January 31, 2014
'Why Central Planning Sucks' For Dummies
While composing a Facebook comment reply I ran across this excellent, apparently original, essay by one Rollo McFloogle, written last February. Here's a morsel:
This is what happens when there's a lack of competition of putting ideas into action. When one and only one solution is allowed to be enacted, you can never tell how well it actually works because there's nothing to compare it to. This helps to perpetuate the idea that the central planners have the right solutions, but there are things outside of their control that prevent them from accomplishing their goals.
Read it. Share it. Live it.
Not Using My Tune in a Beer Commercial! (See Update)
It was pretty popular in my day to freak out when a popular artist's music appeared in a commercial. I don't know if times are more enlightened now or not. But I offer a pragmatic consideration:
The music in the Bud commercial I love is from Passenger. "All the Little Lights." The particular track seems to be pretty popular [see UPDATE for an important contradiction]:
The whole album on MP3 is $5 and I am diggin' it.
UPDATE: I've been the last guy to the party before. Passenger is Michael David Rosenberg who adopted the name after the band broke up. And, mea maxim culpa, he had some success with the tune before the King of Beers came along:
I do not retract my props for the All the Little Lights" album. It's quite good.
Quote of the Day
With the careers of two popular Republican governors--who might have been destined for national office--hanging in the balance, such suspicions of federal prosecutorial partisanship have become inevitable. But given that such federal prosecutions for state political activities abound, one must not be too quick to conclude that the department's motives are purely partisan. There may be some nonpartisan recklessness too. -- Harvey Silverglate.Well, okay then. And don't miss his excellent "Three Felonies a Day" [Review Corner].
All Hail Geraghty
I enjoy Jim Geraghty's "Morning Jolt" newsletter and quote little bits of it frequently. He's not unlike a Jonah Goldberg or Mark Steyn in his capacity to get a point across entertainingly [subscribe].
Today he documents a huge victory of the environmentalist movement, linking to and quoting a piece by William Dietrich. Worth a read in full but the upshot is that the bulk of the Pacific Northwest lumber industry was shut down over the spotted owl -- a species almost nobody had heard of until it graced TIME magazine's cover in 1990.
Well, lumbering was shut down and the spotted owl population continues to decline. It seems barred owls are killing them. So in our best werefromthegovernmnetandwereheretohelp mode, the Feds are removing the barred owls. Talk about picking winners and losers, eh? Geraghty:
That terminology is a bit Orwellian, isn't it? We "removed" the owls by tracking them, attracting them, and then blasting them full of birdshot until they were dead. Remember that next time the Fish and Wildlife Service ask you to "remove" your trash.
January 30, 2014
Mystery Movieset Theater
This seems to be the day for posting videos. Try this one. See if you can recognize the fictional setting.
Yes, friends, AS3 is filming.
Seen it? When Brother Keith posted it on Facebook yesterday, it was a little over a million views. I just watched again (okay a few times...) and it is 13,183,691.
I ranted a bit on FB but I need a little room and a safe place to stretch. This is awesome. There's the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh's Houses at Auvers has always been a fave, Beethoven's Fifth, John Coltrane's Giant Steps . . . and this year's Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.
The left may whine about corporations and capitalism and consumerism and materialism and irritable bowel syndrome and FOX News and that goofy trapezoid behind the goalie out of which he cannot play the puck. But this masterpiece validates all I hold dear.
First let us apply some Adam Smith and Leonard Read. How many people were required to make this? And to bring in a little Yaron Brook, how many were creative and artistic? Art Directors, writers, sound engineers, costume, makeup, lighting and cinematography, The music on its own is masterful, and that paid the bills of several players, composers, and engineers.
I love art jobs, but let's salute the agents, accountants, advertising execs, project managers and those who made and brought coffee. A little Hayekian spontaneous order makes all those goods and services available on demand.
All funded by the good folks at Anhueser Busch to sell more beer. It's an "institutional ad" to promote the company without product mention. Nobody can be certain if it works. But the camera guys and singers and lighting techs will get paid to do something they love instead of sustenance faming.
Thanks Capitalism! And GO BRONCOS!
UPDATE: Corporate stooges slogging through another day at work:
January 29, 2014
Now, I believe in Reincarnation
The Japanese researchers who won a 2012 Nobel Prize for their 2006 discovery of a process for converting adult stem cells to embryonic stem cells has now made an even greater discovery: a simple way to convert those adult cells to a pre-embryonic state. This could prove as important a step in healthcare as was the discovery of penicillin. NewScientist.com
The team call their new cells "stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency", or STAP cells.
Reincarnation, or cloning of an identical copy, is not yet proven but regeneration of any organ by injection of STAP cells, is. The implications for treatment of disease and organ failure are truly staggering.
Dinesh D'Souza v. Bill Ayers
Tomorrow at 7:30 EST, 5:30 MST, Dinesh D'Souza will debate Bill Ayers - "What's So Great About America?"
Watch it live at http://live.dineshdsouza.com/
Otequay of the Ayday
"Almost two months married.... A better wife I never hoped to have.... She bears with my "innocent peculiarities" so kindly, so lovingly.... Let me strive to be as true to her as she is to me. Let me too be loving, kind, and thoughtful. Especially let me not permit the passion I have to see constant improvement in those I love, to be so blind in its eagerness as to wound a nature so tenderly sensitive as I know I sometimes have done. This is indeed life. The love of wedded wife! Can anything enjoyed on earth be a source of truer, purer happiness—happiness more unalloyed than this? Blessings on his head who first invented marriage!"
From a dictionary.com definition for unalloyed.
January 28, 2014
What's your sexual orientation?
Gee whiz, this woman gives smug, self-righteous, potty-mouthed Prius owners a bad name.
De Mortuis nil nisi Bonum and all...
The Pete Seeger worship on Facebook is getting thick.
He wrote some very good songs but he was guided by very bad ideas.
Thanks for listening! The Pope, the Dalai Lama and Pete Seeger walk into a bar...
January 27, 2014
All Hail Taranto
Liza Mundy says, of Wendy Davis "Truth is, the lives of single mothers are multifaceted and hard to categorize." James replies:
It's not that hard to categorize Wendy Davis: She was among the category of "single mothers" who are married to rich dudes.
Meanwhile, in Buffy News...
Danny Strong looks more like the superhero Jonathan and less like the nerd -- he has his own TV show.
The network has picked up Empire, a drama pilot from The Butler's Daniels and Strong, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Hat-tip: Whedonesque Blog
Progress toward Xenophobia
Before I learned why, I wondered how an entire national population could support a government that murdered millions of its own citizens. Among other places, it happened in Nazi Germany when the populist regime whipped up anger and resentment against the small and distinct set of individuals who were identified by their Jewish heritage. On Saturday Tom Perkins, a co-founder of a successful investment firm, opined, "I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent." His short letter to WSJ ended thusly:
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?
Given attitudes like this being spoken out loud, in public, by prominent members of society, is there any wonder why President Obama and Congressional Democrats are sparing no effort to demonize the TEA Party, and anyone who says that everyone has a right to his own liberty and his own opinions, even the "obscenely" rich?
Yet every single commenter to this Fox Denver article on the subject is disapprobative of the "delusional" billionaire. Notably, however, none of them posits that there is not a "rising tide of hatred for the successful one percent." Instead, they just call him names. But apparently that's all it takes to win a philosophical battle in today's world, since even the firm Perkins founded threw him under the bus.
