February 27, 2015

Contribution envy

Now we find out the truth to why representative Godzilla (D-tool) has targeted the barely-detectable donations that Dr's Soon and Pielke might have obtained: they weren't properly weighted (a NASA trademark) or processed... er, whatever....

Dr. James Hansen’s financial scandal, now over a million dollars.

This is actually against the law; 18 U.S.C. 209. and 5 CFR 6901.103(d) if anyone's keeping track, which I imagine the nefarious representative of shadowy interests and dubious causes isn't.

I'd always considered Dr. Hansen a piece of Mannly slime, and now we are getting the proof. I imagine he'll get a bit more than a suspension:

failures to report often elegant air and hotel/resort accommodations received on his SF278 as required by law (the amount of direct cash income received from the party providing him travel, as well, is in parentheses):

Blue Planet Prize ($500,000), travel for Hansen and his wife to Tokyo, Japan, 2010

Dan David Prize ($500,000), travel to Paris, 2007

Sophie Prize ($100,000), Oslo Norway, travel for Hansen and his wife, 2010


Some are noting the problems with the witch hunt against Dr. Pielke, notably the AMS.

Go Science!

But nanobrewer thinks:

And representative Grijalva made the mistake of including in his Magnificent 7 list the man who could earn PowerLine's Mark Steyn award (if there were one) for pugnaciousness: Steven Hayward, PhD (source of one of my favorite features on the web "This week in Pictures")

Not sure how/when/where but Dr. Hayward fully intends on making hay from this accusation, unlike Dr. Pielke who has decided quietly to cease to study climate change. Hopefully, that's the extent of his muzzling.... Dr. Pielks was in the local news recently: covered mostly fairly by the Daily Camera (the printed version contained the classic sub rosa accusatory sub-headline: "Professor denies...") and quite fairly by local news, as noted on Pielke's own blog.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 2, 2015 12:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Very fair treatment by The Camera. End times...

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2015 2:35 PM

All Hail Jonah!

This is why the "Jobs for Jihadists" thing has been so dismaying. It works on the assumption that the Islamic State doesn't really believe what it believes -- it's just venting its frustrations with a bad job market, political corruption, and the cancellation of Firefly. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

I wrote the following comment on a FB post, then didn't post it. I thought it should get first public airing here on our humble blog:

It has been said that Iran is the epicenter of the anti-life Islamist philosophy, but it could never have grown and advanced as far or as fast as it has without the philosophical aid and comfort of multiculturalism, embodied in the philosophy of moral relativism. The epicenter of the anti-life relativistic philosophies is - western colleges and universities.


The accelerating growth of Islamism that we see today represents western academia's chickens coming home to roost.

And they probably wouldn't wait until last to murder those academics, if given a chance.

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2015 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Not a scholar nor a big Iran cheerleader. Looking at the other choices, I question their sitting at the epicenter.

This is not to contradict or impede your making a statement about multiculturalism and academic fellow travelers. The administration is making hard choices about choosing sides between ISIS/ISIL and Iran (Kissinger was of course right on this -- shame they can't both lose).

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2015 11:37 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Gots to love Jonah...

The epicenter of the anti-life relativistic philosophies is - western colleges and universities.

Camille Paglia - a joyous and refreshing voice from the left with whom TS'ers would mostly agree, IMO - refers to this as
Post Structuralism

a system of literary and social analysis that flared up and vanished in France in the 1960s but that became anachronistically entrenched in British and American academe from the 1970s on. Based on the outmoded linguistics of .. Saussure ... Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault, it absurdly asserts that we experience or process reality only through language and that, because language is inherently unstable, nothing can be known. By undermining meaning, history and personal will, post-structuralism has done incalculable damage to education and contemporary thought.

She should know this sort of lingo; it's one of the reasons she only teaches the arts, b/c she is surrounded by "Practitioners." Aka, people who can still actually do something.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 2, 2015 1:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think I was familiar with the term 'Post Structuralism' but it describes the same thing I am talking about here: In Paglia's words, "nothing can be known." And I will add, "So why bother even to try?"

Your three dots imply in my mind that you associate the subsequent quote to Jonah. If so, I am flattered. Perhaps it was my use of a block quote for my own original writing that misled you. Probably a 3src Stylebook violation there.

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2015 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for Islamic State and the Islamic Republic both losing - they can, and they must, for the sake of humanity.

Posted by: johngalt at March 4, 2015 2:26 PM

No Template Record for "Ebola"

I linked to Jeffrey Singer's WSJ Editorial on electronic records, highlighting stupidity and Public Choice theory.

Here's an intersting interview with Dr. Singer:

~14:00 Discusses the escape from concierge medicine and the coming two-tiered health care system.

But jk thinks:

Makes me want to eat the Bisque at Shucks in Lafayette, LA.

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2015 1:18 PM

Quote of the Day

This is especially true in disputes between the political branches; the judiciary thus provides the ultimate safeguard of the separation of powers. Or, as Justice Robert Jackson put it in the famous Youngstown case of 1952 that rebuked President Truman's unilateral seizure of steel mills: "With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations. Such institutions may be destined to pass away. But it is the duty of the Court to be last, not first, to give them up." -- Ilya Somin
Non-paywall link.

Move that State Line

I think we can safely say that Colorado's 51st State, secessionist movement has fizzled. A better metaphor is drowned -- 100 year floods both captured the media's attention and forced moderates to cling to existing security institutions.

Well, it was a good time and it highlighted the urban-rural divide in State politics. I had warm thoughts as I read a WSJ editorial reporting that 15 New York towns want to trade the Empire State for neighboring, fracking-friendly Pennsylvania.

That part of Pennsylvania is booming. Upstate New York, as anyone who drives through it can attest, is an economic bummer.

James Finch, town supervisor in Conklin, New York, described to a local TV station the difference in life on either side of the state line. "Everybody over the border has new cars, new four-wheelers, new snowmobiles," he said. "They have new roofs, new siding." Life in New York's Southern Tier towns is "desolate."

Governor Cuomo has created an American version of the Cold War's East Berlin--with economic life booming on one side of the divide, while an anti-economic ideology stifles it on the other.


We might have to update the photo:

north_south_korea_lights.gif


February 26, 2015

Wins the Internet

I am negotiating with the genius who created this to see if he prefers attribution or privacy. I'll let you know (I don't know him). But, in the meantime, bwaaahahahhahahaha!

fcc_smartphone.jpg

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:03 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

A pretty good summary of today's event can be found in this KOA summary of a Daily Caller article, including a link to the details of the plan. (I guess we plebes can see it, now that they've approved it.) Here's the silver lining:

Service providers including Verizon and AT&T have already vowed to challenged the FCC’s aggressive regulations in court. The agency lost a federal court battle with service providers last year precisely for regulating ISPs similarly to public utilities under the Clinton-era act.
Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 6:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Nick Gillespie has an informative read on it as well -- opening with the same good news:

There will now be a long process of what exactly any of this means, followed by inevitable court battles (the FCC is 0 for 2 in recent attempts to expand its authority over the Internet and is hoping this third time will be the charm)

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2015 6:51 PM

And Now for an Opposing Viewpoint

Wow:

If racial internment isn't enough to engender skepticism of government, I pretty much give up.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Don't get your racial internment remark. Are you reflecting on decades past, or did I miss something?

