October 31, 2014
Don't let anyone tell you...
...that fossil fuels are required to make a bus go!
No idea if this is legit...
"It takes a village" to get Hillary's bus outta town.
"What difference, at this point, does it make" if the fuel gauge says empty or full?
Quote of the Day
Obama fatigue is setting in. Indeed, I've gone from Obama fatigue through full-on Obama Epstein-Barr to end-stage Obama narcolepsy. I hear him talking, or hear some MSNBC-type rhapsodizing about how misunderstood he is, and I start dozing off like a truck driver who took the drowsy-formula Nyquil by mistake. "Gotta stay awake! This is my job!" But then 20 seconds later, Jonathan Alter starts telling me how misunderstood the president is, and suddenly orange traffic cones are bouncing off my truck's grill as I somnolently drift into a highway work zone. -- Jonah Goldberg [Subscribe]
Honorable mention (same source):
I want to congratulate the National Review Institute for an absolutely fantastic event this week in New York. We had the first annual William F. Buckley Prize dinner and it was a smashing success. I would also like to congratulate the inaugural winner of the Buckley Prize, my friend and hero Charles Krauthammer, who gave a splendid talk. I particularly enjoyed his 15-minute extemporaneous rap, though I could have used fewer F-bombs.
Colorado dad with daughters sitcom
Having basically sworn off the sitcom genre since, I dunno, The Cosby Show, I hadn't heard of Last Man Standing until my brother-in-law finally suggested it. The latest episode 'School Merger' [sign in to your TV subscription provider required] features the grandson (with a enviro-leftist son-in-law father) dressed up as an "earth destroying" lump of coal for Halloween, and a reference to Governor Hickenlooper as a fictitious candidate (because, what, you expect me to believe that's a real name?)
Here's a taste that doesn't require authentication.
DVR'ing is recommended.
Did I mention that Mike's wife, Vanessa, is a geologist who works for a coal company? Har!
I'll give it a go. Like you, it's not my genre; the pacing and structure -- even in the small clip -- gnaw at one's soul.
There were, however, some good lines. One we should borrow: "Really? Prop 105 is backed by ISIS?"
I honestly abhor sitcoms and anything in this one featuring the daughter that was the poll worker (in that scene) makes my skin crawl. But the adults are not blithering idiots, so I was able to sit through an episode and scenes with the lefty son-in-law are actually funny. Your mission should you choose to accept it... Good Luck
Between Wednesday and today, 244,245 more ballots were returned by Colorado voters.
68,557 were unaffiliated with a party
76,542 were registered Democratic
96,427 were registered Republican
The derivative of the R-D margin, which I had projected at -1% per reporting interval, slipped to just -0.3%. The second derivative, i.e. the "momentum" of the Republican vs. the Democratic "ground game" is therefore positive at this point.
I dunno JG, it sounds a little like calling a reduction in the rate of increase of spending a, "spending cut."
Okay, you remember the rate equation story problems we used to work in school? "How long does it take for the barrel to fill up" and "will it be full before the polls close at 7 pm on November 4?" If the rate doesn't look fast enough to fill the barrel by then, that's a good thing. If that rate then SLOWS even MORE, that's even better.
'course I went before Common Core™, but we never had a nefarious union thug standing over said barrel with a large bucket of water and a fire hose. Kinda changes things...
Eleven Year Update
I wrote this essay in May 2003, comparing the private sector amenities available to a customer buying an oil change to those at the State-coerced Clean Air Colorado emissions test.
I endured the latter yesterday (hmm, reminds me -- I need the former) and decided that the essay needs an update. Indulge me and read the old one, even if only to see how little my prose has matured in 138 months.
To be fair, some things have improved. I still have to drive ten miles (spewing foul exhaust all the way there and back) but now, instead of Boulder, I can take pleasant country roads to the Weld County location and grab a Starbucks a half-mile away. The web site lists wait times and I did not wait long right before noon on the second to last day of the month.
Being Weld County, the people are more pleasant -- although I was never greeted or thanked. I was waved into a bay when it was time and told where the waiting room was. The cheap seats had seat cushions and there was thankfully no TV. When completed, it was parked for 10-15 minutes before someone came to print papers and take my money. O blinding hour, Oh terrible holy day -- they take credit cards now!
To be clear, nobody was surly or officious. My only complaint -- except being forced to take an hour out of my day for "emissions theatre" -- was the long wait at the end to get me out. But the last oil change I got was at a Jiffy Lube in Longmont. They had a Starbucks machine in the lobby, satellite TV, comfy chairs, and staff that respected your time.
And the Great American Tire location of which I spoke so lovingly? It has been empty for many years. The market has spoken. But, pacé Sec Clinton, State coercion is creating jobs:
That help wanted sign looks rather permanent. Maybe the two free emissions tests per paycheck perk isn't really cementing that employee loyalty. Perhaps when government forces government to raise its minimum wage...
Government - Creating the jobs that even non-Americans won't do.
Like many, I did not know such an occupation existed until one its ranks was promoted to the Oval Office. But I am not going to laugh anymore.
I'd be afraid to:
Two "Stop the Violence" organizers allegedly beat one of their colleagues so severely that he vomited blood and was left unconscious in critical condition.
Nikole Ardeno and Emanuel Velez, both 30, accused their former roommate of stealing their property, and allegedly punched and kicked him in the street until he had seizures. Arrested moments later, Ardeno was still wearing the same "Stop the Violence" T-shirt she had on the night before when she coordinated a march protesting two recent shootings, Washington Police Chief Chris Luppino said.
The victim, Joshua Magraff, also is a community organizer with the anti-violence group, and shared an apartment with the suspects until recently.
Hat-tip Insty, who adds
, "That 'all property is theft' stuff? That's for other people's property."
October 30, 2014
Live Debate: Is There a War on Women? (Bumped)
Watch below on the Independence Institute.
Starring Kelly Maher, Susan Green and Laura Carno, according to Jon Caldera. Perhaps others as well.
live streaming video on Ustream
UPDATE: Here's the recording
Loved the Laura Carno point that "Our mothers used to say that they don't need a man to tell them what to do but women today are letting a government tell them what to do."
And I commend the several areas of agreement and the fact that they all wished to celebrate said agreement.
Okay, I had a good night's rest and ate a nutritious lunch and can watch the rest in my newly fortified condition.
Laura Carno (maybe we can all agree she's the star?) at 50:25 "Pro Choice on doctors, health plan, and my self defense. I want to be the one to choose how big my magazine is..." Yeah!
If we have time... when the elections are past ...
I'd love to hear if anyone believes there is anything to Laura Chapin's dystopian tales of reproductive rights in the Lone Star State. Just because her style makes me want to gnaw my own arm off to get away, all of us believe in the deleterious effects of regulation. Anything to the charge that Texans have made abortions so difficult that that have basically outlawed them?
I believe she's referring to the "hospital where the physician has admitting privileges within his or an adjacent county" that Abortion Barbie made her name filibustering. If the measure also included "or an emergency room" I'd be fine with it. "Admitting privileges" is a barrier to entry for a great many abortionists.
I thought Ms. Davis's red sneakers filibuster concerned a bill banning the termination of 20+ week pregnancies.
I'm not at all swayed by her suggestion that some go to Mexico. I think if I lived there, I'd go to Mexico for haircuts.
But I want to be charitable, and it is easy to see that regulation could provide a path around Casey.
Imagine there's a paycheck
Have you seen the new Chipotle bag slogan, offering "people something to read while dining?"
"Hope that, in future, all is well, everyone eats free, and anyone who works actually gets paid for it."
Okay, I made that up from a collision of two stories about Chipotle this week:
Useful Idiots: Chipotle Espouses Communist Rhetoric On To-Go Bags from 'Tea Party News Network', and;
Chipotle workers say they work extra hours for no pay from CNN Money.
So is the bag slogan a proletarian fig-leaf for the Bourgeiose Chipotle corporatists? For its part I am critical of TPNN's take that "the Mexican grill took another step to the left by writing slogans on their bags that include plainly Communist rhetoric" with the slogan:
"Hope that, in future, all is well, everyone eats free, no one must work, all just sit around feeling love for one another."
I wrote on their FB post, "Am I the only one who recognizes the difference between "no one must work" and "no one DOES work?"
I had also hoped to parlay this story into a "what would you spend your time doing if you didn't HAVE to work" comment fest.
My answer: I would build more and invent more. And maybe also farm more.
You were a little more generous than I with Chipoltle. I heard the strains of Merle Haggard warning us of "drinking free Bubble Up and eatin' that Rainbow Stew."
I think of the dumpster divers ("Freegans " -- that's the name) who are already there. They enjoy a lifestyle for which Willa Cathers' characters labored seven days a week and they are not impeded by work.
Likewise, I would hope for a future where yes, you could have a 2014 lifestyle without work, but that those choosing that would be equally derided. And the rest would still fervently produce to afford the latest flying car.
My public sector relatives are all retiring or discussing it, though most are younger than I am. I -- in perfect health -- would not dream of stopping in less than 12 years and then would hope to work half-days-most-days-a-week as my father did: a splendid "half-retirement" that lasted several years.
With my imperfect health, I worry monstrously that I might be shunted off to disability before then and I dread the idea. Playing guitar and reading on the weekend is a joy but I need the structure imposed by employment.
Which was the Vonnegut book where nobody works? It was a dystopia and the protagonist's best day is when he helps a person repair a car and gets $5. My economics and Vonnegut's are less than identical, but I think he nailed that one.
Try a Heinlein book called Beyond this Horizon. It concludes that humans are basically productive and even when not, "working," per se they still create stuff that increases wealth.
One Movie Star I'll Listen To
First, I need to complement Reason. As elections near, the magazine (and The FBN Independents whom they constitute 33% of) are interminable to one of the libertario delenda est persuasion. But, they are cool about it. They are publishing articles, three at a time, suggesting the most strategic vote:
The GOPaean was penned by Grover Norquist. Perhaps my favorite moment of Atlas Shrugged Part III was his cameo as a nameless gub'mint bureaucrat. Great stuff -- but even better are his trenchant calls for little-l libertarians to vote Republican.
If the Democrat Senate candidate in North Carolina or Virginia wins by a narrow margin because several hundred or thousands of liberty voters voted for the libertarian third party candidate rather than the Republican Senate candidate how will this be understood by the media and by the national electorate? Will the media announce that the Democrat victories are actually a demonstration of the growing strength of the libertarian movement? Or will they argue the nation voted for big government? What message does your "message" vote send?
Well who is getting this message? When you watch the TV commentators on election night the tally they put up on the board is either, one, Republicans win and the nation wants lower taxes and spending and an end to Obamacare or two, Democrats win the Senate and the nation wants Obama's growing government. We don't get to write the script.
Liberty activists should remember that voting is only one political act. Speaking with your siblings, co-workers, neighbors, children and parents provides daily opportunities to advance liberty and multiply the voice and power of the liberty movement. Call your grandparents. Speak with the waitress. Don't whine that Republican candidates do not talk about liberty. You talk about liberty to everyone who will listen. Whining about other people is not work. It is whining. The struggle against statism is a great deal of work and the only person you control is you. Be the calm, coherent voice for liberty you wish the Republican candidate for Senate was.
Sen. Rand Paul wrote yesterday's GOP call. I've read most of the six and they are all worth a read. They are heavily invested in the big-L path -- I really do give them props for opening it up to powerful arguments from the evil Republicrats.
October 29, 2014
If You Like Your Healthcare Plan...
...and don't mind a 77% increase -- you can keep your healthcare plan!
Hugh Hewitt (h/t Jim Geraghty) warns of a post-election surprise.
Colorado health-insurance consumers relying on tax credits will see their share of premiums rise an average of 77 percent next year if they keep the same plans, according to the state's preliminary analysis.
The plans are not going up that much, but the
tax credits are going down.
One tires of pointing out how the left would behave were a private corporation to use any of these tactics.
And that is just the monthly premium increases. Don't forget that deductibles have been jacked up, usually to the limit allowed by the O-care law, as have maximum out-of-pocket annual limits.
"Pay more - get less." Who wouldn't vote for that?!
And another one I was just reminded of: coinsurance. That's the percentage of any medical costs that the insured has to pay AFTER the deductible is met. I recall they used to be around 5% to 10% depending on the plan you selected. Our choices this year are 30% or 40%.
Thanks, government, for making my health insurance "less expensive!"
And Reuters just ran a story noting that in one case of investigative journalism (it still exists! Let's hope there's more): only about 25% of the doctors listed on 12 metropolitan areas' exchange web sites actually were available to take an appointment.
Reuters here (haven't learned to imbed links in comments):
Hat tip to Kevin "You get a great deal on an insurance policy that no one accepts" Williamson at NRO. ("Health Care Hell")
Is this the best we can do? Chicagoans are laughing their arses off at us over this being called "aggressive." LOL
Need I tell a blog brother to "check his privilege?" (I hope so -- I think it would be a first!)
I had some similar thoughts -- though the silent follow to the car was creepy.
As it happens, I'll see your Chicago and raise you New York City. How about Woman walks ten hours around Manhattan. Attractive as I am, I cannot relate. Some of the remarks seemed genuinely complimentary and many seemed inept attempts to "hit on" an attractive woman. But mostly, I thought this is New York (and some sketchy portions thereof). In ten hours, that's the worst you have?
I'd accept recalibration -- especially from a ThreeSourcer with XX chromosomes.
Sorry, I'm confused. What is happening in the video here? Who is harassing whom and why?
The young lady whose voice is heard is attempting to film Governor Hickenlooper. His "muscle" -- and I do use the term loosely -- position signs to prevent her from capturing Hizzonner on camera, then they follow her to the coffee shop and to her car.
Wave Propagation 2
Did somebody say differentials?
The d(R-D)/dT values are 0.7%, -3.2%, -0.1%, -1.7% and -1.0% over the six data points. Extrapolated curve uses the most recent slope, -1.0% per interval.
Thanks, feeling a little better. Plus Rasmussen has Cory Gardner above 50% for the first time ever.
I remain worried about the vaunted Democrat turnout/fraud machine. That -- as much as math -- has me looking at the slopes.
You mean, like "Republican" poll watchers in "Democrat County Clerk Hillary Hall's" * Boulder County Clerk's Office actually being Democrats? And not objecting when ballots with obviously non-matching signatures are counted anyway? That kind of "turnout" and "fraud?"
* In protest of the Boulder Daily Camera describing state election officials as "member[s] of Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler's staff."
Note the call to Boulder County Republicans to go to poll watcher training this Saturday morning and to volunteer in the clerk's office next Mon, Tues or Wed. Alert your righty BoCo friends.
I told you so
There are three great jk heterodoxies.
One: that oil does not come from dead dinosaurs, but a natural outgassing of the planet's core. Hydrocarbons are better connected to geology than biology.
The second was that Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe is epistemologically unfounded. I have "warmed" (get it? See what I did there?) to the idea, though I still consider it both wildly overwrought and a problem far less risky than its proposed solutions.
The third is calling shenanigans on the low fat, T-factor diet. I was on that. I weighed 270 pounds. I was by no means an early adopter of Atkins, but it was still considered "woo" by the medical community at large. I lost 80 pounds and never felt better. Alas, I have no skill at moderation and cannot keep dm/dt = 0 for very long. But I have the owner's manual now and can easily lose when motivated.
I hope to live long enough to deliver a "nanny-nanny-boo-boo!" on each of these to my friends who gave me the pitying, tinfoil hat/black helicopter looks. But today is a pretty good day to claim a win on #3.
Though completely discredited in respectable studies, the USDA and NIH are still dragging their heels. They cannot change their guidelines without an at-least-implicit mea culpa. So, they will do what government does -- who cares how many die?
The most current and rigorous science on saturated fat is moving in the opposite direction from the USDA committee. A landmark meta-analysis of all the available evidence, conducted this year by scientists at Cambridge and Harvard, among others, and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that saturated fats could not, after all, be said to cause heart disease. While saturated fats moderately raise "bad" LDL-cholesterol, this does not apparently lead to adverse health outcomes such as heart attacks and death. Another meta-analysis, published in the respected American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, came to the same conclusion. The USDA committee has ignored these findings.
No doubt, accepting them would be another embarrassing reversal for nutrition experts. The USDA, the NIH and the American Heart Association have spent billions trying to prove and promote the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease.
In place of saturated fats, these agencies have counseled Americans to consume ever-larger quantities of unsaturated fats, which are found mainly in soybean and other vegetable oils. Yet a diet high in these oils has been found in clinical trials to lead to worrisome health effects, including higher rates of cancer.
They have to revise their guidelines every five years and there is little evidence they will incorporate new science this time around.
One almost wonders whether having the government set dietary guidelines is even, really, much of a good idea.
Now can we finally dispense with the fairy tale that goes, "Government is separated from religion by the Constitution, which means everything government does is driven by science?"
October 28, 2014
Quote of the Day
Salon doesn't score such honors with any frequency, but even I cannot fail to recognize sagacity:
"I am so pleased to be here with your senior senator, the passionate champion for working people and middle-class families, Elizabeth Warren!" [Secretary Hillary] Clinton roared. "I love watching Elizabeth, you know, give it to those who deserve to get it," she added. And who might "those who deserve to get it" be? Clinton, whose family foundation has collected up to half a million dollars from Goldman Sachs and whom many Wall Street Republicans are already prepared to support in 2016, didn't elaborate. . . . -- Luke Brinker
Hat-tip: James "All Hail" Taranto
BRIC Loses Another Letter
I received an interesting Facebook invitation yesterday. I have befriended a handful of people who share my last name in Brazil. I test the Portuguese translator in Facebook (it's sketchy) and address them all as "Cousin." After the re-election of überlefty President Dilma Rousseff the other day -- I was invited to a rally to impeach her.