Liberty on the Rocks
I know at least one friend of this blog who is a big fan of Dr. Steven Hayward. He is the speaker tonight at LOTR-F!
Join us on Monday, January 27th, where your special guest speaker will be Dr. Steven Hayward, who is the inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The title of Dr. Hayward's talk will be "Boulder or Rolling Stone? Reflections on Being a Conservative in a Liberal University."
I am a big fan as well and have been looking forward to tonight. The weather looks "iffy" as the meteorologists say. P() = 0.35 right about now.
Miller's Grille in Lafayette for those braver than me (a large set).
Mickey Kaus vs. The Irish Model
Mickey Kaus is a bright guy. He was one of the first bloggers I regularly read. I sent him a few bucks in his quixotic primary campaign against Sen. Barbara Boxer (Satanic Minions - CA). Insty still links to his populist immigration rants; both the articles and the approbational linking sadden me. But I am learning to live with it.
He has a guest editorial in the WSJ today that exposes a populism which extends beyond immigration policy. He seeks an equality more of stature than of income. He seems -- mostly -- ready to ignore big CEO salaries and larger Gini coefficients as long as we do not truly become a two--tiered society.
The parts I'm accusing of populism include a resignation to diminished opportunity for much of the population. The smartypantses will be Google billionaires, but the hoi polloi will not find meaningful work. What many propagate as the New Normal becomes New Dickensian in Kaus's capable prose. I call shenanigans, but we're both predicting the future -- aside from a Seahawks victory in #SBLXVIII I offer wide latitude in the art of prognosticating.
He ends with a striking comment, suggesting that ObamaCare "fixes" will usher in a new disparity.
The draft isn't coming back anytime soon. But the great social egalitarian hope--mine, anyway--was that Mr. Obama's health plan might perform a similar function, offering the poor and middle class the same care, in the same hospitals, with the same doctors--and the same respect--that the affluent get (much as Medicare already does).
In this, Kaus and I agree on the outcome; we will have a two-tiered health care system. While it is not what I would have chosen, it is the least worst option. If I can audition for a spot in Tarantro's column today: "now that Pandora has got the toothpaste out of the tube, the Irish model represents our best hope for a soft landing."
Ireland has a full-blown social medicine system. Nobody is denied care. But the care sucks, so Eiyërses (or whatever they call themselves) purchase private insurance to escape. This happens in the UK as well, but private care is considered a luxury. My understanding of Ireland is that it is a middle-class good.
Left-of-center blog friend Silence Dogood, whom we seem to have chased away, told me early on that the sky-boxes subsidize ticket prices for the nosebleed seats and that HOT lanes absorb traffic from the non payers -- why would we not let rich folks buy a better health care experience and siphon some of that money off to treat others?
This discussion transpired long before the PPACAo2010. But I think it has much to offer. Let's provide universal coverage (Larry Kudlow and I would prefer a voucher to ObamaCare). The newfound creation of concierge medicine might be a great free market model. (Thanks, Mister President! Your signature achievement was so awful, it sprouted a creative workaround that might improve the world. Yay team!)
Medicare-plus for everybody. Concierge medicine, which is market priced and transparent for the rest. Let a million surgical centers bloom!
January 26, 2014
Review Corner Tease...
The engine check light is on and the HOA newsletter which I edit is past due. Quick, somebody call a Waaaahmbulance!
I'm fine, but you're going to have to wait a week to find out how totally awesome Brian Wesbury's It's Not As Bad As You Think Why Capitalism Trumps Fear and the Economy Will Thrive is. Unless you do the right thing and order it right now.
January 24, 2014
Shameless Promotion of Others
I hope I am not sharing too much, but I'm going to risk it.
Blog friend Sugarchuck is in Memphis competing at the 30th International Blues Challenge with Annie Mack. (If you have not purchased the new CD, you are a bad person, have no taste, and are probably a statist or a Charger fan or something worse). But that's not important.
From Facebook, I learn both that they have advanced to the semifinals and that sc is eating quite a bit of fried chicken and waffles on Beale Street. Plus, this cool picture form the "Women's Blues Showcase""
Break a leg, man!
On Richard Sherman
Blog contrarian here (although the precise identity of "ThreeSources Convention Wisdom Guy" is a little vague...)
I saw the last quarter of the NFC Championship at a friend's house with the sound off. I had a distinct Kissingeresque "why can't they both lose?" attitude, so life, and some home-made jalapeño poppers were good. I looked up to see "oh, we're playing the 'Hawks."
Then I saw the infamous Richard Sherman interview with no audio. I said "man, I'd hate to see that guy if he lost." And I went back to the snack table.
Later I saw on Twitter that Sherman had offended God, King. and Country with his "meltdown." Meltdown, huh, I gotta see this. YouTube complied and -- while I am not handing out Sportsmanship of the Year awards -- I think it's close to if not within the bounds of reasonable behavior if you have just won the NFC Championship.
I was also a bit contrarian in liking Bronco Tim Tebow. I even have a Tebow 15 Jets shirt in the giveaway pile if anybody wants it. But, I gotta admit, his "there's stuff more important than football" schtick wore thin. Yes it is true, but we pay you many millions of dollars each Sunday for your specific ability -- not in uplifting the community's children. I accepted his religion but never completely accepted his professed priorities. I suspect Peyton Manning would put the playbook down for a minute to save a drowning child, too. But I hope he'd deny it.
I made a waggish, comment-bait remark that I posit Richard Sherman as a Randian hero. He even has a name that would fit in Atlas Shrugged. "Ehrimigawd, Miss Taggart. We'll never win the Championship without Richard Sherman. And we just found this note on his locker....by the way, do you smell smoke?"
I'm going to double down with a Facebook Meme. I don't care a whole lot about Mister Bieber either (actually, the Bill Clinton story is endearing...) I hope he finds a way to enjoy life and all but is there not some verisimilitude in this?
Hat-tip: Derek Minor (Pro) Facebook
This is not news, how?
Larry Kudlow mentioned this last night and I had not heard about. I expected to read a lot about it today. Here's Tom Howell, Jr. in the Washington Times, excerpted on foxnews.com:
Moody's Investor Service has changed its outlook for the U.S. health care insurance sector from stable to negative, citing Obamacare's rollout and the uncertainty it brings.
A trusted, non-partisan, not political third party has pointed out that the PPACAo2010 will destroy the private health care sector. I still did not see anything, so I thought I'd search. Bing's autocomplete for "Moody's downgrades ..." has a long list. But "health care sector" does not show even when you provide a few letters.
So, I'm the only guy looking for it. Okay, Bing®, whatchya got?
All "Conservative" news outlets. It is well known that I am not a big FOX News fan. But this is an actual fact. This is timely, germane and important. And nooooooooooooooobody but FOX, WaTimes, CNS (oh, and Kudlow!) cares at all.
Now She Tells Us
Our Miss Margaret. Thanks to "What I Saw at the Revolution," her stirring post-9/11 columns, and her deft touch with language I'll forever retain a soft spot for Peggy Noonan.
And yet. Because she fell for a slick snake-oil salesman of a politician, I'll never completely trust her.
Her Lithium dose is good today, or the Moon is rising in Mercury. I don't know what it takes, but the keenly insightful Noonan has a great piece on the expected banality of impending SOTU speech:
No one's really listening to the president now. He has been for five years a nonstop wind-up talk machine. Most of it has been facile, bland, the same rounded words and rounded sentiments, the same soft accusations and excuses. I see him enjoying the sound of his voice as the network newsman leans forward eagerly, intently, nodding at the pearls, enacting interest, for this is the president and he is the anchorman and surely something important is being said with two such important men engaged.