It's mighty swell of Captain Sulu to be such a champion of giving away other people's property at no charge. Let's try this:

"Big television and movie companies should not be allowed to restrict access to DVDs of old Star Trek episodes for those who can't afford to pay for them."

Or any other copyrighted material that someone, somewhere, created for profit. Or medical treatment. Or whatever it is that YOU make - for profit. Where is the grocery store that lets me trade public service credits for my family groceries?

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 4:23 PM
But jk thinks:

It's not one of my abstruse jokes this time -- Takei was actually in two Japanese internment camps as a child and now his "legacy project" is the Musical "Allegiance."

"My life mission has been to raise the awareness of the internment of innocent American citizens, who happened to be of Japanese ancestry, during the Second World War," said Takei, chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

If that doesn't make you a libertarian, I quit!

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2015 5:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If that didn't make Takei a libertarian, nothing will. Is that about the size of it?

But you see, what happened then, and what happened in other countries in the past, that could never happen again, here, in our lifetimes. Because... why, exactly?

You say, "Come on, Williams, there will never be the kind of socialist oppression seen elsewhere here!" You might be right because Americans have become very compliant with unconstitutional and immoral congressional edicts. But what do you think would happen if some Americans began to rise up and heed Thomas Jefferson's admonition "Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." and decided to disobey unconstitutional congressional edicts?

Or presidential edicts.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 6:19 PM

Will there be an Internet tomorrow?

Or will the 'net be neutered?

The American people deserve--and have requested--an open and transparent FCC process. Recent polls show that 73 percent of Americans want greater disclosure of the details of the FCC's proposal to regulate the Internet, and nearly eight in ten favor public disclosure of the exact wording and details of the proposal before the FCC votes on it. Indeed, Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly just today called for exactly this--the public release of the 332-page order and a temporary delay of the vote. Nonetheless, citing past Commission practice, you refused to publicly release the text of the 332-page draft order. In a past rulemaking of similar magnitude, however, the Chairman did publicly release the rule prior to a vote. This was done in response to congressional requests, including calls from then-Senator Barack Obama . -- House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (HOSS - UT)

But johngalt thinks:

"We have to enact the incomprehensible overbearing nanny state restriction on human freedom before we read what's in it."

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 4:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Investors

This is part of a long-term project by America's self-described "progressive" movement to erode the Constitution and give greater power to left-leaning government elites and bureaucrats.

Americans should be alarmed and angry at this assault on their basic rights. Only when they're gone will they be missed.

And read at the link how, not just the Obama administration, but the U.N., is getting in on the act of "government action to restrict."

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 4:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It is not, and never was, net "neutrality." It's net egalitarianism, or the short form, Net Equality.

At least, that is my prediction. We'll see how close I am once the reviews of what it actually says start coming out. If they ever make it public. (My prior suggestion of a link to the content was oversold and underverified.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 6:41 PM

February 25, 2015

Votes for Walker

I'm not issuing my endorsement anytime soon, and neither is Noah Millman over at TAC, but he puts up a solid argument in the unfortunately titled "I Killed Latin: You?"

Scott Walker picked a high-profile battle over a core issue that both the establishment and more insurgent types care about -- the status and position of public sector unions. His opponents rose to the challenge, and threw everything they had into the battle to defeat him -- to the point of trying to get him recalled before the next scheduled election. The showdown went down in a purple-to-blue state. And Walker won, unequivocally.

This should warm some hearts here:

Jindal and Perry can point to very conservative things they did as governors -- but Louisiana and Texas are very conservative states. Could they do the same in Washington? Ted Cruz can tout his purism -- but he's accomplished literally less than nothing, with his antics having demonstrably backfired in multiple instances.

Certainly that Walker is taking Flak means he's over the target.

2016 Posted by nanobrewer at 11:47 PM | What do you think? [6]
But jk thinks:

At some point, you have to appreciate people for the enemies they make. I'd say I am still considering Gov. Walker; I've heard some things that concern me, but his enemies list is truly top notch!

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2015 10:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm ready to endorse Walker. I'm ready to vote for Walker. In the primary and the general. I don't even care which way he comes down on immigramnesty (because I think it's a complex issue that will be worked out by the body politic as a whole, provided the current POTUS can be restrained from granting citizenship and back tax return refunds to everyone with a "dry foot" on the North American continent before the next POTUS is even sworn in.)

I hope that someone will start an(other) "immigramnesty" conversation here soon because I see a lot of confusion about what "amnesty" means: legally remain here and work, pay taxes, and be subject to local laws, OR have access to all of the rights and benefits of American citizens, i.e. assistance of every sort and, the VOTE. Tancredo says we can't have the first without, eventually, the latter. Okay, but when we question candidates about this issue we had best be clear about the distinction.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 11:50 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I didn't used to big as big on Walker as I've become (and I point to this as evidence of my open-mindedness). He may not be a doctrinaire conservative - like Br'er JK, there are some sticky points - but there are two things right now that have moved him up in my eyes:

(1) He's proven that it's possible to successfully sell small-government policy in a blue state. All of us here believe that, as long as reason governs and not feel-goodism, this is possible, but Walker has successfully done it. As Nano quotes, Jindal and Perry have sold conservatism to a customer base that's already buying it; Walker is persuading customers who are shopping at the competition. If coffee is for closers, Walker right now would be one of the few guys entitled to a cup. ("Always Be Closing.")

(2) Walker is the one candidate who, like Reagan before him, has been able to deny a beachhead to a hostile press. He's recently given then a beatdown on two attempts at a "gotcha" moment, putting them on notice that he isn't afraid of them and won't be manipulated by them, and he's done it without offending the viewing public. That's an accomplishment. It tells me he's not likely to fall victim in the debate phase of the campaign to a partisan moderator -- as we've seen before on more than one occasion.

A friend of mine has made a persuasive case for a Walker/Cruz ticket, assuming Mr. Cruz would be willing to take the #2 position. Cruz would become the frontrunner to succeed Walker, and he'd be free to be the attack dog in a Walker administration, a role he'd fit into neatly. Besides, as the President of the Senate, Cruz was be in a position to give McConnell heartburn, and I'd pay good money to see that.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 26, 2015 1:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Sounds like we've a frontrunner. (I'd much prefer Sen. Rand Paul as the VP.)

