April 29, 2014

What I Learned in Peloponnese...

Whoa. David Brooks is right. I was readying the stopped-clock gags, but the NYTimes's political-trouser-pressing critic has a superb column which introduces a topic I wanted to discuss. Spoiler alert -- I want to share the end but recommend the entire piece:

The liberal pluralistic system is not a spontaneous natural thing. Preserving that hard-earned ecosystem requires an ever-advancing fabric of alliances, clear lines about what behavior is unacceptably system-disrupting, and the credible threat of political, financial and hard power enforcement.

Deepak Lal -- call your office. But the point I hoped to make was the comparison of anarcho-capitalism and socialism. A great friend of this blog riffs that the proponents of both build their premises on prelapsarian man. "If men were Angels..." James Madison intoned.

My contribution, besides sharing the awesome word, prelapsarian, with you, is this. The Rule of jk:

Neither liberty nor prosperity is a natural state.

We, of the liberty ilk, chide the left for their half. They see the land of milk of honey, with happy people hunting plentiful buffalo and enjoying organic carrots -- until the mean old corporations and greedy Wall Street bankers ruined everything. Deirdre McCloskey is turned on her head to my lefty friends.

But I appeal to my righty friends to eschew not only anarcho-capitalism, but also isolationism. Surely Rep. Ron Paul isolationism -- we'll negotiate with Paul the Younger. These Righty Facebook Friends (RFFs) are increasingly contemptuous of "consent of the governed." Even accepting the Constitution, one can make a perfect case for Ron Paulism -- more easily than for the Deepak Lal side.

I learned on these very pages that Thomas Hobbes translated Thucydides to English. Now we know where he "got his mellow harshed." Just as the natural economic state is poverty and privation, digging for roots with a stick to try and ingest enough calories -- the natural political state is for some person or group to come take those roots and your stick away from you.

Brooks is dead right -- maintaining a Lal-ian Liberal International Economic Order is difficult and we lack the stomach for it. Make your choices, but do not pretend that everything will be fine. That the terrorists just want us to leave them alone and that Putin just wants us to stop giving them stupid props. China just wants a couple of rocks in the ocean.

UPDATE: Heh. Insty links to the same column, importunely pointing out "This a direct consequence of who we elected in 2008. You, David, were a part of that."

Elevator Talk Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, I'm not finished.

My premise above mirrors Brooks' description of the pre-modern order throughout recorded history: That "Powerful people have generally tried to impose their version of the Truth on less powerful people."

But the modern order Brooks thinks we should "die" for includes exactly this, as factions are molded and shaped and allied to create, what? Democratic majorities. Which do, what? Impose their version of the Truth on the less powerful.

Okay, now I'm finished.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2014 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Firstly: you're not going to want to wait until Sunday's Review Corner to order your copy of David Harsanyi [all Hail His Holy Name]'s The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy.

Secondo: Not sure who gets the unequivocal and all caps no. Dost thou let Mister Brooks off the hook? The [albeit-token] Conservative at the NYTimes gives the all-clear to vote for the Democrat, based on . . . the crease of his trousers.

I was alive in 2008. Two-thousand-eight was a friend of mine. Many people I know thought that Senator Obama's professed plans to hastily reduce forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were reckless. David Brooks and Peggy Noonan provided cover for any Republicans who wanted to get swept in the celebrity fervor of "Our Nation's first African-American President™" and vote their conscience and dry-cleaning over a sober recognition of America's place in the world.

Likewise, Governor Romney was ridiculed in 2012 for his "Cold War mentality." I may be arguing with a statement you did not make, but I do not plan to forgive Brooks & Noonan (isn't that a C&W act?" until they admit culpability and beg forgiveness.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2014 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I am not Jesus but I can forgive. Are you and Mr. Reynolds not making the same reflexive overreaction as the RFFs you so rightly chided, mere paragraphs earlier? They did the wrong thing, and for the wrong reasons, but as long as they're serious about saving the liberty and prosperity of the modern era, and casting off the quest for "progress and global goodness" welcome under the tent Mr. Brooks and Ms. Noonan. Now, help me get your dumbass - excuse me, urbane - friends to vote for new restrictions on what can be done to people through the vote! Let's try again at that "republic" thingy. This time, without the anachronistic flaws.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2014 4:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Or, as Xander said, "The quality of mercy is not Buffy" (I Only Have Eyes for You, Season 2).

Forgiveness is swell, but neither Brooks nor our Margaret have come back to be reliable defenders of liberty. Nor has either acknowledged his or her mistake.

I'd greet either warmly and buy coffee at The Black Dog Coffee Shop, but both represent eastern elitism above liberty. When they do write good columns, I will happily recognize them.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2014 5:57 PM
But jk thinks:

All Hail Taranto?

Why? One reason was because of the cult of personality that surrounded Barack Obama during his campaign and the early days of his presidency. His supporters, including many journalists, were the functional equivalent of Data's virtual audience, cheering Obama no matter what he said or did. The virtual audience may be smaller now, but it's heavily represented at Vox.com--although it must be acknowledged that Klein, Fisher, Kliff and the rest of the "data-driven journalists" are all too human.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2014 7:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"NO" doesn't mean I don't hold Brooks, Noonan, Obama, Biden, Holder, Roberts, Kerry, Clinton, on and on ad infinitum responsible, it just means that getting rid of that army of people with bad ideas won't prevent a new wave from taking their place and doing the same thing. (Hence the term "ad infinitum.") Structural change is required. A "fundamental transformation" from the democracy we have crept toward and now find ourselves in, back to the republic our forbears were once bequeathed.

You're talking about the trees while I'm saying, "See that forest?"

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2014 11:35 AM

So Long, Starbucks! It's Been Swell.

It was fun. It was "real" as we used to say. But:


Steep Your Soul™ Teavana and Oprah invite you to take a few moments to pause and reflect each day. Your own personal "steep time."


Nah. Please let me know when this promotion is finished. In the meantime, the Black Dog Coffee Shop in Erie is awesome, as is the Brewing Market (on Dagny Way in Atlas Valley). Oprah's scolding me ruined my morning coffee.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:59 AM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

The Refugee is clearly more splendid than I.

Your point is taken. In my defense, I'd suggest it is less an attack on liberty as on reason; this is decaf philosophy with lots of caramel and whipped cream on top. Continued consumption could be deleterious to discretion.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2014 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm with jk. Urbanity is second cousin to Political Correctness and the extent of its ooze must be resisted. In a free market we express displeasure "with our feet."

Taken along with Duke University's new "word discouragement" campaign I wonder if I would still be able to place my order anyway: "Venti Pike Place, Black."

What was that place in Erie again? Black Dog something?

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2014 2:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Black Dog Coffee is a superb independent place in the strip mall on Hwy 7 kinda-cater-corner in the development to le Condo d'Amour. The use Ozo as their roaster and have a talented and friendly staff.

We should all meet there and try to talk some sense into The Refugee...

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2014 3:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was drinking coffee when I read that. Thankfully, I have a talent for laughing with my lips closed tightly.

Yes, I'm in. BR?

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2014 4:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sorry, I'm way late here. If it's not too late, yes, I'm in.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 5, 2014 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

No Statute of Limitations on Coffee!

Anytime -- I'm the guy who works from home a mile away. Let me know what works for y'all.

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2014 7:07 PM

April 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

But thanks to fracking and the shale revolution, peak oil and gas have been postponed. They will run out one day, but only in the sense that you will run out of Atlantic Ocean one day if you take a rowboat west out of a harbor in Ireland. Just as you are likely to stop rowing long before you bump into Newfoundland, so we may well find cheap substitutes for fossil fuels long before they run out. -- "Rational Optimist" Matt Ridley in today's WSJ.
But johngalt thinks:

Oh. Yeah!

Or, maybe if consumption is reduced too much, we will never run out. If abiogenic origin theories are correct, petroleum is still being produced. If we stop extracting and using it carefully we might again be "Out one day just a shootin' at some food, And up from the ground came a bubblin' crude. Oil that is. Texas Tea."

"Exploiting" petroleum fuels may be the most environmentally conscious thing man has ever done. And since methane is a "greenhouse gas" preventing its natural, uncontrolled venting into the atmosphere by drilling, capturing, refining and combusting, may actually be COOLING the earth.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2014 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Bringing to mind the good people of Santa Barbara, California. Nearby denizens prefer to let the oil seep into their world class beach rather than extract it and relieve pressure.