I told "Cousin Luciana" to count me in in spirit and shared a WSJ link critical of Rousseff. The WSJ Ed Page is back suggesting that after the votes, the market voted.
Brazil's currency, the real, fell almost 2% and was trading at about 2.52 against the dollar at the end of Monday, close to its lowest point in a decade. Brazil's main stock market index was down 2.8% to its lowest close in six months. Those markets had rallied some in the last few weeks as challenger Aécio Neves had come close to Ms. Rousseff in the polls. So the Monday selloff was a case of investors pricing in the discount of continuing bad economic policy. A Brazil credit downgrade to "junk" status is likely on present trend.
Brazil is proof that democracy is no guarantee of prosperity. A country rich in resources and people has managed to squander both with an overweening state that buys votes via income redistribution and price controls on gasoline that force losses on producers. Those are Third World policy blunders in a country that fancies itself a First World aspirant. This explains Brazilís consistent economic underperformance (0.5% growth this year, following 2.5% in 2013) and 6.75% inflation rate.
Sec. Clinton was Right?
Happy Birthday to Charlie Daniels, job creator!
Hat-tip: Rhonda Vincent
UPDATE: Tweeps not following @CharlieDaniels are making a big mistake. He provides homespun wisdom, conservative politics, and pretty pictures 140 characters at a time.
Colorado election return data update from Monday, 10/27:
Republicans down 1 point to 43%.
Democrats steady at 32%.
Margin closer by 1 point at 11%.
(Unaffiliateds up one from 23% to 24%.) So really, I would call this "unchanged."
Back story here.
UPDATE: The graph appears to show a slight rise in the D turnout so I extended the percentages to the first decimal place. Democrat turnout is up, 0.7%. Republicans down 1.0 and U's up 0.3%.
We are completely screwed. Well, it was fun.
Otequay of the Ayday
In an article about Ms. Clinton's "gaffe" last week:
The senator has no clue where jobs come from and doesn't pretend to. She's a collection of categories, not a thoughtfully realized human being - a (pseudo) Native-American, feminist, populist, Harvard law professor. She no more knows where jobs come from than first-graders know where babies come from. She only knows that they exist and that something icky happened to make it so.
You guessed it - not Hillary, Elizabeth. But the article, the latest from the "Stimulus That!" blog of Communities Digital News contributor and economics professor Jim Picht, is more than just a single entertaining quote. It goes on to explain how Democrats and Republicans conspire to distract the electorate with one issue while a more important one goes unnoticed:
There are other things more important to making the job-creating activity profitable than the corporate tax rate. The regulatory environment is probably the most important of those. New York is less likely to attract new businesses and new jobs by cutting business taxes than it is by making it easier to start or expand a business, easier to hire new employees if there's a chance of a bigger profit, and not making it hard to get rid of those employees if the hoped-for profit doesn't materialize.
There is a great deal that our elected officials could do to make America a more vibrant business environment and American job markets more robust. The first step is honesty: Recognize where jobs come from, and where they don't. Businesses aren't the grit in our economic engine; they are the engine.
Taxes are the shibboleth that political parties and members of Congress use to identify enemies and avoid doing anything useful. It is impossible to be pro-consumer and pro-worker without being pro-business, yet Hillary wants to beat the horse of tax rates. Republicans are happy to go along. [Italics in original]
October 27, 2014
Political Ad of the Year
Jon Caldera is involved.
E, A, H, T and R can also be rearranged to spell "HEART." Just sayin'.
October 26, 2014
Review Corner Hiatus
Review Corner will be going dark for a few weeks. ThreeSources apologizes for any inconvenience, but reminds readers that "Two and a Half Men" will be returning to TV, so they are not entirely out of intellectual stimulation.
I'm going to tackle four books at once. Charles Murray recently posted what Prof. Greg Mankiw called A great and balanced essay on Ayn Rand which was well received on these pages. The same Murray wrote The Curmudgeon's Guide for Getting Ahead [Review Corner] which recommended that agnostic and atheist study some religious materials and try to come to terms with adult and intellectual religious concepts.
I've publicly opined that my eleven years of Catholic education included very little intellectual rigor. Two friends studied with Jesuits, who are known to be more demanding that way than the diocesan priests and laity I encountered. I took the liberty of asking one of these friends for a book (I think I distinctly said "a" as in "one" but I do not have access to the tape) to catch up a little. He asked two friends, added one of his own, and showed up with three books comprising 1400 pages. No pit'churs. No "for Dummies" concatenated to any of the titles.
Then, in what I consider to be a completely secular coincidence, a fourth book found its way onto the pile. My sister, cleaning out her late husband's bookshelf found a book my father's Aunt Mattie had inscribed to him on his birthday in 1949. I had never heard of it, but The Seven Storey Mountain was a surprise hit of that year. I started it the day after Dad's birthday (He'd have been 101) and have been surprised to hear it referenced in two of the other three books. (This is probably the liberty equivalent of "There's this fellow called Hayek..." But I was unaware.)
I am not certain what the plan is. I've now read a couple chapters of each -- and they are all quite good in their own way. I may continue to cycle through them. I know ThreeSourcers will suggest that it is just like one's first day in prison: that I should grab the 800 page, 17-lb. monster with the microscopic type and "kick its ass" first. I'll take that under advisement... It calls for Mortimer Adler's "syntopical reading" of digesting multiple books on the same topic without perhaps a sequential read through all the sources.
But, whatever happens, I am going to be busy. I may post some quotes along the way (I am furiously flagging both things I like and things with which I seriously disagree.) In "The Seven Story Mountain. Thomas Merton ends up in a Trappist Monastery. If that happens to me, I hope they have good WiFi.
And an excellent brewing program, no doubt.
I had independently decided to "study some religious materials and try to come to terms with adult and intellectual religious concepts" so I will share here the title I have selected. It was actually recommended by my father, from whom I willingly borrowed it. 'The Pagan Christ' is, as has been summarized to me, the story of the authoritarian highjacking of the Christian religion by the Romans. Before that it was a more personal and individualistic belief system. Now you can see why my interest was piqued.
While the author has been called names by some displeased reviewers and has had his scholarship questioned, I thought I should read it and form my own opinions. Can I read 200 pages in the time it takes jk to read 1400? Probably not, but I'll give it the ol' college try.
Bloody Romans. What have they ever done for us?
"Always look on the briiiight, side of life!"
October 24, 2014
Sec. Clinton Shares Her Economic Wisdom
"Don't let anybody tell you that it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."
Hat-tip: Washington Free Breacon
UPDATE: great comment on this from former state rep Shawn Mitchell on Facebook. Reproduced with permission:
That is not econ 101, it's lefty econ 101. It's not demand that created jobs. Demand reflects people who are hungry or cold or unsheltered. But their wants do nothing to fill themselves. It's a supplier's insight to spot current demand or having a vision of *possible* demand, and then risk, investment, work and offering and seeing it through that creates the value and the attendant jobs.
All the demand in the world will not plant the crops that feed the hungry, sew the clothes the cover naked, or build the computers that efficiently manage information. Ultimately, of course, demand is necessary for any product or service to succeed in the marketplace, but demand isn't sufficient and in itself, it's futile. It doesn't create the product or the jobs necessary to make and market the product.
A farmer needs see enough mouths and market, and then needs to bust his hump through the seasons to supply. A homebuilder has to see residents and potential move ins, and then risk or recruit the investment capital to hire the workers to build the homes. Demand does squat except offer opportunity to risk takers with drive and vision.
And that's just current demand. Sometimes visionaries *create* demand. What demand was there for Henry Ford's model A? What demand was there for photocopiers? For yellow stickit notes? For apple Coumputers? For cell phones? For smart phones. Entrepeneurs envisoned new things and new ways and with great commitment and risk created the products that the public truned out to want. Demand created nothing. Vision, risk, and work created the products and the jobs.
Why do tax-and-spend politicians insist on referring to nominally market-based economic policies as "trickle down?" Because by the time they get done with it, a trickle of wealth creation is all that is left.
One thing that is really staring to disturb me is this new syntactical construction on the left. "Don't let anyone tell you that..." or Paul Krugman's "... these stories are false." I liked it better when they prevaricated with nuance.
I have the opposite response. I'm glad that they aren't disguising the lies any longer. Fewer people will fall for them and, at the same time, it betrays a definitive state of panic that the stealthier tactics have failed.
Otequay of the Ayday
The liberal Denver Post endorsed Mr. Gardner, chiding the Democrat for failing to talk about substantive issues. Mr. Gardner has jumped on that contrast, too, ramping up his focus on kitchen-table issues like the economy, energy, education and the environment -- which polls show are resonating well with independents and Denver suburbanites, crucial voting blocs. He also seems to be holding his own among Hispanic voters.
Mr. Udall has now all but given up on claiming he has a winning message; his campaign has been reduced to promising that the party's vaunted ground operation will grind out a surprise victory. And maybe it will. But this year's Colorado is hardly proving a blueprint for future Democratic campaigns. It's modeling gone wrong.
The inestimable and ever-grounded Kim Strassel: The 'Colorado Model' Goes Thud
Special Bonus Quote:
If Colorado is serving as a model for anything these days, it's the risks of Democratic overreach.
Eadray the whole ingthay. It is short, sweet, and packed with peanuts.
Catch a wave...
and you're sittin' on top of the world!
I just commented on The Three Sources Platform? post that, in Colorado's 2012 general election, less than 1 percent of the ballots returned were by registered Libertarians or American Constitution Party members. That doesn't seem like much until one considers that the turnout amongst registered Democrats was 35% and Republicans 37%, with Unaffiliateds making up 28% of the vote. The narrow 2-point margin between the parties whose candidates might actually win can easily be swamped by an unequal split amongst U's, and the minor party votes may or may not make a difference in any individual race. (Usually, it should be noted, not.)
The 2012 election results were mixed, with Democrats and Republicans winning about equally, Democrats having a slight edge in both legislative houses. So the question now becomes, what does 2014 look like? We won't know for sure until election weeks come to an end on November 4th but because of the Secretary of State's practice that I highlighted last week, early voting returns tabulated by party affiliation are available to the public and are updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. So how do they look? Not good for Democrats.
Republicans are up 7 points to 44%.
Democrats are down 3 to 32%.
The margin is therefore up from 2% to 12%. (That's plus 10 points, boys and girls.)
(Unaffiliateds are down too, from 28% to 23%)
And this breakdown has been fairly consistent since the first of four data dumps, starting last Friday, as shown in the graph below.
Keep up the good ground game, GOP!
Editor's note: Important text has been emphasized for the reader's convenience. (I would have added color and flashing arrows too, but I'm not that good with HTML.)
Thanks for speaking slowly and using very small words. It is appreciated.
Because so many Democrat operatives that might work on that, "prevent defense," read Three Sources to keep up to speed???
Alright you Grinches, if I am left to be encouraged by this in solitude then so be it. I pledge to keep graphing each new set of data and we can all watch for the vaunted Udall ground-game ballot dump whenever it may come about, together.
It's a tough room, man, I may have mentioned that before.
Still not as tough as FB. Man, it got brutal over there. I had to say I was w, wr, wro, uh, not right enough this week.
Best of Cain suggests possible media bias.
The AP story:
A Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack.
The AP/Yahoo Headline:
Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem
October 23, 2014
Vigilamus pro te!
No embed, but click on over and enjoy 1:38 of ovation for Canadian hero, Sergeant of Arms Kevin Vickers.
So he killed another man with a gun, eh? And they're giving him an ovation. What's the deal? Guns are BAD. Right?
I heard the mayor of Ottawa say in an interview how terrible it was that an unarmed Canadian soldier had been killed while guarding a monument. What is it with western nations that makes us want to keep our soldiers unarmed all the time? Thank the Sergeant at Arms the he didn't stand for that guff.
Yes, and did you see PM Stephen Harper? Hoss. I suggested to the lovely bride that if they'd trade us Mr. Harper for President Obama, they could have one other of their choosing.
"What about Patrick Roy?" she asked.
Very slowly I answered "yes, my love of country is total. They can have Coach Roy and the President for PM Harper.
Heh. Harpers-Vickers 2016? Perhaps is Quebec secedes, they could annex the US.
The love of your life certainly does know your most sensitive pressure points, doesn't she. And your patriotism is sans precedent.
Tweet of the Day
Still like brother jg's better, but this might find some fans 'round these parts:
An armed society is a polite society - R.A.H.
My contribution: http://bit.ly/1pGxqhC
And congratulations to Mr. Manning and your Broncos. I'm not sure if seven touchdowns in four days is a record (they had a short week...), but it is a worthy feat.
"Greedy much," you may ask? It should'a been eight.
But in the Bolts defense, some of those zebra rulings were fish-eye worthy.
Great contribution. Love the commercial angle.
October 22, 2014
Quote of the Day
Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don't vote from voting, Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver's license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient it may be a little more difficult. -- President Obama during an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton.
I agree with Barack Obama. Again!
Such a shame that he has no way of stopping the DoJ from suing states to try to overturn voter ID laws. Maybe that skinny blonde dancing monkey was right, it's too bad we can't give the President all the power that he needs.
Paltrow - Kutchner 2016!!!
Welcome to Colorado's "Big Ass Lie" James O'Keefe
And a good companion article by John Fund here.
UPDATE: Todd Shepherd showed us last year how easy it is to find "orphaned ballots" in apartment mail rooms.
Lookit us! Our little. flyover state made it big with vote fraud! We're just like Illinois and California!
Thanks for posting this.
The Three Sources Platform?
I recall past discussions of a collaborative effort to list the principles that ThreeSourcers could agree upon, and that we thought would gain supporters and promote liberty at the expense of Leviathan. I believe we have a possible starting point with the platform of Libertarian for Colorado Governor Mike Dunafon:
He stands firm on the following issues:
- More Individual Liberty
- Less Government Regulation & Surveillance
- More Support for our Veterans
- An End to the War on Hemp
- Protect the 2nd Amendment
- Private Property, Commercial Liberty
- Marital Equality for ALL
- Women control their bodies
- Local Control of Education
- Release Non-Violent Drug Offenders
- Critical Thinking
- Independent Leadership
- Liberty & Freedom for all Coloradans
And where does this differ from the modern GOP? Drug war and social issues. Period.
What if the GOP released its pit bull bite from those marginal causes? More young voters. More female voters. More minority voters. More liberty and less Leviathan.
Just imagine Wyclef Jean and Snoop Dog with prime time appearances at the GOP convention, and Romney-like GOP candidates arriving at appearances to the rap refrain of Mayor Mike Dunafon!
"It isn't hard to do - It's easy if you try."
It seems there is little reason to fear votes siphoned by Dunafon will cost Beauprez the election. In this poll he showed dead last - 2 of 500 respondents (question 28.)
Surely this is a reflection of his inability to publicize his platform, rather than the platform itself.
Thanks for the link -- I had heard highlights of that poll, but I found some jewels in there just flipping through looking for the gubernatorial numbers.
Not letting Hizzoner the mayor and his supporters (most of whom I know by first name) off the hook:
1) The sum of Dunafon and big-L Libertarian Matthew Hess is the difference between Beauprez and Hickenlooper. A statistical oddity but illustrative (Hick must be saying "Libertario Delenda Est! If Only I could get those people to go Democrat....")
2) The unseriousness and lack of vetting of these candidates is overlooked. I've ground the Snoop Dogg incident into the ground, but a serious candidacy for statewide office takes a lot of work and a certain skill set. SecState candidate Wayne Williams drove from Colorado Springs to Ft. Lupton (beautiful place, btw) to talk to a few dozen at the Southern Weld County GOP Breakfast. My Libertoid and Third-Party-Independent friends pretend that their preferred candidates just need a shot or spot in the debates or something, but they overlook that their folks are generally not ready for prime time. Rep. Bob Barr or Gov. Gary Johnson both have resumes too thin for a major party but are hailed as stars in the LP.
You should've never let me see that link. Nobody is talking about the SecState race with all the big ones in Colorado, but I saw a debate on FOX31's #COpolitics from the source. If Democrat Joe Neguse wins, we will never again have a clean election in Colorado.
Democrat Joe Neguse ----------------------------------------- 138 27.60
Republican Wayne Williams ---------------------------------- 175 35.00
American Constitution Party, Amanda Campbell ---------- 12 2.40
Libertarian Dave Schambach ---------------------------------- 19 3.80
It is unconscionable that a Libertarian or American Constitutionalist would risk electing Mr. Neguse. What are you people thinking?
They're thinking, "There's not a dime's difference between Republicans and Democratics." Well, except that one party wants big, messy, loosey-goosey elections and the other wants one person one vote elections. Maybe a few other differences too.
And another thing: As a Constitutionalist I hate democracy and I hate elections. So why do American Constitution Party members and Libertarians, who presumably hate both of those things as much as I do, work so hard to participate in elections when they have zero chance of winning?
Let me allay your concerns somewhat. The figures above are from a preference poll. Fortunately, Libertarians and American Constitutionalists seem less inclined to crawl over broken glass, or even walk to the mailbox, to vote.
Tabulated ballot returns by party from 2012 show a statewide total of 0.16% ACN ballots returned and 0.57% Libertarian ballots. Presumably others might vote for those party's candidates but probably not enough to move their combined showing over a full 1 percent.
