January 30, 2015
All Hail Jonah!
Yup, still Friday... Students at Berkeley are turning on Mark because he's a dead white male and claims extant gender differences. Jonah Goldberg [subscribe] notes:
This is like watching Godzilla stomp across Tokyo and your only complaint is he's not wearing pants.
UPDATE: And his gift is his ability to weave something more serious in to "no pants" and "the idea that The Vagina Monologues is sexist because it lacks wangs in the cast -- and I don't mean Asians."
It's amazing. We spent a century trying to explain to the Left why Marx was wrong. It just never occurred to us to try "He's a white guy!" It should have been obvious. It's like we spent hours trying to hack their computer and then suddenly someone suggests trying "password" as the password -- and voila.
All Hail Taranto!
It's Friday! One more AHT:
I don't care who are, that's a funny joke...
Bon Mot of the Day
A lot of the talking points, it seems, are the product of lies that capitalize on ignorance and fear, though there's an entire subset of arguments that can be classified as appeals to Monsanto or argumentum ad Monsantium. -- They're Economical with the Truth
Rose Wilder Lane/Willa Cather Economics
Megan McArdle has a jewel of a column today, riffing off Peggy Noonan's riffing off Sen. Joni Ernst's (Sooooey! IA) SOTU response. It seems the American glitterati class is amused by Ernst's stories of covering shoes in bread bags. Noonan remembers -- and McArdle missed it but was aware of it. Now "We've become so rich that we have forgotten something that is well within living memory: Americans used to have much, much less."
In every generation, we forget how much poorer we used to be, and then we forget that we have forgotten. We focus on the things that seem funny or monstrous or quaint and darling. Somehow the simplest and most important fact -- the immense differences between their living standards and ours -- slides right past our eye. And when Ernst tried to remind us, people didn't say "Wow, we've really come a long way"; they pointed and laughed.
I'm older than McArdle and younger than Noonan (though they both look a lot better than me). But I am the youngest son of late bloomers and generations go back pretty far. My Dad was 18 at the start of the Great Depression. All my grandparents were born in the 19th Century. By the standards of the day my father, the local ad-kingpin, was pretty well off; but his gooberhead nobody youngest son lives like a king in comparison.
My youngest grandmother -- I assume -- had the life of a Willa Cather character. McArdle was a fan of Rose Wilder Lane's Little House on the Prairie books, and reminds readers that the romance of Laura's life was a foundation of brutal poverty. "The Ingalls family were in many ways bourgeoisie: educated by the standards of the day, active in community leadership, landowners. And they had nothing."
There's a reason old-fashioned kitchens didn't have cabinets: They didn't need them. There wasn't anything to put there.To forget this is a great boon to the Progressives. I suspect most of the titterers were of that ilk. The most recent leg of Deidre McCloskeyism can be blinked away. Then all the advantages we enjoy today can be attributed to Unions and Regulation -- and not to free market capitalism and bourgeois dignity.
Quote of the Day
The first clue that the Taliban Five would attempt to assist the Taliban once released from Guantanamo Bay is the fact that theyíre called the Taliban Five. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
January 29, 2015
My New Mayor
Don't come 'round my town unless you look like me.
Don't say you weren't warned...
Hat-tip: Revealing Politics
UPDATE: Heronner says she was quoted out of context. Revealing Politics provides the full context and suggests it is "still terrible."
Three Cheers for Sen. Michael Bennett
My Democrat Senator joins my Republican Senator in supporting KeystoneXL!
No Republicans voted to block the legislation, and eight Democrats voted to approve it.
Well done, Senators.
Economics Hoss Walter E. Williams: Gas-Price Demagogues Feed Off Economic Ignorance
Show me someone who doesn't want more of something, be it cars, houses, clothing, food, peace, admiration, love or war. The fact that people want more is responsible for most of the good things that get done.
Holy War by Any Other Name Would Smell as Wretched
President Obama's official spokesman as much as said, "the Taliban are not a terrorist organization." His administration refuses to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism (or "extremism") is related in any way to the Islamic religion. But as Investors' Ed page reminds, the Muslim holy war goes way back, to at least 1991:
This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose strategic goal, according to a 1991 memorandum by one of its operatives, is "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
Some serious parsing of the words "eliminating, destroying and victorious" is required to evade the existential threat to human liberty which this portends. This, Muslim religious war with civilization.
Click through on the IBD link to read about how Muslim Brotherhood Egyptians hostile to the pro-western Egyptian army leadership were welcomed to the Obama State Department, while Bibi is shunned. Stunning.
January 28, 2015
My Blogfather Retires
I bid a fond -- and I hope gracious --farewell to Andrew Sullivan on his impending blog retirement.
I cannot deny that I thought Sullivan completely and totally lost his mind during the Bush years. I could not bear to read his bilious attacks and had to wander away from regular readership many years ago.
But my blog style, indeed a lot of the design of this blog, and my ideas of what blogging actually is -- were all ripped off of Andrew Sullivan. I'd suggest that it is the same for half the blogosphere directly or not.
In the early days (pull up a chair, youngster) there was a lot of personal interaction and the man himself would reply to a question or critique. The response was always in a sentence fragment all lower case with no punctuation -- I doubt that Michael Oakeschott would have approved. But I have fond memories of disagreements and a few special insights.
Plus, he got me to try very very hard to read Oakeschott. I read W H Auden. I read J. R. Ackerley's "My Dog Tulip" when Andrew considered starting a book club.
So, I look at a 15-year blogging career and see a net positive -- and a huge influence on me in many ways.
Exult O shores and ring O bells!
"We're number twelve! We're number twelve!"
When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States ranked sixth for economic freedom. Now in 2015, the United States has fallen by six to 12th place.
Wolves at the door
As a Dish subscriber I was temporarily cut off from access (while Dish and Fox Corp argued over subscription rates to an unrelated Fox network) to any news of military successes around the world. That apparently included the Kurdish rout of ISIS jihadholes in Kobane. Daily Mail:
Oh, and the video includes the following jihadhole boasts:
'Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America.'
The militant's threats do not stop at America, but also include a message for France and 'sister' Belgium.
The militant then saves his most personal attack for the Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani, who is currently leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq.
So my question is this: If this were reported more widely in the west, who has any doubt of the overwhelming public support for a more aggressive offensive mission to make examples of these jihadholes, thus diminishing the sex appeal of becoming a jihadhole?
And that, friends, is why this isn't reported more widely in the west. Our media is controlled by sheep, not sheep dogs.
And, It Fails!
They may have had numbers, but the withering rationality of Brother JG held the day!
Two weeks after the Erie Board of Trustees narrowly voted to delay its consideration of a one-year fracking moratorium, the town's elected leaders struck down the measure along the same 4-3 line Tuesday night.
The accompanying photo is of LOTR-F friend Brad.
He's a Uniter!
There are no Red States and Blue States -- The are only the United States! And they all hate President Obama's plan to tax 529 education accounts.
The decision came just hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio demanded the proposal be withdrawn from the president's budget, due out Monday, "for the sake of middle-class families." But the call for the White House to relent also came from top Democrats, including Representatives Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member of the Budget Committee.
Hat-tip Jim Geraghty [subscribe] who adds a link to the Speaker's Touchdown Dance.
UPDATE: Reason sees the death of the Welfare State:
The political optics of the plan were flat-out terrible for Obama, who put forth the proposal in the context of a State of the Union address built around the theme of Middle Class Economics. The gist was that Obama proposed taxing the wealthy in order to pay for new middle class benefits, like free community college tuition.
"Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel
I mentioned Andy Peth in the comments below. He is a master messager for ideas he interchangeably calls conservative and liberty-oriented, possibly a byproduct of his "Basic Evangelism" class in Seminary. Tonight he mentioned his critique of the Joni Ernst SOTU rebuttal. This part struck me as perhaps useful in reaching young folks trying to find some answers. Boulder moms, perhaps.
"From each according to his ability. To each according to his need." This Marxist ideal collapses nations from Russia to South America, and our president has hitched his wagon to it. Avoiding this topic because redistribution initially feels good --is crazy. Itís like Christians avoiding talk of sin because sin initially feels good. We need to start answering why, as in, "Why opportunity? Why not rob the few for the many? Why vote for us? Why not them?" Letís offer reason, as only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Let me say that again: Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Yes, inspirational stories are good too, but these should accent reason, not replace it.
January 27, 2015
CALL TO ACTION!
Enough Boulderites have polluted the freedom-loving polity of Weld County, that my home town of Erie is voting on a fracking ban. There was a hearing last week which I could not attend. Brother jg emails that it is continued or brought to a vote tonight. I will see whether I can attend.
