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.

What was I saying? Oh, right: Because pragmatic liberalism (deceitfully) claims no ideological principles save the greater good, it has few defenses when its ideological principles are attacked, particularly from within. If good is simply defined by what (liberal) people at any given moment think good is, all questions become contests of power. Bertrand Russell understood this as early as 1909, when he wrote that if everyone becomes a pragmatist, then "ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth." Russell's point was that there's nothing within pragmatism to delineate the proper and just limits of pragmatism. We must look outside pragmatism for truly meaningful definitions of the greater good.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 7:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

All Hail Taranto!

It's Friday! One more AHT:


I don't care who are, that's a funny joke...

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

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
Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 4:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, never seen that before. The syntax:
had nothing."

caused the entire remainder of the post, and all subsequent posts, to appear italicized. I changed to:

had nothing."

and cleared the problem.

Not to detract from a good post about an excellent point. My grandparents lived in a house very much like the one we are working diligently to replace with something much larger and better appointed. And considered themselves kings, I'm sure.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And HTML tags in comments are hidden just like in body text. So only fellow 3src login holders will know.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

You are quick -- I saw it and corrected it, clobbering probably your fix. So If it is bad now, y'all can blame me.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

And -- to be safe -- in your new home, make the cabinets big enough that your children might have an extra tin cup someday. I know it sounds extravagant, but you don't know what wonders of prosperity the future world may hold.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 4:02 PM
But jk thinks:

As if on queue, actress Melissa Gilbert discusses scarcity. In a way.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 6:03 PM

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]
But johngalt thinks:

Let's be precise here: The "Taliban armed-insurgency Five."

That is all.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I wouldn't want to be hasty and suggest that the Taliban is a terrorist group.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 5:51 PM

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."

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

"I feel that we as a board have been very respectful about listening to both sides of this issue. We've been gathering facts the whole way through this."

So folks on one of the sides of this issue apparently have been sending emails to trustees and to citizens, and knocking on citizen's doors to present the facts as they see them. Do I gather correctly? And this is "spam, misinformation" and/or "harassment?"

I wonder if the same would be true if the facts being shared were from her perspective? Actually, no. I don't wonder.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

BTW, this is awesome stuff. Thanks for posting!

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Awesome for you, brah -- I live here!

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 7:27 PM

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Would you settle for one cheer? "A single cheer only, please."

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh? The quality of mercy is not jg?

-- One of eight D's voting yea (cheer the one!)
-- 20 months from election (cheer the two!)
-- Potentially pissing off Tom Steyer (cheer the three!)

If my math is incorrect, let me know.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm willing to suggest that the Senior Senator's strategery is as follows: Cheer the one will do him more good regarding cheer the two than would cheer the three.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. One of my gripes has been that he is a backbencher and 100% reliable vote for Team Blue. Just eight strikes me as borderline ballsy (well, on the Michael Bennett scale).

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 6:57 PM

All Hail Taranto!


"Selfishness" Rocks!

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.

You'll see Texas cattle ranchers this winter making the personal sacrifice of going out in blizzards to care for their herds. As a result of their sacrifice, New Yorkers will have beef on their grocery shelves.

Which do you think best explains cattlemen's behavior, concern about New Yorkers or their wanting more for themselves?

But jk thinks:

Dr. Williams can sneak both of our favorites into one short column.

Which worker receives the higher pay, a worker on a road construction project moving dirt with a shovel or a worker moving dirt atop a giant earthmover? If you said the guy on the earthmover, go to the head of the class. But why?

It's not because he's unionized or that employers just love earthmover operators. It's because he is more productive; he has more physical capital with which to work.

My lefty friends credit unions and regulations with the 40-hour work week and absence of child labor, when it is capital and capitalism.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 5:16 PM

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.

But jk thinks:

Disturbing. As Hans (or is it Franz?) says "I'm not going to sugar-coat this." I remember sitting at the kitchen table of a friend of this blog in 2008 discussing the forthcoming loss of all the hard fought gains from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We were both proven right -- and I've never been so disappointed.

But the people got what they voted for and that is a facet of democracy with which I must agree. The William Easterly problem with the Iraq War is perhaps that the US cannot count on a long-term commitment. The next bums get to overturn your best laid plans.

Ergo, while I deplore the President's Harvard-Faculty-Lounge foreign policy, he is within his right and I oppose him with little more than eye-rolling. You can't fix stupid and I cannot fix the Administration's worldview.

One can better influence domestic policy -- videlicet The Tea Party, flipping both houses of Congress, and asserting Constitutional limits through the Supreme Court.

What we will need when the bender of the Obama Years wears off is the strongest possible economy, both to project power as needed but more subtly to lead by example and retain confidence.

As bad as it gets, there's just nothing we can do until January 2017 in regards to foreign policy. Hard to fix bad domestic policy -- but not impossible.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 2:57 PM

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!
I, with fearful tread.
Walk the Internet my Captain's blog lies,
fallen cold and dead.

Estonian Exceptionalism

"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.
But jk thinks:

But -- we had a small uptick, thanks to the sequester. Our score had fallen for seven years and it is slightly up.

Yay team.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 4:15 PM

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:

The video, which ends with the hostage being beheaded, was discovered by Memri TV which translated it from Arabic.

It emerged two days after Kurdish fighters expelled ISIS from the strategic Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border after months of fierce fighting.

The news prompted celebrations among residents who fled across the frontier into Turkey, with thousands gathering at the border in the hope they will be able to return home more than four months after the fighting first started.

The town's recapture marked a key symbolic and strategic blow against ISIS, but officials warned massive reconstruction was needed and the fight would continue for the surrounding villages.

Oh, and the video includes the following jihadhole boasts:

'Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America.'

'Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province.'


The militant's threats do not stop at America, but also include a message for France and 'sister' Belgium.

He says: 'We advise you that we will come to you with car bombs and explosive charges and will cut off your heads'.


The militant then saves his most personal attack for the Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani, who is currently leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

'As for you, oh Masoud (Barazani), you dog, we are going to behead you and throw you into the trash bin of history.

'Know that we are men who fear no-one. We will institute the laws of Allah, may he be exalted and praised.'

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.

But jk thinks:

Heh. I see this made it as an update below (thanks, jg!) but I am unrepentant -- victory deserves its own post!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 11:52 AM

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.

But, somewhat awkwardly, given the president's chosen theme, 529 plans are tax-advantaged savings vehicles that currently benefit an awful lot of middle class people. In particular, they benefit middle and upper-middle class families in high-tax blue states.

But johngalt thinks:

And not just for the bait and switch on taxing 529s, some Democrats are also critical of the Administration's refusal to acknowledge Islamism, i.e. "we claim a moral right to kill people who don't think like us about whatever we decide is important, and it's usually something about Islam." Check out this Greta van Sustern interview with the 2012-elected Democratic Rep from HI-2, the charming Tulsi Gabbard. Did I mention she is an Iraq War vet?

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2015 11:42 AM

"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


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.

Weld County has practiced safe energy development for a long time. My wife and I moved into the county in 2008 and we love it here. I own no mineral rights nor directly profit in any way from energy production. All the same, I am a strong proponent of property rights and it is unfair of me to determine the disposition of others' property.

I do benefit indirectly from the economic activity, lower energy costs, and tax revenue from energy production.

I have no doubt that those who seek to restrict it have good intentions. But they are wrong on property rights, wrong on the externalities of energy production and wrong to oppose an important economic source of wealth for Weld County and the State of Colorado.

Please vote for property rights.

UPDATE: Rejected.

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.

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 6:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have made plans to attend. And I have reprinted copies of this 2008 ThreeSources blog post, which I intend to share with council members.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I went. I saw, the teeming hoarded waiting to speak. I read, the agenda with "Oil and Gas" as item 9. I left, to go pick up my children. But not before handing a stack of "Oil Math" blog reprints to a staffer with assurance that she would make sure each Town Trustee receives a copy.

Have a good evening frackfriends and fracktards. I'm gonna go have dinner. And listen to Andy Peth , tonight's guest on Grassroots Radio Colorado!

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 9:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They even let me on the radio with them.

Scroll to 2:00, I come on around 4:20. Fun stuff!

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2015 1:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Well done on both counts.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 10:28 AM

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.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Beautiful! I got my math-science model correct on the first try and this famous Bozo botched it! Climate "science" is, apparently, more accessible to Tyson than run of the mill junior high school physics.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 2:43 PM

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.

