July 31, 2014

The Denver Post?

I hope to defeat the "60th Vote for ObamaCare" in November and will fulsomely support Rep. Cory Gardner (R - Personhood, Kinda, Sorta).

But I am shocked that the left-leaning Denver Post could not find a more flattering picture of Sen. Udall (D - Daddy's Boy) for this story:

udall_uglypic.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

And in related news, CIA Director Brennan called for the resignation of Colorado Senator Mark Udall for continuing to support new EPA rules that constitute a de facto carbon tax on Coloradoans at the same time that Australia has just axed its misguided, economy killing, carbon tax.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 1:53 AM
But Jk thinks:

Of course it was fine when they spied on the hoi polloi. But when they started spying on Senators . . . Holy cow! My Daddy was a Senator, my brother is a Senator, I am a Senator, a bunch of my friends are Senators -- this has to stop!

Posted by: Jk at August 1, 2014 8:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Yeah, uhhh, what are the tea baggers always screaming about... ummm, SEPARATION OF POWERS!!"

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And did you say hoi polloi? Y'alls soundin' like Lois Lerner, Senator Udall.

I was going to take the train to windsor Castle, but stuff closes early in winter so it wasn't going to work. Instead, went [to] Hempstead –an Edwardian English village, full of beautiful, huge houses – which have been ruined by letting the hoi paloi [sic] live there! These people have ruined everything with their equality push!'

Is y'all an elitist too, senator? You Democrats are always tellin' us that you're for the little folk. Not sure I believe you any more.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:31 PM

Project Ideas...

One for the ThreeSources DIY/Recycling session. I'm a big fan of Eliza Dushku (as noted).

But, this latest brainstorm advocated on her Facebook feed strikes me as a bit "uneconomic."

t_shirt_shopping_bag.jpg

Now, she probably has some more attractive t-shirts than my acronym-laden collection, and I suspect she discards hers at a higher utility part of fabric lifestyle than I.

But the shopping bag fascination strikes me as the most futile bit of environmental hokum extant. They love to quote (not Ms. Dushku, but the ubiquitous "they") that 13 million bags head to the landfill every year! Substitute some number n for 13. That is their idea of an argument.

I hear: 6 million people (n / 2.5, round up * 1000000) were able to use inexpensive, durable, lightweight and sanitary packaging to bring their food home safely and conveniently. Many found additional uses for the bags before discarding, but when they were done, they were able to dispose of them cheaply as well. What a wonder these bags be. What a miracle to be so affluent.

But that's just me. Maybe other ThreeSourcers want to fire up the Singer and manufacture a pile of Trade Show, Losing Senatorial Candidate, and Operating System totes. Have at it! (But don't forget to wash them frequently in hot water and phosphate detergent.)

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 5:17 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder how the t-shirt shopping bag works for another little task that do-gooder nannyists have made the subject of criminal law - picking up your dog's doo?

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:35 PM

Wow!

Little jealous of Brother Keith that he has the opportunity to vote for this guy. I won't be so jealous in November when "Governor Moonbeam" beats him by 20 points...

Seriously, this is a VERY good video. Mark off ten minutes and watch it.

California Posted by John Kranz at 3:10 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, in the time it took me to compose that epic, JK had time to post not one but two new offerings, and I didn't even get to the footnote that the asterisk was supposed to lead to, so here it is:

* California has its own idea brewing, and I'm vastly in favor of it. It's called "Six Californias," not to be confused with Six Flags California. More linkage:

http://www.sixcalifornias.com/

Now that I have this out of my system, I do believe I saw a reference to Eliza Dushku. Love her, hate her politics (half of that applies to Udall, too), so I seem to have some reading to do...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2014 6:10 PM
But jk thinks:

We had our moment in the 51st State sun, but the "State of Jefferson" is the most awesomest separationist movement out there. General Eisenhower said if a problem seems intractable -- expand it. Perhaps a shattering has some potential a clean split does not.

Curiously, ours was killed (no proponent but me will admit this) by some 100 year floods. They devastated our dry state such that some clouds over the last week have triggered PTSD -- at least ion the media.

Anyone on the margin saw the State step in to do rescue and disaster relief. That just left the crazies -- and there are some wackos in the movement. Even I have switched to preferring "The Phillips Plan." Proposed by un-populous Phillips County, the suggestion is to structure the Colorado State Senate with one vote per county.

This requires amending the State Constitution which guarantees proportional representation. But the rhyme to our Federal systems is unmistakable -- as is its ability to really solve the problem of a rural minority that generates more wealth than voters.

I may have been a Donnelly guy; I'll concede that two Obama votes is a serious indictment. I just know Kashkari from his PIMCO days and his Kudlow appearances -- he has a good dose of the free market in him.

I found the documentary compelling in the spirit of another hero of mine who is also dismissed as establishment: the Late Jack Kemp (QB - Bills). What-his-nose Democrat in Wisconsin tries a week on minimum wage and runs out of baloney -- One-percenter bond executive doing a homeless week in Fresno is -- have I used "awesome" too much in one comment? -- cool as hell.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2014 6:58 PM
But jk thinks:

From your link:

In addition, Donnelly has raised only about $475,000, less than half what Kashkari has raised.

He misspelled "spent on lunch..."

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2014 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I read some parallels between CA's Donnelly/Kashkari primary and CO's Tancredo/Beauprez contest. Did the RGA come in and urinate all over Donnelly in a few key counties like it apparently did to Tancredo?

I've no lost love to Tommy T and I tend to agree with the GOP power brokers who probably calculated that his "loose cannon"ness would hurt not only his chances, but those of down ticket Republicans. (Damn it hurts to have to agree with GOP power brokers!)

But at least Beauprez has a snowball's chance against the wounded Hickenlooper, so we've got that going for us.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"24% of Californians live in poverty. The highest in the nation."

Wow.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We are all Starnesvillians now.

Will he get opportunities to debate Governor Brown? How can Brown defend the obvious failures of the regulatory state? Neel can focus on those failures without having to defend his flank from the favored charges of "racist" or "war on women."

Millions of Californians have good paying jobs in California, it is true, but millions more can't reach the first rung of the ladder that government has forced to be raised way, too, high.

The barrier to entry for American jobs? American governments.

I've said it has to get worse before it can get better. It seems to me it is now bad enough. Time to turn around, lemmings.

You're right, jk: Moving.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 3:08 PM

July 30, 2014

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

Eric Maschwitz and Manning Sherwin ©1939

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink


Three Cheers for Redmond!

Microsoft is fighting for full Fourth Amendment protection of your email in the cloud. General counsel and executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs, Brad Smith, has a guest editorial in the WSJ today describing the principles and tactics:

Microsoft believes you own emails stored in the cloud, and that they have the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail. This means, in our view, that the U.S. government can obtain emails only subject to the full legal protections of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. It means, in this case, that the U.S. government must have a warrant. But under well-established case law, a search warrant cannot reach beyond U.S. shores.

The government seeks to sidestep these rules, asserting that emails you store in the cloud cease to belong exclusively to you. In court filings, it argues that your emails become the business records of a cloud provider. Because business records have a lower level of legal protection, the government claims that it can use its broader authority to reach emails stored anywhere in the world.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 29, 2014

"Windy" the Wind Imaging Laser System

This amazing device was developed by some friends of mine. Check it out and please share it widely.


July 28, 2014

2,000 Words

White House SPAM on Inversions:

wh_inversion.gif

CATO on Inversions:

cato_inversions.jpg

But jk thinks:

Top-hatted, bearded gents with cigars -- ruining our great nation with their filthy greed!

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh was brilliant on this today. "Did you hear Obama over the weekend say he is ready to get serious about enforcing border security? Yeah, he's ready to militarize it to keep US corporations from getting OUT."

Now it's my turn:

"Mister Obama, Tear. Down. This. Wall."

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:50 AM

Un-Hail Insty

Or . . . oh, hail no!

insty140728b.gif

Good thing the good perfesser teaches law and not economics, I grimace at his Mickey Kaus-esque immigration posts, but this is really disappointing. His link goes to Ann Althouse. I appreciate wanting Gov. Walker to win -- really I do. He has taken brave stands on education and public sector unions and he has been subjected to far far worse and far less true attacks than these.

But are we going to stand for anything?


All Hail Insty!

insty140728.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I know.

But it should be repeated at least annually.

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2014 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

This is a favorite of Reynolds's; he posts it more than once a year. Every week would be fine with me -- it is the whole world and everything in it.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 7:00 PM

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Cohn, ObamaCare's cheerleader at the New Republic, quoted Mr. Gruber on Friday as saying his remark "was just a mistake" and he didn't recall why he made it. We can think of a reason: It was the truth. Liberals feared some states wouldn't set up exchanges, so they deliberately wrote incentives into the law so the states would do so. This was the conventional liberal wisdom until this year when it suddenly became legally and politically inconvenient for the Administration to admit it. -- WSJ Ed Page
UPDATE: The WSJ's "Notable & Quotable" today is my "All Hail Harsanyi" from last week. Saved you $240. You're welcome.

July 27, 2014

Just Three Pages of Econ . . .

UPDATE: Now I had not seen (nor heard of) Kristen Bell's until this came out. I made a point of finding hers and watching it first.

In a bit of reflection, this struck me as a microcosm of the left-right debate. We have facts, reason, and a guy who looks like Remy. They have total sophistry, but put it into a clever package. Ms. Bell is distractingly attractive, even primped up as Mary Poppins.

We're doomed I tell you. Doomed.

UPDATE: Ari Armstrong weighs in.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:14 PM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

How 'bout this:

Kristin Bell in Walt Disney's 'Mary Poppins is Taxed Enough Already.'
Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 12:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Let it go.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2014 9:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Can't hold it back anymore.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We are all The Tea Party now.

Even the beautiful people.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I'm not the only one. Ari - Spoonful of Coercion

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

UpUpDateDate:

Funny or Die Accidentally Proves Why Big Federal Government Programs Suck While Making the Case for a Minimum ... http://t.co/PRZy2BKnrw

— Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) July 31, 2014
Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2014 2:57 AM

Review Corner

[Milton] Friedman titled his column "Steady as You Go," giving due credit to [George] Shultz, and explained that Nixon had begun to reverse the harmful interventionist policy of the Johnson administration, which Friedman called "fine-tuning with a sledge hammer!" He was looking forward to a more stable and prosperous decade. But that decade didn't come to pass, because Nixon soon gave up on "steady as you go" for political reasons before it could yield positive results.
[...]
In practice , the wage and price controls brought interventionism beyond what anyone could have imagined when they thought about the idea in principle . To administer the freeze, government bureaucrats had to consider the intricate details of production and product definition. At a meeting on August 17, 1971, in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House, Nixons advisers were debating such things as whether chicken broilers were a raw agricultural product and thereby exempt from the price freeze, or a processed product and thereby subject to the freeze.
Yes, I think Madison mentioned in Federalist #10 something about an energetic executive's classifying goods for price controls. Or maybe that was #69, I get them mixed up.

