February 28, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

The Tea Party rightly concluded from the battles over Obamacare that what we are seeing in our politics these days is not two clashing interpretations of the same Constitution, but increasingly two different Constitutions in conflict: the old Constitution of 1787 and a “living” Constitution that is not just a different approach to the original, but an alternative to it. The extraordinary fight the Tea Party was willing to put up arose from this fact—that Obamacare amounted to a colossal battle between two different ways of government. And it was the Tea Party and President Obama who shared a clear understanding of the stakes; mainstream Republican leaders understood them with much less clarity and intensity.

From this month's excellent issue of Imprimus, by Hillsdale College.

Government CEO: "What's in it [Keystone XL] for us?"

That's my new favorite term for 'politician' - Government CEO - because each and every decision seems to be based on how much the government, and consequently he, can profit by it. Take FL9 Representative Alan Grayson who wrote,

Well, the Chinese have figured it out. They're going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country. They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil. They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing. So Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker.

And there at last is the real issue. Since the oil originates outside the country, state and federal governments can't charge confiscatory excise taxes. And whatever is sold outside the country escapes any consumer fuel taxes. Grayson offers a possible solution, however:

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States. Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline? But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own. Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sucker?

Because increasing supply will drive down costs, Uncle Douchebag. No, you won't get any revenue to buy votes with but American consumers, whose transportation costs represent 17% of the average household budget, will get some pocketbook relief. Then again, you wouldn't want any of your constituents thinking they could be happy and prosperous without your beneficience, would you?


AP columnist and financial planner Richard Larsen writes in this week's column, 'America's Beleaguered Middle Class:'

Domestic energy prices have likewise increased dramatically. Over the past 10 years, energy prices have more than doubled as government energy policy has become increasingly ideological and counterintuitive. Increasing energy costs adversely affect the middle class disproportionately.

And this informative chart from the "17 percent" link above.

Quote of the Day

Our Miss Margaret can still turn a phrase:

In the dark screwball comedy that is ObamaCare, the Congressional Budget Office revealed last month the law will provide disincentives to work. Don't worry, said Nancy Pelosi, people can take that time and go become poets and painters. At first you think: Huh, I can do that, I've got a beret. Then you think: No, I have to earn a living. Then you think, poor hardworking rube that you are: Wait a second, I'm subsidizing all this. I've been cast in the role of Catherine de Medici, patroness of the arts. She at least had a castle, I just get a bill! -- Peggy Noonan

February 27, 2014

Colorado in the News

A very good mix-up today for pragmatic, Centennial State Republicans. Cory Gardner (R - CO4) will run for the Senate against Mark Udall (Scion - CO). Ken Buck will run for his vacated congressional seat, and Amy Stephens will end her primary campaign and endorse Gardner.

Jason Riley at the WSJ notes this is a strong play for the GOP and puts the Senate seat in play. An acrimonious primary is obviated and a top-tier candidate is recruited. I like Buck and will be happy to have him as my Congressman -- he would have to work to lose this district.

Some of my libertoid and Tea Party friends are not sure about Gardner's bona fides, but this pragmatist is pretty happy.

To sum it up, All Hail Taranto:


Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

"He voted for the Patriot Act" they say, but so did every other Colorado congressman (and none of the democrats, but I'm sure not supporting a democrat over this single issue.) Also, I think they may have already had a pretty solid commitment to state senator Owen Hill, also in the race.

I was looking at Hill but fully expected Buck to get the nomination. I've been through a few of these cycles and have learned, like it or not, that the guy with the name recognition has a huge advantage in retail politics, both at the caucus and primary level. There's good cause for this, as each office serves as a vetting process for a higher one. Cory Gardner could be competing against the next Ronald Reagan and still win nomination handily.

Now, were Hill a current US Congressman and Gardner the state senator their fortunes would be exactly the opposite of what they are now. I hope Owen does seek a more prominent office. Quickly. Michael Bennet's term is up in '16.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 7:18 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Three Sourcers have always been good about putting their money where their mouths are. However, beating Udall is going to take a lot of grassroots work. Thus, The Refugee challenges all Colorado-based Three Sourcers to volunteer to help the campaign in addition to a financial contribution; he will be signing up today.

ps, This will likely apply to Bob Beauprez when he announces to challenges Hickenlooper for guv. (The Refugee hopes to woo JK back from the dark side to that of goodness and light.)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 3, 2014 10:38 AM
But jk thinks:

There is much power on the dark side . . .

I do not get you br, I've nothing against Mr. Beauprez.

Posted by: jk at March 3, 2014 1:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Except, perhaps, that he's already tried and lost. Like Tancredo. Keep in mind that is why Gardner replaced Buck for the Senate race.

Posted by: johngalt at March 3, 2014 2:59 PM

More on GDP and the great stagnation...

I think that we'd agree that what matters is the value that we’re creating, not whether a particular metric moves -- especially a metric like GDP, which often literally goes in the opposite direction of welfare. When things become free, that can often lead to a decrease in measured GDP, even though it leads to a big increase in welfare. Wikipedia is a perfect example of that. Or take the fact that most people now have, you know, a device that gives them turn-by-turn driving directions. It's pretty much free with most smart phones. But a few years ago, people were paying hundreds of dollars for a GPS machine. So I think we have to be careful about overreliance on a metric that was never understood to be or shouldn't be understood to be a welfare metric.-- "The Second Machine Age" co-author Erik Brynjolfsson
From a superb interview with the authors by James Pethokoukis at AEI.

Surf Dude Meme


Whatchyer Think?

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:10 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Awresome! Love it. Might even have to "promote" it on FB.

What's everyone else think? Genius, or just "yeah, right?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 11:31 AM
But jk thinks:

It's very good. I would certainly torque some of your (and my) FB friends with it.

Does it espouse a timeless truth (like COEXI$T) does? I am not positive that it does, but I had to warm up to COEXI$T, so my snap judgment is flawed.

I, too, failed at uploading FSSD.jpg (Food Stamp Surfed Dude) to memegenerator.net -- wow, is that the world's worst web interface or what? Getting him into the meme stream might be as valid a blow for liberty as promoting yours. (Anybody else wanna try? A raw one is here.)

So my brutally honest answer is "maybe." You're welcome.

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2014 1:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There's no turning back now. I did it.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 2:51 PM

"She Didn't Build That!"


February 26, 2014

The world needs working folks too

Not just Entitlement Surfers.



But jk thinks:

Mister President! (That's Mr. Rowe -- I don't think sushi surfer dude is 35)

Looks good, man -- want me to crunch it into a single image?

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2014 8:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A side by side would be great, if you can. I'd be much obliged. I couldn't figure out how to get FSSD's picture uploaded to the meme site.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 9:31 AM

Fair and Balanced

Dispassionate. Objectively. That is how the following interview is conducted, and how the reader should view it. It is the first non-libelous thing I can remember ever hearing or reading about Margaret Sanger. Perhaps it's the circles I travel in. More likely, it's her association with Planned Parenthood which, like so many well intended organizations, seems to have been taken over by extremist zealots with a single-minded agenda.

From the Reason article: Margaret Sanger was Anti-Abortion?!?!

But jk thinks:

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, I dunnnoooooooo, man..................

My takeaway was "How terrible that the good name of Eugenics has been trashed by these bumpkin pro-lifers!" It means "Good Genes" (Ever been to Old Navy?)

Holmes in Buck v. Bell harmed the good name of eugenics enough for me. I throw Sanger in with him and the whole progressive camp of the time that Jonah Goldberg quite rightly smears as being "proximate to" fascism. I'm going to need a little more than this to rescue her good name.

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2014 6:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some legitimate food for thought, though. "Anti-abortion" was what got me to click but the eugenics stuff took me by surprise. Thinking about it though, it's like almost everything else: Individual choice good - government coercion bad.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 9:34 AM
But jk thinks:

I was a "sunshine patriot" and missed my chance to see Jonah Goldberg last week. But I am a big fan of his "Liberal Fascism" and "Tyranny of Cliches." His research strikes me as meticulous and he paints a very dark portrait of Sanger.

Nobody's perfect, and I'm open to the idea of rehabilitation, but I did not find Bagge compelling. Eugenics was okay in the 1920's -- well, yeah, Buck v. Bell was 1927.

Gillespie asks him about charges of racism and eugenics, and Bagge attacks the strawman that "she did not invent abortion."

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2014 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My take was that her driving motivation was self-directed birth control and that everything else linked back to that. Choosing not to conceive could be beneficial vis a vis genetics, abortions could be reduced by reducing conceptions, etc. But she was villified at the time by the anti-birth control forces and, today, by those opposed to what Planned Parenthood Incorporated has evolved into.

One might say she succeeded in her primary goal, or does anyone in the modern west still maintain that birth control is either of: morally wrong, or should be outlawed? It was illegal in her day.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 11:42 AM

I just responded to an Upworthy Post with a TED talk!

Me. I feel dirty. You know the kind of person who responds to an Upworthy.com post with a TED talk? Don't tell the folks at ThreeSources, they'll revoke your login . . .

But a not-overwhelmingly-political young person I know posted this:


I did not want to start a Facebook war with this person. But "Upworthy Lad" (kindof "Pajama Boy" with no hot chocolate) claims this has been around for years and nobody has refuted it. And, that grates on me.

Watch if you want, but it is the precautionary principle wrapped up for Facebook crowd. Obviously, the action to prevent something is less damaging: we trade a flu shot for flu, we do not amputate our arms to reduce hangnails. So, we don't know about global warming but it could be really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad. So we should "prevent it."

I responded: "You're not driving into work today, are you? The worst that could happen if you stay home is your boss yells at you -- but you could be in a horrific car accident and lose your head! All because you were afraid of getting yelled at..."

But I responded because (Internet Segue Alert) the TED talk linked in my Arnold Kling Post makes a better point. Upworthy Lad no doubt thinks we'll fix it by buying LED light bulbs and driving Priuses. When really "His top left square is not some beta risk of Depression, but 2-4 billion people doing their own washing and burning dung to keep warm."

Beyond GDP?

When somebody says that he doesn't consider Gross Domestic Product a good measure . . . I usualy start looking for the exits. Clearly we'll soon be hearing a State of Oregon or Bhupal index of well being that supersedes mere finances. And Voila! The dirt poor socialist country will outscore the US. I've heard it a thousand times, kid.

But, when it is economics HOSS Arnold Kling speaking, I'll listen more politely.

From the standpoint of measuring social welfare, the most important omission in the GDP statistics may be what economists call consumer surplus. Consumer surplus is defined as the additional value of a good beyond what can be measured in its cost. A flight to Miami from Boston or Philadelphia costs much less than the value that travelers get from it -- especially in a winter like the one we have experienced this year!