But johngalt thinks:

While we're reading Powerline, let's give this one a look. Perhaps there's another reason the White House doesn't want to be seen with Bibi - they're participating in the Israeli election, and not to Netanyahu's favor. Izzat legal?

Hat tip: KHOW's Mandy Connell.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 11:58 AM

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)
12.5 27 186158.52 0.004237 0.322844229 8.31 294
9.928571429 24.42857143 168429.1371 0.004237 0.322844229 8.31 266

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.)

But johngalt thinks:

Not even close to approved under the TSFDSG but maybe this will help you get over your moderate indigestion.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 7:38 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And if you're sick of the Deflategate scandal, you might be interested to know that Aaron Hernandez' jury was seated today, and opening statements should follow. There's a palate-cleanser for you.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay. AFC guy that I am, I'm ready to embrace RAH's suggestion. Go Pats!

But I remain intrigued by the forensics. if it can all be explained with PV = kT, why does it not happen all the time? Do they check every game or was this some sting to catch the tall poppy Patriots? They have been playing this game in bad weather for some time. And for several years, they have allowed teams to control and manage the game balls. It seems easy to determine whether this is a big deal or not, but I've no confidence that we'll ever know.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2015 10:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A PhD colleague confirmed my math, albeit with some reservation about the fluctuation of atmospheric pressure. He also suggested a lady physicist had done the math and, if I understood him correctly, "the air pressure doesn't change" with temperature.

But physics professor and former quarterback Otto Rieke says differently. Spoiler alert: He agrees with moi.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 11:48 AM
But jk thinks:


What's the old line? It's not what we don't know but what we think we know that is wrong. I am held captive by an exchange with a Physics professor when I was a young man. I tried to use the derivative of the Ideal Gas Equation (IGE) with respect to t to derive the rate of loss of air pressure with the rate of temperature.

We had just derived the equation from the definition of kinetic energy (a very nice piece of theory) and I suggested the differential as a real world application.

Said prof approved my math as well. But he strongly cautioned that tire air was composed of heavy particles at high pressure, thus violating a few assumptions of an ideal gas (point particles, elastic collisions, no attractive forces between molecules).

Frantically combing the intertubes for backup, I saw nothing to suggest that Mister Brady's balls were so special [Pfft.] as to be outside the useful application of the IGE. Dr. MacDonnell may well have meant a microscopic deviation from 100% accuracy, but it left me with a lifelong skepticism of using the IGE outside of helium at low pressure in a lab.

We've some cold weather headed our way. Let's do an empirical test and get our handsome faces on the teevee news.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2015 12:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The video features a football on a desk with an air pump inserted in it. They also demonstrate air pressure measurement with a pen-style pressure gauge (reads in 0.5 psi increments.) I hoped they would show just such an experiment (which can be done with a common freezer, by the way, not just a cold day.)

Yes, the ideal gas law is not the "always exact equation for physical gasses at all temperatures and pressures" law. But for computing the delta P versus delta T of a given number of molecules of a given gas in a given volume* at values around STP, it's close enough for an engineer.

* PhD friend points out that a football is at least slightly elastic, and can grow or shrink with pressure to reduce the magnitude of the effect. But like I said, close enough for an engineer.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 2:25 PM

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."

Called the House Freedom Caucus, the group serves as a conservative alternative to the Republican Study Committee, which has over 170 members. However, it was not formed to be "anti-RSC," a Republican congressional aide told The Daily Signal last month.

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Typo alert: Heh - I thought it said "Frodo" Caucus.

This reminds me a lot of the Principles of Liberty effort in Colorado. Much good could it do.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 6:05 PM
But jk thinks:

"Freedo" fixed, thanks for the sharp eye. Neither the Hobbit nor the legendary session bassist "Freebo" enjoy their own House caucus.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 6:29 PM

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.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 3:53 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I would have loved to root for the Broncos. Or in their absence, the Packers or the Cowboys.

As for the two teams who actually made it to the dance, the hardest decision I have to make is which team I hate more. Twelfth Man versus Darth Hoodie. Legion of Boom versus Gronk.

It's shaping up to be a good day to wash the dogs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If I may lend a brother a philosophical hand, I think he is still feeling the glow of his most recent Review Corner. I on the other hand, see the issue through a Heinleinian lens:

I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

I would have more respect for Brady and Belicheat if they just said, "We perform better when the ball is inflated 1.5 psi below the league's minimum, so that's how we prepared them. I am willing to face my Creator at the pearly gates and answer for that "transgression" so I did it, because I want to WIN. Do you play sports for some other reason?"

Regulating the air pressure in a football is stupid, in my opinion. What the hell is this, NASCAR? Every team should get to prepare "The Duke" as it sees fit. Only caveat - they have to use the same ball for everything; running, throwing and especially kicking.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 4:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's hard to get me to root for the Patriots, but the press may have achieved the impossible.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 4:58 PM
But jk thinks:

I appreciate the bold new vantage point. Coating the old pigskin with Ebola to discourage interceptions is out?

As they are all on the same field, I like the idea of the balls' being interchangeable. But allowing a preference within a range is compelling.

And. Your speech. Dude. Awesome. Had they said that, I'd buy a Licensed Brady jersey.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 5:21 PM

A Hero?

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 know what happened to the cycling industry. I know what happened to Trek Bicycles -- $100m (£66.5m) in sales, to $1bn in sales."

I'm strangely proud again.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 3:41 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Even so, Bloomberg highlights remarks by subprime mortgage billionaire Jeffrey Greene that "America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Until these petulant horses' asses collectively stand together and announce to the world that they are the chiefmost among sinners in the income equality discussion, and en masse announce their agreement to give all their worldly goods to the poor, flog themselves, wear hairshirts for a decade, and live on the average income of an inhabitant of the world, I care a little less than a third of a metric damn about what any of them say on the subject.

I don't begrudge a single one of them so much as half a farthing of their personal fortunes. Income inequality is as necessary to a working economy as temperature inequality is necessary to a working climate. But when any of them have the temerity to scold and lecture the western world for being successful and themselves not stand first in line to remedy what they see as the problem, then they can take their sanctimonious claptrap and reinsert it into the orifice of their choice.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Horse's asses should be singular possessive in the antecedent, since "asses" is the plural term. Other than that, Word.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 2:39 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

A debatable point, especially with you being the horse expert here. I reasoned that a horse has two asscheeks and but one ass, and therefore to have plural horses' asses, one required plural horses.

Be that as it may, the original phrase I was going to use might have pushed the boundaries of both good taste and the ThreeSources stylebook, and equine hindquarters was the polite alternative.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

We're worse than the People's Front of Judea. I confess I stopped mid thought to try on the apostrophe in both cracks as it were. Put me down as a squish on abortion, capital punishment, and l'affaire cul de chevaux -- I find either use defensible.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:23 PM

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...").

Second, reception of foreign leaders is an exclusive power of the President. Article II, Section 3, provides that "he [the President] shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers." In this situation, Prime Minister Netanyahu, appearing as the official representative of his country, should be classed as a "public Minister."

I wish my opponents to follow the clear text of the Constitution; I will ask my friends to do the same.

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It is a compelling argument. If we had a government that was being run in accordance with the Constitution, I would wholeheartedly take your side.

And I have a world of respect for the Tenth Amendment Center, whose aim is to impartially and unpartisanly hold everyone's feet to the fire to govern in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, the amendment in the Bill of Rights that is probably more disregarded than any of the other nine. Kudos to them.

However, we are saddled with a lawless Executive, whose violations of the Constitution and its amendments are far more egregious and far more numerous that this likely overreach by Mr. Boehner and Congress. If this argument were to be used by anyone supporting the pretender in the White House (and brother, be it heretofore known that IN NO WAY do I accuse you of that unpardonable sin), I would invite them to clean their own damb house first.

That being said, I would also submit that Art. II, Sect. 3, is not merely an exclusive power, but an exclusive responsibility. It says the President "shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers." So let him do his job and receive Mr. Netanyahu. As many of my Second Amendment friends will point out, there is a significant difference in the options available between "shall" and "may," as in the words "shall issue" and "may issue." It is Mr. Soetero's job and duty to receive Mr. Netanyahu; let him therefore do some receiving. Calling him a "coward" and "chickenshit" are optional, but receiving him seems mandatory.