I like where you're headed. This would be a pretty good SciFi novel: the world switches to cheap cold fusion power; all the animal habitat is ruined by oil because nobody remembers how to get rid of it.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2014 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Bingo. Let's flesh out a screenplay and split the rights.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2014 4:48 PM

April 27, 2014

Review Corner

I could work for a Curmudgeon. I do not think I am actually one myself, though I do have some curmudgeonly qualities. All the same, I did enjoy Charles Murray's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life Being betwixt the curmudgeon and the go getter, I can sit back and enjoy his life's suggestions as a spectator (though there is probably some good advise about not using "betwixt...") I mentioned that today's Review Corner would address income inequality. Let's fire the big guns.
Here's the secret you should remember whenever you hear someone lamenting how tough it is to get ahead in the postindustrial global economy: Few people work nearly as hard as they could. The few who do have it made.
I'm not one to write off the millennials as slackers; I know too many of tem that are hard-working and ambitious. But they have been a ill-served by many of their teachers and parents. Not everybody gets a trophy when you leave school. Those who are prepared to look for the field in which they can compete and toil to get the trophy will thrive even in the Obama economy An improving, dynamic and growing economy will always provide greater opportunity for the talented, intelligent and hard-working. That will distance them from those who lack those traits. Instead of government solutions, the career tips in Murray's book would go a lot further (not farther, Charles, I'm in) to keep up. The book provides a reality check, plus some great practical advice. Your pedantic blog brother could not keep up with his writing and grammar. He provides a page of "know the difference between these words." I hope he is grading on a (Bell) Curve because they were difficult -- and I'm giving myself full credit for further/farther. Here's a random tasting:
attain/ obtain celibate/ chaste
avocation/ vocationceremonial/ ceremonious
conflicted/ conflicting luxuriant/ luxurious
convince/ persuade majority/ plurality
credible/ credulous nauseous/ nauseated
crescendo/ climax obdurate/ stubborn
critique/ criticizeoblige/ obligate
degrade / denigrate obsolescent/ obsolete
derisory/ derisive occupy/ preoccupy
differ/ vary oppress/ repress
diplomatic/ tactfuloral/ verbal
dispose/ dispose of peruse/ skim
dissemble/ lie perverse/ perverted
dogma/ doctrine practicable/ practical
duress/ stress precipitate/ precipitous
empathy/ sympathy emulate/ imitate
endemic/ epidemic presently/ currently
Which one do you use for "give up in abject humiliation," Charles? The target is a young person just starting in the workplace. As it is AEI, writing is emphasized. The entire project started out as a web reference for new hires and interns to check for writing and style questions -- he added the body-piercing bits to fill it out to book length. Curmudgeons are key players in meritocracy and one suspects Murray may be the "Devil Wears Prada" of AEI:
Furthermore, you should keep in mind that the people who are most likely to recognize superior performance are successful curmudgeons. Suppose you are stuck with a job as an administrative assistant and want to break out into a managerial career track. If that's your ambition, you don't want to be assigned to a friendly, sympathetic boss who forgives his assistant's mistakes. You want to be assigned to a successful curmudgeon, the more demanding the better. He is more likely to have a gimlet eye for mistakes --and by the same token is more likely to notice when they don't occur. Being successful himself, he is likely to be in love with excellent performance and to be impressed when he detects it.
The part of the book that is career advice I figured out most on my own, and am too late for the rest. But there is a considerable emphasis on happiness or a life well lived.
You don't need to be an Aristotelian to be good. For two millennia, the world's other most influential ethical system was Confucianism. The central virtue in Confucianism is ren, the summation of all subsidiary virtues. Ren translates as humaneness or benevolence, but the Confucian conception of ren is richer than either word conveys. Ren incorporates the idea of reciprocity (a form of the Golden Rule), which overlaps with Aristotle's concept of justice. Ren incorporates courage. Confucianism is emphatic about the need for temperance.
As long as it does not apply to coffee, I could try me some temperance. You get the idea. It's an engaging and interesting book of practical advice.
In any case, I'm not discouraging you from going for the big bucks and the spotlight. I wish you luck. But suppose you arrive at age forty and you enjoy your work, have found your soul mate, and are raising a couple of terrific kids, but must recognize that you will probably never become either rich or famous. At that point, it's important to supplement your youthful ambition with mature understanding. That's where the clichés come in-- the ones about money not buying happiness and fame being empty.
And a last one, I may not be too old for. Murray channels somebody else I know:
Taking religion seriously means homework. If you're waiting for a road-to-Damascus experience, you're kidding yourself. Taking one of the great religions seriously, getting inside its rich body of thought, doesn't happen by sitting on beaches, watching sunsets, and waiting for enlightenment. It can easily require as much intellectual effort as a law degree. Even dabbling at the edges has demonstrated the truth of that statement to me for Judaism, Buddhism, and Taoism. I assume it's true of Islam and Hinduism as well. In the case of Christianity, with which I'm most familiar, the church has produced profound religious thinkers for two thousand years. You don't have to go back to Thomas Aquinas (though that wouldn't be a bad idea). Just the last century has produced excellent and accessible work. But whomever you read, Christianity considered seriously bears little resemblance to your Sunday school lessons. You've got to grapple with the real thing.
Sounds like work. I'll give the book four fulsome (or does he mean emphatic?) stars and a hearty recommendation.

UPDATE: Murray is interviewed by Marry Kissel at OpinionJournal. The second section is about this book.
Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

affect/ effect

Posted by: dagny at April 29, 2014 12:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Gets its own page:

Confusing affect with effect. Do you immediately know the differences in what the following four sentences mean?

-- Her action affected the decision.
-- Her action effected the decision.
-- She told me she loved me without effect.
-- She told me she loved me without affect.

If the answer is no, you have some work to do. The rule of thumb is that for the great majority of times you want to use these words, effect is the noun and affect (to have an effect on) is the verb. Only rarely will you have occasion to use effect as a verb or affect as a noun, but you need to know the different meanings of effect and affect lest you blot your copybook.

Murray, Charles (2014-04-08). The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (pp. 61-62). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2014 1:38 PM

April 25, 2014

Quote of the Day

Funny story: Recently, the Dalai Lama visited AEI (Big hitter, the Lama). I was out of town for it, but Ramesh Ponnuru attended his talk. At one point, His Holiness turned to Ramesh and said something like "You're from India, you know what I mean" (not exact quote). Ramesh replied, "Actually, I'm from Kansas." Then Arthur Brooks apparently quipped something like, "Don't worry your holiness, everyone in Kansas looks like Ramesh."

Now, I think that's all hilarious and utterly harmless. But apparently, what Ramesh should have done is stand up, point his bony finger of condemnation at the Dalai Lama, and scream in his best Cotton Mather voice "Microaggressor! Burn him!" -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]

April 24, 2014

Oh Noes! Trouble for Sen Udall?

Alyssa Finley: Bad News for Colorado's Udall

Democrats are taking cold comfort in a New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll this week that finds Senate Democrats leading Republican challengers in pivotal southern states with double-digit spreads in Arkansas and Louisiana. Meantime, a couple of new polls suggest that Colorado Democrat Mark Udall could be in serious trouble.

First, a word on the Times poll: The survey does not reflect likely voting. Nearly a third of the respondents in Arkansas didn't vote in 2012. Nor did a quarter of those in Louisiana and 21% in North Carolina. Among those who reported voting, President Obama was favored 31-28 over Mitt Romney in Louisiana and 38-31 in North Carolina. The president lost Louisiana by 17 points and North Carolina by two. Democratic Senators are likely to lead the unpopular president, but probably not by the 41 points that the poll suggests in Louisiana.
A new PPP survey has Mr. Udall leading by a mere two points, while an internal survey for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows Republican Rep. Cory Gardner up by two among likely voters. According to the Chamber's survey, six in 10 voters oppose ObamaCare and 55% view President Obama unfavorably. Roll Call prognosticator Stu Rothenberg said on CNN's "State of the Union" this week that Mr. Gardner could pull off an upset.

Not surprisingly, Democrats' strategy to counteract ObamaCare liability is to wage a "war on women" campaign against Mr. Gardner. On Wednesday, the incumbent released its first TV ad, which denounces his Republican challenger for sponsoring a bill to make abortion a felony and undertaking a "quest to outlaw birth control."

Too bad.


Such promise:

And yet:

Oregon's health insurance exchange failed to launch in October as planned and no Oregon residents have been able to sign up for health insurance through the exchange site. As Reason's Peter Suderman explained in January, the exchange received $48 million thanks to one of the federal government's "early innovator grants" as well as $11.8 million in IT support.

And every web coder, and database dude, and the ladies script'n Java for client-side tools, and the back-end XML techs writing strongly typed XSDs in the Oregon Waaaaaay..

'Scuse me, but the complete toileting of $60 Million makes me burst into song.

UPDATE: Make that $303 Million:

An internal audit ordered by [Democratic Governor John] Kitzhaber concludes that Cover Oregon's architects were doomed by multi-agency bureaucratic confusion with no quality control or accountability for results. Investigators at the KATU news station uncovered evidence suggesting that Cover Oregon officials created a fake website to create the illusion of progress for the feds, who made ObamaCare grants that totalled $303 million.

But johngalt thinks:

Maybe Oregon can just switch over and use the Connecticut Exchange, like Maryland did.