She ends with some factual line-blurring that all the recent SOTUs have not really lived up to Daniel Webster. But this particular President was always all bluster and autobiography. Ms. Noonan, with all due respect, he didn't have anything to say in 2008 -- when you fell for his "facile, bland, same rounded words and rounded sentiments." Ten points for those of us who noticed back then.
January 23, 2014
Yet Another Keen Insight on the NSA
Edward Snowden is a uniter not a divider! Surely Sens. Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul are headed to a great Kumbaya moment where the left and the right will join forces to fight Big Brother.
Not. So. Fast. Jason Kuznicki @ libertarianism.org posts a public response to ex-libertarian Will Wilkinson. I think he makes an original and important point.
But I think that for many modern liberals the reality is much simpler. They like the surveillance state because modern liberalism sooner or later requires it.
Hat-tip: blog friend tgreer on Facebook. I replied that "A libertarian model survives quite well without surveillance. But if our calorie counts require scrutiny..."
Quote of the Day
Charlie Crist does have a passionate, uncompromising belief and a deep-rooted principle. The problem is that his passionate, uncompromising belief is the deep-rooted principle that he should be governor. Everything else is negotiable. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
January 22, 2014
Superbowl 48 - Denver Broncos vs. Evil Incarnate
Did somebody mention [sixth and eighth comment] football?
Here's a fun article by Bill Plaschke in the LA Times:
For the record:
- Even though I live in Denver and am a Broncos fan, I love Seattle and root for the Seahawks.
Nonetheless, "good" will defeat "evil". The Broncos will beat the Seahawks by more than a touchdown and the officiating will have nothing to do with the outcome. But the Seahawks will be even better next year for the experience.
jk delenda est?
I am forever "not libertarian enough" to please Facebook friends, Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons folk, and -- on occasion -- ThreeSourcers.
But I am starting to feel like an anarchist in the Snowden/NSA contretemps. The WSJ Ed Page, Larry Kudlow, the usual suspects have allowed their antipathy toward Edward Snowden to assert a reflexive defense of the NSA and domestic surveillance.
I am still content to answer "Snowden: Hero or Traitor?" with an assertive "whatever..." I'm all for pursuing foreign intelligence, even if it includes allies. (Gambling, at Rick's?)
But my Conservative buddies have accepted internal, domestic collection of metadata. "They're not listening to our calls." No, but I imagine an enemy of this administration (a large dataset) who made frequent calls to a cancer clinic, bordello, reported paramour, &c. Team that up with search requests and an aggressive prosecutor and it does not describe our expectations of privacy.
Randy Barnett, now in the WaPo-sponsored Volokh Conspiracy, presents a superb case against its legality, desirability and constitutionality -- likening it to gun registration.
The power to search all our communications -- or all our third-party records -- is a power too great to repose in the government's hands. Unlike private business like Verizon or Google, those in government have a strong incentive and desire to suppress dissent -- along with their political rivals -- and need only the means to do so. Unlike private companies, they have the power to incarcerate anyone on their enemies targeting list should their searches turn up anything incriminating. Yahoo and Sprint have neither the motive nor the means to restrict our liberties.
Paul Gigot talks about "the Rand Paul wing" of the GOP like one's crazy but likable ne'er do well uncle. I don't want to handicap or endanger, as Snowden likely did, those who protect us by collecting foreign intelligence. But I am not so sanguine about giving up domestic protections of privacy.
Quote of the Day
Last Wednesday, Scott Gottlieb and I debated Jonathan Chait and Douglas Kamerow on this proposition: "Resolved: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue." I was feeling a little trepid, for three reasons: First, I've never done any formal debate; second, the resolution gave the "for" side a built-in handicap, as the "against" side just had to prove that Obamacare might not be completely beyond rescue; and third, we were debating on the Upper West Side. Now, I grew up on the Upper West Side and love it dearly. But for this particular resolution, it's about the unfriendliest territory this side of Pyongyang. -- Megan McArdleSpoiler alert -- Dr. Gottlieb & McArdle won.
January 21, 2014
I Could be Missing Something...
But are there really big tears being shed on the Upper West Side because Sean Hannity's moving out?
A Lawyer Would Not Make This Mistake
January 20, 2014
Happy Martin Luther King Day, ThreeSourcers. I assume we all have the day off and will be shopping for mattresses -- based not on their color but on the content of their support.
My problem with the holiday and the hype is that the wrong elements of Dr. King's achievements are celebrated. We see the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial listening to the superb "I Have a Dream" speech. That is a great moment and a great speech. But I draw a line from it to the election of President Obama. No doubt many supporters of King and the President would be happy with the suggestion.
But -- as you've probably guessed -- my intentions are a bit more nefarious. The heroic King is shown as the speechmaker. He got up and gave a great speech to a huge crowd, and the country was better for it. All true.
But I was deep into my 40s before I understood the heroic leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. And I got it not from a gauzy PBS special but from Robert A Caro's Master of the Senate. LBJ is in the Senate and in confederacy with the other Southern, white, Democratic senators successfully kills ever civil rights bill that shows up on the floor. To show the change a nation would demand, Caro provides one of his many lucid expositions on the boycott.
In his depiction we see a different MLK. There were speeches and sermons, yes. But the heroic King was not a politician. He was a field general and a pastor. He held the boycott together, managed violence both by effectively protecting the boycotters and preventing retaliation that would have damaged the cause. The end result was a moral victory upon which the nation could build. Even ol' LBJ realized that his presidential ambitions required that he bring "a Nigra Bill" up for a vote. Thus is one of our great civil rights leaders born.
Some on the right, reflexively reacting to media hegemony and hagiography, point out MLK's failings. Against the politician MLK model, that is fair game if not necessarily effective. But the MLK of 1956 was the real deal. I love David Mamet's line of his protagonist who fought in the Civil War "to broaden the definition of those who were created equal." Dr. King fought to reify those gains.
I just wish we would celebrate heroic leadership and not political oratory.
January 19, 2014
As a history "newbie," I don't claim the rich depth of knowledge I find in those who read it all their lives and paid attention in Mister King's 3rd Period class. I've tried to catch up, but have a serious lacuna: WWI.
I know the grisly depictions. I even have my great uncle's scrapbook. Uncle Willis was a decorated hero and had PTSD before PTSD was cool. I've watched "Blackadder Goes Forth" for insights, but still do not grasp the "why?" or the "what was it all about?"
I spilled upon Paul Ham's 1913: The Eve of War, on Kindle and when I went to buy, I had the option of borrowing it thanks to Amazon Prime. (It's a short "Single" and available for a whopping $0.99 to non-Prime members.)
I enjoyed the book. It is both well researched and well written. Ham attempts to reject hindsight and really look at the mood of the future antagonists, both the leaders and citizenry. The pre-war distribution of power and borders sound archaic today; it was the end of the Peace of Westphalia regimes (not known for a lot of peace). The modern super states known today came out of the postwar carving.
I highlighted several great passages to share with ThreeSourcers, but I see that my frugality cost me the feature of having those available on my other devices. So all you get is a spoiler alert: Ham's work underscores a needlessness and futility. A few crazies in mid-level government draw up war plans, others catch wind and plan preemptive engagements. Soon war in "inevitable."