And if anyone would care to split hairs, I'd be tempted to suggest that Congress isn't "receiving" Netanyahu by way of acknowledging or refusing to acknowledge him in his capacity of an ambassador or public minister of Israel; Congress is opening discussion regarding the hazards of Radical Islamic Violence (something the Executive Branch continues to refuse to acknowledge, I might add), and in its rightful duty to hold debate and hear witnesses, Mr. Netanyahu has made himself available as something of an expert witness on the subject with something meaningful to say. I for one would be very interested in his thoughts and experiences.

For the sake of snark, does Art. II, Sect. 3 have anything to say about receiving green-lipped degenerates who eat breakfast cereal out of bathtubs? I may have missed that part.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 2:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My point of view requires no disclaimer: Even if our government were operating in an Originalist Constitutional manner I see no barrier to Congress "receiving Ambassadors and other public Ministers." At no place in Article II Section 3 do I see the world "only" or any other term conveying exclusivity.

And if one is inclined to insist that it must be an enumerated power of Congress in Article I, my reply is, "Very well, let the members of Congress receive this public minister as private citizens. This is still a free country, with rights of free speech and free association, is it not?"

And then if yours truly was feeling snarky I might add, "And get off your high horse." But I'm not feeling snarky.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I started this on Facebook and apologize for venue diffusion.

Before switching, I suggested that many of the supporting arguments sound suspiciously like the President's "I'd love to honor separation of powers -- if it weren't for those intransigent Republicans!" I appreciate the more nuanced suggestions made above.

Madison, of course thought the 10th that we revere redundant. Obviously, by enumerating powers proscription of extension and extrapolation is assumed.

I'll call your attention to David Bernstein's response. He also sees a parallel both of absolute Constitutionality and the appearance of honoring the separation of powers.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 4:52 PM

January 25, 2015

Review Corner

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.


Because there is a proper method for judging individuals and because individuals must be evaluated as individuals (because they are individuals), collectivism and all its ugly variations should be rejected. Collectivists judge individuals by their membership in groups. Since all the individuals in the group are different and therefore should be judged differently, collectivists have a 100 percent error rate.

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [0]


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

3. Kashi

The fact that Kellogg's owns Kashi isn't the only reason to stop buying it. Read more here about why you should avoid Kashi at all costs. [Update: Kashi is in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified. Don't jump the gun though! Until a product bears the official Non-GMO logo, it's most likely still chock-full of genetically modified ingredients. And keep in mind that they're still owned by Kellogg's who supports the GMO industry big-time.]

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."

But jk thinks:

[NAME DROP ALERT!] I once had a fun thread with Dan Henninger at the WSJ Ed Page on this. He assured me that all New York City assemblies to get the people together to bring down the S.E.C.s -- always meet at Starbucks. Attendees complain, but without the hook of a nice Frappuccino before, they've learned that their numbers are always way down.

My blog brother asks me to incise a rational argument into a place not its natural habitat. Surely young Boulder moms watch South Park -- it just doesn't stick. Corporations are evil unto themselves, although she and I work for a -- oh nevermind! GMOs! GMOs!

RE: Blue Sun. I might make enemies here, but I've always considered the silver lining of Firefly's too-short tenure that Whedon was unable to develop the Blue Sun story arc. I expect it would have ended badly. Burn the heretic if you must.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I might ask, "What is the dividing line between "giant corporations" (S.E.C.) and, what, "friendly" corporations? Or "soulful" or "caring" corporations? You know, how many filthy dollars in profit must they make to become soulless and evil?

"My motive is pure - I simply want to stop supporting SEC's." ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 3:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I do enjoy the sweet irony of anti-corporation people being dependent on, yes addicted to, Evil Corporations, and Starbucks figures prominently.

And I have long agreed on the Blue Sun question; another season might have shown us that Blue Sun was Halliburton. Joss' politics might have shown through; I'm told that he never understood how his space series became a clarion to small-government libertarians. You prolly both already know this, then, too: in the pilot episode, Sgt. Reynolds uses an Alliance anti-aircraft weapons against an Alliance attack ship. In the targeting display screen, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation logo figures prominently. Big Corp was slated to be the eminence gris behind Big Gov, from the very beginning.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

"They" are very good at that. My sister-in-law was visiting and refused to go to the Wal-Mart near my home. Needing something, we drove ten miles to shop at K-Mart. Both locations are closed now and I've moved but I have never stopped saying "Whaaaa?" Oh, it's efficient supply chain management and logistics that offends you -- got it.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

And following jgs' link (ain't I a stinker?) I see I made the point with the corroborating evidence of the S.E.C. Rossum Corporation in Dollhouse.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe she just has a thing for blue lights?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 4:45 PM

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.

But Jk thinks:

You can rat on me. The author was in Denver last night, and I could not be persuaded to enter the big city on Friday night.

I read the Kindle sample thus morning both of "The Moral Arc" and Steven Pinkers Better Angels of Our Nature upon which it is built.Both are very good and I struggle to decide which to complete. Both provide generous samples (both are generous books, Pinker's weighs in at 851 pages, Shermers 550).

Shermer seems borderline Objectivist to except that he extends -- I hope you're sitting down -- the sphere of protections to all sentient beings. Reading the first couple chapters it does not seem unmoored from principles.

And, just counting stars, there were many many more complimentary reviews.

Posted by: Jk at January 24, 2015 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Incentives matter. Shermer's is ($16.99/560) = 0.03/page. Pinker is ($10.99/832) = $0.013. That Harvard value that everyone speaks of....

The trouble with both -- and where I might push back on your reviewer -- is that both are writing to somebody who watches CNN every night and says "no way things are less violent! Planes are disappearing into the ocean!" Both are speaking to incredulous audiences and carefully piecing together documentation. I accept the premise wholeheartedly and am ready to move along.

I have to ask if Mister Three Stars is truly missing a foundational moral premise or if he just does not accept that we've left behind barbarism at an alarming rate.

(Srsly -- everyone with a Kindle should get the sample of Pinker's at least. He academically lays out the premise he plans to prove with anecdotes about the violence in Virgil, The Bible, Shakespeare, Grimm Brothers, &c. It's a powerful read and you get a nice hunk of the book for nothin'.)

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2015 5:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree with you on the "hey, it's way more violent than it used to be" mythology. The population is many times larger, and we require cable news to find violence in our culture most of the time. (True, none of us live in Chicago.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2015 2:59 AM

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.

It makes perfect sense that CUA would want to teach this topic to business leaders. Free markets have liberated more people from poverty than any other force in history. But they must also be buttressed by moral principles, such as those taught in the Catholic Church.

The notion of such compatibility is troubling for some. In 2013, the Charles Koch Foundation pledged grants at CUA's request for similar studies exploring principled entrepreneurship, which prompted condemnation from a number of Catholic "social justice" groups. Catholic "activists" sent the university a letter alleging that free-market positions "are in direct conflict with traditional Catholic values."

To their immense credit, Catholic University president John Garvey and Business School Dean Andrew Abela said "screw the social justice warriors! We're talking millions!" "returning the grant would 'stifle debate by pretending that genuinely controversial positions are official church teaching.'"

I'm being goofy but it is a serious and informative article.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here, it's already done. The "research and educational program" is already finished. Where's my share of that sweet, sweet Koch money? http://bit.ly/1JiEyMg

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 23, 2015 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll split it with you.

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2015 4:27 PM
But dagny thinks:

Don't suppose the Catholic research will reach the correct conclusion that free markets are in and of themselves moral and that no additional moral buttressing is required???

Posted by: dagny at January 23, 2015 6:55 PM

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.

That failure was compounded by the inexplicable decision to award five of the six "key contracts" for the project on a "cost-reimbursement" basis, which means that the federal government assumed all risk for cost overruns.

I say that it's "inexplicable" because officials at CMS didnít bother to explain it, even though the agency is required to do so.

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 Barone
Coulda saved you 68 minutes.
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, Barone coulda saved me 68 minutes, but if I hadn't watched (or read ThreeSources) I still wouldn't have known that the leader of the House Republicans wore a RINO necktie during the SOTU.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2015 2:33 PM
But jk thinks:

The Speaker had his colors done by a professional. Some are Autumns, some are Winters -- Rep. Boehner was a "Dystopian Post-apocalyptic Summer" and the purple tie was right off the wheel.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2015 3:20 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Glad I missed it, but I have friends in low places who shared the thumbnail versions.

I've long complained about the applause, especially the standing ovations ("Comrade, I think you are not enthusiastic enough in your applause..."). Someone apparently shared that feeling of mine: http://bit.ly/1BiuxuR

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 22, 2015 4:27 PM

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.

