mons is looking pretty good right now...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 18, 2013 1:50 PM

Quote of the Day

Pollock & Hume may share the honors:

As David Hume so rightly said, "It would scarcely be more imprudent to give a prodigal son a credit in every banker's shop in London, than to empower a statesman to draw bills upon posterity." The dogma that government debt is risk-free gives the government an outsized credit in every banker's shop everywhere. -- Alex J. Pollock


Christian Science Monitor-

Michael Yount of Charlotte, N.C., is one such unhappy customer. He and his wife, retired and in their late 50s, have been buying their own health insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) in North Carolina, paying about $380 a month with an $11,000 deductible. BCBS is offering them a new plan for three times the cost, $1,124.50 a month, still with an $11,000 deductible.

"We are an insurance company's dream," Mr. Yount tells the Monitor. "We pay our bills, we hardly ever get sick, no prescription drugs. And now this."

Reluctantly, he says, they plan to drop out of formal health insurance, pay the penalty, and "self-insure."

"No question, there's risk there," Yount says. "The question is, how much are you willing to pay someone else to mitigate that risk?"

He also understands that the law is meant to help those who have not been able to buy insurance because of preexisting conditions. But he objects to how it's being done.

"If the only way to get it to them is forcibly taking it from everybody else, how is that any better?" Yount says. "I'm struggling with what is the greater evil and injustice. I don't think it's any more right to take it from one person forcibly. It's coercion."

But jk thinks:



Posted by: jk at October 17, 2013 5:59 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

To tell you the truth, JK, I don't know how we're going to limit it to just once a day. This is a target-rich environment. If it paid well, you could consider full-time publishing and produce a new story on the hour.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 17, 2013 6:10 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Let's see, there's this guy, and there was that guy writing at Kos the other day with pretty much the same story. Ordinarily I wouldn't put too much stock in just a few isolated cases, but according to famed Enron financial consultant Paul Krugman "the plural of anecdote is data." And who am I to argue with a Nobel laureate?

Posted by: AndyN at October 17, 2013 8:53 PM

And Now, ThreeSources Blues Review

We oughtta have a regular blues review around here. Maybe I could talk SugarChuck into writing it...

Yet he doesn't do "Shameless Self Promotion" like his buddy jk. And wouldn't highlight this super review of a recent project in Blues Beat Magazine (scroll down halfway).

At the three-way intersection of gospel, soul and blues stands Minnesota native Annie Mack, who has been "Baptized in the Blues." Her exciting debut album is an uplifting, eclectic, all original ten-song testimony of how music -- and the Lord -- can change lives for the better. Mack's voice has the smoothness of cocoa butter tinged with cinnamon, warm and satisfying on both lead and harmony vocals. Accompanying her are producer Paul O’Sullivan on pedal-steel guitar, guitarists Tom Kochie and Charlie Lacy, Tim Scribner on upright and electric bass, and Miles Johnston on drums. Nine able studio guests add keyboards, horns, and background vocals. Every track is refreshing and original, showcasing Mack and her fellow artists' keen storytelling ability. This album is so great and so well done, it will propel this Minnesota girl to performing on national and international stages.

I bought the MP3s from www.anniemackblues.com a couple of days ago and have been digging it fiercely.

Five stars! Editor's Choice! Must Buy!!!

Music Posted by John Kranz at 2:41 PM | What do you think? [0]

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I have posted this a couple of times, but it's due for a reprise on my Father's Centenary:

The song, Belle Isle Streetcar Line, was written for my Mom. That's her voice requesting it. Dad died a few months after this was recorded and I am pretty happy to have this footage. I had just purchased an 8mm camcorder, which seemed wondrous as the time. I brought it down to play with it and captured this.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Terri thinks:


Is that your sister in the mirror?

Posted by: Terri at October 17, 2013 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

My Sister's house, but that is my eldest niece in the mirror.

Posted by: jk at October 17, 2013 2:25 PM

October 16, 2013

Fran Tarkenton

Why can't Bob Costas do more rants like this?

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 6:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Tweet of the Day

But johngalt thinks:

Some even better ones at https://twitter.com/Roxiemcmay. While a lesser man would say this illiterate Twit is a perfect example of how SSDI can waste $780 per month, I'm here to say it's a reasonable fee for such a humorous public reminder of how easy it is to live large in this here land o' plenty.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 3:51 PM
But jk thinks:

The good news is that I found the missing apostrophe:

Retired, disabled because of the Government, Democrat, was a gifted artist, hate arrogance, racism, Tea Party bullshit, out spoken know it all's.
Posted by: jk at October 16, 2013 4:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

LOL. It had to be somewhere and there it is. Meanwhile a contracted word pair in another tweet somewhere in his timeline is missing its space.

Can we also please do something about whoever the evil Republican is who goes around stealing the "gift" from artists?

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

"Out spoken?" I figured he was gay...

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2013 5:10 PM

Open for Redistribution!

After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.

I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:

1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.

2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.

3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.

Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."

One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.

Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!


"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?"

ht: Terri

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Shorter version: "Let it burn."

The only downside to all this is that when Obamacare - and one fine day not long after that, Leviathan himself - crashes, there are going to be people on the other side saying that it was doomed because we didn't cede enough authority or enough resources to it. That we tried it only halfway, and didn't go big, and it was the fault of the conservatives. Some - true believers of the left and a large posse of voters with room-temperature IQs - will buy that.

All that being said, we are going to see in our lifetimes Carthage salt itself. That's going to be both historic and spectacular.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 16, 2013 6:38 PM

Give Thanks and Praise!



I'm sure you'll want to sign.

But johngalt thinks:

What you can't see in the screen shot above, since the "Take Action" button has been shifted over the heading for some reason, is that the heading reads, "Wonderful to behold: Democrats are standing up to Republicans"

Yeah. Because the GOP has been running roughshod over the Obama Administration ever since it took office.

"Markos, your daily Kool-Aid delivery has arrived."

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 2:20 PM

October 15, 2013

It's not the Heat! It's the Tautology!

Most Americans are centrists, study finds.

And all their children are above average...

Marlin Perkins has met Obamacare and boy, is he pissed

Okay, not Mutual of Omaha's 'Wild Kingdom' host, but Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. And not pissed but at least, a Whole Lotta questions.

Asked if he would have delayed the launch of the exchange given its earlier problems, Bertolini said, "I would have, if I'd been in their seat." But, he added, "the politics got in the way of a good business decision."

However, Bertolini also said, "it's the law of the land, number one. Number two, public exchanges are going to be here to stay, so we need to make them work somehow. ... The question is: How do we get from here to there?" He said it could take three years or so before the marketplace's problems are fully sorted out.

But those are just the procedural issues. There's also the issue of fiscal sustainability [dared he to question "this administration's signature 'accomplishment."]

"I think the bigger issue is, will enough people sign up to make it work?" said Bertolini. Aetna, like other insurers, is counting on enough young and healthy people enrolling in the plans to offset the costs that come from providing benefits to older, sicker Americans.

Don't worry Mr. CEO, the government is always there to help you. When your profitablity disappears and your stock is delisted by the NYSE and you are either fired or go out of business, at least you'll be able to sign up for health care on the public exchanges. Who knows, you may even qualify for government subsided premiums, copays or maximum out-of-pocket limits!

Nobel Prizes

Sad that the Nobel Peace price has been politicized to complete irrelevance, and that the others have had tinges of political opportunism. But the Economics prize is till the flagship of the franchise. The WSJ is extremely supportive of this year's picks: Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen at the University of Chicago and Robert Shiller of Yale University.