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2015 1:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I thought I was the one getting ahead of myself! KA cites two of my reasons for supporting Walker, so I'm on board that far, but I don't see any current POTUS contenders ever signing on as the number two to any of the others. Each sees himself as presidential material. How can he or she play second fiddle? And "the frontrunner to succeed Walker...?" If I'm an optimist you're a, what, paranoid kook hayseed? (Or are you going to deny that you ordered more ammo today?)

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 4:00 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Were I dependent on AR-15 ammo, then yes, I'd have already been shopping. 7.62x54r has a slightly different supply chain.

"Paranoid kook hayseed"? This, from a guy who posts on Facebook about arming up to protect the virtue of his daughters? I guess I can count myself in good company.

Finally, do note that the reference to "frontrunner to succeed Walker" wasn't my position, but that of "a friend of mine" who made the case for the Walker/Cruz pairing. I will admit the idea is intriguing, but it's still only February of 2015; a lot can happen in the months ahead of us. I've got sort of a preference tree right now, with Walker, Cruz, and Perry at the top, and Jindal in the next tier along with some others (I'm also hearing some fans of a Walker/Haley ticket, by the way) -- and of course, I trust I don't have to repeat any of the four names that would see me sitting the election out. They'll be selling lift tickets in Hell before I vote for some of these guys...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 26, 2015 4:45 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

"When 'witch hunts' are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics," Pielke wrote. "The result is a big loss for both science and politics."

University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke, on the news that Arizona U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Hypocrisy) has targeted him for congressional investigation into corporate funding of global warming research.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D- Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent requests to seven universities asking for detailed records on the funding sources for affiliated researchers who have opposed the scientific consensus on man-made global warming. Grijalva cited concerns over possible conflicts of interest involving scientists who have sought to influence the public debate on climate.

But these researchers, Pielke at least, are producing and citing peer reviewed papers that are published in the respected scientific journals. Does Rep. Grijalva suggest that the source of the funding might taint that established, objective process? If so he should also send a memo to his boss in the White House asking for a complete accounting of all of the federal money that has been spent on investigating climate. After all, nobody has a greater conflict of interest regarding climate taxes, regulations, mandates, etcetera, etcetera than does the federal government.


All Hail Paglia!

We really don't have a theology category? I'mma gonna start one.

It's not theology qua theology, but blog friend sugarchuck shared this jewel of an interview with Camille Paglia: "The Catholic Pagan: 10 Questions for Camille Paglia."

You'll want to read the whole thing, but here's a taste:

Identifying yourself as a "dissident feminist," you often seem more at home with classical Greek and Roman paganism than with postmodern academia. How has this reality affected your public and professional relationships?

I feel lucky to have taught primarily at art schools, where the faculty are active practitioners of the arts and crafts. I have very little contact with American academics, who are pitifully trapped in a sterile career system that has become paralyzed by political correctness. University faculties nationwide have lost power to an ever-expanding bureaucracy of administrators, whose primary concern is the institution's contractual relationship with tuition-paying parents. You can cut the demoralized faculty atmosphere with a knife when you step foot on any elite campus. With a few stellar exceptions, the only substantive discourse that I ever have these days is with academics, intellectuals, and journalists abroad.


She's not known for pulling punches and this is a superb overview. Now that we've lost Christopher Hitchens, Paglia is one of that last great iconoclasts.

Theology Posted by John Kranz at 6:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Government Which was Wrong for 50 Years on Diet Might Not Be Completely Correct on E-Cigs

Bad Government advice? Harmful Unintended Consequences? I'll wait for y'all to put on your shocked faces.

Review Corner this Sunday will address Randy T. Simmons's "Beyond Politics." [Spoiler alert -- it will do pretty well...] Simmons provides a trenchant economic case for the superiority of market solutions to government, even into some areas generally considered "public goods." One of Brother Bryan's many reading groups is slated to read and discuss for Public Choice theory in general. I already posted this Simpson meme to his timeline with "Randy T. Simmons, Call your Office!"

simpsons_public_choice.jpg

I know it is not news to ThreeSourcers, but spending a few hours with Simmons makes you hyper aware of all the things government does badly that it should not do at all. Four out of five stories I read could be put on Bryan's timeline with the same tag.

To choose just one: Michael B. Siegel is an anti-smoking advocate. A big-time anti-smoker. He takes to the WSJ Ed Page today to suggest that attacks on E-cigs and vapers are misguided.

But as I talked to many e-cigarette users, known as “vapers,” conducted research (Journal of Public Health Policy, 2011) and reviewed a growing body of scientific evidence, I became convinced that e-cigarettes have dramatic potential for reducing disease and death caused by smoking.

Yet many in the antismoking movement--in which I have been involved for decades--are conducting a misleading campaign against these products. And this campaign may be doing harm to public health.


Now, even Greeley Colorado -- the County seat for liberty-lovin' Weld -- a ban was passed, shutting down an existing business. (John Caldara did a great show but a link escapes me at present [see update]).

In short, people will not be allowed to choose whether this alternative is better for them -- government is. What could possible go wrong?

UPDATE: Jon Caldara and Chris Guaman, owner of Smokeless CG Vapors

But johngalt thinks:

But electing the correct people to control those things is easy - pick the one that looks the best on television (or the intertubes.)

We can't eat what looks best on television; that causes global warming (and cancer.)

We can't drink what looks best on television; that raises the national health care cost (and causes cancer.)

We can't smoke what looks best on television; there's no smoking on television. Why? It causes cancer.

We can't marry who looks good on television; we'd be jailed as stalkers.

We can't choose a job or a salary that looks good on television; it takes talent to be a professional athlete. (And it may not cause cancer but it does cause brain damage.)

So yeah, "we" aren't smart enough. "We" need well-meaning overlords - even if they're not efficacious.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2015 3:12 PM

February 24, 2015

Quote of the Day

(So did Balz or Costa tell Walker "Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith"? When either one said that, were they thinking of Obama's 2008 declaration to Rick Warren at Saddleback Church that "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix"? Because all that seemingly devout profession of faith was, we now know, BS . . . told to a pastor . . . in a church. So the notion that some of Obama's public comments about his faith might really be vote-chasing showmanship and spin really isn't the most unthinkable conclusion, fellas.) -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
But AndyN thinks:

There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they’re going to hell....

I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.

I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.

That’s just not part of my religious makeup.
State Senator Barack Obama, March 2004

I'm neither a Biblical scholar nor a theologian of any type, but my understanding of Christianity is that acceptance of Christ as the path to salvation isn't just something that's believed in some quarters, it's actually the central tenet of the faith. It seems that once Obama conceded that the one thing that makes Christians Christians wasn't part of his religious makeup, it was safe to assume his claims of being a Christian were about as credible as most other things he's said when trying to convince people to vote for him.