As ["GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History" author Diane] Coyle points out, discussions of the value of the Internet inevitably come around to the issue of consumer surplus. Because typically what you can find on the Internet is free, its value cannot be captured by measuring how much you pay for it. All of the value of this zero-cost entertainment and information is consumer surplus.

In fact, I believe that consumer surplus may be a multiple of measured GDP. I believe that we value indoor plumbing by much more than it costs. The same is true for washing machines (see Hans Rosling's video, and note that the video itself is available for free), televisions, microwave ovens -- in fact, just about every appliance that uses electricity.

The Deidre McCloskey-ite in me would not dismiss per capita GDP or consumption equivalent as important for large scale differences between North Korea and Finland or Cave men and ThreeSourcers. But the $20,000 vs. $30,000 seems less useful.

My favorite retort to the income inequality crowd is how much my life is like Bill Gates's. I fly coach and he gets a lift on a corporate jet, but we still fly. I drive a ten year old Toyota but I drive. Poor Americans tend to have air-conditioning and cell phones and cable tv (my prog friends become incensed when I say that -- like I don't want them to have things!)

It is difficult to quantify. I think Kling is on track with the value of "consumer surplus."

But T. Greer thinks:

This indeed pretty interesting. I had never thought of that one. Tip of the hat to Mr. Kling.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 2, 2014 5:27 AM


Score one for Facebook:

Hat-tip Kitchen Cabinet

UPDATE: I may live to regret sharing this link.

But johngalt thinks:

I gotta learn how to make these. I've got a great one in mind that I'd like to unleash on the Facebooknets.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 12:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are my hero.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 1:39 PM

Don't Let the Door Hit yer Ass on the Way Out, Congressman!

There will be no shortage of treacle-on-newsprint when John Dingell (Satrap - MI) steps down from his 24,000 year tenure in Congress.

Thank all that is good in the world for the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. They offer a more realistic assessment in The House that John Built. Dingell is taking his parting shots at everyone who refuses to bow to him. "I find serving in the House to be obnoxious," the 87-year-old told the Detroit News. "It's become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets."

The WSJ editorial staff he might accept some of the blame for that acrimony.

Mr. Dingell may have intended his "obnoxious" barb at the tea party and Americans angry with Washington, but most of those people don't know how to maneuver through the corridors of power. They can't afford to hire someone from "the Dingell bar," the name adopted with an almost civic pride by the Washington lawyers who were well paid for representing businesses caught in the Dingell investigative cross-hairs. Many were his former staffers.

The "Dingell method," another phrase from the era, was to conduct an investigation, selectively leak what his staff found to a newspaper and TV network (double the media points), then haul the poor business targets for a public grilling before the cameras. The journalists would win prizes for the appearance of enterprise. The CEOs would be advised by the Dingell bar to be obsequious and remorseful whether guilty or not. The acrimony was one-sided.

B'Bye, Congressman.

113th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Yeahbut... Word is his wife plans to run for his vacant seat. I s'pose she could follow a different approach to legislative governance.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, Ferdinand Marcos retires, and we get Imelda...

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2014 1:24 PM

February 25, 2014

Movie Quote of the Day

Requiescat in pace, Harold Ramis. All hail the libertarian masterpiece.

But the WSJ chooses a ThreeSources-worthy exchange from "Caddyshack:"

Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over there in the Himalayas.

Angie D'Annunzio: A looper?

Carl Spackler: A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald . . . striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one--big hitter, the Lama--long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. You know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga . . . gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteen and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Quote of the Day

Bottom line -- We "played nice" in Ad Age because the people involved are all, well....nice. I'm just at a point in my career where I want to associate myself with messages that speak directly to the issues that are important to me. That's why the Walmart ad was so appealing. A $250 billion investment in US manufacturing is worth talking about, and very much in keeping with the goals of my own foundation. If any other "Oppressors" are looking to make a similar investment in America, drop me a line. I'm happy to "shill" for any company that get this country back to work. -- "Shill for the Oppressors," Mike Rowe
I've mentioned that I struggle with a full three cheers for a "Buy American" message, but I like the cut of this guy's gib. Joe the Plumber lacked the chops for a political career, but this young man? He could go as far as he wished.
But johngalt thinks:

You mean, even to the ultimate "dirty job" - POTUS? I could see that.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2014 1:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

These people who criticize WalMart's "Buy American" ad are the same ones, I'm pretty sure, who told us the reason WalMart sucks is they only sell us cheap Chinese-made crap. #Hypocrite #NeverHappy

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2014 1:12 PM

February 24, 2014

CU Geography Question

Visiting scholar and LOTR-F speaker Steven Hayward mentioned he was bringing in Jonah Goldberg. Jonah included pleas in his last G-File for some friendly seeds behind the lines in Boulder.

Well, that's tomorrow:

Syndicated columnist and author Jonah Goldberg argues that liberalism's attempt to be simultaneously rebellious and pragmatic gets both the past and the present wrong, and he is scheduled to make that case in an appearance on the University of Colorado Boulder campus Feb. 25.

Today's liberalism is highly ill-liberal, avoids genuine arguments by willful suppression of dissent, and substitutes the clichés of group-think in place of authentic principles, Goldberg contends.

"This stimulating lecture is certain to provoke vigorous argument and debate for weeks to come," said Steven Hayward, CU-Boulder's inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy, who invited Goldberg to speak.

Goldberg's lecture will be held Feb. 25 in Eaton Humanities 1B50, from 6:30 to 8 pm. A short reception will follow.

Jonah Goldberg's first book, "Liberal Fascism," was a number-one New York Times bestseller. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the founding editor of National Review Online.

He is also a Los Angeles Times columnist, a Fox News contributor and a member of the board of contributors at USA Today.

The Atlantic named him one of America's 50 most influential commentators. He lives with his family in Washington, DC.

Eaton Humanities -- where could a fellow who doesn't really care for long walks park? Blog friend Terri has also expressed interest.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 7:26 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Dang, I have already committed to attend a school security committee meeting at that time. I hope you go and make a full report.

As for parking, don't you imagine that Hayward will send a rickshaw or a bike taxi to meet him at Davidson Mesa? Can't allow those breath-emitting cars into town, dontcha know.

I sure hope Jonah enjoys this healthy dose of smug-gazing.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2014 9:48 AM
But jk thinks:

I was actually not concerned with Mister Goldberg's transportation needs, but rather my own. How altruistic of you to care...

This is just west of the Norlin Library on the quadrangle. That is pretty close to the big parking garage on Euclid, is it not?

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2014 10:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

OOOOOooh. Yeah.

According to this map Eaton Humanities (23) is on the other side of Norlin Library (69-heh) from that garage (30.) It's at least a quarter mile walk, I would say. Another possibility is to look for a handicapped space along University Ave. near Macky Auditorium (62) or perhaps on Pleasant street if it is open at that time. It's a bit of a hill climb up from University but shorter I think.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2014 12:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, didya go? Didya? The ill timed snowstorm last night may have put a damper on things.

I'm hoping to see the online video of the event at some point, just as I'm looking forward to watching the other event I missed last night - the Colorado GOP Senatorial Debate.

Haven't read it all yet but the URL is slightly misleading inasmuch as one candidate criticized the frontrunner: "Ken Buck hurt GOP in 2010."

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 12:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Weather Chicken, me. Brother Bryan went and posted some pix on Facebook.

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2014 1:17 PM

February 23, 2014

Review Corner

Thucydides? Virgil? What great masterful work have you mastered, jk? Well.... I still plan to read capital-G Great books, but a friend recommended something that sounded little-g great. And it was.

M. Night Shyamalan, enjoying considerable box office success, tries his hand at philanthropy, directing his wealth at education in his hometown of Philadelphia. He's a Hollywood guy so he writes some checks and schedules some fancy dinners. Y'know, philanthropy.

As they shook our hands politely and left, Bhavna looked at me and saw I was shaken. I was looking to be inspired. These children needed saving, but our money wasn't going to do the trick. The system had beaten them badly enough that no amount of money could undo the scars.

I applaud his noticing that outcomes are important. Too many celebrities, and most all legislators, total up the checks and take a victory lap. Shyamalan saw on the first outing that more was needed, and resolved to try and fix the problem, not just finance it. He starts a foundation and hires a researcher to "follow the data" and take a cold hard look at what works and what does not.

I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap is the story of his considerable involvement with experts of all backgrounds and ideologies, plus time visiting schools that are performing. Shyamalan is a storyteller, and the book is crafted like one of his screenplays. The "five keys" are withheld to where I won't provide them as a spoiler "I see the five keys, Mister Willis . . ."

The book is no less serious than The New School [Review Corner] or The Beautiful Tree [Review Corner], but it is told with a screenwriter's deft touch. He travels to Palo Alto, meets the great education professor Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The professor's thoughts are recorded, but so is the author's menu choice. He asks the waiter whether he should have the cheeseburger or the Stanford Club:

I do this to every waiter or waitress. I make them complicit in my bad choices. My wife finds this habit completely annoying. The professor was amused by my culinary vacillations. I settled on the club and said no to the fries reluctantly. I had told the professor about the health tenet model on the walk over, so he gave me the fist of solidarity for not choosing the fries. I dove right in with the questions. I asked him about classroom size.

Shyamalan has a doctor friend who suggests that there are five keys to good health: get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, avoid stress, drink coffee (I may have forgotten #5...) But that if one is out of whack, the others do not do that much good. He takes this insight for himself and finds five keys to education reform. When one of these is missing in a middle or upper class student, the lifestyle ameliorates. But at risk or disadvantaged students stuck with a bad teacher suffer.
Children from affluent, educated families get just as many ineffective teachers as everyone else. They just don't pay for it. Kids from poor families do.

One of the keys is more time in school, and their research suggests that the bulk of the achievement gap between races and classes happens over summer vacations. In school they remain close, but Missy and Brad summer with library and museum visits while their peers lose ground. (Curiously, both lose math, he suggests that home algebra sessions are not big in most any culture).

I applaud his objective, data-driven solutions. He quickly rejects canards like class size in opposition to "everybody knows" solutions. He is bone-crunchingly non-ideological. He mentions that he is of Hollywood and has imbued progressive politics but is not driven by them. So, ten points.

But I have to remove one and a half (points, he'll still do well in stars) because he does not follow through. He correctly shows that charter schools, statistically compared en masse to conventional schooling, show small effect. Fair cop, guv, but the same statistical ambiguity for pre-K maddeningly gets a hall pass. Well, the effect is not pronounced but we should anyway... Huh? What about the rest of the book?

And, while he turns off his ideology, I cannot (Ahem, I call mine principles). While he adds a lot to the debate, in the end he trusts the same outfit that got us where we are to implement his five keys. Four out of five are clearly at odds with the teachers' unions objectives. Charter schools are soft pedaled, but I suggest that no other structure would enable any of them.