John Taylor believes in predictable and consistent rules for both fiscal and monetary policy. his eponymous rule could replace the Fed with a twenty year old HP Calculator and we'd all be better off. In First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity, Taylor correlates periods of predictable principled policy with economic growth and dynamism. He also shows how the interventionism of the 1930s, 1970s and present relate to extended periods of negative or slow growth.

As these principles developed over the years, we can see periods when careful attention was paid to them and alternating periods when they were neglected. And we can draw clear conclusions from this history: When policymakers stuck to the principles, economic performance was good. When they ignored or compromised on the principles, economic performance deteriorated.

The 30s have been better plowed of late and Taylor gives props to Amity Shlaes's The Forgotten Man [Review Corner]. Taylor looks at it more econometrically. Taylor gives equal treatment to the 70s, in which we saw interventionist fiscal policy and mad monetary policy after President Nixon pulled us out of Bretton Woods. George Shultz, Milton Friedman, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford retrospectively seemed an unlikely group to unleash a bold era of interventionism, but we know how the story ends. As it happens, I was there in a powder blue leisure suit.
There went the principles. The 1975 decision represented a compromise in which some principles were sacrificed in exchange for others, such as holding down the growth of spending as Greenspan recommended in his memo. Despite his own misgivings about such interventions, Greenspan compromised, thinking that no bill (or a worse bill) would be more harmful to the economy than the bill with the rebate. Moreover, with both the House and the Senate controlled by the opposition party, the veto would likely be overridden anyway.

Then President Carter rode in to save the day, and ... no, wait ...
It's difficult to recall now the seriousness of the U.S. economic slump by the end of the 1970s. Economic growth was weakening, unemployment was rising, and the dollar was sinking. Confidence in U.S. economic leadership was plunging at home and abroad. Sound familiar? But then the winds of economic freedom started blowing again, starting with very strong gusts at the start of the incoming Reagan administration. No more short-term actions and interventions. Temporary was out. Permanent was in. Reagan proposed and the Congress passed long-term reforms such as the tax rate reductions, which reduced income tax rates by 25 percent across the board.

Out with temporary, in with permanent. While we have many improvements over the 1970s -- beyond the leisure suit -- in predictability and consistency, it is much worse. "Temporary" tax cuts, fiscal cliff legislation, and phased tax expenditures seem part of every piece of legislation lately.
After being largely out of use and out of favor for over two decades , Keynesian activism arose from the dead in the 2000s. It started in the George W. Bush administration and reached unprecedented heights in the Barack Obama administration. In retrospect, it started with a whimper rather than a bang when a temporary stimulus was added, as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, to the permanent reduction in personal income tax rates that President Bush proposed during the 2000 campaign.

Monetary policy has also become interventionist. He relates a great story in which Ben Bernanke published a paper using the Taylor Rule ["the Fed should set the interest rate equal to 1 ½ times the inflation rate, plus ½ times the percentage amount by which the GDP differs from its long-run growth path, plus 1"]. Taylor thought things would be okay until he got a call from Milton Friedman: "John, this is exactly what I mean. In this paper you see a policymaker with an activist bent making use of your curve to justify that activism." Again, we know how the story ends.
The annual meeting of the world's financial leaders in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, each August illustrates how radically things had changed since Volcker wrestled monetary policy back from the brink in the early 1980s. I attended the first monetary policy symposium in August 1982 and was there for the thirtieth meeting in August 2011. The Tetons were still there, but virtually everything else was different. Volcker attended the meeting in 1982; Bernanke, in 2011.

Taylor is no fan of Dodd-Frank or the PPACA. "While the Dodd-Frank bill neglects many of the principles of economic freedom, the 2010 health care law recklessly ignores and violates them all." The heart of Taylorism is rules: rule by law not by men -- monetary policy by function and not be discretion.
Government regulation should rely more on the rule of law and less on the rule of men. Any plan to restore American prosperity must remove the regulatory drag on the economy and the crony capitalism and regulatory capture that magnify it. Consistent with principles of economic freedom and proposals in the two previous chapters, which would roll back recent excesses in fiscal and monetary policy, the 2010 financial legislation and the 2010 health care legislation should be scaled back or amended and replaced with legislation based on market incentives and the rule of law, not on the discretion of government bureaucracies.

Much needs doing, but Taylor remains optimistic that a return to principles will return us to prosperity. I think he does well to examine long periods of prosperity and stagnation. Too many political economists try to relate a recession in a congressional or presidential term; there is too much latency and too many exogenous events to make sense. But Taylor looks at extended periods of prosperity under sound principles in the 80s and 90s against extended problems in the 30's, 70s and the present malaise.

It's a great book that any ThreeSourcer would enjoy -- enough detail to present a substantive argument, but not enough to bog down the reader and cloud the message. Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 26, 2014

Meta

Not as in Mick Jagger's singing "Meta gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis." Meta as in:

I have a probably very non-political Review Corner coming up someday for Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray. I am about halfway in and it is very good.

Biology was never my strong suit. The highlight of sophomore bio was when I was chosen to go to the board and draw the cell from a cheek swab. I had not completed the assignment and borrowed the lab book of my lab partner Bobbi (as in Roberta...) I boldly drew the XX chromosomes to the raucous laughter of a class that assumed "class clown" was in on the joke.

Let's say I have some catching up to do. Bray describes the inner workings of cells and single-cell organisms with analogies to microchips and electronic circuits. Very interesting stuff.

While the review will be non-political -- unless he turns to the phenyl-alkaloid proof of Socialism in Chapter Eight -- I had a political thought while reading. I was reading about the electro-chemical processes in nerve cells, placing them into the author's thesis of circuitry -- all the while reading the book which I had downloaded onto my Kindle.

Had I succumbed to legal Centennial State weed, this would have been a moment for an extended "Woooooah!" and possibly a break for a snack. But I do not do that. I instead enjoyed the meta moment of the author's transferring his synaptic activity to mine via the Amazon Cloud.

And my thoughts turned to anti-Saganism. Carl Sagan's trademark was telling humans that they were insignificant based on their infinitesimal size on galactic and universal scales. My (predominantly lefty) friends love to post Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes that highlight this. A favorite is a picture from Voyager: the small speck that is Earth is pointed out and we are invited to think of our insignificance. I always reply" "Jeepers, we sent a spaceship all the way out there, had it take a picture, send it home, and you posted it to the Internet. We're actually pretty f-ing awesome critters!

So I boldly proclaim arrogance, not for myself, but for my species, for our self awareness. Bray does not claim for his entire branch of science a comprehensive understanding of even a lowly amoeba. But they're working on it. And he wrote a book. And I bought it and downloaded it onto a small computer based on the circuitry he compares to brain cells. So, suck it, Carl.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Jonah Goldberg [subscribe] on l'Affaire Jonathan Gruber;

In case you're not up to speed, let's recap. It's really a wonderful, feel-good story for the whole family. In the Halbig decision this week, the court ruled that according to a plain reading of the law, only state exchanges are eligible for premium subsidies under Obamacare. As a political and policy matter, this would be the equivalent of throwing a very large mackerel on a house of cards. It wouldn't necessarily destroy Obamacare, but that would be the way to bet.

UPDATE: The best concise version of the story from Shikha Dalmia


July 24, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

I got into a very good Libertario Delenda Est on Facebook today. Several bright folks, most of whom I know from Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons. I did pretty well but my performance is tarnished by a pretty well deserved pushback against my humor. The public at large is not inured to it as are ThreeSourcers. I issued a well deserved apology. (It was not even a People's Front of Judea joke).

What I will share is a post from State Senator Chris Holbert (SD 30). Other members on thread are inclined to stay home, vote LP, vote a blank top ballot, &c. We have a less-than exciting GOP Gubernatorial nominee in Rep. Bob Beauprez, but Sen. Holbert issues this cri de Coeur:

Please don't saddle the liberty leaders in the state House and Senate with another four years of Hickenlooper. Please allow for some measure of improvement on the first floor. For those of us who have and will continue to actually run repeal bills, please don't draw a line in the sand and demand that only the greater of evils will sit in that office for the next four years.

It's rather odd to willingly meet the repeal demand in the legislature while hearing from people who want repeals, but are not invested in preventing Hick from shutting down such efforts.

He'll just be worse in his second and last term. Please don't put him back in that chair, please give us a chance.


I'm on your side, Senator -- Libertario Dlenda Est!

But johngalt thinks:

Can you link the post where the comment appeared?

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2014 12:20 PM
But Jk thinks:

Is that accepted FB etiquette? I messaged it to you and would do any others on request.

(You just don't believe I apologized to someone...)

Posted by: Jk at July 25, 2014 9:53 PM

Better than Milhouse

Hat-tip: Mankiw

Obtuse Milhouse allusion: Review Corner


All Hail Harsanyi

I'm going to post this here if that is okay. For all their faults, I'd like to continue to see my family.

But ThreeSources's favorite, David Harsanyi, dares question the unchallenged truth of teachers' compensation.

Recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality found that schools are training twice as many K-5 elementary school teachers as they need every year.

With this kind of surplus, the question we really should be asking is: how are teacher salaries so high?

The second, and less obvious problem, with Vox's mechanic-teacher comparison is the snobbish suggestion -- thrown around by teachers unions and their allies all the time -- that working with your hands is less meaningful or valuable to society than working with kids.

Now, auto technicians make an average of $35,790 nationally, with 10 percent of them earning more than $59,590, according to BLS data. According to a number of experts from large car companies, there will be a serious shortage of mechanics in the near future, as demand expected to grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. That's 848,200 jobs, according to USA Today. And judging from the information, mechanics are asked to learn increasingly high-tech skills to be effective at their jobs. It wouldn't be surprising if their salaries soon outpaced those of teachers.


I forgot who said it (sorry!) but my favorite line is "Teachers: they demand to be treated like professionals but paid like factory workers."

Education Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 23, 2014

Wasn't Expecting to Miss Mitt...

The snot-nosed kid and the grownup.

Some are going too far in their appreciation for Governor R. Had he clearly articulated the case for the economic liberty that has so enriched his life, it may or may not have won the election, but it would have provided a clear choice.

So, I am not crying for the Governor to win the nomination in 2016. But I don't mind pointing out that the electorate made the wrong choice in 2012.

Hat-tip: IJReview

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 6:33 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Supposing Mitt were president today, and had displayed "backbone" for the past 2 years, would things be any different? In Iraq, perhaps yes. In Ukraine? Would the US have sent more bailout cash to them by now? Would the EU? Tensions would certainly be higher with the Russians, and western media would regard Romney as making things worse, not better. (Kind of like those who now go too far in their appreciation for Governor R are doing to President O.)

Is it not a fatal conceit to believe that American "leadership" can prevent bad acts around the world?