And what's up with reporters investigating things that make O-care look bad anyway? Get me their SSNs.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2014 11:24 AM

Shameless Promotion of Others

Blog friend sc's current project gets a great review in BluesBytes. (Scroll halfway or search for "Annie Mack")

Annie and the band close out Baptized in the Blues with another Gospel-tinged tune, "Revolution." "Can I get an amen...or am I preaching to the choir...we need a revolution...truth start a righteous fire." I've enjoyed Annie's disc immensely and am glad that my Minnesota buddies -- Gary, Spike and John Hammer -- brought her to my attention. Sad that I missed seeing a live performance from Annie in Memphis, but I'm hoping to correct that later on this summer. Annies website is www.anniemackblues.com and I'd head over there and grab yourself a copy of Annie's disc. We need a revolution in Annie's case, and buying her CD is the best way to start a righteous fire!

Music Posted by John Kranz at 4:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Why Johnny Can't Recycle!

From the tortured metaphor to the triple-segue. Like the fine print says in the Mercedes commercial with the woman driving her $70K car in the demolition derby: caution is warranted.

But -- fruit juicy! -- three rockin' anti-enviro links in two days.

1) If you only look at one, enjoy this writing assignment and its handling.

A public high school junior in Littleton, Colorado, was assigned an in-class essay in AP English using prepackaged materials from the College Board. Students were to explain what "key issues" leaders "should consider when making policies that may affect global warming." The student argued that leaders should consider "how much money, time, and effort" can be spent on fighting global warming without compromising efforts to resolve other key issues.

Click through to see the essay and the teacher's response. No grammar, punctuation or style guidance was given, mind you, but the instructor shared some thoughts on the topic.

2) The most courageous man in the world!

A US economics professor has published the letter he wrote to his daughter's schoolteacher explaining why he doesn't want his girl indoctrinated in the green religion. Steven Landsburg, a professor at Rochester, NY, included it as part of a longer essay in which he calls environmentalism a "coercive ideology" targeted specifically at children.

3) The Masters speak (well, one of them anyway...) Hat-tip: Yaron Brook

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The lovely bride queued up Atlas Shrugged Part 1 on the TiVo. I will admit is not "Citizen Kane," but I find the first Hank and Dagny quite endearing.

The WSJ abruptly thrusts the Part III tagline: "Now Non-fiction" into view with an editorial on President Obama's "Pay As You Earn" program.

We've warned for years about the risks of this program as Mr. Obama has worked to expand the number of eligible borrowers and sweeten its terms.

Pay As You Earn allows students under certain circumstances to borrow an unlimited amount and then cap monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income. If they choose productive work in the private economy, the loans are forgiven after 20 years. But if they choose to work in government or for a nonprofit, Uncle Sugar forgives their loans after 10 years.

For aspiring community organizers who go to college and then grad school before moving into a job that the government defines as public service, the forgiven debt can be $150,000 or more, courtesy of the taxpayer. And unlike with some other federal programs, when the government forgives the debt of one of the exalted class of nonprofit or government workers, the do-gooder doesn't have to report it as income to the IRS. Who wouldn't want to pick up $150,000 tax-free?

I have a friend who rails on Facebook at any mention of the makers/takers distinction -- he becomes quite animated at the suggestion that any of the poor or dependent are in any way culpable for their situations. Yet each of these programs are bricks with largess mortar that wall the two groups.

[Kids, don't try these advanced metaphors at home -- these are trained and highly-caffeinated bloggers...]

Education Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 23, 2014


Maybe there is hope:

Hat-tip: Hot-Air

But johngalt thinks:

I wondered what position Land has taken that gives the Dems this opening so I looked a little closer and found, she actually had the temerity to not only "support the RNC Platform" in 2012 but she said nothing when Mike Huckabee said he supports a Personhood law. There you go, she obviously believes pregnant women should be jailed until they give birth and should not be able to use the pill.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2014 11:53 AM

Air pressure denier!

But . . . the science is settled!

QUT Senior Lecturer in Physics, Dr Stephen Hughes, sparked controversy over how a humble siphon worked when he noticed an incorrect definition in the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary.

In 2010, eagle-eyed Dr Hughes spotted the mistake, which went unnoticed for 99 years, which incorrectly described atmospheric pressure, rather than gravity, as the operating force in a siphon.

Dr Hughes demonstrated the science of siphons in a paper published yesterday in Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports.

Neil de Grasse Tyson could not be reached for comment.

Science Posted by John Kranz at 5:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

"This is once again politics at its worst, In another gutless move, the Administration is delaying a finding on whether the [Keystone XL] pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process--and which has nothing to with the national interest. They waited until Good Friday, believing no one would be paying attention. The only surprise is they didn't wait to do it in the dark of night." -- FOX News Commen, er -- Republican Strateg, er -- Laborers' International Union chief Terry O'Sullivan

A Smart Piece on McCutcheon

The infamous Facebook friends do have value in their reminding me that other views to mine are extant.

Many of my friends posted a meme from smaterterest-man-in-the-world, Jon Stewart, railing against the eeevil decision in McCutcheon v. FEC All our elections will be bought now. I posted, where it might be heard, that I remain far more worried about incumbent power than the influence of money. And, perhaps, a few sarcastic references to Presidents Perot, Forbes and Romney who bought their way into office.

But, for ThreeSourcers, this piece in the American.com by Michael M. Rosen will resonate. The difference, sez Rosen, is that the Left is protecting a collective, pragmatic right to use speech to affect policy. The right, conversely, protects an individual right of speech qua speech.

Thus, says Justice Breyer, the problem with political corruption is it "derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie" and "cuts the link between political thought and political action."

As law professor and Volokh Conspirator David Bernstein notes, Justice Breyer's worldview enjoys a distinguished liberal pedigree, dating to the turn-of-the-century progressive project of converting the freedom of speech from an individual to a civil liberty. Bernstein writes that Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis embodied this approach, "defend[ing] freedom of speech primarily on the instrumental ground that it promoted free and rational public discussion, essential for the American people to govern themselves."

Justice Breyer himself traced this historical trajectory, citing Brandeis's opinion in Whitney v. California (1927) that free speech is "essential to effective democracy" and a later justice’s emphasis of the importance of the "maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people." His dissent concludes by asserting that "the justification for aggregate contribution restrictions is strongly rooted in the need to assure political integrity and ultimately in the First Amendment itself."

This view, unsurprisingly, reflects the mindset of the contemporary legal and political Left, which values political free speech only insofar as it leads to collective action. Its rejection by five justices also explains the venom emitted at the McCutcheon ruling by the leading lights of the mainstream media: editorial pages, law blogs, and activists alike.

Thing the whole got read to.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 2:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't "thing the whole read" yet. Does the author also observe that, with our government's current patronage-redistribution-patronage cycle in full bloom, elections are already being bought? Stewart just doesn't seem to care when the buyer is a friend of his.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2014 11:34 AM

April 22, 2014

Review Corner is On!

Azuza Pacific University has postponed Charles Murray's address so as to not harm students of color.

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead," and was looking forward to it. But it has been "postponed." Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said "Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray's scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday's conversation." This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of "hurting our faculty and students of color."

Rest assured, ThreeSourcers, that Sunday's Review Corner is on. Review Corner does not back down.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 6:50 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

In addition to Education, file this under Politics and Dirty Hippies.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2014 1:48 PM

Mike Rowe -- Call Your Office!

Welders earn $150-200K and the owner of Pioneer Pipe in Ohio "has had to turn down orders because he can't find enough skilled welders." Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel says it's time to bring back shop classes.

The Ohio School Board Association recently heard a similar message--from the actor John Ratzenberger, whom you might remember as Cliff Clavin, the mailman from the 1980s sitcom "Cheers." Mr. Ratzenberger these days is devoting considerable charitable time and dollars toward raising the profile of America's skilled laborers as role models for young people.

He began this effort in 2004 with a TV show called "Made in America," focusing attention on the rewarding labor of blue-collar workers making everything from Steinway pianos and Wonder Bread to Caterpillar equipment and Chris Craft yachts. Now he's crisscrossing the country urging schools to invest in vocational education.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

In attendance at an Eagles playoff game last night [Colorado, ECHL, not Philadelphia, NFL] I chatted with a woman about the education and incomes of her son and daughter. - You know where this is going, of course, since women are universally paid a fraction of what men get because ours is a racist, homophobic, misogynistic patriarchal society since the Republican Party is even allowed to exist. - Son, after 10 months of vocational welder training, earns daughter's annual salary in 3 months. This despite daughter, a school teacher, having a masters degree.

Thus explaining why welded stuff is so expensive. Not enough women welders to exploit.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2014 1:45 PM


That Jenny with her anti-vaccination, hysterical, junk-science bullpuckey!

Nope -- I mean Tailgunner Joe, the Senator from Wisconsin. If Helen launched a thousand ships, Senator Mac launched a thousand preening Hollywood films.

Jesse Walker lists Four Great Myths of the McCarthy Era. And it is very good.