Then -- and I am not selling the book to ThreeSourcers, am I? -- he closes with a call for more federal control of curricula and spending. Yeah, these same guys who created the planet's most dysfunctional institution will fix it when I give them the plan.

So, M Night Shayalaman provides a shocking ending. Unlike "The Sixth Sense," I didn't dig it.
But this book is a serious contribution to the education debate. His willingness to go where data leads gives credibility to those many places where we do agree. And it is entertaining and charming. Four-point-five stars.

But johngalt thinks:

Always be suspicious when someone denies or defends without prompting:

He mentions that he is of Hollywood and has imbued progressive politics but is not driven by them.

Just because he says he is not driven by them does not mean he is not driven by them. It only means he knows either, he should not be driven by them or, it damages his credibility to admit he's a Progressive.

It does seem he is so committed to the status quo that the only solutions he can consider are evolutionary, not revolutionary. The foxes must be left in charge of the hen house because, well, just because.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2014 6:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Not leaping to his defense, but my rereading of this review finds it wanting and I am compelled to at least clarify. I agree with 90% of what he says and, of course, spend the bulk of my review arguing with the other ten.

He is pretty courageous, say, in the smaller classroom debate. Neither data nor history support it. And he is certainly not a shovel-money-at-it guy. Had he a simpler, Matt Damon outlook, I would be far less disappointed.

He wants them to change their stripes, and he supplies some very non-union-friendly changes: fire more teachers, get principals more active at leading and coaching, longer days and more of them. None of these is going to win over the union teachers in my family.

Yet, at the end. you are correct that he trusts the same folks to fix it. He spent time with Michelle Rhee and speaks well of her. He must have heard of "the blob:" the immovable confluence of union and bureaucracy: uncharacteristically naive.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes but agreement is so boring! LOL

Props on expecting kids to learn when there are others in the room. The changes you named - they would improve things at the DMV too, non? I was there this morning. 9:30 am. Took #54 from the friendly ticket dispenser as I watched the big red numbers click from 29 to 30. Sat down, sent a text message, went across the hall and phoned a friend to arrange a lunch appointment, came back to hear "thirty-three?"

The problem here is there is no competition. They get the same number of customers no matter how slow or rude they are. (And the same compensation.) I've only thought of one way to motivate them - I plan to return 30 minutes before quitting time. I'm transferring a title and renewing plates for FOUR other vehicles. Hey, they brought this upon themselves.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2014 12:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Arrived at 4:15. 15 customers ahead of me. Left with my renewal tags 45 minutes later... 1 minute before closin' time.

Dagny suggested a scientific study of DMV service speed by time of day. Thinking about it now, I'd rather keep it a secret. (Except for sharing it with the few thousand readers of Three Sources dot com.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 12:40 PM

February 21, 2014

"Once Everyone Understands Capitalism, We'll Replace it"

Capitalism is as misunderstood as it is maligned. Mostly, I think, because of all the government "smoothing of rough edges." Dictionary.com defines capitalism as,

an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

But this must be some kind of brainwashing or something, cuz the internets give the real definition:

The system in which some people own businesses and stock and others have no choice but to work for them and generate surplus value is called capitalism.

I guess the people who do have a choice are born with a dollar sign on their bellies or some such.

This comes from a largely anonymous website that has as its homepage a 7-point bullet list explaining what capitalism is and why it is inferior to "many noncapitalist systems." Applying a new skill that JK taught me, bullet 1 misdefines capitalism and throws in a false criticism for good measure; bullet 7 baldly asserts that capitalism is obviously an inferior system; and bullets 2-6 attempt to establish the connection between the false premise and the premeditated "conclusion."

May I indulge the reader to consider my take on a few points?

1) "Capitalism increases wealth stratification" because capitalism increases wealth. Good, no?

2) "Wealth is power" but government is absolute power. Shall we talk about increased government?

3) I like to keep what I create or earn, and feel justified in doing so and supporting laws that protect my right to keep what's mine. No apology or defense is required. After all, it didn't exist before I made it.

4) There are no "classes" of people. There are individuals who choose in varying degrees to be productive, thrifty and ambitious - or not.

5) In order to end misery one must recognize that he is as capable of spending less than he earns as is anyone else. Since wealth is power, earn some and save some, then use it wisely.

6) What was wrong with wealth "stratification" in the first place? Can't you be happy enough with a home and some savings and a loving family that thinks the world of you because you can comfortably support them, despite what anyone else has?

"Unfair" is a word invented by social organizers to keep you feeling "poor, hopeless, desperate, distracted, overbusy, deluded, oppressed and generally miserable." Why not just be happy instead?

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 6:22 PM | What do you think? [4]
But T. Greer thinks:

You inspired me to look up the definitions of "capitalism" on Urban Dictionary. The results were funny.

Posted by: T. Greer at February 21, 2014 7:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow, way more "fo' real" than I expected tho. Check it:

Capitalism has existed in a limited form in the economies of all hoods, but its modern importance dates at least from the Industrial Revolution that began in the 18th century, when bankers, merchants, playas and industrialists (the bourgeoisie) began to displace landowners in political, economic, and social importance, particularly in Great Britain.

Comparing that era to ours there is a parallel between 18th century landowners and modern "one percenters" or, more directly, those with "stratified wealth" or "money for doing literally nothing but already having money" that seems to justify redistributing that wealth. After all, locking up all of a nation's wealth in the hands of a few families who then hand it down to their descendents generation after generation is not only unfair, it is counterproductive.

But there is a phenomenally important difference between land and capital wealth. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Land is fixed and bounded. Capital wealth is fungible and able to be created, not merely redistributed.

Or in the vernacular of the urban dictionary, "You peeps need make your own dough, cuz this playa done earned all this bling. Then you can keep yours - that's the fo' real deal. You can call it capitalism or some shit but I call it pwnage."

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2014 12:01 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at February 24, 2014 1:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not impressed, blog brother? I thought we might reach an underserved demo with this messaging.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2014 4:06 PM

A Musical PPACAo2010HSOTD!

Thanks, Remy!

February 20, 2014



UPDATE: Blog friend sc sends a link to an update. I suspect His Holiness whispered "Eppur si Mouve" when the thumbscrews came off -- but here's hoping.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:10 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Yes, capitalism is very good at producing and selling to us at a very low price, superior quality rope."

Far from a talk, we look forward to a conversation with His Holiness about how the free enterprise system can offer the best path toward happiness when predicated on ethical leadership, morality, and compassion for others.

And His Holiness looks forward to making sure everyone understands that compassion for others is morality.

I'm sorry, but I can't believe that His Holiness is a conduit to a future of moral capitalists who are lauded and respected. I expect he'll make sure they forever remain "guilty" and in proportion therein to the degree of one's financial success. If you find evidence to the contrary, however, I'm more than open to listen.

I had planned to comment entirely differently before reading the linked page. The original reply is still germane, but perhaps should be made without the originally intended sarcasm and cynicism. Instead I will optimistically say that defenders of liberty and capitalism can easily win over public opinion, for we merely need to correct this cartoonish popular notion of What is Capitalism?

(Originally I was going to link it within the quip, "What's not to like?")

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2014 11:41 AM

Century-old Injustice Made Right

At least, that's how Van Jones and Ward Churchill would describe it.

In 1905, Congress acted to reduce the size of Wind River by opening it up to homesteading by non-Indians, a decision affirmed in subsequent court rulings. It was determined that towns settled by homesteaders such as Riverton were not part of the reservation. To the EPA, both history and law are irrelevant.

Wyoming isn't sitting still for this.

"My deep concern," [Wyoming Governor Matt] Mead wrote in a statement issued last month, "is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state's boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law.

"This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?"

We too are concerned that an administration that has repeatedly ignored the courts, the Congress and the Constitution when the rule of law becomes too inconvenient in its pursuit of its fundamental transformation of America has now decided state sovereignty is an inconvenient relic.

Churchill can almost be heard, "Take that, bitches."

But johngalt thinks:

If you asked me why I posted this I would say because of its utility as another example of this President "doing whatever I want." My sense is that "lame duck" doesn't mean the same thing to him as his predecessors. This sort of dictatorial action is apt to become more frequent. Sort of a "SCOTUS job security program" you might say.

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2014 4:17 PM

February 19, 2014

All Hail Insty!



And damage impressionable youth . . .

How the Plastic in K-Cups Might Damage Your Metabolism, Reproductive Health, and Cause Cancer

Hat-tip: Yes, a Facebook friend, how did you guess?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:46 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Clearly K-Cups are just another chemical warfare assault in the war on womyn.

Congress must take immediate action to outlaw plastic packaging for food items that may be exposed to temperatures as high as 373 degrees Kelvin. Only temperatures of 300 Kelvin or lower are safe!

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2014 1:30 PM

Speaking of Anti-Poverty Policy...

That is one of the two "biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century" according to Patrick McCulley at international rivers dot org, who posted [in 2004] Twelve Reasons to Exclude Large Hydro From Renewables Initiatives. Spoiler alert: None of the 12 reasons is "Large hydro is non-renewable." To the contrary, reason #12 admits that it is, precisely, renewable:

12 - Large hydro reservoirs are often rendered non-renewable by sedimentation

Dam reservoirs are depleted over time by sedimentation, a problem that eventually
seriously impedes or ends the ability of a hydro plant to produce electricity. The
great majority of annual sediment loads are carried during flood periods. The high-
er intensity and frequency of floods due to global warming are therefore likely to
increase sedimentation rates and thus further shorten the useful lives of reservoirs.

No word on the required maintenance or "useful lives" of wind, solar or small hydro.

But jk thinks:

D'ja see Jon Caldera on this? If water and gravity are "renewable" then we make all the quotas and cannot continue the graft to wind & solar providers.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2014 7:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Precisely. And that is, unapologetically, the direct basis for "reasons" number 1 and 2 and indirect basis for numbers 5 and 8 of the twelve, as stated in the summary list created by International Rivers Network in Berkeley.

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2014 1:09 PM

Minimum Wage QOTD

So we lose maybe 500,000 jobs (the first rung for many on the upward mobility ladder) for an anti-poverty policy where half the benefits go to families whose income is three times the poverty threshold or more (see above chart). This does not sound like optimal anti-poverty policy to me, especially as compared to expanding the EITC and adding a wage subsidy. -- James Pethokoukis

Life Imitates ThreeSources

jk: You Think Your Job Sucks!


If you think your job is tough, try hawking the Affordable Care Act on the streets of Florida. The New York Times reports on an effort by Planned Parenthood and other liberal political organizations to find the law;s intended beneficiaries: "The hunt for the uninsured in Broward County got underway one recent afternoon when 41 canvassers, armed with electronic maps on Samsung tablets, set off through working-class neighborhoods to peddle the Affordable Care Act door to door. Four hours later, they had made contact with 2,623 residents and signed up exactly 25 people.