Posted by: AndyN at February 24, 2015 6:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, don't expect me to sit idly while you troglodytes trash the President's spirituality! I'm certainly not having Dana Milbank write a hateful column about me.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2015 6:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We'd better make that five-fifths AndyN, since the President's Christian pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, said that God would "damn America." In church.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2015 6:34 PM
But Terri thinks:

I'm with (cough, cough, hack) Obama here.

Grace alone gets you that salvation. It's free.
Christians choose the acceptance of Christ as the way for them.

Posted by: Terri at February 26, 2015 11:06 AM

Health Care Freedom

Piling on a comment from Brother johngalt, I want to share a great resource: The Surgery Center of Oklahoma Facebook Page. (Here's their web page for non-Facebookers.)

Dr. Keith Smith puts his prices on the website and his patients are generally paying cash. Using this newfangled free-market thingy that I don't entirely understand, SCO is charging half to a third of neighboring non-profit hospitals for the same procedures. One guy traveled from New Hampshire and rented a house for six months -- and still came out way ahead.

He tells a compelling story of free market medicine through short video blogs.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 11:59 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome. It's amazing what can be done if you don't have an ER and therefore, don't have to treat indigent walk-ins.

So besides that, how do they do it? From their "pricing disclaimer" page:

The prices listed are not negotiable and are available only to those who pay the entire amount in advance. We are able to offer these prices due to the lack of expense in processing the claims and the absence of risk for non-payment.

And I sure doubt they voluntarily comply with O-care's Electronic Medical Record requirement. (Can't find the 3src blog post on this. It doesn't seem to be in the Health Care category.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2015 6:27 PM
But jk thinks:

FA Hayek, Call your Office!

The enforcement mechanism is Medicare reimbursement. Being a cash enterprise, he may tell them -- colorfully if wished -- what they may do with their ten-digit codes.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2015 6:37 PM

I Felt a Great Disturbance in The Smug...

That is my best line of the year, and I intend to beat it into the ground a bit. When I read that the smarterest man in the world, Jon Stewart, was stepping down from the Daily Show, I commented "I felt a great disturbance in The Smug -- as if millions cried out and were suddenly silenced." I used it a couple times on Facebook.

In a Reason article, Ira Stoll invokes The Smug if not by name. The New Yorker just assumes, in articles on grammar and technology, that all readers share their lefty politics.

And who is the "us" in the New Yorker's "many of us suspected"? The New Yorker editor's colleagues at the magazine? The readers of the article? The community of intelligent people who might subscribe to the New Yorker? Reagan, by defeating the evil Soviet Communist empire and igniting economic growth in America, did more for the world, more for freedom and prosperity, than any of them ever did.

A commenter says "right-wingers do the exact same thing. It's a two-way street. Pretending one is guilty of it and not the other is absolute lunacy." But I would push back. Yes, Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly might make assumptions about the reader/viewer, but The New Yorker -- while never mistaken for The Weekly Standard -- is assumed to be "fair" in articles about technology and commas.

But nanobrewer thinks:
as if millions cried out and were suddenly silenced

Don't you mean: as if millions of smuggers - not nearly as bright as they assume - were suddenly forced to speak up for themselves, and realized they had nothing to add.

They're probably terrified their prophet will do something rash, like suddenly appear to support the profit motive, or worse, appear as Shattner did on SNL: "Get a life!"

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 24, 2015 4:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome line. I love it! Repeat it often.

This will forever and always be my definition of "The Smug."

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2015 12:24 PM

February 23, 2015

PPACAo2010HSOTD

We may need an All Hail [Sheldon] Richman if this keeps up, He's on Reason.com taking on a sportswriter who blithely intones that "health insurance for all is a noble idea." Richman advises Mike Trupica that "Health insurance does not grow wild and abundant in nature or fall from the sky like manna." And drops a great riff (yer gonna havta click...) from Murray Rothbard on those who would dictate the ends and leave it to other to dictate the means.

And and and (which was the rejected band name in Roddy Doyle's "The Commitments") he hits a favorite trope of mine: whatever happened to the idea of real insurance?

Aside from the fact that whatever the government gives it must first take from someone else, there is also the manner in which the government gives it. Thanks to government policy, the word insurance has been fatally corrupted in the health care industry. Insurance arose as a way for groups of individuals to protect themselves against insolvency by pooling their risk of unlikely but highly costly happenings. Today, private and government health insurance is merely a scheme to have others--the taxpayers or other policyholders--pay one's bills not only for rare but catastrophic events, but also for predictable and likely, that is, uninsurable, events--and even for goods and services used in freely chosen activities.

Great piece.

But jk thinks:

Phil Gramm (HOSS! TX) calls it "The Freedom Option" in his excellent guest WSJ Ed. Leave ObamaCare and the State exchanges in place, but just allow people to purchase whatever plan they want.

The freedom option would fulfill the commitment the president made over and over again about ObamaCare: If you like your health insurance you can keep it. If Republicans crafted a simple bill that guarantees the right of individuals and businesses to opt out of ObamaCare, buy the health insurance they choose from any willing seller (with risk pools completely separate from ObamaCare), millions of Americans would rejoice and exercise this freedom. Such a proposal would be easy for Republicans to articulate and defend. And it would be very difficult for Democrats to attack.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2015 11:54 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Has anybody tried MediShare? I'll be researching it this week.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 24, 2015 4:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is the best quote I've seen:

"The manner of Obamacare's passage told the story--a party-line vote, reeking of special-interest side deals, on an unpopular, indigestible, multi-thousand-page love letter to bureaucracy, crudely packaged as a reconciliation bill to avoid filibuster, and falsely sold, in read-my-lips promises that would come back to haunt Obama, as the most conservative possible approach to health-care reform. This was liberalism à outrance--its last desperate surge to win at any cost what it could no longer even imagine winning honestly and on the merits." -- Charles Kesler

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2015 12:42 AM
But jk thinks:

Amen, brother nb. But the history will not be written by Mr. Kesler.

I am pretty down this week by the naked attacks on Governor Walker and Wei-Hock Soon. Folks always say "well, Reagan faced a hostile media," but I don't think it was as mendacious. It's an old complaint, but I am particularly struck by the brazenness.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2015 10:50 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

As long as people can still vote with their feet (and pocketbooks), then history will be written by deeds, not DC dweebs.

Yes, the ACA is trying to stop our feet, but it hasn't happened yet (I'm having an UP week) and we can keep it from happening, IMO, by keeping up the pressure and even - gasp - calling our one good Senator and any Congressman who will listen.