Denver's combined ACN + LBR participation was the highest of any county over 20,000 total ballots, with 0.87%.
Only 6 of Colorado's 64 counties exceeded 1 percent combined ACN + LBR ballots returned: Clear Creek, Crowley, Gilpin, Park, San Juan and San Miguel, with total ballots cast of 3277, 768, 1845, 6217, 309 and 2552 respectively.
Women Weary of War on Them
Yahoo news: AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November
Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.
Credit the WSJ Ed Page for detection and acquisition of Ag:
If there's a silver lining for McDonald's in Tuesday's dreadful earnings report, it is that perhaps union activists will begin to understand that the fast-food chain cannot solve the problems of the Obama economy. The world's largest restaurant company reported a 30% decline in quarterly profits on a 5% drop in revenues. Problems under the golden arches were global--sales were weak in China, Europe and the United States.
So even one of the world's most ubiquitous consumer brands cannot print money at its pleasure. This may be news to liberal pressure groups that have lately been demanding that government order the chain known for cheap food to somehow pay higher wages.
The heartless monocled capitalists in the corner office suggest automation as a way out. Not to save labor costs of course -- rather to satisfy customers' demand for more customization.
[Don] Thompson, the CEO, said Tuesday that customers "want to personalize their meals" and "to enjoy eating in a contemporary, inviting atmosphere. And they want choices in how they order, choices in what they order and how they're served."
I'd like to go through the drive through and get what I order. That would be a personalized, contemporary experience for me.
And the beauty is, in a competitive marketplace, you don't even have to pay more to get it. Even if one chain raises wages to higher more interested staff, another will automate them to the curb. Well, until government regulates them to the history books.
There's your decision, boys and girls: markets or government? Voting is now open.
October 21, 2014
Three Sources Radio!
In the comments for yesterday's What We Fight For post I mentioned that I plugged the blog in a call to Grassroots Radio Colorado yesterday evening. Want to know what yours truly sounds like? Tune in to the podcast.
Start at 23:00, but if you're in a hurry skip to 26:50. But I recommend starting at 23:00.
The rest of the show was pretty good too, including both Tom Tancredo and state senator Kevin Lundberg agreeing with what I'd said and expanding on it. Listen through to the end if you have time.
That's Grassroots Radio Colorado, with my super cool friend Kris Cook on 560 am KLZ in Denver, weekdays 5-7 pm Mountain Time. (5-6 on Fridays.) Check it out!!
Tune in live on the internet here.
And he hawks threesources.com! Well played, sir!
You did well but I had listened to the whole thing and was still reeling from Rep. Tancredo saying "Republicans should all get together and campaign on opposition to immigration!"
Wealth "ex nihilo" - for the Rich
Scott S. Powell, senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner at RemingtonRand LLC, has an IBD editorial today to explain How Washington Widens Gap Between The Rich And Poor. He cites the same study that Rich Karlgaard told us about in JK's post yesterday, and then extends the unintended - or not - effects.
Three basics about regulation, politics and the economy must be understood.
First, politicians perceive crises as opportunities to grandstand with supposed legislative fixes. But since new laws rarely fix the purported problems, politicians shift responsibility of their laws' rulemaking to unelected, unaccountable agency bureaucrats.
Second, regulatory costs are more burdensome for small firms than large enterprises.
Third, small companies create most new jobs.
Segue now to monetary policy, and its misguided application to paper over the recession caused by government:
Fed-engineered money creation and low interest rates have helped create a stock market casino, prompting more and more companies to go all in with enlarged stock buyback programs to goose per-share earnings and elevate stock prices -- wealth through financial engineering rather than increased productivity.
Artificially low interest rates have been equally beneficial for real estate investors, providing leverage to propel prices and transactions in an upward trajectory.
While the Fed says its policies have kept consumer prices in check for the working class, the real benefit has been inflating asset prices in the portfolios of the rich. Call them the 1% or the 2%, the rich are getting richer, courtesy of the ruling class in Washington, elected in large part by voters who have been fooled and left behind.
And who absorbs one hundred percent of the blame for both the recession, with its attendant job slump, and the rise of the rich at expense of the poor? You guessed it - Wall Street.
My Deepest Thoughts on the President
Is the President of the United States a secret Muslim? A Kenyan Anti-colonialist dedicated to destroying the US from the inside? I've heard these and worse from people I respect. But as an Occam's Razor guy, I usually respond "no, he's a product of the faculty lounge."
Ruth Wisse, retired professor at Haavaad, pens an endorsement for Tom Cotton to be the next US Senator from Arkansas
Which brings us to Tom Cotton, the sixth-generation Arkansan who forged a path of his own in getting to Harvard and has maintained his independence ever since. As an undergraduate he majored in government, wrote his senior thesis on the Federalist Papers and voiced his conservative opinions in a column in the Harvard Crimson. After graduating from law school he took up a legal career that might have seamlessly led to political office. Instead he joined the Army as an infantry officer. His almost five years of active duty included two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; he later returned to Afghanistan as operations officer for a reconstruction team. As against those who equate military service with bellicosity, a U.S. soldier who has been on daily combat patrols in dangerous places is likelier than others to craft foreign policy with intelligent discretion.
Wisse contrasts Cotton with more typical alumnae and current faculty. Including, um...
My experience at Harvard makes it hard for me to join in blaming Barack Obama personally for the country's woes. After all, he is only a dutiful product of Harvard Law School and of Columbia University before that. When President Harry Truman famously said, "The buck stops here," he meant that persons who seek and attain highest office are responsible for whatever happens on their watch. But how can we in good conscience apply this standard to Mr. Obama, who was elected president as a junior senator with no experience in governing, who was handpicked and tailored by the academic and cultural elite?
No boots on the ground? No military strategy? Trust your enemies and diss your allies? Spokespersons for the president could have been lip-synced by denizens of his alma mater. That Mr. Obama has no use for the other side of the aisle is the logical extension of a university that has purged all but a handful of conservatives from its faculty--and has done so in the name of achieving greater diversity.
I've liked everything that Professor Wisse has written, though I must admit it's only in the WSJ that I have found her. She once penned something about the "smallness of the hive mind" and implied less than brave behaviors in one terrific post.
And KOA's Mike Rosen read this on air today.
And if anyone needs a more pragmatic reason to refrain from attacking the President personally, consider this NYT piece: Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate
On the campaign trail, black leaders like Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, are offering a very different message.
They embrace the health care law -- "I will never run away from the Affordable Care Act," Mr. Cummings said -- and often invoke voting rights and the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black man shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., as a way to mobilize black voters. And they defend the president.
"People understand that you have to walk a thin line," Mr. Cummings said, describing Democratic candidates' dilemma. "But African-Americans do not want you denying any affiliation with the president, because they love this president. He is like a son to them."
My president, right or wrong.
I'm going to risk a step away from Adam Smith "loveliness" and seek assistance in a Libertario Delenda Est Facebook fight. These are as productive as name calling all caps discussions with progressives -- but there remains a specter of ability to reach with reason.
A very bright buddy is on a tear against conservatives and tea partiers and other foul not-libertarian-enough-for-me vermin and pestilence. I counseled, of course, that we might work together with those who wanted lower taxes, less spending, fewer regulations, and constitutionally limited government. He comes back with the Ayn Rand quote "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."
"SO'S YOUR OLD MAN!!" that yet Rand appreciated both President Reagan, with whom she'd have had many disagreements, and the US Constitution which is poised to foster compromise.
It seems that I have heard Rand quotes about electoral strategy that are pragmatic if not quite fusionism. Am I barking up the wrong tree?
While the friend is too People's Front of Judea to be reachable, there may be others on the thread who waver.
UPDATE: I am getting less lovely by the minute . . . But here is the meme that inspired the thread.
My buddy takes exception to the phrase "moral absolutes." To him it is code:
Does It mean the person who posts this wants to throw you in jail for things you do with your own body that don't damage anyone else.
Is that what they think Limited Government is?
I suggest both that there are less illiberal translations of "moral absolutes" and that when you agree with somebody on 11/12 things maybe is best not to focus on the 1/12.
Have you a link to the post? I've checked your FB feed and couldn't find the post in question. While you're doing that, I'll go sharpen the knives.
The citizens of a free nation may disagree about the specific legal procedures or methods of implementing their rights (which is a complex problem, the province of political science and of the philosophy of law), but they agree on the basic principle to be implemented: the principle of individual rights. When a country‚Äôs constitution places individual rights outside the reach of public authorities, the sphere of political power is severely delimited‚ÄĒand thus the citizens may, safely and properly, agree to abide by the decisions of a majority vote in this delimited sphere. The lives and property of minorities or dissenters are not at stake, are not subject to vote and are not endangered by any majority decision; no man or group holds a blank check on power over others. - "Collectivized 'Rights'" The Virtue of Selfishness
But that ain't where we are today, izzit?
The best reply to his quote may be, "So, you choose the poison? I'm too much of an optimist to believe that the ideas we both hold dear can't eventually win the hearts and minds of Americans, the most independent and self-reliant people in human history, if we will finally engage in a debate of ideas. In the meantime, surrendering the levers of government power to Social Statists is a bad strategy."
Lovely-Schmovely! It's my buddy and LOTR-F regular, Wayne. ThreesSourcers might enjoy the picture,
His suspicion is justified. However,
1) If that is what they mean, it is good that they must now say so in code, and
2) Having included the principles of freedom, liberty, and limited government, we need merely point to those to counter any attempts along the lines he fears.
But I will charitably take "moral absolutes" to mean "right and wrong exist."
October 20, 2014
Surely it was a Gynecology Textbook!
Not a stellar interview for Mark Udall (OB/GYN - CO):
Udall answered a series of ten questions, answers to some of which came more easily than others. For instance, when asked whether the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, the senator quickly said "no."
The first clue that something was up came when his response to "Is Common Core good or bad for Colorado students?" was "Yes."
But things really went off the rails when Udall was asked to name the three most influential books he's ever read along with the last song he listened to. He quickly came up with Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy, but then, after a lengthy pause, he appeared to be stumped.
"We can play this over, right, I mean re-tape this?" Udall asked the interviewer, perhaps not realizing that the clip would go out as-is. "I'm brain dead today," he admitted after failing to come up with the last song he listened to.
Realizing his mistake, Udall finally got it together and finished answering the probing questions.
"Who am I? Why am I here?"
With apologies to Vice Admiral James Stockdale, RIP.
Understanding Alissa Rosenbaum
Hard core Randians will recognize that Alissa Rosenbaum was the birth name of Ayn Rand (though The Refugee will sheepishly admit that he did not). Such Randians will likely greatly enjoy an article in The Federalist by Charles Murray, titled, "How Ayn Rand Captured the Magic of American Life."
Murray is the W.H. Brady Scholar at AEI. His article is part book review, part biography and part confessional. While clearly a Rand fan, Murray attempts to apply some "objectivism" to the persona that Rand created for herself. At the charge that Murray puts toward Rand as a hypocrite, one might shrug (no pun intended) and say that even Objectivists are human.
The Refugee believes that this article will cause much thought among Three Sourcers. He will only pull two quotes, both from very late in the piece:
That world came together in the chapters of ďAtlas ShruggedĒ describing Galtís Gulch, the chapters I most often reread when I go back to the book. The great men and women who have gone on strike are gathered there, sometimes working at their old professions, but more often being grocers and cabbage growers and plumbers, because thatís the niche in which they can make a living. In scene after scene, Rand shows what such a community would be like, and it does not consist of isolated individualists holding one another at armís length. Individualists, yes, but ones who have fun in one anotherís company, care about one another, and care for one anotherónot out of obligation, but out of mutual respect and spontaneous affection.
Better than any other American novelist, she captured the magic of what life in America is supposed to be. The utopia of her novels is not a utopia of greed. It is not a utopia of Nietzschean supermen. It is a utopia of human beings living together in Jeffersonian freedom.
Give it a read and contemplate the greater meaning.
Hat tip: realclearpolitics.com
Yeah baby! I agree with the short excerpt, with a caveat I'll mention shortly. I think that the selfishness gets all the pub, perhaps because there is so much altruism-enabled forced "care for our neighbors" that needs pushing back against. And when Rand or Objectivism are cited as an antidote it is seen, not as the secure, confident, self-reliant community of cooperative life that was depicted, but as a complete mirror image of collectivism, i.e. hermitism. That is a grievous error with lamentable consequences along the lines of Rich Karlgaard's "what could have been."
And now the caveat: The cited author states that those gathered in the valley worked at their old professions "because that's the niche in which they can make a living." No, not really. They kept their old professions because they LOVED them. That is one of many points of the novel: It isn't work that makes man miserable, it is having to struggle against society in order to do one's chosen work, that makes life unrewarding.
I look forward to sitting down with the whole article. Perhaps I'll have more to say afterward. Heh. "Perhaps."
Wow. Thanks for sharing. I am rather stupefied that the Curmudgeon himself [Review Corner] does not subscribe to the Whitaker Chambers / NR view of Rand. (Curiouser still, Murray is the reason I have 1500 pages of theology books into which I just dove this weekend.)
I'm going to take the liberty of pulling a quote which describes my relationship with Ms. Rosenbaum:
Why, then, has reading these biographies of a deeply flawed woman--putting it gently--made me want to go back and reread her novels yet again? The answer is that Rand was a hedgehog who got a few huge truths right, and expressed those truths in her fiction so powerfully that they continue to inspire each new generation. They have only a loose relationship with Objectivism as a philosophy (which was formally developed only after the novels were written). Are selfishness and greed cardinal virtues in Objectivism? Who cares? Do Objectivist aesthetics denigrate Bach and Mozart? Who cares? Objectivism has nothing to do with what mesmerizes people about "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged." What does mesmerize us? Fans of Ayn Rand will answer differently. Part of the popularity of the books derives from the many ways their themes can be refracted. Here is what I saw in Rand's fictional world that shaped my views as an adolescent and still shapes them 50 years later.
Having now read the article I will offer a few more opinions: Rand's worth is in what she wrote, not in who she slept with. This is the first I've read of any drug dependence, but I'm glad that she apparently overcame it, as has Rush Limbaugh.
Objectivism is a valuable epistemological tool and does, in my opinion, stand on its own apart from the other philosophers mentioned, save Aristotle. I am a defender of Objectivism. I am not, however, a defender of all Objectivists. It is all to easy to falsely extend the philosophy's certainty about what is known at any given time to what can ever be known. This leads many Objectivists to denounce and alienate those who disagree with them. However, all of the Objectivists I have read who are associated with the Ayn Rand Institute do not suffer this flaw. Particularly the Institute's Executive Director, Yaron Brook.
Adam Smith on Crack
Now that's a provocative headline! Upworthy here we come!
I highlighted a couple of quotes from Sunday's Review Corner of Russ Roberts's How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. I wanted to separate them from the review, yet use them here to torture my blog brothers with an appeal-to-authority in our ongoing, internecine debate on The War on Drugs.
Roberts finds that Smith had suspicions about anti-Hayekians centuries before there was a Hayek to oppose. Smith was a man of government and he saw -- up close and personal -- those who would run our lives to improve us:
He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it.
Roberts, Russ (2014-10-09). How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (p. 207). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
Roberts "chuses" the Drug War to illustrate:
I have met kind, empathetic, earnest people who see recreational drugs as a great scourge. And certainly some drug users destroy themselves and their families through their inability to control their desires. Yet the war on drugs has failed despite the desires of those kind, empathetic, earnest people and despite the harm that comes to drug users. The war on drugs has failed because too many chess pieces have their own movements; too many people like to use drugs. And too many people see those desires as a potential for profit, which it surely is.
Kind, empathetic, earnest blog brothers?
What, no music? There's gotta be a sound track to go with an internecine war on drugs discussion.
OK, The Refugee willingly rises to the bait of what is clearly a friendly taunt among blog brothers. He also counts himself among those who see substance abuse as a great scourge - and the challenge of our time.
First, it would be useful to define what constitutes "winning" the war. Does addiction need to be eliminated before those opposing the war would admit that it was won? Surely not, as the "war on crime" certainly has not been won by that definition, yet no one is suggesting that we disband law enforcement. The Refugee would suggest that "winning" means a steady decline in use and addiction. By that definition, we are "winning the war on tobacco."
One must also observe what is missing from this analysis, which is a solution to the problem. That means that either the author does not see it as a problem, despite acknowledging the lives and families ruined by drug abuse, is simply throwing up his hands in surrender, or sees the problem as a societal abstraction.
Imagine if our Founding Fathers had seen their society's challenges too daunting to tackle. They might have said, "Gee, the king sure is powerful." Or, "Wow, the British navy sure has a lot of cannons." And, "How can we ever expect a bunch of farmers and merchants to defeat the best trained, best equipped, most professional army in the world?" Great problems are not solved by passivity. They are solved by people willing to relentlessly pursue a problem until a solution is found, willingly failing over and over and realizing that you can be wrong many times but need be right only once to be successful.
Those who see drug abuse in the abstract are the modern version of Marie Antoinette saying, "Let them snort cake." Would any blog brother suggest that eradicating (or even significantly reducing) substance abuse would be a bad thing?
"La la la la, La ls la la-la-la-laaah.."