"Many of their targets, people identified on sophisticated computer lists generated in Washington as unlikely to have health insurance, had moved away. Some were not home. Many said they already had insurance through Medicare, their parents or a job. A few were hostile at the mere mention of President Obama's health care law. 'We're going to repeal that' one man said gruffly as he shut the door in the face of a canvasser..."

But johngalt thinks:

I don't think these guys understand how an authoritarian administration works. Since when is America's government supposed to ask individual citizens for their permission to do things to them? Just sign 'em up! Compulsorily. From Washington. This Administration isn't corrupt or incompetent, it is corrupt and incompetent.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2014 12:34 PM

Look for the Union Label . . .

. . . and my guess is that is says "XXXL!"

Thanks to Jim Geraghty for this photo of the day of National AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt. The puffy fellow in the middle would be the Green Bay Packers' mascot.


So has ThreeSourcers thrown out the rational arguments and begun to publishing unflattering photos of those with whom it disagrees? Well, your use of the inchoative flatters...

But it is germane because Geraghty's point is that many union contracts are indexed to the minimum wage. So the fixation on the minimum wage, which will kill ~500,000 jobs and affect only 0.3% of the population suddenly makes some sense: it will sate union leaders' hunger for higher dues and wages and feed their appetite for worker fulfillment.

But johngalt thinks:

Ye of the "rational argument" thy use of the words "feed" and "appetite" are gratuitous. Methinks. Poor Mister Neuenfeldt obviously doesn't have "access" to "affordable nutritious food."

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2014 12:29 PM

February 17, 2014


Probably some Koch Brothers plant, spreading this scurrilous lie that extreme weather cannot be tied to climate change:

"There continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale."

Oh, wait, that's the IPCC report. Pretty much the gold standard for climate science... And
Here’s what a paper published by 17 senior IPCC scientists from five different countries said last month:
"It has not been possible to attribute rain-generated peak streamflow trends to anthropogenic climate change over the past several decades."

Thanks to Rational Optimist Matt Ridley for Floods and gales in the UK are not evidence of climate change. And to blog friend tg for a Facebook post of Ridley's (also excellent) Science discovers new ignorance about the past

But johngalt thinks:

Hard to imagine they've given up the cause. These citations are on par with: The words "no act of terrorism" uttered in the Rose Garden means "I can claim I called it terrorism from the beginning" when my present lie of expediency is finally revealed. My dad always referred to this as "knitting an asshole cover."

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2014 1:53 PM

News You Can Use

According to research, "evening-types tend to be less reliable, less emotionally stable and more apt to suffer from depression, addictions and eating disorders" but at least we're [correlationally] smarter than morning-types.

According to Kanazawa, ancestral humans were typically diurnal, and that a shift towards more nocturnal activities is an "evolutionarily novel preference" of the type normally found in more intelligent individuals, demonstrating "a higher level of cognitive complexity" in the practitioners.

Don't tell my kids. It's hard enough already getting them to go to bed.

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 5:16 PM | What do you think? [0]


Good news just keeps on coming!

The decision by workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee to reject the United Auto Workers is the best news so far this year for the American economy. Even with Volkswagen management on its side, the union that combined with CEOs to nearly ruin U.S. car makers couldn't persuade a majority voting in a secret ballot to let it become their agent to bargain with the foreign-owned company.

This wasn't merely one more failed union organizing attempt. The UAW and its chief Bob King spent years working toward this vote as part of its strategy to organize plants in the American South, and all the stars were aligned in its favor.

The Union Label Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

February 16, 2014

Why I dumped a liberal

Clearly I need to work on my schtick: where as Carrie Sheffield can take 8 column-inches to say Why I Can't Date a Liberal, my experience was quite simple.

While she sounded nice - intelligent even - and said all the right words, when you burrowed down to why, you'd find out she was clueless or a lying POS! Example: "Fracking is ruining drinking water all over the country" [me] Really, where? "We don't talk politics!" I was talking about science, chemical by products and toxicity and the like. "We don't talk about it!"

If paid by the inch, I'll be a pauper, but at least I didn't (because I wouldn't; and hey, I'm worth it, too!) subject my kids to that hysteria, willful ignorance, misguided trust, and downright mendaciousness.

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:43 PM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

I was going to ask about Carville and Matalin. but I see their smiling faces at the link.

One hopes love conquers all, but I cannot imagine every day. The lovely bride and I differ frequently enough to be unpredictable, but my only defense against some of my Facebook friends is "wow, at least I don't have to be them or spend all day with them.

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2014 12:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"Life's too short to get stuck with someone better left in the "friend" category."

Truer words were never written.

Don't take it personally that she lied to you, nb. She lies to herself too. That's the only way to hold contradictory ideas in your head at the same time. (Or, does she bike or ride stock animals everywhere she goes?)

There must be a better term for these people than "liberals." How about "favorables to government action to effect social change?" (Has anyone seen the thesaurus entries on liberal and conservative? Who writes this stuff?)

Posted by: johngalt at February 17, 2014 3:12 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

She lies to herself too of course, and therefore to her kids. But not to my kids, and I quickly tired of it.

thesaurus entries on liberal well, "loose" and "permissive" certainly fit the pattern, as does the antonym "thrifty" :-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2014 12:12 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good dad.

How about "catholic?" How is that a synonym for "liberal?" Or rational, reasonable, unbiased, unbigoted or unprejudiced? None of those comport with the mindset that is favorable to government directed social change. At least, not without contradictory examples.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2014 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love conquers all? I s'pose the "magical, unknowable algorithmic elixir of love" can do that, until it collides with something more concrete. But the love based on the recognition of your own values in another requires not only agreement of values, but a conscious and internally consistent set of values in each person to begin with. (This is the love that doesn't lead to divorce half of the time.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2014 4:25 PM

Review Corner

Too often, there are things we have to read that are not really worth spending a lot of time reading; if we cannot read them quickly, it will be a terrible waste of time. It is true enough that many people read some things too slowly, and that they ought to read them faster. But many people also read some things too fast, and they ought to read those things more slowly.
Serious words from Mortimer J. Adler. Blog brother Bryan recommended How to Read a Book. While I had ne'er heard of it, it was a big deal both in 1940, and in 1970 when it was extensively revised and re-released. I recall that "speedreading" was a big deal. The opening quote is directed at that craze, but hit me a bit where I live

In Black Swan, Nicholas Nassim Taleb redirected my reading from magazines and blogs toward books. After several years, I appreciate that. Adler comes along and calls me to read some better and more challenging books -- and to take the time to completely digest them.

The title is a bit provocative: have I been doing it wrong? Do I need to start with Dick & Jane and read everything correctly? I would self-confidently assert that I probably have picked up 80-90% of what he says on my own, learning to read in the mean streets and dark alleys of literature and exposition as it were. But there are a few good easy tips, and a few very difficult suggestions. Easy stuff first.

When I read a novel, I like to know as little as possible. I don't read the blurbs or reviews unless I am on the fence whether I want to buy or read it. A book I know I want I will start, tabula rasa, at page one. But for an expository work, or perhaps a more serious novel, Adler suggests a comprehensive look at the table of contents. "It is astonishing how many people never even glance at a book’s table of contents unless they wish to look something up in it. In fact, many authors spend a considerable amount of time in creating the table of contents, and it is sad to think their efforts are often wasted." Ergo, rule three of analytical reading:


The reason for this rule should be obvious. If a work of art were absolutely simple, it would, of course, have no parts. But that is never the case. None of the sensible, physical things man knows is simple in this absolute way, nor is any human production. They are all complex unities. You have not grasped a complex unity if all you know about it is how it is one. You must also know how it is many, not a many that consists of a lot of separate things, but an organized many. If the parts were not organically related, the whole that they composed would not be one.

Again I've chosen this particular rule because it is something I never do. Many of his suggestions codify tasks I intrinsically perform, but could be more structured: "coming to terms" with an author, discerning the questions he asks, and finding whether he answers them adequately. Yeah, I do that. Right?

Curiously, Review Corners -- though terse for a distracted readership and a lazy writer -- have forced me to adopt some of the methods of categorizing, coming to terms, analyzing and criticizing. Who knew? I thank a kind readership for its part.

The highest level of reading, "syntopical reading" is what I'd call by the less glamorous name "research," viz., aligning the terms, structures, and information from multiple sources on the same topic. I do wish I had read this before I did my chronological tour of presidential biographies. My goals matched his, but his methods would have been more effective. I might have read more books but not all the way through. And a written, structured relationship of the different viewpoints I encountered, with additional research for clarification would have left me with a deeper understanding.

But the real takeaway for me is to seek more challenge. I have long enjoyed complex books; I like complexity in general. And yet, my recent lists have not reflected this. I plan to return to the more challenging works and try out Adler's techniques. One more slog through Gravity's Rainbow is in order, and a second run at Shin Tung Yau's Inner Space [Pre-Review Corner]. Plus I vow to trade in some current events and polemical works in exchange for more great works.

Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if they were not. And books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up to their level.

Wish me luck. I've started the Aenid (John Dryden's 1917 Translation) and Thucydides's The History of the Peloponnesian War." I would not advise readers to hold their breath for Review Corners next week. But:
The body is limited in ways that the mind is not. One sign of this is that the body does not continue indefinitely to grow in strength and develop in skill and grace. By the time most people are thirty years old, their bodies are as good as they will ever be; in fact, many persons' bodies have begun to deteriorate by that time. But there is no limit to the amount of growth and development that the mind can sustain. The mind does not stop growing at any particular age; only when the brain itself loses its vigor, in senescence, does the mind lose its power to increase in skill and understanding.

Both of my selections are from Appendix A, subtitled, "books you should feel very stupid because you have not read."

I'll give the book five stars. Adler is such a hoss. I remember as a lad that he was all over TV: a true "public intellectual." Another sad sign of what have we lost going from Johnny Carson to Jon Stewart and as Brother Keith has mentioned from Rod Serling to whatever. I still hold that there has been a lot of quality programming. But I cannot think of a modern equivalent to Mortimer Adler.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

Does it count as reading something good for me if I just read jk's review corners since they are often over my head?

Posted by: dagny at February 17, 2014 6:24 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I also like Mortimer Adler.

Funny you mention Thucydided 'cuz one of my most recent posts is built around one of his more famous' phrases. I was reading an essay about what kind of role he thought 'honor' should play in great power politics just today.

Unlike a lot of the old classics, Thucydides still shapes the way people talk and think about war today. An entire academic branch of international relations says he was the first to articulate their theories. Strategic and war studies folks reference him left and right.