But -- either way, there is a handy web page to email council members. Here is mine.
Thank you for your time. I write to urge a no vote on any bans or moratoria on fracking or energy development in Erie.
Two weeks after the Erie Board of Trustees narrowly voted to delay its consideration of a one-year fracking moratorium, the town's elected leaders struck down the measure along the same 4-3 line Tuesday night.
Click through for details, and for a picture of blog friend Brad Beck giving testimony.
Everything on the Internet
Deflate Gate. The Ideal Gas Equation. And a whack at Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I knew it was going to be a great day.
The farce of the NFL's "Deflate-Gate" affair has become hysterical enough that prominent astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt the need to weigh in on Twitter, and in the space of 125 characters, Tyson managed to bungle some straightforward fundamentals of science.
There is something for everybody in this story.
Israel shows US an ambassador
Ron Dermer gives an impressive speech in Florida, cited here and noting:
ďThe Prime Ministerís visit here is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama,Ē he continued. ďIsrael deeply appreciates the strong support we have received from President Obama in many areas Ė the enhanced security cooperation, heightened intelligence sharing, generous military assistance and iron dome funding, and opposition to anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations.Ē
perfect opening moves.... then to answer the WHY doe Bibi wish to address congress:
Th[at] is not just the right of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty ó to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.Ē
along the way, saying we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent
Hat Tip: PowerLine
An impressive stroke; wonder if the Manhattan Media noticed? Why do so many prominent Israeli's have just-across-Mayberry names? And while I'm on a postulating parade: who's the last ambassador we had that was worth a damn?
More Bebi, now.... faster, please.
January 26, 2015
Somebody check my math
It's been a while, I'm a little rusty. According to the ideal gas law:
Which basically means, for a constant amount of gas in a constant volume of space, the pressure is proportional to the temperature. A football that is inflated to 13 (or 12.5) psi at 70 degrees Fahrenheit will have a lower internal pressure at [game time temperature: 20 F].
Pg (psi) P (psi) P (Pa) V (m^3) n R T (K)
So the cold ball might be as low as 10 psi, with no tampering.*
But who knows, maybe they checked their balls outside in the cold. (If they did, they're better men than me.)
House Freedom Caucus
I like the looks of this.
"Our main hope is that we can represent the voids and valleys for our constituents back home," Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho told The Daily Signal today. "With a small group that is nimble and able to work on issues that are of importance to our constituents, we can make a difference in Congress."Now, I'd love it were the same group to be called, say, "The GOP" or something. And I have generally high esteem for the RSC. But this is a good step.
In related news, with heavy heart I had to un-follow my big-L nemesis on Facebook. He posts outrageous, incendiary things about all those losers and fools who still vote GOP, but he has never engaged me with any kind of intellectual honesty. I will wait for he and his three dedicated "atty boy" followers to vote in a new era of total liberty -- and then I will pile on the bandwagon and brag how I knew him back when. Until that time, I will not spend much time on those who will not honestly engage, whatever side they be on.
I Guess there is to be a sporting event of some type this weekend...
Now that I have complimented Lance Armstrong for candor, I'd enjoy hearing ThreeSourcers' opinions on Tom Brady's soft balls. [pffffft! Where did I leave that ThreeSources Style Guide? We should have one on-line...]
I am a Pats fan, which is a lonely enterprise on the Colorado Front Range. I've mentioned that Tedy Bruschi's Never Give Up was an inspirational text in our home. Brother Keith has reminded me that #54 has moved on, but the organization is portrayed as having class and integrity from Mr. Kraft on down. Likewise, we appreciate success 'round these parts. Walmart* and Starbucks are not hated for results.
That said, I am deeply disturbed. This strikes me much worse than doping and 100x worse than filming practice fields because I suspect the other enumerated infractions are common and speak to who is unlucky enough to be caught or enforced.
Tampering with the ball. No, Mr. Brady, it is not ISIS -- rest assured you have cleared that bar. But -- if true -- and it got a little worse today, that is a disturbing sin. I saw it compared to stealing signals -- it's not. Filming a practice may be in line with stealing signals. Tampering with the ball is worse.
It tales a lot to draw my support to the NFC, but I am on the ropes. A teevee sports guy "it's hard to get Denver fans to root for the Seahawks, but the Pats may have achieved the impossible." Sad. Not who wins or loses, but that would be a harsh blow the NFL and it would negate what has been a great season.
Lance Armstrong gives "the honest answer" that "nobody wants to hear." Looking at pro-cycling in 1995, he would do it all over again.
"When Lance Armstrong did that, I know what happened. I know what happened to cycling from 1999 to 2005. I saw its growth, I saw its expansion.
I'm strangely proud again.
Our Betters at Davos
You know. The 1700 private-planefuls of people who have flown to the Swiss Alps to fix Climate Change. IBD has a great editorial.
It's pretty obvious that people who can pay $40,000 to attend Davos and fork over $43 for a hot dog, $47 for a burger or $55 for a Caesar salad -- all actual prices at this year's World Economic Forum -- would seem to be in a poor position to lecture the rest of us.
Enumerated Powers Doctrine Cuts Both Ways
Until seven minutes ago, I was convinced that the Speaker was not only within his rights to invite PM Netanyahu to speak to Congress, but also that it was a good idea to tell our ally that not all of us are pusillanimous appeasers.
But I find this blog post from the Tenth Amendment Center compelling:
First, Congress has no Article I, Section 8 to host a foreign leader. (Moreover, the necessary and proper clause, the usual refuge of Congress when it lacks an express power, isn't available here, because Congress isn't passing a law. The power is only to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper...").
I wish my opponents to follow the clear text of the Constitution; I will ask my friends to do the same.
January 25, 2015
To be dishonest is to be disconnected from reality, which is a very unhealthy place to be.I promised some kinder words for Objectivism. Cato CEO and BB&T Hoss John Allison is on the Yaron Brook level of describing the ideas of Ayn Rand. And in the follow-up to his impressive "The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy's Only Hope" [Review Corner], He shares the principles -- heavily derived from Rand -- that he used to build a large and profitable bank that navigated the stormy seas of the Panic of '08 without even a quarterly loss.
The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why the Future of Business Depends on the Return to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness can sit on the shelf with all the pop business management books, but it adds quite a bit to the formula: wait for it . . . a philosophy and moral foundation. I have enjoyed many books in this genre, recently Bob Lutz's [Review Corner], but the implicit message is always "be a greater person ---be like me;" Allison gives a template that can be adapted to any organization or used by an individual for personal improvement.
Many people view integrity as some form of duty. Integrity is not a duty. It is a means to improve the probability of being successful and happy. The concept is to develop your principles outside the "heat of battle" and then to consistently apply those principles in the heat of battle because you know that living these principles improves the probability of being successful and happy. Therefore, it is important to not view integrity as a duty or some kind of ill-defined obligation. This perception encourages you to "cheat" on the very principles that are fundamental to your success and happiness.
My management days are well behind me but I enjoy business books and think we all our own managers and leaders in all but the most non-autonomous organizations. Allison's "core values" are valuable at any level.
We have now reviewed the 10 core values used at BB& T and my personal values: reality, reason, independent thinking, productivity, honesty, integrity, justice, pride, self-esteem, and teamwork. Upon reflection, one can see that not only are these values not contradictory but that they are integrated. Failure to execute on one value will make it impossible for you to execute on another value.
I deducted 0.5 stars last week to Alex Epstein for inserting philosophy where I felt in extraneous. It's central -- primary -- to Allison's book (though both are excellent proponents). Allison gets five stars.
Oh, deary me. A better man would not laugh but unlike Captain Mal, I'm not even all right. A work associate -- kind young lady with an infant son -- posts this on Facebook today with the single word comment: "Shit."
19 Brands Owned by Giant Corporations
She can't help it: young Mom in Boulder and all... Nor can I help laughing and weeping. I did learn one thing: Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox® -- definitely better branding than "Clorox Lip Balm."
January 24, 2015
"A Truly Persuasive Work"
The previous post dealing with the "compatibility" of capitalism and Catholicism prompted dagny in a comment, and me in my thoughts, to consider the morality of capitalism.
Those thoughts included a recent review corner entry where it was suggested that a flourishing humanity progressing toward ever more prosperity and justice can be achieved by convincing people it is, a) a good thing and, b) achievable through free trade, i.e. capitalism. (More specifically, through the unfettered use of "fossil" fuel energy sources.) And that, c) presenting a moral basis for the primacy of humanity is "a new vulnerability to defend, not reinforcement."