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2014 11:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Conceit, perhaps, but I hope it is not fatal; I just bought a new guitar...

Both Mister Putin and the Mad Mullahs of Iran act with impunity because they know President Obama will not act. Do I want a hothead who will launch Slim Pickens at the first disagreement? Of course not. But I do want "American Leadership" in the mold of Ronald Reagan.

Curiously, that requires the threat of America doing things with which you and I would not approve. But I draw the parallel of arming oneself. You don't go out to mow people down, but the serious threat keeps you secure and counter-intuitively prevents violence.

I'm enjoying having William Easterly trash my last remnants of neocon notions about rebuilding societies and spreading democracy. I'm not even a neo-Wilsonian any more and that feels good.

But I am still a Deepak Lal, pax Americana guy. There is one guy sitting at that table whom I would trust to effectively use enough USA-brand WhoopAss™ to keep the shipping lanes (and navigable air lanes) open.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2014 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I do agree with you. I also think a plurality of Americans still hasn't yet learned the lesson that President "make no messes" is still teaching them. Everyone younger than GenX does not know a world lacking in American leadership. At this point in history I am content to watch while they poke their finger into the pretty flame.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2014 2:43 PM

Quote of the Day

"It's Virtually Impossible to Be a Successful Modern President" declares the headline of a blog post by the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza. The post has drawn a great deal of ridicule, but to our mind most of the critics fail to appreciate just how feeble an effort it is. Our aim is to correct that. -- James Taranto
But nanobrewer thinks:

ah, I've missed Taranto, and do have time now that he's behind the WSJ firewall. Do they have an electronic-only subscription rate?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 25, 2014 1:38 AM
But jk thinks:

Yes but. They have really goosed it up this year. There's a fan club of sorts on Facebook and many complained when he went behind Rupert's wall.

I thought "you bunch of whiners -- it's, like, $89 for the best newspaper in the known universe." Then my credit card bill came in it's more, like $240. Ow.

Yet I think I will stay with it -- if you chose not to, let me know anytime you'd like me to email a story.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2014 10:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah yes, welcome to the "introductory rate until you stop checking your credit card statement for the auto-renewal price" sales gimmick.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2014 11:43 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yee-ow! I thought there was an OnLine subscription for something like $14/mo.? When I get a little freer, I'll take the free trial and report back...

I do have more time now that I'm not reading Hail-Taranto!

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 28, 2014 12:39 AM
But jk thinks:

You got it, jg. In fairness, I have subscribed for more than 15 years and the digital only was $89 - $99 per year until now. It is not quite the Comcast - HBO plan.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 9:48 AM

An Economc Case for Vampiric Reensoulment

Did I mention that I love the Internet? The ethics and economics of vampire re-ensoulment

This defense is fine as far as it goes, but I'd like to go further. Why presume that having more humans or human-like beings on the planet is even a problem at all? The ecological concern seems to borrow from the perspective of doomsayers like Paul Ehrlich, who have been beating the population-bomb drum for decades. And for decades, the doomsayers have been proven wrong. In 1968, Ehrlich predicted mass starvation by the 1970s or 1980s. Didn't happen. Since then, Ehrlich has continued to move the goal posts, but his predictions have stubbornly refused to come true. Instead, the world has witnessed a massive reduction in poverty. Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of the world population living in extreme poverty fell from 43 percent to 21 percent, even while the world population rose by almost a third.
[...]
One last point. Isn't it problematic that vampires drink blood, and they would therefore be dependent on the human population for sustenance? Again, I think the answer is no. None of us are perfectly self-sufficient. How many of us grow our own food? We are all dependent on a massive web of human cooperation to provide us with food, shelter, clothing and most everything else we need. In this sense, vampires dependence on human blood is just a special case of everyones shared dependence on everyone else. The key issue for sustainability is not requiring self-sufficiency, but assuring that most people and vampires contribute enough to productivity to pay for the services that others provide them. By establishing a legal market in human blood, as suggested by Enrique Guerra-Pujol in Chapter 12, we could go a long way toward creating an incentive for vampires (especially re-ensouled ones) to eschew violence in favor of remunerative work in the combined vampire-human economy, to the benefit of both the living and the dead.

Hat-tip: Insty


Coffeehousin'

Blog (and Coffeehouse) friend SC was in town. Much fun was had. Matching Gibson SGs were purchased. My hard drive crashed with all inculpatory data, but the guys at the DOJ crime lab recovered this:

Coffeehouse

Summertime / Azure Te

Sugarchuck is in da house...

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink


Upholding Obamacare

Excellent headline on the WSJ Ed Page today:Upholding ObamaCare--as Written

No, they say, the PPPACAo2010 was not "struck down." Far worse, the Appeals Court said it had to be enforced as written.

Distinguishing between state and federal exchanges was no glitch or drafting error. In 2010 Democrats assumed that the unpopularity of ObamaCare would melt away and all states would run their own exchanges. Conditioning the subsidies was meant to pressure Governors to participate. To evade this language, the Internal Revenue Service simply pumped out a rule in 2012 dispensing the subsidies to all. The taxmen did not elaborate on niceties such as legal justification.


July 22, 2014

The Good Guys Win Halbig

Judge Griffith, writing for the court, concluded, "the ACA unambiguously restricts the section 36B subsidy to insurance purchased on Exchanges 'established by the State.'" In other words, the court reaffirmed the principle that the law is what Congress enacts -- the text of the statute itself -- and not the unexpressed intentions or hopes of legislators or a bill's proponents. -- Jonathan Adler, Volokh Conspiracy
But AndyN thinks:

And lest anyone jump to the absurd conclusion that this is a nation of laws, the 4th Circuit turns around and rules the exact opposite...
http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/07/whipsaw-4th-circuit-upholds-obamacare-federal-exchange-subsidy-after-d-c-circuit-rejects/

Posted by: AndyN at July 22, 2014 2:11 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"We have to pass it to find out what's in it."

Next time, Nancy, you'll read it.

I hope Justice Roberts pays better attention when this one gets to him.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 22, 2014 5:31 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Sadly, Keith, I really don't think she will. Why should she? What real repercussions has she faced?

Posted by: AndyN at July 22, 2014 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

She did lose her speakership (and the giant gavel accoutrement -- I bet she misses that!)

I'll agree that it has not wizened her or engendered a lot of contrition...

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2014 1:07 PM
But dagny thinks:

Time has wizened her up plenty. But definitely nothing has wised her up, nor likely ever will. - Your local grammar police on the job. :-)

Posted by: dagny at July 23, 2014 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop, guv! Hahahahahaha!

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2014 1:48 PM

Gov Walker's #WarOnOutsourcing

Jim Geraghty, whom I admire greatly, expands on the Trek-Outsourcing contretemps I discussed yesterday. Unlike Alyssa Finley, Geraghty gives the Walker campaign a pass on philosophy (or lack thereof) and wonders if it will be effective:

Keep in mind, Mary Burke is running on . . . raising the minimum wage, and also said the minimum wage hike "wouldn't affect" her family's business.

Well, we know it wouldn't affect those Chinese workers.

Of course, we know how this all ends. Every Madison progressive, every union member, every liberal beating the drum for protecting American jobs who sneered about Mitt Romney's greed will shrug their shoulders and vote for her . . . just because she's the Democrat.


But I expect the other guys to be hypocritical. The rest of a superb "Morning Jolt" newsletter [subscribe] suggests Chappaquiddick as the start of Progressives' issuing get out of jail free cards.

I even expect -- but will not condone -- that politicians I support will occasionally display a bit of hypocrisy; I can roll my eyes and move on. But, Geraghty invoked Governor Romney, this is Romney again -- does the Republican party stand for Capitalism?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 21, 2014

Kids these days

They aren't Obama-loving socialists because they believe in egalitarian redistribution but because, perhaps, they believe socialism means "protecting the vulnerable from the vicissitudes of capitalism" and capitalism means "government favoritism instead of a free market."

In fact, millennial support for a government-managed economy (32%) mirrors national favorability toward the word socialism (31%). Millennial preferences may not be so different from older generations once terms are defined.

Millennials preferred economic system becomes more pronounced when it is described precisely. Fully 64 percent favor a free market economy over an economy managed by the government (32%), whereas 52 percent favor capitalism over socialism (42%). Language about capitalism and socialism is vague, and using these terms assumes knowledge millennials may not have acquired.

Hat tip: A very good Stossel show last night.


You Hit Him with your Gun, Shane...

I really liked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, until about three seconds ago. Really? Et tu, Scotto?

Behold the Walker campaign's new ad targeting the governor's Democratic challenger, Mary Burke: "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your fortune grow? By making millions of dollars . . . Sending jobs overseas that could have been done in Wisconsin . . . To countries where women and children might work up to 12 hours a day, earning only two dollars an hour." Ms. Burke is a former executive of the Wisconsin-based Trek, which like its competitors Cannondale, Schwinn and Giant manufactures most of its bikes in China or Taiwan.

I argue with the Big-L Libertarians from Liberty on the Rocks-Flatirons and tell them "this time it is going to be different." Behavior like this both makes me a chump and deflates my belief that the GOP could really advance liberty.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 9:28 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 20, 2014

Review Corner

A rare early dissenter was the Hungarian-British economist Peter Bauer, who four decades ago presciently predicted the failure of planning "development" through foreign aid. The fallacy is to assume that because I have studied and lived in a society that somehow wound up with prosperity and peace, I know enough to plan for other societies to have prosperity and peace. As my friend April once said, this is like thinking the racehorses can be put in charge of building the racetracks.
William Easterly won a well-deserved Hayek Book Award from the Manhattan Institute for The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. The title and excerpt above set the book up pretty well. We're constantly told "twelve cents' malaria vaccine can save a child's life;" Easterly has the temerity to point out that -- after $2.4 Trillion of foreign aid -- they still have not provided that 0.12 dose. There clearly going to need Three Trillion!

The other giveaway to the book's content is the Hayek Prize. It's all planners and plans and ten year development strategies. Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works. Seriously, none of the wealthy countries got that way because of a development plan; they got there through individual rights, incremental improvement, and Hayekian spontaneous order. All of these are impeded by the benevolence of the Gates Foundation, Oxfam, Save the Children, UK's DFID, USAID, and the UN.

The title of course alludes to Kipling. And the subtext of this book is that all the aid workers and donors (and Live 8 viewers) are aghast to share a species with the likes of Kipling and Macaulay with their patronizing and blatantly racist Colonialism.

Cameroonian lawyer and journalist Jean-Claude Shanda Tonme protested in a July 2005 New York Times Op-Ed column about the Live 8 concert organizers that "they still believe us to be like children that they must save," with "their willingness to propose solutions on our behalf."

The common and oft-repeated theme from Kipling's buddies in India in the 1890's to The Rockefeller Foundation in China in the 1930's to The Gates Foundation in Africa in the '00's is "The Blank Slate." What's a few hundred or thousand years of history, local culture and tribal influence? We're going to teach these coolies what works. And yet, time after time it does not.