I'll quietly state it here that I (have and will) refuse to comply with ACA mandates and have been angling my tax returns away from refunds so I won't pay a fine for non-compliance... and will post more stories of "Concierge Medicine" like the Oklahoma Surgery Center. I hadn't quite thought of the angle mentioned by Richman where he points out not only for rare but catastrophic events, but also for predictable and likely, that is, uninsurable, events are now being brought under "the umbrella" pushed on us by Big Brother + Big (Anthem) Blue.

We can still, and will push back....

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2015 1:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Oh, and Friends of BotW on FB are hitting back at the Soon-2B-dropped attack....

llegitimati NonCarborandum

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2015 1:29 PM

All Hail Taranto!

taranto150223.gif

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

As with everything about [President Obama], there's no there there, just a series of convenient projections on fog, like the monster in a Scooby Doo episode. -- Insty

Libertarians

An LOTR-F friend shares a great article on his Facebook feed today.

Sheldon Richman takes to Reason to ask Are Libertarians Looking for Results or Self-Congratulation? It spills out of research he's doing on Nathaniel Branden.

At any rate, the talk, "What Happens When the Libertarian Movement Begins to Succeed?," is remarkable in more than one respect. For one thing, Branden was commenting on all the attention libertarianism was getting--in 1979!

I'll let that one lay, but the Branden talk is superb -- and Richman even gets a "People's Front of Judea" reference in. I liked it and thanked him for posting. What I really want is to bludgeon a couple mutual friends with shares until they promise to read it.
So, one of the signs that we want to look out for, and one of the most important signs, happens in how we approach communication. Are we really out to reach human beings? Are we really out to build a bridge to somebody whose context may be very different from our own? Do we still remember that a lot of what we now regard as self-evident once upon a time wasn't self-evident? Or do we walk into a conversation on the premise: I'll give you one chance, after which you're irredeemably evil?

I'll not pile on; Richman and Branden get the job done without me help.

By The Way, another LOTR-F regular was a personal friend of Branden. I shared my favorite quote with him:

For books like Ellis's, Nathaniel Branden had a response: Rarely do Rand's attackers deign "publicly to name the essential ideas of Atlas Shrugged and attempt to refute them. No one has been willing to declare: 'Ayn Rand holds that man must choose his values and actions exclusively by reason, that man has the right to exist for his own sake, that no one has the right to seek values from others by physical force--and I consider such ideas wrong, evil and socially dangerous.'"

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

The Libertarian attitude described here bears a striking similarity to the politically correct Progressive left - ideas that depart from the collective position are not tolerated.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2015 2:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Sadly true. But I used to expect better from those with whom I agree. I guess there is an even distribution of a******s across the spectrum, but I had to un-follow a couple big-Ls on Facebook to preserve my own sanity; I don't think I've ever done that to a progressive. (In my defense, I tried respectful engagement a few times and never got anything above name-calling in return.)

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2015 10:30 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The Smug has many appendages and appearances.... still, based on JK's comment, are they more like The Scream?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 24, 2015 4:50 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

If I Were a Bell

Frank Loesser ©1950

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink


February 22, 2015

Review Corner

Near the end of his life, [John Singleton] Mosby was visited by a well-meaning clergyman who wanted to inquire about his spiritual future. Students of Mosby know that he rarely attended church even though he married Pauline Clarke, "a faithful Roman Catholic." Their conversation was overheard by Mosby's grandson, Beverly, who would one day become an attorney and Navy rear admiral. At one point, the clergyman asked, "Colonel, do you believe in hell?" Mosby, according to the story, simply replied, "Oh, yes. Hell is being a Republican in Virginia." It was a true and honest statement, spoken by a man whose moral compass always steered him toward Truth.
I spilled upon the author, David Goetz, touting his book in a Q & A on CSPAN on Sunday Night. (Yes, dweeby even for me.) It plays into a storyline for which I am ever the sucker: former enemies/opponents united for a common cause. David Boies and Ted Olsen coming together for gay rights always cheered me, and my favorite photo of all times is likely this one of Keith Plessy and Phoebe Furguson, grandchildren of the famed litigants.

Hell is being Republican in Virginia tells the tale of Ulysses S. Grant and John Singleton Mosby. Both men shared a warrior ethos and an officer's love of country. But they did not share the same side in the War Between the States. (heh -- I'll abjure the term "Civil War" but not quite join Brother Keith in referring to "The War of Northern Aggression").

After the war, Mosby petitioned President Grant for better treatment for the men in his company and provided a southern view of reconstruction. Grant complied and the two men who had spent years trying to kill the other become lifelong friends. Each was criticized for the friendship -- but Grant was President of the United States and the "victor'd" hero. Mosby lost it all for supporting Grant's reelection against Horace Greeley.

Mosby's name evoked a certain toxicity in the air. His law practice fell off by more than 80 percent, from $6,000 in 1871 to $1,100 in 1876. People who knew Mosby crossed the street to avoid having to speak to him; and his children were frequently harassed by other children. By the third week of November, he had moved his law office to Washington and shut up the house, taking the children to live with his mother. On court days, he returned to Warrenton by train, armed with a revolver in a holster on his hip.
[...]
He had commented that, during his first term, Grant had shown a certain benevolence toward the South; and now in 1872, he seemed the lesser of two evils. When questioned as to how he arrived at this conclusion, Mosby replied that the South had been fighting Greeley for forty years, while Grant had tormented it for only four.

Mosby had correctly identified General Grant's hand in the final terms.
At a later point in the debate, Mosby remarked that he supported Grant because of his terms to Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865: "Surely no conqueror ever bore himself more magnanimously to a vanquished foe than did Grant when he returned his sword to Lee and bade him go in peace, Mosby observed. "The covenant made that day has been sacredly kept . . . (Grant) was no Achilles to drag the body of his enemy around the walls of the conquered city."

When things get impossible for Mosby in the States, Grant gets him an ambassadorship to Hong Kong. Mosby brings some rare honor to the Asian foreign service.
The opium monopoly was openly sold by the governor of Hong Kong from time to time and the "Opium Farm," as it was known, had recently been outbid by a rival. Rather than abandon their business, they simply moved their boilers from Hong Kong to Macao, a Portuguese colony to the west, and continued producing opium. Bailey had been charging $10,000 a year to sign the opium invoices, and Mosby was offered the same. Instead, he signed for the required $2.50.

The book is told in anecdotes and incidents. Most of the chapters are just a few pages, but the integral of the stories is a solid understanding of two American Heroes. There are appendices with more traditional biographies. The main part of the book is well worth having on a Kindle to read when you have a few minutes. Four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 20, 2015

Did You Know the Website is Still Busted?

Obamacare's broken federal exchange system is yet another reminder of the remarkable, outrageously expensive mismanagement that went into the project.