It strikes me that we have a more fundamental disagreement. I don't want to dodge your direct questions, but perhaps the disconnect is whether it be a legitimate function of government. Is there Kumbaya potential in "get the feds out of it, unless you can lay your finger on the No weed Clause in Article I Section 8?" Then we can argue about the strictness of local enforcement and I would be much more open to local laws. Short-cutting the commerce clause argument, Claude Wickard, I'll stick to intra-State production, sales and consumption.
As to direct questions:
The founding fathers were seeking to protect our liberties. I back off not because it is difficult, but because it is wrong.
If tobacco is your success story, we're farther apart than I thought. Really, really, read the Aftermath book. New York taxes a pack of smokes $2.50 or something. That's a brutal and regressive tax on the poor, props up crime because it is so distortionary (actually funded the 9-11 hijackers in part), and we just had a guy killed by the police in Central Park for selling bootleg cigarettes. I quit 20 years ago, but if my heath were better I'd start up again in protest of the moral preening, hectoring, and misplaced government coercion.
I guess I'm guilty of viewing the drug problem abstractly. You want to move the chessboard pieces around and I really do not. So I have no solution like Obamacare opponents lacked one. More freedom might help. My brother has still not agreed that alcohol prohibition was a failure. More freedom helped there. Alcohol has been quite the scourge in my circle of friends -- do we go back to Elliot Ness? (If alcohol's less scouragious, and maybe weed's not so terrible some days, who decides?)
I'll say let the chess pieces make their lives as best as they can without government intrusion.
The drug war question is not, as I see it, whether or not eradicating or even significantly reducing substance abuse is a good thing. It is good. Clearly so. The question is: Has legal prohibition been, on the whole, good or bad.
Taking the "war on tobacco" claim at face value, I must have missed the era when tobacco was outlawed.
Finally, not to inflame but to inform, the stance that great problems are solved by people willing to relentlessly pursue a problem until a solution is found, willingly failing over and over and realizing that you can be wrong many times but need be right only once to be successful, is also the modus operandi of the World Socialists, is it not? Some problems have no solutions. Some creatures behave in ways contradictory to survival. c.f. Darwin, Charles. Efforts to save every individual from harming himself ultimately results in a society where all individuals are hopeless. c.f. Miranda. God helps he who helps himself.
ThreeSources Book Club
This is the subject of last week's Review Corner. Very good book. Headed to charity shop unless somebody wants it.
What We Fight For
Cue the Mulan soundtrack. But for a Prosperitarian, the prize is not a comely Chinese lass, but a rockin'-high per capita GDP.
I try to sell this idea all the time, but I always sell the subjunctive: if we were to unleash innovation, our nieces/nephews/grandchildren will have richer life. But Forbes's Rich Karlgaard projects the compound interest curve backward. He asks what could have been?
Suppose the U.S. economy, since 1949, were giving up 2% extra growth per year because of bad economic policy. Or, as [Financial advisor Dave] Ramsey might say, because Presidents, legislators and unelected regulators were born stupid or try their best to act that way.
Karlgaard suggests what today's world would look like with 2% better growth. I'll invite you to read the entire short piece. But it is a pretty picture:
--The 2014 GDP would be $32 trillion, not $17 trillion.
-- Per capita income would be $101,000, not $54,000.
-- Per capita wealth would be $480,000, not $260,000. It would probably be higher than that, since savings rates might be higher.
-- The U.S. would have no federal, state or municipal debts or deficits.
-- Pensions would be solid. So would Social Security.
And what of the innovation that extra capital could have financed? He has a few suggestions, but I posit they may not be outlandish enough.
Advocates protecting from "Catastrophic" climate change -- for example -- claim there is little or no cost for their solutions. If I'm wrong, we'll all drown as the waves roll over Weld County; if they're wrong, we'll just have all these groovy solar panels and clean air (and thousands of green jobs if they're on form...)
This is the obvious application, but Karlgaard is talking about regulation across the board. Conceding that some of it has been beneficial -- but correctly stating that the benefits are never compared to the opportunity costs of what we could have done with twice the wealth.
Hat-tip: Insty, who calls it "Heinleinian 'Bad Luck'"
You two are still setting the bar too low. I'll take the doubled GDP/income/wealth/non-debtedness/innovation AND the comely Chinese lass.
Twice the money would be easy to explain to the lovely bride...
I plugged this post in a call to Grassroots Radio Colorado last evening. Here's the podcast. Start at 23:00, but if you're in a hurry skip to 26:50. But I recommend starting at 23:00.
The rest of the show was pretty good too, including both Tom Tancredo and state senator Kevin Lundberg agreeing with what I'd said. Listen through to the end if you have time.
And now from the real world
Watched a nice bit of escapism the other night, "World War Z" (I'll give 2.5 stars for decent tension) where a UN "investigator" takes time away from being a soccer Dad to save the world from the undead, with the help of smart, determined people in a shiny WHO building (and the occasional SEAL, Ranger, female Israeli soldier and MOSSAD operative).
Now, cut to headlines where the real-world WHO was found to be "compromising rather than aiding" the Ebola response.
And the greedy, seedy capitalist world manages to make a safe haven for 8000 families right in the middle of hell, by using good common sense, tools at hand "based on the US model" and what must have been a fair degree of grit.
Score card says: Brigdestone 1, WHO/UN 0, Ebola: -4500
No word on whether the investigator found the goods on Didier Bourguet.
'Zactly! This is why I have not joined the fear brigade. I certainly do not trust our government or the UN (I wouldn't trust them to refill the salsa bowl at a taco stand) but I think "Capitalism" will protect its assets.
I thought it was Firestone -- they get all the credit for Bridgestone's acumen. That must cheese off some PR folks at Bridgestone. They need a blimp or something...
Shoot; it was Firestone.... need to sack the proofreading staff...
No -- I think the city was Firestone but the company was Bridgestone.
It's hard to say; I haven't had a very Goodyear.
October 19, 2014
Smith helped me understand why Whitney Houston and Marilyn Monroe were so unhappy and why their deaths made so many people so sad. He helped me understand my affection for my iPad and my iPhone, why talking to strangers about your troubles can calm the soul, and why people can think monstrous thoughts but rarely act upon them. He helped me understand why people adore politicians and how morality is built into the fabric of the world.
Not bad for an 18th Century bureaucrat.
Russ Roberts has been treated well on these pages. His The Price of Everything somehow escaped Review Corner, but in searching I found several recommendations to buy it -- once to buy two copies. His latest is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness.
While everyone thinks of Adam Smith as the author of Wealth of Nations, Roberts plumbs the depths of his first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. I actually read Wealth of Nations. My first economics course assigned several sections and I just read the whole thing. His prose is indeed a bit dense for the modern reader but I enjoyed it. I went back recently to read Theory of Moral Sentiments and stopped a third of the way through. I don't know if I have lost my appreciation for turgid or whether the subject was less interesting, but I quit. I'm not proud of it but, like Spike, I'm man enough to admit it.
Roberts's book on the book (P.J. O'Rourke did a pretty good one on Wealth of Nations), conversely, enraptured me. Why didn't I get this out of it? Some authors are better read about than read. Even my hero Karl Popper falls into this class: Richard Dawkins, Michael Oakeshott -- perhaps I'll just put Smith on this list. Yet I would love to connect with ToMS as Roberts did.
Wealth of Nations is about economics; Theory of Moral Sentiments is about personal choices and structuring your life for optimal satisfaction. That's the conventional wisdom and Roberts does a great job comparing and contrasting the two works. But he asks first whether they are different as they appear. He tries to explain the heart of economics to casual contacts who think he can grace them with a hot stock pick:
Alas, I am not an accountant or a stockbroker, I explain. But one very useful thing I've learned from economics is to be skeptical of advice from stockbrokers about the latest stock that's sure to skyrocket. Saving you from losses isnít as exciting as promising you millions, but it's still pretty valuable.
But the real point is that economics is about something more important than money. Economics helps you understand that money isnít the only thing that matters in life. Economics teaches you that making a choice means giving up something. And economics can help you appreciate complexity and how seemingly unrelated actions and people can become entangled .
Smith's suggestions for complexities and actions and personal choices are not about optimizing capital. Smith's suggestion to which Roberts keeps returning is the twelve words "Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely." To be worthy of esteem, to be admired and admirable. Roberts then mines some superb advice on achieving this
Knowing Roberts from his Café Hayek work and The Price of Everything, he is a great champion of liberty and free markets and limited government and I suspect the Infield Fly Rule. Channeling Smith's temperance and prudence, this is not a strident or pugnacious book. One can almost hear Smith telling me and my Facebook friends to tone it down a bit. The developer of the invisible hand is dubious about excesses of ambition, the great sage of free trade (who ended his career employed as a tariff collector) cautions about excesses in desiring and acquiring the latest gadgets, conveniences and contrivances. The new watch you covet, he cautions, is not likely to make you more punctual.
There are a few shots across the bow -- from Smith and Roberts that will fall harshly on certain ears 'around these parts. Sorry Randians:
This seems to confirm a commonly held view that Smith sees the world as driven by selfishness. Smith is often caricatured as a Scottish forerunner of Ayn Rand, who in addition to Atlas Shrugged wrote a book titled The Virtue of Selfishness. Smith spends a lot of time in The Theory of Moral Sentiments talking about various virtues. Selfishness does not make the cut.
My point is that the best case Smith can make for material prosperity and commercial life within the pages of The Theory of Moral Sentiments is pretty thin. He is saying that we have within us great drive and ambition, which serves us poorly as individuals but ultimately has led us out of caves and into the sunlight of civilization. It's a compliment, I suppose, but it's pretty backhanded.
Smith couldn't imagine a twenty-first-century machine -- a robot on an assembly line , or an electric razor. But his insights into technology are surprisingly prescient. He understood the human desire to make life easier, better, faster. And he also understood the seductive appeal of machines, and that ear pickers and nail clippers may not always deliver on their promise of excitement and novelty. But we want them anyway, and we look for ways to make them more effective and more elegant.
Roberts points out that the wealthy of his day were noblemen and assorted leeches. Perhaps a McCloskeyesque bourgeoisie would have been more pleasing to his temperament. But I would not bet the proce of a new iEarPicker S6 on it. Smith is the anti-firebrand, though his name comes up frequently in fiery arguments. A longer look shows that he offers wisdom and sagacity -- some better ways to "be lovely."
Smith in his book and with his life is telling us how to live. Seek wisdom and virtue. Behave as if an impartial spectator is watching you. Use the idea of an impartial spectator to step outside yourself and see yourself as others see you. Use that vision to know yourself. Avoid the seductions of money and fame, for they will never satisfy.
This is a superb and charming book. Five stars.
"See yourself as others see you." Know yourself, seek wisdom and virtue, avoid false virtues. This is truly selfishness, is it not?
The "selfishness" that "does not make the cut" is a package deal comprised of other, shall we say, attributes, that are commonly viewed as benefitting the self but, in fact, are harmful. But your closing quote is quite an elegant description of how to make oneself a priority for one's thoughts and actions.
October 17, 2014
Libertario Delenda Est!
May I rant? It's been a tough week.
The midterms are shaping up pretty well. I've no crystal ball or hot line to pollsters (I did get queried by Quinnipiac last night). But whatever happens, I am pretty proud of the GOP. Just this once. We did not nominate a Todd Akin this time; Colorado it seems has done a decent job deflecting the #waronwomen trope. Fundraising seems pretty good.
Democracy is good for only one thing and that is retribution. When "the bums" pass legislation you don't like, "the bums" can be thrown out. As Glenn Reynolds says "the purpose of the Sword of Damocles is that it hangs." The difference between an actual democracy and a sham like Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Kim Jung Un's North Korea, or Richard Daley's Chicago is that you can lose; who cares if the occupant won -- it's real if he or she can lose.
Poised with the chance to send a brutal message to the House, Senate, and Executive which foisted the PPACAo2010 on us, I would think we could line up the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea. Yet my success with big-L libs, whom I expected to be responsive to reason, is comparable to my successes convincing progressives. Videlicet, the big goose egg.
I've had some fiery exchanges with a bright Facebook friend this week. He's a great guy, but he has located every nutjob in every State House or Dog Catcher race. While the GOP did not have a Todd Akin in a major race, there are some down-ticket doozies. And my friend has posted every MSNBC, Mother Jones, Gawker, or Slate Post saying "See! The Tea Party really is racist and homophobic! How can you possibly vote for such a party?" I had the same conversation with Andrew Sullivan once. It's a big beautiful country and I will not be responsible for what everybody in it says.
This same week, I watched absolute meltdowns by libertarian and independent candidates. And this is where I start to get prickly. The third party gadflies are so many magnitudes removed from serious contention that there is never any vetting or substantive criticism. The GOP candidate for state district E-I-E-I-O on Oklahoma gets a microscope. While...
LOTR-F favorite Mayor Michael Dunafon is running for Governor. He's a strip club owner and liberty activist. I missed his talk but watched the video -- it's great. But he was brought back for a debate with Libertarian Matthew Hess last Monday. But he canceled -- not because of a fan -- but because he had the chance to go smoke weed with Snoop Dogg. People gave him money and put his signs up and pushed him on Facebook and he cannot be bothered to attend a debate. Who cares if he gets 0.9% or 0.89% of the vote anyway?
That's Monday. Tuesday, Gov. Gary Johnson is on The Independents in his "hi" T-shirt to promote his marijuana branding company. He gets a fawning interview. Is he running in 2016? Yeah probably. Oh boy. (You know, he ran for NM Governor as a Republican, won, and advanced the cause of liberty. His career as a big-L? Not. So. Much.)
Wednesday they had the Libertarian Senate Candidate and Pizza driver Sean Haugh of North Carolina. Like Montana in 2006, he might spoil the race for the Democrat.
My Facebook (and real live corporeal LORT-F) friend and I want the same things. The Independents's hosts and I as well. But the free passes handed out to these gadfly candidates are too much. Libertario Delenda Est.
Speculation: Supporting a minor party candidate is a form of "fence-sitting" or saying "none of the above" to the D or R choices. One big reason for the "No and Hell No" stance is that there are so many other people one may come across that have nothing but hatred for one or the other of the major party candidates (or parties.) So by refusing to identify with one of the "un-cool" candidates, our voting subject can claim to be "cool" in almost any circle.
And then there is the nice bonus of never having to explain why you voted for someone who screwed up in office. Because, well, connect the dots.
"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it. They cannot help you. Leave them alone." - Rand, Ayn
Or All Hail Arnold Kling! He explicitly states something I have long implied. The nonprofit sector is neither the Tocquevillian collection of little platoons envisioned by the right, nor the sainted centre of altruism as seen by the left. It is actually an excuse for bloat and misdirected efforts.
For-profit firms are accountable to customers and subject to the discipline of competition. Nonprofits need only please their donors to remain in existence, regardless of whether they effectively serve their mission.
Any change in the tax status of nonprofits raises difficult issues. For example, the longstanding policy of not taxing religious institutions is viewed by many as an element of the separation of church and state. However, apart from religious institutions, I would advocate that nonprofits be subject to the same taxes as for-profit firms. In particular, I believe that exempting hospitals and universities from real estate taxes gives these institutions an unfair advantage in expensive urban areas.
Other tax issues might be moot if instead of taxing income or profits we shifted to a tax on the consumption of goods and services. Such a tax system would place profit-seeking firms and nonprofits on an equal footing. It would continue to exempt donations from tax, but it would equally exempt other forms of saving and investment.
Regardless of what might be done with tax policy, I can definitely advocate for a change in the perceived moral status of the nonprofit sector. We should not elevate nonprofits to a higher pedestal than that of for-profit firms. We should stop telling our children that working for a nonprofit is in any way morally superior to working for a profit-seeking enterprise.
I tell people I have bad luck with nonprofits. It is something of a joke in that every time I have been involved with one it has ended badly for me. But ThreeSourcers know I do not consider myself anything but fortunate -- the problem is the lack of discipline in the sector.
You get your
license from the King 501(c)3 (well, if Ms. Lerner likes the cut of your jib...) and you get deals on postage and freedom from taxes. Your donors can now deduct contributions. All because you cleared a government hurdle. Distortionary much?
The charity deduction is sacrosanct and will likely survive any reform ever. But it should not; giving the government power to define "good charities" is a mistake.
I would call it honesty
Nice follow on to the post about Krugman saying that deficits aren't all that worrying. Of course, intellectual inconsistency isn't a surprise for liberals. As I paraphrase PowerLine from last week: "modern liberalism isn't about results, it's about feeling good about yourself."
Feel free to post it up FB; I'm struggling to find a job, so must feign cowardice and only post under nom-de-plume's.
??? Send a resume. It's almost a requirement that every ThreeSourcer must work at Spectra for some time.
Spectra Logic or Link? If Spectra Link, I applied for a Regulatory Compliance job for which I was a very good match. Never heard a word. Spectra(Logic) could be tricky, I'm about 99% analog...
Logic (though we did have Spectralink phones for a while...)
It's just like analog -- round up.
I couldn't agree more.
"Sen. Rand Paul tells POLITICO that the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 could capture one-third or more of the African-American vote by pushing criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment."
When pressed on his ambitious goal, Paul upped the ante: "I don't want to limit it to that. I don't want to say there's only a third open. Ö The reason I use the number 'a third,' is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential."
"As I travel and I go and meet with African-American leaders -- they may not be ready to embrace a Republican yet," Paul added. "But they say that they're very happy that we're competing for their vote. And they often tell me, 'You know what? I haven't seen my Democrat representative in a while.'"
It's remarkable how much better folks think of you when you TALK to them. And for this particular demographic, Republican candidates don't even need to learn Spanish.