Mr. Shiller's work has been particularly notable for two reasons: his contribution to the Case-Shiller home price index, which has been invaluable for those who want good data on home prices both nationally and regionally; and his proposal that government pensions and entitlements be "indexed to some indicator of taxpayer ability to pay, such as GDP." Thus government payments for pensions and entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare would be tethered to the relative health of the nation's economy, and the government wouldn't, as it does now, continue to spend itself ruinously into debt. Mr. Shiller's young students--given that they're of the generation likely to be surrendering more and more of their income to the government to support its payments--should consider building a statue of him.

But jk thinks:

Anarchy at ThreeSources? Mon Dieu!

I like courts. You may coerce me and force me -- at the point of a gun -- to pay for courts. I'm having a special this week: you can force me (ATPOAG) to pay for everything in Article I Section 8.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2013 10:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If you agree to be forced you do not need to be. You will pay willingly. As. Would. I. The question is, will you force your neighbor, ATPOAG, to pay for everything in Article I Section 8? I. Would. Not.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 11:27 AM
But jk thinks:

Lemme think about it. I know it is done on my behalf and do not object.

I understand that income tax is voluntary. You're suggesting we codify that and replace ATPOAG with At The Point Of A Disapproving Look From The Guy In 1-102?

Might work but my immediate thought is that if limited to Article I Section 8, coerce away. I accept the Constitutional compact and only wish they accepted the Tenth Amendment.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2013 1:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Replacing forceable taxation with voluntary fee for service is an ideal to work toward, for it represents arrival at a truly free society. Unfortunately, even at the Constitutional Convention such a free society could not be agreed upon. Too many believed that the government could not succeed without giving it the coercive power. But that power had a limit in that it could only be applied EQUALLY to all persons. Statist interests undid this limitation with the Sixteenth Amendment and we have been out brothers keepers ever since.

A valid government of a free nation would offer services valuable enough that individuals would willingly pay their "fair share" but when the taker decides what is "fair" the maker will get the shaft. Here's Rand's take, circa 1970.

"Voluntary" you say? Surely you jest.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

There are many interesting ways to assemble, operate, organize and fund government.

The US Constitution is not perfect, but I always return to its being pretty damn good. Instead of starting with my personal ideal, I come back to AIs8 because I will accept those enumerated powers that I wish were left out (Coin Money and Regulate the Value Thereof? Hamilton!!!) because the general idea of enumerated powers is pure genius. When the "Taxation id theft" "No Coercion Ever" Signs come out I say you might try that in a seasteading venture or a corner of New Hampshire that secedes and I'd love to see it.

But we had this wonderful land called America once. While imperfect, it empirically proved the potential advantages of liberty. Can we try what worked?

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2013 4:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, let's. What I'm trying to get at is, if we do, what estoppel can we employ against aforementioned statist interests?

Todd Andrew Barnett and I suggest that the only thing that can stop them is morality.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 5:09 PM

Quote of the Day

Our Margaret:

The second point I'd wanted to make, I said, is that for all the Republican Party's troubles, for all the fighting and fisticuffs, there is one great thing, and it is that the party is alive with idea and argument and debate. This is good, it speaks of a liveliness and vitality appropriate to a great party. And if I were a Democrat, I said, teasingly but also seriously, I would wish my party were engaged in such spirited debate, and be anxious that it is not. -- Peggy Noonan

Senate Chaplain. Really?

Chaplain Barry Black was featured on FOX News Sunday yesterday, prompting the lovely bride to say "they have a Chaplain?" And me to groan assent. I don't get uptight over church-versus-state as plenty of others can be counted on to do it on my behalf.

But I was grossly offended that he took sides. (Maybe he is kind of a Democrat Shepherd Book, keep an eye on him...) It's all well and good for low information voters to seek comity and compromise. But those paying attention should know that to disagree is to take a stand and that arguing for compromise is taking one side's position over the other.

And that, I humbly submit, is outside the aegis of the Senate Chaplain.

"Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable," Black appealed in one of his recent morning prayers that have been doled out like daily scoldings to the deadlocked Congress.

Black sat down with "Power Players" to discuss the critical tone of his recent prayers, explaining that he sees it as his job "to be gadfly of sorts" -- spurring his congregation of senators to action.

"I'm not judging and I'm not scolding, actually," Black said. "My responsibility as a pastor is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. I need to be a gadfly of sorts. ... I think that I should reflect the challenges of the environment that I'm working in."

And I think he should say some pretty words when they start in the morning and then sit down. "Afflict the comfortable?" That in the job description?

113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [5]
But AndyN thinks:

Well, the press used to consider it their job to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. It's nice to see that someone cares enough to have picked up that banner. I'm not entirely sure how exactly the party out of power qualifies as the comfortable, but maybe God explained that all to him.

Posted by: AndyN at October 15, 2013 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To "afflict the comfortable" requires both judging and scolding. But as long as he says he's not doing those things I suppose that is what matters, at least in his imaginings. In the noumenal world we have a different term for this; a term he used earlier in the quote: "hypocrisy."

And why is the adage "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" so popular? Because, in the mirror image construction it has the sound of something fair, and "reasonable."

As activists for relativism go, this one is as easy to read as Dr. Seuss.

Posted by: johngalt at October 15, 2013 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg does a nice send up on the phrase in his magisterial Tyranny of Clichés. Afflict the Comfortable -- what a goal.

Posted by: jk at October 15, 2013 12:33 PM
But jk thinks:


How is that the Senate Chaplain avoided furlough in the Government Shutdown?

Posted by: jk at October 15, 2013 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He must have friends in high places. And I don't mean Heaven.

Posted by: johngalt at October 15, 2013 3:23 PM

October 14, 2013

Obnoxious Red Sox Fan: "You Didn't Earn That!"

My first thought when I saw the video of this classless Boston Red Sox fan manhandle a home run baseball away from the woman next to him so that he could throw it back onto the field in an infantile display of tribal disapproval was, "that's a direct consequence of teaching people that any act can be tolerated if it is committed in the name of "the public good." I could almost hear the cretin shout, "You didn't earn that" as he forcibly took property from a weaker person of the fairer sex who had the audacity to also yell, "That's my baseball!"

But the real story here, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, is that the guy is a racist who allegedly called another fan wearing a Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers jersey "Prince Fielder's crackhead brother" and "yelled at another African-American Tigers fan walking through the section, saying: "Go back to the ghetto." Of course the worst offense came as Mister Red Sox fan was being escorted from the area by stadium security and answered a "bye-bye" salutation from the Fielder jersey wearer with "Bye, Travon."

The closest Passan came to criticizing Mr. Red Sox fan was this paragraph about the act that got him ejected.

Video of the man taking the ball from a woman sitting next to him and chucking it onto the field quickly went viral as Boston faced a five-run deficit. The Red Sox came back for a dramatic 6-5 victory to even the ALCS at one game apiece.

Perhaps he would have cared more about the woman with the ball if she had been African-American.

I'll close with the cautionary advice of a commenter to the original linked story:

don't lump the entire Boston crowd in with this idiot... only about 90% of them behave like him.

Stay classy, Boston.

When You've Lost Ezra Klein...

1. So far, the Affordable Care Act's launch has been a failure. Not "troubled." Not "glitchy." A failure. But "so far" only encompasses 14 days. The hard question is whether the launch will still be floundering on day 30, and on day 45. -- Juicebox Mafioso, Ezra Klein

Marginal Costs, Anybody?

Dr. [Ezekiel] Emanuel is chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. [Andrew] Steinmetz is the senior research assistant.
You'd think one of them might have cracked an "Econ 101" book. Once. About page 25, they would have been introduced to marginal costs and marginal benefits.