Enough think it will be short and beneficial (wrong and wrong). Young Eton lads will prove their mettle and come home as heroes -- you think I've fallen back to Hugh Laurie's character in Blackadder, but that is in the book as well. Though Britain did not lose the complete generation like many on the Continent, her casualties were disproportionately from the officer corps and she lost a generation of leaders.
I'd recommend this highly, though more for a "buff" that wants to see other viewpoints and try on some other ideas. I need a more comprehensive piece to catch up. But I'll not hold Ham responsible for my lack of depth and happily award four stars.
January 18, 2014
Constitutional Law Professor
Which is good because Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States provides that: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States."
January 17, 2014
How did I miss this? Coyote Blog closes his business in The Golden State and drinks a New Year's Toast. "Ventura County combines a difficult government environment with a difficult employee base with a difficult customer base."
Other than that... Why am I posting this here and not on Facebook? ThreeSourcers don't need to see what business owners face.
A local attorney held regular evening meetings with my employees to brainstorm new ways the could sue our company under arcane California law. For example, we went through three iterations of rules and procedures trying to comply with California break law and changing "safe" harbors supposedly provided by California court decisions. We only successfully stopped the suits by implementing a fingerprint timekeeping system and making it an automatic termination offense to work through lunch. This operation has about 25 employees vs. 400 for the rest of the company. 100% of our lawsuits from employees over our entire 10-year history came from this one site. At first we thought it was a manager issue, so we kept sending in our best managers from around the country to run the place, but the suits just continued.
Closing the site should work. There's much more at the link; the except was truly random as I cannot rank the events in egregiousness. Read the whole thing! Share liberally!
Hat-tip: Terri @ Ruminants
Hey hey, FDA, How Many kids you kill today?
It was sickening to watch the FDA deny an obviously effective and important therapy to those afflicted with a terrible disease [Multiple Sclerosis]. For as long as the decision stands, much needless suffering will result (and much needless foreign travel). The agency's action is also a vivid example of the serious problems besetting U.S. drug regulation.My beloved Facebook friends love to post how GMO Corn or some such thing is banned in 20 countries -- why not here? I'll take the liberty side of that one any day, and frequently annoy a couple of conservative, GOP-votin' folks who consider me something of a fellow traveler but have bought into the GMO and vaccine junk science.
I did plop this on FB. Maybe some of those will join me on the liberty side of this -- why cannot an MS patient and his/her physician choose to try this treatment?
The WSJ Editorial is very good -- let me know if you don't subscribe and would like a copy emailed. The trials it describes are similar to those in which I have participated. And this treatment actually sounds similar to what I am on. I've little doubt it is a related compound.
The primary reason FDA reviewers gave for rejecting Lemtrada was that the studies demonstrating the drug's efficacy did not conform to the agency's standard requirement of double-blind, placebo-controlled drug trials--where some patients, unbeknownst to themselves and their doctors, receive placebo treatments. There are excellent reasons for the standard approach, but only up to a point. Lemtrada and many established MS treatments have immediate side effects, such as nausea and headaches, that are well known to doctors and patients. A double-blind trial would not really be blind. Patients on a placebo would promptly discover that they were the "controls," and many would decline to participate further--scrambling the statistical comparison with patients receiving real treatments.
I've been in the former (of course, the FDA accepts no other) and it is laughable. The first trial I took two treatments and knew that at least one was valid. I could tell in a week that one was placebo as I had no effects and that one was the real deal because I got sick as a dog. For three years, I gave myself a daily shot that I knew with 99% certainty was saline. (Can't you guys give me a gummy bear to chew or something instead?)
As I said on FB, the standard is "compared to leeches" so we have to compare every drug to leeches. I would not participate in -- and find it cruel to demand -- a trial where one could be on no treatment for two or three years. MS is a progressive and debilitating disease. Let the patient get worse and lose good years of life so that some bureaucrat in DC can check a box on a form.
And, if they don't mistreat patients, they cannot sell their wares in the USA.
January 16, 2014
Headline of the Day
It turns out that for some workers in company-sponsored health insurance plans, you really can keep your plan if you like it. As long as companies include an expensive ObamaCare-compliant plan as an option, they can also offer a less expensive alternative, although consumers may still have to pay a penalty. Meanwhile, another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act suffered a setback, as a federal judge said the federal government can provide subsidies through an exchange not run by states.
UPDATE: All Hail Taranto, though he does work there...
January 15, 2014
Many interesting news items have been drowned by that George Washington Bridge "scandal" in New Jersey last week, including this one.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's promise to ban New York City's iconic horse-drawn carriages could backfire, exposing what the newly-elected mayor's critics suggest is a corruption scandal masquerading as an animal-rights crusade. Defenders of the carriage industry point to a real-estate executive who is one of de Blasio's major campaign donors as the driving force behind the effort to abolish the carriages.
And, it turns out, I'm not the only one to apply the "comrade" sobriquet to the new New York (york) mayor. But the rib tickling portion of the story is how the mayor proposes to replace the soon-to-be-outlawed mode of transportation: 'lectric cars!
De Blasio's plan (promoted by Nislick's NYCLASS, of course) is to replace the horse-drawn carriages with electric replicas of antique cars. After learning of this plan via a pro-carriage Twitter campaign, I remarked last night: "Electric cars. That’s going to be a real romantic treat for honeymooners, isn’t it? 'Oh, we went to New York and rode the electric cars!'”
Of course, none of them recognize the irony in modeling the electric cars after antique automobiles.
Further Softening on l'Affaire Christie
Perhaps blog brother jg is right and I am wrong. Just this one time. In this one instance.
My outrage over the GWB lane closures (think of the chillllldren!!!) I confess, is borne of naiveté. Fancy me of all people underestimating the frequency and severity of government's purposefully punishing the citizenry.
I accept misfeasance but rarely malfeasance. That makes me a hopeless naif.
President Obama seeks to take federally funded food out of the mouths of poor rural youth. Insty notes the reflections of Bridgeghazi and links to this Bridget Johnson piece.
The program dates back to a 2000 bill, which was extended in July 2012 for that fiscal year. The $323 million in funds were doled out to 41 states by the USDA in January 2013. But two months later, after sequestration went into effect, the Obama administration announced it wanted $17.9 million back -- prompting bipartisan backlash from governors and congressional representatives of the affected states.
Rule #1 in software development is "nothing is easy." Rule #1 in libertarianism is "the State is not your friend." Fancy my forgetting that.
Quote of the Day
California's project is one of several lingering on drawing boards since being promoted by President Obama's first-term stimulus bacchanal. To call these projects "high-speed rail" is to stretch a concept. They involve dollops of federal money dangled in return for states agreeing to talk about high-speed rail, draw up plans for high-speed rail, conduct studies of high-speed rail, pour concrete and move earth around in ways vaguely suggestive of high-speed rail at some point in the future. -- Holman Jenkins, Jr.
January 14, 2014
I love progress: the integral of marginal improvements. I bore my lovely bride with disquisitions on cheese and tortilla containers with a Zip-Loc™ closure device built in. The only reason to provide this is to sell more -- it's a huge pain in the ass to convert your factories and equipment and purchasing. Yet, to sell more, somebody does it and pretty soon everybody else has to. Laugh at #firstworldproblems all you wish, but life gets a little better on a million different frontiers.
Between our engineers and musicians -- and folks who are just plain weird -- I think this will be of interest. The part of an electric guitar or bass that actually makes the noise is the pickup: a magnet wrapped in wire.