All together, building the website cost in excess of $2.1 billion, according to a September 2014 Bloomberg News analysis. This is a $2 billion website--and not only does it still not fully work, almost a year and a half after it was supposed to have been complete, its failures are likely still costing us money. -- Peter Suderman

But Keith Arnold thinks:

They'd have had better luck putting it on Geocities.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 20, 2015 7:52 PM
But jk thinks:

ppaca.myspace.com

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2015 10:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Even AOL has more subscribers.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2015 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Wait'll the AOL mandates and subsidies kick in...

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2015 7:00 PM

Quote of the Day

It isn't about getting a job. They have a job: waging jihad. -- Peggy Noonan

February 19, 2015

Single Best Argument for Libertarianism

If I could sell one single idea, I would think it might be: "Government has no valid role in diet and nutrition."

You can attack it with consequentialist arguments: "they suck!" Or you can attack it with first principles: there is a very vibrant market in literature and ideas in the nutrition and exercise space; government is not needed.

But the Feds have fallen on their face, repeatedly, from the Four Best Lobbyists 4 Food Groups , the Food Pyramid. MyPlate.gov. Once again. Emily Litella style, they say "nevermind." This time on cholesterol. But rather than humility (I do kid myself sometimes), the new guidelines just airbrush out all the b******t they told you last time, while hectoring you on several new and very dubious fronts.

But the broadminded approach extends a little too far; now everything from environmental sustainability to helping immigrants adjust to a new food culture falls under the DGAC's purview. And the committee hasn't really abandoned its tendency to single out specific nutrients as special diet dangers, suggesting that drinks with added sugars are a good candidate for targeted taxation:

For all those who did not DIE (all caps and ****-ed out swear words, damn, this is a rant) from the previous Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommendations, you now have to be hectored on environmental concerns as well:
In addition to recommending particularly dietary patterns based on their ability to promote health, the report for the first time notes the advantages of "sustainable diets"

All this for an industry with a most vibrant private-sector discussion. Walmart* does not wait ten years -- they offer low-carb dieters a marvelous bucket of meat and cheese and cheese wrapped with meat. Capitalism rules!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I suspect all of us grew up with the Four Basic Food Groups* being drummed into us. The USDA has always been unduly influenced by parties seeking to tilt the scales to increase their industry's share of the shopping cart, and more recently, parties bound and determined to stigmatize meat. The way I hear it, meat is to the rest of the menu what fossil fuels are to wind and solar - the energy-density champion.

I'd sooner do away with the USDA entirely, its welfare programs and its bad regulations, and trust my family doctor, my high school health sciences teacher, and private experts whose opinion I value, and let me buy as I see fit**. When you all vote me into office, it'll happen.

*(I was once asked by a friend to name the Four Basic Food Groups in the REAL American diet as practiced, and to name one common dish that had it all. I quickly came up with lasagna, but I was wrong. The four food groups in the REAL American diet center around alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat -- and therefore Irish Coffee represents a balanced diet.)

** We'll see what the free market does with Little Caesar's latest concoction, linked here. I'm torn; Little Caesar's is the second-worst pizza chain around after Pizza Hut, but it's wrapped in three and a half feet of bacon. http://www.usatoday.com/…/little-caesars-fast-foo…/23565411/

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Errrr, let's try that again... http://usat.ly/1BrbuRW

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Cholesterol, Cholesterol! Good thing it's okay now.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2015 10:27 AM

You're All Unique!!

Review Corner on Diamandis's "Bold" went in several directions and I did not want to add another. But there is one quote that struck me as painfully true.

This is one of the most telling features of the web-- the somewhat humbling fact that no matter what oddball notion you're deeply passionate about , well, there are plenty of folks who share the same passion. "The ability for entrepreneurs to nimbly find and serve niche interests-- and to produce platforms that allow those groups to address their needs en masse-- is better than ever before," explains Joshua Klein.

Diamandis, Peter H.; Kotler, Steven (2015-02-03). Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (p. 221). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.


That's a feature not a bug to Diamandis -- your potential Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing operations have a better chance of finding like minded partners than you expect.

But he is right about the humbling bit. Many things I thought to be pretty original are common on the Intertubes. My favorite example was that I took a year off guitar playing (a few years back) to "start from scratch" and relearn music on the mandolin. How unusual. How different. I joined some jazz mandolin forums and they were populated with a bald bevy of 50-something guitar players (you are Forum Member #6,691,277 -- welcome!)

My precious snowflakeness was crushed, but on net it is a huge plus. I'm in some very nice guitar groups on Facebook, and the lovely bride connects with practitioners of rare crafts all over the world.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:03 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 18, 2015

All Hail Insty!

insty150218.gif

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Faster, please.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 18, 2015 9:57 PM

Yankee Humor

Pumped?

pumped_pats.gif

That's funny.

At the risk of spoiling humor, I tripped over this reading a link my biological brother sent. James Carroll defends President Obama's remarks at the prayer breakfast. Some ThreeSourcers might enjoy it. Or enjoy refuting it.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:30 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Terri thinks:

I'll bite
Mr. Carroll claims that the president gave "careful consideration of the relationship between religion and violence". I scoff at that. He didn't.

Start with the slavery line. A careful consideration might include some numbers. Abolition was justified in the name of Christ for 30 years before the civil war. Sure, those who had slaves probably justified them the same way, but that's like justifying all the things you do. There was no Christian movement to own slaves. There was no Christian movement to keep black people out of restaurants. Yet there appears to be an Islamic movement to bring Islam back to some sort of horrible ism.

Mr. Carroll moves on to noting that without religion in schools it's no longer being taught, while mentioning how it's taught in Sunday Schools, just like always. ? Which is it? He suggests that adults aren't getting the education because religion isn't taught in schools anymore. I'm not clear how they got it before once they got out of school. We still have Sunday school for kids. And adults still have every advantage to learn as much or as little as desire just like always.

He maintains that "The anthropomorphic “God” of whom most believers and atheists alike so glibly speak — one to defend, one to debunk — has little in common with the God of intellectually responsible religion."
Yet he gives no insight into why he thinks it would. Believers speak of this anthropomorphic God in manners that work to convey what they want to say. When talking with someone from my church about God the words used will be different than those used when discussing Him with you. I speak of animals anthropomorphically also, yet I don't actually believe that my dog is a human. Instead, it helps me to relate him to you. And in day to day life when not intellectualizing myself to sleep I will even treat him as if he were human and yet I know he isn't. Odd how that works.

I suspect, like most irreligious people Mr. Carroll stopped his religious education at Sunday School. So now he has this idea about what adults believe. White beard, angel wings the whole enchilada. He doesn't look beyond that because then he'd have to admit he hasn't looked beyond that.

On the one hand Carroll blames religion being out of schools (it's privatization) for the immorality of the government but gives as his example slavery. Slavery existed here back when religion was in the schools. I can't keep track.