It may be tempting to put all the madness of the early Cold War on the shoulders of one Wisconsin senator, and then to cheer as Joseph Welch ritually exorcises him on the floor of the Senate and the TV screens of America. The truth, alas, is much messier and uglier than that. When it comes to the Red Scare, there's plenty of shame to go around.

Underappreciated in the discussion is the perfidy of the 17th Amendment (oh, man, here he goes...). In "Master of the Senate," Robert A. Caro details Sen. McCarty's fundraising prowess. He and Johnson pioneered the habit of raising prodigious amounts of money to fund the campaigns of those who would play along. To hear Caro tell it, there were quite a few members of that august body who tired of McCarthy's tactics, but incumbency always comes first, and the difference between his financing your campaign or your competitors -- or his besmirching your name in campaign materials -- kept those in line who may have normally calmed him down a bit.

Government Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Language about "appropriation" suggests that we live in an endowment economy, as does the claim that post-World War I wealth inequality fell "so low that nearly half the population were able to acquire some measure of wealth" (350). Endogeneity, anyone? -- Ryan Decker
Hat-tip: Blog friend tg in the comments below. The entire piece is a superb and serious answer to Thomas Piketty's new book, "Capital in the 21st Century."

ObamaCare: Kids Have to all Move Home

I was going to save this for a Review Corner anecdote. But it's too good. And, well, YOLO.

Do we have to carry our 24-year-old daughter on our health insurance policy? She is employed and has two degrees. We informed her that we would be dropping her at the end of the year because it's costing us a fortune, and she told us today that we are required by law to cover her. We do not claim her on our taxes.

You have to Mom! The President says so! And I get a car!

Well, no, the WaPo's Dear-Abby-for-the-ACA points out that the insurer must accept princess, but until the President scribbles it into the margins of the bill, the parents need not provide.

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty who says "Kids, one of your goals in life should be to never prompt either of your parents' writing in to an advice columnist over you." I'd add "Legislators, one of your goals in life should be to never prompt the Washington Post to create an advice columnist over your bills' ambiguities..."

But jk thinks:

Or, as the WaPo should have responded:

Dear Mrs. Fluke...

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2014 12:51 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I consider myself generous, possibly to the point of over-indulgence, with my children. I can't imagine ever denying them, even as adults, if they're stuck in a situation where they actually need help, particularly with something as important as health care. That said, I'll consider myself a failure as a parent if, at 24, either of them demands that I continue paying for their health insurance and implicitly threatens me with legal repercussions.

On the other hand, it's refreshing to see a young adult expecting mommy and daddy to pay her bills rather than getting Uncle Sugar to force me to.

Posted by: AndyN at April 23, 2014 8:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Really Andy? By my reading, she expects Uncle Sugar to force mommy and daddy. I sincerely doubt she gives a rip who is forced into involuntary servitude on her behalf, just so's someone is.

But I wholeheartedly agree with your first paragraph: Lefty parents, think twice before raising entitlement-addled children. The pocket they pick as an adult may be your own.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2014 11:39 AM

April 21, 2014


Talmey-Drake Research and Strategy Inc. said in a written report to the county [Boulder, CO] that focus groups have shown that "support for alternative transportation efforts is driven not by what would get a person out of their own car, but by the hope those programs get others out of their cars so the roads are less congested for them as they continue to drive."

Wow, who saw that coming? Certainly not the people who wrote this:

By investing in such programs as those that support cycling, walking, car pooling and public transportation, "Boulder County strives to make it easier for people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, while conserving natural resources and living an active, healthy lifestyle," the county said in a report detailing its sustainability programs.

But what if people don't want those things?

Here's my prediction: Boulder County residents will get the least popular "alternative-transportation program:" Making personal transportation advisers available to advise residents and businesses on how to shorten commutes and reduce car use. That'll get their heads right.

Piketty is Back

Jane Goodall studied gorillas. She contributed much to academic research and also brought interesting facts and riveting footage to lay people.

Thomas Piketty studies income inequality; he seeks it with the same intensity as Ms. Goodall -- mutatis mutandis. Wikipedia points out "Piketty has close connections with the French socialist party, and took part in the economic commission of that party from 1995 to 1997." His 2004 paper with Emanuel Saez is probably the most frequently cited academic work on inequality. Alan Reynolds's "Income and Wealth" is generally a book length refutation.

While he has strong views, he is a serious academic and those views are worthy of scrutiny. His new book, Capital in the 21st Century" has received rave reviews from the left and I exchanged some messages with a good friend of this blog who regretted that most of the opposition was political and polemical. I liked Christopher Demuth's QOTD-achieving WSJ editorial.

While it is not an economic refutation, Clive Crook's piece in Bloomberg View is a good read and inspired my "Inequalities in the Mist" comparison. Piketty, sez Crook, does superb research -- but then takes imaginative leaps from the data to reach conclusions.

Piketty's terror at rising inequality is an important data point for the reader. It has perhaps influenced his judgment and his tendentious reading of his own evidence. It could also explain why the book has been greeted with such erotic intensity: It meets the need for a work of deep research and scholarly respectability which affirms that inequality, as Cassidy remarked, is "a defining issue of our era."

Maybe. But nobody should think it's the only issue. For Piketty, it is. Aside from its other flaws, "Capital in the 21st Century" invites readers to believe not just that inequality is important but that nothing else matters.

This book wants you to worry about low growth in the coming decades not because that would mean a slower rise in living standards, but because it might cause the ratio of capital to output to rise, which would worsen inequality. In the frame of this book, the two world wars struck blows for social justice because they interrupted the aggrandizement of capital. We can't expect to be so lucky again. The capitalist who squanders his fortune is a better friend to labor than the one who lives modestly and reinvests his surplus. In Piketty's view of the world, where inequality is all that counts, capital accumulation is almost a sin in its own right.

If that is not sufficiently conclusive for you, keep in mind Paul Krugman likes it.

Hat-tip: @yipeedog

But johngalt thinks:

"Nothing else matters" beside income inequality? Not even Catastrophic human-caused climate change?

Last week's 'Moyers and Company' featured Bill Moyers and Paul Krugman discussing 'Capital in the 21st Century' for the entire show. (What could go wrong?) I DVRed it but haven't watched yet. You see, I still have episodes of NCIS and The Mentalist from last year that are yet to be seen. Perhaps the reader will at least give me an A for good intentions.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2014 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly we need to have a big ThreeSources watching party. I'll bring chips & dip...

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 1:24 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I thought this review was a good one too.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 22, 2014 5:53 AM

April 20, 2014

Review Corner

Things at Thasos thus turned out just the contrary to what the oligarchical conspirators at Athens expected; and the same in my opinion was the case in many of the other dependencies; as the cities no sooner got a moderate government and liberty of action, than they went on to absolute freedom without being at all seduced by the show of reform offered by the Athenians.
Thus spake Thucydides in the nineteenth year of the war in which Thucydides was the historian. The first person acknowledgment is unusual from the Athenian General and author of The Peloponnesian War.

Much scholarship has been devoted to Thucydides; while I rarely lack self-esteem, it is not my intention to add to it. I will tell instead of what happens when a regular Joe--er John lands in its pages and how it speaks to politics today, for it is a deeply political book.

"This we cannot have unless we have a more moderate form of government, and put the offices into fewer hands, and so gain the King's confidence, and forthwith restore Alcibiades, who is the only man living that can bring this about. The safety of the state, not the form of its government, is for the moment the most pressing question, as we can always change afterwards whatever we do not like."

The people were at first highly irritated at the mention of an oligarchy, but upon understanding clearly from Pisander that this was the only resource left, they took counsel of their fears , and promised themselves some day to change the government again, and gave way. They accordingly voted that Pisander should sail with ten others and make the best arrangement that they could with Tissaphernes and Alcibiades.

It seems Democracies struggled long before ObamaCare, but the primary takeaway for me is the brutality of life. As Hemmingway would offer two thousand years later "Que Puta es la Guerra" but to your basic Fifth Century BC hoplite, Thomas Hobbes's subjects' life would seen neither nasty, brutish nor short.

This underscores to your humble reviewer the impracticality of anarcho-capitalism. Pass around the Deepak Lal books, lads; your plunder-free libertarian utopia will be invaded by a neighboring power or undermined by your grandchildren's love of bread and circuses. The Founders were well versed in the Classics, and that "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men" must have been obvious. Scores of independent city states are less than pawns in the struggle between Sparta and Athens.

But enough of that -- let's talk about me. I applaud blog friend tg for his suggestion of The Landmark Edition. True to Professor Adler, I eschewed its explanations, maps, and the perspicuity of its commentary for a naked run through the Richard Crawley translation completed in 1874. Then, less true to Adler, I turned immediately to the Landmark Edition to fill the substantial lacunae in my comprehension.

I was not cut out for a scholar. I think we can say it aloud. But a few weeks were very enjoyable. The text is eminently readable. Even if you lose track of where you are, when it is, and who is whom, it is full of keen insights. And the plot moves along by way of 141 orations. (Real) scholars question his sources of these exact quoted orations in pre-Google Greece, but they are a masterful literary device to relate the beliefs and goals of different factions.