A bit of pickup history: In the early 1930s, George Beauchamp applied for a patent on an odd looking guitar-like instrument that included a "pickup." (The patent uses the variations "pickup," "pick–up" and "pick up" interchangeably.) His invention was the now-famous Rickenbacker “Frying Pan,” which hosted the first guitar pickup. (To acquire the patent, Adolph Rickenbacker had to send Hawaiian guitarist Sol Hoopii to Washington to demonstrate Beauchamp's invention, proving to U.S. Patent Office examiners that it worked.)
The winding and materials are a black art. Like "good" amplifier design, what guitar players dig has nothing to do with engineering best practices -- a perfect reproduction amplifier doesn't sound good.
On a recent custom purchase, I paid almost as much for boutique pickups as for the rest of the guitar. Just a guy in Oregon (Jason Lollar) who is a savant with this primitive technology. As hard as writing the check, the decisions among his many offerings were worse. Do I want a vintage or a crisper sound &c.?
Fishman is well known for making piezo pickups for acoustic guitars. I'm sure they posess their own voodoo but they represent the more classical engineering problem of reproducing tone faithfully. They admit in this article they have steered clear of the other market, where you are creating the tone for fear of not having something new to offer.
Ahem. They've found something. Instead of expensive and temperamental hand-winding, they are printing the coils on PC boards and positioning them precisely on the magnets. This technique has a bunch of advantages. The precision allows a hum free single coil (put one "virtual coil" out of phase with the other to cancel any external RF), the manufacturing tolerances are reduced by magnitudes, and the costs can certainly be lowered.
The other advantage is a real tabula rasa to reproduce tones and change them on the fly. Digital Signal Processing has brought this exact benefit to amplifiers -- you can "model" a 1960's Vox amplifier, or a Marshall Stack. I stole an effects pedal from blog friend sc that spoofs a 1965 Fender Super Reverb (shh, he thinks he lost it ...)
The DSP models are not perfect and I am sure this is not either. But they are progressing to make it so that a player can choose a vintage '54 strat pickup with a Fender twin amp and a Celestion speaker all on the spur of the moment, without buying a 1%ers batch of vintage gear.
UPDATE: Greg Koch takes the new system out for a spin...
Quote of the Day
A bit apocalyptic but, if the whitewash of the IRS stands, Bryon Preston is right.
We had a good run as a republic, but if this stands and no one responsible is punished, then the Internal Revenue Service will be a tool of partisan politics for the foreseeable future. No one who criticizes a sitting president will be safe from harassment and abuse from a federal agency that can absolutely destroy lives.
January 13, 2014
All Hail Taranto
If you're reading this, you can be thankful at least that you don't have to rely on ObamaCare's Spanish-language website. It's called CuidadoDeSalud.gov, which, as the Associated Press notes, literally translates as "For the Caution of Health." It sounds as if Señora Sebelius relied on Google Translate--or maybe on the guys who translated the Japanese videogame Zero Wing into English, creating such comedy classics as "All your base are belong to us." -- James Taranto
Props indeed, but I don't think you wanna be on this list.
During her 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton's aides kept a meticulous "political hit list" containing the names of members of Congress who had "burned her" by endorsing Barack Obama, an upcoming book on Clinton's political "rebirth" reveals.
On the other, how much harm could this sweet old lady do?
All Hail Objectivism!
David Mirman makes similar arguments to mine, if much more eloquently, today in The Objective Standard.
Some writers claim that [high school science teacher John] Cisna's all-McDonald's diet is unhealthy. Although Cisna and his students made an effort to make his diet nutritionally sound, that wasn't his primary purpose. As Cisna explains, the point of the experiment was not to recommend eating only McDonald's; "The point . . . is: Hey, it's a choice. We all have choices. It's our choices that make us fat. Not McDonald's."
Raich Looms Large
Well, deary me. Senator Rubio is a Chargers fan. Governor Christie is a serial trafficant. At this rate, it looks like I'll have to vote for Sec, Clinton! Oh, well, there's always that HOSS from the Lone Star State, Senator Ted Cruz. Oh, wait...
Here is Senator Ted Cruz, an avowed constitutionalist and federalist, demanding that Obama impose marijuana prohibition on states that have opted out of it, based on an absurdly broad reading of the power to regulate interstate commerce. -- Reason Magazine
I am a general supporter of Sen. Cruz, though -- like existentialist bounty hunter Jubal Early -- I do not think it is his time yet. The question is valid and one we have wrestled with a bit on these pages: the difference between an imperial presidency and prosecutorial discretion. I can imagine little worse than the heavy hand of the DoJ's stopping the Washington and Colorado experiment in its tracks. But I will admit the existence of a fine line.
Cruz is correct that it fits a pattern of executive overreach. Dave Kopel in the, did I mention awesome, "The Conspirancy Against ObamaCare" bifurcates between one's ideal reading of the Constitution and the Constitution as it exists with the current Supreme Court and precedent. Under the former, he admits the New Deal agenda is Unconstitutional in his view, but he silences would-be provocateurs with the latter interpretation; under the current reading, Social Security is clearly Constitutional.
By that sagacious standard, Wickard and Raich hold sway and AG Holder's tanks should be rolling down Colfax Avenue in Denver raiding every shop with hints of Rasta colors or iconography. Yet, Senator, I am quite pleased they are not. And I fear this is a distinct ploy to position himself against Sen. Rand Paul (HOSS - KY) for the "law and order" vote against that hippie named after that Russian Novelist.
I Can Forgive Bridgeghazi, but . . .
This Shall Not Stand.
January 12, 2014
The incident as abstracted in The Raven is much prettified. Were I to begin it today, I would write it as a report rather than a romance; for though I have spent most of my life reading and much of my life writing fiction, I do not know whether the costs of such entertainments may not be too dear.
Penn Jillette relates the story that he hated magic as a kid.
He abhorred the idea of deception as lying. A mentor told him that the artistry was to use the lie to tell a deeper truth. Umm, jk, where were you going with this? It seems that Mister Nonfiction guy has been touched by a work of fiction.
David Mamet got a glowing review for his nonfiction, The Secret Knowledge. When I saw this superb interview, about his "conversion" to conservatism documented in Secret Knowledge, I purchased the e-book-only Three War Stories that he mentioned as his latest work. It sat on my Kindle for several weeks as I enjoyed recent review corner selections.
The prose from the famed, award-winning writer -- you'll not be surprised to hear -- is excellent. He has a perfect pitch for not only dialogue but narrative. Each of the three novellas is from a different war and from a different perspective. But the stories are well told and the language lush. (My new Kindle Paperwhite has a feature I have long desired -- each word you look up in the dictionary is added to your word list that you can go back and review. My list quintupled reading Mamet.)
For years I had fantasized a return to the Islands. The constellations of the Southern Heavens, to one raised in the North, are a lesson in reversion. In the observation of this new sky, one may become anew like the child, or the Primitive-- touched with gratitude and awe. "Yes, that is the Cross; and Musca and Centaurus will always hold their positions relative to it, and one may steer by them."
I rediscovered Mamet through politics. His newfound philosophy is on display as he takes a whack at politicians, or underscores man's right to live and defend his life. Yet I cannot say, even for me, that this is the draw of this work. It is about the stories. Nice that the grace notes please my ear for a change, contra , say , Stephen King. But I am fascinated that the great "steak knives" speech from "Glengarry Glen Ross" seems to be quoted as approbationally from the right and the left. This was written by Mamet in his "liberal days." Does it matter?