The author is not a right winger or radical libertarian, though he accepts the superiority of Hayek's bottom-up versus experts' top-down solutions. But like James Tooley's The Beautiful Tree [Review Corner] he starts out as an idealist young man out to save the world. In Easterly's case it is multi-generational.

The bungalow has only one bedroom; the rest of us make do with sofas or chairs pushed together. We are skittish after sighting a few insects and even bats in the bungalow. We go to sleep anyway, to the rhythms of drums in nearby villages and surf on the nearby coast. My father is a biology professor at the University College of Cape Coast, Ghana, part of the American program to lend knowledge to the development of Africa. We are a family of five from Bowling Green, Ohio. We are white people and we have come to save you. I am twelve years old.

Nor has he abandoned hope for aid or helping -- just the methods generally employed and the mistakes frequently made.
The quest for helping the poor gets more complex the more you study it, but please dont give up! There is hope once you give up the Planners ambition of universally imposing a free market from the top down. I point out in this chapter some of the universal problems with markets for poor countries, but the solutions are as varied as the countries and their complex histories.

When I was shopping for this book in the Kindle Store, I was not certain whether this one or his new "Tyranny of Experts" was the Hayek Prize winner. I got the sample for both and both looked good. After finishing this, I immediately bought "Tyranny of Experts" and am halfway through it. It develops similar themes and is also quite good. Forgive me if I conflate points and anecdotes between the two. Both whack the top down aid agencies pretty severely. Both criticize bad governments in the target countries and the ill-effects of aid to prop them up and fund them.
It may be true that poor-country governments are bad, and it may be just as true that Western attempts to change them have been fruitless. Continuing my subliminal quest for the most politically unappealing truths, this chapter considers what to do if both statements are true.
[...]
The Achilles' heel is that any government that is powerful enough to protect citizens against predators is also powerful enough to be a predator itself. There is an old Latin saying that goes, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"--which translates freely as "Why would you trust a government official any more than you would a shoplifting serial killer?"
[..]
Today's system of foreign aid coddles (and probably worsens) bad governments. The long-standing dictator in Cameroon, Paul Biya, gets 41 percent of his government revenue from foreign aid. Under current proposals to sharply increase aid to Africa, that figure would increase to 55 percent.84

And yet, like Colorado Schools the solution is always more money.

His newer book better develops the similarity with "Nation Building." I can't laugh at the follies of Bono and Bill and Melinda without accepting that much of the Neoconservative agenda I supported last decade was built on the same faulty premise -- there wasn't a lot of Hayek in the Afghan and Iraqi rebuilding efforts.

If it were not for the U.S. Army trying to promote economic development, it would seem presumptuous for me as an economist to comment on military interventions. Yet even without recent rhetoric, military intervention is too perfect an example of what this book argues you should not do--have the West operate on other societies with virtually no feedback or accountability.

IMF and USAID money to bad guys was a weapon and blunt foreign policy instrument through The Cold War and now the War on Terror.
In one of the most bizarre episodes of the cold war, the Reagan administration sponsored an organization called Democratic International, which brought together the Contras in Nicaragua, UNITA in Angola, the Islamic mujahedin in Afghanistan, and anti-government rebels in Cambodia.36
[...]
Reagan said of the Democratic International in 1988: "there is something in our spirit and history that makes us say these are our own battles and that those who resist are our brothers and sisters." Savimbi was to democracy what Paris Hilton is to chastity.

Whether the invader is the US Army or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the occupied are pawns. Easterly returns to the theme of "Searchers" who solve a specific problem in an entrepreneurial manner, versus the "Planners" who come in with a blank slate and ideas to remake the whole society.
The sad part is the poor have had so little power to hold agencies accountable that the aid agencies have not had enough incentive to find out what works and what the poor actually want. The most important suggestion is to search for small improvements, then brutally scrutinize and test whether the poor got what they wanted and were better off, and then repeat the process.

Five stars. Like my excursion, I am hard pressed to recommend one book over the other. They are both very good. [UPDATE: Buy The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor But be warned: you may want to go back and read this one....]

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 19, 2014

Oy! Aussies Ditch Caaabon Taxes!

Mary Kissel suggests conviction might work here.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott fulfilled a major campaign pledge Thursday when his government voted to repeal the country's carbon tax, provoking wailing from the political left and green groups about climate Armageddon. The smarter analysis is that Mr. Abbott proved that conviction politicians are rewarded when their ideas have economic merit--and are clearly explained--to the electorate. Republicans should take note.

Australia's conservative Liberal Party started to embrace the questionable science of man-made climate change under former Prime Minister John Howard, and the trend continued after the Liberals lost the 2007 national election. Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, a wealthy banker who hails from one of Sydney's toniest suburbs, had the Liberals endorse the Labor government's carbon-tax proposal. Predictably, the Liberals went nowhere in the polls.

Ordinary Aussies, as it turns out, hated the idea of having their energy prices raised so that elites in Melbourne and other urban centers could feel good about themselves.



Quote of the Day

The 2014 midterm elections are shaping up to be similar to the wave elections of 1994 and 2010, particularly with an unpopular President and an unpopular piece of major legislation that will serve as a referendum on the sitting President. . . . A difficult political climate coupled with the rising unpopularity of President Obama could affect the Democratic brand as a whole and hurt Senator Warner.
What right wing wackos are putting out this nonsense? Oh:
The Virginia Progress PAC, a Democratic committee supporting Senator Mark Warner, issued a list of talking points for potential donors that laid out the challenge the Obama albatross represents for Democrats this fall -- John Fund

July 18, 2014

1:40 of awesome

This is Julie Borowski, one of tomorrow night's speakers at the inaugural Colorado Liberty Conference. It's not too late to get tickets!


Throwing snowballs at cars

That's the memory that returned to me yesterday as I read accounts of pro-Russian Ukrainian "separatists" who gloated over shooting down a military transport for an hour or so, before discovering it was actually a packed civilian jetliner. "Oh crap, we're really gonna get it now" they might have thought upon discovering the unintended "collateral damage" of their unsanctioned tomfoolery.

Ukrainian intelligence has pointed to a fighter named Igor Bezler, the militia leader in the eastern town of Gorlovka, saying in an intercepted phone call that his men had shot down a plane on Thursday. Several assassinations are believed to have happened under Mr. Bezlers watch soon after his forces took Gorlovka, and he took responsibility for killing a number of Ukrainian militiamen in the town of Volnovakha some weeks ago.

According to Russian Internet sources, he was born in 1965 in Crimea, and studied in Russia. He served in the Russian military but moved back to Ukraine in 2003, where he began to work as the head of security for a factory in Gorlovka. Biographies also note that he had worked in a company that performed burial services but was fired in 2012. He has been wanted by the Ukrainian authorities since April 2014.

Mr. Bezlers nom de guerre is Bes, which in Russian sounds like the first syllable of his last name, but also means demon. There are rumors that Mr. Bezler does not get along with other militia leaders, and that he has had street battles with the Vostok Battalion, though rebels have dismissed those allegations.

In a slickly produced video called Heroes of Novorossii, the name of the self-declared insurgent region, Mr. Bezler was shown wearing a light blue beret. He had blue eyes and a long mustache. In a recent interview with the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, he claimed to be holding 14 Ukrainian soldiers hostage and said that the Ukrainian military had fallen apart, much like the condition of the Russian military in the early 1990s.

In the interview, Mr. Bezler said he was a Russian passport holder but had a residency permit in Ukraine. He said he sang the national anthem of the Soviet Union every morning, and usually went to bed around 10:30 p.m. He confirmed that he had worked as head of security for the Gorlovka factory, and claimed that he was fired from the burial services company over a fight with the local mayor who he said was demanding bribes.

Two questions:

1. How does a shiftless ex-Russian foot soldier wind up commanding a sophisticated SAM battery that is capable of destroying spy planes above 70,000 feet?

2. How does this part of the story wind up at the very end of a 1000 page news article? Because: NYT.


Gotch'r Green Energy Policy Right Here...

I didn't get a lot of love for my support of algae (to recap, I want to breed organisms that eat dog poop and excrete diesel. I don't think it that far fetched and my Condo/subdivision stands at the ready to supply our country's energy needs). Look forward to a Review Corner of Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray. But I am ready to move on to my next transformative idea.

A Facebook link suggests Toyota is going to release fuel-cell cars in hopes it can build on its hybrid share. As long as I am not subsidizing it with taxes, I think it's a marvelous idea.

Where's the Hydrogen coming from? That's where I'm stepping in. And I'll even spend government money. How about a $10 Million X-Prize-ish award to develop a container-sized device to separate H2 and O2 from Fracking fluid or waste water using power from waste gas flares?

I'm not a knee-jerk environmentalist but I am a very frugal person. Perhaps canine feces is waste-able and lacks the KCals/Kg to be worthwhile. But how many wells and cracking towers are burning tons of waste gas, thus contributing CO2 without any net gain? Capturing something from that has attracted me for years but I suspect some sharp minds with good budgets have looked at it more deeply.

But a simple turbine could generate mounds of electricity. The Hydrogen would be a good storage mechanism, and the general infrastructure around wells and refinery would seem to facilitate storage and distribution.


July 17, 2014

Snake Oil Wizardry, and the Unreliability of Curtains

If it's okay for President Obama to continue with his fundraising schedule in Delaware at the same time as the Malaysian Airlines 777 shoot down is playing out, [President GW Bush could not be reached for comment] it must be okay for me to also post this "racist, bigoted, homophobic right-wing shlockumentary" clip showing a disenchanted Obama supporter after learning what coffee smells like.


But jk thinks:

Okay, somebody's going to have to say it, I guess I'm handy... Why, why, why?

This includes some very interesting film. Ms. Joseph is unexpectedly charming and intelligent compared to expectations from the "gas and mortgage" clip that we've all seen. You can retroactively put that in context, that she thought her life would get easier, not that Daddy Sugar was going to pay her mortgage. Her turnaround is captivating.

Buuuuuuuuuuut nobody is going to see that, because any thinking person will be frightened away by the Wizard of Oz clips. I don't think I qualify as President of the Obama Fan Club of Weld County, Colorado, but I find the sickle/hammer and the Oz clips repulsively childish. I've seen the logo and thought I would never watch a minute.

Now -- lookit! -- I have watched two minutes, twice. But can you imagine sharing that with anybody who was not a rabid partisan?

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2014 7:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, it is a "racist, bigoted, homophobic right-wing shlockumentary." I did warn you. Just warn your thinking person non-rabid partisans as I did for loyal ThreeSourcers. Now, if you share it with a rabid partisan of the pro-redistribution pro-egalitarian pro-Obama pro-Wizard variety, you'll deserve whatever reaction you receive.