The great blunder of Athens was the invasion of Sicily. They pulled defeat from the jaws of victory by overextending into a different theatre. Young commanders desiring glory speak to an easy campaign where they will be greeted as liberators. Nicias thinks this foolhardy. But to avoid sounding cowardly or unpatriotic delivers a speech instead reciting the great requirements for success. Instead of dissuading the assembled, they become enraptured in glory. Yes, you're right Nicias -- we should raise a huge army and navy and fill ships with food and supplies. This is going to be awesome!

[Spoiler Alert] The entrenched Syracusians dismantle the navy which has outdistanced supply lines and no Sicilian towns are keen on joining an outside alliance and providing harbor. When news reaches home that this massive force has been crushed, culpability is assessed, democracy-style:

When the conviction was forced upon them, they were angry with the orators who had joined in promoting the expedition, just as if they had not themselves voted it, and were enraged also with the reciters of oracles and soothsayers, and all other omen-mongers of the time who had encouraged them to hope that they should conquer Sicily.

For 20+ years of strategy, bravado, tactics, skullduggery and politics. It is finally settled (post Thucydides) more by Persian capital -- after they enjoyed their two largest rivals beating the crap out of each other. There might be a lesson in there as well, if you're looking.

No sir, I am no scholar, but both Virgil's Works and The Peloponnesian War were enjoyable and add to inner pedantry (the word "laconic" comes from the inhabitants of Laconia who were spartan in speech and Spartan in politics. The names of the musical modes "Ionian," "Dorian," "Phrygian," &c. all come from areas in the book. "Eponymous" refers to the one archon after whom the assembly was named (think "The Roberts Court.")

It seems untoward to award stars. It is a treasure.

But dagny thinks:

The idea that jk, "was not cut out for a scholar," is laughable. If jk's review corners don't qualify as scholarly, then you better send me back to kindergarten for Green Eggs and Ham.

Posted by: dagny at April 21, 2014 11:54 AM
But jk thinks:

I thank my blog sister for her kind words. And though I am by no means above posting a self-deprecating comment in an attempt to fish for compliments, that was not my intent this time.

I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge and do take pride in the reading I have done since Nassim Taleb challenged me, in "The Black Swan," to read more books and consume less news and political magazines.

I thought Mortimer Adler's call might be the same; he calls me out almost by name: the-guy-who-thinks-he's-so-smart-because-he-reads-a-lot-but-it's-neitehr-deep-not-important-enough...

But the scholar enjoys digging a little deeper into the data -- let's look up that word in the original Greek and see if he meant to say "sad" or "forlorn..."

Fuhgettaboutit! I'd rather read something else. I appreciate rigor and mastery and salute the scholarship of VDH and the other Hosses who contribute commentary to the Landmark Edition. Folks who look up the Greek so I don't have to.

I don't play guitar as well as Joe Pass but I feel I am attempting the same things. My six weeks' fumbling through classics is not similarly comparable to VDH's life work.

We are privileged to have some real scholars around here. I think of two to whom I'd be very uncomfortable comparing myself. One is too aw shucks to be named, but for another, I invite you to compare a typical "Review Corner" to a random one by blog friend tgreer who claims -- far less convincingly -- that "He is not a scholar."

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 1:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And now back to the subject at hand - human political economy.

I was never much impressed by anarcho-capitalism as the optimum of human social order. It's analogous to a middle-school without a paddle-wielding assistant principal. Even if I get to have whatever weapons I want and nobody gets to make a claim on my property, it still promises to be nasty, brutish and, for some, short.

A constitutional republic enshrining individual liberty and properly restraining democratic impulses remains the ideal. But a prerequisite will always be, in addition to ever growing prosperity with each generation, ever growing education.

Today's generation is taught a fraction of what my public school curriculum entailed in the seventies, and I was awestruck to learn that my father's coursework included Latin, once again, in public school. Heck, he may even have studied Virgil and Thucydides. I'll leave aside whether the dumbing down is intentional or an unintended consequence of do-gooderism. Either way, American citizens are learning less and being told they know more. Unless things change, this can't end well.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2014 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I'll turn the Internet Segue Machine™ up to 11 and suggest this is a substantive portion of income inequality.

I don't think the dumbing down is more nefarious than the Unions wanting to protect inferior teachers and the warm-hearted if soft-headed desire to eschew rigor so that everybody gets a trophy.

But it is unmistakable -- my elder brothers attended the same schools I did but received far more rigorous education. (I call mine "post-deconstruction Catholic schooling.") My favorite education anecdote is from David McCullough's biography of John Adams. John Quincy Adams (#6) at 15 knew his Thucydides quite well as he had read it in Greek and Vigil in Latin. In addition, he spoke French and Russian fluently. He wrote Dad (#2), presumably in his native English, to tell of his disappointment at his not being accepted into Harvard. How many are graduated from Harvard today with that level of erudition?

As scholarship of any sort becomes more optional, that sets up a chasm between those who graduate today with good grades and those who force themselves to acquire those skills their contemporaries don't know they're missing.

All of which places into next Sunday's Review Corner: Charles Murray's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life.

Now you have something to look forward to.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 3:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear via email that I have just sold a copy of Mr. Murray's latest.

I didn't say it was going to be a good review...

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2014 6:14 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Incidentally, Hobbes was the first guy to ever translate Thucydides into English. His dim political views reflected this, I am sure.

I do try and go for that scholarly thing every once and a while. But I insist on using the Landmark edition regardless of how smart I think I am. It is too helpful to do without.

Good review.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 22, 2014 5:48 AM

April 18, 2014

Everybody thinks he's Nate Silver

Michael Medved has a guest editorial in the WSJ today. He claims -- music to ThreeSourcers -- that "The War on Women" was not successful in 2012

A closer look at the numbers reveals that Mr. Obama's success with the ladies actually stemmed from his well-known appeal to minority voters. In 2012, 72% of all women voters identified themselves as "white." This subset preferred Mitt Romney by a crushing 14-point advantage, 56% to 42%. Though Democrats ratcheted up the women's rhetoric in the run-up to Election Day, the party did poorly among the white women it sought to influence: The Republican advantage in this crucial segment of the electorate doubled to 14 points in 2012 from seven points in 2008. In the race against Mr. Romney, Obama carried the overall female vote--and with it the election--based solely on his success with the 28% of women voters who identified as nonwhite. He carried 76% of Latina women and a startling 96% of black women.

I'm not going to ask the lovely bride to bring me my slippers so we can pop the champagne corks just yet. I think Medved is abusing statistics. The differential among female voters is interesting but not conclusive. You don't have to be "Pajama Boy" to be repelled by a perception of "troglodytery;" I wince at #WaronWomen because I see its being effective among my Facebook friends -- and I could even see its working on me were I not both connected and deeply committed to other issues.

I don't wince at the stupid, over the top attack ads: just the ones that look like they'd work. But to measure efficacy only by the female vote seems short-sided.

April 17, 2014

Man of the People

#WarOnWomen update, courtesy of the WSJ Ed Page. Of course the Administration's outright lies rhetoric fires up the impressionable young ladies for the midterms (bless their pea-pickin' little hearts...) But that is not all.

Second, the Paycheck Fairness Act would reward one of the Democrats' most generous sources of ready cash: wealthy personal-injury lawyers.

Consider John Eddie Williams and his wife Sheridan, the hosts of the president's Houston fundraiser where 55 guests paid between $16,000 and $64,000 to the Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees. Mr. Williams got rich by suing tobacco and drug companies. The dinner was held at the couple's 26,463-square-foot mansion, complete with five full baths, seven half baths, five fireplaces and an elevator. It is carried on the tax rolls at $17.1 million.

The same day as his Houston fundraiser, Mr. Obama also attended a roundtable with 25 donors at the mansion of Steve and Amber Mostyn. Mr. Mostyn is president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and made $150 million from lawsuits over hurricane insurance. He vows to spend $10 million this year to help Mr. Obama's national campaign field director, Jeremy Bird, to "turn Texas blue," changing the Lone Star State from reliably Republican to comfortably Democratic, starting with this fall's gubernatorial election.

The days of female tort lawyers making $77 Million for every $100 Million of their male counterparts is soon to be tossed into the ashbin of history!

UPDATE: This is from a guest editorial by Karl Rove.

But johngalt thinks:

Someone should sue.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2014 11:43 AM



That's How Strong My Love Is

Roosevelt Jamison ©1964

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


April 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

"We have this congenital disease, which is in midterm elections we don't vote at the same rates," President Obama said at a Houston fundraiser the other day. He means that the Obama Democrats are now what they call the "coalition of the ascendant," made up of minorities, young people, single women and affluent, college-educated cultural liberals. The problem is that this year they may be a coalition of the disappointed, so Democrats are trying to scare them to the polls with pseudo-controversies. -- WSJ Ed Page

April 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

The comparison is especially apt because Illinois Democrats are doubling down on their strategy in this election year. Governor Pat Quinn has announced plans to make permanent the "temporary" tax hikes that were supposed to sunset at the end of this year. -- WSJ Ed Page What's the Matter with Illinois?
I just don't understand. It was a temporary tax hike. Now they want to make it permanent? Man, if only somebody might've seen that coming...