Now, I can't find a corresponding piece from Milbank griping about the Left's obsession with climate change, an issue that is also consistently one of the lowest priorities among voters, but I'm sure it exists somewhere. What's truly absurd, though, is the idea that the GOP is alone responsible for any "revival of the culture wars." The culture war never ended. Some of you probably remember the Democrats' gynecocentric campaign to paint every GOP candidates as a misogynist.

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."

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

In the East, Kim Jong Un's North Korea attempts to freeze time in a Stalinist prison-camp bubble. In the West, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and the Castros in Cuba use anachronistic socialist propaganda to resist increasing pressure for human rights.

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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:18 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Well said. I will click through and read the whole Kasparov piece too, as its subject is something I've noticed also.

I would state one thing differently, however: Personally, I see radical Islam being far more threatened by modernity than vice versa. In fact, they were perfectly content living a millennium and half a continent away from the West, until our influence reached their shores. This probably pre-dates the 1950's Mideast oil boom, but that certainly was another step up in their exposure to the West and its ideas.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2015 2:46 PM

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
But johngalt thinks:

Silly libertarians, President Obama doesn't want business growth, he wants job growth. Stay on topic, would ya?

(5:15) In response to last year's SOTU line "America must move off, a permanent war footing" Gene Healy asks, "When, exactly?"

(6:50) "There's no government in the world that can stop geology."

But they didn't even mention my personal favorite:

"Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That's why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It's 2015. It's time," Mr. Obama said during the speech.

But I thought gender paycheck fairness was what the Billy Bedwetter law was all about? In 2009.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2015 3:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Optimist! He wants neither - he wants dependency growth. He only needs enough job growth to form a tax base for the permanent dependency class. Obama is no different than LBJ in that regard, with the expectation that the new dependent class "will vote Democrat for the next two hundred years."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 21, 2015 3:58 PM

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?

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

A solid triple off the wall in her first at-bat doesn't make her Rookie of the Year, but it does bode well. I'd like to see how she does as she gets accustomed to the league. Star? We'll see. Talented addition to the roster? Oh, hell yes. Put her in, Coach; she's ready to play.

Loved the shoes, but did you see Mia Love's? Rocking the snakeskin...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 21, 2015 12:47 PM
But jk thinks:

No -- and Google is not helping (complicated by the MIA brand of ladies' shoes). I could not be objective on Rep. Love, her smile shatters me into tiny pieces.

BTW, Ernst & Love (sounds like an accounting firm) were my picks for out of state support this election -- I've convinced myself that I am quite the kingmaker!

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2015 1:15 PM


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.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm drawn to follow suit, but my strategy is to seek out and try the replacement outlets before cutting the - dish.

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2015 12:47 PM
But jk thinks:

This weekend is such a trial. Hook up the new antenna and see which local channels I can get and shop around for online commentary (there is a WSJ App on the Fire).

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2015 1:01 PM

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 Fix
Hat-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."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Tolerant. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2015 12:24 PM
But dagny thinks:


Posted by: dagny at January 20, 2015 1:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2015 1:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2015 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Shut up, she explained...

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2015 3:41 PM

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.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [5]
But dagny thinks:

oops, put comment on wrong post.

Reposting here:


Posted by: dagny at January 20, 2015 1:18 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I wanted to search for the word "I" but it's not there.

I presume that it wasn't included in the options because the software doesn't support a logarithmic vertical scale, which would be required in the SCOAMF's case.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2015 1:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No surprise at all that Barack Obama has mentioned "budget" less than any president since FDR.

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2015 2:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Neener neener. Woodrow Wilson mentioned "freedom" more often than Coolidge!"

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2015 2:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes. "I'll curtail this freedom. I will roll back this other freedom..."

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2015 3:42 PM

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:


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:14 AM | What do you think? [0]

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
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm hoping that the new Senate chairman of the subcommittee overseeing NASA will correct some of the "mission creep" we've seen recently, and less of their futzing with climate hysteria.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2015 10:16 AM
But jk thinks:

You mean the "Anti-Science-Troglodyte-Senator Ted Cruz" whom the Republicans have elevated to a position where his bad ideas can be truly dangerous? Yes, I heard something about that on Facebook. A few times.

I don't care what he does. Just watching the Jon Stewart crowd melt down is worth it.

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2015 10:41 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That man says he wants to resume manned space flight with American equipment, and he values private efforts in that regard (hello, SpaceX!). He also wants to take us to Mars. I may have to rewrite the history of the future to acknowledge President Cruz' contributions in achieving that goal.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2015 12:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Journalists went into journalism so they wouldn't have to deal with such technical mumbo-jumbo."

And how:

Deflated footballs or not, the Patriots were the better team Sunday, the Colts by nearly 200 yards and dominating both sides of the ball for the majority of the game. It would be a huge stretch to suggest the final score was a product of a football that may have weighed slightly less than usual.

I thought this was an unfortunate conflation of two issues, until I heard a radio news report...

"NFL rules require the official game ball to weigh between twelve and a half and thirteen and a half pounds per square inch."
Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2015 2:43 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Lessee... Answers.com tells me the surface area of a football is about 189 square inches... supposed to "weight 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch"... so the football is supposed to weigh between 2,362.5 and 2,551.5 pounds, not counting the weight of the air inside it.

I have a new-found appreciation for the men who throw that ball, the men who catch it, and the men who carry it. Sounds like we need Thor at QB, and The Incredible Hulk at wide receiver.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2015 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"...not counting the weight of the air inside it." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Yer killin' me.

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2015 5:28 PM


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?"

The clever boys and girls and those who choose not to identify with a defined gender who sit up front have likely guessed that this is not about a fracking well at all.

Five hundred acres of farmland will be plowed under to make room for 200,000 to 275,000 photovoltaic panels that will generate 62 megawatts of solar powered electricity, Nextera Energy Resources revealed.

Man, that is going to be picturesque, ain't it? 500 acres of ugly black squares of toxic poison on the prairie! Where's Norman Freakin' Rockwell when you need him?

I'd love to discuss aesthetics with you Mister Muller, but the law is the law. And knowing Minnesotans -- you probably voted for it.

Facing a new state mandate to generate 1.5 percent of its power from solar energy, Xcel Energy picked Nextera from other competitive bids. Because of the size of the project, county and township officials have no local control over the approval process.

You know what they say:

But johngalt thinks:

The irony of mandated solar PV above the 44th parallel is bad enough, but for Minnesotans to Quixotically tackle "global warming" is downright chilling.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2015 2:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

This is an interesting day for Minnesota - first this, and now the protestors in St. Paul, expressing their solidarity with... well, something, I'm pretty sure. Something they feel is more important than the commuters on the Interstate and on the light rail, anyway.

I have a solution for this, but apparently the City of St. Paul has run out of fire hoses.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 19, 2015 7:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Talk about "chilling," IYKWIMAITYD.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 19, 2015 7:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If You Keep What I Make ... umm ... I'll Take You Down?

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2015 2:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If You Know What I Mean, And I Think You Do

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 22, 2015 5:56 PM

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

Under current law, 529 plans work like Roth IRAs: you put money in, and the money grows tax-free for college. Distributions are tax-free provided they are to pay for college.

Under the Obama plan, earnings growth in a 529 plan would no longer be tax-free. Instead, earnings would face taxation upon withdrawal, even if the withdrawal is to pay 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.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

The promise of the US Constitution was, among other things, that while other governments nationalized private property, ours would not, could not, and never would.

America - Becoming less exceptional every day.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2015 2:15 PM

January 18, 2015

Review Corner

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).

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:44 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 16, 2015

Reason Does Review Corner

Ronald Bailey provides an interesting and valuable review of Alex Epstein's The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels [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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 2:22 PM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm so obtuse sometimes.


Posted by: johngalt at January 17, 2015 9:28 AM
But jk thinks:

Fair question. And take comfort knowing next week's Review Corner of the explicitly Objectivist The Leadership Cure by John Allison will do quite well.

Epstein sees it as supporting his position -- also fair -- but I see it as a new argument "whoa, wait. You mean even if global warming kills all the polar bears you're cool?" Without it, his arguments are bulletproof and objectively (see what I did there?) verifiable. Bringing in the standard of value is a new vulnerability to defend, not reinforcement.

Posted by: jk at January 18, 2015 9:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I just read your rebuttal comment over on the Review Corner. I do see where you are going with this. It is not as clear cut as I or Epstein have portrayed it.