When I read "criminal-justice reform" I think "end the drug war."
NOW we'll get some comments goin'!
Yes, I am suggesting that a large share of the black vote is lost by Republicans over their "law and order" stance on drug enforcement. Yet another unintended consequence - electoral welfare for Democrats.
Tweet of the Day
Jonah Goldberg suggests "At some point we must ask, 'Why do they hate our breakfast beverages?'"
What is "Zionist Juice?" Wait. Don't answer that.
Ezra Klein Digs Deeper
Ze Vox Wünderkind doubles down on a non-correction, and Sean Davis delivers a takedown (what we used to call it a "fisking" during the tech bubble):
Look, I get that this is Vox, and that expecting basic fact-checking from a TMZ-style celebrity photo click farm is about as reasonable as expecting a full day's worth of nutrition from a Pop Tart and a pack of Skittles, but come on. This isn't that hard. It's not like somebody asked Ezra Klein to tell us how old the Constitution is.
Editor's Note: In light of the Klein-bashing over the past few days, I need to clarify something. I suggested in a comment that FOX-31's Eli Stokels was "Colorado's Ezra Klein." I meant that he is young, left-biased, assigned to the political beat, and yes, perhaps, maybe just a little smarmy or arrogant. I do not assert that he is as "illiberal a liberal" as Klein.
With that keen endorsement, I'll move along...
October 16, 2014
C'mon and Gimme Some Votin'
JK has voted, and so have nearly a million of his fellows.
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia allow some form of advance voting other than traditional absentee voting requiring an excuse.
In the 2010 midterms, when Republicans regained control of the House and won sweeping victories in statehouses around the country, advance voting accounted for almost 27 million ballots out of more than 89 million, meaning about 3 out of 10 voters cast early ballots. Almost 129 million people voted in the 2012 presidential election, 35.8 percent of them before Election Day.
So my blog brother is still in the minority, but for how long?
Jon Caldera rails against mail-in ballots versus "voting day." I suspect much of it is nostalgic, but there are some valid points.
I enjoy the convenience and think it trumps other concerns. The fraud is facilitated by the no-request provision. Send a ballot to everyone who requested one or voted last time. Not "had a pulse once."
And that phlogisten scare...
I don't do a ton of general purpose trolling on the Internet at large, but I spoke my piece on a "Garden of Eatin'" solicitation for Prop 105 (labeling of GMOs).
Well, yes, that is similar -- there was a junk science article, followed by a big scare and public indignation -- then a lot of manufacturers changed their products. And ten years later, it was proven to be absolute bullshit. Trans-fats don't really hurt you at all.
Good point. (No, that is just for ThreeSourcers, I'm done.)
We're from the NIH and We're Here to Help
With billion-dollar budgets, why doesn't the NIH or CDC have an established program for dealing with national health emergencies? Umm, it does.
The Progressive belief that a powerful government can stop all calamity is misguided. In the last 10 years we passed multiple pieces of legislation to create funding streams, offices, and management authorities precisely for this moment. That we have nothing to show for it is not good reason to put even more faith in government without learning anything from our repeated mistakes. Responding to the missing Ebola Czar and her officeís corruption by throwing still more money, more management changes, and more bureaucratic complexity in her general direction is madness.
Betcha didn't know the US Government already has an Ebola Czar. Yessir, ol' what's her name.
And It's Here!
Our ballots arrived on Tuesday, October 14, the first day they were legally permitted to be mailed. That postal service efficiency is off the hook - 0 days for delivery!
Some suggest returning them quickly so that you don't get campaign calls asking you to vote. I think that's a bad idea. Here's why:
While everyone knows that vote count results are not released until after polls close on the last day of election weeks, few realize that, under Colorado law, General Election ballot counting may begin as early as October 20th "(15 days before the election)". [Seriously. That's how they word it. Ballots may be counted "before the election."] Which means that SOMEONE knows what the running total is. Who believes that NOBODY ever leaks ANY results to ANYONE before the polls close? Would you like to buy some "beach front" property in Florida?
And beyond the possible ILLEGAL electioneering that is possible, the Secretary of State offers, for a fee, "electronic download access to the listed data extracts (blah blah) The following reports are included with the subscription:"
"Statewide Mail Ballots Returned (CE-018) for the primary, general, and odd-year elections - hourly after ballots are mailed
Statewide In-Person Voting List (CE-019) for the primary, general and odd year elections - hourly after in-person voting begins"
So what? Yes, you're right, this is not the information on HOW each voter voted, but it is the information on WHO voted and WHAT PARTY each is affiliated with. (How else would candidates know who hasn't voted yet, so those voters can be called, which you can prevent by voting early?) Combine this with same-day registration on demand and a determined party could "move" votes wherever they are "needed" quite effectively, to achieve the turnout percentages they have estimated in advance to be needed to put their guy over the top.
Who thinks I'm wrong? Just $100 per acre. No HOA. Unobstructed views. And, gator free!
I returned mine immediately because I want it to count if I get hit by a bus. Not that I don't appreciate your nuanced observation and game theory (but I got this cough and a sore shoulder and...)
That said . . . Eli Stokels (Colorado's own Ezra Klein)'s Sunday show featured a debate between the Democrat and Republican SecState candidates. (The Republican will be at the S Weld County GOP breakfast this week in the JG Barony of Ft. Lupton...)
We have so many highly visible top ticket races this year, but if the Democrat gets elected we will never have a fair election in this state ever again. I know those are strong words, and I attest that the candidate seems to be a very good guy. He's a bright and well spoken immigrant from I-forget-the-West-African nation who sees it as his goal to expand the franchise and make it easier to vote.
For those outside the State, our Democratic majority the term before this passed sweeping new election rules. Everybody gets a ballot in the mail and you can register the day of the election even on the promise that "you intend to move into the district." Anti-fraud groups have shown apartment buildings with stacks of ballots sitting on tables with the Supermarket inserts. Jon Caldera registered -- on camera -- in a Colorado Springs district on "intent to move" and cast a blank ballot to show it could be done.
Like Minnesota before the Al Franken Mafia, we have a good record of clean elections. But the vehicle for fraud is now there and only a pugnacious SecState keeps it from devolving into LBJ's home county in Texas.
For the record
There is a standing protocol, established by CDC, for protection of caregivers treating Ebola patients. for "Viral hemorrhagic fevers due to Lassa, Ebola, Marburg, Crimean-Congo fever viruses:"
Single-patient room preferred. Emphasize: 1) use of sharps safety devices and safe work practices, 2) hand hygiene; 3) barrier protection against blood and body fluids upon entry into room (single gloves and fluid-resistant or impermeable gown, face/eye protection with masks, goggles or face shields); and 4) appropriate waste handling. Use N95 or higher respirators when performing aerosol-generating procedures. Largest viral load in final stages of illness when hemorrhage may occur; additional PPE, including double gloves, leg and shoe coverings may be used, especially in resource-limited settings where options for cleaning and laundry are limited. Notify public health officials immediately if Ebola is suspected 212, 314, 740, 772Also see Table 3 for Ebola as a bioterrorism agent
While OSHA is a separate matter, CDC has established a protocol. Take that, sensationalizers.
Perhaps if we started executing some WaPo journalists for rank stupidity -- whether warranted or not -- the salubrious effects on Ezra Klein the others and would make it worthwhile.
UPDATE: A more measured take from Jonathan Chait.
My sentiment as well, after reading Klein's rationalization for totalitarian thuggery "ugly problems don't always have pretty solutions."
Chait said: "Ezra Klein is not a nut; he is the polar opposite of one, which is what makes it so important that he is arguing in such expressly illiberal terms."
Bravo! All this open and public talk about the illiberalism of the left (and wherever else it be found, but especially, now, on the left) warms my heart and gives me an optimism for hopeful change.
Or the bumper sticker version:
I HOPE that liberals will CHANGE their illiberal ways.
October 15, 2014
Any of our gifted engineering staff ready to call "shenanigans" on Lockheed Martin?
Lockheed's Skunk Works promises fusion power in four years
Back in the '80s, The Refugee subscribed to a futuristic technology magazine of which he cannot recall the name. But he does recall the certainty with which a commercial passenger plane capable of Mach 6, making Denver-Tokyo in under two hours, was predicted by the mid-1990's. Supposedly, the hybrid jet/fan blade engines were in prototype testing. Still waitin'.
He has also seen predictions of these fusion devices small enough to power individual houses. Xcel gone forever! Yay! The Refugee is not optimistic that any commercial fusion device will be available in 2017, 2022 or at any point in his lifetime. It would be exciting, though, if it happened.
Omni magazine? That was fun stuff. Perhaps those aircraft developments were channeled into better fuel economy than higher speed?
There's still a sizable gorilla in the room, however, even if the Skunk Works really is on to something. Who believes government won't ruin it?
And my flying car seems absent as well.
This was not a call to bet the farm on this, but I have long been intrigued by the Brussard fusion concept. Like that, I think this is the right size, offering Hayekian distribution.
They call it a moon shot and it is my favorite thing, At work I always quote General Eisenhower: "Enlarge the problem!" We are spending boogerloads of time and money on solutions that are not even sustainable, much less groundbreaking. I love the gamechanger, and this be one. Put a 50% beta on its happening at even twice the timescale and it is gamechanging. Surely, advances in lasers and materials will facilitate development.
I'll even offer balm on government intrusion. Many of the most interesting applications are probably bringing China, India, and Africa to OECD energy accessibility.
We could use ours for starships and keep burning that sweet, fracked Weld County natural gas.
I hope you don't misunderestimate me. If they do achieve reliable, economical fusion power, even if only in 100mW chunks, I will welcome it. Just so long as it doesn't:
Create more single-occupant SUVs,
Encourage the building of larger homes,
Promote the Eating of Tasty Animals,
Ever get used to provide power to a church,
(Mosques are okay),
Undercut any market for alternative energy methods,
Make Republicans smile,
Or create even a single molecule of man-made pollution that would therefore poison every river, lake, ocean and breath of air on the entire Gaia, instantly and forever.
Then I'm fine with it.
I have no idea how they plan to extract the 120-150 MW of heat energy needed to get 100 MW of useful power from that small container, but I've been proven wrong before.
I'm not buying stocks, in skunks or werks.
Umm, e-mc2 I think...
How hard is Deuterium and Tritium to harvest? Is there enough? I saw 0.15% of the oceans. That sounds like a lot. Is it renewable?
Nope. Not the Dallas Cowboys. Denver Broncos.
Color that map orange.
I feel bad.
For the fourteen teams who are less popular than the Raiders. Perhaps the Harris Poll should have limited their polling to fan bases without felony arrest records or gang affiliations.
Would the Raiders completely lose their ENTIRE fan base if illicit drugs were decriminalized?
[Somebody stop me!]
@JG: No, but they'd be in government-coerced rehab. Pretty sure they're all on some form of public assistance.
More evidence for my theory that Fan Base is somewhat correlated to win-loss record. Its not perfectly correlated and exceptions abound as noted on these pages, but somewhat correlated.
Its known more commonly as bandwagon jumpers.
Pretty sure there used to be about 3 Seahawks fans in the whole country and now there are states full.
Quote of the Day
In doing so, [Ezra] Klein has neatly illustrated just how dangerously capricious and supple the Progressive Hierarchy of Pieties really is. I daresay that it is rather easy to be a "liberal" when liberalism lines up nicely with the prevailing sentiments of one's social cohorts. But it is much, much harder when it does not. Genuine "liberals" -- those in the tradition of John Locke and Adam Smith, and not of Herbert Croly or Rachel Maddow -- do not forsake timeless principle for last night's orthodoxy because, for them, due process is as important today as it was at the time of Magna Carta. Ezra Klein, by contrast, appears to be something of a weathervane. Forced to choose between the universal principles of the Enlightenment and the transient pressure of this year's moral panic, he plumped squarely for the latter. For shame. -- Charles C W Cooke
Ahh, yes, the "pure principle" that intoxicated females, the oppressed class du jour, are the nation's most valuable asset. So much so that they shall be granted the power of incarcerating males who have the audacity not to be interested in them while sober... or for whatever other damn reason their mercenary little hearts desire.
Or, as he puts it somewhat eerily later on, "ugly problems don‚Äôt always have pretty solutions."
That must be in the Declaration of Independence, 'cause I sure don't recognize it from any Article or Amendment of the Constitution. Pol Pot, call your office.
Two Americas: (Il)liberals lament date rape, even in cases that are "genuinely unclear and maybe even unfair" while Joe Six Pack is treated to the tale of his birth.
Do we get $5 for every post into which I can leverage prohibition?
Reason suggests: How to Solve the Campus Rape Crisis: Lower the Drinking Age
What does the drinking age have to do with campus rape? Much. Most college undergraduates are under 21 and therefore unable to legally drink. And yet heavy alcohol consumption on the part of one or both students is a significant factor in nearly all sexual assault allegations. That's because the current drinking age doesn't actually stop teens from drinking. It merely changes where, and how much, they drink.
People who reach their 21st birthday may enjoy the right to drink casually: out in the open, during the day, at bars and restaurants, or anywhere else. But underage students who want to drink must take their chances in less socially regulated environments, like a friend of a friend's dorm room, the basement of an older student's house, or a fraternity party. Fraternities, in particular, offer dangerous drinking scenes for the underaged.
On lowering the drinking age, we can call agree. It makes no sense that our 18 year old youth have all the legal responsibilities of adults, can be trusted to administered sophisticated weaponry, make split-second life-and-death decisions with said weaponry, yet can't be trusted with a beer.
Counter point, however, is that The Refugee's college days were spent when 3.2 beer was legal at age 18. Fact: you can get plenty drunk on 3.2 beer and binge drinking was every bit as rampant then as it is today. The Refugee's fraternity threw some spectacular parties. Hawaiian Night and Purple Passion were particularly popular. Luckily, we all woke up to tell the tale.
New WH Strategy - Active Chief Executive
The uncontained Ebola presence in the US mainland has done something that no other crisis in the past 6 years has accomplished - it has gotten the attention of the POTUS.
President Obama won't be traveling to New Jersey and Connecticut later today, as he had been planning to do. There he was going to raise money for Democrats up for reelection in November. Instead, Obama is going to be hosting Cabinet members for a meeting on Ebola.
Can you believe it? He actually cancelled a political fundraiser! Geez, this must be really, really important. No word yet whether his scheduled round of golf is also affected.
October 14, 2014
Tweet of the Day
Would I it were not true. Hat-tip: Insty
Slide Means Different Things
Or . . . All Hail Harsanyi
"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" [Dr. Francis] Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."
I predict anti-GOP commercials will be running wild during the playoff season.
"2014 NIH budget, in fact, is almost $1 billion bigger than Obama sought in his budget plan, released in early 2010."
GOP increased the NIH budget. And still...
" If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, for example, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000), why chimps throw feces ($600,000) and sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million)"
and, of course
"A few years ago, it dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors' center in Atlanta, even though it already had one. It bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters and spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots."
Not to mention playing Blomberg's anti-Big Gulp game...
Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101314-721520-cdc-failures-on-ebola-are-not-from-phantom-budget-cuts.htm#ixzz3G9CTTFKZ
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I loved Glenn Reynolds's You Had One Job! Maybe if they didn't do big gulps and playground gear, they could have had a minute for ebola.
Remind me to add CDC to that list of Federal Programs that "no longer work." I feel such an opus on my part might take a lifetime...
Two words that should forever remind us that complete reliance on a government "protector" is foolhardy.
To be fair, the science was 83% Settled...
Buy that Escalade -- for the planet!
In this new effort, the researchers took a new look at the photosynthesis process and how it might be altered in the presence of increasingly higher concentrations of CO2. They found that as CO2 levels rose, plants altered the way they processed the gas, saving more of it to use as a fertilizer, which allowed the plants to grow bigger or to become more robust, which in the end meant more CO2 was taken out of the atmosphere. Not coincidently, the researchers note, their research showed that when plants were exposed to the same higher levels of CO2 as actually occurred over the past century, they were able to absorb on average 16 percent more CO2, which very nearly coincides with the 17 percent error difference earth scientists have found with their climate models. -- Phys.org
According to this handy biomass entry at Wikipedia,
On land, there is about 1,000 times more plant biomass (phytomass) than animal biomass (zoomass).
Apart from bacteria, the total global biomass has been estimated at about 560 billion tonnes C.
But we can probably ignore the effects of plant biomass reactions to changes in atmospheric CO2. We'll just call it "negligible."
Yeah. That's it!
They also failed to account for water in the atmosphere because it was "too complex." That might be corrected in new models, but it never gave me a lot of warm fuzzies.
October 13, 2014
Don Beaudreaux Wins the Internet this Week!
With his letter to the NYTimes:
Paul Krugman suggests that "deficit scolds" ignore two important facts: first, any net harm to human well-being generated by government deficits are "uncertain"; second, even if such harm does materialize, it won't do so for many years ("Secret Deficit Lovers," Oct. 10).
Whether or not Mr. Krugman is correct in his fiscal analysis, it's striking that in other of his writings he sides aggressively with those who we might call "carbon scolds" -- people who ignore two important facts: first, any net harm to human well-being generated by climate change is uncertain; second, even if such harm does materialize, it won't do so for many years.
I weep at its beauty.
UPDATE: Boudreaux also has a guest editorial in the WSJ today. If I may paraphrase for those with no susbscription, the GMU economics professor and law professor Todd Zywicki, say "Hayek told you so!" to the developers of Dodd-Frank and the PPACAo2010.