In Case Y'all Don't Have Facebook Friends:

Be a part of it! Spread the Word! #globalloveday

Dirty Hippies Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, that's why we call each other names, cuz "we are one."

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2014 3:12 PM

April 13, 2014

And we're back!

What the ????

Our server has been moved and the (normally superb) hosting company did not install our database driver.

So posters cannot post, commenters cannot comment -- though fish can still swim and birds, apparently still fly.

A ticket is in and it should be fixed soon.

I thought everybody just quit after my Sen. Harry Reid Limerick...

And, if you're Jonesing for reading matter, Download Glenn Reynolds's The Second Amendment as Ordinary Constitutional Law.

UPDATE: And we're back -- thanks to lunarpages.com. Very good hosting.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I very much enjoyed the limerick. Alas, we have no "Like" button.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2014 10:54 PM

April 10, 2014

Thank you Senator!

Senator Harry Reid (Hypocrite-NV) vigorously defended federal funding for a Cowboy Poetry Festival in his state 3 years ago, slamming Republicans who sought to cut it from the federal budget as "mean spirited."

He might feel that move has come back to haunt him, as the manager of a ranch under siege by the Obama Administration's Bureau of Land Management for letting cattle eat desert grass, as the family has done since about 1870, seems to have benefited from the event.

"They're trying to take our stewardships,

And run us off the land that we love best.

But I think they'll find the hard way,

that we're still willing to fight for this here west.

I hope them fellers soon hump their holes

or some of us will lose our souls,

'cause killin' it ain't right

but don't expect to take this land without a fight.

The fire is ragin' once again in the western man's eyes,

and these eastern folks are gettin' thicker than flies.

We're tyin' our ropes into twelve-coil knots,

our guns are loaded and our hammers are cocked.

So you'd better help us find a solution

or pull your hats down tight and get ready for the western revolution.

-Derrel Spencer, Ranch Manager

I wonder who he would say is more "mean spirited" - Republican legislators or armed BLM agents engaged in cattle rustling?

But jk thinks:

A mendacious old codger from Searchlight,
Thought your tax dollars his birthright,
Koch brothers he fought,
While liberty's sons sought,
His majority's eventual twilight.

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2014 8:08 PM

Climate Scientists "on Strike?"

If only! In 'What if a climate scientist fell in the forest" Eric Golub writes,
Very rarely does somebody inadvertently do such a spectacular job of making the opposing side’s case. Thomas Piketty did it day before yesterday, and Bill McKibben did it, well, last month.

"So at this point it's absurd to keep asking the scientific community to churn out more reports. In fact, it might almost be more useful if they went on strike: until you pay attention to what we've already told you, we won’t be telling you more."
This guy thinks we are children, afraid to live without mommy and daddy (or mommy1 and mommy2) here to watch over us. Go ahead, climate scientists, "go Galt." We'll manage.

These more frequent illustrations of the nannyists disconnection from reality are some of the things that make me more optimistic that humanity is not doomed to return to pre-history.

April 9, 2014




Baseball gloves? Wow.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Gladius! (Limited Engagement)

I want to share with all ThreeSourcers, friends and family, and anyone in the Denver area a great opportunity to see a Vegas quality live performance of acrobats, equestrians and clowns complete with lights, music and even a fire act. It is called "Gladius the Show" and one of the co-creators is a friend of ours, Erik Martonovich, a long-time fellow vaulter who grew up in Golden.

We opted for the "VIP" tickets, which gave us access to meet and talk with the performers after the show. My favorite parts were the gymnast who wound himself up and down on nylon straps with amazing grace, strength and flexibility, the combination of Roman riding and hanging from the ceiling, the high-speed CHARIOT RACE, and the four-horse Roman riding/vaulting finale.

It was truly impressive and well worth the modest ticket price (although I think I can post a 10% discount ordering code here later, to make it even more affordable.)

Shows continue daily at Jefferson County Fairgrounds Westernaires Arena, but only through April 20th. The time and money they have invested to create this impressive show have really paid off and I'm happy to endorse and promote them as much as I possibly can. Tell your friends!

Press clippings:

Denver Post


But jk thinks:

Saw your tweet on this; it sounded cool. Thanks for posting pictures (although, if you had the Lumina 1020...)

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2014 9:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah yeah.

Dagny asked me to make it more prominent than the tweet. So I did, of course.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2014 2:23 PM

Film at Eleven...

I referenced this in a comment. Watching the video is pretty impressive (although it is on Fox so it cannot be shared...)

April 8, 2014

cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful

Thus spake Charles Koch.

Terrific article, worth the read.

He adds:

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011

consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions
employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them

Yes, I can see why the leftists must try to destroy them!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:23 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I see Brother nb got his check... Excellent.

I laugh to keep from crying on this bit of bananarepublicism. Jim Geraghty had an interesting bit today.Ron Fournier of National Journal -- whom I don't think of as a rabid right-winger:

Shame on us if we let him get away with this. First of all, his PAC has his own wealthy billionaires donating to him. Second of all, the ad is false. Outright false. Representative Cassidy actually fought against the Koch Brothers here. That's not pointed out in the ad. The ad is a lie. Third, this is the third time in a row that Harry Reid's PAC has had an ad that’s been labeled patently false by the Washington Post. He is making facts up. He is lying. And eventually its going to come around and get you. Even in this media environment we have now. I've gotta believe that Steve is wrong and the Democrats are going to pay a high price for lying in these senate ads. They're lying.

Shame on, umm, National Journal, Ron?

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2014 1:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I finally got around to reading the article. NB is correct, it is terrific. I want to be publicly affiliated with him and his alter ego, Rob Lowe. And so would, as Koch suggests, "most Americans" if they knew what he really believed. If only.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2014 3:10 PM

Quote of the Day

They cannot even handle adhesive, and they wonder why the Google guys are wealthy:

Today, Twitter accounts using the names Occupy Oakland and Defend The Bay Area claim they stopped a Google bus in the street and attached a sticker to it, with the words "Die Techie Scum" on it. The protesters tell Business Insider that the sign didn't stay attached, and the bus was later allowed on its way.

From a very sad Richard Fernandez piece (Hat-tip: Insty)

Quote of the Day

Yet Mr. Piketty has no interest in expanding capital ownership: It doesn't even make his list of inferior alternatives, and he dismisses capitalized pensions with a few uncharacteristic rhetorical slights. Like others on the left, he seems to have concluded that the only way to promote economic equality is confiscatory taxation--redistribution of capital returns rather than wider distribution of capital ownership. After Marx's idea of comprehensive state ownership of the means of production proved to be hellacious and tyrannical, progressive attentions turned in a different direction. They would leave ownership--with all of its risks and tribulations--alone, and control its rewards through taxation and regulation. -- Christopher DeMuth

UPDATE: I emailed this to a friend of the blog. While we're ripping off Mr. Murdoch, this link should be good for seven days. (I recommend it highly.)

But johngalt thinks:


I rather liked this line:

"The statist intellectual imagines redistributing capital profits while leaving owners with the losses, but the opposite--profits for owners and managers, losses for taxpayers--has been frequently observed in the wild."
Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2014 5:57 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

It is a very interesting article. He makes a pretty interesting case.

I would really like to see some details on how we would go about capitalizing the masses. There was talk of a "stockholders Republic" back in 50s, and that didn't really pan out.

I would be very interested in a long form essay version or policy paper version of his take.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 9, 2014 3:57 AM
But jk thinks:

DeMuth references both President Bush's call for ownership in Social Security accounts and the 100x more radical Chilean model. I don't know that there is no model so much as no will: W was going to let people keep a microscopic part of their SS withholding and we were promised Armageddon.

I'm in -- if he writes more, I'll read it. But I think there is a more fundamental question of whether we seek to let labor share in the benefits of capital or do we empower the government to redistribute those gains.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2014 10:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Who doesn't remember the term "ownership society." That is the alternative to the redistributionist welfare-state dystopia to which Democrats, Progressives and other leftists tell us we should all "aspire." But the message seems to have been forgotten, or at least is no longer forcefully advocated.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2014 12:44 PM
But dagny thinks:

Step 1: Teach small children how to win at Monopoly.

Posted by: dagny at April 10, 2014 2:20 PM

April 7, 2014

Facebook has the "Poke" button...

And ThreeSources, the Monetary Policy Category.

AEI: Now is the time to preempt deflation

Anyone taking painkillers knows that it is important to ingest the medicine before the pain intensifies. You must be preemptive. If you delay taking that pill until you feel pain, you are in for some real discomfort before you feel relief.