The second story is recounted by one who fought both in the Civil War "to broaden the definition of those who were created equal" and then in the Plains War "to narrow it." The short novella contains many ideas that I'd be unlikely to encounter in a history book. "The late Rebellion, in fact, may be understood, inter alia, as a continuation of the strife between those lands settled by the English, the American North, and by the Celts, our South."
The question of slavery becomes here, secondary. Few in the South owned slaves, and fewer among its warriors. For the Celts, who were the greatest portion of the Rebel Army, were of the Mountains, where slavery was impracticable. And their parents or grandparents had in many cases themselves been slaves, or virtual slaves, to the English rule.[ 4] I believe the war may not only be seen, but be primarily seen-- from the battlefield-- as a conflict between Briton and Celt, here played out as part of the endless strife between the Mountains and the Plain, between the country and the town, the sown and the wild[...]
I have a dozen more highlights -- have you the time? This is a beautiful and thoughtful work that any ThreeSourcer would enjoy. Five stars.
January 10, 2014
Class War -- all where you draw the lines
If, for some reason, you do not have a low enough opinion of east coast yuppie scum, I refer you to Russ Douthat's perceptive yet disturbing NYTimes column. Douthat has found this mysterious new überprogressive voting block that launches candidates like Sen Elizabeth Warren (Wahoo McDaniels - MA) and Mayor Bill DeBlasio (Politburo - NYC) to victory. It's the poor, downtrodden, $400K earners who want to stick it to those who make five:
But is this constituency actually "a powerful voting bloc against inequality," or is it just a powerful voting bloc in favor of raising taxes on the super-rich? Because these aren't quite the same thing, and it seems to me that in New York and nationally, the class interests of the so-called HENRYs ("high earners, not rich yet") still basically align with some form of late-1990s Clintonism rather than the more sweeping post-Obama populism than liberals are getting excited about today. That is, the allegedly "radicalized" professional class would say yes, yes, to a higher top rate on the people currently outbidding them for schools and property (and making them feel the angst of status-income disequilibrium), and yes as well to the existing welfare state and entitlements that higher rate helps sustain. But the same feeling of precariousness that makes these radicalized professionals thrill to populist rhetoric also means they’re more likely to say no to anything that might require them to sacrifice their income (or, in case of a left-libertarian housing agenda, their brownstone property values) on behalf of their working class coalition partners.
Self-rule cannot prevail.
This Guy is Good...
Chris Christie's apology was awesome on stilts. Republicans keep waiting for "another Reagan." I do not think I have seen as clear an advocate for either party since #40.
He was forthright. The Obamas and Clintons of the world open a speech with "I take full responsibility" and then speak for 40 minutes about how it really wasn't their fault. The big man took his medicine.
One cannot help but gag at the coverage. I quoted a @willcollier tweet: "I'm not much of a Christie fan, but you'd think by the press coverage today that the city of Chicago had never existed." It led the local prettyboy-perkygirl teevee news last night and this morning. The governor of New Jersey! What am I to Hecuba? They asked political experts for comment. I bet they gave zero coverage to THE PRESIDENT'S scandals.
I know that is what my blog brother was trying to tell me below. I am still fine with being a whole lot better than they are. But the reason I wanted Governor Christie was his skill at pushing back and not necessarily accepting the narrative. A lot of folks cheered at Speaker Gingrich when he would snark back at a debate questioner. Christie gives you the same with more skill and a better philosophical underpinning.
Color me very impressed at the response.
UPDATE: Reading this it sounds like I am more forgiving than I may be. I'd say he saved his right to compete yesterday and reminded me what I liked. OTOH, Jim Geraghty nails it:
But . . . we're left with a guy who had not one bad apple, but several, doing terrible things -- that they must have believed served Christie's purposes, or else they're psychotic saboteurs -- and Christie being oblivious to it all. Christie may not be the villain here, but he's not the hero -- and every once in a while on Thursday, he seemed a little too focused upon his victimization by his staff. No, the real victims are those Fort Lee commuters and the kids stuck on school buses.
January 9, 2014
Turn Detroit into Hong Kong!
All Hail PJ O'Rourke!
Real-estate developer Rod Lockwood wants investors to buy Detroit's derelict 982-acre Belle Isle Park and persuade the U.S. to allow Belle Isle a territorial status like Guam and all the tax benefits of Hong Kong--with easier access to Red Wings games.
Real Book Software: Awful, Awful, Awful!
I bought a product so startlingly bad I need to post a review, both for catharsis and to perhaps prevent another from buying it. I did find a forum where people have been complaining about this for a few years. Spread the word.
I saw a banner ad for Real Book Software. The Real Book is a popular and famous book of charts for Jazz songs. It is a play on the term "Fake Books" which provide rudimentary enough chords to let you "fake it." The Real Book had meatier arrangements and actual transcriptions of solos. It is pretty interesting story [Wikipedia].
The Real Book Software was a good idea: put the book on tour computer, allow search and sort of the charts by genre, composer, title, performer, yadda yadda. They even package mp3s of the tunes so you can listen, and -- big draw for me -- versions of each in Band-in-the-box, a popular software I use to print charts but it also plays the songs for you to play along.
The ads and docs looked funky; that should have been a warning. But it fit into a new educational direction of mine and I was intrigued enough to PayPal $127 (Oww!) Wish I had searched online before paying. If you find this, I strongly advise you to steer clear.
The worst thing about Real Book Software:
Second worst thing about Real Book Software:
A very bad thing about Real Book Software:
Please feel free to link and share. I see from the forum that they have been defrauding naive players like me for a few years. Knowledge might be power.
The greatest scandal name of all time. I howled when I heard Kennedy say it on FBN's The Independents. When I looked on twitter to see if was catching on, I saw this bit of truth:
"@danielradosh: #bridgeghazi may be the coinage to finally get us past the -gate suffix. It's been 40 years people! Evolve the lingo!"
As ThreeSources's chief Christie cheerleader, I better issue some mea culpas. Insty finds this stirring defense in a comment thread:
"For pettiness, I believe this bridge fiasco is more on a par with the shutdown of federal parks during the government shutdown than the IRS abuses. The IRS abuses appear to be intimidation for election purposes. The park blockades appeared to be pettiness to prove a point. The bridge fiasco also appears to be pettiness to prove a point."
Like Reagan's proverbial child on Christmas morn, I am looking for the pony in this manure pile. But "Obama did the same thing with a bigger body count" strikes me as a low bar. As I like to complain about the President: he either knew about it which makes him a corrupt liar, or he did not which makes him an incompetent boob. I'm not going to spend a lot of time arguing which is worse.
I did not abandon the big Garden State Guv when he sucked up to the President to ensure disaster funding after Sandy. I rolled my eyes at his eastern, elitist acceptance of restrictions on gun rights. I winced but did not shut the door when he attacked Senator Rand Paul.
"We'll have a campaign in 2016," said jk. "We'll see who has the best ideas and best chance to propagate them." I was in the Rand Camp but ready to listen.
But this is a very big deal and I am abandoning -- with heartfelt sadness -- a politician I have long admired.
UPDATE: Or, as Reason says:
Which do you prefer? The kind of ruthless, Nixonian maniac who's willing to screw enormous numbers of people to get revenge on someone he perceives as disloyal? Or the kind of ruthless, Nixonian maniac who builds a machine that can do that without getting him personally involved?
Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty
January 8, 2014
One For Our Midwestern Friends...