I strongly recommend the Landmark Edition. Even if you have already started reading it, is worth it to go get the Landmark edition to use its maps and chronology for reference.

Posted by: T. Greer at February 21, 2014 1:31 AM

February 14, 2014

And When They Came For the Journalists...

Those of you who think the press has a leftist bias will be as surprised as I was to read that, under the President Barack H. Obama Adminstration, the Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with plans to install a "wet nurse" in "radio, television, and even newspaper newsrooms" purportedly to find out if minority viewpoints are suppressed.

Pai warned that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses, would dispatch its "researchers" to newsrooms across America to seek their "voluntary" compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as "wade into office politics" looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views.

The surprising part of this story is not the government's, but the press industry's action. Or ... inaction.

It's an idea so fraught with potential for abuse it ought to have news agencies screaming bloody murder. The very idea of Obama hipsters showing up in newsrooms, asking questions and judging if newspapers (over which they have no jurisdiction), radio and TV are sufficiently diverse is nothing short of thought control.

But the reaction from the National Association of Broadcasters was mealy-mouthed. The FCC "should reconsider" "qualitative" sections of its study, it wrote.

The FCC now says it will be "closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited," as a result of Pai's warning. Adweek actually reported that as a "retreat."

Perhaps the powers that be in the news industry don't yet realize that by "minority views" the Administration intends to empower those who might defend personal liberty and voluntary trade in a free market?




UPDATE: Added the link to the wet nurse clip, as I had originally intended.

But jk thinks:

I'm picturing the guy who gets parked at the Rearden plant by the State Science Institute.

In tandem with the smidgeon of an IRS scandal, this kind of stuff scares me.

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2014 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Me too. All of that racous laughter was of the nervous variety. You know, like "Hey look, our ship is sinking. Isn't that hilarious!!"

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2014 5:23 PM

All Hail Insty!

Professor Reynolds, bringin' it as per usual...


February 13, 2014

David Kopel on San Diego Gun Rights

Whining is a good time, but we need to celebrate when the NINTH CIRCUIT FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD affirms 2nd Amendment rights.

The Ninth Circuit's decision in Peruta v. San Diego, released minutes ago, affirms the right of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for lawful protection in public.

California law has a process for applying for a permit to carry a handgun for protection in public, with requirements for safety training, a background check, and so on. These requirements were not challenged. The statute also requires that the applicant have "good cause," which was interpreted by San Diego County to mean that the applicant is faced with current specific threats. (Not all California counties have this narrow interpretation.) The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion written by Judge O'Scannlain, ruled that Peruta was entitled to Summary Judgement, because the "good cause" provision violates the Second Amendment.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 6:24 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Wow, just when you think nobody in government knows how to read, or believes that established law applies "in all circumstances." Perhaps this is the start of the long-awaited Judicial Smack-Down of Constitutional scofflaws.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2014 9:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From my SoCal brother-in-law today:

Could it be that California may surpass Colorado in freedom of self defense?

And, later:

I'm absolutely floored.
Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2014 5:25 PM

Defining Opression Down

Quick. Name the most oppressive place on the Earth. Now, hands up all who chose "the makeup aisle of our local Target store." Two, three . . . a couple guys in the back . . .

And, of course, Dr. Kelly Flanagan's friend. Flanagan is a licensed clinical psychologist and happy father of three. He writes inspirational letters to his young girls and posts them on his blog.

I actually find that endearing. Please don't construe this missive as objecting to positive self image for young girls. Buuuuuuuut, I wonder is the Doctor is not a bit over the top:

Dear Little One,

As I write this, I'm sitting in the makeup aisle of our local Target store. A friend recently texted me from a different makeup aisle and told me it felt like one of the most oppressive places in the world. I wanted to find out what he meant.

You know the rest. The models on the magazine covers are pretty and well below the median BMI of Target shoppers. The same magazines offer advice on flat abs and . . . The accompanying photo shows a bunch of them together to engender maximum outrage.

I am all for good self-image. But anybody who is "oppressed" looking at a magazine cover needs a psychologist -- even if he is one. Or, perhaps the advice of a software developer and guitar player.

Dear Big One,

Hey, you might notice someday that there are some people who are better looking than you. Or smarter. Or better at Parcheesi.

Through Ricardian comparative advantage, we can leverage and enjoy capabilities of others. I would not want to watch a football game where nobody played better than me. Nor would I attend a symphony staffed by players with inferior skills to mine.

Find your place in the world, Doctor! Enjoy the diversity and skills -- and yes the looks -- of your fellow humans.


Rant Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [1]
But dagny thinks:

I really don’t have time for this but I just can’t resist. Drat you JK!

So, “most oppressive place on earth,“ qualifies as a massive exaggeration but I have some sympathy for the sentiment. Additionally (liberal or not) I mostly agree with what he is telling his daughters. Strength doesn’t lie in fingernails. Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumber…. Err wrong song.

I do dispute some of JK’s letter to the Big One. No one feels oppressed looking at a magazine cover of Peyton Manning because the vast majority of us understand fully that we are not suited to be NFL quarterbacks. But the magazine covers here and the culture that supports them tell all of us with 2 X chromosomes that we SHOULD look like the girl on the cover and not that she is something to be admired for what she is and can do and we aren’t and can’t.

Maybe this one is just a little personal for me because I remember spending my whole high school career concerned that I was, “fat.” Now for those of you who didn’t know me, I was a 3 sport varsity athlete in high school and could bench press my weight and then some. No one who runs a state qualifying quad A 400 meters is fat. So I have spent some time since then trying to figure out how and why I thought I was fat. Part of it was definitely magazine covers and television programs bombarding us with size Zero women and telling us that was how we should look. So was/am I oppressed? Probably not. Are there important lessons here to help my daughters live healthy, happy lives? Yup, especially if they are lousy at Parcheesi or not a size Zero.

Posted by: dagny at February 14, 2014 4:24 PM

February 12, 2014

On Science and Faith in Politics

Think carefully for a moment about the phrase, "The science is settled." That would make the issue in question an "absolute" would it not? And absolutism is what Democrats of all flavors most often criticize Republicans for believing.

This is the topic of an entertaining column by Andrew Quinn at The Federalist. The fun begins with his headline: "The Party of Science Has Absolutely No Clue What It's Talking About."

To an intellectually honest observer, these findings compel more questions. What are reasonable expectations for health insurance? Should we be satisfied if Medicaid helps people sleep easier but makes them no healthier? Even if so, is health insurance the most effective way to convert taxpayer dollars into peace of mind for the poor?

Virtually no prominent progressives join center-right commentators in positing such questions.

Because, like most people, progressives are more comfortable with facts that agree with how their mind is already made up. But there is a difference between progressives and the rest of us: They have so convinced themselves that theirs is an ideology rooted in objective science, and any contradictory ideology is rooted in Revealed Truth, that they don't even recognize when their ideology becomes exactly that - an article of faith.

So the next time a Facebook friend tells you his ideas are scientific be sure to ask him for his Hypothesis, Evidence and Analysis that support his Conclusion. If you are sufficiently skeptical he will eventually balk. Then you can ask him to who's authority he is subservient. After all, "consensus" is just another way of saying "I don't want to know any more than I already know." And isn't that why they like to laugh at the Religious Right?

But jk thinks:

Keen insight. Hear hear.

Seriously, I saw this and wanted to do something. You did it sooner and better. The only thing missing is the photo of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Now ThreeSourcers will just have to click.

I had called those two out by name in a comment. Blog friend tg claimed that "scientists" were not at fault in overhyping DAWG, that it was "environmentalists" misusing them.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2014 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Inasmuch as it's often impossible to separate the environmentalist from the scientist, you're both right.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2014 7:08 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at February 13, 2014 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I prefer to call myself "uniter, not divider."

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2014 5:29 PM

Lebowski on The Debt Limit

Now, I don't think they had any choice (parting with at least one blog brother on Facebook). But I still appreciate Stan Veuger at AEI distilling a complex topic for us:

Yeah. That's a great plan, Walter.
That's f****** ingenious, if I
understand it correctly. That's a
Swiss f****** watch.

Thaaat's right, Dude. The beauty of
this is its simplicity. If the plan
gets too complex something always
goes wrong. If there's one thing I
learned in Nam--

Posted by John Kranz at 1:53 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Not me, man. I think I'm already on record as "slow the Dems down as much as possible but do NOT step in front of their runaway government freight train and especially do not do so in a highly visible and easily demagogued way." Besides, Art Laffer said the exact. same. thing.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2014 2:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Awesome. You, me and Art.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2014 3:43 PM

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Merging Buffy and the Allman Brothers! Is this a great country or what????

[ThreeSources fave Eliza Dusku] has joined the cast of "Midnight Rider," a biopic about Allman Brothers singer-organist Gregg Allman, in which Allman will be played by William Hurt. According to the trade publication, Dushku will play the woman who inspired the song "Whipping Post," which Allman first recorded when he was 21.

"Oh Lord, I feel like I'm dyyyyyyyin'..."

Art Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Alan Tudyk was on an episode of 'Justified' this season. Ain't postin' no pictures though. I'll just look at this one instead.

Any word who will play the woman who inspired the song "Sweet Melissa?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2014 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

No, but on Facebook I did suggest Armin Shimerman, who played Principle Snyder (and Dr. Potter in Atlas Shrugged Part I) could play Cher.

I do love the sound of my own typing...

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2014 5:12 PM

February 11, 2014

Anti-gay, Anti-Choice Obama Administration!

ObamaCare! It's obviously some crazed, rightwing, nut-job conspiracy:

1, Sure Looks Like Discrimination

(Reuters) - Hundreds of people with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana trying to obtain coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform are in danger of being thrown out of the insurance plan they selected in a dispute over federal subsidies and the interpretation of federal rules about preventing Obamacare fraud.

2. Family Planning Squeezed in California by Healthcare law.

An unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.

I might remind some about single issue voting.

But johngalt thinks:

How many more times can we expect to hear "an unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act?" It's like an encyclopedia of unintended consequences.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2014 7:22 PM

The Puppet-Master

While President Obama has been a lightning rod for controversial governance in the United States I have long believed that his policies, which are largely antithetical to Constitutional Americanism, were in service to the goals of some entity outside of his own ego and imagination. Whether or not any smoking gun linkage can be found or even exists, I now believe the entity best served by the Obama Administration's efforts toward "transformation" of America is the United Nations.

Your not-so-humble and proudly irreligious blogger takes umbrage at said body of corrupt global power-lusting kleptocrats' latest assault on liberty in the form of issuing it's own version of an encyclical, which deigns to compel the Pope to bend to the will, not of God, but the UN:

One need not share the church’s views on homosexuality, contraception, or abortion to understand that when governments or world bodies such as the United Nations venture into the realm of what faiths may or may not practice or preach, it constitutes a mortal threat to religious liberty. Here in the United States we have seen a conflict over the Obama administration’s efforts to impose a mandate forcing religious institutions and their adherents to pay for services that offend their faith. If upheld by the courts, that ObamaCare mandate would constitute an intolerable infringement on the First Amendment rights of religious freedom from government intrusion.