The same is true with deflation. It is necessary to be preemptive. Deflation is self-reinforcing, so if you wait to offset it until prices are actually falling, you risk losing control. The resulting pain can be more substantial than the physical pain that results from delaying ingestion of painkillers, since those will eventually quell discomfort, and deflation's appearance suggests that it will intensify before you can get control of it.

But johngalt thinks:

Huh? What?

Oh yeah.

Can we agree that price deflation is possible in some items while there is simultaneous price inflation in others?

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2014 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

No. Sorry, Uncle Miltie says "Everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon." That's our fundamental disconnect: the basket-of-goods measure is a proxy.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2014 10:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeahbut, isn't that "proxy" what the author uses to conclude, "Inflation is falling in the United States, Europe, and China, suggesting a real threat of impending deflation that could cripple the global economy?"

Inflation may be "everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon" but economists always use consumer prices to measure it. So why are we supposed to pay any attention to them? Why is CPI valid when they cite it and not when I do? Argumentum ab auctoritate?

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2014 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My premise that prices on discretionary items are falling while essential items, with their inelastic demand curves, continue to rise was to be followed with a suggested cause. Namely, that income insecurity increases savings rates and reduces demand for discretionary items, thus reducing prices. 'People not buying stuff' is not a symptom or a cause of deflation. Further, it is certainly not a "monetary phenomenon."

Also notice that two of those essential items, food and energy, are explicitly omitted from the CPI basket. If we mean for the basket to be an inflation/deflation proxy, how can such omissions be justified?

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2014 12:55 PM

Great Idea on Health Care!

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Steve House has just jumped into first place. In the polls, I think he is seventh or eighth -- have not looked today -- but this singularly awesome idea shows that he is the candidate for me.

I had the good fortune of meeting him at Liberty on the Rocks Flatirons (and you required another data point?) and knew he was from the Heath Care industry.

I had suggested, many moons ago on these pages, that I should open a clinic in Puerto Vallarta to hire mal-effected medical personnel and offer patients freedom from ObamaCare and the FDA within a short plane ride. This was at a height of violence in that area and it seemed ill advised.

House suggests the same could be done in sovereign nations on Indian reservations.

Patients wouldn't go to such facilities for a sore throat -- most Colorado residents live hours away from the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in the southwest corner of the state. But House said reservations everywhere might benefit from "medical tourism" involving some procedures that constitute a fast-growing industry overseas.

House said patients seeking care at the unregulated facilities would likely need to sign a liability waiver before seeking care. He plans to engage people with knowledge of Indian reservations business and protocols.

Genius! I considered a flippant line like "They could pick up some untaxed cigarettes and do a bit of gambling while they wait for lab results," but thought better of it. This is a serious and very good idea.


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice try. Thanks for playing 'We're from the government and we're here to help.' Better luck next time.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2014 6:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "sovereign nations on Indian reservations" don't fare any better down Constitution Avenue at the IRS, thus scuttling my personal idea for a "free-trade zone" on the Rez.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2014 7:08 PM
But AndyN thinks:

The FDA considers Indian Reservations to be possessions of the United States...

I have no idea whether it's ever been tested in court, but I have a feeling that if the law actually said that reservations are possessions of the US for FDA purposes, the FDA would have said so explicitly instead of telling us what they consider them to be.

Posted by: AndyN at April 8, 2014 10:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's all well and good AndyN, but I think our friend and gubernatorial candidate may as well advocate that Colorado establish a colony on the moon.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2014 6:56 PM

Coffeehouse in lieu of Review Corner


That's Amoré

Harry Warren (born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna) and lyrics Jack Brooks ©1952

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


But Boulder Refugee thinks:

That guitar has a wonderful tone!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2014 3:31 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

I agree with the refugee, great tone! Great performance.

Posted by: Sugarchuck at April 14, 2014 12:44 AM

April 4, 2014

Quote of the Day

Andrew Sullivan has not had a approbational reference from this blog in some time. But he earns it today:

Will [Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich] now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me -- as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today -- hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else -- then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us. -- The Dish

Hat-tip: Taranto

But johngalt thinks:

Woo freakin HOO.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2014 12:39 AM
But T. greer thinks:

Slate actually published something worthwhile on this: Lets purge all 35,000 people who donated to Prop 8!

Posted by: T. greer at April 7, 2014 9:40 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll raise you one: Mother Jones published OkCupid's CEO Donated to an Anti-Gay Campaign Once, Too. Thanks a lot for starting this, lads!

Clearly it would save time if anyone who ever supported an opinion which differs from George Takei would just quit his or her job and beg on the street. The rest of us will take over.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2014 10:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

George Takei? I know he's the Captain of the USS Facebook but can we at least make it his old boss, William Shatner? I might stand a chance matching opinions with him. Otherwise it's "Brother... can you spare a dime?"

On the serious side, may we observe that the rabid, barking dog that is the crusade to require acceptance of homosexuality by everybody, everywhere, has now finally reached the end of its very long leash? Despite the many appearances that this may be so, Ross Douthat suggests that they won't settle for mere plurality but instead are bent on full-blown absolutism.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2014 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at April 8, 2014 5:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Who, ME? I H8 the h8ing h8ers!

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2014 7:05 PM

Dear Safari Users...

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WSJ Ed Page:

"In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself," writes the New York Times.

On Thursday, new Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure from the nonprofit organization that makes the popular Firefox web browser. After his recent appointment to the top job, some Mozilla employees had taken to social media to attack him for a donation he once made to support Proposition 8. A 2008 California ballot initiative, Prop 8 defined marriage as between a man and a woman and won the support of a majority of voters but was later invalidated by judges.

I'm on record as a supporter of gay marriage. I celebrate that David Boies and Ted Olsen, opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore, came together to overturn Prop 8.

But I am disconcerted with my new friends. George Takei posted on Facebook, spiking the ball in the endzone over the CEO's removal, er, resignation. I left a respectful comment that, while I agree, I think those who do not should still be allowed to work. Surprisingly, most of the comments I saw were similar to mine.

Nick Gillespie wrote a great article in Time (really!) welcoming the world to "Politically Correct Web Browsing"

It wasn't that long ago -- in fact, it seems like just last week -- that we accessed the web to hunt for the best deal on a new cell phone or a pair of shoes. Now we must be aware not simply of the deep politics of the companies we actually buy from, but even the company whose free downloads we use. Increasingly, we will be asking ourselves what sorts of non-business-related policies companies have and whether we want to associate with all that -- even when we don't pay a dime for a particular good or service.

Getting a little Cray-Cray on the intertubes if you ask me.

A Facebook friend (they're not all nuts) made a good point as well. In the battle against Campaign Finance regulation, a familiar libertarian cry is "unlimited donations but full transparency!' It sounds good, even with that high-pitched, nasally squeal we associate with libertarians. But this shows that even that is a bridge too far. The Constitution was founded on the anonymous writings of "Publius;" anonymous advocacy should be permitted under its protections.

There is a false claim that the IRS "outed" CEO Eich's (included in my friend's perspicuity). It is public record. Yet this episode proves it should not be.

UPDATE: Good Roger L. Simon column on this.

The weird part of all this is that gay marriage is virtually a fait accompli in our culture. Leading politicians in both parties either back it or say that it should be decided by the states. But the Robespierres go on.

Gay Rights Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

And yet I'll stand behind my opening line for the "Free-dom not free stuff" bumper sticker page:

"In our polarized, hyper-partisan society there's one thing on which nearly everyone agrees: Freedom is a good thing."

George Takei and his fellow travelers at Mozilla are examples of the minority who disagree that freedom is good.

"But wait, jg, he was using his freedom to advocate for infringing the freedom of others." True, but advocacy does not equal force. Only government can legally use force to restrict rights.

This truth applies to the haters at Mozilla as well, and if Eich understood this he would not have resigned. What are Mozilla users gonna do if Eich stays, start using Microsoft Internet Explorer? BWAAA-ha-ha-ha!

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2014 1:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And Silicon Valley isn't the only place where the Idea Police are on patrol. Here is their latest case at CU Boulder.

One of them called it "speech police" but when another one said the University "expects its students to respect diversity" that amounts to policing ideas, not just speech.

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2014 4:03 PM

April 3, 2014

ACA "Good" Story of the Day

Also could be filed under "All Hail Taranto"

According to those so blinkered that as long as the sky hasn't fallen, the latest government program simply must be wonderful: that huge lines at the ACA Enrollment Center in Miami is a good thing. Liberals think "this good!" / Taranto thinks it looks like bread lines in Caracas.

Waiting in line to purchase necessities is a characteristic not of a prosperous free society but of command economies under repressive regimes. Closer to home, one doubts even the Transportation Security Administration would be so tone-deaf as to advertise long airport lines as an indication it's doing a great job.

Awesome, as always. Now back to wrestling with taxes!

But jk thinks:

Celebrating Venezuela's toilet paper success!

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2014 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Long lines to buy necessities are generally caused by government distortion of the supply. In the ACA "buy it or else" case, government distorted the demand.