I believed I had found an author who gave a moral basis for humanity to dominate nature in this Michael Shermer book whose "exploration of science and morality ... demonstrates how the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral" and did so without resting his case upon a foundation of Objectivism. It appeared that his justification was rooted in widely accepted principles of science and morality, and not a new vulnerability. The book is 439 pages and I've not read it but this reviewer was left wanting.
The reader is constantly reminded that it is Shermer who is driving this bus, authoring this heavy tome. When he fails to wrangle with hard issues, there is nothing the reader can do about it beyond reading on and hoping for something better in a later chapter. But that something better never came for me. I was not satisfied with the authorís overbroad reach, his irrelevant details, his glossing over the toughest issues, his very human but unfortunate tendency not to see the fallacies in his own reasoning and the failure of his own assertion of the facts. The book seemed not so much scientific and rational to me as opinionated. Perhaps the author has been too successful for too long and has become complacent. But I did not see in him a consistent ability to question his own thinking and hone his argument in order to achieve a truly persuasive work.
This illustrates my point that people long for a moral basis to justify their beliefs, and ultimately their actions. (No great leap of insight there, for this is the chief factor in the historic success of man's many theistic traditions.) Failure to justify the moral basis for human flourishing will, eventually and always, crumble in the face of some unchallenged moral basis to the contrary.
January 23, 2015
Koch Brothers to Acquire Catholic Church and all Subsidiaries
Who says there is no good news?
The dean of the Catholic University of America's School of Business and Economics recently approached me with an idea: A research and educational program focused on the compatibility of capitalism and Catholicism. On Thursday the university announced a $3 million grant to fund this vision.
To their immense credit, Catholic University president John Garvey and Business School Dean Andrew Abela said
I'm being goofy but it is a serious and informative article.
Close Enough for Government Work
As badly as you imagine the procurement process for the ill-fated ObamaCare website went -- Peter Suderman says it was worse.
That's right: The feds didn't look investigate the prior work performance of a contractor hired to do key work on a high-profile initiative with a contract that was (initially) pegged at $58 million.
You keep using that word. I suspect you know exactly what it means.
January 22, 2015
Quote of the Day
Obama's policy proposals were small stuff. More tax cuts for child care -- but discrimination against stay-at-home moms and taxes on 529 college savings accounts. Paid sick leave. Equal pay for women -- on the books already for 52 years. A minimum wage increase. He's all for infrastructure but, in deference to rich donors, will veto the Keystone XL pipeline. -- Michael BaroneCoulda saved you 68 minutes.
Et tu Harsanyi?
I'm not betrayed -- but very surprised -- at "Mr. Libertarian" David Hasanyi's disappointment in the GOP's pulling the 20-week abortion bill.
Before the GOP had pulled the bill, Washington Post's Dana Milbank argued that Republicans were needlessly reviving the culture wars, pulling a bait and switch on the electorate--because abortion is not a high priority for voters and it was "rarely" campaigned on as in issue during the midterms.
Can't argue with a word and -- at the risk of setting the first worm-dish out at the ThreeSources Potluck -- I am squishy enough to support a 20-week ban. But I think my favorite journalist errs on the politics. Yes, the Democrats lost by focusing exclusively on gynecology, but the Republicans won not by offering superior uterine legislation but by saying "we are going to accomplish other things."
So having such an early bill on a socially-tinged issue disappointed me, and I was pretty glad to have it pulled. Bring it up this time next year. And think of a principled way to extend it a bit later in the term. And I will support it or vote "present."
January 21, 2015
I Wonder if Deepak Lal Plays Chess
Freedom fighter and chess champion Garry Kasparov has an important guest editorial in the WSJ today. He strikes a theme which is very important to me, yet one I have struggled to articulate: the importance of globalization to prosperity and the importance of order to globalization. I call myself a "Deepak Lal Libertarian" because the economic benefits of a Liberal International Economic Order are so substantial, I am willing to take a broad view of "American Interest" when considering the projection of power.
Kasparov adds a time dimension in the clash of modernity with barbarism.
Globalization has effectively compressed the world in size, increasing the mobility of goods, capital and labor. Simultaneously this has led to globalization across time, as the 21st century collides with cultures and regimes intent on existing as in centuries past. It is less the famous clash of civilizations than an attempt by these "time travelers" to hold on to their waning authority by stopping the advance of the ideas essential to an open society.
Radical Islam is not compatible with modernity and threatens it. Kasparov also includes Russian ambitions and repressive Communist regimes.
Vladimir Putin wants Russia to exist in the Great Power era of czars and monarchs, dominating its neighbors by force and undisturbed by elections and rights complaints. The post-Communist autocracies, led by Mr. Putin's closest dictator allies in Belarus and Kazakhstan, exploit ideology only as a means of hanging on to power at any cost.
The current administration has no interest in the hard work of Pax Americana and the public will not shoulder the burden without leadership. My libertarian friends can retreat with the best intentions and liberty theory on their side. But if we wish to avoid Heinleinian "bad luck," we will need to defend modernity.
Quote of the Day
"The Federal Government didn't give us schools and colleges; the President didn't build that." (~2:16) -- Neal McCluskey Associate Director, Center for Educational Reform, Cato
Burn the Heretic!
All hail the conquering hero: Sen. Joni Ernst (Squeeeee! IA)
Sen. Joni Ernst scares Democrats because she is a woman who has a strong conservative philosophy and message that appeals to a lot of people. According to the Washington Post everything about her biography and style blunts the Democrats' usual criticisms of conservative women.
I liked candidate Ernst, sent a small sum (I'm not ADM or anything), was happy to see her elected, and pleased to find that she was delivering the dreaded SOTU response.
She did fine, and I agree with Steve Straub (quoted above) that she is an asset to the party. But George Will called her "a new star," and many others have offered effusive praise. I did not see the same speech. She covered the part (and I loved the camo pumps!) but I felt that she was talking down to me a bit.
I gave Governor Bobby "Thin" Jindal and Senator Marco "Thirsty" Rubio better marks than the rest of the pundit class did. Perhaps I am regressing to the mean, but Sen Ernst gets a Gentlelady's B." Me wrong?
Dan Savage doesn't get a lot of play on ThreeSources, but...
I caught most of the SOTU performance tonight, in a re-run after a late hockey game. (We won in a shootout after a 4-4 tie.) I'm now moved to comment on some of the most important aspects. ... Did Boehner really wear a PURPLE tie? Come on, man!
January 20, 2015
All Hail Taranto!
A segue for ThreeSourcers if there ever was one:
Cutting the Cord, Again
Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works! Pardon me if this is the blog equivalent of posting a picture of your breakfast to Facebook -- but I think there is a media and technology hook.
The millennials are celebrated for their technical sophistication, and among their proclivities is eschewing bundled cable or satellite TV for streaming services like Netflix. I tried this for six months or so after moving into le condo d'amour. My lovely view of the seventh hole does not provide line-of-sight for a satellite dish and I found cable's offering's priced too high.
I succumbed to wanting Larry Kudlow, FOX News commentary in an election year, Avalanche hockey, and Broncos football and I signed up.
But Larry is gone. The Independents which tried to replace him has been cancelled. And I think I can assemble most of what I want by other means. I just ordered a 50-mile antenna which I hope will get most local Denver stations in decent quality. I figure I can purchase NHL (and possibly NFL) as packages. Pretty pricey but for far less than a season's cable bill, I get every game on every device. Local broadcast and Prime will keep me in the small amount of "shows" I watch: Downton Abbey, Sleepy Hollow, Castle. Stossel is -- I think -- on Hulu plus, again far less than cable.
The news and commentary will be tough. There is a Bloomberg App, a WSJ App and some of the like on the Amazon FireTV. I will miss FOX's commentary after say the State of the Union (I won't because I have not done it yet) and I am not certain what I'll do on election nights. But I will lose an $80 bill for something very under-utilized.
Quote of the Day
But [Vanderbilt Law Professor Carol] Swain's speech must be curtailed, [Vanderbilt Student Farishtay] Yamin said: "What I'm really trying to show her is that she can't continue to say these kinds of things on a campus that's so liberal and diverse and tolerant." -- The College FixHat-tip: Insty
UPDATE: Homorable mention (same article):
Yamin's confusion continued as she said her goal was to show campus officials "that students don't tolerate hate speech, even though it's protected under academic freedom, that we don't allow that on this campus."
Cool Chart for SOTU
Click on a word, see how many times each President used it in the SOTU.
UPDATE: If you didn't love Warren Gamaliel Harding already, choose the word "Health" and sort by "Density;" Dude is dead last.