Armed with that keen understanding -- imparted routinely on college freshmen -- their guest editorial in the WSJ today would have been less of a dog's dinner.

Blaming ObamaCare® for part time wages, claim Emanuel and Steinmetz, is a "full-time fallacy" because:

  • Some workers want part time;

  • Part-time work correlates to recessions

  • Part-time work is not at unprecedented high levels

  • Politicians making this claim are unable "to name hundreds if not thousands of companies that are forcing their 40-hour-a-week, full-time workers to accept part-time, 29-hour-a-week jobs"

Now, I happen to know two people seeking full-time employment, both of whom have been offered 29-hour positions and have been told outright that the ACA is the cause.

But rather than arguing anecdotes, I am baffled by editorials like this, of which I have seen several. Most employers are not too small (yeah, but some are). Most of those are not large enough to hit the 50-worker limit (yeah, but some are). Many offer health care (yeah, but some do not),

Because not the entire 1/3 of part-time workers wanting full-time can be blamed on ObamaCare, that must mean (poof!) that none can be. As my two job seekers are pretty close to me, I watch this topic with heightened interest. And I have seen this muddy thinking over and over.

At the margins, why are we pushing employers to provide fewer jobs in a tepid recovery? At the margins, why are we making it better to offer fewer hours?

Tales of the 47%

Just. Wow.

I am uncomfortable discussing "makers vs. takers" and Governor Romney's famous 47%. Rather than call out individual persons, broad categories and policies do not have a sad story or sympathetic visage or even -- egads! -- a discernible ethnic classification.

It's a losers game, but this is ThreeSources and we can be ourselves unless Mom comes in the room unexpectedly...

When a breakdown in EBT cards processing prevented a Walmart* in Mansfield, Louisiana from checking the limit, management advised cashiers to continue accepting the cards as payment.

The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, "It was worse than any black Friday" that he's ever seen.

Lynd explained the cards weren't showing limits and they called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Walmart said they wouldn't press charges if she left the food.

Time to get the government out of the charity business forever. Deserving poor accepting charity from private donations would not likely grow to this level of "entitlement." This cannot stand.

Hat-tip: Insty

UPDATE: Ari Armstrong weighs in. Pretty hard to look at this story and not say that our Randian friends are right.

But johngalt thinks:

It is with only a modicum of satire that I place the blame for this modern (postmodern?) phenomenon squarely on the shoulders of ... you - or at least, people like you.

Could something like this have happened in our grandparents' day? A sense of pride and self-esteem existed then that made "being on the dole" shameful. But Saturday night in Mansfield, Louisiana, the only thing shameful was if you failed to cash in on your chance to "get yours."

The active role in this societal transformation was played by the socialist philosphers and their minions in government, but an enabling role was also filled by every able-bodied man and woman who was "uncomfortable discussing makers vs. takers."

How uncomfortable is it to say, "Demanding something you have not earned is immoral - accepting something you have not earned is not much better?" Leviathan, HALT!

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2013 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop, guv. (Though I thought we had enforced some anti-bullying guidelines...)

This libertarian would be quite comfortable with private charity. But to argue and to stay somewhat in the realm of possible: was there not a sweet spot in granny's day where some benefits were available in a disastrous personal crisis without the entitlement and demand?

I don't know how you put that toothpaste back in the tube. But President Reagan talked about the "truly needy" and even this crusty old guy would accede to a safety net.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2013 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I accede to a safety net for the truly needy, as you and the Gipper call them, but I'm not for taking the cap off of the government toothpaste tube. Private safety net only.

But again, in granny's day, even in a "disastrous personal crisis" there was shame in receiving aid. Doubling back on this aspect, conversion from food stamps or "coupons" to the EBT card was billed as an efficiency improvement but it was widely known at the time that it also aimed to circumvent personal shame. But our elected representatives went along anyway. Damn the moral hazard, full speed ahead!

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2013 4:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Still dazzled at Yaron Brook's talk at LOTR-F. Dr. Brook made a convincing case that as need is boundless, the accession to even the deserving is a moral failing.

Back to coupons, or a big scarlet E-B-T on the recipient, might be a start, but the shame is more than discomfort. Mansfield is not about courtesy, it is theft plain and simple. Just because someone has turned off the burglar alarms does not mean the merchandise is free.

Curious, though: the users did provide their cards, correct? We really do not require M. Clousseau to fly in to find the miscreants. And yet, over and under on number of prosecution? I'll take under one.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2013 5:58 PM

October 13, 2013

Review Corner

Introspection can be overdone, 'tis true. Navel gazers can be tiresome. But a little self discovery now and then is powerful.

The little company I work for, well known by a few ThreeSourcers, is now a mid-size company; we hit $101Million in top line last year. With that comes great opportunity albeit with more bureaucracy than I like, and the unfortunate swap of joie de vivre for politics. All worth it for success.

Creeping up at the edges is the mission statement, vision committee and obligatorily perky full-time trainer to explore you and your team's leadership style. As grisly as it sounds, I participated with enthusiasm because the department I work for could do with some clarity. I faced some disconnects around my not being in leadership or management anymore as my health issues suggest a different level of contribution.

Coincidentally I think, I picked up a psychology book of sorts: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Cain sees an "it takes all kinds to make a world" world, but her studies take her to Tony Robbins seminars, Harvard Business School, and many examples of a society that overvalues extroversion.

Contrary to the Harvard Business School model of vocal leadership, the ranks of effective CEOs turn out to be filled with introverts, including Charles Schwab; Bill Gates; Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee; and James Copeland, former CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Tony [Robbins] seems to have anticipated such questions. "But I'm not an extrovert, you say!" he told us at the start of the seminar. "So? You don't have to be an extrovert to feel alive!" True enough. But it seems, according to Tony, that you'd better act like one if you don't want to flub the sales call and watch your family die like pigs in hell.

Cain opens with the story of Rosa Parks, whose quiet strength predicated her heroics in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks could never have filled Martin Luther King's shoes but nor could he hers.

Cain is not out to convert Tony Robbins to quiet contemplation, but she defends workers and children who practice it. Of particular interest to ThreeSourcers might be her destruction of the contemporary business and education focus on collective participation versus individual discovery.

The cooperative approach has politically progressive roots-- the theory is that students take ownership of their education when they learn from one another-- but according to elementary school teachers I interviewed at public and private schools in New York, Michigan, and Georgia, it also trains kids to express themselves in the team culture of corporate America.
"It's an elitism based on something other than merit. Today the world of business works in groups, so now the kids do it in school," a third-grade teacher in Decatur, Georgia, explained. "Cooperative learning enables skills in working as teams-- skills that are in dire demand in the workplace," writes the educational consultant Bruce Williams.

She champions Steve Wozinak and the great inventors, engineers and artists who looked inside for their discoveries. And she hilariously takes down the popular "brainstorming" culture with studies that show more and better ideas from individuals.

Don't get too excited, she's not a closet Randian. One whole chapter is devoted to a certain brilliant, introverted Vice President who -- gosh darn it -- has tried to warn us about the coming catastrophe of climate change. But the extroverts in Congress cannot see the importance of a small crack in a glacier thousands of miles away and . . . (no, the Kindle version does not include a barf bag, you must furnish your own for this section).

But it is a serious book and an interesting read. I even contacted our perky trainer and ponied up $20 to take the Briggs-Meyers personality test. According to which, I am an introvert (this may surprise ThreeSourcers less than those who interact with me corporally; I happen to be a VERY LOUD introvert). Yet I agree with the score.