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2014 1:08 PM

April 2, 2014

Or Else

Brother jg says "or ELSE;" Jimmy Fallon says

"It's amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory, and fine people if they don't do it, and keep extending the deadline for months," cracked the Tonight Show host. "It's like a Cinderella story."

Hat-tip: Heritage

But AndyN thinks:

Were I Mr. Fallon, I would have added: "...and base your claim of success on an unverifiable number 1/7 the size of the population you claimed to be trying to serve." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue though. I guess that's why I'm not a millionaire comedian.

Posted by: AndyN at April 3, 2014 8:28 AM

Quote of the Day

In the Rose Garden Tuesday, President Obama reported that 7.1 million people had signed up so far, confirming a Monday night White House news leak. "That doesn't mean all our health-care problems have been solved forever," he conceded with customary modesty. -- WSJ Ed Page, The ObamaCare Copperheads
But Terri thinks:

I don't believe much of anything anymore.

He needed 7 million for his "win" and suddenly he's got 7.1 million.
Call me suspicious.

Similar to his jobs created or saved number. He chose the number first, then came up with the news.

Posted by: Terri at April 2, 2014 12:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"If you want 7.1 million 'buy my product, or else' customers you can have 7.1 million 'buy my product, or else' customers."

After all, that figure represents just 6.1 percent of the number of discrete American households. (Or 2.2% of the population. Or 14.6% of the uninsured. - Choose your statistic.) Like the man said, "Buy it, or ELSE."

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2014 5:51 PM

April 1, 2014

Stauncher than the staunchest Libertarian!

Able to leap public roads in a single bound!

Road & Track makes an interesting assertion:

GM's recent wave of recalls reveals the ugly truth: The brutal competition for car sales can lead automakers to cut corners, including in crucial safety gear like airbags, steering, and brakes. The bottom line is that some automakers can't be relied on to always put customer safety first.

In these situations, even the staunchest libertarian has to admit an uncomfortable truth: When all else fails, we ultimately rely on government regulators to ensure our safety on the road. Unfortunately, the still-unfolding GM scandal reveals that motorists can hardly rely on this last line of defense. That's because, like so many aspects of the US regulatory system, auto safety officials have more incentive to serve the interests of the automakers they are charged with watchdogging than to fulfill their public duty.

Well ain't I the staunchiest ever all of a sudden? I reject, flatly, that "we ultimately rely on government regulators to ensure our safety on the road"' and would suggest in a heartbeat that the Underwriter's Laboratory model would work well to replace both the FDA and the National Highway Transit Safety Administration.

States say you have to get insurance. I'll part with some staunch points to accept that (Murray Rothbard, forgive thy straying servant...) I suggest that State Farm or <stentorian_voice>Allstate</stentorian_voice> can refuse or overcharge for insurance if your car does not pass Johnny's Kwick Kar Kompany's substantive inspection.

Send the other lads home -- they terrorized Toyota for a non-defect and gave Gub'mint Motors (I'll accept a shade of conspiracy theory on this) a pass.

But nanobrewer thinks:

They overlooked two key points:

General Motors IS the government!
GM told regulators of the problem quite a while ago.

The staunch libertarian suggests competition is the best way to get quality (for those who will pay for it).

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 4, 2014 12:55 AM


Brother jg is sadly correct. A major roll-out planned for this weekend is like, totally seriously, eating into my blogging time. I'm reading; I'm alive.

Thursday I will get my trial drug infusion. The steroids I get for symptom mitigation generally have the symptom of making me overly loquacious. I'll make up for lost words then.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:54 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

What do you think of the new bumper sticker? I was hoping you would offer to create a second page for our online store. I expect these will fly off the shelves when I peddle them to FB friends.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2014 5:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Happy to add it to the store! Coitenly!

COEXI$T has become so beloved to me that it is a high bar: Penn & Teller's "Peace on Earth" episode condensed into 4 x 6" I recall it took a bit for me to warm up to it.

Free-stuff is witty and the design is superb. Its underlying philosophy does not touch me in the same way as COEXI$T.

Larry Kudlow (withdrawal at 7PN Eastern, 4PM Pacific) was championing a Jack Kemp, champion of the poor conservatism. My Facebook friends will see that as part of Mitt Romney's 47% and makers vs. taklers.

It may be a question of "Kaizen" versus "Pareto:" do we fix the big things first, or fix the little things and allow the big to take care of themselves. There is a Facebook patois that asks "why do you greedy, smelly Republicans always have to start economizing with food stamps?" I don't think that's the plan, but the mohair, ethanol, and ag lobbies all swoop in to restore their cuts and when the bill passes...

So Hear, Hear. I'll invest if needed, facilitate sales, and even buy a couple. But it doesn't define me like COEXI$T.

Posted by: jk at April 2, 2014 7:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Your question is moot. Since I can't personally change the big stuff [repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments] I'm left with 'do little things or do nothing.' And yet, little things can have big impacts. Imagine if all the folks who erroneously believe it is their right to impose on someone else actually realized how wrong that idea is, and how they have been misled by self-serving demagogues. They might stop voting for said demagogues. [A lonely Objectivist can dream.]

I actually thought Rights=Freedoms would be more popular with my liberty activist friends. The Coexi$t meme is already so polarized that many don't take it seriously. It's always a challenge to strike the right balance of clarity and brevity known as "pithiness" but hey, I got a "like" from Shawn Mitchell for this wording!

I'm going to buy a hundred of them this time so let's make it $2.50 instead of 3 bucks. Maybe that'll help sales.

And please reconsider the sticker stand-alone, without my introduction. We may need to revise that for the store page, taking out references to certain 'very popular on FB' "rights." We'll be more successful if we attack them in a rear echelon movement rather than head-on.

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2014 11:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's one possibility for a tag paragraph:


In our polarized, hyper-partisan society there's one thing on which nearly everyone agrees: Freedom is a good thing. America's Constitution has even enshrined freedom, liberty, as something to be "secured" both "to ourselves and our Posterity." It regarded man's Rights as "inalienable" and enumerated many of them in a so-called "Bill of Rights." But even then, some freedoms were not recognized and had to be instituted in our law through persistent, morally just, social agitation.

But can this tactic grow too extreme? Some "rights" recently championed for "the people" actually infringe on the freedoms of others. And if each of us is to have inalienable rights, how do we protect one's rights from a new "right" of others? By knowing the definition of what rights truly are and where they come from.

(continue reading...)

Ayn Rand wrote:

A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action - which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

And further:

The concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully - and two hundred years have not been enough for other countries to understand it. But this is the concept to which we owe our lives - the concept which made it possible for us to bring into reality everything of value that any of us did or will achieve or experience.

If you wish to preserve and protect this prodigious feat of political thinking, buy the sticker and display it proudly. We need not look far to see what will happen if this idea dies out from the minds of men:

When individual rights are abrogated, there is no way to determine who is entitled to what; there is no way to determine the justice of anyone's claims, desires, or interests. The criterion, therefore, reverts to the tribal concept of: one's wishes are limited only by the power of one's gang. In order to survive under such a system, men have no choice but to fear, hate, and destroy one another; it is a system of underground plotting, of secret conspiracies, of deals, favors, betrayals, and sudden, bloody coups. - Ayn Rand

Sound familiar?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2014 12:26 PM

When Reporting the News, Isn't

Readers may recall a 2012 presidential debate between Messrs. Obama and Romney where the former claimed to have recognized Benghazi 9/11/2012 as a "terrorist attack" and the later challenged that assertion. "Yes, he did call it terrorism" was the ruling of the debate moderator, Ms. Candy Crowley. What he actually said during a Rose Garden speech was "No act of terror shall..." without specifically admitting that is what happened that night in Libya.

The Denver Post printed a report on Colorado's Independent Ethics Commission investigation into Governor Hickenlooper's receipt of food and lodging at a conference in Aspen at the expense of a political campaign group, the Democratic Governor's Association. The Post's Lynn Bartels ended the story on yesterday's hearing this way:

[Compass Colorado attorney] Blue also expressed concern that the commission's own investigator has released drafts of his report to the governor's attorneys but not to Compass Colorado.

"It doesn't seem fair," he said.

Blue believes the commission on April 14 should agree to conduct a full hearing on the complaint.

But from this brief mention one may scarcely recognize the extent of the impropriety at issue. Fortunately for me, I had first read the account of The Colorado Observer.

Lawyers for Compass Colorado, the conservative group that filed the ethics complaint, were surprised to learn that the Democratic governor’s legal team had already reviewed two drafts of the IEC investigator’s report that the Compass attorneys had not yet seen.

A detailed account of the back-and-forth is included in the TCO story including a statement by Compass Colorado Executive Director after the hearing, which questioned "the transparency of this process."

Indeed, particularly when one considers the possible reasons for a second, or revised, draft report. Perhaps the governor's counsel suggested a change or two?

But I certainly won't accuse Ms. Bartels of any bias in her coverage of this story. After all, she did report "drafts," plural, had been "released" to one side and not the other. Fair and balanced, yessir.

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