Yes, it is truly, sublime.
And as such, is completely beyond the grasp of our brethren who knoweth not the identity of Joseph Biden.
Heh. First I thought it was going to be a voter ID (not required) joke. Then a "you can be President but not have a bank account" without ID joke. But this was even funnier than those.
Pretty good timing as well.
Remember when Senator Bob Dole lost in '96? (some of you kids may not...) He went on to star in a bunch of funny commercials and published a book of political humor that was really good. Something elevating and liberating about a loss. Hell, even VP Gore's (finally) concession speech in 2000 was (I've got to break into Adam Smith lingo) lovely.
And if Gov. R wants to run again, a couple years of humanizing would not hurt.
For BR's nephew...
I asked yesterday, "how can someone who cares get these kids clean?"
I think the answer is in one word: Motivation.
See the Al Pacino clip at the end of this link (which also lists natural ways to increase dopamine and other brain chemicals) and I think you'll agree with the words,
"Now I can't do it for you. (...) Life is a game of inches. We fight for those inches because we know, when you add up all those inches it is what makes the difference between winning and losing. Between living and dying."
So yes, motivation. And teamwork.
And no amount of government mandate or legal penalty can give that to someone. In fact, they probably do the opposite. Oh sure, President Clinton "felt my pain." But was he willing to fight and die for me? Not so much.
And, you know, things did get a little stiff and stilted around the 3 minute mark. Coincidental with the vocal pause. Not sure it is correlated.
Oh, and one of your wall decorations is askew.
Actually, I really liked the tone on the guitar. The new recording system was apparently worth the money. (Of course, your money, not mine...)
With all due respect JG, and I know you mean well, but the suggestion sounds like solutions for addicts from someone who's never dealt with addicts. Yes, it does boil down to motivation on their part. But if a Knute Rockne speech were all that's needed we'd have no addicts. It is a damn complicated combination of physical body chemistry and mental illness more like a Rubik's cube than a game of hopscotch.
The reason to impose government coerced rehab is that addicts all have something else in common besides substance abuse: they use taxpayer funded social programs (welfare, medicaid/medicare, food stamps, section 8 housing, etc. etc.) Much like the war on drugs, couldn't the money be better spent curing the problem rather than just addressing symptoms? If taxpayer money is to be spent, let's spend it wisely. Statistically, at best, 1 in 3 addicts will be cured by rehab. But I like that a lot better than indefinite government assistance for 3 in 3.
Of course, we can take the big-L Libertarian position and say they make their own choices and they can live with the consequences period. Valid purist argument. Meanwhile, back in the real world...
My suggestion presupposed that the addict has reached the stage of wanting to quit. Without that, is there even a shred of hope? Not with the addicts I've experienced. The football players wanted to win. The addict has to want to live.
You referenced a Libertarian position, but not the one I would recommend. I would recommend the Libertarian/Republican position: End the enabling programs, don't pile more bullshit on top of the rotting mass that already corrupts the choice/reward system. I challenge your premise that taxpayer money is to be spent. Am I missing something in your prescription, because it seems obviously wrong to me.
Oh yes, "real world" where we "can't" end failed government programs. I forgot. Back to my bottle of blue pills.
Hey jk, I request 'Stairway to Heaven' next week!
The crooked sign loosely translates to "No Stairway." Liveatthecoffeehouse.com apologizes for any inconvenience.
Very well then. Freebird!
(See what you've done, SC?)
October 12, 2014
It is customary that Review Corner, reviewing a work of fiction, considers both style and underlying philosophy. Is it good art? Does it speak to the values we cherish 'round these parts?
It is also customary that those distinct considerations might be blurred in general rankings. Today's will be distinct. I heartily recommend Steinbeck, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut and a host of authors who create great art but whose philosophical values are orthogonal to mine.
I use the word "orthogonal" a lot to describe contrary views. I did not totally understand it until I took MIT's free MOOC Linear Algebra course. But I stole that phrase, years before, from the author in today's Review Corner. Michael Glaviano is an off-the-charts brilliant Physicist, an incredible guitar player, a gifted author, and I am proud to call him a friend. He was finishing his PhD when I stumbled into New Mexico Tech as a freshman, making him quite a bit mentor.
We went many moons without contact, and when I did find him, he told me he had written a novel, The Locust Queen's Feast which I enjoyed immensely. It is a great story and I was not too surprised at its elegant prose, knowing the intelligence and artistic breadth of the author.
But his latest, Edge Station, blew me away.
Edge Station is a great work of science fiction. It adjusts reality enough to explore complex interpersonal concepts, but the characters are realistic and engaging. The AI systems, starships, and medical augmentations described may not match our daily experience, but the people navigating life in the trans-galactic corporation are instantly recognizable.
It's a great story with rich, descriptive prose -- but I was most attracted to the pacing of the novel. Though cerebral in parts, it moves with a summer-blockbuster pace and tightness. Try to not read "one more chapter" before you set it down to pursue quotidian tasks -- it's impossible. I am an old grouch who is reading less fiction these days and very little of this genre, but I was instantly hooked.
As soon as you finish the last page, you wonder "when does the movie come out?" It begs for a screenplay because it already has an ensemble-cast feel with several endearing and interesting characters. The pages move more with intrigue than shoot-'em-up action, but there is a lot going on, much to be resolved.
It's a fun and interesting read which I gladly give five stars.
The last four paragraphs comprise my Amazon review. Five stars well earned for artistic merit. No slack for friendship. I think all ThreeSourcers would enjoy it (and you can snag a Kindle copy for $2.99). But . . . my buddy is from California and has an academic beckground -- poor guy cannot help it! It's rather Firefly-ish in that the "Edge Station" is on the boundary of explored space and slightly outside the reach of -- not a governmental entity like the Alliance -- but a mean old corporation (sigh). The ending might be a little unfulfilling to some who hold humanity at Randian esteem levels.
But it's a rockin' good story. On that, I am not lyin'.
October 11, 2014
Can I Get Cocky Now, Han?
I can't tell how real these are, but 36 hours ago I thought we were looking at the closest Senatorial and Congressional race in the country. Giving up?
October 10, 2014
Vote with your mouse
There's an online contest-poll organized by MoveOn, and a conservative group's video is kicking @$$ in early voting. Let's help put them over the top! The video's target is Tom Steyer, "America's biggest hypocrite."
The contest's goal was:
MoveOn urged applicants to "make a 30-second ad to wake up America to the crisis of big money in our politics." In its call for submissions, MoveOn declared: "The scale of the problem is clear. The corporate wing of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts keeps insisting that money is speech and corporations are people. Shadowy, unregulated front groups are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into elections."
The contest, with all the entries are here; and most of the comments quite favorable towards those that hate Steyer most of all.
I'm even considering voting "Chicago style" with my other eMail addresses!
Hat tip to the tireless ones at PowerLine blog.
Keystone XL QOTD
The U.S. and Canada are in the midst of an historic boom of energy discovery and production. Mexico is on the cusp of exploiting its own vast energy resources. Unless the laws of economics have been repealed, the benefits of deepening the integration of these three neighboring economies in new jobs and per-capita wealth would be enormous. What's missing is the political leadership necessary to start assembling one of the world's most powerful economic regions.
That's not entirely fair. There is indeed active political leadership--in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided he can't wait for an American President who is still giving speeches about building his new economy around solar panels and windmill farms. -- Holman Jenkins
THAT'S gonna leave a mark.
POST ENDORSES GARDNER!!!
[Senator Uterus's] obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.
I took the liberty of a little HTML-surgery on your comment, nb. The link was not opening.
And here's nb's favorite ennumerating the successes of the Iraqi security forces. She is a piece of work.
My friends on the left, however, are fond of saying the exact same thing: those damned teabaggers are driving the GOP to the loony right! Gone are the "moderate" voices of Lowell Weicker, Lincoln Chafee and Dick Lugar.
Embed no go? Watch on hulu
Wings of the Right, Unite!
Following on BR's 'Christians, Libertarians and Ayn Rand' post yesterday I received '5 Things the Right Can Learn from Ayn Rand' from a friend via email. (Subscriptions are about $75 per year, well worth the price if you can afford it.) But until you can, or he publishes the article elsewhere, you'll have to settle for my paraphrase.
Author Robert Tracinski, one of the best Objectivist authors I know, cites the Wilhelm piece as a "less charitable" (to Rand) response to Hunter Baker's earlier piece in The Federalist: 'The Devil and Ayn Rand: Extending Christian Charity to John Galt's Creator.' Of which Trancinski writes, "I have a few quibbles with this piece, but as an advocate of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, I appreciate its spirit."
RT summarizes Wilhelm as "basically conceding the point: that the various wings of the right need to work together in a common cause, that
"what pushes these two groups together -- the fact that a big, bureaucratized, powerful government will inevitably smother freedom, crush creativity, and bulldoze people's rights -- also might be one of the few things that Ayn Rand got right."
He then accepts that feeble twig of olive branch and suggests that conservatives "examine Ayn Rand's literature a little more closely and less grudgingly and to take her ideas a little more seriously" before offering "the top five things I think the right can learn from Ayn Rand."
I'll just list the item titles, which he explains fully in his piece. Tell me if any of them sound familiar:
1. The crucial importance of reason.
2. The pathology of altruism.
3. The meaning of work.
4. A third alternative in the culture wars.
5. The importance of big ideas.
The strongest disagreement on these pages has regarded item 2. I suggest that is a case of inconsistent terminology, where the grim and gritty reality of altruism as a code of self-sacrifice is confused with what Baker described as "human solidarity" of which he said, "[Rand] was an atheist and clearly had an insufficient appreciation for (and accounting of) human solidarity, but she loved freedom and she understood the importance of work for human flourishing."
So in conclusion: Remove the devil-horns from Rand, consider her ideas of freedom, self-sufficiency and rational self-interest, and of "dignity, joy and love in work rather than in wealth per se." And then ask yourself if you can find common cause with those other wings in order to defeat the champions of "big, bureaucratized, powerful government."
Great post, JG. A worthy spirit, goal and discussion. The Refugee's only complaint is that it seems to be a bit unidirectional in its goal of understanding. So, please The Refufee to offer a corollary list of items for Randians to consider about faith. (For the record, The Refugee considers himself to be a Spirtualist.)
1. The crucial importance of faith - a belief in the unseeable is what allows one to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. It is also what allowed our founders to believe that it was possible to found a nation dedicated to Liberty based on certain inalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Reason and faith are by no means incompatible, but reflect the dual nature of spiritual beings in a human endeavor.
2. The value of altruisim - altruism really isn't pathological, but becomes so when it crosses into either enablement or co-dependency. An ability to help others help themselves is the rising tide that raises all boats.
3. Living beyond work - work defines what we do, not who we are. Work is an essential component of the human existence, but by itself leads nowhere. Working with a notion of the benefit of a higher power leads to endeavors that can transcend our transient existence.
4. The culture war must be fought within ourselves.
5. The founding of a nation based on idealistic, faith-based principles is probably the biggest idea in the history of mankind.
Pythagoras, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and most of the great scientists were also people of faith. Freedom, self-reliance, enlightened self-interest and faith are indeed compatible, and arguably, intrinsically linked.
JG thanks the Refugee for his engagement. First remember that this was a response to what was considered a unidirectional point of view from the other side, and represents the Randian point of view that was missing. As for me, I share the Tracinski attitude about "the Judeo-Christian tradition" of which his goal is not to refute or dismiss it, but to understand it. Tracinski, Baker, and I are only asking for the same in return when it comes to Rand.
And in that spirit, I have no disagreement with your eleoquent defense of faith. It reads to me as a secular argument, in fact.
I think we can agree that "helping others help themselves" is good and that to "live my life for the sake of another man" or "ask another man to life his life for mine" is bad, without agreeing on the exact meaning of the term "altruism." Let's just agree that the concept is not desirable as a "pure principle."
The "meaning of work" is not labor, but achievement. Objectivists see the "higher power" in work not in the material product that is created, but in the pride of creation from which man can derive a "higher purpose" than "merely" helping himself.
The culture war is, by definition, a public rather than private issue. If the conflict were confined within ourselves, as you suggest, it would not be a political football. The third alternative Rand promoted is an objective code of morality, concretes of right and wrong, that answers the secular left's subjectivism but without "that old time religion." It is a powerful code for individual life and happiness, and I submit that it is dismissed by the establishment left and right because it threatens their collectivist control over individuals.
Where you see the founding on "idealistic, faith-based principles" I see it on idealistic, liberty based principles. We will agree that good and necessary changes have been made since the founding, i.e. women's suffrage and abolition of slavery. These are more closely aligned with the principles of liberty than the doctrines of faith, are they not?
All we are saying is give Rand a chance.
Kim Strassel on "Senator Uterus"
Polls suggest the #waronwomen may be weakening
Mr. Udall's race offers another insight into the Democrats' diminishing war-on-women returns. Women are open to a bit of fear-mongering about Republicans, but they are less sure about a Democrat who canít talk about anything else. A September Quinnipiac poll in Colorado asked voters to rank their top issues. About 77% of women polled listed one of the following as their top voting issue: the economy, health care, immigration, energy. About 16% said their big issue was abortion. Mr. Udall had likely locked up that 16% before he even started campaigning. Who has he been talking to since?
October 9, 2014
No, Merit is not Over-represented
Blog Sister dagny suggested that the Denver Broncos' (peace be upon their holy names) geographic distribution of football fandom was expanded because of recent success.
We have a lot of philosophical arguments on these pages which resist resolution. But I think I can offer conclusive proof that she is wrong: Lookit the Rockies' area in the baseball version:
Sorry JK, I'm confused. I think this chart supports my contention rather than negates it. The Rockies (who stink) have a much smaller area than the Broncos (who don't stink).
What am I missing?
The Rockies having any are at all.
Q: What do the Broncos, the Avalanche, the Nuggets, and the Rockies have in common?
A: None of them can play baseball.
"The Rockies having any area at all."
As a corollary to that, going back to the other map, the perennial cellar-dwelling Oakland Raiders have no territory at all anywhere near Oakland -- that's all 49ers turf. Oakland's sphere of influence (such as it is) is only found in four Southern California counties: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Santa Barbara, a minimum of three hundred miles from Oakland. This may be an indication of how far downwind the aroma carries?
Dagny, if your theory is that fan range is a function of the win-loss record, there's a problem. That problem is the Dodgers. Teams the Cubs and the Indians have loyal fans who will be faithful forever, not only because they're the local team, but because they've been the local team for so long. The Dodgers have been in Los Angeles since the end of the 50s, but Los Angeles fans are fickle: they love a winner and hate a loser. At least that's what they tell me. If the Dodgers are winning, everybody is a fan; when they're losing, they're bums (yeah, that goes back to Brooklyn...).
But if Los Angeles fans are fickle, how is it that the Raiders have any fans at all here? How long has it been since they've ended a season above .500? And it's not like the Raiders have long-standing ties with L.A.; if memory serves, they were only here for thirteen seasons, and retreated back to Oakland with their tails between their legs in '95, the same year the Rams pulled up stakes and moved to St. Louis. By comparison, the Rams were in Los Angeles for half a century - were mere history the controlling factor, the Rams should have more influence in Los Angeles than the Raiders.
This may be significant: for all the jokes, I love the Rockies. Baseball's pace and equipment allow a personal connection to the players. Though I'm a more rabid football and hockey fan, the poor but dear Rockies are like family to me.
A musician buddy of mine insists that "I am the problem." Fans should -- sez Kurt -- completely withhold their support until serious restructuring is complete. (For those outside the area, a lot of teams are bad -- the Rockies' ownership adds an oafishness to the poor W-L record that is hard to describe.)
"Dagny, Hank -- you cannot keep working for those looters..."
I have never trucked with those who seem to be saying, "If you love something, let it starve and it will somehow become better." If fans only followed the teams that spend team owner's wealth with reckless abandon and no regard for any return on investment, there would be no baseball.
Latte-Sippin', Loft Dwellin' LoDo Dwellers!
Surprising data about the distribution of energy revenue and employment in the Denver Post:
About 9,800 people are working for the industry in Denver -- 60 percent more than in Weld County, according University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business study released Thursday.
"While oil and gas production is concentrated in a few counties we saw impacts across the state, but the benefits in Denver were really surprising," said Brian Lewandowski, a study co-author.
The study, commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, calculated that 31,900 people work in the industry, which had pumped $126.5 billion in the state's economy between 2008 and 2012.
Rep. Jared Polis (Don't Frack my Mother - CO2) was not reached for comment.
Speaking of Jared Polis, had you seen that the Fort Collins daily newspaper 'The Coloradoan' has endorsed his opponent? They said that Leing seemed genuinely interested in Northern Colorado issues, while Polis was detached.
Quote of the Day
"When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can't eat money." -- Obomsawin
Posted on Facebook by a good friend: a very bright, PhD that used to work for me. I don't think I'll respond or engage, but I thought you all should enjoy this too.
UPDATE: Me? Shut up? Nah....
Pretty words. And yet, in the poor nations for the world, pollution is terrible. After achieving a certain per capita GDP, like climbing a Maslow pyramid, nations apply discretionary wealth to environmental issues. I fear Ms. Obomsawin did not appreciate the Kuznets Curve.
"...you can't eat money" and you can't find a cure for Ebola in a tree or a fish or a river, no matter how pure.