The problem with removing the "new argument" of the moral primacy of humanity above the rest of the natural world is that it removes the answer to "why" human prosperity is more important than protecting every species from extinction. If nobody asks you that question, you're good - your argument is bulletproof. But someone will.

You imagine that a lefty or moderate friend might take away that, "Species extinction is fine as long as Man comes out okay." But this is a false choice. Can you name the species that was wiped out or even threatened as a direct result of human existence?

By drawing tendentious connections, the new left has convinced folks that this is true. Our job is to pull the leg out from under that argument. At present, it consists of "a consensus of people smarter than you states unequivocally that using our most economical energy sources will eventually wipe out several species, and worse." People who ask "how" or "why" are never given an answer, but instead are called "deniers." At the same time, nobody ever asks, "Who prevented species extinction before man?" Or, "How can man prevent species extinction without massive expenditures of labor or capital?"

Let me ask this: Are you comfortable with Epstein's moral position? Or do you believe that human prosperity necessitates the sacrifice of the rest of the natural world?

As you ponder those questions, consider two of many excellent quotes from the excellent 'Return of the Primative: The Anti-Industrial Revolution' by Ayn Rand:

City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem - not a political one - and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death. (Page 282)

If, after the failure of such accusations as "Capitalism leads you to the poorhouse" and "Capitalism leads you to war," the New Left is left with nothing better than: "Capitalism defiles the beauty of your countryside," one may justifiably conclude that, as an intellectual power, the collectivist movement is through. (Page 170)

Posted by: johngalt at January 18, 2015 10:39 AM
But jk thinks:

Like Andrew Luck, I wish to congratulate you: "that was a good hit!" Your positions are sound. Let me start in the middle and work out.

I'm not at all certain I am comfortable with Epstein's position. So often -- and the way I framed this -- I agree but think the Objectivist position a tougher "sell." This one is a tough sell to me. Let me spin up the Tendentious Machine™: "Can we disallow dog fighting?" Some humans like it; they can breed or buy their own dogs; I don't have to watch it. I am rather fine proscribing it, though that is technically sacrificing human needs to nature.

I concede to having never considered that big ugly homo sapiens did not extinctify a lot of species with our rapacious growth. I suspect you're right that it is far fewer, but I suspect is non-zero. Not as in "we wiped 'em all out," but surely there were occasions where a small remaining number met their final demise at the hand of development.

I guess I'll argue that protecting the snail-darter is not worth leaving half a state with no electricity without arguing that it bears no consideration. And with that, I'll say I've said my peace. The beauty of Epstein's book is its cost-benefit analysis: how much do we want to sacrifice to protect a small fish? To say that is a priori zero because "we come first" seems as weak an argument as it is infinite because "we cannot harm nature."

Posted by: jk at January 19, 2015 9:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You answered my question, and I am pleased. You still rely on anecdote, however, that human development "surely" wiped out more than one specie. If that were true there should be claims, evidence and proof. Because: internet. For that I think we're all guilty of believing what we're led to believe.

Let me leave a little more food for thought on your final point. The problem is not in the analysis, or the sacrifice, or the protection - it is in the replacement of "I" with "we." (And this relates directly to the second of the two quotes above: "as an intellectual power, the collectivist movement is through."

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2015 11:13 AM
But jk thinks:

I hope I am not out of place sharing a Facebook IM, but I thought you'd enjoy some support:

Obviously I [Brother Bryan] never got around to responding to your review of Epstein's book, but I just popped over to 3Sources and saw that [Brother Johngalt] said exactly what I was going to. So I suppose there is no need now.

I replied: "doing jobs Americans won't do..."

Posted by: jk at January 19, 2015 1:31 PM

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

Core CPI

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.

The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from coffee to airline tickets, rose 0.8% in December from the same month a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday. Decemberís 0.8% annual rise was the smallest since October 2009, when prices fell 0.2% on the year.

(Yes, that is $1.859 and yes that is a 10 gallon tank.)

But johngalt thinks:

No no no, you've got it all wrong. We're merely in a Stealtflationary pause.


(And this a comedic pause.)


Fair cop. And I probably deserve it for not restricting the scope of my new economic measure to fiscal, rather than monetary, causes. I'm sure I have described it differently in the past but I think my original concept was that the cost of things was going up for reasons other than monetary inflation. Things like tax policy, regulation, mandates and other government distortions of the market.

So with apologies to Uncle Milton, "Inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon, while stealthflation is everywhere and always caused by one of the many other idiotic things government does."

What we're seeing in today's fuel prices is the result of private competition succeeding faster than government had expected, and thus outstripping the (non-inflationary) price raising power of government. But the bureaucrats are trying their damnedness to catch up.

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2015 2:47 PM

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!

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I would be willing to credit folks for each piece of paper being a single act. There's at least a thousand unrealized acts of kindness lying there!

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 4:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I just performed 4 RAK! (in traffic).
Heh. This is easy!

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 7:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Governor Hickenlooper salutes you.

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2015 9:12 AM

The Sun Setting on the British Empire...

Wow. The Land of Locke and Burke and Churchill:

Via Reason, Hat-tip: Insty who says "Video at the link. Kind of pathetic. And by 'kind of pathetic,' I mean really, really pathetic."

But jk thinks:

Needless to say, I apologize for any of our viewers who may have been offended by that.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2015 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sky seems to have chosen wisely, at least to the extent that one agrees with Comrade Pope. Nobody now has cause to throw a punch their way!

Je suis Charlie? Not so much at Sky.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 4:03 PM

Defend this, Pope lovers

Newser: 'Pope on Free Speech: Curse my Mom and Get Punched'

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.

But johngalt thinks:

I do not mean to disparage the office of Pope, but the current holder of it, Francis, and his "papal bull."

And to clarify, I tried to call you out for defending this statement of his rather than being our blog's "Pope lover."

Love the Reason piece. Thanks for linking.

All that said, Monsignor Diego Padron for Pope!

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 6:23 PM
But jk thinks:

¡Viva Padrón!

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2015 6:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

More brave voices, this time from the lame-stream media:

Washington Post

USA Today

The rest, it appears, dutifully parrot the views of Comrade Pope.

And then of course, there's Harsanyi.

For instance, can we intentionally criticize another person's faith without expecting to be punched? What if that faith is in direct conflict with the beliefs of your own set beliefs - beliefs that deserve, according to the Pope, the same respect as any other? Is it ever worth getting punched in the face?


Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 7:18 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

OMG, this pope's a dope....

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 16, 2015 1:26 AM
But jk thinks:

Harsanyi's column is perfect (I took the liberty of doing a little link-surgery).

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2015 9:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, perfect. For one, he treads more delicately than yours truly. All hail!

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2015 12:07 PM

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:

The Southeast has replaced California as the place where many people now go to find the American dream.

The reason why they are coming is the same reason why Mercedes is heading to Atlanta. People are realizing that the biggest cost of living items, housing, energy, and taxes are lower in the South. And once they get here people don't seem to leave. Georgia has the fourth lowest diaspora rate in the nation.

Gov. Christie was still in the Dallas Sky Box and could not be reached for comment...

Hat-tip: Insty

Three Cheers!

What are men to rocks and mountains? -- Jane Austen
A 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

Hey Obama...

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.

They, and the Taliban and the Islamofascist regime in Iran, are all components of the same enemy of Western civilization.

At the White House, unfortunately, an attack on a magazine or a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi elicits withholding use of the "T word" for as long as possible.

Our objective in fighting IS isn't victory as soon as possible; it is to "degrade" it and only destroy it "ultimately" -- because the president, our commander in chief, is dead set in his refusal to "involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."

Our missions against terrorists can't be part of the "global war on terror"; they must be "overseas contingency operations," a defanged term the Obama administration began insisting on soon after coming to power.

It is all a devious attempt to disguise that Western civilization faces another world war.

The French, for now at least, have rekindled their recollections of the Nazi occupation: those who pretend it isn't really war are cursed to lose it.

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...]

But johngalt thinks:

I'm not quite sure but it seems like you're harshing my pro-France mellow.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 7:07 PM
But Jk thinks:

Pardon moi. I just remembered this picture and thought it reflective of French valor.

Posted by: Jk at January 14, 2015 9:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It took me a while to remember - she was protesting the then French President for not joining the coalition, non? So yes, a like-minded contribution. Much thanks.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Errr, ummm... Merci!

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 1:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I knew you'd see it my way.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2015 1:31 PM

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."