Four-point-five stars. Interesting enough for five, but I cannot let the VP Gore section pass without subtraction.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice story. Of particular interest to me is how, in my experience, those of the individual discovery clan can coexist, albeit superficially, with the collective participatation crowd but the latter, particularly when in a management role, often have distrustful feelings toward the former. Perhaps this is because the introvert is passive agressive or, more typically, because he can succeed at his job without the collective and, most importantly, without the manager.

The most successful managers can get the most out of both types of subordinate. To do so they must have good communication skills and a healthy self-image of their own, such as not to be threatened by the knowledge of the introvert, whether used in a hostile manner or not.

Hey, there's some lint in here.

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2013 2:48 PM

October 11, 2013

"Holding them to their word"

The blogosphere responds to the Pragmatism Survey: Namely, Drew M. at Ace of Spades - The GOP Civil War...The Role Of Outside Groups And The Empire Strikes Back

Former Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois decided that Senator Mark Kirk, also of Illinois, needs to be primaried b/c he called for a clean CR. Now Walsh is a former Congressman because he's, well, an idiot.

Here's where a little discernment would go a long way for conservatives. Kirk is a moderate Republican. He's also holding a Senate seat in ILLINOIS. That's practically theft. Let's not make him the problem, ok?

People like Lindsey Graham, a moderate in a deep red state are a problem. A big spender like Thad Cochran from Mississippi (a conservative but poor state that loves federal money) is a problem.

If Kirk needs to talk liberal on some issues, fine. Did I mention ILLINOIS?

What we can't have is guys like Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both from Tennessee starting or joining Senate "gangs" that always move things left and cut the legs out from conservatives.

We need our "mavericks" to emulate what "moderate" and red state Democrats do...talk a big game back home but when push comes to shove, shut up and vote the right way.

And NEVER join a "gang". To me, that's open warfare and a primary is a reasonable reaction no matter the state.

Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 5:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

Wobbly Republicans should remember why they got into this fight in the first place: to stop ObamaCare. If they cave now, they'll have given up their best chance to spare the country this monumental disaster. -IBD Editorial: Is GOP Caving With Victory at Hand?

October 10, 2013


You know, I wasn't sure about this whole government shutdown thing, but so far I'm finding it mightily amusing. -- Prof. Glenn Reynolds
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I haven't been reading any blogs in a long time, and with most of my online social activity being on Facebook, at first I looked for the "Like" button.

You know what's disappointed me the most about this non-shutdown shutdown? There was no market crash like we were supposed to have! It would have been a perfect time to get into some equities, even just index-tracking funds, before they bounced back.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 11, 2013 1:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The positive side of that is that a market dip is the most powerful example the press can spin into "proof" that the shutdown is calamitous, putting more pressure on Republicans to cave to the Democrats. Reid and Obama are bluffing on a Jack-high hand and John Boehner really, really, really needs to call them. Chief Justice Roberts said that the electoral/legislative machinery was the proper venue in which to change Obamacare. This is the prime time to do exactly that. Wait until they are "all in." Take them to the cleaners.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2013 4:57 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Boehner lacks the testicular fortitude. You have no idea how much I want to be wrong on this, but, track record.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 11, 2013 7:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Naturally I agree, but weren't you as surprised as I that he has stood with the TEA Party Caucus in the first place? Now that he's chosen a path he really needs to stay on it.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2013 9:04 AM

Shutdown Theatre

Do y'all watch local TeeVee news? It's a particular form of torture, but one is rewarded with an inaccurate prediction of the local weather and an absolutely correct picture of the CW, low-information voter's worldview. And generally a couple of laughably bad stories on the evils of the Internet.

Government Shutdown: Day 10! aired last night and this morning. (I doubled down, don't know why.) Every day some important local impact -- always bad, of course -- of mean old John Boehner's petulance.

Day ten affects Colorado's flourishing craft brew industry. It seems that new seasonal brews may go unreleased because . . . wait for it . . . the Federal label approval process is shut down.

You can click the link and watch if you'd like. Several brewers are interviewed and the lovely bride speculates that each one of them voted enthusiastically for every candidate that ensured a Federal role in the design of beer labels. None dare suggest that maybe the problem is the avoidance of Article I Section 8 or the Tenth Amendment.

I think people of the right often overplay the "founders rolling in their grave" card. But I am pretty comfortable that Mister Samuel Adams at the very least would be distraught at this.

But johngalt thinks:

Really?? That's the best they can do in the "end of the world as we know it" department? No more new beer flavors until government reopens?

Either the news folks are truly lazy or the government shutdown really is "clearly and sincerely" benign.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 4:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Day 10 seems like a good time to ask, how's that ammunition holding out?

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Insty captured me perfectly on Day 10 / Defcon 5:

You know, I wasn't sure about this whole government shutdown thing, but so far I'm finding it mightily amusing.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2013 5:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. Well, it's only getting better by the day. Have you seen this one?

Since the monuments in Washington D.C. are "closed" they're starting to look a little trashy. Probably inspired by a South Carolina man who took it upon himself to mow the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial, there's now an organized "National Day of Service" to tidy up a bit. It's this Saturday. Should prove amusing when the not-so-furloughed park rangers arrive.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 6:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Just as long as they don't try to recreate...

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2013 7:21 PM

Pragmatism Update and Survey

I think we've all enjoyed Dr. Milton Wolf MD, President Obama's cousin and thorn in his side. He has provided great material on these pages. He is a man of passion, intellect, and a rare understanding of liberty qua liberty.

But is liberty served in his primary challenge to Pat Roberts (Old Fuddy Duddy - KS)?

I am sympathetic to the argument that the competition has led the veteran Senator to embrace Tea-Party-friendly positions. But I have little patience for resources' being directed to Kansas and Wyoming when Steve Lonegan is starving for funds in the Garden State just as his invincible opponent appears vinceable. I can live with Roberts and Mike Enzi (Serviceable R - WY); I wish to elect GOP leadership.

UPDATE All Hail Taranto:


Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Well, no less a political philosopher than Tip O'Neill said, "All politics is local." I see no reason to let flyover senators off the hook because someone like Bloomberg can get elected as a Republican on one of the coasts.

The events of recent years have taught me that, while "party trumps person" it is still common for the wrong people to become representatives of the party. One must be vigilant in keeping the principles of liberty at the front of the GOP bus. One possible way to do this, that I learned about yesterday and will be investigating, is the Republican Liberty Caucus. It has both a national and a local presence. [rlc-dot-org for the national arm.]

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Incidentally, RLC has endorsed Steve Lonegan.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 2:52 PM

Quote of the Day

But how do you really feel?

"It wasn't designed well, it wasn't implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it," Luke Chung, an online database programmer, told CBS News.

"It's not even close. It's not even ready for beta testing for my book. I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that," he said.

UPDATE: Video at 11:00!

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

Aimin' at Misbehavin'

I cannot imagine anyone's not clicking a link that Brother Keith provides, but in case you were on an IV all day yesterday and almost missed it, I wanted to promote it to a post. Matthew May at American Thinker:

Like most members of the Congress that passed it and, undoubtedly, the president of the United States who signed it, I have not read the entirety of the ill-named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Yet there is one aspect concerning that legislation of which I am certain: I will not comply.

I will not comply because I am a free citizen of the United States, not a subject of its government. I consider non-compliance with this monstrosity and the tens of thousands of pages of regulations that are to be enforced by an unelected bureaucracy, and that have left a gigantic carbon footprint on our environment and the United States Constitution, a duty.