Christians, Libertarians and Ayn Rand
OK, The Refugee admits that he stole the headline wholesale from the actual article by Heather Wilhelm. This is red meat to Three Sourcers.
The Refugee is not going to pull quotes because the article speaks very well for itself. Wilhelm addresses what should be a rather natural alignment between these three groups, but is rather a prickly association at best. Worth the read if you have five minutes.
This Randian also disagrees with Armstrong. He has been baited into single-issue voting by "Mainstream Colorado" whose principal donors include labor unions, trial lawyers and the Pat Stryker/Tim Gill "Blueprint" cabal. And whose "designated filing agent" Julie Wells is the same as for another advocacy group "Priorities for Colorado" who produced mailers suggesting that our friend Susan Kochevar, candidate for another state legislative seat, "refused to cooperate in the Jessica Ridgeway investigation." Disgusting.
No, Ari, MC and PforC don't give a damn about your principles, and won't represent you when their candidates are elected anyway, they only want one thing: Fewer votes for the Republican. And, for whatever reason you don't vote for Woods (whom I heard on Grassroots Radio Colorado and sounded imminently reasonable and rational and principled, and never mentioned personhood) you play right into their statist little hands.
Furthermore, the Objectivism based position that "rights begin at birth, not conception" is shared by Colorado Senator Mark Udall, who is currently campaigning for re-election. So on this self-selected single issue, does Armstrong also intend to vote for "Mark Uterus?" I certainly don't. Udall's position here is based on the "pure principle" of the abortion rights movement, not on a sober assessment of competing individual rights. This stopped clock happens to be right, at the moment, but I'm sure not going to vote for it.
Doesn't seem Ms. Wilhelm is working to make the association less prickly.
Two comments from the, "Randians round these parts."
1) If Ms. Wilhem wants us Randians to get behind her coalition, she would have more luck if she didn't spend her second paragraph calling us names. Presumably if Rand is strident, elitist and misanthropic, I am too.
2) Has Ms. Wilhelm ever actually read Rand or is she just stealing her descriptions and characterizations from Bill Maher? This article is based on several common but serious misinterpretations of Rand and the philosophy she espoused.
Agree with every word. So, as they ask at the end of "Once More with Feeling" where do we go from here?
How do you corral those who would benefit from smaller, less-intrusive government to work together? Wilhelm's mistakes strike me as more rhetorical. Armstrong, by contrast, is well informed and correct: he is being asked to vote for somebody whom he sees clearly expanding the power of government in one area.
I've met my House rep a few times. most recently at the Weld County GOP Breakfast (next meeting Oct 18). I dare say there are several points of disagreement I could find were I to look as hard as Armstrong. Does that mean I'm going to vote for her Democratic challenger?
I see both sides but want so badly to have enough duct tape and bailing wire to hold the coalition together through the election.
And I have just commented as much on the Ari Armstrong article.
Misusing the Inchoative
Obama is becoming Nixonian." says Peter Wehner. Becoming? Had they not different pigmentation, I don't know how I'd tell them apart.
The man who by a wide margin has received the most worshipful press coverage in at least the last half-century is complaining that the press is mistreating him. A president who routinely misleads the public on matters large and small, who first ran for president on the promise of unifying America but governs based on dividing it, and who allows the most important national-security matters to be decided by crass political considerations is blaming others for feeding cynicism.
Watching a narcissist struggle to deal with massive, multiplying failures can be a poignant thing, especially when everyone gets what's going on except the narcissist and his enablers. When this happens to a sitting president, however, what is poignant becomes alarming. Because it's always better that the president of the United States live in reality rather than creating his own.
There is one huge difference between Obama and Nixon: Nixon had a sense of shame.
...I don't know how I'd tell them apart.
Off the top of my head, the one who was given a Nobel Peace Prize isn't the one who ended a war that he inherited.
Quote of the Day
Last night, after two fundraisers in New York, Barack Obama settled down for a quiet, up-to-$32,000-per-plate dinner at the home of (I am not making this up) a billionaire property tycoon named (still not making this up) Rich Richman, but only after he sent a massive fundraising email to potential Democratic donors, labeling the Republicans as the "party of billionaires." -- Emily Zanotti
Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt
October 8, 2014
My appreciation for the Perfesser and for autonomous vehicles is beyond reproach. Yet I found this intently amusing:
It probably doesn't pay union dues, either. The Teamsters will fight this one tooth and nail.
Quote of the Day
Look, I didn't call Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) [0%] "Mark Uterus:" the debate moderator last night did. -- Moe Lane.
PS: This is, by the way, not a distraction from the larger issues of the campaign: it is a larger issue of the campaign. Cory Gardner is attempting to run on the economy and jobs. Mark Uterus can't do that, because his record on both is awful: so he is instead attempting to run on... well. Mark Udall deserves all the scorn that he might get.
UPDATE: The 0% is Senator Uterus's "Heritage Action Scorecard" score.
Obama Teleprompter Hacked
President Obama famously said that he believes "in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
So one may wonder why he didn't balk when Teleprompter instructed him to say this:
It's part of what attracts people from every corner of the globe to this country, understanding that for all our flaws there's something essential that we stand for that nobody else does, and we're willing to put our money and time and effort and resources and occasionally our lives on behalf of that.
Something essential... that we stand for... that nobody else does. This, friends, is the definition of an "exception" and makes "this country" exceptional.
And even more directly, when he said that "America continues to be the one indispensable nation..." one might be forgiven for thinking that, perhaps, President Obama is proud to be an American. He continued:
...and that what we stand for - liberty and democracy and conservation and fairness and justice - those are the things that people around the world aspire to and seek, and they expect the United States to be on their side.
I agree, Mr. President. Me too. Although I suspect we may differ on the meaning and intent of "democracy and conservation and fairness" and yes, probably even "justice." You did notice that only one of the values you expressed is a part of the name for "that lady with the torch in the middle of the water" didn't you?
Denver Broncos - Largest fan region in NFL
Don't believe me? Facebook proves it!
Way cool. I love stuff like this.
I suspect, however, if the colors are less deep and pure than when I was young. There is that funny nfl.com commercial about how the Vikings' family's kid married an Eagle and moved to Cincinnati &c. Our mid-size company in the shadow of Sports Authority Field At Mile High With Logo Colors That Are Not Really The Chiefs At All No Really can probably claim a fan for every franchise.
There was a great Facebook meme going around that said your phone number is a random seven digits preceded by where you lived in 2003. Allegiances, like our area codes, are now portable.
Much as I'd like to think that the Broncos are the reason God made sunsets orange, I suspect the boundaries on these regions vary some with the success of the teams. The Broncos and Mr. Manning have been very successful of late. Therefore, I suspect if you looked at this chart on average over the course of years, the Cowboys might actually cover more ground.
Especially since they are currently barely average and Tony Romo can be reliably counted on to blow it at inopportune times. Americas team indeed, much as I hate them, or maybe South Americas team as my parents contend.
Yes, pity the Jets, and their new #1 receiver - Eric Decker.
October 7, 2014
Got an hour and a half to kill?
Stunning truth about Socialism's Legacy from Alan Charles Kors
Hat-tip: Brother Bryan on Facebook.
Who is Joe Biden?
C'mon, don't you wish you didn't know?
Mmmm... people are a LOT less informed than you may think. Jesse Watters does a lot of this stuff on Fox and swears that he does not cherry pick. Kimmel may not have shown the knowledgeable ones, but he probably had no difficulty finding the ignorant. Numerous polls show that a majority of Americans have no idea who the VP is. (And a surprising number can't name the President.)
Homework assignment: randomly talk to people you meet and ask them who the VP is. Then ask them to name Colorado's senators. You will first be mortified and then fully understand why we do not have a popular uprising in the name of Liberty.
I had no idea that dude with the marijuana hanky under his hat was "really f*in' stoned" before he said, "I'm really f*in' stoned!"
Do you suppose everyone they asked was stoned? That might make it better, right? RIGHT?
Okay, enough. It is time to make pop stars our leaders. They know better than everyone else anyway, right?
Kennedy loves to do these on Times Square outside the FOX world domination headquarters. She shows the good, bad and ugly ones. I suspect they edit for "the funny ones" but I am not at all surprised they can fill a two and a half minute clip pretty quickly.
I fear selection bias in The Refugee's "ask your friends. Our friends -- as a general rule with certain exceptions -- are probably not as uninformed or telegenic as Kimmel's domain.
And, yes, the guy with the leaf bandanna totally had me fooled until he copped to it. His straight act was working really well.
Correction: I actually said "people you meet," not your friends, although either could be interesting. It may not pop up into every conversation or you may need to be a bit sneaky in how you determine the person's knowledge.
Fair point, br. Sorry for the sloppy quoting.
Mercy -- I am Pauline Kael. I really don't encounter many people who would not know the scrappy VP from Scranton PA. I know many who would know him only from The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert and the new poncy guy -- but they'd know him.
Maybe it's working from home, but I can't see myself running into most of the folks in the Kimmel video. Maybe that's bad. Maybe that's good.
There was a study done by the Pew Research group a while back (it's on an old computer.... just reorganizing the backups), seeing if the Internet revolution had actually changed things like ... well, what we consider to be generalized and useful knowledge.
It compared a decent segment of America from 1960 to somewhere in the early 90's, I believe the sample even represented a breadth of edumication comparable to the GP. It went from obvious question like who is POTUS, VP, Speaker... to who won the superbowl and what won best picture, etc.
It's findings were people were just as uninformed as before, so YES, I do believe Kimmel sampled "appropriately" and I think it's a good thing, in ways, that many do not recognize the VP.
I'm guessing the recognition rate of Putin even in places like Archangelsk is as high as was voting 'participation' in the old USSR....
Still, we could do with few more understanding the origin of HH's phrase: "Slow Jo, the gift that keeps giving."
Dude Cannot Even Vote "Present"
Colorado Avalanche begin regular season play on Thursday at Minnesota. As an appetizer, check out rookie phenom Nathan MacKinnon in an ice-skating drag race with world champion and Olympic gold medalist short-track speed skater Charles Hamelin. Awesome!
I'm also just learning that, with the departure of Paul Stastny, MacKinnon is moving from wing to his natural position at center.
This may be an apples/oranges comparison of skates, but watching the 18 year old kid turn some of the best defensemen in the league inside-out with his speed causes us mortals to do a two-handed head-grab followed by expletives.
Amen. I have loved watching the young fellow fly but noticed they did not do 500 meters.
Democrat President Says Something Truthful
Hey, it happens. Although usually not while they're still in office, and this example is no exception:
"I don't expect anybody to vote on it or be happy because middle class incomes haven't risen, the average family is making less adjusted for inflation than they were the day I left office," he said.
But much as I'd like to attribute this condition to Stealthflation, John Steele Gordon's Commentary Mag piece explains the five key areas where problems are strangling the US economy. Guess how many of them are the fault of government?
The good news is that, unlike the economic problems faced by many countries, all of these problems are amenable to reform. The bad news is that reforming the status quo, which always has determined defenders, requires strong presidential leadership and a Congress capable of acting in the national interest, not just in its members' interests.
Hmmm, where have we heard that before?
Organizing the Other Side
In the Washington Examiner, Byron York chronicles the desperate effort to "save Democrats from Barack Obama" this election cycle.
So now Bill Clinton is leading what is, in effect, an effort to rescue the Democratic Party from Barack Obama. In Conway, Clinton pronounced himself "sick and tired of people trying to stir people up, make them foam at the mouth and vote for what they're against instead of what they're for. How many times have we seen people do something they knew better than to do just because they were in a snit?"
But Mister President, isn't that just another example of "community organizing?"
This is necessary because "A president's job approval rating is a pretty reliable predictor of midterm voting, and Obama's ratings are down in several states in which Democrats are in danger of losing Senate seats. In addition to Obama's 31 percent approval in Arkansas, the president is at 39 percent in Louisiana, 40 percent in Iowa, and 42 percent in North Carolina, according to PPP."
And, on (RCP) average, 41 percent in Colorado. More devastating, perhaps, is the spread between approval and disapproval in these states. Arkansas, -27%; Louisiana, -20%, Iowa, -12%; North Carolina, -12%; and Colorado, -13%. These compare to -23% in red-meat Montana and -30% in "my favorite" coal-miner's daughter's state of Kentucky. Even in Oregon, where the president's popularity is among the highest at 46.5 percent, the spread is negative at -2.3 percent. (And -14 percent in one poll.)
No wonder Republicans are so gleeful, and Democrats "winced" when the president recently said, "Make no mistake," during an economic speech in Evanston, Illinois. "These policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them."
The SCOAMF has an approval rating lower than the average of the last six Raiders head coaches (and almost as low as their previous owner), and he wonders why his party's candidates are trying with all their might to distance themselves from him.
Dear Professor Picketty
I took a few pictures walking Harriet last night and a similar one has been well received on Facebook. Even the mighty Nokia Lumina 1020 did not do justice to the sunset colors -- no doubt the operator's shortcomings and not the equipment.
But it illustrates something I probably cannot say on Facebook. This is the view from my side of hole seven: stately mansions with well manicured landscaping. Each of the residents -- having paid three times what I did -- looks at our condo complex. It's not squalor, and as Secretary of the HOA I ascertain that our grass is plenty green, but the old real estate adage holds that you want the least valuable home on the block.
It's a joke but it is not. We get to enjoy the presence of our more affluent neighbors on this planet, probably a little more than they enjoy us plebes. This contravenes the inequality concerns but is not offset as in feudal inequality. My 4500 square foot neighbors and I enjoy the same lifestyle, except they don't have to record their coffeehouse videos in the living room.
October 6, 2014
Et tu AEI?
Alternate headline: Randal O'Toole -- call your office!
Valclav Smil of AEI does like the choo-choo.
As a frequent flyer and a frequent rider of rapid trains, I cannot imagine why anybody would prefer the combination of North American airlines and security gauntlets to easing into a seat that reclines without causing outbursts by fellow passengers, looking out from a large window, and reading or eating while countryside flows past at 300 km/h. Cost is invariably mentioned as the greatest obstacle to high-speed trains, as if riding cars and flying were enviably cheap alternatives. If Spain and China can afford to join the 21st (well, actually the 20th century) of rapid trains is it not high time that the United States and Canada finally follow? If there is a welcome role for governments then it is in investing in infrastructure that will secure decades-long benefits (think of the economic and social payoff of the U.S. interstate system launched under Eisenhower).
Where does one start? That procrastinating line has kept this story open in my browser window all day. One starts with "no this is not 'The Nation' this is AEI's American." But I will stick generally to this paragraph.
First, every choochoophile always includes security in his or her comparison. It is a given that colo-rectal screenings are required at the airport and that trains will always be more like people my age remember air travel. I accuse the
Socialists rail enthusiasts of paucity of imagination. On one side, surely security screening could be improved at the airport. I have a dozen ideas, and he could walk down the hall at AEI and collect a dozen more. On the other side -- somebody cannot blow up a train? I imagine it takes more training to hijack one and run it into a building, but they are ramping up security at NFL games; who is to say that by the time the $79Billion, 10 year rail proposal is completed (in 20 years at a cost of $204Billion), that screening won't have spread?
Second, what about those ten digit budgets and decadal time frames? What about graft and environmental impacts (but I repeat myself). Geography is coming below, but in his target of LA - San Francisco -- does he not know how much has been thrown at it already with nothing to show? Dallas-to-Houston: yeah, Texans are just jonesing for mass transit.
Third. Japan, Europe, the US, Canada... two of these thongs is not like the other ones. Denver, Kansas City, Dallas St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati are what we call "really far away." Smil wants to serve four pair of metro centers and leave the rest of the country out.
Fourth. "But, China!" Yes, they're pretty used to being told where they're going and how they will get there. The shocking omission from Smil's (it's not April Fool's Day is it?) piece in AEI is any thought of liberty, Hayekian spontaneous order, or convertibility of infrastructure.
"Do the Locomotive" is the title of the column, leaving me to my third and best headline: "Before the Locomotive Does You!"
First I link approbationally to DemocracyNOW! dot com, then AEI channels the Rail-o-holics of Boulder, Colorado. "What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here!"
Dogs and cats, living together...
We've a great amenity in Colorado. The "Ski-Train" goes from Union Station in Downtown Denver to Winter Park, allowing riders to avoid traffic and poor weather driving conditions. In the summer, you can ride it for fun and it is spectacular.
But it is exemplary of rail's failings. It goes to one resort leaving once a day and returns once in the evening. They do not allow you to return on a different day or ride one way. These limitations make it entertainment but not a viable transportation option, even though the available routes are badly choked.
So, while one can appreciate the aesthetics, the whole idear is rabidly anti-Hayekian: somebody decided ten or fifty years ago what points A and B are, and today they decide when they run and how they will be sold.
In Randy Barnett World, Keith, I can imagine private rail, but easements, access and environmental hurdles would preclude doing that today anywhere but Eritrea. Airports are not libertarian laboratories, but they at least support different destinations as needs change.
Segue me this: Instead of rail. let's build roads dedicated to driverless cars. This technology could boot up more quickly in an all-autonomy environment. And if it grew successful, could be expanded to include more or shared roads. If it fails, the investment could be opened to regular traffic.
It would be waaaay cheaper, a million times more flexible, and would facilitate new transportation solutions instead of chasing the 19th Century.
Even were your proposal not be brilliant, I've have to defer to anyone who can make use of a Blazing Saddles quotation. And it didn't escape my notice that the quote is from a scene about... laying track for a railroad! Brilliant!