The Venezuelan bishops specifically stated that the private sector was critical for the well being of the country. The document, read by Monsignor Diego Padron in Spanish, said the country needs "a new entrepreneurial spirit with audacity and creativity."

So not only did these bishops diagnose the cause of the misery correctly; they also warned that communism harms the poor most of all.

Your lips to God's ear, gentlemen.

But johngalt thinks:

Who is Monsignor John Galt?

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 12:41 PM

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.

ObamaCare will penalize the 5,033 eligible employees who elected not to enroll, unless they have compliant health insurance from another source. For 2015, the penalty is the higher of $325 or 2% of annual household income above about $10,000.

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

For [Kansas City resident Grace] Brewer, buying a plan on her own would mean she would not have enough to pay for housing, she says, so she chose not to be insured this year and will have to pay a penalty in her 2016 tax filing that is likely to be 2 percent of her income. She has no dependents, is healthy, does not use prescriptions and says she has been careful about her health choices, not overusing medical care.

"I am frustrated. I am angry. And I say 'no' to the exchanges," she says.

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:

All Hail Taranto!


But Keith Arnold thinks:

Wait 'till the "scholar" hears Linus' soliloquy.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 13, 2015 6:14 PM

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.

To which one can only reply: tranny-tranny-tranny; Muhammad-Muhammad-Muhammad; de-da-da-da. Free speech--at least speech that is truly free--is always a scandal to someone or other. Chill out and deal with it.

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...

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 4:46 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

So is MRAP. [scroll down to 2008] (Like al Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, Islamism.) "Totalitarian demands for ideological conformity."

Ironically, the "anti-racism" aspect of these laws was likely intended, originally, as a measure to prevent Nazi-like totalitarianism. What was it that fellow said about government "solutions" always generating new problems?

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2015 6:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And who do leading American progressives believe is a threat to be monitored? "The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle" including Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Brigitte Gabriel and Pam Geller.

Hmmm, well, I suppose if they have killed some Muslims. Oh, wait...

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2015 6:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And finally, lest readers take comfort that "French blasphemy laws aren't being advanced in the US" or that "Southern Poverty Law Center's point of view is outside of the mainstream" I give you: Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished.

The Nazis are on the march again today, in the 21st century, but with anti-Nazi slogans and no easily identifiable uniform.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2015 6:57 PM

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]

Bonus content:

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 United States, which considers itself to be the most important nation in the world, was not represented in this march -- arguably one of the most important public demonstrations in Europe in the last generation -- except by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley, who may have been a few rows back. I didnít see her. Even Russia sent Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

I say this as an American -- not as a journalist, not as a representative of CNN -- but as an American: I was ashamed. -- Jake Tapper

But johngalt thinks:

This president famously embarked on a worldwide "apology tour" to, ostensibly, atone for the arrogant belligerence of previous American administrations. The next president must be prepared for a similar demonstration, to apologize for his predecessor's effete detachment.

{Many whom I know would have stated this far less delicately.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2015 1:47 PM

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.

So now, an obituary.

The Broncos' premature playoff exit must be followed by the termination of coach John Fox.

He's out of chances. Fire Fox.

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

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [17]
But johngalt thinks:

I heard of another candidate I'm willing to consider also. I don't know his name but he answers to "Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator."

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 11:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Dan Quinn. That's him.

Quinn is the hottest head coaching candidate, although if the Seahawks advance to the Super Bowl, the Broncos would have to wait another three weeks to hire him.

Figured I should at least learn his name.

Any coincidence that Elway said he told Peyton to "take 4 or 5 weeks to think about things" before they talk again?

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 12:21 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Best way to beat the Seahawks is to put someone who knows their weaknesses and their playbook on the payroll. Unless you're Bill Belichick, in which case you find a way to steal the playbook and bug the practice field and the locker room.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 14, 2015 1:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, and it would be nice to have a defense that cares again. Seattle's defense is "all in" or "committed" as Coach Brian Billick used to say.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 1:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Jack Del Rio to the Raiders.

Posted by: jk at January 14, 2015 5:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I was just on my way over here to post the news about Jack Del Rio. I hope they're paying him a helluva lotta money for that hardship posting.

On the other hand, what does he have to lose? If he leads them to just five wins next year, they'll have a parade for him as a hero, and if they continue to tank, he can blame the prior administration.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 14, 2015 7:24 PM

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.

Meantime, the Administration has spent years harassing for-profit colleges by trying to impose a "gainful employment" rule that ties federal aid to student debt and incomes. The rule could shut down nearly 1,400 for-profit programs educating 840,000 students if it survives another legal challenge, but the Administration won't apply the rule to community colleges or nonprofit schools.

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

Review Corner

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.

What happens if today's predictions and prescriptions are just as wrong? That would mean billions of premature deaths over the next thirty years and beyond. And the loss of a potentially amazing future.

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I set this review aside for later, since it was so long. I still haven't read it all, but let me at least point out one thing:

"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 [of people] out of poverty and privation."

"I want to talk about the clinic in Nambia where [human] babies die because the generator only runs four hours a day."

So really, you want to talk about the primacy of human life without first establishing that human life is your standard of value. That's fine by the way, just don't be surprised when all of your interlocutor's objections take the form of "who died and made humans the boss?"

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2015 4:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I just assumed that you agreed with every word.

Yes, the Saganists will not be moved. We wicked humans are a cancerous blight on a perfect world, blah, blah, blah. But I contend that they are beyond reach.

A moderate environmentalist would find much food for thought in this book; the things which matter to him or her are frequently better in the prosperous society with high energy use. Looking to capture that person at the philosophical margin, I worry about the equally strident example I provided of species extinction. My new invention improves human life but wipes out many species. We do not really need all those for human flourishing per se, but their protection is worthwhile.

Posted by: jk at January 16, 2015 6:24 PM

January 9, 2015

Too Soon? Probably...


But Jk thinks:

NOTE: We should have given Sec. John Kerry that editor position. I thought that JuSuisCharlie was odd but did not trust myself to correct whomever I stole it from. I swept through this morning and fixed it in a few posts.

Posted by: Jk at January 11, 2015 1:36 PM

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."

Hat-tip: Insty

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
But Keith Arnold thinks:

... which will be obstructed by the obstructionist Preznit SCOAMF's veto, should the two houses of Congress have the temerity to pass...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 9, 2015 1:49 PM

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
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Like. Cannot like enough.

Given that this statesman is determined to halt the progression of the Islamification for France, allow me to offer up this alternative hashtag:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 9, 2015 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I loved the quote. Elsewhere in the piece, Monsieur veers into "we have to be careful not to overreact." Perhaps it is that famous Continental nuance to which I am unaccustomed.

But the fulsome stand against "lets give them more stately benefits" was stirring.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2015 4:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, "Leninist." Who else fits that description?

(Ever notice the resemblance to Ward Churchill? Maybe she really is 1/128th native American!)

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2015 4:30 PM
But jk thinks:

High Cheekbones.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2015 4:33 PM

"Our Margaret"

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.

In the way that courage is the first of the virtues because without it none of the others are possible, the First Amendment protects the freedom upon which all others depend. Without free speech no difference of opinion can be resolved, no progress made in the law or in politics, no truth found and held high, no scandal unearthed and stopped.


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.

Jihad Posted by JohnGalt at 7:45 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Shorter Choudary: "Going out like that in public, she was asking for it." Rape victims, cartoonists, all the same. Islam gonna Islam.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 8, 2015 10:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime [besmirching the "honor of the Prophet Muhammad"] under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State."

And that, in one sentence, is proof that an Islamic State is fully immoral; fully incompatible with natural human life.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2015 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:
The 20th-century jihad "bible" and an animating work for many Islamist groups today, is "The Quranic Concept of War," a book written in the mid-1970s by Pakistani Gen. S.K. Malik. He argues that because God, Allah, himself authored every word of the Quran, the rules of war contained in the Quran are of a higher caliber than the rules developed by mere mortals. -- Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Posted by: jk at January 9, 2015 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Islamists to the West: "The honor of our Prophet is so mighty that we must murder anyone who speaks ill of Him."

Lest it be, what, tarnished? Rilly?

In the immortal words of Jethro Tull [the musicians, not the evil agrarian specializer]:

"My God's not the kind who's got to be wound up on Sundays."

Or murdered for on days ending in 'y.'

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2015 6:11 PM

Happy 100 Milton!

Neill Ferguson has been treated well on these pages. [Review Corner 1], [Review Corner 2], [Review Corner 3] garnering an average of 4.917 stars.