So let's move on to nuclear bombs. He blames our, the religious, simple mindedness as the reason for the nuclear stand off while completely forgetting the religious peace movements that occurred all over this country back then. I know, because I was there. Twas the beginning of my hippie journey.

Christians are people. Some are good, some are bad. Some are simple and some are highly intellectual. None are advocating for the murder of apostates. None above the age of 6 believe that God has a white beard - though He may very well appear that way if that helps His cause!

President Obama did NOT speak considerately, and religion should not be relegated to the schools again. (Who's religion would he choose? This country has diversified and we who are religious can accept that.)
The wall between church and state is to protect the church and conveniently can protect the state too.
The need for humility in Christians is always there and we know it and don't need Obama to tell us. We also know the percentage of Muslims in 2015 who approved of the Charlie Hebdo murders. We are not speaking as hypocritical slave owners and crusaders. We are speaking as people who believe that freedom is not something to be handed out by a movement and that Islamism needs to be stopped.

Obama is a simple simple man and James Carroll appears to be also. Obama now believes that jihadists just need jobs. Carroll believes that because we prefer to line up the group of people murdering innocents in order to eventually run the world under the label of evil that we just are too simple minded due to our lack of nuanced religious education.

I believe neither has an understanding of Middle Eastern religion or culture or of what young directionless men are longing for. I give you the speech and that column as evidence.

Posted by: Terri at February 18, 2015 11:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I think job one for Mr. Carroll was to defend the President against mean old bloggers in fly-over country. To his credit, he did present quotes that sounded good and reasonable but as I pointed out to my brother, he omitted "get off our high horse" and "the Crusades" which I find the most difficult.

Much worse than an unbeliever, Terri, Wikipedia describes him as "A Roman Catholic reformer, he has written extensively about his experiences in the seminary and as a priest, and has published, besides novels, books on religion and history." The religious left apologizes for religion and their country.

The comments collecting on my brother's post are along the lines of thank good the nuanced President Obama did not "lash out" like President Bush. All you Globe readers can pat yourself on the back for understanding this. Unlike those bloggers in Colorado...

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2015 9:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I keep forcing myself to remember the role that Iran may be playing in the ISIS movement. If the nutjobs can draw us into a full-blown war then Iran has moral sanction to start attacking Israel et. al.

I just read that the U.S. has a "secret ISIS hit list." Good.

I've also read that more and more countries in the region are taking matters into their own hands. Also, good.

And that some of them are "begging the U.S. to help them defeat ISIS." Sorry boys, we've been chastened for butting in where we don't belong. We're more humble now. You've got this.

Seriously, FDR was reluctant to join Britain in WWII until the Nazis did far worse than ISIS' ghastly, yet feeble, atrocities.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2015 12:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In my previous comment I neglected the fact that Iran is Shiite and IS is Sunni. Iran is, apparently, funding Bashar al-Assad in its defensive struggle against IS in "what used to be called Syria."

The problem with the president's proposed AUMF language is not that it declares war against IS, but that it places such tight limits on what the U.S. response is to be against the Global Jihad Movement. Of course, ever since the 2011-2012 Muslim Brotherhood-supervised language and curriculum purge in the U.S. government, neither the White House nor Pentagon would describe the enemy in such terms, but that's in fact what we face. And it's why the Center for Security Policy (CSP) issued the comprehensive Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement and then followed that with a Defeat Jihad Summit that define the enemy as all who fight or support jihad to impose Islamic Law (shariah) and propose a comprehensive all-of-government strategy to defeat that enemy.

The article is good and short, sober, objective and apolitical. Highly recommended. Including the linked [from the original] Secure Freedom Strategy.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2015 3:16 PM

February 17, 2015

Eye-may Ucking-fay Oney-May!

Colorado has been buffered from bad government by the Taxpayer Bill Of Rights (or TABOR after a local landmark): spending increases beyond inflation/population growth must be voted upon, and surpluses . . . say from whopping weed sales . . . must be returned unless they can convince the electorate to let them keep it.

Democrat Rep. Joe Salazar says your money is his -- look it's printed right on there!

Hat-tip: Revealing Politics Facebook Page

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 6:27 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"E pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. That is the motto of our country."

Uh, sorry Joe. Not any more.

E Pluribus Unum still appears on U.S. coins even though it is no longer the official national motto! That honor was given to In God We Trust in 1956 by an Act of Congress (36 U.S.C. § 302.)

Try again buddy. Maybe you can claim you found it in the Constitution somewhere?

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2015 2:13 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Well played, sir!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2015 11:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the props! As a result, I duplicated the comment at the FB page that was the video's source. It seems nobody else had mentioned it there yet either.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2015 3:20 PM

Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold

Fossil Free Yale, a group pushing the university to divest itself from fossil fuels, told the Yale Daily News that frigid, snowy weather set for this weekend will mean their global warming protest will have to be postponed. -- Michael Bastach, Daily Caller

Comment HTML Stylesheet

Comment HTML is a black art. Here are a few pointers:

-- You can include hyperlinks like this.
Just enter <a href="your_url_here">your display text here</a>
The above example: <a href="http://www.jkboxed.com">this</a>

Limitations:
The target attribute is disregarded. Usually you can say target="_blank" to open in a new window or tab. That will be ignored and it always opens in the current window.

More than two links in a comment will kick it into "junk purgatory." A blog author can publish it (it ain't lost) but it will not show until then.

-- You can set italics <em></em>

-- You can indent as blockquote <blockquote></blockquote>

Limitations:
To limit users' potential mischief, both of these tags are closed at the end of a paragraph. So if you want multiple paragraphs indented or italicized, you can tag each individually. But the pro trick is to insert line breaks <blockquote>Paragraph one.<br /><br />Paragraph two.</blockquote>

Paragraph one.

Paragraph two.

Lastly, to give the examples or to insert a bogus, snarky tag like <bozo voice>whohoo!</bozo voice>, you can use HTML special characters. The open character is &lt; (less than) and the close, you guessed it is &gt; So, the above example is &lt;bozo voice&gt;whohoo!&lt;/bozo voice&gt;

Posts have all the same capabilities (and then some) but not the limitations.

UPDATE: A link to this has been added onto the left nav bar right under the outdated bios that nobody reads...

UPDATE II: Here's a table of special HTML characters, in case you need a £ (&pound;) or € (&euro;) or wish to be an überkøder™ (&uuml;berk&oslash;der&trade;). And, at the risk going too-meta, you get the ampersand with &amp; (which I had to write &amp;amp;).

Posted by John Kranz at 3:04 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:

Outdated Bios is right! The baby girl jg was expecting when that bio was written is going to be 10 years old this month. Time flies!