As much as I think I'd enjoy trying to be the Robber Baron of Eritrea, I am intrigued by your idea. Like Ross Perot said, "I'm all ears."
And by a man named "Taggart..."
Went right over my head... for a time.
Thank you IMDB!
Gambling at Ricks?
It seems Brother JG's favorite Senate Candidate may actually be lying:
I don't know if this changes anything...
UPDATE: Embed seems wonky -- here's a Washington Free Beacon piece.
It isn't the bald-faced lying that is so breathtaking in this incalculably valuable peek into the inner workings of Democrat party political machinery, it is the utter disregard for... DEMOCRACY!
"You can't be a statewide politician and condemn coal, you can't you are not gonna win." - Field Organizer, Louisville Democratic Office
"But you can't really say that [market forces have caused the decline in coal] in Kentucky which is so stupid, because there are too many people who go 'Coal is our livelihood.'" - Fayette County Democratic Party Committee Member
"She's just got to do what she's got to do to get elected." - Former Kentucky Auditor
"But she's got to get in there first and she's gonna say whatever she has to say or do. And that's the way the political game is played." - Warren County Democratic Operative
What about "the will of the people?"
What about "representing my constituents?"
Is this not blatant admission of serving a "higher" master in the form of the powerful extreme environmentalist movement? A master "higher" than one's own voters?
"For true democracy to work, people need easy access to independent, diverse sources of news and information.
But the last two decades have seen unprecedented corporate media consolidation. The U.S. media was already fairly homogeneous in the early 1980s: some fifty media conglomerates dominated all media outlets, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, music, publishing and film. In the year 2000, just six corporations dominated the U.S. media.
In addition, corporate media outlets in the U.S. are legally responsible to their shareholders to maximize profits."
So there is a possible explanation why we haven't seen this independent and potentially profit-damaging report on corporate news giants like ABC/CBS/FNC. I suggest that Mr. O'Keefe head directly to the headquarters of the "national, daily, independent, award-winning news program" that posts the preceding quote on it's 'About us' page: Democracy NOW!
I've thought Mr. O'Keefe over the top in some of his other intrepid reporting (although Ms. Hannah Giles's micro-skirt will live in my memory as long as arterial blood flows). But this edition is awesome on stilts. I also appreciate your thoughtful comments even after my childish baiting.
To be fair, I was wondering whether you could do the same video at Cory Gardner headquarters by expressing remorse that Rep. G has dropped support for personhood now that his electoral domain is Colorado and not CO-4).
Am I being just too gosh-darned fair for my own good?
Smart commentary on Hong Kong
Blog friend tgreer is a foreign policy dweeb, Chinese speaker, and has many personal connections to young people in the region. That -- and his general smarts -- make his Bargaining with the Dragon: Some Straight Talk on Hong Kong well worth a read.
One of the bits that surprised me: western observers (and Milton Friedman fanboys like me) likely overestimate Hong Kong's contribution to China's GDP:
Back when Mr. Patten turned Hong Kong over to the People's Republic that statement would have been self-evidently true. Now it isn't. In those days Hong Kong was 16% of China's total GDP. Now it is a bit less than 3%. Hell, given the growth we have seen in Guangzhou and Shenzhen over the last two decades, it isn't clear that Hong Kong is the Pearl River Delta's most successful city. The cold, hard facts of the matter is that China's economy grows by two Hong Kongs a year. The region's economy is not important enough to Beijing for the protestors to use it as a bargaining chip.
You will definitely want to read the whole thing.
October 5, 2014
Yet in the long run absolutism did not prevail. Out of one corner of Europe, in the British Isles, an alternative emerged, constitutional monarchy with limits on government, guaranteed rights, relatively benign religious toleration, and free market global capitalism. After the Glorious Revolution the merchant class as well as the nobility successful cabined in the power of king and prince. The nobility did not totally dominate the life of society, and merchants and entrepreneurs were left free to trade and innovate.
Amazon informs me that I purchased Michael Barone's Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers
on July 9, 2007. While that predated Review Corner, I did post a recommendation
. I praise Barone as a public intellectual and praise his lack of partisanship. In seven years, I fear the Fox news vs. everybody else may have hardened his edges, but his gifted smarts have not dissipated.
I pulled The First Revolution (Hardcover) off the shelf because I am patching plentiful lacunae in my 17th Century European history. One of these years, I will review Rev. Samuel Rutherford's "Lex Rex," the Kindle version having been released in 1644. Rutherford references biblical stories and 17th Century British politics and latin and season one of American Idol which leaves me lost. I remembered Barone's book and, while the bulk of it happens long after #LexRex, it grounded me somewhat. I thought I'd do the 17th Century right and reread Locke's Two Treatises, Barone and Rutherford. Locke is not a central character in The Glorious Revolution, but he makes several appearances.
Shaftesbury is a problem: he was a supporter of habeas corpus and of religious toleration for many, yet he was an unscrupulous prosecutor of baseless charges against others. He was also the patron of John Locke, whom he met when Locke was studying medicine at Oxford and who advised him to have surgery for an abscess, which saved his life.47 Locke lived in Shaftesbury's London household from 1667;48 he wrote a constitution for the Carolina colony of which Shaftesbury was a proprietor, and was closely involved in all of Shaftesbury's political dealings.
While I enjoyed Barone's book twice now, I'll stand by my seven year old concern that liberty is an afterthought or unintended consequence of expelling an -- egads -- Popish King! I guess you take your liberty where you get it, but fans of the American Revolution, like fans of Star Wars, will find they prefer the original to the prequel.
The 1689 Bill of Rights was from our point of view a limited and grudging document: nothing about freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of the press. It did not prohibit the king from appointing judges or removing them at pleasure, as Charles II and James II had done; but the Act of Succession of 1701 did prohibit monarchs after 1714 from doing so, and William and Anne never did.25 Yet as an affirmative statement of individual rights, however limited, the Bill of Rights broke new ground, ground that would be extended in the New World.
Opposition to Catholicism is central to Rutherford and drove King James II's opponents far more than liberty. I know it purely from history books, President Kennedy was elected shortly after I was born. Blog friend SC reminded me of the strong Klan presence in Denver and problems his parents had. You don't have to go back to Rutherford, but growing up when and where I did, I honestly never encountered it.
Personal anecdotes aside, the Glorious Revolution is a good advertisement for a country's not establishing a national religion. Jeepers, having your King head the church is a recipe for bad things. As the Glorious Revolution feared Hobbesian anarchy in the shadow of the Civil War, clearly the American colonists were not to get tangled up in that.
If the foundation of liberty is not apparent, much of modern politics is. Prince William of Orange [Spoiler Alert: he becomes King William] is a master of pamphlet production and The Netherlands boasts the most numerous and productive printing presses.
The most persuasive mass medium of the day was the pamphlet, and the Dutch were the masters of the pamphlet. They had the freest press in Europe, and the most printing presses, capable of printing in English, French, Czech, Hebrew, and Armenian, as well as Dutch; the most type foundries and paper factories; and, as a small and prosperous nation, they had a fine appreciation of the power of ideas to shape men's acts.
"[Wle have the Coffee-House Tables continually spread with the noisome Excrements of diseased and laxative Scribblers."76 In response the government began printing publications of its own.77
Colorado TV viewers are pretty familiar with "noisome Excrements of diseased and laxative Scribblers" these days. As well as campaign literature, the basis of political parties as we know them can be traced to that period.
Shaftesbury's determination and Charles's stubbornness combined to produce the first political parties in English history, the Whigs and the Tories.84 Both names were insults. Whig was a Scottish term used for horse thieves and applied to Presbyterians. Tory was an Irish term used for outlaws and applied to Catholics.85 Whigs tended to favor toleration of Dissenters as well as the exclusion of James from the throne; Tories strongly favored the primacy of the Church of England and advocated passive obedience to the king.
Did I say take your liberty where you can get it? The combined fears of anarchy, popery, and France made a strengthened Parliament an attractive option. Accepting a monarch from outside direct succession was made palatable with some division of powers.
BUT THE REVOLUTIONARY settlement did endure. It changed England from a nation in which representative government was threatened to one where it was ingrained, from a nation in which liberties were based on tradition to one where they were based in part on positive law, from a nation where the place of religion was a matter of continued political dispute and even armed struggle to one where it became settled in a way that generally respected individual choice, from a nation that mostly kept apart from the wars of continental Europe to one that saw its duty as maintaining a balance of power there and around the world. These were momentous changes -- momentous not just for England and Britain, but for the American colonies and later the United States and the entire world. It was the English and British example of representative government that inspired the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and was copied, with minor variations, in British colonies, many of which have become major nations -- Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India. This improbable revolution did much to shape the world in which we live today.
Excellent book, five stars.
October 3, 2014
The Kudlow Creed
William Easterly has been treated well on these pages' Review Corner -- twice.
Today, he has a guest editorial in the WSJ that underscores themes in his books.
Two crowds gathered on opposite sides of the world last weekend. The first crowd was for the celebrity concert in New York's Central Park featuring Jay Z, Beyoncé and Carrie Underwood, fighting against global poverty. The second crowd consisted of citizens of Hong Kong who are still staging a sit-in protest, fighting for their freedoms against a recent decision in Beijing to deny them previously promised free elections for Hong Kong's own government.
The sad thing is that the crowd for the first cause in Central Park showed little awareness or sympathy for the cause of the second crowd in Hong Kong.
While pop stars and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim get on the stage and assert "We are gonna end extreme poverty by 2030, fact," what works to end poverty has proven to be freedom, fact.
There should at least be a debate, but Mr. Kim and the World Bank are silent on these matters--as are most other aid agencies and their celebrity supporters. In fairness, the bank and other aid agencies may feel that they cannot criticize autocrats in countries where permission is needed to operate in the fight against poverty.
Yet freedom is arguably central: first, as an end that people want for themselves, and, second, as the most well-proven path to escaping poverty. Consider among others North America, most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Chile, where the answer to poverty was economic and political freedom. It is time that celebrity fighters for material economic development started also singing the praises of liberty.
All we are saying, is give free market capitalism a chance....
Bravo. A suggestion: Instead of a minimum wage standard, how's about a minimum degree of freedom?
One of us should post a link to the entire debate vid here too. I've seen it posted but don't remember where.
One of us ought to. And one of us can't find it...
That's Not Funny!
Lot of love for Michael Ramirez's cartoons 'round these parts. Here's a great interview about the state of Journalism.
A terrific interview; this was my money-quote.
"If you're a conservative; you're fighting your opponent and the referee (aka, the media) too"
I've long been a fan of Ramirez and IBD in general. THAT'S our conservative media outlet!
October 2, 2014
CATO has released its Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors 2014 [summary] [pdf].
It's a mountain of fun with sprinkles on top. Our dear incumbent in the Centennial State is second from the bottom (he should send Gov. Jerry Brown of CA a card).
But I mean to pick a libertario delenda est fight. I read my big-L friends on Facebook every day that there is "no difference" between the parties. (Red Pill-Blue Pill / Two wings of the same bird of prey / Not a dime's difference / yadda-yadda...) And yet:
- All four A's are Republicans
- Ten of the top 11 are Republicans
- All eight F's are Democrats
Quite a coincidence, nicht wahr?
"Governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades."
And Republican governors, in contrast to Republican senators and congressmen, are remarkably more likely to earn high grades on that measurement than are Democrat governors. As I alluded, party affiliation is a less reliable indicator of Fiscal Policy Report Card grades for legislators, particularly at the national level. Why? As individuals, executives are more accountable than are the legislative cogs who simply blame their failures on "the body" or "the caucus" or "the leadership."
So perhaps our big-L brethren are half right?
Big Ls tend to be 90% right. What is so maddening is how bitterly they cling to their mistaken decimation.
You and I have a lot of friends at LOTR-F who will be supporting Mike Dunafon and Michael Hess. I like both those guys, but if Gov. Hiockenlooper wins by less that the sum of Beauprez + Dunafon + Hess, I'm going to poison some drinks.
I'm wondering out loud if the anti-2 party crowd can be persuaded to exercise their Quixotic principle only on legislative races, where it earns more merit, and to be pragmatic enough in executive races to vote, not for the "lesser evil" but against the greater one?
I like it. Long time readers will know I took up the "Libertario Delenda Est" flag with great emotion. My efforts to influence lefty and moderate friends were disappointing, in the sense that the 2014 Oakland Raiders have not established themselves as a lock for the AFC Championship. That kind of disappointing.
Perhaps, methought, my calling was to instill pragmatism in the highly-rational big-Ls. That takes me from the Raiders to the Washington DC Football Enterprise that cannot be named.
So, I am tempted to eject but your suggestion might be worth a try.
I must push back on the Senate, however. John Tester won in Montana in 2006 thanks to a big-L candidate -- and he provided the 60th vote for Obamacare. Likewise there are a couple races which might be spoiled this year -- preventing perhaps serious efforts at trimming its unwieldy edges. Liberty is not served.
Electoral Politics point-counterpoint
Nancy Pelosi is feeling confident.
"They have no ideas. They have nothing to offer the American people in terms of job creation, financial stability, lowering the cost of education, raising the minimum wage, stopping their tax breaks for their friends to send jobs overseas," she said.
Ummm, get out of the way, get out of the way, get out of the way, get out of the way and finally, get out of the way.
Pelosi said voters weren't responding to the GOP agenda.
According to the latest RCP 2014 Senate "no toss-ups" map the pick ups are: Republicans, 8 - Democrats, 0.
"We've out-mobilized them; we've out-recruited them; we've outraised them to a shameful extent. They're desperate," she said.
Who are "they" exactly?
Friend -- You can't hold your breath and wait to see who wins the Senate.
It's too close for that. We need your help immediately.
I'll put it frankly: If we lose these midterm elections, we'll just see more obstruction, more lawsuits and talk about impeachment, and more votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act or even shut down the government.
Will you pitch in before midnight to keep the Senate in Democratic hands so we can keep moving this country forward? Remember: All gifts will be triple-matched and put to work on the ground immediately.
October 1, 2014
On lawful elections
Chess Champion Garry Kasparov says ISIS is a diversion for the world to focus on. And while he doesn't suggest a specific creator of that diversion he does name who stands to benefit from it: Vladimir Putin, whom he calls the world's "biggest threat to global unrest."
Kasparov, who once expressed interest in running in the 2008 presidential race and who has in recent years become an anti-Putin activist, avoided the question of whether or not he would seek public office. Instead his response was a sobering one: "We should forget about power in Russia changing hands throughout the election process. I'm afraid it will be not a very lawful process and it may eventually end up with the collapse of the country."
Jeffco Teacher Promotes Closing Young Minds
I need to get out more. This video dates to 2012, during the Romney-Obama campaign season, but Breitbart and I are just discovering it now. Why? Because it was, and apparently still is, on the Facebook page of a Jeffco 8th grade government studies teacher. Yee Haw! Where were the cool teachers when I was in 8th grade!
It's a very catchy tune with talented vocals but it does have me waxing nostalgic for the day when lyrics were unintelligible. And by the way, if one is "sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor" should she refrain from saying "You say you think we need to go to war well you're already in one, 'cause it's people like you that need to get slew..." and writing a chorus of "F*** you, F*** you, F*** you?"
And yet I do agree with Ms. Allen on one thing: It's not me, it's you.
HT- Friend Jen Raiffie for posting the vid.
I saw some of this on FB (I still have not braved through to the end -- missing anything?)
This is a Jon Stewart thing isn't it? Doesn't he have a song like this? I think this is the high-level debate we miss not watching The Daily Show or being in the Eighth Grade.
According to the info tab, the song dates to 2008 and the video was "created by a JeffCo R1 Public School Teacher - 8th grade government teacher."
You saw it on Jon Stewart? I wonder if teach' is collecting residuals?
He has a song with the same charming lyrics in the chorus. When they run out of other arguments, they play it and the crowd goes wild. I thought it was a regular feature but I am no authority.
Would love to see Stewart & Teach'r in a protracted legal action -- kind of an Iraq-Iran war for the rest of us.
When the ThreeSources Movie Comes Out
I humbly suggest you cast Jeff Bridges as jk:
A little too nasally, doncha think? And you have better hair.
I like his enthusiasm (and would trade hair given the opportunity...)
The suggestion actually stems from his performance in "The Fabulous Baker Boys." I do get a kick out of his pursuing this -- this is part of an album release scheduled for this week.
Quote of the Day II
When you point out the unreality of green energy dreams, you are met with foam-flecked denunciations of the Koch brothers. In fact the opposition to the climateers is tiny by comparison to the resources deployed by the environmental establishment, not to mention the massive sympathy they receive from an uncritical media. From the way people like Al Gore complain you'd think the climateers were up against the teachers union. -- Steven Hayward, Climate Change Has Jumped
Quote of the Day
I mean, if a Native American came along and said, "I'd really like you to rename the team, because I don't want my ancestors, friends and neighbors associated in any way with that many turnovers and an inability to play defense" . . . that's the kind of request you would have to respect. -- Jim Geraghty
The government wouldn't be able to bitch about the offensive naming of a sports team in DC if the Washington Senators were still around. You want to talk about a label that no self-respecting athlete would want to wear...
They don't need to change the team name, just the team logo.
I thought for Hispanic Heritage Month in the NFL, the could be the Brownskins. Just a few weeks.
Please, no specific racial overtones! How about simply, "Swarthyskins?"
It's now October. They'll all be wearing pink for the next month anyway, won't they?