I was turned off a bit by the hammer and sickle too - clearly not as much as you - but I found the main content incredibly compelling. This despite obvious clues that the interview was not "cold" i.e. it had been agreed to and rehearsed a time or three. But she clearly believes what she says: "I started getting a little more educated about politics and reading more. What I learned is never trust the wizard. It's within ourselves to have the determination, the courage, and the brains, to bring us to our destiny." And it is a videographic production. Do they not require some symbology? What other image can be used to depict the qualities I listed above, besides the Soviet one? A dollar sign in a circle with a line through it? As for the wizard metaphor, I think it is perfectly apt. That's what I think.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2014 12:16 PM
But jk thinks:

We ThreeSourcers are a hardy breed.

I do thank you for sharing -- I would've never seen it otherwise and I did find it compelling. My grousing was that I probably will not share it because anybody rational and thoughtful enough to get something out of it would be more repelled by its failings. As hockey players are judged on their +/-, I have to call this one a -2.

Could it be fixed? Perhaps not. It is designed to be ad hominem and not a treatise on Lockean principles. It strikes me as the equivalent of the nonsense I encounter on Facebook from my lefty pals -- does some of that have embedded gems as well?

A little sermon for the choir, I suppose.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2014 2:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"...anybody rational and thoughtful enough to get something out of it would be more repelled by its failings."

Words can be so hurtful.

At least I didn't post this. KOA Denver's normally straight-laced Mike Rosen did.

At some point we need to be willing to offend someone. Or must all lemmings be left to suffer the same fate?

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2014 4:57 PM

July 16, 2014

Randall O'Toole, Call Your Office!

They do love to push mass transit. Get rid of that unplanned, individualistic automobile driving and we'll both save the planet and inure the citizenry to further control. But, the plebes complain -- even in Canada! Canadians don't complain about anything!

A geyser of unrest from streetcar riders erupted Tuesday after the National Post published a columnist's account of his "horror show" streetcar commute. Readers from all over Ontario sent more than 50 emails and posted 500 comments online; our hashtag #streetcarnage trended Tuesday on Twitter. Travellers detailed their own streetcar nightmares and offered suggestions for improvement.

"I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day," said Steve Tartaglia, who regularly rides the streetcar from Liberty Village to King and Adelaide.

He called his commute an "absolute circus."

During one notable trip, the streetcar he was riding hit a garbage truck. During another, a man smoked in the back of the car, arguing he was allowed to because he held his cigarette out the window. The worst trip ended in injury when the driver of an over-capacity car slammed on the brakes, leaving our reader arriving at work with scratches on his face, and a woman screaming after a man dumped hot coffee on her.


#streetcarnage -- gotta love that! Hat-tip: Insty.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've ridden jeepneys in Batangas and tricycles in Lipa. You want #streetcarnage? I can guarantee you Canada has nothing on this. At least Canadians will politely tell you they're sorry.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2014 8:16 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt! But I suggest that if Canada cannot pull it off, it cannot be done.

I joke about mass transit as a blow to freedom, but there is a permanent bureaucratic wing of government devoted to keeping people in high-density housing and using mass transit. Randall O'Toole has written extensively and eloquently about it for CATO.

The great takeaway is "I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day."

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2014 10:00 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I used to be a big supporter of gun control until I got mugged."

"I used to be a big supporter of public health initiatives until I tried to buy a Big Gulp."

"I used to be a big supporter of single payer health care until I tried to see my doctor."

"I used to be a big supporter of government solutions until I tried them."

"I used to think snake oil actually worked."

"I used to believe in The Wizard."

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2014 12:09 PM

What the Hell is Administrative Law, and Where Did it Come From?

That is the question which is, by every account, answered brilliantly in a new book by Professor Philip Hamburger of the Columbia Law School: Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

Amazon reviewer Ross Huebner wrote last month:

Professor Hamburger outlines the fact that administrative law (outside of very limited circumstances) is not only unconstitutional, but it is anti-constitutional as well. I recommend this book as a worthy legal history of administrative law and state simply that it should be in every serious scholar's library for both historical and legal purposes.

In a radio interview this morning the author explained that administrative law, essentially the rules and regulations of Administrative Branch agencies, crept into our government after its founding as a holdover from the pre-Constitutional era and do not have any justification under the Constitution. To the contrary, Article I Section 1 begins: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States..." therefore any legislative powers exercised outside of Congress are illegal.

And not just legislative, but judicial powers are wrongly exercised under color of "administrative law." Who may lay his finger on the Constitutional passage that enumerates that? Article III Section 1 begins: "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." No mention of EPA or FDA that I could find.

A timely tome it doth seem to be.

But jk thinks:

Dothn't it.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2014 6:46 PM

Pollution Research Reportage

In a cringe worthy article, KDVR Fox31's Shaul Turner informs readers that NCAR air pollution study is largest in Colorado.

Dr. Gabriele Pfister of the NCAR said pollution can affect more than the air.

"It also can damage plants (and) it can damage crop yields," Pfister said.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Garry Kaufman said the project will also track pollution from wildfires.

"We see emissions from across the ocean coming to impact Colorado's air," Kaufman said.

Experts say this is just the beginning, results will be useful for decades to come.

Your intrepid blogger, however, first read the scientific description of the study, complete with a cool graphic, on a NASA webpage.

Two NASA aircraft are participating in field campaigns beginning this month in Colorado that will probe the factors leading to unhealthy air quality conditions and improve the ability to diagnose air quality conditions from space.

The NASA aircraft will be joined by a research aircraft from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for flights July 16 to Aug. 16 from the Research Aviation Facility maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.

The main study area extends along the Northern Front Range from the Denver metropolitan area in the south to Fort Collins in the north extending eastward from the mountains as far as Greeley. This area contains a diverse mixture of air pollution sources that include transportation, power generation, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, natural vegetation and episodic wildfires.

The region being studied often experiences ozone levels in summer that exceed national health standards. Ground-level ozone is chemically produced from the combination of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions in sunlight.

Did we mention oil and gas extraction?

I'm all for scientific research but please forgive me if I'm overly sensitive to the political application of such research results. Quite honestly, I looked into the story out of curiosity whether NASA's King Air and P-3b Orion or NSF's C-130 Hercules aircraft happen to comply with new EPA emission regulations for FAA-controlled aircraft. Since the planes are not new my guess is, not so much.

It was a bonus to discover a prime example of Word Crimes in the big-time media. Sorry Shaul but you gotta try harder wit da English.


Answering the tough questions...

Hat-tip: Weld County Sheriff (and Amy Oliver's husband) John Cooke.

But johngalt thinks:

Good stuff. Love the beverage choice, "cowboy."

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2014 2:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh -- missed that.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2014 2:52 PM

Quote of the Day

Michael Walsh responds to Rolling Stone's amazingly stupid even for them Five Most Dangerous Guns."

The Five Most Dangerous Dogs:
· Big dogs
· Little dogs
· Medium Sized Dogs
· Male Dogs
· Female Dogs

July 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

Twenty years after the phrase entered the American lexicon, "Soccer Mom" retains its power as hurtful speech. -- PJ O'Rourke
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Mothers In Love with Fracking?

There's a terrorist outfit in the Philippines called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front - and I'm not making this up, but they have got to have the most unfortunate acronym in the history of revolutionaries and separatists. It cracks me up every time I see them mentioned in a newspaper.

Literally.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2014 1:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I kid you not - Mothers In Love with Fracking." A good article, worthy of whole thing read the, but scroll to the bottom for the relevant content.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2014 1:49 PM
But jk thinks:

The T-Shirt model in jg's linked piece is the Centennial State's beloved Amy Oliver. Oliver is an energy analyst for the Independence Institute and is married to Weld County Sheriff John Cooke. Cooke lead opposition Sheriffs against Colorado's unconstitutional gun laws that was joined by 52 urban, rural, Democratic and Republican Sheriffs.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2014 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And also a talk show host. But still a mother!

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2014 2:41 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm going to forgo the obvious reference to Ms. Oliver being a MILF, out of civility and not merely because her husband is who he is. Instead, I'll merely say I followed the link, read the article, and am not surprised at the behavior of know-nothing peckerheads who call themselves "Earth Guardians." I can't claim they're the only people I've seen this week that would benefit from some rough treatment with a taser and a firehose (I am in California, after all...), but they're definitely high. On the list, I mean.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2014 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We've missed you, KA.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2014 3:26 PM

And We're Here to Help!

So glad to hear that when the next wildfires hit Colorado, only low-emission equipment will be employed. I'd hate to have, y'know, pollution...

A bipartisan group of 25 Senators led by Arizona's John McCain last Thursday sent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel a letter demanding an explanation for the Pentagon's June decision to stop programs that supply federal equipment to states for fighting wildfires. DOD suspended the programs on grounds the equipment didn't meet the latest federal emissions standards. As if real fires aren't major air-polluting events.

But johngalt thinks:

This is not your father's Defense Department.

Any word yet on the new solar powered air tanker fleet?

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2014 2:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Related: "Enemy forces overwhelmed U.S. ground forces in ______ today but close air support was not available due to a shortage of biofuel for allied warplanes."

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2014 2:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There seems to be more to this story, based on my independent (and limited) investigation. Apparently, new aircraft engines are affected by the new NOx emission limits if they are for use in "aircraft subject to FAA regulation." When Pratt & Whitney inquired about a Military Exclusion, EPA responded "We agree with the commenter that foreign military aircraft should not be subject to our emission standards." From my limited reading, [Issue: Military Exclusion] the exclusion does not apply to domestic military aircraft. Perhaps DoD is engaged in an interdepartmental squabble with EPA and the states are caught in the crossfire.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2014 1:56 PM

July 14, 2014

My Life with the Bracaderos..

I was born in the tough border town of Denver. It really shaped my life from an early age. I remember when they'd try to swim across Hampden Avenue...

taranto140714.gif

But johngalt thinks:

Of course Colorado is on the border, just look at a map. The state is directly north of New Mexico. Rube.

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2014 5:54 PM

Cognitive Dissonance of the Day

Religion here doesnt mean theology but a distinct belief system which, in totality, provides basic answers regarding how to live ones life, how society should function, how to deal with social and political issues, what is right and wrong, who should lead us, and who should not. It does so in ways that fulfill deep-seated emotional needs that, at their profoundest level, are devotional. Given the confusions of a secular world being rapidly transformed by technology, demography, and globalization, this movement has assumed a spiritual aspect whose adepts have undergone a religious experience which, if not in name, then in virtually every other aspect, can be considered a faith.

The author most likely, it seems, is writing about the modern environmentalist movement. Nay, in fact, the Tea Party.


If you've lost Chicago's south side...

This might be a problem for the President.

[Embedded video deleted due to autoplay. Click through to article for video.]


Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Azure Te

Don Wolf, Bill Davis ©1952

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Happy Bastille Day, Y'all! Permalink


July 13, 2014

Review Corner

With the exception of Medicaid, subsidies flowing to the unemployed and to financially distressed households in the forms of consumer loan forgiveness and government transfers almost tripled after 2007. A minority of that increase is due to an increase in the number of people who would have been eligible for subsidies under prerecession rules, and a majority is the result of more than a dozen changes in benefit rules made possible by several new federal and state government statutes.
[...]
THE NEXT STEP is to trace out the possible consequences of the safety net expansions for the major macroeconomic variables--including GDP, consumption, investment, and labor hours. Chapter Five simultaneously estimates dynamic safety net impacts on all four variables using the neoclassical growth model, which embeds the reservation wage and labor productivity schedules from Chapter Two into a dynamic economic model with capital accumulation.
Want a book list? Manhattan Institute has a Hayek Book Award and past recipients include some of my favorite books. So I purchased this year's winner (and a couple other recent ones you'll be hearing about shortly).

Casey Mulligan might be freedom's Thomas Piketty (without the dirigisme and factual errors). The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy is a serious work. Mulligan isolates economic data to attribute exact causation. Those who enjoy the joke "I was told there would be no math" will utter the phrase sub-rosa at least a few times between the covers of this. I would not advise buying this one in Kindle -- it is $24 on Kindle, lay out the $35 for the hardback. It is dense with formulae and tables; a proper reading would include a desk, scratch paper and the hardcover.

Reading just the text is satisfactory -- it's rather like going to the beach and not getting wet. Your reviewer stayed quite dry but enjoyed the sun and gathered a few important points.

One of the unremarked tragedies of 9/11 was that President Bush's domestic agenda of destroying "tollbooths to the middle class" was discarded to pursue the War on Terror. And sadly, to leave a legacy of additional tollbooths.

Mulligan enumerates the aid dispensed during the recession and sums the marginal tax rate created. Want to get a job? Swell. You do know you'll give up unemployment insurance. Of course. You'll also not qualify for Medicaid, and probably lose SNAP (The Program Formerly Known As food stamps) and TANF (TPFKA welfare). Of course! You're getting off the dole and good for you! Oh, that mortgage refinance deal. Well, you're going to have to drop out of that.

And. You'll have to pay taxes to pay for those programs for everybody not so motivated. The resulting marginal rate is well over 100% for most recipients. The miracle and savior of humanity is that people do work for less than they could make watching Judge Judy. Or, as Mulligan would say:

I leave it to Chetty et al. (2011) to survey and synthesize the micro-econometric evidence and properly adapt it for aggregate analysis. They conclude that the Frisch elasticity of aggregate hours is particularly pertinent for aggregate business cycle analysis and that "Micro estimates imply a Frisch elasticity of aggregate hours of 0.78" (2011, 3) and "it would be reasonable to calibrate representative agent macro models to match a Frisch elasticity of aggregate hours of 0.75" (recall that my slope parameter η can be interpreted as the Frisch elasticity of aggregate hours). 12

Just kidding (not really kidding, that was an actual quote) but Mulligan concludes:
This chapter completes a significant part of the book's affirmative case that the 200809 recession and lack of labor market recovery has a lot to do with labor supply distortions. I conclude that at least half, and probably more, of the change in aggregate hours between the end of 2007 and the end of 2009 would not have occurred if safety net program rules had been constant. The expanding social safety net may well be the largest single factor reducing labor during the 2008 09 recession.

I think most ThreeSources instinctively believe Mulligan. He presents a serious and quantitative proof for the qualitative belief. Other important points that can be grasped without computing the Frisch elasticity coefficient include the relation to marginal tax rates: giving up the cheap refi because you get a raise is a high marginal tax rate.

Another non-intuitive argument is the sum of these programs. Each can be defended as compassion by Robert Reich on Kudlow, but the sum of myriad legislation is a huge expansion of the safety net. Mulligan leans libertarian, but he would prefer a single transparent and quantifiable benefit to the alphabet soup model we have, in which nobody really knows what benefits are available and what they cost. These new programs sit atop a foundation of aid that is not easily measured by itself:

Admittedly, the principle of comparative advantage says that the aggregate losses from a subsidy that reduces labor per adult by, say, 6 percent are significantly less than 6 percent of the nations labor income because, among other things, the subsidy primarily changes behavior for the 6 percent of the workforce with the least comparative advantage . On the other hand, we must recognize that the safety net expansion's deadweight loss (that is, the amount that losers from the safety net expansion, such as taxpayers , lose in excess of what the "winners" gain) also depends on the magnitude of preexisting labor market distortions, such as the preexisting safety net, income taxes, payroll taxes , sales taxes, and distortions created by imperfect competition in product or labor markets (Gal, Gertler and Lopez-Salido 2007). Appendix 4.3 estimates the deadweight loss in fiscal year 2010 to be almost $ 200 billion, minus any insurance benefits of the expansion.

When Review Corner calls a book serious or important, you can read that as "challenging." There are several good reviews, synopses, and interviews with Mulligan. If you want some technical, quantitative economics and do not mind getting your hands dirty, this is a great book. As a Pop Economics or political book, I cannot recommend it to a casual reader. But that does not mean it is unimportant:
The purpose of this chapter is to carefully examine the economically substantive differences between the stimulus approaches and mine, and to indicate how to judge and quantify those differences with the help of empirical analysis. The next chapter presents results of three tests of the slack market assumption, which, surprisingly, has not yet been the subject of much empirical testing.

Hooray for Mulligan for that empirical testing.
For one, the evidence found here and in prior labor market studies helps dispel the notion, embodied in many Keynesian models, that the safety net is a free lunch, that it can help the poor and vulnerable without preventing many people from working.

Three and a half stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Being "challenging" or, for whatever other reason, not read, has not stopped the left from trumpeting Pinketty [Freudian spelling error left in place.] May I suggest #EconomicMulligan ? Let's make Casey Mulligan a household name too.

As for your amazement over "the miracle and savior of humanity is that people do work for less than they could make watching Judge Judy" I suggest, "Dagny Taggart, call your office."

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2014 12:21 PM

July 12, 2014

You guys laughed....

I long ago suggested a concierge clinic in Puerto Vallarta where physicians could escape the ravages of ObamaCare® and patients could escape the FDA. The political and security situation in Mexico has improved considerably since then and it might be time.

Meanwhile, Need an MRI? Get it in Mexico

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bring Lois Lerner Fishing Next Time

Henchperson Lois Lerner and six other IRS officials have mysteriously lost years' worth of emails near -- perhaps during -- an active investigation and most definitely during an ongoing court case.

I don't know anybody who believes that story yet I am still not certain who if anybody will be held liable. Ms. Lerner will likely continue to enjoy her retirement pension, kicking puppies and burning ants with a magnifying glass. I don't know.

What I do know, and Harvey Silverglate call your office, is that real people with a lot less mens rea are actually going to jail. Consider the unfortunate case of John Yates

While commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, John Yates had his catch inspected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for whether it complied with size restrictions. Finding some undersized fish, officials cited him for a civil violation and he was ordered to bring the undersized fish back to the docks. Instead, he threw them overboard. While he probably knew he would face a fine, what he could not have foreseen was his subsequent criminal prosecution under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act three-years later.
[...]
Now, on appeal to the Supreme Court, Mr. Yates asks the Court to overturn his conviction on the ground that he did not have fair notice that the destruction of fish would fall under Section 1519. We agree. In an amicus brief supporting Mr. Yates, Cato argues that well-established canons of statutory construction--that is, the rules that guide judges in interpreting statutesdo not allow Section 1519 to be reasonably interpreted to apply to fish. Those canons teach us that a word in a statute, such as "tangible," should be given more precise content based on its surrounding words, and that it should only be applied objects similar to the precise words preceding it. In short, the other words in the statute, such as "record" and "document," modify the term "tangible object" to include things like hard drives and diskettes, not fish.

Throw a fish off a boat, do time. Granted it is thirty days and not a Silverglate-esque multi-decadal sentence, but do you wanna go to prison for 30 days?

As for Ms. Lerner, is there not a way we can "go all Section 1519 on her ass?" On no, she works for the government -- not one of those evil corporations.

IRS Scandal Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I read the title of the post and instantly thought of Fredo Corleone.

And then looked for the "Like" button.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 12, 2014 4:47 PM
But jk thinks:

As in "sleeps wit' da fishies?"

ThreeSources's dedication to due process precludes condoning such a suggestion. Though, were a special instance to be selected, Ms. Lerner . . .

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2014 12:08 PM

July 10, 2014

Type Casting?

They're making a movie about RatherGate -- starring Robert Redford. I'm so thrilled, I thought I'd offer my considerable graphic design chops to help out:


Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

Gotta sting a bit.

A true revolution would be a new breed of climate activist who admitted what they didn't know and toned down their absurd pretense that they're going to ban or seriously curb fossil fuel by fiat. If they were smart, they would put all their effort into winning government funding for battery research. But there are reasons, quite apart from lack of imagination, which is the nicest explanation of Mr. Steyer's shrill imposture, that this doesn't happen.

Our political system is adept at making use of people like Mr. Steyer. Democrats will gladly spend his $100 million, then go back to their real environmental business, which is green cronyism. Happily Mr. Steyer's fate won't be that of the Hemingway character [in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"] --who finally got to prove his merit while accidentally being shot in the head by his wife. But like Al Gore before him, Mr. Steyer will be able to say of his impact on the climate debate: I softened up the public to be milked for green handouts that did nothing for climate change. -- Homan Jenkins


But AndyN thinks:

I'm going to have a hard time taking a guy seriously if he thinks that Francis Macomber was shot accidentally.

Posted by: AndyN at July 9, 2014 4:37 PM
But jk thinks:

"But how is one to know about an American?"

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2014 5:00 PM

July 8, 2014

Quote of the Day

I've been watching the World Cup with some frustrated American social scientists. When they see an underdog team triumph with a miraculous rebound or an undeserved penalty kick, they don't jump up and scream "Goooaaalll!" They just shake their heads and mutter, "Measurement error." -- John Tierney
I'll stop. In four years.
Sports Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Colorado's Economic Forecast is ... TBD?

What's up with the official Colorado Economic Forecast- State Revenue and Economic Quarterly Forecasts posted on the Colorado.gov website? The reports for the two most recent quarterly reporting periods are AWOL. (Has KDVR 31 noticed yet?) If you click through you can see that the reports from March 2007 until December 2013 are linked to a Colorado.gov page but the March 2014 report is an empty Dropbox page and the June 2014 report is - wait for it - a Google Docs survey by "The Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB)" that "is seeking feedback on its quarterly economic and revenue forecast."

Excuse me, shouldn't you actually be providing a quarterly economic forecast instead of asking us what we want it for? [Click continue reading for the text of the survey]

Okay, I'll tell you why I was looking for the official economic forecast of the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting. I had just read about this Denver Business Journal survey where 56% of respondents said that state regulations hurt their business "a little" or "a lot."