Hat-tip: 92 KQRS (Facebook)
Minimum coffee standards
January 7, 2014
After four great seasons, Raylan Givens still "Justified"
Season five premieres tonight on FX. Jake Tapper interviews creator Graham Yost and the actor who portrays the sesquipedalian outlaw Boyd Crowder about the passing of author Elmore Leonard, who created the characters for his novel Fire in the Hole.
"Justified" is based on a short story "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard, and he was involved in the show. Leonard passed away in August, and the show will pay tribute to him at the beginning of tonight's show. But will "Justified" be different without him?
Quote of the Day
All Hail Taranto! I agreed to abandon my 2.4% attraction to guaranteed minimum income on brother jg's evidence that it would not sate the insatiable.
Soon after, James Taranto adds this to the gun-rights debate:
Further, this column generally agrees with Venola's give-no-ground position, though on pragmatic grounds rather than principled ones. If we thought the antigun side of the debate were interested in good-faith compromise, we'd be all for it. The dishonesty of their debating tactics, their ghoulish and opportunistic use of horrific crimes like the Newtown massacre to advance their agenda, and the onerous (and likely unconstitutional) regulations that exist in places where they hold political sway--such as New York City, where we live--persuade us otherwise.
Guaranteed Basic Income 'Blows'
My flirtation with the idea of a "mincome" or "Uncle Sam's Allowance" is well chronicled here but, in that same post, fellow Objectivist Craig Biddle explains how, despite my unbeknownst Platonic impulse to smooth over social divisions, the path to respecting individual rights is not embarked upon merely by violating those rights with more efficiency, transparency and less waste.
JK pragmatically concluded, "If the mincome were popular, I'd enjoy its strengths and accept its weaknesses as the pragmatic price of reform." Unfortunately, in pursuing popularity of a mincome, Republicans and Democrats would most surely find a "balance" more in line with the conditions enumerated by one entitled little twerp called Jesse A. Myerson. I won't link to his Rolling Stone piece - Jonah Goldberg did it so that I wouldn't have to - but to Jonah's deconstruction of it, which commences thusly:
"In America," Oscar Wilde quipped, "the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone.
While I sought to establish a safe level of capitalist subsistence for every man such that he could pursue pleasurable and profitable pursuits, the young Myerson wants everyone to be paid for nothing because "jobs blow." Other things "blow" in Myerson's estimation, including "hoarding" or what my parents used to call "saving for a rainy day." Millenial Myerson's Rolling Stone Rant is essentially the Grasshopper's Manifesto Against the Ant. Tsk... winter is here, silly insect. To bad you failed to "hoard."
Sorry Midwest/eastern folks, we are coming out of it today...
January 6, 2014
Presidential Bait-and-Switch, the Sequel
Long-time blog readers will recall the historical corrections here and here explaining that FDR did not end the Great Depression, he extended it. But not previously told is the story about how he was elected, following a Republican incumbent with a spending problem. Here is the short version. Holler if any of this seems familiar.
It was socialist Norman Thomas, not Franklin Roosevelt, who proposed massive increases in federal spending and deficits and sweeping interventions into the private economy - and he barely mustered 2 percent of the vote. When the dust settled, Warburg shows, we got what Thomas promised, more of what Hoover had been lambasted for, and almost nothing that FDR himself had pledged. FDR employed more "master minds" [a term FDR had used derisively while campaigning] to plan the economy than perhaps all previous presidents combined.
H/T: The blog page of KHOW's Mandy Connell
UPDATE: Speaking of White House accounts, here is one of the first - by SecDef Robert Gates. WaPo My summary: Gates loved the military and its troops, detested the "truly ugly" culture in Congress, and thorougly mistrusted and disliked the President and his staff.
January 5, 2014
Heh. A blogger known for his brevity produces a substantive view of both K-12 and higher education -- in 103 pages.
I had read [and] [reviewed] both of his Broadside books. Between that and reading Instapundit, many of the ideas in The New School are familiar. But I would still highly recommend buying a copy for yourself and one to pass around to parents you know and any open minded teachers.
Reynolds is an expert on the topic as he is Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, married to PhD Psychologist Dr. Helen Smith. Yet the perspective of New School is much more about his role as a consumer of education for their daughter and for the bloggers' desire to assemble elements into social and political patterns. The joy of the book is its academic cred without the academics' diffidence (or turgid prose...)
I don't think I need post a spoiler alert that there are problems in education. But it is a huge, complicated, interconnected system with the distortions of more than a hundred years of government involvement. It is easy to choose one failed facet (for me it is Teachers' Unions) to hang all the deficiencies upon. New School broadens the concerns and adds significant new concepts.
Reynolds's Instapundit writings cherish modernity, and the "New" part of the "The New School" is to rescue 21st Century students from a 19th Century Prussian model which was imported to train good 20th Century factory workers.
On his return, [Horace] Mann extolled the Prussian model in his seventh annual report. This met with some resistance, as "critics accused him of wanting to establish a 'Prussian-style tyranny' in the schools, arguing that the Prussian model was based on a presumption that the government was wiser than the citizenry, while in America the presumption was the reverse. There was considerable basis for this complaint. Prussian theorists regarded public education, and higher education as well, as an institution of 'police' and a way of making students 'useful as future tools,'" — but Mann's idea ultimately caught on for the most part. Mann wanted to remake society, and he wanted to start with children. In his turn of phrase, "men are cast-iron, but children are wax." Just as the Prussian model had as much to do with political and social ordering as with teaching and learning, so it was with Mann's Americanized Prussian model.
Reynolds helpfully points out the Mann's children were homeschooled. But sitting still, forming orderly lines, and moving with bells prepared students for factory work. How much of that transfers to your job?
Another key insight is the comparison to a financial bubble. Consumers are so certain of a return that they use easy credit to pay ever escalating prices without carefully assessing the future value of the asset. Sound like anything? A story you heard? Bueller?
The escalating prices are never spent on instruction. Climbing walls, fancy dining halls take a bite, but the real culprit is administration which is more likely to impede instruction with paperwork and regulation. As the crown jewel California University system faces severe cuts, it seems "diversity" is untouchable:
University of California system slashes programs and raises tuition, it has created a new systemwide "vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion." This is on top of the already enormous University of California diversity machine, which, as Heather Mac Donald notes, "includes the Chancellor's Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women's Center."
Not that my personal bête-noir comes out well:
For a long time, the providers of education at all levels have enjoyed a sort of guildlike monopoly. And as economist John Hicks notes, as quoted earlier, "The best of all monopoly profits is a quiet life." Alas, the lives of education providers are likely to be less quiet and comfortable than they have been. When education was in the hands of guilds made up of educators, as it has largely been for over a century, educators unsurprisingly took advantage of their control to arrange things to their liking. That will change significantly in the years to come.
Here's hoping! The New School is full of hope without discarding a serious look at difficult issues. Five Stars.
UPDATE: Good interview of Reynolds by Ed Driscoll.
January 4, 2014
Problems with ObamaCare?
If a new study, published in the Journal Science, spoke to the certainty of climate change or related accidental gun deaths to liberalized firearm ownership, that would be capital-S Science. I am curious to see how it is greeted when it undermines the "Central Rationale For Obamacare."
Avik Roy used extensive data from the Oregon study to question the health outcomes of Medicare in his "How Medicaid Fails the Poor [Review Corner]. He has an post today in Forbes that shows it also undermines the economic sales pitch. Medicaid increases the use of emergency room services.
The 'free rider' argument was always bunk
And only in Washington would spending $250B to address a 50B problem make it worse.