Non-compliance is my executive order, and that order reads in part that I do not recognize any government's claim on my action or inaction in the marketplace, nor upon any personal information I am unwilling to divulge.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Hear hear. And if I happen to come across any federal government "we're closed to Republicans" barriers, I shall cross them.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 3:04 PM

CU Boulder votes on the Shutdown

Wow; less than 3 min. worth seeing, and more and greater kudos to Prof. Hayward!

Government Posted by nanobrewer at 12:17 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Buncha right wing FAUXNEWS viewers up in Boulder...

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2013 10:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome! TEA Party Youth. I wonder if they even know they agree with the TEA Party?

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 4:52 PM

October 8, 2013

Quote of the Day

Non Coloradan ThreeSourcers need pardon the rest of us for a month or so. On the ballot is Amendment 66 -- a $950 Million dollar tax increase to prop up union pensions and funnel money to big city union teachers. Now, opponents of the bill call it "a Billion dollar tax increase to prop up union pensions and funnel money to big city union teachers." But that is simply not fair, it is only $950 Million.

Pro-66 commercials have started up big time: "$133 brings back gym class!" "$133 hires more teachers' aides!" "All the money goes to the classroom [patently false]" and "You don't hate children, do you?" Well, that last one may have been South Park but it is early.

Doug Bruce, author of Colorado's TAxpayer Bill Of Rights (TABOR), has a lengthy email going 'round. I recommend the whole thing, but will award QOTD to:

The claim this tax is "for the children" is the biggest lie of all. No child gets one dollar. It all goes for government's near-monopoly on juvenile indoctrination. Nearly all the money will go for pay raises, either directly or by propping up their bankrupt PERA pension plan. The state treasurer, who sits on the retirement board, has written that all these billions can prop up the $25 billion deficit in profligate pension plans paying all of today's government workers (not just teachers) nearly full salaries for life, for not working.

You don't hate children, do you?

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 6:29 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

If they grow up to be as willing to lie as the backers of Amendment 66 then yes, I hate children.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2013 2:13 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Colorado Friends: it may be trite to say, but I feel your pain. This is a subject near and dear to heart, and I'm right with you on this.

Here's an interesting website, showing the annual per-student spending, by state: http://is.gd/PgOUxg . For Fiscal Year 2011, Colorado spent $8,724 per student. Despite attending California public schools, I'm actually capable of basic mathematics, and if you assume an average class size of 25 students (feel free to adjust accordingly), that's $218,100 per classroom for the year.

That sum ought to be sufficient to pay a teacher handsomely, including pension and other costs, purchase a goodly number of textbooks and supplies, a few field trips, and keep the lights running. That number is the reason I take umbrage every time I hear "we don't spend enough on education! We've got to pay teachers better!"

So where the hell is all the money going?

[You'll note, by the way, that California's number is somewhat higher, and a public school education here isn't worth half a damn. Our welfare schools are a national joke. I'll leave it to Coloradans to comment on the value of education there.]

It might be interesting to compare that $8,724 figure to annual tuition at a private school, which has to actually compete for a parent's business, and has to actually deliver an education in return for that money. Are you getting what you paid for?

By the way, I don't know whether the above figures includes revenues from various lotteries, car washes, and bake sales. I'm guessing that it doesn't include the last two.

Feel free to use the above argument to persuade your friends and neighbors, if they are persuadable. Your Amendment 66 needs to go down in flames.

And I don't hate children. Some of them have good marbling and are actually pretty good with a wedge salad and a side of steak fries.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 9, 2013 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother Keith, the same act of multiplication had me pretty seriously considering opening a charter school. More than the missing bake sales, I think that figure ignores capitalized expenses and maintenance on school buildings. I've seen figures closer to 15K.

I figured half that, four 25 member classes. Inexpensive space in an aging strip mall. Four well paid teachers and a couple aides. Teach civics out of donated pocket constitutions, literature from classics, math from Khan Academy.

A week long pipe dream but the numbers do not look bad. I never got very far but I do use that when people swear that schools don't get enough funding. If I've had a charm pill and tell the story well, they leave thinking about it.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2013 10:26 AM

How Science Works

Somehow, this seems inconsistent with Popperian Epistemology. But here is a description of the discussion on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

Concerning the evidence that the key findings of the report are based on, Saudi Arabia suggested adding "assumptions" or "scientific assumptions" to the list. The addition of "scientific assumptions" was supported by Brazil and opposed by Austria, Canada, Germany and Belgium. The latter underscored that assumptions are already implicitly included in the already-listed theory, models and expert judgement. The Group rejected the insertion.


On the headline statement, which states that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and, since 1950, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia, Saudi Arabia said the statement was "alarmist," urged qualifying the terms "unequivocal" and "unprecedented," requested using the year 1850 instead of 1950, and called for a reference to slowed warming over the past 15 years.

Germany, Australia, Chile, Spain, Fiji, New Zealand, the US, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Mexico, Slovenia, the UK and others supported the statement as presented, with Germany pointing out that AR4 concluded almost the same. Canada pointed out that factors other than warming will be the emphasis in the future. The Russian Federation proposed "changing," rather than warming of the climate system. After some discussion, Saudi Arabia agreed to accept the statement as presented.

Sounds like the science is settled...

But johngalt thinks:

I have no difficulty imagining a modern-day Immanuel Kant proclaiming, "It is impossible to be certain of anything, except that human activity is responsible for Global Climate Change."

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2013 2:34 PM

Why not tax those who don't buy ethanol?

The WSJ Ed Page brings word of an disturbing escalation.

In its zeal to impose the ethanol boondoggle, Congress has mandated it, subsidized it, and protected it from competitors. Now some Senators are siccing prosecutors on those who still won't get on their ethanol cornwagon.

That's the gist of a recent letter from Iowa Republican Charles Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, demanding the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission investigate the oil industry for "anticompetitive practices aimed at blocking market access for renewable fuels." That's Senatorial Cornspeak for saying oil companies should have to put their gas stations in the service of Big Ethanol.

It seems a Phillips 66 service station in Kansas (you think you can make this stuff up) converted pumps to sell E85 and E15. Then The Man intervened:
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, Phillips 66 insisted that the franchisee use at least one of its tanks to sell Phillips' premium gasoline. Phillips 66 refused to comment on a private customer arrangement, though it "strenuously" denies it is trying to frustrate ethanol use.

They will not quit. "Access to Ethanol!" is the newest human right.

But Keith Arnold thinks:


In that single word is summed up the entire situation and a multitude of wrongs committed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2013 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

& underpinning the unholy "Bootleggers and Baptists" coalition of ADM and Greenpeace.

This Reagan guy is pretty tired of hearing about the great old days of The Gipper & Tip O'Neill's bonhomie. That was then and I take nothing away from either.

But the nation cries out for compromise (I am told constantly) and our political class is letting them down. And Burger King has some new fries with less fat.

But compromise got us where we are. Republicans and Democrats can always find common ground to grow government: "I'll vote for your ethanol if you vote for my windmills and light rail." Senators Paul and Cruz do not have a natural partner in discussion to stop growth or (gasp!) pare back the Leviathan.

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2013 2:43 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Compromise? "There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction."

And Leviathan ought to check into those healthy fries; I hear tell the beast grows fat and its arteries clogged. If it doesn't cut back on the cholesterol of its own accord, it may come to its own end of natural causes, without the tree of liberty needing to be watered.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2013 4:59 PM
But jk thinks:

With the High-LDL blood of tyrants as Mister Jefferson told us...

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2013 5:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yes and yes. Great analysis of the perils of Sens. Paul and Cruz but I must insinuate you meant to say they have no natural partner in the government in discussion to (...) pare back the Leviathan. For they do have a natural partner in the governed.