One also need not be religious to see the inherent danger of a government infringement on religious liberty, being a subset of general individual liberty. Jonathan Tobin concludes:

The church should unequivocally reject the UN Committee’s pronouncements about faith. So, too, should everyone who values and wishes to preserve freedom of religion for all people.

And everyone who values and wishes to preserve freedom of any kind for all people.

But jk thinks:

Hmm, a target-rich commenting environment...

A) The UN criticizing anybody on sexual abuse of children is like Ted Kennedy opening a combination sobriety clinic and defensive driving school. Its record is shameful and Tobin loses points for giving them a pass on that, even in a critical piece.

B) I've irked a couple non-irreligious ThreeSourcers by harshly criticizing the Pope's economics. Lack nuance, I do. But he courts the UN and its fellow travelers' favor when he wants to increase marginal tax rates on cap gains and eliminate preferential treatment for carried interest (sounds better in Latin...). But then he lacks moral authority to refute their positions on abortion, marriage, and sexuality. Lie down with dogs, your Holiness, thou shalt catch fleas.

"Religious Liberty?" If your liberties are plural and divisible, you'll find yourself with none.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2014 5:01 PM

You Think Your Job Sucks!

Ron Fournier: Why I'm Getting Sick of Defending Obamacare

It's getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naďve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.

For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.

Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.

Poor journalists. Comforting the comfortable is hard work.

Hat-tip: Insty

But johngalt thinks:

Has politicized? You mean passing the bill with tricks and chicanery and not a SINGLE SOLITARY REPUBLICAN VOTE was somehow "non-partisan?" #Chutzpah #Clueless #YouMightBeASocialistIf

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2014 2:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A related quote from Jonathan Tobin:

"No amount of lawlessness on the part of a president who lacks the constitutional power to enforce only the laws or the parts of laws that he likes can conceal the enormity of the ObamaCare fiasco."

Take that, bitches.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2014 2:37 PM

February 10, 2014

Obama Makes Mid-Sized Company Employees "Job Slaves"

In an article about the adminstration unilaterally revising the PPACA - again - those right-wing hacks at CNN embed a video bashing the President's signature legislation.

"Joe Biden said this is a big fucking deal. This is a big fucking disaster."

Next thing you know they'll be reporting that an American diplomat was murdered by terrorists in the middle east on the anniversary of 9/11.

February 9, 2014

I WIll Start the Motor of the World.

Minus two points for anti-Ricardian economics, but plus 20 for celebrating the dignity and creativity of work.

Hat-tip: The Blaze

But johngalt thinks:

Quibbles aside, I'm glad to see mass market advertisements like this one saying "work is a beautiful thing" and ones like this that say natural gas connects the dots between "new jobs, cleaner air, a manufacturing renaissance and energy security." But what I don't like is that such advertising is even necessary. Why isn't it obvious to almost everyone?

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2014 12:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup. Waay net positive. But if I did not quibble, you guys would call 9-1-1.

We are going to find out. I think the Democrats are prepared to dig in on the new CBO report. "It's going to be swell that people can choose part-time work [or the dole] instead of slaving away at a job they hate for healthcare."

Larry Kudlow is laughing at that, and James Pethokoukis is laughing, and a lot of ThreeSourcers may chuckle. But there is a huge contingent -- likely a plurality -- that answers "we're turning into France" with "cool." Everybody hanging out and working 30-hour weeks and getting government subsidies to make up the difference is a feature and not a bug to a large part of the populace.

We may soon find out just what those percentages are.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2014 6:29 PM

February 8, 2014


Liberty advocate, gun rights scholar, law professor, and general HOSS David Kopel takes an Internet quiz: What President are you most like?

President Barack Obama.

You cannot make this stuff up...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

February 7, 2014

'Why Government Healthcare Sucks' For Dummies

From ObamaCare Disaster May Deliver Mortal Blow To Liberalism by Scott S. Powell in IBD.

What the Democratic Party's effort to remake one-sixth of the economy in restructuring health care delivery has totally ignored is the vital role of entrepreneurial input, individual choice and the free flow of information, which are at the heart of delivering quality and low cost in every industry.

It turns out that it is the entrepreneurial drive and the pursuit of excellence, rather than government mandates, that compel doctors to deliver quality care to their patients.

And most of the treatment breakthroughs and cost-efficient solutions in health care come not from government but from medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies driven by entrepreneurs.

What motivates medical professionals to deliver better care?

A - More income derived from more satisfied patients
B - Accolades from a grateful public
C - Knowledge that the lives you save may well be those of friends or loved ones
D - Because the HHS Director says to do so, while cutting your compensation in the process

Pencils down.


Conventional Wisdom states that the Obama Administration has increased sales of firearms and that the rest of the economy suffers. I'm happy to share a story that contradicts that.

The good people at Gibson Guitars have created a special edition Les Paul with the woods returned from confiscation in the famous Fish & Game SWAT team raid. They did the same with wood damaged in the 2010 flood. One of those found its way into my closet.

I do not really need another Les Paul. But I had to have one of these.


Government Series II Les Paul

Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville--only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended--it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson's history.

I emailed my awesome local guitar shop of my interest at 11:00 last night when I saw this on Reason.

Sadly for me, but happily for the cause of liberty, I received this first thing this morning:


I hope you and your lovely bride are doing well; to both of you we send our love and best wishes.

The Government LPs, as they are called by Gibson, went totally viral. We sold every one of ours on our shopping cart in minutes. I could have sold hundreds more. I have requested 100-200 from Gibson but I know there is no chance. Should one appear you will be the first to know and have the opportunity.

Best regards,

But johngalt thinks:

In addition to gun nuts the Doomsday Preppers are also, it seems, geetar players.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 3:56 PM

I think that ThreeSourcers might dig this.

Will The Overselling Of Global Warming Lead To A New Scientific Dark Age?

That's the question being posed in the latest issue of an Australian literary journal, Quadrant, by Garth Paltridge, one of the world's most respected atmospheric scientists. [Paltridge:]
It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society's respect for scientific endeavour.

Another serious scientist joins the good guys. Nice. But what I really enjoyed is his portrayal of climate scientists: Paltridge, again:
A new and rewarding research lifestyle emerged which involved the giving of advice to all types and levels of government, the broadcasting of unchallengeable opinion to the general public, and easy justification for attendance at international conferences--this last in some luxury by normal scientific experience, and at a frequency previously unheard of.

Anybody who has ever had his lunch bought by a Koch Brother or received a paycheck from Exxon is not to be included in the conversation. But flying first class to Davos to meet the Vice President and stay in a five star hotel is somehow just part of living for an academic.

I have always tried to point out that either way, the oil company scientists are going to have a job. But if climate change is anything less than boiling oil catastrophe on a stick: the researchers are going to have to get real jobs.

But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. I have said exactly this, on these pages, and even went looking for the citations. Perhaps it was the suggestion that science may lose favor "perhaps for centuries" that reminded me of the obvious fact - man needs science. Modern man, especially. There are bedfellows behind the "climate science tsunami" and, as the author observed, "the average man in the street ... is bginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue."

The obvious culprit in this pseudo-science hoax is government. Come to think of it, even the EPA is allowing its strings to be pulled by a non-governmental puppet master - the United Nations' "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." A non-representative bureaucracy created, in part, by the United Nations Environment Programme, established in 1972 and headquartered in Kenya for the purposes of "assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices." This is who claims to "know" that the prosperous western countries need to be taxed more so as to mitigate deleterious consequences to the developing nations. No conflicts of interest there, boy howdy. Nosiree.

The answer to the problem is two-fold:

1) Enforce a separation of science and state at least as vigorously as a separation of church and state.

2) Respect the tangible rights of individuals as a bedrock principle at all times, and especially when engaging in a fanciful quest for some sort of common good.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt you said it, brah. But I just figured you were a Koch Brothers plant...

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2014 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well we'll just have to conclude that scientific prestige will suffer, its magnitude and duration proportional to the degree it remains linked with politics.

This makes the author's advice "Scientists, run for cover ... NOW" well founded. Alas, we're still on the leading edge of that bell-curve distribution.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 6:25 PM
But jk thinks:

And, I s'pect when you said this that I worried about the transition. The Platinum mileage club Paltridge describes is not going down without a fight. And to "prove" they're wrong takes 100 years.

Curiously, I've come to be more accepting over the years. I think the sensitivity will be at the low end -- more likely under the low end -- of the expected range. Not so much a denier as a "negligibler."

I invite any rabid DAWG defenders to join me as a face saving landing-point. "I wasn't wrong mind you, it's just not as bad as I thought."

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2014 6:38 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Most climate scientists are not really that bad. But only understand a part of the system really well, and they will not say anything on the record except about the small bit they know.

I have a friend who fights very hard against the global warming alarmist types. All he ever cites is the IPCC and other scientific literature in the field.

It is not the scientists at fault here, but the environmentalists. They are the ones who tried to term environmental science into a religion--and ignored most scientific results in the process!

Posted by: T. Greer at February 8, 2014 4:11 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to push back a bit, tg. If I accept the foundation of your premise, it seems many scientists are at least complicit in allowing the enviros to continue to misreport and misinterpret.

Somebody proclaiming a biblical time scale of creation will attract a mole of scientists to publicly refute it. VP Gore's movie overstated and fabricated science and the general warmies community was silent.

Perhaps if the Creationists bought more First Class Plane tickets...

Even at that, I applaud your friend but I think of scientists like Michael Mann. He advertises himself as a scientist. Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson use the mantle of science -- they may be teevee scientists, but they're not NGOs.

I expect real scientists to accept Popperian epistemology on some level and engage with their detractors even when they disagree. My understanding from the pop cosmology books I love is that the M-Theory guys hate the string-theorists, but they do not withhold data and call their opponents "12-th dimension deniers."

Real scientists and those close have behaved shamefully for decades. Even if Michael Mann turns out to be 100% correct in CO2 sensitivity and his Super Bowl predictions, there is no excuse for his abuses to science and its methods.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2014 1:01 PM

Quote of the Day

Look, Obama administration, if you don't want to build the Keystone Pipeline, just come out and say so. Take the political lumps and get it over with. Enough of this perpetual "well, we just need to review it a few more months" limbo. To put the length of time of this review in perspective, when they first sought approval to build the pipeline, the fossils that make up the fossil fuel of the oil were still walking around. -- Jim Geraghty
(Pointing out even my-former-Senator-your-former-SecInterior Ken Salazar is for it.)
Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

And, what, make these guys mad?