All Hail Taranto's Fans!
People on FOBOTW were discussing how Sen. Harry Reid (Patient NV) injured himself so badly working out with exercise bands. One wag posted:
January 19, 2015
Quote of the Day
Reports that 2014 was the "hottest" year on record feed the insatiable appetite the public has for definitive, alarming headlines. It doesn't matter that even in the thermometer record, 2014 wasn't the warmest within the margin of error. Who wants to bother with "margin of error?" Journalists went into journalism so they wouldn't have to deal with such technical mumbo-jumbo. -- Real Live Climate Scientist Dr. Roy Spencer
Zen Koan of the day: "If a fracking well required the destruction of 500 acres of farmland in Minnesota, would Yoko Ono make a sound?"
Tweet of the Day
Roth People: You're Mad!
I like to belittle conspiracy-theorists. I get a clean, close comfortable shave with Occam's Razor and Super-Foamy Shave Cream®
But I tighten my tin-foil hat and peer over my left shoulder for black helicopters when somebody suggests I invest in a Roth IRA. They make a compelling case, but it is entirely predicated on trusting the government to ignore a huge pot of money. You pay your taxes and lose liquidity, but you get a nice note from Congress that "they promise!"
Nossir, I don't like it. Not at all.
The President's "FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE!" initiative has a financing mechanism that is germane to my concerns: "Hey, let's just tax all those 529 education accounts we 'promised' not to tax. I see a big pot o' money and I am just itchin' to give some away -- who's with me?"
Americans for Tax Reform lists $320 Billion in new taxes the President will ask for in his SOTU. Number four:
Tax Increase on Families Saving for College
It's almost as if responsible people who plan and save and play by the rules are subject to fleecing to finance the irresponsible. I know, crazy.
January 18, 2015
All the way up to Topanga, the radio cranked out a Super Surfin' Marathon, all commercial -free-- which seemed peculiar until Doc realized that nobody who would sit through this music-teacher's nightmare of doubled-up blues lines, moronic one-chord "tunes," and desperate vocal effects could possibly belong to any consumer demographic known to the ad business.With apologies to Thomas Wolfe, this week's review corner is more about whether I can go home again than literary merit. If you've stumbled on the review by search engine, you might wish to try one on the next page.
Thomas Pynchon remains my favorite novelist but there is an element of inertia. I don't read many novels anymore, and our ability to be touched declines with age. The idea of making a movie out of a Pynchon book seemed laughable (though I'd try an arty three hour Sundance-bait version of "Mason & Dixon" if somebody knows where we can obtain financing). Yet, a good friend and more-serious-Pynchon-addict-than-me emailed me in December. He said they've made a movie of Inherent Vice. Let's go.
Turns out the movie didn't come out until January 9, but I started seeing commercials. It had Joachim Phoenix in it and an ad budget. Wow. That gave me time to score the book on Kindle and, unlike typical Pynchon fare, it is an easy read. You had better set a month or three aside to tackle Gravity's Rainbow or V. I generally steer newbies toward Mason & Dixon. It's complex enough to see the man's genius without the screaming inaccessibility of his earlier works. It's a very good book.
I reviewed "Bleeding Edge" in November 2013, and I see the review is interchangeable with this one. (Actually, Bleeding Edge would have made a good movie.) Ah well, give me a few stars for consistency.
I would not chase anybody away from Inherent Vice. It's a fun story, and the prose sparkles. Our hero, Larry "Doc" Sportello is a low rent PI in Los Angeles. Doc is more stoner and surfer than tough guy, more baked than hard boiled as it were.
There was an ancient superstition at the beach, something like the surfer belief that burning your board will bring awesome waves, and it went like this-- take a Zig-Zag paper and write on it your dearest wish, and then use it to roll a joint of the best dope you can find, and smoke it all up, and your wish would be granted. Attention and concentration were also said to be important, but most of the dopers Doc knew tended to ignore that part.
Pynchon teases the hippies like a friend makes fun of his sister. He'll expose foibles but you'd better not as he is clearly still on their side. I'm sure that makes for a good movie but this reader is more ready to move on.
By this point in California history, enough hippie metaphysics had oozed in among surfing folk that even the regulars here at Wavos, some of them, seeing where this was headed, began to shift their feet and look around for other things to do.
I'm going to hand out 3.5 stars, and unless my friend calls me back I suspect I'll wait for the movie to be released on Amazon (it got a "meh" review form Kurt Loder at Reason).
January 16, 2015
Reason Does Review Corner
As my world revolves around me, I was of course interested in whether Bailey shared my concerns. While he did not use the locution "too much Objectivism," I'm going to claim we're on the same side.
There is another problem with Epstein's book, one more substantial than the possibility that he has unduly pessimistic about nuclear's political prospects. Is the energy and climate debate really an argument about morality, pitting those whose standard is a flourishing humanity against those whose standard is a burgeoning natural world?
Like me, he is very fond of the book's great points and serious foundation.
Quote of the Day II
Smarter terrorists would leave Congress alone. So far, it's done more to hurt America than they have. . . . -- All Hail Insty
I teased my Facebook friends that "nobody blames the eeevil speculators when oil prices go down!" (Don't worry, none of them got it.)
But I might let a salvo loose here. A corollary is "nobody bitches about energy's non-inclusion in the core CPI when oil prices go down!" Am I wrong? When gas is $4, I am assured it's incontrovertible evidence of inflation. At $1.859, nobody's asking Janet Yellen to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of liquidity.
U.S. consumers are seeing prices rise at the slowest annual pace in more than five years, largely thanks to a global plunge in oil prices, presenting a potential complication for the Federal Reserve as it looks to raise interest rates this year.
(Yes, that is $1.859 and yes that is a 10 gallon tank.)
BREAKING! 2014 Hottest Year on Record!!
The giddy-meter at HuffPo is deep in the red! "BREAKING!"
The year's average combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 58.24 degrees Fahrenheit, according to NOAA. This is 1.24 F above the 20th-century average. Global average land temperatures were 1.80 F above average, while ocean surface temperatures were 1.03 F above average, the agency said. Land temperatures alone were only the fourth-warmest on record, but ocean temperatures were the warmest, which helped to make 2014 the warmest year overall.
Take that haters! They were right all along!
UPDATE: Shenanigans has been called.
Quote of the Day
Stealing the WSJ's Notable & Quotable:
Changing analogies somewhat: just as a Toyota Yaris cannot be made as valuable to car buyers as is the more luxurious Toyota Avalon by a government diktat demanding that Yarises sell at prices no lower than the price of Avalons--just as such a diktat simply ensures that sellers of such low-end cars find no buyers--a low-skilled worker cannot be made as valuable to labor buyers as is a higher-skilled worker by a government diktat demanding that hours of low-skilled work sell at wages no lower than the wage of higher-skilled workers. Such a diktat simply ensures that sellers of such low-skilled work find no buyers. -- Don Boudreaux
January 15, 2015
All Hail Taranto's Fans!
Random Acts of Vapidity
Our hope -- our goal -- is for politicians to perform 10,000 Random Acts of Vapidity between now and July 14!
The Sun Setting on the British Empire...
Wow. The Land of Locke and Burke and Churchill:
Defend this, Pope lovers
Aboard the papal plane ahead of his trip to the Philippines, Pope Francis addressed the Charlie Hebdo attack by way of pointing to the man at his side, saying, "If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch." For effect, Francis threw a fake punch his way. "It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others." He continues: "They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit."
Rilly? If I perceive something you say to be an insult, it is a moral act for me to physically assault you?
I cannot imagine a more slippery slope. But I can easily imagine what lies at the bottom of it.
Elvin Bishop, Call Your Office!
The South Gonna Rise Again!
This final point is an important one. Young people are moving to Georgia. The New York Times even saw it fit to print the following statement:
Gov. Christie was still in the Dallas Sky Box and could not be reached for comment...
What are men to rocks and mountains? -- Jane AustenA hat-tip to one of my favorite progressive interlocutors on Facebook for that.
I saw news footage of Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell's success in Yosemite.
Two climbers made it to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Wednesday, the first ever to scale the 3,000-foot granite wall using only their hands and feet and safety rope.
Working in Boulder, rock climbing is pretty popular. Those who have met me in person might suspect that I did never have Comparative Advantage in that sport. As I never got into it, I developed a shutoff mechanism: when the topic came up, I would just quietly think about hockey and nod at appropriate intervals. "Light, $380 shoes, yes, tell me more..."