Here he is celebrating Milton Friedman's Centenary:

Hat-tip Brother Bryan on Facebook.

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Oy! This is Wrong in so many ways. Even with a suffix of "- in non-freezing climates" do they imagine swaddling our hands and feet in the stuff too, or simply adapting to frigid dishes, flatware, appliances and the like? And I don't even want to think about the shower room or the toilet seat!

Hey, PhysOrg, have you heard that elimination of commerce and industry would result in huge cost savings on transportation fuel and conveyances? Bark up that tree next, eh?

Posted by: johngalt at January 8, 2015 3:13 PM

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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:14 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Misdirect much, Comrade Pope?

The two great seats of statism are convulsing in death throes at the same time - egalitarian socialism and organized religion. Catholicism is "blessed" with a Hydra Pope, who has both of these heads.

What is slaying them? Individualism.

"Can't stop the signal, Mal."

Posted by: johngalt at January 8, 2015 3:22 PM

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).

Germane Humor

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."



But Keith Arnold thinks:

Add this one with Joe Biden for the trifecta. Honestly, I think mine's the most disturbing.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 7, 2015 2:22 PM

Libertario Delenda Est!

[I thought you were quittin, jk...] Well, one more:

Blog Brother Nanobrewer:

My Facebook LP Interlocutor/Antagonist:

You decide.

But johngalt thinks:

Do all of the statist, authoritarian, administrative law statutes not apply to persons registered as members of the LP? If so, sign me up! Elsewise, yer chains are just as tight, brother.

As for your charge of reverence, I submit that such is highly subjective as to each individual. Claiming that every registered R reveres government does seem to strain credulity, does it not?

So, while we advocate for the peaceful advance of liberty, you preen and posture. Worse - if and when we are successful, your lot will probably claim credit. A monosyllabic word that starts with the letter "D" comes to mind.

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2015 2:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

all of the statist, authoritarian, administrative law statutes not apply to persons registered as members of the LP?

If so, not a peep would be heard; in a very similar fashion to how Dem's seem to feel just fine with 6-8% unemployment rate and 1-2% GDP growth is just fine so long as Dem is in office (truthfully, IMO, the ABCNN chorus has a very large in influence in establishing that "feeling").

while we advocate for the peaceful advance of liberty, you preen and posture.

Absolutely, just like liberals who Feel Fine after clearly stating how much they "care" about ... (choose one) Global Warming, school lunches, racism.... JG forgot to mention those on our side doing actual "work."

It's called moral free riding, and is Exhibit B in the case supporting the case on The Myth of the Rational Voter (exh. A was Obama's reelection).

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 8, 2015 3:20 PM
But dagny thinks:

Will someone please post that Libertarian thing to my facebook page, so I can share with a friend? Afraid I'm technically challenged.

Posted by: dagny at January 14, 2015 12:11 PM

Book "threatens to tear the very fabric of civilized life"

And it gets five stars and an Editor's Choice Award!

It seems not everyone enjoyed "Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court" as much as Review Corner. The Washington Monthly's legal pundit Michael O'Donnell says:

"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...

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

It's an uncontrolled literary singularity! (Sorry, couldn't resist).

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 8, 2015 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

For my part, I wondered how a mere Shepherd could be so powerful. And a fictional one at that!

Posted by: johngalt at January 8, 2015 3:04 PM

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.

Hat-tip: Taranto

Agriculture Posted by John Kranz at 7:26 PM | What do you think? [0]

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."

"The position of speaker of the House is a difficult job as evidenced by the fact that so few members seek the position," Gowdy said. "Speaker Boehner was approved overwhelmingly by the conference in November. In fact, not a single other name was placed in nomination."

jk from ThreeSources: Nobody. Else. Ran.

But johngalt thinks:

I see the disapprobation over the Boehner voting as only an annoyance as well. They're mad as hell, remember? It's difficult to bite your tongue in that mindset. But they'll stay in the fight. As a glimmer of hope, I already have one FB like for the following comment:

While some in the liberty camp call for the heads of newly elected Reps who don't vote their conscience, the big-government wing of the GOP is trying to "primary" outspoken small-government Republicans like Mike Lee. Can we stop helping them please, and focus instead on supporting those who DO vote their principles, such that more and more of them will feel empowered to do so?
Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2015 12:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Buck is on http://www.1310kfka.com/ now 1030 MST

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2015 12:36 PM
But jk thinks:

He opened with Nobody. Else. Ran.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2015 12:38 PM
But jk thinks:

He kicked it!

-- No clear alternative. Yolo and Gomert got two or three votes. Webster has a 60% rating from Club for Growth and 63% from Taxpayers Union. To launch a protest vote and lose opportunity to contribute on important committees &c, is a strategic error.

-- Contradicted Brother JG's whip count, said the vote was 11 short.

-- Last November, the entire GOP caucus had elections and nobody expressed any interest in running for Speaker. Boehner won unanimously in private, GOP only ballot.

-- Conservative heroes like Gowdy, Mcculvey, &c. all voted (or professed intent to) for the Speaker. "Get on their Facebook pages and call them 'traitors.' If you want to complain to me -- do it to my face!"

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2015 1:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll not complain to him. I urged him to vote for someone else but I made no ultimatums.

From my "Imagine" link above, 29 needed -25 "defectors" = 4 short. Non? (We are all Frenchmen today.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2015 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Oui! #JeSuisCharlie

Examiner: "Boehner won on the first ballot with 216 votes out of 408." Sounds like 216 - 11 would have worked.

Rep. Buck impressed me in the interview.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2015 3:25 PM

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.

Wake up people. The GOP isn't interested in limited government. The few exceptions are notable because they are so few.

Quit collaborating with your own oppression. A vote for Boehner (and a vote for someone who voted for Boehner) is a vote for your own oppression via more big government.

Change starts with you.

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.

I also understand that you are old and time is short and you want change RIGHT BLEEPING NOW. You will not get what you want. Turning either party toward liberty is going to take a long time. Keeping it oriented toward liberty will take constant vigilance.

Instead of whining and threatening to leave the party, and therefore politics (this is known as quitting where I come from) keep fighting, teach the youngsters how politics works, stop supporting candidates you know aren't limited government.

In other words, SUCK IT UP CUPCAKE!

Dear people:

Nobody else ran.

Those who mattered did not run; those who ran did not matter.

The second vote getter was of course Rep. Pelosi. The distant third was Rep, Daniel Webster of Florida. The name connotes statesmanship, but he announced one hour before voting. That's the kind of forward thinking leadershio the GOP needs! "Well, gee, I guess I'll be Speaker. Do you still get a really big gavel? That's be cool..."

Sec. General Colin Powell got a vote as did Sen. Rand Paul. All my friends are furious that my new Representative, Ken Buck, voted for the Speaker (with 215 of his new friends). Yet, Nobody. Else, Ran.


But Steve D thinks:

'Yet, Nobody. Else, Ran.'
I thought Pelsoi ran?

Posted by: Steve D at January 6, 2015 4:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, excellent point. And I had some fear that enough "brave, bold & principled" Republicans would somehow hand the really big gavel back to her.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2015 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet, the Speaker came within the votes of the Colorado delegation from being rejected. Had that happened, more would have been considered. And yes, it would be messy. Possibly bloody. For avoiding that it seems we should be thankful. At the same time, Boehner's vote of "confidence" keeps getting weaker. Now that's what I call "Progress."

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2015 12:09 PM

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

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:
"The futuristic designed car with a sweeping curved form factor still has a steering wheel, unlike the Google driverless vehicle..."

I'll take two!

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2015 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Excellent. You can drive. I'll be in the back swilling martinis with film stars.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2015 5:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What will this do to DUI prosecutions? "Yes, I was drinking, but the car was driving!"

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2015 6:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Hmm. As long as there is a wheel in it, MADD Mothers (Do NOT get me started) will want a 0.0000000875% BAC enforced.

The Google ride you distain however...

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2015 6:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hadda ask, didn't I? ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2015 7:22 PM

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?

Allison, John A. (2014-10-31). 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 (Kindle Locations 945-947). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.

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.

This may take him far, or it may not. If it doesn't, thereís a good chance Fox News or some other network will need a host for weekend slot in 2017.

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.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 9:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

January 5, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

I, too, wish to encourage the GOP to move to liberty-friendly positions. And I, too, would like to see it happen quickly. But I feel the need to balance between that desire and exigencies. I have rightly been accused of being too cautious and going too slowly but these of whom I speak make no allowance to political exigency.