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 1:13 PM

February 6, 2014

Drill Baby Drill, Drill

I really need to visit Minnesotans for Global Warming more often. This is from 2011 but still as relevant as ever.

Ouch. That stings a bit...

Still love you, Broncos!

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

Immigration, English, and Coca Cola

We've heard many opinions on the multi-lingual Coca Cola Superbowl ad "America the Beautiful" including here, here and here. I'd like to share one more viewpoint. This from a son of Chinese immigrants who also happens to be a Republican candidate for congress in the Colorado district that encompasses Boulder (CO-2).

If you like it, or him, be sure to "Like" his Facebook Page. I did.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hmmm... The Refugee is no longer in Colo CD2,(hence the nom de plume), but Leing might actually be worth some financial support. Cory Gardner is kind of a lock in CD4. I'll have to check out Leing's policy positions, but likely anyone is better than Polis.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 6, 2014 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

"Personally, I enjoyed the ad as it celebrated the diversity of culture we enjoy in America" (0:15)

Me too.

"For me the issue is about empowering everyone to learn to use the language" (0:45)

Me too.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

@Refugee: Leing sent an energetic and bright young staffer to Liberty On The Rocks - Flatirons. Brother jg spoke with him and I was quite impressed.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was most impressed by his claim to have won a student body election on the CU-Boulder campus. He said he was on the "Empower" ticket. This in contrast to the "Veritas" ticket or unaffiliated.

Turns out, with a quick search, he was seated despite finishing 6th out of 7 candidates. :) Colorado Daily.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2014 4:57 PM

February 5, 2014

All Hail Taranto!



On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Lads at Trifecta Split as Well

Topic One: the Coke ad. Three different interpretations.

Just int'resting...

Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 3:13 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Starting again from the perspective of the Coke mAd Men, perhaps it was "How do we message an aspirational view of America that is international in scope?" I can see this being the result of that intent.

The feelings it stirs are diverse and dramatic. It is the sort of expression that Rand might have appreciated, in the same way she enjoyed the large as life story by Victor Hugo - Les Miserables - despite her disagreement with many of the writer's values and opinions.

The ad has been quite successful in at least one sense: Attracting attention. Whether that attention is negative or positive is, I think, most dependent on the inclination of the viewer. And it can, I also think, change over time depending on the ebb and flow of each individual viewer's changing inclinations.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 5:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There were two other commercials discussed.

"Is there anything more American than America?" Yeah, an iconic American automaker regulated into such a weak position that only Fiat would stoop low enough to buy it. That is a snapshot of contemporary America.

"Turn the streetlights back on?" Voila! Gentrification on naked display. Proof positive of Bill Ayers' "white supremecist" America.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

My Facebook crowd is giddy over this. "Stoopid knuckledragging Rethuglicans surprised that languarges other than "Merican exist!" Again, I long for the seriousness and nuance 'round here. I hope I played at least halfway toward the high end of that spectrum.

One comment made me laugh. In a comment below a self-righteous post, one friend-of-friend I don't know says "Good for Coke! I'll never ever ever buy any of their products or consider buying a share of their stock. But good for them!"

Demographics anybody?

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2014 5:39 PM
But dagny thinks:

OK, I'll play. Female, under 25, public skrool educated. I would say blond, but that would get me in trouble for stereotyping.

Posted by: dagny at February 6, 2014 1:10 PM
But dagny thinks:

OK, I'll play. Female, under 25, public skrool educated. I would say blond, but that would get me in trouble for stereotyping.

Posted by: dagny at February 6, 2014 1:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not remember the picture and I do not know this person. But the mutual friend is a 40-something Mom with three kids, mortgage, good job. I'm guessing the friend is more "established" than your picturing.

I've got a pile of sub-25 nieces -- not on the blond side of the family, those are all much older now -- and I can eye roll at their college-know-it-all-hippie views on business and politics. The scary ones are those who did not grow out of it.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 1:34 PM

Quote of the Day

If you have not read Dylan Farrow's NYTimes accusations against Woody Allen, I envy you; it is deeply disturbing. But I suggest it is necessary to know the extent of depravity that can be forgiven in a wave of a hand by the glitterati of this nation. Jim Geraghty points out that this un-American acceptance of caste is limited to entertainment.

The problem with this set of cultural rules and expectations is that's not us. We never chose to set up our society by those rules; the movers and shakers of Hollywood did. (There aren't many other communities and professions that operate by those rules. Maybe professional and high-level college athletics, although you can argue that's just a sub-set of the entertainment industry.) You don't see accountants saying, "You've got to look the other way on that guy's incestuous pedophilia, because he's really good at adding up those numbers." The other sectors of society seem to grasp the inherent danger of establishing an accountability-free class of super-wealthy hedonistic narcissists. -- Jim Geraghty

I counter -- and intend to contact Mr. Geraghty -- with one other: Democratic politics. Mimi Alford, anybody?

But jk thinks:

Backing off my assertion. (It is easy to cool off when you're walking the dog and it is 0°C.)

Ms. Alford, Ms. Kopechne, and Ms. Lewinski were each over 18. I don't know that that excuses slavery, homicide, and workplace harassment -- but those are different than Woody Allen's and Roman Polanski's crimes.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2014 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Legal age of consent notwithstanding, the term "accountability-free class of super-wealthy hedonistic narcissists" is tailor made for many lifelong politicians. Including, per Drudge, our 42nd President.

Reflecting on the story I wonder why Ms. Hurley would consent. If personally servicing a POTUS is some sort of empowering achievement, is not refusing his advances an even greater one?

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 4:47 PM

Because they so kick ass at package delivery

Language. I got a little upset at some community organizers this morning and called them a bad and extremely coarse name. Now, I said "ass" in a headline. But I think the second transgression may be forgivable.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (Paleface Wampum Woman - MA) suggests that Post Offices could provide payday loans and credit cards to underserved minority communities. ThinkProgress is right on it, and my own biological brother "Like"s it on Facebook.

"USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods," Warren wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed on Saturday. The op-ed picked up on a report from the USPS's Inspector General that proposed using the agency's extensive physical infrastructure to extend basics like debit cards and small-dollar loans to the same communities that the banking industry has generally ignored.

Yes, by all means let us examine areas of private enterprise that could be updated with the peerless efficiency of the Post Office. What could possibly go wrong?

Goin' back to bed. It's below zero. And then this happens.

But johngalt thinks:

Why don't they just come out and say it: "We can't give federal money away to our voting base fast enough." It's not like the NYT will call them on it. It will only be another "Fox News Faux Scandal."

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 2:02 PM

Don't Blame Me if the NYT Didn't Tell Ya

In homage to this week's stories here and here...


"Aww, c'mon now, you can't say it's my fault all you brutha's thought I was gonna create jobs. You'da known all along if you'd been watching Fox News."

Makes One Question the Whole Community Organizing Profession

I have good friends drooling with excitement that Trader Joe's is opening stores in Boulder and Denver. I'm happy for commerce but lack the experience to elicit ecstasy. But, you gotta like a company that "goes Galt" before kowtowing to a lot of demands.

I'll stick with admiration for the company, but the story is as sad a one as you're gonna read today. Expanding into Portland, the company deliberately chooses a location in the less affluent Northeast section of town. Here come jobs, fresh food, property values, rich hipsters to patronize other area stores. This is going to be great. Oh, wait...

The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.

The fact that most members of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum didn't live in the neighborhood was beside the point. "This is a people's movement for African-Americans and other communities, for self-determination," member Avel Gordly said in a press conference. Even the NAACP piled on, railing against the project as a "case study in gentrification." (The area is about 25 percent African-American.)

After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe's decided it wasn't worth the hassle. "We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple," a corporate statement said. "If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's, we understand, and we won't open the store in question."

Score a big win for the PAALF! Yaay team.


Hat-tip: Insty, who points out "Trader Joe's isn't cool anymore because it is successful."

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Wait a minute - Isn't "RAT" what that 2008 RNC ad subliminably called the DemocRATs?

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 12:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Next, the PAALF will complain that they're being treated like the ghetto they've helped create.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 5, 2014 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks all that is right in the world that they prevented "Gentrification." Can't have any of that.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2014 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This particular brush with "gentrification" being safely swept aside by PAALF, many more have succeeded and, in the process, contributed to America's white supremecist nation status.

A race hustler's work is never done.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 4:41 PM

February 4, 2014

And Another Cute Animal Video...

Government, government -- they can't even make a cute animal ad.

Prepare for 120 seconds of absolute torture:

The commenters love it, though! (I don't think the Administration would stack the deck in any way would they? There are all real people just giving their opinion, right?)


Hat-tip: Heritage

But jk thinks:

Ooooh! So very very very awesome!! #GetCovered America!

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2014 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good idea. What have I been waiting for? I think I'm going to enroll, in the pet of the month club, after all. I wonder if I can request a new puppy every month? That way, it never has to grow up and will always be a puppy.

Seriously, an awesomely powerful ad. I'm finally convinced in the sweetness and light of government healthcare! Or maybe it was the subliminal flashes of "free contraceptives" that persuaded me. Subliminably.

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2014 4:50 PM

And that's a GOOD Thing?

CNBC's John Harwood explains that the latest report from the CBO has "ammunition for both critics and supporters of ObamaCare."

For ObamaCare supporters, CBO says the decline in workers will stem almost entirely from decisions by Americans to work less, not because employers choose to hire less. Those decisions, CBO says, will result from the fact that ObamaCare subsidies phase out as the workers make more money, giving them less incentive to keep working.

Sure wouldn't want dedication and hard work to pay off or anything like that. Take that, bitches!

Oh, by the way. There's also "no compelling evidence that ObamaCare has increased part-time work." They must be so proud. No new jobs, full-time or part-time.

Look ma, we're Europe!

February 3, 2014

CATO's Walter Olsen on Football.

Just Kidding!

I was among the many who misted up at the gentle, lyrical "America Is Beautiful" Coca-Cola commercial last night, but it turns out to be controversial in some circles. Former U.S. Representative Allen West called it "truly disturbing" and thinks it indicates the nation is on the "road to perdition" because it shows various participants singing portions of the song in languages other than English. He goes on to quote Theodore Roosevelt -- a President closely associated with the Progressive movement, and no hero to me -- that "we have room for but one language here" in America.

I certainly retract my "suck eggs" comment. I don't presume to judge anyone harshly around here. But it is interesting as a Rorschach test, is it not?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:34 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

I agree with Mr. Olsen that the English language is largely more accessible in this day age thanks in part to Mr. Al Gore's invention.

However, do these younglings born of native Bengali or Ukraine speakers have the same desire to learn the language properly as those from recent past or are they content to simply assimilate in the vernacular?

Wazzzz up wit dat?