An Objectivist Objection to "Mincome"
"Why do we see an article at the leading libertarian think tank (Cato) advocating legalized plunder on the basis of a philosophy that denies the possibility of rights? Because other libertarians characteristically ignore or deny the need to focus on philosophy at all--and, because, in philosophy, as in physics, nature abhors a vacuum." --Craig BiddleThe legalized plunder being the Basic Guaranteed Income (BIG), discussed on these pages by brother jg. You can put Mr. Biddle down as a "no." I am not compelled to abandon the idea based on his TOS article. His points are likely all true, but I think he is making the perfect the enemy of the good. Yet I have to give him points for the term "Bleeding Heart Libertarians." That's good.
Detroit Crime Decline
Detroit has a new police chief. James Craig, according to the AP, is "a former chief of police in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine, has made sweeping changes to the way crime is tackled in Detroit." To wit:
- Stop closing some neighborhood police stations at night.
Good ideas all, and no surprise that crime might decline after such measures. But there's more. The news piece seemed complete when I read this tacked on the end:
"A recently rolled out tactical response unit confiscated about 17 guns in its first two days of operation."
Ho hum, another big city police chief blaming guns for crime. Well, not exactly. According to The Detroit News, he also said this:
"I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed."
Craig's statements Thursday echoed those he made Dec. 19 on "The Paul W. Smith Show" on WJR (760 AM), when he said: "There's a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quick in the state of Maine."
Shazam! Maybe things really can get bad enough that authorities are forced to do things that really work, instead of things that merely sound like they might. Same article:
"It's a huge, radical departure for the police chief to say good people should have access to firearms," said [Detroit gun safety instructor Rick] Ector. "I'm not ready to say he's pro-gun just yet, but it's vastly different from what police chiefs have said in the past."
Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, the way AP reported his Thursday press conference is not at all different from how they have done so in the past.
H/T: My sis via, Fox News.
January 3, 2014
Otequay of the Ayday
It should have been a banner year for the re-elected Barack Obama. In January he promised us the rollout of new health care and climate change legislation, immigration reform, more gun control and new federal spending initiatives. Instead, his approval ratings dived to the lowest level at this point in a president's second term since Richard Nixon's.
-- Victor Davis Hanson on Investors' editorial page.
Another "dirty little secret" of renewable energy
I wonder if readers will be as surprised as I to learn that the energy required to produce a 1,000 watt solar panel is on the order of 20,000,000 watt hours? That is the gist of this 1997 Australian whitepaper - Can Solar Cells Ever Recapture the Energy Invested in their Manufacture?
It depends on the particular type of panel of course, and efficiencies may have improved but still, I wonder how many solar PV evangelists know that the energy produced in the first 2-10 years of their system's operation all goes to pay back the energy consumed to create the things in the first place? "Woo hoo, halfway through my solar PV warranty period I'm finally net energy positive! Feel the clean power baby!"
I heard this topic discussed on a local liberty-oriented radio show last night, where the claim was that the energy of manufacture exceeds the energy produced over a lifetime. While that may be true at extreme latitudes it's a credibility-destroying exaggeration.
Too strong, perhaps, but I did wonder if Hillary knew the young woman who escorted Bill to the Mayor Comrade Citizen DeBlasio inauguration Wednesday. Is this really her? Wow, that President HRC thingy may have taken a small step in the wrong direction.
January 2, 2014
World Ends -- Sandra Fluke Hardest Hit
A "Hitch" in ObamaCare? Mai Non!
WaPo: Supreme Court temporarily allows religious groups not to cover birth control By Sandhya Somashekhar, Robert Barnes and Michelle Boorstein The Obama administration faced a fresh challenge to its health-care law just as many of its key provisions took effect Wednesday, after an eleventh-hour Supreme Court ruling temporarily allowed some Catholic groups not to cover birth control in their employee health plans.
Headline of the Year
Yeah, I know it's Jan 2. But (WSJ Ed Page):
Obamacare Tax Liens. Rilly?
There I sat, fat dumb and happy that I could avoid O-care's non-compliance penalty simply by making sure I never have a refund due on my federal income tax deductions. Then KOA Denver's Mike Rosen reads a letter claiming, among other things, "if you go 24 consecutive months with 'Non-Payment' and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home."
Rosen must be nuts to read a crazy internet rumor. Right?
Americans for Tax Reform's Ryan Ellis, September 14, 2012 - Obamacare Will Lead to Federal IRS Liens
Indeed, that's supported by the Obamacare statute. Sec. 1501(g)(2) makes it clear that the IRS cannot impose criminal penalties, levies, or liens. To be clear, the tax liability this refers to is the penalty for not complying with the individual mandate. For most families, the penalty will equal or exceed 2.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. But at least the IRS won't pursue taxpayers, right?
Read the article for the reasons, set up by government, for government, above the people.
6 Crazy Ways jk thinks he's Martin Luther...
I'm not sure -- is this Upworthy thing working out?
But I want to politely reintroduce a topic that might be annoying a reader or two. This morning on Facebook, I trip across this from a wife of an old musician buddy. She is interesting in that she went in for both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
Our true populist has seen through the lies and veneer of ObamaCare to become a fulsome opponent of the law and the administration's attempts to promote it. This has led to a string of fun posts.
Today, the streak breaks with: "Pope Francis Hurts The Tender Feelings Of A Billionaire Republican." Larry Kudlow had a segment on this (from a slightly different perspective). It seems Ken Langone is helping St. Patrick's Church raise funds:
Home Depot founder and investor Ken Langone, who is currently leading the $180 million fundraising efforts to complete the renovations on St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, recently told CNBC that a potential million dollar donor has voiced apprehension about donating to the project after Pope Francis critiqued trickle-down economics in November as "naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
"Give me a million to help me spread the word that you're wicked" is perhaps flawed as a fundraising theme. Although it would work pretty well on Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, I don't think either are Catholic.
I've read that this is just because he is from Argentina or that the Media has distorted his words and cherry-picked small economic statements from a larger work. All well and good, but he has to know his audience and the power of his pulpit. And this is where it leads.
Why doesn't Pope Francis support the GOP?
The snarky lefty populist post is moderately entertaining if you know the backstory, but it caught at least one who did not. She said "looks like somebody is irritating the right people!"
You Won't Believe the 9 Crazy Ways George Will thinks he's jk!
Nah, I'm just going for provocative, Upworthyesque headlines.
It was naughty of Winston Churchill to say, if he really did, that "the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Nevertheless, many voters' paucity of information about politics and government, although arguably rational, raises awkward questions about concepts central to democratic theory, including consent, representation, public opinion, electoral mandates and officials' accountability.
This Will kid shows promise!
January 1, 2014
"Get in line" my a$$
I appreciated the props from jk for recognizing early on that the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle was a seminal moment in American politics. American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord has a very good article that explains why. Here is but one insightful passage:
The key to GLAAD’s millions [of tax-exempt profits] — and the power all these "fascist bands" have exercised over the last several decades — is guilting Americans into believing that if they don't go along with the latest "non-negotiable" left-wing demand they are somehow…well….pick one. Racist, homophobic, pro-war, greedy, sexist and on and on and on…yada yada yada. In fact, one is doubtless more than safe in suspecting that in those millions of Phil Robertson fans are people with gay family or friends who decidedly could not be considered "anti-gay" -- but refuse to sit by silently and watch an obviously good person be lynched in the name of some left-wing conception of gay rights.