I am reading John Allison's "The Leadership Cure" where the Cato CEO and BB&T Stud mixes business acumen and Objectivist principles -- it's quite good. I'm less fully invested in Rand than a lot of people I know, I suspect far less than you. But Allisonís book nicely mimics the AS III movie that you cannot ignore reality. Rand-love 'em, my GOP-directin' friends ignore reality worse than stoner wind-power lobbyists at an Earth Day parade. "Fight! Fight! Fight!" can be a sign of courage, but the bravest of Generals know when to consolidate and when to seek reinforcements.

I'm concerned that the leadership seems too cautious, but I cannot abet those who would throw away hard-won electoral gains on a foolish demonstration of bravado. I'd love some cool-headed discussion, and am amenable to persuasion. But the Intertubes are abuzz with a-strategic and ill-founded calls for action which are not likely in liberty's interest.

All the best,

But johngalt thinks:

May I suggest, if I haven't already, the following strategy for "fighting:" http://www.thepartyofchoice.com/articles1/message-to-the-gop-go-slow-by-andy-peth

As for leadership, we can and should do better than Boehner. Louis Gohmert would be just fine with me.

And yes, you and everyone within the range of these written words has permission to share the linked article, as widely as possible - and QUICK.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 7:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I endorse the "go slow" Andy Peth article. It's a tactical and tonal match for my path forward, though I'd only do the 30 hour work week and medical device tax of ObamaCare. Then I would hope for King v Burwell to lay waste to the rest while making mischief in other areas.

But I think the leadership fight completely contravenes the article. Go slow -- but first, rip out the rightful heir to the majority he crated and put in some madman, diaconal, Sunday School teacher and tea-party favorite to lead the party! That sounds cautious. (Of course I don't think that, but tell me it's not the lead ppg if he gets within 100 votes.)

My larger concern -- and you addressed it in the greatest blog comment of 2015 [Third comment]-- is the spittle flecked demand for blood from the anti-establishment side. To support Boehner on my Facebook feed would be like painting your house in Mohammed cartoons in Copenhagen. If our newly-minted Rep, Ken Buck (HOSS and flat shoe wearer - CO4) votes for Boehner, I am assured it's "A BETRAYAL!" and "Putting his ambition over principle!"

I hate to say it is not important. But in choosing a hill for the 114th to die on, let us say I hoped it would not be the first berm, right outside camp.

And, while I have not "whipped this," it is still a longshot as in "not. gonna. happen." Lacking the numbers to win, they will split the party and drive the liberty guys farther away from power.

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2015 7:40 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... But in choosing a hill for the 114th to die on..."

I find it telling that after cave-in after cave-in, the first hill that Boehner finds worth fighting for is his own speakership.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 5, 2015 10:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Again, Keith, I am living life in Bizarro World -- I just don't see anything you are seeing.

So, nine members of the caucus suggest they are not voting for him and he is supposed to resign to prevent a fight? It's all his fault?

Rep. Tom Massie was on The Independents and made a great case that CRomnibus was a failure because the procedure of dumping 1600 page bills for an immediate vote is a relic of broken procedures. I can dig that, that is one of the better arguments I have heard.

On the same show Kennedy said "Who are going to vote for? Rep. Louie Gomert? He's a Crazy Person!" Now, she's not a fan of the GOP but it does play back into my concern. We're going to vote "None of the Above" that's never a great strategy.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2015 12:10 AM

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.

The I-70 project and the ongoing expansion of U.S. 36 between Boulder and Denver are being built to accommodate alternative forms of transit, including bus and carpools and even a bike lane on U.S. 36.

"We want to offer people choices on how they commute," said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford. "People will be able to take buses or carpool if they choose."

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."

But johngalt thinks:

They'll soon take to calling it an "all of the above" transportation policy. But of course, private automobiles will not be "listed above."

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 2:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Typo correction: CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group) rather than COPrig. -Ed.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 5, 2015 6:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Corrected -- thnaks!

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2015 6:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No no... they really are prigs.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 7:03 PM

January 4, 2015

Review Corner

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:32 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Heh, thanks. I fear if I posted it, it would undermine the nano-effects of libertario delenda est. (Of course, somebody else could put it on my wall...)

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2015 1:22 PM

January 3, 2015

jk's Niche

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.

The danger is when these ideas get tied up with other, more politically muscular ideologies. Creationism often does, of courseóthatís when we should worry. But as vaccine skeptics start to prompt public health crises, and GMO opponents block projects that could save lives in the developing world, itís fair to ask how much we can disentangle Whole Foodsí pseudoscientific wares from very real, very worrying antiscientific outbursts.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

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%)

Ethics/moral decline (7%)

Focus overseas/foreign aid (7%)

Education (6%)

Lack of money (5%)

Poverty/homelessness (5%)

Terrorism (4%)

Gap between rich/poor (4%)

National security (3%)

War (3%)

Crime/violence (3%)

Judicial system (3%)

Wage issues (2%)

Lack of respect for each other (2%)

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:


Economy in general




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?"

Ginned up.

Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 5:14 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Jk thinks:

Interesting. But one's "second most important" problem can still be a concern, nicht wahr? Just because the trapezoid behind the goalie is my second most important problem, I still care.

And I'll bet the price of 100' of fence that almost all the 17% choosing immigration are Republicans.

Posted by: Jk at January 2, 2015 8:52 PM
But dagny thinks:

Something else seems a little off here. Seems like the items at the top are more specific and the ones below are more general. For example, "economy in general," could be considered to include the deficit/debt, lack of money, poverty, gap between rich and poor, and wage issues.

If you put Terrorism, national security, and war together you get over 10%.

Very misleading.

Posted by: dagny at January 5, 2015 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You people can be led to water... (heh)

The overarching point of this poll, as I have interpreted it for you dear readers, is to observe which issues are "natural" concerns of Americans and which are news-cycle driven "ginned up" concerns. Even if the 17% of Americans who cited Immigration as their "most important problem" are all Republicans, at some point in the year there was something even more important for most of them. This makes the Immigration issue an "unnatural" concern for most people.

At the same time, a natural concern of half of Americans, again possibly all of whom are Republicans, is "government." And the lowest level of concern for those three "government" issues in any given month still totals to 36%.

And only one of the three components of my "government" category is subject to partisan rancor. Economy and Unemployment are pragmatic concerns.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 5:08 PM

Quote of the Day

Missed this:

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Did he actually tell Twitter it was a "dummy" account, cuz that could explain it... if they knew that.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

What. What R U saying?

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2015 1:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, umm, you call yourself some kind of "libertarian." Isn't it self evident?

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 4:49 PM

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.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes

Maybe we've been blogging together too long, bro.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 12:31 PM
But jk thinks:

You're just quicker. And five points for spotting the Presidential hair.

I have seen him only as an "establishment obstacle" to overcome; today's post reflects my first time trying on his candidacy -- and the grim realization that he will likely be the only candidate with whom I'll agree on immigration.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2015 12:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One unfortunate effect of the greater attention to politics being paid by conservatives/Republicans is that they conflate individual liberty and apathy. They are quick to attack voices for more individual freedom via less government force as "RINOs." They believe their mistake in the past has been to be too accommodating and not vocal enough, so they are less likely to think critically before speaking. When the government force in question is the enforcement of current law, they support more government force, regardless whether the law infringes on folks' liberties.

The immigration debate is the example of the decade. There are valid concerns surrounding "Amnesty" (TM) but "because it's the law" is not a valid argument for a dogged defense of the status quo.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 2:12 PM
But Terri thinks:

If he wins the primary, I will vote Bush over Clinton, Bush over Warren, Bush over Biden.....Bush over any Democrat.

Posted by: Terri at January 3, 2015 10:20 AM

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,
- To purchase an electric car,
- To wear clothing woven from hemp fiber,
- To shower weekly instead of daily,
- To install solar panels on my home, battery storage in the basement, and break my unhealthy connection to the filthy industrial power grid,
- To stop resisting humanitarian efforts to improve the lives of everyone on earth at the expense of American prosperity,
- To say, "Yeah man" more often.

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Heh. This is getting slightly better play on Facebook.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

A popular gag at my place of employment is to get on somebody else's (unlocked) computer and send group emails swearing gay love or antithetical opinions in the person's name. I got a queasy "he's been hacked by the NorKs" feeling before I hot the punchline.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2015 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps you were expecting an "unfriend" announcement as well? LOL

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 4:11 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)