After many years that kicked in during the news reports. But I realized this morning that I had missed the Randian heroic achievement. Ms. Austen, let me tell you about men. They super-glue their bleeding fingers in nightmarish cold on the side of a 3000' granite cliff so they can climb to its summit. Just because.
Well done lads. Well damn done.
January 14, 2015
This is a red letter day. I don't remember the last time I linked to an old BerkeleySquareJazz blog post. And I didn't remember it being that long ago, but I did recall this post (and its awesome photo of a young woman holding the paramount sign from the protestwarrior.com collection) when our president refused to link arms with the rest of the political leaders of the free world last weekend.
What a difference a decade makes. Investors' Ed Page goes into more detail about the new normal in 'France, For Now at Least, Gets Realistic on War on Terror.'
Time will tell whether it is the France of Joan of Arc or of Petain of Vichy that becomes dominant in the global war on terror. But right now, the French get credit for clear thinking. Just as the Resistance made little distinction between Vichy and the Nazis, Le Drian correctly sees no difference between the gunmen killing editorial cartoonists in Paris, claiming affiliation with al-Qaida in Yemen, and the British Jihadi John beheading innocent captive journalists within IS territory.
So to France I say, "Thank you, for protecting civilization." At least, for now.
(And I can't resist reposting the pic. Imagine this saying "Hey Obama" and being carried by a Parisienne.)
UPDATE: Michael Ramirez' take
UPDATE II: [jk -- hate to bust in on a brother's post, but we should give equal time to the brave French of yore...]
VIVA Venezuelan Bishops!
I sure hope big boss man is listening!
The bishops said the long lines of people trying to buy food and other basic necessities and the constant rise in prices are the result of the government's decision to "impose a political-economic system of socialist, Marxist or communist," which is "totalitarian and centralist" and "undermines the freedom and rights of individuals and associations."
Your lips to God's ear, gentlemen.
They Have Good Taste at Carl's Jr.
Andy Puzder is a real-life Ayn Rand hero in the business community. He appeared on Penn & Teller's BS ("Oh man, it's the CEO! Didn't anybody ell him the name of the show!!??") on fast food. Plus he bravely spoke out against ObamaCare® when most CEOs were afraid.
Today, he has a guest editorial in the WSJ from which we can extract the PPACAo2010 horror story of the day. CKE Restaurants' employees are avoiding it in droves; there's a mad dash to avoid signing up:
Of the 6,900 eligible employees, 1,447 already had ObamaCare-compliant insurance through our pre-existing company plans. That left 5,453 employees eligible to sign up. A grand total of 420 actually enrolled. That's a mere 2% of total employees, or 6% of eligible employees.
That will help those uninsured restaurant workers -- thanks, Democrats!
UPDATE: Two ACA horror stories in one day? How can this be?
CATO: Obamacare's Exchange Subsidies Are So Essential, People Are Turning Them Down
January 13, 2015
Shameless Fraternal Promotion
Yeah, I wussed out. It was -140°F or something, and Brother Bryan was speaking in Centennial or some NED-forsaken place South of Mordor...
Still these are excuses. Here's what I missed:
At Least He Did Not Say "Jehovah!"
Sorry, but QUIP is not Charlie Hebdo: QUIP is al Qaeda with a different list of moral objections and a milder set of criminal penalties. Otherwise, like al Qaeda, it's the same unattractive mix of quavering personal sensitivity and totalitarian demands for ideological conformity.
From a superb editorial by WSJ's Bret Stephens. For those of you not sufficiently wealthy or disingenuous to get around Rupert's paywall, it seems Queers United in Power forbids use of the "t-word" causing poor, old 30-somethings like Stephens to whisper about to discern the word he cannot use.
UPDATE: Pursuant to brother jg's comment, my (biological) brother posted this:
Man, my brother really hates the paywall. I had no idear.
UPDATE II: Or maybe it is that time Rupert Murdoch murdered those 317 schoolchildren...
Quote of the Day
Here's the good news, Republicans. Mitt Romney is running to save the party from nominating Jeb Bush, and Jeb Bush is running to save the party from nominating Mitt Romney. It's as if O. Henry moved into political coverage. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
January 12, 2015
Quote of the Day
It is no small thing for the king of Jordan, a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, to march in a rally prompted by the murders of people who mocked Islam as well as of innocent Jews -- all of whom were killed by Islamic extremists.
The Broncos and Daniel Webster
Needless to say: kids, don't try this at home -- this is an experienced blogger crafting a tendentious segue.
The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman, not waiting for the bodies to get cold, calls for Coach Fox's head.
This wasn't a football game. This was a funeral.
That's sportswritin' for you and on some level I suspect he is correct. I would not bet on the Coach's return. What caught my eye were the comments under the Facebook post. I wanted to tally a quick poll of Fox's support and judging from the comments, Congress -- and the Cannibalism and Pedophile Club of North Milwaukee -- both have better approval ratings.
One I enjoyed was "fire manning. fire elway. fire fox." Now I am disappointed too. I expected a better yesterday though I'll admit that watching the Seahawks and Patriots filled me with dread. Both those teams are performing well above the Broncos' December level.
But I promised a segue. This is not wildly different than the leadership/speaker elections in the 114th Congress. Coach Fox is a lightly-complected and less-lachrymose version of Speaker Boehner. "Too Conservative!" yell many comments against Coach Fox. And while those words are not used frequently against the Speaker, they refer to a perceived timidity that is common.
Speaker Boehner has built the largest GOP House Majority since the 1920s; Coach Fox won the AFC West four times and went to the Super Bowl. There are 28 teams and a few political parties that would love our troubles. And yet, the Denver fans want to win a championship and the GOP grassroots want to see smaller government in exchange for hard work electing a majority.
I've a foot in both camps and neither is wrong. But both perhaps underestimate the difficulty. It's hard to govern and it is hard to put together a team that can go all the way and take them there. Be demanding, but be careful not to jettison valuable assets. I doubt that dumping John Elway as VP, John Fox as Coach, and Peyton Manning as QB is the way to a Super Bowl win in 2016. I also question whether 12 votes for Rep. Daniel Webster as Speaker of the House is necessarily the road to libertarian nirvana.
UPDATE: NFL.com: John Fox, Denver Broncos Part Ways
The Second Half of the Second Term
I have seen the future!
The Administration's "Free Kummunity Kollege" stunt is a pretty good indication of what a President can do with a phone, a pen, an ideological bent, an opposition Congress and no negotiating or legislative skills. I joked on Facebook that I hope he soon offers "free ice cream" because I really like ice cream. I hope that that remains a joke until January 20, 2017.
I suspect we'll see a new proposal for "free stuff" every few months to force those mean old Republicans to say no.
The new entitlement is best understood as an extension of the Administration's ideological project to add higher education to the list of entitlements that keep the federal government in charge of American life from cradle to grave. First Mr. Obama nationalized the student-loan market, adding $1 trillion in taxpayer liabilities. Then he made forgiving those loans easier. This year he plans to propose a new rating system for colleges that the feds will eventually use to determine which schools receive federal aid.
The "Billion Dollar Congress" (and yes, that was an epithet in those days) sent more than a hundred bills to President Cleveland, typically to give some deserving Civil War widow $25. They, too, hoped to embarrass the opposition party by exposing stinginess.
Much has changed. It's the Democrats who are now prodigal. And the people who would directly benefit cheering on new entitlements. Will it work? Tune in tomorrow, I have no idea.
January 11, 2015
Imagine if we had followed the advice of some of our leading advisers then, many of whom are some of our leading advisers now, to severely restrict the energy source that billions of people used to lift themselves out of poverty in the last thirty years? We would have caused billions of premature deaths--deaths that were prevented by our increasing use of fossil fuels.
Review Corner, it has ben noted, is frequently too generous with stars. Today's stinginess for a great book will seem cruel by comparison
I had elected not to read Alex Epstein's The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. I read a great review in the Objective Standard, and the topic was certainly of interest, but it was clear that Epstein grounded the book on Objectivist principles and I had trepidation.
A recommendation from both Blog Brother Bryan and a mutual LOTR-F friend pulled me back in the fold. "Is it 'too Objectivist?'" I asked Bryan. He replied "How can something be 'too Objectivist?'"
I succumbed to peer pressure, picked it up on Kindle, and enjoyed it immensely. It is a powerful, well documented, and comprehensive book. It sounds some common themes we've discussed on ThreeSources, but adds great depth, clarity, and corroborating data.