And I had just reviewed this United States Small Business Friendliness Survey that grades Colorado's regulatory environment a B-minus, worsened from B in 2013. (And the scale only includes grades of A through C.)

And so, I wondered, as his re-election campaign approaches, what is the governor's opinion of Colorado's economic condition - past, present or future? The last time his OSPB published an opinion was in December of last year, when it summarized:

"As with the nation, however, economic progress across the state is uneven. Further, the economy is always vulnerable to adverse, often unexpected, events that could strain budget conditions."

I presume this is the best possible light that state economists are able to cast. That would seem consistent with the compilation of Colorado's other economic grades from the Small Business Friendliness Survey:

Ease of starting a business: A-minus, up from B-plus

Ease of hiring: A, up from A-minus

Regulations: B-minus, down from B

Health and safety: B-plus, up from C

Employment, labor and hiring: C, down from B

Tax code: C-plus, down from B-plus

Licensing: A-minus, up from B-plus

Environmental: B-minus, up from C-plus

Zoning: C, down from B-minus

Training and networking programs: A-minus, down from A

In summary five improvements and five declines, but there are some very ugly grades in there including C's (the lowest grade) in Employment, Tax Code and Zoning. Certainly not to what a state with "one of the nation's most educated, technically saavy workforces" might aspire. While we might expect to lead the nation in economic growth and development, under the administration and policies of the current governor Colorado looks more like a slow-moving state, making the governor's new state logo take on a whole new significance.

Slow%20Moving%20State.jpg

Forecast Survey_June 2014
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July 7, 2014

Quote of the Day II

Finally getting to Jonah's awesome-on-stilts-so-far review of "Capital in the Twenty-First Century."

Piketty's occasional concessions to uncertainty about his most dire predictions illustrate one reason he shouldnt be considered an orthodox Marxist. He has no grand Hegelian theory of the ineluctable progression of History with a capital H. But who needs dialectical materialism when you have algebra? -- Jonah Goldberg

UPDATE (Honorable Mention):
Still, if one takes all these critiques into account, one must conclude that what its supporters have hailed as an irrefutable mathematical prophecy might have to be downgraded by everyone else into the well-informed hunch from a left-leaning French economist--a significant drop in confidence level, as the statisticians might say.

UPDATE II: Blog Brother Bryan points out that GMU's Don Boudreax's review is very good as well.


Quote of the Day

Still, Simpson-Mazzoli welcomed more people as citizens during a time of divided government. The president, Ronald Reagan, and the Senate were Republican, the House Democratic--the inverse of today's Washington. But this was "Morning in America," and Reagan's favorite words were "growth" and "opportunity." Mr. Obama is presiding over a fifth year of 2% growth, with his favorite words being "inequality," "us" and "them." -- L. Gordon Crovitz, WSJ Ed Page

#WarOnWomen

I may never forgive California for not electing this woman as Senator:

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 9:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

ThreeSources Marketplace

Last November, Review Corner was pleased to award five stars and Editor's Choice to James Tooley's "The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World's Poorest People Are Educating Themselves."

Today, I'm equally pleased to share some SPAM with you. The good folks at CATO are selling the eBook version for $1.99 through July 13.

Now in paperback with a new postscript, The Beautiful Tree is not another book lamenting what has gone wrong in some of the world's poorest communities. It is a book about what is going right, and powerfully demonstrates how the entrepreneurial spirit and the love of parents for their children can be found in every corner of the globe.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 6, 2014

Republican Fatalism

"Forty seven percent of Americans pay no federal income tax." These ten words seem to have Republicans convinced that the Republic is lost. No Republican has a chance, they all seem to believe, in any race, against any Democrat stooge. Blog friend AndyN echoed the lament in a Fourth of July comment:

Sadly, I'm fairly certain that between the vote for anybody with a D after his name crowd, the free stuff is more important than freedom crowd, and the make history by voting for a woman crowd, she'll [HRH HRC*] lock down 51% of the people who bother to show up in 2016.

But the most extreme version I heard was from a well respected local columnist, Ari Armstrong, commenting on his own article about "approval voting" and the Colorado Governor's race.

It makes absolutely no difference whether I vote for Beauprez, because he's going to lose anyway (and even if he wins my vote will make no difference to the outcome).

(Ari pondered a vote for small town mayor Mike Dunafon as a principled protest vote.)

I suspect that polling data played a large part in his opinion, as the Real Clear Politics polling had Hickenlooper leading Beauprez by 9 percent before the June 25 primary election, when Armstrong's column was written. But that poll also tested the incumbent against other potential challengers. In a race with no clear favorite, all challengers did poorly. As soon as there was a nominee Rasmussen polled the D and the R head to head and found, a tie.

"It's no surprise this race tightened up as soon as there was a single strong Republican as a counterpoint to Hickenlooper," said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. "John Hickenlooper has never suffered the scrutiny of a one-on-one race, and now he is going to have to answer to Coloradans for his utter inability to lead."
Pessimists will say, yeahbut, despite his "utter inability to lead" he is still tied. To which I reply, he's the incumbent. See: Obama, Barack - 2012.

And on top of public sentiment is the fact that elections only matter when people vote. A high turnout election in this country is still less than half of registered voters. Predicting who becomes the nominee of each party and further, who comes out to vote for him or her, is folly.

* Her Royal Highness, Hillary Rodham Clinton


Review Corner

In April 1865, one hundred years before [President Lyndon] Johnson addressed Howard University graduates, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke at a Boston gathering of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society on a similar theme . "Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, 'What should we do with the Negro?'" said Douglass. "I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!
Another Review Corner trilogy looms. Having finished "Great Minds of the 20th Century: Chesterton, Popper, and Orwell," another accidental triumvirate has landed on Kindle. Don't worry. this is not a trend -- I rarely find myself +2 on reading versus Review Corners; this is a six week aberration at best.

But the next three, near and dear to ThreeSourcers, concern redistribution. Next week, Casey Mulligan's The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy shows -- in grueling technical detail -- how the sum of all these benefit programs is equivalent to a huge marginal tax rate increase which both exacerbated the panic and impeded the recovery. After that, cornerites can look forward to John Taylor's First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity where he of "Taylor Rule" fame shows that our nation's deviations from principles of economic liberty have given rise to inflation, recession and unemployment.

But I'll review in the order read and the most devastating attack on the redistribution might be Jason Riley's assertion that it hurts those intends to help.

Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed is a well constructed data-driven look at the failure of the #WarOnPoverty. But it is also a deeply personal book. Regular viewers of the Journal Editorial Report on FOX may have noticed that Riley is himself, African American (shh, don't tell Naomi...) Riley looks deep into culture for problems in black communities and accuses government policies -- specifically those championed by black "leaders" -- of enabling and exacerbating illegitimacy, education failures, and crime.

An interesting and original subordinate point is the tension between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. Du Bois sought political power to right the wrongs of oppression and Washington sought economic power. Modern leaders chose political power, which is surely defensible after slavery and Jim Crow, but Riley suggests that they should not have abandoned Washington. He highlights minority groups in America that have little or no political power yet do extraordinarily well. Asians, Italians, Scandinavians acquired economic power first, then they entered the political realm. African Americans and Irish turned first to politics and were both poorly served.

Between 1940 and 1960-- that is, before the major civil rights victories, and at a time when black political power was nearly nonexistent-- the black poverty rate fell from 87 percent to 47 percent. Yet between 1972 and 2011-- that is, after major civil rights gains, as well as the implementation of Great Society programs-- it barely declined, from 32 percent to 28 percent, and remained three times the white rate, which is about what it was in 1972.
[...]
Whatever else the election of Barack Obama represented-- some have called it redemption, others have called it the triumph of style over substance-- it was the ultimate victory for people who believe that black political gains are of utmost importance to black progress in America. C. T. Vivian, a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr., told Obama biographer David Remnick that "Martin Luther King was our prophet--in biblical terms, the prophet of our age. The politician of our age, who comes along to follow that prophet, is Barack Obama.

It would be bad enough if politics were a diversion, but the political class undermines the economic interests of the people.
For years, black political leaders in New York City aligned themselves with labor unions to block the construction of a Walmart in a low-income community with persistently high unemployment. According to a Marist poll taken in 2011, 69 percent of blacks in New York would welcome a Walmart in their neighborhood. Yet these black leaders put the interests of Big Labor, which doesnt like the retailer's stance toward unions, ahead of the interests of struggling black people who could use the jobs and low-priced goods.

I mentioned the personal part, which I found the most disheartening. I knew some Jason Rileys in my lily-white catholic schooling. Riley's parents whisked him off to what they saw as better neighborhoods. Friends who were just as smart and whose parents were in the same class made the choice to stay. It may be anecdotal that Riley achieved what he did and that his friends succumbed to crime, dependence, and illegitimacy. But it is hard to read the book and think so,
I very much enjoyed school. I was outgoing , athletic, made friends easily. But it wasnt just the social life that attracted me. I also liked learning. I liked books. I was curious about the world. I wanted to be smart, not because I associated it with being white but because I associated it with my father. Dad was smart, and I wanted to be like Dad.[...] The reality was that if you were a bookish black kid who placed shared sensibilities above shared skin color, you probably had a lot of white friends.
[...]
The kind of ribbing that I experienced as a child would follow me into adulthood, where my older sister's children would take to deriding my diction. "Why you talk white, Uncle Jason?" my niece, all of nine years old at the time, once asked me during a visit. Turning to her friend, she continued, "Don't my uncle sound white? Why he trying to sound so smart?" They shared a chuckle at my expense, and I was reminded of how early these self-defeating attitudes take hold.

I don't care how many members of Congress share your pigmentation, you're not going to prosper if you think like that. The triumph of rap culture over education and the sorry state of union public education are well covered. He quotes Bill Cosby as saying "What the hell good is Brown v. Board of Education if nobody wants it?"
The AFT and its larger sister organization, the National Education Association, have some 4.5 million dues-paying members and thousands of state and local affiliates. And it is on behalf of these members that unions fight to keep open the most violent and poorest-performing schools; block efforts to send the best teachers to the neediest students; insist that teachers be laid off based on seniority instead of performance; oppose teacher evaluation systems and merit pay structures that could ferret out bad teachers; back tenure rules that offer instructors lifetime sinecures after only a few years on the job; and make it nearly impossible to fire the system's worst actors, from teachers who are chronically absent or incompetent to those who have criminal records. None of these positions make sense if your goal is to improve public education and help children learn. But they make perfect sense if the job security of adults is your main objective.