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 3, 2014 8:24 PM
But Jk thinks:

But but but...

I watched all the making of videos and all of the little darlings speak the English real good. All seemed model patriots. They are adding something beyond the base; I think that's swell.

Did you mean "Dr. Jill Biden?"

Posted by: Jk at February 3, 2014 8:56 PM
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:


You're probably looking at the true legacy of the teleprompter-in-chief.

As for "Dr. Jill Biden" and M.O. there are no words, English or otherwise, that describe what I think of them and their respective spouses.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 4, 2014 1:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Aha! But they read the script in English!

I'll quit being a pest (on this) . . . we agree wholeheartedly on Doctor Jill.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2014 1:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I sense a division between ThreeSourcers who live in flyover country and those who live in the land of "reconquista."

Yesterday JK carved out Bill Ayers as an outlier to be dismissed, presumably as irrelevant. But I posit that my paranoia doesn't erase the fact that they really are out to get me or, in this particular case, to balkanize our melting pot. To wit: This little episode of politically correct multi-culti group division happened just fifty miles from us brother, in Fort Collins.

"It's bizarre and idiotic that we've come to this crossroads in our society that we are having to sacrifice our own culture and belief system," one of the parents told me. "I can't even tell you how it got our blood boiling."
Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2014 1:44 PM
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

Balkanization indeed!

Meanwhile in other news:
New York City public school kids getting new Muslim, Lunar New Year holidays

The link is on Drudge.

Grrr! Arggghhh! Need I say more.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 4, 2014 2:18 PM

Love is in the air!

This Dodge Ram guy's favorite Super Bowl commercial? Chevy trucks.

I called it the PETA favorite.

But jk thinks:

!!!! That one was good, too!

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2014 6:53 PM
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

I thought the PETA favorite was clearly Broadway Joe's coat.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 3, 2014 8:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Someone ought to remind PETA that footballs are still made out of pigskin. I'd like to volunteer to be that someone.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2014 8:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee likes the music selection: "I Believe in Miracles" by Hot Chocolate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 5, 2014 3:35 PM

One More Commercial...

Who knew the opening safety was going to be the highlight for Broncos' Fans? Ah, well, I still bleed orange & blue. I just did not know there would be so much of it to clean up...

One controversy remains. There was a slight tweet-storm over the poly-lingual Coke commercial. I liked the commercial a lot and was surprised and disappointed at negative response

I'm willing to hear other opinions from ThreeSourcers. But I suggest that the offended conservatives can suck an egg. And, if they don't like the Tagalog section, they can suck Balut.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [10]
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

Good friends of my husband Brother Keith, I commiserate with you all on the Bronco's loss. As an inveterate fan, I am officially taking a football hiatus to mourn last night's blood bath. Hopefully, come September, there will be a good enough reason to rejoice once again.

I've pondered your discussions and I'd like to share my two cents as this particular commercial touched a nerve. First, let me say that whatever portion of the song they decided to translate in Tagalog was poorly done.

While it is true that most basic concepts are lost in word per word translations, in any language, the so-called concept and poetry behind this particular effort is so misguided in its context that the translation comes across as almost farcical. "... sa ibabaw ng mga prutas" (:16) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs&list=PLCIVZWq1FAwcWJmgdF5o3-QTZZ-OnBUgA literally translates to "on top of fruits." Really?? I don't remember anything remotely similar, conceptual or otherwise, in the original version.

Second, as a 1st generation American of Filipino descent I found myself completely at odds (read offended) with the ad alluded to in this post.

As much as I respect and enjoy celebrating diversity amongst cultures, we immigrants choose to come to this country to become Americans. Nobody, least of all the American government, put the proverbial gun to our heads, nor twisted our arms to make us take the necessary steps to come here legally. And while we are free to celebrate our heritage privately, in the public square, it is all about assimilating.

The public display of diversity, while cute in its concept, is an affront to someone like me who has chosen to become a productive and conservative member of this American Society regardless of the statistics reflected in my Driver's License.

IMHO if these diverse people groups sung America The Beautiful, as originally written in English, it would have been more inspiring, more inclusive and more a celebration of diversity than the botched up, ill-translated (at least the Tagalog portion) mess that was presented.

And if these executives and producers were still gung ho over having to present this 60 second spot in multiple languages - it's called sub-titles. It's not like we haven't used them before.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 3, 2014 4:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, even with a happy outcome, we begin today what blog friend SugarChuck calls "seven months of darkness." Day one is extremely dark this year and the teevee weatherfolk promise a week of snow and temperatures bouncing between sub-zero and sub-freezing.

Your comment matched my Facebook friend's, and I err in conflating "I wish they had..." with "I'm never drinking another Coke 'till I die..." For the record, I artistically disagree. My lovely bride who came to these shores as a baby from Manila Bay and is so Americanized/assimilated that she is denied service in National City liked the commercial as much as I did.

It is certainly fair to dislike it. Riza did not mention fruit toppings, but is that old chestnut true that Coca-Cola means "Bite the wax tadpole" in Chinese? Maybe it is a regional attempt at payback.

So, I can't sell the art. Do my beloved ThreeSourcers agree that boycotts and high dudgeon are out of place?

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2014 6:09 PM
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

Seven months of darkness notwithstanding, my hiatus is solely based on how the Bronco's derriere was served on a silver platter by no less than those evil incarnate, vulture wannabees from the Pacific Northwest.

For the record, the commercial left a bad taste but I am still fully entrenched in the Coca Cola camp. I shudder at the thought of the alternative.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 3, 2014 6:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe we should just talk about football?

However, I can connect "on top of fruits" with "upon the fruited plain." Thank you Mrs. KA for your personal insights. I think you might have struck the issue with the words "public display of diversity" and the contrasting perceptions of it relate to the distinction between assimilation and Balkanization.

Ultimately, as a proud new owner of an "Enjoy Capitalism" in Coca Cola script tee shirt I understand how the marketing team for a quintessential American brand saw this spot as a "we're all Americans now" message, both from us to the world and from the world to us. I vote we follow it with a rousing rendition of Kumbaya (in multiple languages) and spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how the Super Bowl became a home game for the bad guys.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2014 6:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, that Microsoft feller that owns them pulled some ticket allocation chicanery.

In all fairness, we're meritocracy folks 'round these parts. And I have never seen such speed as the Seahawks D. The good guys would have a perfect screen setup and I'd be salivating for 30 yards. Then some pass rusher would run the ball carrier down from behind for a short gain or loss. Never, ever, ever seen that.

And, the Denver defense was notoriously ineffective at getting the other team off the field all year. We just scored enough points to compensate. Spotting them eight, we were unprepared for any capacity to disrupt out offense.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2014 7:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You had me at "unprepared."

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2014 7:35 PM

February 2, 2014

Review Corner

Next to the second coming of Christ and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, the end of capitalism may be the most predicted and expected event of humankind.
If the Prospertarians have their own economist, I nominate Brian Wesbury. He's a smart guy, frequent Kudlow guest, and author of many insightful editorials.

In a recent Kudlow appearance, they mentioned he was the author of It's Not as Bad as You Think. Why Capitalism will Trump Fear and the Economy Will Thrive. I dutifully ordered it on Kindle; it sounded right up my street.

While I enjoyed it right out if the shoot, it soon became obvious that he had written it a few years ago. I thought perhaps it had taken some time to be released, but now I see Amazon lists a publication date of November 3, 2009. Caveat Emptor.

All the same, it was well worth a read. Wesbury predicts economic growth and a triumph of Capitalism in 2K9 and I daresay if you had followed his lead and loaded up on equities, life would be pretty good today. His predictions have, en masse, come true. More importantly, his optimism and his point about the durability of Capitalism hold. I did not look up the date until I had finished. There were some tells. The Healthcare law was a discussion and uncertainty and not a fact.

Yet it is still an uncertainty, non? And, while the "permabears" have a warm spot on CNBC every time the DJIA goes down, Wesbury's point -- a Prospertarian point is that trade will find a way through most nonsense we can use to impede it.

In a July 9, 2009, column, Nouriel Roubini wrote, ". . . the outlook for the U.S. and global economy remains extremely weak ahead. The recent rally in global equities, commodities and credit may soon fizzle out. . . ." For reference, Roubini had predicted a recession would follow Hurricane Katrina, too. He has been bearish for a very long time.

This is half bug and half feature. It is not completely millenarian to wish that the signals from bad policy were more obvious.
Nonetheless, capitalism has brought so much good over such a long period of time that people have begun to take it for granted. They have forgotten that capitalism is the end and the means. The fruits of capitalism are so overwhelmingly delicious that we forget that the best part of the system is that it provides personal dignity. It allows men and women to find their most productive place in the world, while it lifts living standards to new heights. Nonetheless, many "conservative" columnists have joined with many politicians to make an argument that this crisis is so severe that the government must intervene. Even if we don't like what government is doing, it must be done.

Which brings me to a third reason to enjoy a topical current events book from when Kyle Orton and Chris Simms were fighting for the Broncos' starting QB position. I've read a bucketful of "post-mortem" books on the Panic of '08, with many different policy prescriptions. Wesbury's adds insight with some immediacy because he is not looking that far back. Wesbury lays the blame at Mark-to-Mark accounting and considers all the government badinage that followed as, not only unnecessary, but also as failed attempts to compensate for the bad accounting rules.
Private capital did not trust banks that owned significant amounts of toxic assets, not because actual losses from those securities would lead to bankruptcy, but because accounting rules threatened to destroy capital, and possibly the banks themselves, as long as the markets were illiquid. Private capital went on strike. And when that happened, the money dried up. No one will ever know what would have happened if the government had changed mark-to-market accounting earlier, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia may not have failed.

We discussed that on these pages in 2008. And Wesbury says "I will go to my grave believing that if the government had just done the right thing--suspend mark-to-market accounting and avoid interfering in the system--the United States could have avoided a recession in 2008. But because the government did not do this, and decided that it must interfere in the financial system, the recession became inevitable."
After many false starts, the FASB was finally forced to alter fair value accounting rules in 2009. The congressional hearing that changed everything took place on March 12, 2009, but was announced about a week before. This, as it turns out, coincides perfectly with the bottom of the stock market decline. On March 9, 2009 with the Dow at 6,547 and the S&P 500 trading at 667, the rally started.

Another Wesbury nugget is not to fight the Fed and I'm certain he would credit hyperliquidity with a piece of the move from 6,547 to 17,000. But you could have bought your Dow ETF based on 10,000 the day Wesbury's book was released. Had you followed Noriel Roubini's advice?

The book contains timeless truths about capitalism and supply-side economics, plus some valuable insights to the Panic of '08. All and all, a good Prosperitarian Primer. Five stars (and those are five 2009 stars, before the ravages of review corner inflation...)


Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

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