This is a microcosm of the central idea of this book-- that more energy means more ability to improve our lives; less energy means less ability-- more helplessness, more suffering, and more death. Of course, this book is focused on fossil fuel energy-- but only, as you'll see, because I believe that it is the most essential technology for producing energy for 7 billion people to improve their lives, at least over the next several decades. If there was a better form of energy and it was under attack in a way that wildly exaggerated its negatives and undervalued its positives, I'd be writing the moral case for that form of energy.
Epstein shows that all the negative externalities for fossil fuels are highlighted if not wildly exaggerated, but all the bird-slicing, rare-earth mining, habitat-destructing side effects of renewables are conveniently ignored. Likewise, the safety, reliability, and portability of oil, gas, and coal are rarely compared to against their suggested replacements.
Why do our thought leaders never talk about this part of the fossil fuel- energy equation, which we can call the energy effect? It's all around us. While in Minnesota over New Year's 2014 visiting some dear friends (they would have to be dear for me to brave that weather ), I realized, upon walking from my car to the bed-and-breakfast about forty feet away, that I couldn't find my key. I was in the natural climate. As I searched for my key at -10 degrees Fahrenheit, my fingers getting very cold very fast, it occurred to me that, were I stuck outside, I could easily die within the hour.
That's "natural" for you. Natural farming cannot feed us, natural climate will kill us. No amount of human flourishing is possible without expending significant amounts of energy. Therefore, it is natural to bring in the primacy of survival and importance of human adaptation.
I hold human life as the standard of value, and you can see that in my earlier arguments: I think that our fossil fuel use so far has been a moral choice because it has enabled billions of people to live longer and more fulfilling lives, and I think that the cuts proposed by the environmentalists of the 1970s were wrong because of all the death and suffering they would have inflicted on human beings.
I risk lapsing into a familiar internecine argument here. But I think the case is compelling -- devastating -- without "human life as the standard of value."
Not everyone holds human life as their standard of value, and people often argue that things are right or wrong for reasons other than the ways they benefit or harm human beings. For example, many religious people think that it is wrong to eat certain foods or to engage in certain sexual acts, not because there is any evidence that these foods or acts are unhealthy or otherwise harmful to human beings but simply because they believe God forbids them. Their standard of value is not human life but (what they take to be) Godís will.
Oh buddy! I think you just turned down a side road there. Can we get back on the highway? I charged the Leaf overnight, but I still have range anxiety...
You might wonder how holding human life as your standard of value applies to preserving nature. It applies simply: preserve nature when doing so will benefit human life (such as a beautiful park to enjoy) and develop it when it will benefit human life. By contrast, if nonimpact , not human life, is the standard, the moral thing to do is always leave nature alone.
Again, well trod arguments, but: I see where Epstein is coming from. I don't object to his including a human life as your standard of value (HLAYSOV); it does not scare me off his thesis. But it impedes my sharing his book and propagating his arguments. If I lend this to somebody (well, if I had lefty or moderate friends who'd actually read a book and I lent it...) I imagine they'd take away that "species extinction is fine as long as Man comes out okay."
That argument is neither completely unfair nor completely false. But but but -- that's not the argument I want to have. I want to talk about billions of people killed if we listen to the Paul Erlichs of the world. I want to talk about bringing billions out of poverty and privation. I want to talk about the clinic in Nambia where babies die because the generator only runs four hours a day. Instead, we'll discuss HLATSOV.
So, it's a five star book if you could rip the Objectivism out. As it stands it's 4.5.
January 9, 2015
Is it Time to Forgive?
As the bailout recedes in the rear-view mirror, can an American enjoy a little jingoistic pride in his country's iconic sports car?
My favorite -- of many -- moments on Top Gear was when the lads were in the US. Jeremy was dissing on a Corvette, James got kinda out there in something, but Richard Hammond drove a Dodge Charger or Challenger and said "We drive all these £300,000 cars, but if you're a plumber in the United States you can buy, insure, and drive this car." Bingo. I love Mr. Clarkson, but I don't think he ever got that.
Less surprisingly, Jay Leno gets it. "You can have a Ferrari, or you can have 18 of these."
Quote of the Day II
Mr. Reid this week again accused the former Republican minority of "gratuitous obstruction and wanton filibustering," and vowed such tactics would not "be a hallmark of a Democratic minority." He then proceeded to unleash all the obstruction and filibustering in Christendom to slow Mr. McConnell's first priority: authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline. -- Kim Strassel
Quote of the Day
It is time for us to break, once and for all, with the Leninist reasoning that has been served up for so long by the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the sociology of poverty and frustration. And most of all it is the moment, now or never, for a calm resolve among all believers in democracy to look evil in the face without losing ourselves in the catastrophic measures of a state of emergency. France can and must erect dikes--but not the walls of a besieged fortress. -- Bernard-Henri L&eacure;vy#JeSuisCharlie
The foundations of her punditry may have become suspect to me, but the sweep of her prose has never abated. Peggy Noonan draws the line from Charlie Hebdo to Salman Rushdie. With her characteristic panache:
First, our freedoms are not merely our "traditions," our "ways," "reflective of Enlightenment assumptions" or "very pleasant." In America especially, they are everything to us. Here freedom of expression is called free speech, and it is protected in the first of the Constitution's amendments because it is the most important of our rights.
January 8, 2015
Otequay of the Ayday
Choudary's entire argument excusing the Paris attack reveals the fundamental disconnect between views of civilizations. Radical Islamists have no intention of assimilating into their respective cultures or contributing to any kind of meaningful dialogue about religion and free speech. They are intent on terrorizing western citizens out of exerting their rights. Their plan of terrorism and intimidation, with the ultimate goal of imposing their religion on others is fundamentally anti-American and is not meant for the 21st century.
[And (finally) anti-French too.]
CNSNews' Curtis Kalin in "Muslim Cleric Defends Paris Terrorist Attack"
Click through to read Choudary's irrational attempt at rationalization. But even then, he had to invoke the vigilante defense.
Happy 100 Milton!
Here he is celebrating Milton Friedman's Centenary:
Hat-tip Brother Bryan on Facebook.
President Carter was Simply Way Ahead of his Time
Super-insulated clothing could eliminate need for indoor heating
Phys.org -- By wearing clothes that have been dip-coated in a silver nanowire (AgNW) solution that is highly radiation-insulating, a person may stay so warm in the winter that they (sic) can greatly reduce or even eliminate their need for heating their (sic) home. Considering that 47% of global energy is spent on indoor heating, and 42% of that specifically for residential heating, such highly insulating clothing could potentially have huge cost savings.
I enjoy and recommend the PhysOrg Facebook Page. It is very interesting. But be warned they are 97% -- at the very least -- invested in catastrophic climate change.
Pope Endorses Motherhood!
Not really "man bites dog," is it? I don't think the anti-motherhood league released a statement in opposition or that the Lutherans clarified their views of motherhood.
But the great Theologian, Johnny Mercer, said "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." And as Gregg Allman said "I'm no Angel."
Not only is motherhood swell -- it is "the antidote to individualism."
The complete quote is "Mothers, in their unconditional and sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies against war." With all due respect, I think individualism is the greatest enemy against war. And there remains the unfortunate but telling juxtaposition between the slaughter of French cartoonists and the Pontiff's apple pie speech. The Jihadis who avenged "the Prophet," putting the collective over the individual -- did they not have mothers? Bueller? Macduff?
UPDATE: Neglected to provide a link. Apologies.
January 7, 2015
I Was Only 217 Votes Short of Being Speaker of the House
At 4:00. (He has Henry Clay's seat in the US Senate; Clay was Speaker).
Okay, this is pretty funny. A member of Fans of Best of the Web Today posts this, saying "I don't know which one I find more disturbing."
Libertario Delenda Est!
[I thought you were quittin, jk...] Well, one more:
Blog Brother Nanobrewer:
My Facebook LP Interlocutor/Antagonist:
Book "threatens to tear the very fabric of civilized life"
And it gets five stars and an Editor's Choice Award!
"Like most libertarians, Root cares more about principle than orthodoxy; hence his book is no partisan screed. Yet he is representative of libertarians in another way as well. His positions sound reasonable until you begin thinking through their implications, at which point you realize just how radical they are."
From there it devolves into "threatens to tear the very fabric of civilized life" and "no more sunsets: just toxins and smog." Those wacky, toxin loving libertarians...
January 6, 2015
It Was a New Day Yesterday
I may have a new hero:
Feeling Detached From The Production Of Your Food? Blame Jethro Tull
In the early 1700s, Tull introduced planting equipment that allowed farmers to grow their crops in rows and cultivating equipment for hoeing the weeds that grew between them. This innovation dramatically increased the amount of land that one farmer could tend. For thousands of years the production of food was the full time occupation of all but a small, elite proportion of the population. Starting with Tull's innovations, Western civilization was on a track towards an agriculture system that required less and less hand labor. Since then there has been a steady stream of innovation that has further enhanced the productivity and efficiency of farmers thus freeing up the rest of the population to do other things.