Riley (And Cosby, and Thomas Sowell) face a politically powerful and well funded machine that exists for its institutional interest -- not those for whom it purports to advocate.
The left's sentimental support has turned underprivileged blacks into playthings for liberal intellectuals and politicians who care more about clearing their conscience or winning votes than advocating behaviors and attitudes that have allowed other groups to get ahead. Meanwhile, the civil rights movement of King has become an industry that does little more than monetize white guilt. King and his contemporaries demanded black self-improvement despite the abundant and overt racism of his day. Kings successors, living in an era when public policy bends over backward to accommodate blacks, nevertheless insist that blacks cannot be held responsible for their plight so long as someone somewhere in white America is still using the n-word.

I hope Review Corner cheered you up today. Actually the book is not nearly as depressing as this review. But the underlying and unavoidable truths are. Four stars (and no, he would not have received five if he were white...)

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:03 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome. The barrier to solving this problem is indeed high. Who is going to tell 9 year old girls they are wrong? At the same time, changing government policy to encourage rather than discourage 2-parent households would not only be a huge improvement, I daresay it is imperative.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2014 11:46 AM

July 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

I do like Megan McArdle. She has a great column on the ensuing Hobby Lobby boycott (pointing out that about zero of the boycotters shop there in the first place). I enjoyed the close:

It's perfectly sane to tilt at windmills -- as long as you dont expect to unseat the windmills and win the tournament. -- Megan McArdle

Hat-tip: Insty


Happy Fifth (of Patron)

Remy warns of a government gettin' up in yo' grill.


July 3, 2014

Art

It's Art! It's a Rant! No, it's an art-rant.

There are a million great lines in "Buffy," but if pinned down to a favorite, it might be Spike in "Becoming Part 2." Angel (as wicked, evil, brooding Angelus) has got a plan to destroy the world. Spike jumps sides to prevent this. As he explains to Buffy:

"We like to talk big. Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?"

I like people for different reasons. I am overwhelmed with joy that people create art.

I'd perform a DIY root canal with a dull bit before I'd watch most of the singing reality shows like Idol, Voice, America's Got Talent, &c. They all have a bad incentive structure. You have to impress an audience in 30 seconds, which may be entertainment but I question whether it is conducive to art. I don't mean to be snobbish, there are some good folks who come out of that scene sometimes. But I know for a fact that anybody I call a hero would be laughed off in the first day so the judge could display sardonic wit.

And yet I find I really enjoy the cheesy summer replacement for Idol: "So You Think You Can Dance." I know nothing of dance. Every dance I ever attended, I was either on stage playing or sneaking beer in the parking lot. I enjoy Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire, but it is like watching Gaelic Rules Football -- interesting and enjoyable, but I understand only the surface layer.

SYTYCD is bring my appreciation chops up a bit, at least for choreography -- the fine points of performance still elude me. But these kids, and they're all kids, work so hard and dedicate so much to an ephemeral bit of joy. The show forces them out of range: the hip-hoppers have to tap and the tappers have to do ballroom. The competition and voting seem a necessary evil which I avoid. There was a local girl a couple years back for whom I sent a few texts, but I just watch.

The performances are frequently breathtaking for their beauty. I was thinking last night that, like Spike, I love people. Then this morning [uh, oh, tortured segue alert!], a friend of this blog and Facebook friend celebrated a recurring street fair in his adopted hometown:

I love Thursdays on First! Folks are setting up tents, unpacking merchandise, firing up their grills and getting hard work done in anticipation of a beautiful day. There is so much creativity in an event like this from the glazes on a pot to the spices in a recipe. The human spirit thrives in a market place. I know to some that might sound crass and materialistic but it is true nevertheless. We gather with our crafts, our food and our music. We buy and sell, eat dance and engage each other in peace. Free people, free markets and fish tacos...I'm digging it.

In spite of the court decisions that do not go our way (I was only doing 39...) and our friends' gross misinterpretations when they do, it is good to be people.

Happy Fourth, Y'all.

Art Rant Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

That Sarah Palin is Soooo Stupid!

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"But how SPECIAL is this special relationship" [with William Hague, Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, who is doing work on "sexual violence in conflict."]

Hil- "It is so special, to me, personally."

Hmmm. Do you think she heard the question the way that I did?

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 12:48 PM
But HB thinks:

If only those Tories could beat those pesky conservatives.

Posted by: HB at July 4, 2014 3:26 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Remember all the angst about how John McCain was too old to be president? Had he been elected, on inauguration day he would have been just 3 years older than Mrs. Clinton will be when she's sworn in.

There's no way to say this without sounding boorish. She's either not particularly intelligent (which, despite everything else I dislike about her, I don't really believe) or she may be beginning to develop some form of early onset dementia. I'm not sure how else to explain this and other public statements she's made recently which demonstrate a very tenuous grasp on facts which should be well known to any adult who's deeply engaged in world events.

Sadly, I'm fairly certain that between the vote for anybody with a D after his name crowd, the free stuff is more important than freedom crowd, and the make history by voting for a woman crowd, she'll lock down 51% of the people who bother to show up in 2016.

Posted by: AndyN at July 4, 2014 4:47 PM

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July 2, 2014

Jared Polis in Two Minuites

The entire show -- as usual -- is worth a watch.

But first. And then after. And then another time. Watch from 20:49 - 22:49. Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen and Jon Caldara destroy rich-kid Rep. Jared Polis ($$$ - CO) who wants to run the state because he has dough.

And, watch it again.

But jk thinks:

Littwin's a frequent guest and I like him well enough. But I really have to say he gets his clock cleaned on both fracking and climate change, which he brings up as a "gotcha" laugh line.

I'm not so naïve (stop laughing!) that I think property rights is a big sell to the low-info voter, but I think it can be positioned.

Laugesen makes a great start with the retired folks and middle-class investors; I have wanted to push the Willie Nelson Farm Aid angle. A lot of family farms can now continue to operate because of mineral revenue. A lot of families make $7,000 a year farming and get a $90,000 check from EnCana (peace be upon their holy name...) That lets them continue a tradition and lifestyle that is important to themselves and the community.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

You're out in the Weld hinterlands . . . am I wrong?

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My dirt-farming neighbor recently bricked over the exterior of his old farmhouse. He sure didn't get the money for such "extravagance" from selling hay, corn and barley. On a recent visit they seemed the happiest folks in the world. Not the kind of "we can't make ends meet" depression that is all to common in rural communities.

But that angle will have zero impact on the highly fertile Birth Control Voter. She might respond better to Laugesen's "billionaire on vacation wants to make blue collar guys stop working" angle. MIGHT.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 12:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking more low-info, not hopelessly-wrong-and-proud-of-it info.

For out-of-staters and in-state intellectuals: things are getting good on Colorado TV. Poor Ken Buck got slaughtered in 2010 by constant #WarOnWomen ads with little response. Those are starting against Cory Gardner (Too Extreme for Colorado, would you believe it?), but there are some very good outside ads in his favor. In my favorite, a Millennial-aged female looks into the camera and says her generation cannot get jobs because of Sen. Udall's spending. Boom: engaging, understandable and -- !!! -- factual!

The pro-fracking forces are also defining the issues well beyond "we're really not poisoning your kids too much."

Homey may not be playing that this year, I'm reluctantly optimistic.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Independence Institute has done the editing for you. Here is Wayne's 47 seconds on Polis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nuRE_DR66OM

"Out of touch." That's what comes to mind when I watch this.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

SWEET! (Though I don't know that 50 seconds is enough). I posted it on the George Leing FB Page.

Thanks.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 5:40 PM

It Is On.

Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores and its effect on Colorado Politics. A very good story, featuring HOSS David Kopel from DU Law School and the Independence Institute.

Over the counter? You mean, women would still have to, like, pay for it?

UPDATE: Embed code is funky, click the link.

But johngalt thinks:

A sad situation when a report as slanted as this one can be called "very good." Yeah, I guess they didn't actually come out and say "Cory Gardner is a liar, don't vote for him."

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I grade on a curve... Watching it again, I was suggesting that the reporting on Burwell v Hobby Lobby was fair. Sen. Udall certainly gets a softer glove in the summation.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Regarding Cory's OTC push for the pill, he's thought of the "yeah, but what if they can't afford it" argument and suggested a legislative fix to make it free for "low-income, homeless indigent folks [to] have access to their" birth control "their medicine" or, as Berkeley now does, "to their medical marijuana."

ACCESS TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS A CIVIL RIGHT!

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 1:18 PM

Somebody Mention Bad Poll Numbers?

All Hail Taranto!

taranto140702.gif


Otequay of the Ayday

Obama doesn't want a real immigration deal. The Cynic-in-Chief wants a real fight over a false immigration deal.

With his poll numbers sinking, new foreign crises erupting almost daily, ongoing hearings on his scandals and his diplomatic ineptitude, an immigration fight is Obama's only wedge of hope to unite his party for Nov. 4.

Like the enthusiastic audiences at Obama's telepromptered rallies, these poor frightened Latino youngsters are just props. And an immigration fight, properly fueled (Obama will swear in new citizens for a July 4 photo op), will distract from his other countless screw-ups.

Andrew Malcolm on IBD Ed page.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Oh, he's uniting people, all right...

“'Mr. Obama finds himself in the uncomfortable position where every age group, independents, and whites all agree that the public has given up on his ability to accomplish anything before the end of his term,' said Zogby in releasing his latest numbers."

http://washex.am/1kf14rg

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 2, 2014 3:50 PM

July 1, 2014

Ad Hominem 'Till Thick...

You can go too far laughing at the less-intelligent and not-completely-connected of your intellectual adversaries. But if you abjure it altogether, you risk missing funny stuff like this: hateful tweets directed as SCOTUSBlog, thinking it to be the body's official site.


Turning the Clock Back to . . . 2012!

Ramesh Ponnuru points out, contrary to Sturm and Drang, that yesterday's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. does not change anything beyond how it was during President Obama's first term.

Here's an easy way to cut through the arguments and counterarguments surrounding today's Hobby Lobby ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court: Think back to 2012.

Good point. Now does that mean The Civil Wars will get back together?

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Sir! "War of Northern Aggression," if you please.

Yeah, couldn't resist. Considering how many references I've endured pointing to the twelfth century, wire coat hangers, and male hegemony, I think I'm just a little bit entitled.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 1, 2014 4:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And if you were waiting to a John Cusack reference, don't hold your breath...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 1, 2014 4:23 PM

Maybe I do Need Subsidies...

I laughed about "access" to guitar strings. But maybe my employer does need to get involved:

gold_guitar_strings.jpg


You know you're curious: ~$29/set before discount

Music Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

If "access for all" to guitar strings were "guaranteed" by government, everyone would get one set of crappy cat gut strings and exceptional strings such as these would become extinct. That is, until we get too old in which case we'd receive a pain pill.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 11:13 AM
But jk thinks:

Statist. The real nightmare scenario is that these strings are crappy but Optima's lobbyist is good enough to get "oh, and by the way, they need to be have least 7.1% gold content" into the bill.

Then you get shortages, bad quality, and unreasonable expense -- a WFTGAWHTH Trifecta!

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2014 12:20 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)