One proposed strategy for destroying Obamacare is to just step back and let it collapse of its own gargantuan ineptitude. Curiously, this is the same strategy we are forced to follow for destroying Leviathan. I prefer a more proactive strategy against the ACA.

1) "Obamacare is a disaster. It will make most health insurance more expensive. It should be repealed."

2) Consumers find their healthcare costs skyrocketing.

3) "That's what we were trying to tell you."

4) Repeal Obamacare or you're fired!

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2013 2:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've got your proactive strategy right here:


Or, as Misha puts it more colorfully (language warning for the faint of heart):


Wanna stop the motor of the world?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 9, 2013 4:25 PM

October 7, 2013

Steyn: That Which Shall Not Be Discussed

John Stossel took a peek into Nancy Pelosi's "bare" cupboard last night to see if she was correct in saying there is nothing left to cut. Brilliantly, he placed Social Security, Medicare and military spending on top of the cupboard since "those are so big they don't even fit in the cupboard." Mark Steyn takes on the same issue today saying, Too Much of the Federal Government Can't Be Shut Down.

"Mandatory spending" (Social Security, Medicare et al.) is authorized in perpetuity -- or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress' so-called federal budget process.

That's why you're reading government "shutdown" stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady's ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.

He segues from there to what passes for a spending prioritization process in the capitol of our national, nee federal, government.

Pace Sen. Reid, Republican proposals to allocate spending through targeted, mere multi-billion-dollar appropriations is not only not "irresponsible" but, in fact, a vast improvement over the "continuing resolution": To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, but continuing power corrupts continually.

America has no budget process. That's why it's the brokest nation in history. So a budgeting process that can't control the budget in a legislature that can't legislate leads to a government shutdown that shuts down open areas of grassland and the unmanned boat launch on the Bighorn River in Montana.

I've been Tweeting and Facebooking that we're witnessing day whatever-it-is of "Essential Government." In reality, what's still steaming ahead full is well beyond what is essential.

But nanobrewer thinks:

How's about we put all the mandatory items in Al Gore's lockbox?

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2013 12:21 AM

Quote of the Day

Gotta steal it from Insty. Too. Damnnëd. Good:

Of course, I want people to have health care. I just didn't realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally. -- Two time Obama voter and ACA supporter Cindy Vinson

But johngalt thinks:

Why, my dear Ms. Vinson, it is only what is neccessary for the common good. Nothing more.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alas, she still doesn't get it.

Those explanations, however, don't completely satisfy Waschura and Vinson.

"I'm not against Obamacare," Waschura said. "It's just the initial shock. I'm holding out hope that there will be a correction over a handful of years."

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 3:18 PM

October 6, 2013

Quote of the Day

Meanwhile, President Obama has become the Hamlet of the West Wing: One minute he's for bombing Syria, the next he's not; one minute Larry Summers will succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the next he won't; one minute the president is jetting off to Asia, the next he's not. To be in charge, or not to be in charge: that is indeed the question. -- Niall Ferguson

But jk thinks:

Robert Tracinski's first item speaks well to this (both hope and caution).

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2013 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Cindy Vinson is no TEA Partier and while she may initially say she's willing to hold out hope for "a correction over a handful of years" she may change her mind sooner rather than later as she sees health insurance costs go ever higher - not the sort of "correction" to which she undoubtedly refers.

Who suspects that less than 80 percent of those currently insured, whose rates will universally increase, will react with "great vengeance and furious anger" to their new, improved, "fair" insurance bill?

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeahr,but: that sounds like the Dan Henniger/Kim Strassel plan of let ObamaCare® sink itself with its general unwieldy craptasticness (they probably use different terms from the WSJ Style Book).

I don't see an end path to the shutdown. "Great vengeance and furious anger" will take longer than we can we can keep Commissaries closed.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2013 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

But it is a good time!

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2013 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It doesn't take as long as you think. Popular will is measured in opinion poll cycles, not election cycles.

My favorite part of the spectacle is how cock-sure the Democrats are. They are throwing the Republicans, at least the "terrorist" wing, into that there briar patch.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 4:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In a Washington Times Op-Ed, Dean Clancey tells us How the GOP Can Win the Shutdown Hint: By saying they'll block every Republican "mini-bill" no matter how popular, the Democrats have become the extreme obstructionists.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 5:23 PM

Review Corner

Some guys like mysteries, some thrillers, some tend towards erotica and pornography. Me, I have a problem. I enjoy reading about "The Panic of Oh-Eight."

It may not have the verve of porn, but this is a significant -- nay, huge, event in our lives. It ushered in a toleration for dirigisme in the financial sector, swept in our century's Roosevelts (Senator Elizabeth Warren, line one...) I read last week that our best and brightest students are now not choosing Wall Street careers. Even ThreeSourcers might find it hard to engender lachrymal secretions on that news, but financial innovation has been a huge gift to modernity, prosperity and property rights.

Insert obligatory Santayana quote here as almost everyone -- right and left -- are willing to settle for simplistic explanations and, concomitantly, simplistic and dangerous remedies. So I enjoy books like Arnold Kling's Not What They Had in Mind: A History of Policies that Produced the Financial Crisis of 2008 too much. Better than meth.

Kling finds roots of the crisis in the regulations that "fixed" the S&L crisis. What awaits us after a decade of Dodd-Frank?

However, much of what is now called “shadow banking” emerged in response to capital regulations. The consequent fragility of the financial system reflected above all the risk allocation created by the structured transactions and the leverage at individual institutions, rather than new relationships between institutions of different types. If we could conduct an alternate history with capital regulations that did not favor securitization and off-balance-sheet entities, then the shadow banking system would not have been an issue, and no crisis would have occurred.

Conversely, consider an alternate history where institutions had to maintain a strict, Glass-Steagall separation of commercial from investment banking, yet continued to operate under capital regulations that blessed securitization, off-balance-sheet financing, and other complex transactions. In that case, I believe that the crisis would have unfolded pretty much as it did.

Some generally right-leaning and liberty appreciating economists have questioned Bliley-Leach, which undid Glass-Steagall, but I am firmly in Kling's camp. It seems allegorical to gun control that we're going to indiscriminately tamp down innovation and participation in capital markets because the effects are sometimes deleterious, rather than nurture the good and impede the bad.

Another divergence from others I've read is that Kling questions mortgage securitization in toto:

The phenomenon of mortgage securitization is still viewed as beneficial, with a need to curb its excesses. However, I would question the rationale for securitization. Given that the government created and supported mortgage securitization, without government support or the distortion of capital regulations perhaps the market would choose a different, safer method of mortgage finance. Perhaps old-fashioned "originate-to-hold" mortgages would make a comeback if the regulatory playing field were level.

Put me down as a yes for level playing field; regulations forcing securitization over servicing should go. But I don't see securitization qua securitization as bad. It is a tool to get risk in the hands of those that can best accept it, and without the ratings issues, GSE backing, and the biases Kling opposes, I still think them a valuable tool. I'll concede a point:
However, credit risk is unlike interest-rate risk or currency risk in that it is highly asymmetric. Currencies and interest rates move up or down with approximately equal probability. Taking a position on currencies or interest rates is a bit like betting on a coin flip. In contrast, mortgages and corporate bonds default with a very low probability, but the severity of loss is high. The seller of credit default swaps is positioned like a property insurance company with a lot of exposure along the Gulf Coast. Most of the time, the seller just collects premium income. However, if a severe hurricane strikes, the losses could be very large.