I agree with every single word in this excellent and fact-filled piece. But, they see it as a bad thing.
Rep. Trey Gowdy Agrees with jk
Rep. Trey Gowdy (HOSS - SC) from the Blaze via The Federalist:
"A canceled flight, due to weather, from South Carolina to Washington this morning regrettably prevented me from being in Washington for today's speaker vote," Gowdy said in a statement. "Had our flight not been canceled, I would have voted for our conference nominee, John Boehner."
jk from ThreeSources: Nobody. Else. Ran.
And I Thought Losing Sucked
I am more disillusioned about politics today than the "don't jump, jk" posts of 2012. FB:
Ken Buck just voted for Boehner as Speaker of the House. He has betrayed the trust of those he serves. This is a huge disappointment given he has run as a Tea Party conservative, but shows Ken's true character - Party over Principle. Another hugely sad day for CD4.
Hilarity: People surprised Ken Buck and Congressman Mike Coffman just voted for Boehner.
UPDATE: The Hon. John Boehner is elected Speaker, and one rational voice appears on my FB feed:
Ok, old folks in the GOP, time to face facts. Your generation either failed to participate or actively aided the GOP in becoming what it is today. I am happy you want to change it, and I am happy you recognize that there are problems.
Wild Randians at the WSJ Ed Page
The Internet Segue Machine™ is sending meters into the red on this one. Ayn Rand Institute President Yaron Brook sounds some common themes from ThreeSources:
And the WSJ Ed Page piles on. "Corporate Welfare" is pulled into the subhead, though it is one item in a laundry list of "restrained" GOP goals.
Republicans can use control of the committees in both chambers to educate the public about the problems confronting the country and to advertise failed programs and special-interest abuses. An especially useful early statement would be to oppose corporate welfare to show how powerful government helps the powerful. The last thing the GOP needs is to be the party of the Chamber of Commerce when the Chamber is lobbying for the Ex-Im Bank
Change Your Mind?
No, not on leadership of the 114th Congress. I'm giving up on politics anyway.
I wondered if I could entice my blog brothers into autonomous cars with this Mecedes:
German automaker Daimler on Monday showed its vision of the driverless car, a prototype vehicle that allows four passengers to face each other as the vehicle finds its way.
Quote of the Day
Germane to my role as Boehner Apologist?
It is noteworthy that we seem to tolerate a level of dishonesty in politicians that we would not tolerate at work or with our friends. Why is this? Do we choose to support candidates because they are saying what we wish was true even though at some level we know it is not true?
Expect a glowing Review Corner soon.
We Will Have Gov. Huckabee to Kick Around Some More!
Today's guest quotidian huck-a-whack comes from Jim Geraghty [subscribe]:
But [Governor Huckabee]'s got a sharp elbow, particularly when it comes to late-campaign tactics. A lot of Republicans could say, "I disagree with the Club for Growth in some areas"; it's another thing to call them "the Club for Greed." He'll announce that he won't run negative ads, and then, during a press conference, show reporters the negative ad he decided not to run -- knowing that the press will effectively transmit the message for free. Heís willing to campaign on his faith -- particularly in Iowa -- in ways others might find shameless. He'll stretch the truth when an exaggeration helps him. His opponents will underestimate him and his amiable style right up until the moment he metaphorically kicks them in the crotch.
To be fair, the same Morning Jolt opens by giving the Gov. (Bass - AR) props for leaving his cushy job to get "in the arena." But I'm not going to call this an endorsement, per se.
January 5, 2015
On GOP Leadership
A great friend (who, sadly prefers email to Facebook and Blogging) sent me a message. He was concerned about the GOP leadership elections and specifically about Sens. Corker (Establishment - TN) and Thune (Ditto - SD) appearing on FNS and talking up a gas tax. In fairness to the Senators, they tried to make clear this would be revenue neutral reform to take no more money but direct more toward infrastructure.
I don't have rights or permission to share the missive (he would grant it -- holler if you want) but I do have rights to my response. And I could dedicate this to dozens of Facebook friends and ThreeSourcers:
I have some very interesting friends, David. I would not trade them for the world and all its gold. But I have a lot of friends whom I accuse of impeding the cause of liberty, because their tactics are bad -- although their motives good and their principles sound. Most of those are on your side of the leadership fight and all seem substantively invested.
The Worst Newspaper Story of all Time
Bold, provocative headline, huh? You think I cannot back it up. But you have not read Denver metro drivers continue to turn away from cars in the Denver Post. To say the data supporting the headline's thesis is thinly sourced would be generous to the thin.
There is a reference to a reduction in miles driven over the 2006-2011 time frame. If those dates don't make you peckish for cherry pie, know that the supporting data set is supplied by COPrig, a far-left environmental interest group in Colorado. They could produce a study supporting their position without cherry-picking recessionary cycles.
The beauty of the piece is that it is a COPirg press release. Car sales are up! National miles driven are up! But none of this, whatcha-call, data matters because some activists at COPirg disagree. They say the new age is upon us and we're all going to follow the millennials (who presumably cannot afford cars in the Obama-Pelosi-Reid economy) and avoid the foul smelling personal automobile. And use bicycle-sharing services like Denver B-Cycle -- the story gives five paragraphs to Rick Plenge, a 39-year-old transportation engineer who uses bike sharing to get to his downtown job. He and his wife might sell one of their two cars someday, when the light rail goes to the airport (like Dave Berry, I assume you think I am making this up -- I am not).
How bad is the article on a liberty/freedom axis? The bureaucrats at C-DOT are the heroes! (Still not making this up.)
But planners say growth patterns fuel the need for more pavement in Denver. I-70 in northeast Denver handles traffic for several rapidly expanding areas including downtown Denver -- which will add more than 21,000 new housing units and 47,000 new jobs by 2020 -- and DIA -- which is expected to add 13,500 jobs by 2030.
C-DOT -- Hayekian heroes! I'm going back to bed.
(I will add this to the Rant category for its intemperate punctuation. Apologies to all who were offended.)
UPDATE I: Corrected COPrig to COPirg (Colorado Public Interest Research Group) -- thanks, Refugee!
UPDATE II: I have to give the Post some props for "A man proved his innocence in a Denver court by dropping his pants to prove he did not have the wanted man's Scooby Doo tattoo."
January 4, 2015
The story of his first paying job would appear frequently in Frederick Douglass's writings and speeches over the years, and with good reason. At the center of his lifelong struggle for liberty and equality stood the principle of self-ownership, a concept that necessarily included both the freedom to compete in the economic marketplace and the right to enjoy the fruits of those labors. Slavery, as Douglass understood all too well, obliterated such things, robbing its victims not only of the products of their toil, but of their control over their own bodies. Earning that "first free dollar" was therefore a milestone in his life. As he described the event in My Bondage and My Freedom, the second of his three autobiographies, "I was now my own master--a tremendous fact."So Damon Root's Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court begins to weave a fundamental theory of rights into a comprehensive but accessible treatment of liberty based jurisprudence.
The long war referenced in the title is between a libertarian view of the judicial branch's purpose in protecting our rights from majoritarianism. Rather than the straight libertarian vs. progressive split, however, Root shows that the Conservatives are in league with the Progressives under the mantle of "judicial restraint." Much as I admire Judge Robert Bork and Justice Antonin Scalia, both are committed to the idea that the court is not there to protect us from ourselves in a democracy.
Justice Thomas and a litany of 19th Century legends like Justice Stephen Field and Justice Rufus Peckham, conversely, see no problem with "activism" if that activism protects our liberty.
It curiously chronicles an intellectual journey I have made over the last decade, moving from Robert Bork's view of Lochner v. New York to David Bernsteins's [Review Corner] and from Justice Scalia's unenumerated rights [Review Corner] to Clark Neily's [Review Corner]. Clearly, I could have saved myself a lot of time had I just waited for "Overruled." That would have left me leisure hours to watch "American Idol" and that show where you get kicked off the island.
But enough about me. The split traces back to The Slaughter House Cases, challenging a foul, racist perversion of property rights in Louisiana which disallowed independent butchers from enjoying the ownership of self and self-production that Frederick Douglass enjoyed. The law was challenged under the shiny-new 14th Amendment: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Against Justice Stephen Field's objection and brilliant dissent, the Court ruled that -- not to put too fine a point on it -- "Any State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States whenever they feel like it."
In essence, the Progressives had declared war on the Fourteenth Amendment. And their brazen assault did not go unnoticed. Among the sharpest critics of their approach was the journalist H. L. Mencken, who took aim at Progressive legal thinking while reviewing a book-length collection of Justice [Oliver Wendell] Holmes's dissenting opinions. "Over and over again, in these opinions," Mencken observed, Holmes "advocated giving the legislature full head-room, and over and over again he pro-tested against using the Fourteenth Amendment to upset novel and oppressive laws, aimed frankly at helpless minorities." That's not responsible judging, Mencken argued, it's a gross dereliction of basic judicial duty. "If this is Liberalism," he declared, "then all I can say is that Liberalism is not what it was when I was young."
I remember tension when McDonald v Chicago was argued. Justice Thomas wanted to revisit Slaughterhouse and reinstate the P & I clause. Justice Scalia caustically belittled that theory in oral argument, signaling that he was not onboard the freedom train this week. (Thomas's concurrence is lonely but brilliant.)
Even where Root trods on ground known to ThreeSourcers, there is enough extra detail from anecdotes in oral argument or commentary to make the book profoundly interesting and readable. And where it is new, it sparkles: most notably the thread from Justice Holmes, who lost all his idealism in courageous and unimaginably grisly combat.
The Civil War had a profound impact on the young man who would later become one of America's most famous and influential jurists, and it was not a pretty one. As it does for many young soldiers, the experience of combat obliterated Holmes's youthful idealism. "I am not the same man," he informed his parents in May 1864. But the disillusion went far deeper than that. As the historian Louis Menand memorably put it, "The war did more than make him lose those beliefs. It made him lose his belief in beliefs." Gone forever was the young abolitionist who left Harvard two months before graduation in order to enlist on behalf of a grand cause. In his place was a man who scorned all mention of lofty principle. "I don't talk much of rights," Holmes would declare, "as I see no meaning in the rights of man except what the crowd will fight for."
I'll wait if you want to read that again. A leading light in American Jurisprudence comes out of the shoulder-deep pile of bodies at Sharpsburg as a badly wounded Captain who believes "might makes right."
Holmes's theory of deference provides wins in the progressive era, finally flips the court to allow New Deal legislation in Laughlin Steel v US and ThreeSourcers' fave Wickard v. Filburn. Then it reappears in Bork's treatment of Lochner, Conservative critiques of Griswold v. Connecticut (including a previous release of me), Scalia on Raich, and ultimately Chief Justice Roberts's saving construction in NFIB v. Sibelius.
I'll pass out five stars and the first "Editor's Choice" book award of 2015. I do have a hardcopy thanks to Reason Foundation's fundraising machine -- holler if you'd like to take this superb book for a spin.
I'm glad I no longer resemble this....
Hat tip to the folks at PowerLine, who's "This week in pictures" post is my favorite across all the W's.
A copy of the picture has been eMail'd to JK, for liberal use with his various FB fanzies.
January 3, 2015
Time to pack up "libertarian Delenda est." That's been a bust.
That was in response to a multi-decadal failure to dissuade Progressives.
Maybe an accelerated opposition to "junk science" would be worthy. I have Facebook friends who are into "woo," and some very good sources to straighten them out. (Science Babe and Sluts for Monsanto are good starts). I seem to get away with sharing their stuff with less acrimony than were I to post a pro-GOP or anti-President-Obama post.
My heart is in, I have a little comparative advantage with a technical background; and it is very important. Via Fight a Junk Science, here's a great piece on Whole Foods as the temple of pseudoscience
So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently? The most common liberal answer to that question isnít quite correct: namely, that creationists harm society in a way that homeopaths donít. Iím not saying that homeopathy is especially harmful; Iím saying that creationism may be relatively harmless. In isolation, unless youíre a biologist, your thoughts on creation donít matter terribly much to your fellow citizens; and unless youíre a physician, your reliance on Sacred Healing Food to cure all ills is your own business.
January 2, 2015
Nobody's top concerns for 2014
The new Gallup survey of "Most Important Problem Facing the U.S." is out and since I'm a glass 9/10 full kinda guy, I'm going to list the things on the list that never exceeded 10% of respondents in even a single month all year. Here goes... "nobody" cares about:
Federal deficit/debt (9%)
This is not for lack of trying to gin up a "crisis" over most of these issues. One such campaign was actually successful - Race relations/racism was, for one month the "most important problem facing the U.S." in the opinion of 13% of Americans. But averaged throughout the year, the un-forced rate of concern was 3% (with at least one month being as low as 1%. Interestingly, Terrorism was the only one of these concerns to every have a monthly reading of 0%.)
Which leaves a "Big Five" of major concerns for Americans last year:
The last, immigration, averages below 10 percent but I included it here for its monthly peak, probably during the juvenile "invasion," of 17%. "Economy" and "Unemployment" seem to me to be the same concern, but each from a different perspective - the first from employers and the second from employees. So this one has a whopping 32% seeing it as their top concern all year long. Add that to the 18% for "Government" and fully half of all Americans are most concerned about government and what it is doing to our economy and jobs.
So tell me again why the GOP is having a civil war about "Immigration?"
Quote of the Day
Prior to last night's Monday Night Football game featuring the Denver Broncos versus the Cincinnati Bengals, Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, now an ESPN analyst, was asked how Denver quarterback Peyton Manning would deal with the disguises posed by the Bengals defense."Watch for Peyton to speak to the nation, as the president of the United States would speak to the nation tonight," the former San Francisco great began. "And tell them, 'I am the dictator! I am the one who's going to take care of everything.'" -- TPNN (Tea Party News Network)
Here is a link but the page is full of some creepy HTML. Do not click unless your virus protection is up to date.
UPDATE: Looking for another source, it seems to have been well covered by conservative, alternative news sources and some sports blogs. I'm surprised this would not make FOX, MSNBC or HuffPo.
An Algorithm Which Recognizes Talent!
A good friend of this blog from waaay back emails a story I might find "possibly amusing." He is correct.
He starts a dummy Twitter account to post a couple of items on a sports fan page. He sends two tweets, follows no one, and has no followers. Whom does Twitter recommend?
Clearly, I should follow the other two -- they're in my karass.
One Point Five Five Cheers for Jeb!
Like his famous brother, Gov. Jeb Bush (Establishment - FL) is a uniter not a divider. My libertarian friends, my conservative friends, and my progressive friends are all equally aghast at his announced candidacy. He's not doing much for "libertario delenda est;" just the announcement has caused several FB friends to renounce their GOP membership.
Um, anybody can run, people. The WSJ Ed Page -- admittedly not a firebrand, Tea Party insurgency -- has been a bit dismayed at the opposition. Let's give each a serious look and feel free to patch lacunae.
1. His last name. This is enough for the Reason folks: charges of dynasty and why we chose to fight the Brits in the first place. I see where they come from but get an affirmative-action queasiness -- really he cannot be President because of his last name? That seems unenlightened and contra-Reason.
2. Immigration. Clint Bolick has a guest editorial in the WSJ today about the co-author of "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution" that reminds me that the Governor is the best candidate I am going to see on the topic in 2016. Others will be forced to pander; Jeb's views have been published in hardcover.
3. Common Core. Here this love letter will trail off. I could support a candidate with whom I disagree (Duh). But Jeb's attraction to Common Core reminds me that -- like other Bushes -- he lacks a principled foundational belief in limited government. Brother George said "when people are hurting, government has to step in." I forgave him for a lot of other things, but...
When I make the libertario delenda est pitch, my interlocutors rightfully ask for some results, some sign that the curves slope in the right direction, and that the party is moving to limit government and not repeat the DeLay-Hastart-Bush years. I cannot make that case with the former Governor of Florida.
So, 1.55 out of three cheers (his detractors forget he was successful both at tax cutting and as an advocate for school choice). It is time to move on and show that we are moving on. But let's get real, people, he is not the devil. Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rick Santorum are the devils.
January 1, 2015
New Year's Resolution
In the interest of all the creatures of the world except myself, I herewith resolve:
- To become a vegetarian,
I realize that this is, in itself, not enough to atone for my selfish lifestyle for the past five plus decades, but it is only a beginning and I intend to redouble my efforts again next year. And I don't even consider it a sacrifice, as it is for the good of all life on earth. (Well, maybe not so good for plant life but we can't all be winners, right?] I have no doubt about the power of my intellect to wean myself from the unhealthy foods made from other creatures, like hamburgers, steak, chicken wings, bacon, ... ... ... nevermind.