This gives them a Taleb, Black Swan, Mandelbrotian risk profile -- but we let craftsmen take the guard of the blade sometimes. I think more instruments to shape the risk curve, with proper disclosure and capitalization are better than fewer. (Hey, that could be an ATT commercial: "Hey kids, what's better? More instruments to shape the risk curve with proper disclosure and capitalization or fewer?")

I'm a big Kling fan (he does pretty well on these pages) and none will be surprised that I enjoyed the book. It was released in 2009 but I somehow missed one of my favorite author's writing on my favorite topic. If you've got the '08 jones half as much as I do, you'll dig it as well. I think all ThreeSourcers will agree on unintended consequences:

Given this contrast between hindsight and the real-time perspective, the government needs to display some humility in promising to prevent future financial crises. The history of past regulatory mistakes suggests that we will not come up with a foolproof system going forward. In fact, there is a risk of creating a financial system even more dependent on centralized regulation, which could leave it at least as vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 5, 2013

Same old insurance rules

So supposedly the new health care law eliminates pre-existing condition restrictions. And you can stay on your parents' plan until you are 26 or some such. But there's still an "open-enrollment" period, which of course means that there's a closed enrollment period.

March 31, 2014

Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage closes on March 31, 2014. Be sure to visit the Marketplace and enroll in a plan before this date.

After March 31, 2014, you can get new private health insurance for 2014 only through a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event like a job loss, birth, or divorce.

Government - Making life better since 1930.

UPDATE: Are we worried yet? What could possibly go wrong?

"You are allowing Connect for Health Colorado and the Department to use Social Security numbers and other information from your application to request and receive information or records to confirm the information in your application. You release Connect for Health Colorado and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing from all liability for sharing this information with other agencies for this purpose. For example, Connect for Health Colorado and the Department may get and share your information with any of the following agencies: Social Security Administration; Internal Revenue Service; United States Customs and Immigration Services; Department of Homeland Security; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Colorado Department of Labor and Employment; Financial institutions (banks, savings and loans, credit unions, insurance companies, etc.); child support enforcement agencies; employers; courts; and other federal or state agencies. We need this information to check your eligibility for health insurance or help paying for health insurance, if you choose to apply, and give you the best service possible."

October 4, 2013

That one guy who bought ObamaCare®?


This is not say that Henderson is not still valuable to the press. On Thursday, his story provided Mediaite readers with entertainment after reading the comically absurd deluge of press interest he was exposed to for simply being able to complete the reportedly three hour process of signing up for a health care exchange. On Friday, Henderson provided the nation with another service: exposing the media's interest in painting the ACA in a positive light regardless of the facts.
According to Reason, that's all bunk. But it was a story too good to check out. And it was exactly the story the media needed at precisely the time they needed it.

I wish I were smart enough to come up with this story:
Henderson's tale is a blistering critique of how the press operates today. If you invented Henderson and the story of how his actions stripped the media naked, you would be accused of making up a wild fabrication that no one could possibly believe. It’s all too fantastic, the media too credulous, the principal subject too sloppy to be believed.

In fact, as it appears now, how Chad exposed the media is the only part of his story that's true.

[Puts dollar in the jar...] Imagine the press if one of President George W. Bush's initiatives had seen similar "glitches.' I don't think they would fabricate the single success story.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 6:07 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Oh, it gets better. He's a paid shill for leftist causes: http://is.gd/nr1Sqd

Are you guys getting your quarterly check from Halliburton? 'Cause mine seems to be late...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 4, 2013 6:25 PM
But Jk thinks:

I switched over to the Koch brothers last year, Keith. Much more efficient accounts payable.

Posted by: Jk at October 4, 2013 9:07 PM

Obummercare Quote of the Day

"Are you F'ing kidding me????" she wrote on the government's Obamacare Facebook page. "Where the HELL am I supposed to get $3,000 more a year to pay for this 'bronze' health insurance plan!?!??? And I DO NOT EVEN WANT INSURANCE to begin with!! This is frightening," -"Single mother of two" commenting on Healthcare.gov Facebook page

Ummm ... told ya.

But jk thinks:

Audit for her!

Posted by: jk at October 4, 2013 5:21 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Audits are much more cost-effective than re-education camps, since the prisoners wind up paying for their imprisonment.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 11, 2013 1:16 PM

Quote of the Day

You know, if all these government services can be shut down whenever a President wants to score political points, why are we even thinking about getting the government into healthcare? -- Prof Glenn Reynolds

October 3, 2013

Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip: Taranto

But johngalt thinks:

It's a testment to his political skill that I can't picture the president saying the following but Reid? All day long-

"If you won't play by my rules then I'm taking my federally owned toys and going home."

Normandy? Really? You can't inconvenience enough people within our national boundaries that you have to go to the ends of the earth to show the Republicans just how much America needs its federal government services? African American gentleman, please.

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2013 11:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And boaters.

Posted by: johngalt at October 5, 2013 4:25 PM

Shouldn't the US Government put an Adult in charge of its Tweets?

Rilly? U can't spell out the words "two" and "you?"

But Keith Arnold thinks:

You could leave out the "of its tweets" and still be relevant.

I suppose that tweet was approved by the Department of Education, too.

Saw a tweet that used "b4" instead of "before" not too long ago. Someone who wasn't me responded with "sorry, I speak English, not Bingo."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 3, 2013 1:24 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at October 4, 2013 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

U R A wiseguy

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2013 4:42 PM

October 2, 2013

The Greatest Generation!

Insty sez: "STANDING UP TO OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT: You'll love the 'trophy' World War II vets took home from the government shutdown blockade."


But Keith Arnold thinks:

These are the heroes that charged the coastal defenses at Normandy. A little police tape and some portable barricades isn't going to stop these men.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 2, 2013 6:50 PM

"Fixing" Health Care

This chart from another federalist.com article - 8 Charts That Explain the Explosive Growth of U.S. Health Care Costs, shows how government medical spending, originally promised to help Americans afford care, has had the opposite effect.


Gosh, maybe we really do need another huge new federal health care program like Obamacare to "fix things."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Obamacare fixes the American healthcare system in the same sense that my two dogs were "fixed." The veterinary sense.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 2, 2013 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Do you suppose that is how, somewhere within the 2000 plus pages of the ACA that we are still "finding out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy" costs will ultimately be contained? Not just "fixing" the American healthcare system, but "fixing" Americans?

Wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 5:59 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Gives a whole new meaning to "gird your loins," doesn't it - and in this case, with a cast-iron codpiece...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 2, 2013 6:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 9:19 PM

So that's how the Obama campaign raised so much cash "on the internet"

This could be an "Otequay of the Ayday" post:

“We’re all familiar with the J-curve in private equity,” said Joseph Dear chief investment officer at the California Public Employee Retirement System in March. “Well, for CalPERS, clean-tech investing has got an L-curve for ‘lose.’”

“Our experience is this has been a noble way to lose money,” Dear added.

From an article at thefederalist.com -- The Venture Corporatists - "Saving the planet" has made lot of investors richer. Taxpayers? Not so much, which concludes:

As long as green technology remains not simply an economic venture but a moral one, taxpayers will continue to nobly lose money as politically connected “social entrepreneurs” reap a windfall.

Keep it Shut

A talk radio caller made a prescient comment this morning. We're not in the midst of a "government shutdown" or even a "partial government shutdown." Instead we're witnessing a "non-essential government shutdown." What a perfect opportunity for Americans to experience life without non-essential government! The longer it goes on, the less it will be missed as individuals take the initiative - much like several Republican congressmen who moved arbitrary barricades closing the WWII Memorial in D.C. yesterday - to solve problems and make things work. You know, that "land of the free" business.

Investors runs an editorial this morning that says not just that the "shutdown" was a good idea, but that Republicans should "own it" and keep it going as long as possible. Read the whole thing, but here is the lede, to whet your appetite:

The Republican Party didn't blink, and as a result non-essential aspects of the federal government are shutting down. Republican politicians and members should cheer, as the "Stupid Party" actually revealed a political and economic savvy that will serve it well in 2014 and beyond.

The Republican Party now has a brand that says it's willing to stand athwart the obnoxious growth of Leviathan. Its decision to allow a shutdown of the federal government, and ideally let it remain shut through the 2014 elections absent substantial concessions from the Democrats, is both good politics and economics.

But dagny thinks:

I was listening to the radio this morning and Congressman Perlmutter was on. He stated that the reason that the government shut down was a bad idea was because he had a single mother government employee in his office crying because she had been furloughed and didn't know how she was going to make ends meet. So my question is this: Why is her situation any worse than millions of others who have been laid off or furloughed as non-essential in private industry during the recession?

Posted by: dagny at October 2, 2013 1:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Stop it, dagny! I'm cryin' my eyes out...

Larry Kudlow asked the same thing last night. Cisco just laid off 1300. The fed workers will likely be back to work and will probably get back pay for stuff they did not do. Laid-off Cisco workers? A free pocket-protector with John Chambers's picture on it.

I should not have been flippant. A friend at work just had a baby and her husband is furloughed -- I am wrong to make light of it. But while individual worker's plights are tragic, fed workers qua fed workers have a lot of stability compared to the private sector (or as some call it real life). As a collective, they are pretty incapable of engendering sympathy.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2013 6:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A "recession" is when your neighbor loses his job.

A "depression" is when you lose your job.

The "apocalypse" is when government workers have to be fired. (Or when the Air Force-Navy game is canceled.)

There have been several depressions and many recessions in the history of the American economy, but I'm not aware of even a single apocalypse.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 6:22 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

A caller this AM (same day as other post - lots of driving) when from KHOW to KNUS nearly as fast as I could change the channel encouraging Mandy and then Peter Boyles to start cheering the:

...wait for it.....


Obam-uh's worst nightmare. Someone please start tweeting the heck of out this: I love it!!!!!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:40 PM

Who Says There's No Good News?

It takes a great man to admit he was wrong. And, as Captain Mal would say, "I'm allright." On July 30, I wrote:

Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Last evening I asked the President that my name be withdrawn from further consideration as his nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It appears that my nomination will not be reported favorably by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. I am withdrawing so that the President can move forward with another nominee, allowing the FERC to continue its important work with a full complement of commissioners.

I cannot remember the last time it felt this good to be wrong! Hallelujah!

But johngalt thinks:

Yesssss! #EnvironmentalismBacklash

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 12:24 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hugh Hewitt noticed today (or was it Rosen? I drove to H.Ranch today...) that M.Landreaux - from an oil state - and the senator from W.Wa (Shhh, coallll) were not swayed by his out'n out lies about his part in building up Ritter's renewable energy 'portfolio' but all-but demonizing coal & gas.

Yes, Colorado, there IS a Santa Claus !

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:34 PM

October 1, 2013

Don't Leave the House!

CHAOS! HuffPo wouldn't lie!


Click through and it is even better!


UPDATE: The WaPo is a little more measured:


But Keith Arnold thinks:

There's a reason I call them Huffingpaint. And you've just found it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 1, 2013 4:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Chaos, man, Chaos!! I ventured out just now, and it appears that the pandemonium has not hit Weld County Colorado yet. Starbucks was open and the stoplights were working. I'll keep reporting for as long as I have power and Internet...

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2013 4:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If you don't believe the shutdown has enormous consequences for all mankind then you just aren't paying attention. Just ask Senator John McCain (OSSIFICAT-AZ) who said, "The apocalypse is upon us." Why? Because the Air Force-Navy game might be canceled this weekend. AAAAAAHH! The humanity!

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 7:26 PM

Now, a UN Shutdown . . .

The IPCC report boldly states in its executive summary that the science is settled but inside its many pages the supporting evidence is unsettling. Go to your favorite denying site for more information.

But go to the WSJ Ed Page for a plausible response:

One lesson of the IPCC report is that now is the time for policy caution. Let's see if the nonwarming trend continues, in which case the climate models will need remodeling. But that's far less costly than trying to undo grand global redistribution schemes like carbon cap and trade.

The other lesson is that amid such uncertainty the best insurance against adverse climate risks is robust economic growth. The wealthier the world is in 50 or 100 years, the more resources and technology it will have to cope if the worst predictions come true. But that requires free-market, pro-growth policies that are the opposite of the statist fixes pushed by the climate alarmists.

They use the flimsy intellectual scaffolding of the IPCC report to justify killing the U.S. coal industry and the Keystone XL pipeline, banning natural gas drilling, imposing costly efficiency requirements for automobiles, light bulbs, washing machines and refrigerators, and using scarce resources to subsidize technologies that even after decades can't compete on their own in the marketplace.

Bottom Story of the Day

Twitchy: "Surprise! Obamacare health insurance exchange websites don’t work; HealthCare.gov a total mess."

Of course, nobody is paying attention to the #epicobamafail -- we've a government shutdown! Republicans scaring old ladies and ruining your family vacation.

I will be a team player on Facebook and defend the valid reasons for getting where we has gotten to be. But I have to share my discontent with ThreeSourcers: we provided the Democrats with their escape pass.

An interesting nugget. We talked some of courage yesterday. The brave Republicans versus the Sir-Rodney-not-so-brave-as-Ted-Cruz Republicans. On Kudlow, it was mentioned that most GOP house members are in very safe seats thanks to gerrymandering. The real fear of most is a Tea-Party primary challenger. Ergo, supporting the shutdown was in many instances the craven and cowardly course. I don't like to guess what is in a representative's cold, cold heart. But I repeat this because the People's Front of Judea was pretty quick to call my side cowardly.

[Editor's note: two Monty Python references in one paragraph is prohibited by the ThreeSources Style Guide and should have been expunged. However, due to the government shutdown...]

But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, trying to keep up here... It is cowardly to not be cowardly?

I suggest we just circle the wagons as, regardless of how we got here, here we are.

I speculated to my dear dagny this morning that the Cruz strategy and the Boehner strategy were linked from the start, with the latter intended as the "moderate" and "reasonable" compromise in stark contrast to the "wacko bird" defund it effort. Cruz has endorsed the house effort, after all. Did the president and congressional democrats just get good cop, bad copped?

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

You credit Republicans with more "game" than I have seen before, but there is a first time for everything.

Yessir, I'm firmly entrenched in the wagon circle and will fight as long as ammunition holds out.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2013 9:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On second thought, in light of the editorial I just linked, perhaps the "circle the wagons" analogy only makes sense if those on the inside of the circle comprise "non-essential government." They are the ones who await a cavalry charge that, if house Republicans have the necessary spine, will never come.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 12:47 PM

No Other Way Out

If a government shut down in Washington D.C., would it even make a noise?

It's Shutdown Eve and there's a fun meme trending on Twitter: #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

But jk thinks:

These are pretty awesome. I retain my sense of humor.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2013 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I, like, big, cuts and I cannot lie." LOL

Did you see my original one, Monty Python inspired? I was actually humming it on my way home, before I ever discovered #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

"I'm a Democrat and I'm Okay, I Sleep All Night and I Fib All Day."

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 6:39 PM

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