Posted by: dagny at February 17, 2015 4:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent post! I've tried hacking your comments and posts to figure out that <bozo voice> thing but never figured it out. Thanks boss!

As for the bio, I've thought about updating mine but since nobody reads them...

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2015 2:19 PM

Quote of the Day

So it was that, hours after the U.S. confirmed the murder of Kayla Jean Mueller at the hands of Islamic State, Mr. Obama filmed a short video for BuzzFeed, striking poses in a mirror, donning aviator shades, filming himself with a selfie stick and otherwise inhabiting a role that a chaster version of Miley Cyrus might have played had Hannah Montana been stuck in the White House after a sleepover with the Obama girls. -- Bret Stephens WSJ Ed Page

FA Hayek, Call your Office!

Here's one column to understand the Knowledge Problem (and a good look at The Fatal Conceit): Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer's guest WSJ Editorial, ObamaCare's Electronic-Records Debacle

Starting this year, physicians like myself who treat Medicare patients must adopt electronic health records, known as EHRs, which are digital versions of a patient's paper charts. If doctors do not comply, our reimbursement rates will be cut by 1%, rising to a maximum of 5% by the end of the decade.

I am an unwilling participant in this program. In my experience, EHRs harm patients more than they help.


I remember discussing health care with blog friend Silence Dogood, well before the PPACAo2010 was drafted or run through Congress. Two engineers, sitting over some good barbecue, found it obvious that some digital standards of medical records was a good idea. I believe one of Colorado's senators was pushing a standard that would bring a little bacon home. "Surely, jk, you can see the benefits of this?"

Buddy, let me provide an unequivocal "I told you so!" I answered that it was obviously a good idea, but who really believed that the US Senate would pick the right one? Or implement it properly? And are you going to eat that last rib? I believe I mentioned Hayek by name.

I am told the best way around the paywall is to Google® the article by title and click through, but holler if I can help somehow. Because it is all in here. They take a standard that worked for Kaiser, set up a five year plan to test whether it would work nationally -- and then mandated it one year in.

Many articles have been written about the craziness that ensued. Your valuable physician time is now devoted to filling out the form and not discussing your health. It wastes time, costs money, and forces independent physicians to sell out and join a hospital to acquire the required infrastructure. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Not surprisingly, a recent study in Perspectives in Health Information Management found that electronic health records encourage errors that can "endanger patient safety or decrease the quality of care." America saw a real-life example during the recent Ebola crisis, when "patient zero" in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan, received a delayed diagnosis due in part to problems with EHRs.

Congress has devoted scant attention to this issue, instead focusing on the larger ObamaCare debate. But ending the mandatory electronic-health-record program should be a plank in the Republican Party's health-care agenda. For all the good intentions of the politicians who passed them, electronic health records have harmed my practice and my patients.


Top-down, command-and-control government at its finest.


February 16, 2015

A Better Way to Teach Economics?

Arnold Kling -- popular 'round these parts -- has a great column on teaching economics.

Economic education gets off on the wrong foot by defining the subject in terms of scarcity and choice, or what I call camping-trip economics.

Instead, I believe that textbooks and courses should emphasize the evolution of complex patterns of specialization, production methods, trade, and innovation. I call this approach woolen-coat economics.

In this column, I contrast camping-trip economics with woolen-coat economics. The two approaches imply different ways of looking at the role of government. They also imply different ways of looking at fluctuations in total employment.

Prosperitarians will appreciate the Adam Smith, "woolen coat" emphasis on wealth creation to the Samuelson, zero-sum, "camping trip" emphasis on distribution.

Great piece.


Rational Optimism

Matt Ridley found his way into yesterday's Review Corner.

He has done well on these pages; both Genome [Review Corner] and The Rational Optimist [Review Corner] scored five stars.

Brother Bryan sent me a link to his TED Talk:

Purdy good stuff...

Science Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Fascinating, and affirming to Freedom Lovers. My favorite part was about 6 min, where he goes over Ricardo's thesis, of "how long must one work (at prevailing wages) to earn an hour of reading light."

I was struck the by the impossibility of unringing a bell. Doomsayers say looming socialism, like Obamacare, can't be undone after a certain amount/level of free stuff is offered or received.

I think the more powerful case here is that freedom (in the context of the speech: free exchange of ideas and goods), can't be undone... whereas the ACA can and surely will be when the bill comes due (wasn't it P.J.O'Rourke who said "if you think it's expensive now, wait till they make it free").

Money quote from Dr. Ridley:

Trade is 100 times older than farming

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2015 2:12 PM

February 15, 2015

Review Corner

27. The world's most precious resource is the persistent and passionate human mind.
Number 27 of Peter [H. Diamandis]'s Laws as recounted in Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, which Diamandis coauthored with Steven Kotler.

I enjoyed the same Authors' "Abundance" [Review Corner] a few years ago. I pre-ordered this and eagerly awaited its release. This Review Corner was going to mention the difficulty in a sophomore work. While Bold is good, I was going to suggest that a reader would probably be better with the first book.

I'll stick by that. But I looked up the old review and was surprised how qualified it was. Abundance, remembered so fondly, received four stars (pretty much "panned" on the jk scale) and I closed with "I would still recommend it -- just have some pain killing medication available."

Ow. Medication? I don't remember saying that. But I did and both books share the same gifts and the same flaws. The gifts include an unabashed embrace of modernity. Diamandis has started a company to mine asteroids. He sees exponential Moore's Law style power curves in many applications. As such, it is a great book to share with your favorite neo-Malthusian: "Hey, we run outta stuff, we'll just go mine it from asteroids!"

It is a great positive vision and one that is powered with reason and human capacity. Much to love.

What helps [Google panjandrum Larry] Page imagine the impossible is a fervent belief in rational optimism. 38 The term, borrowed from author Matt Ridley, refers to the exact kind of optimism we advocated for in Abundance. It does not mean pie-in-the-sky daydreaming. It means rather a sober review of the facts, which include the fact that technology is accelerating exponentially and transforming scarcity into abundance, that the tools of tomorrow are giving us ever-increasing problem-solving leverage, that the world--based on dozens of metrics (see the Abundance appendix)-- is also getting exponentially better, and finally, as a result, that small teams are now more empowered to solve grand challenges than ever before. And it's these reasons that make rational optimism such an important strategy for thinking at scale.

Ridley, check. Optimism, check. Human potential, check. He includes micro-biographies of several of our time's great visionaries with very inspirational methods for motivation and behavior. Just as a self help book, it gets three stars.
As Burt Rutan, winner of the Ansari XPRIZE, once taught me: "The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it's a crazy idea."
[...]
At Facebook , there is a sign hanging in the main stairwell that reads: "Move fast, break things." This kind of attitude is critical. If you're not incentivizing risk, you're denying access to flow-- which is the only way to keep pace in a breakneck world.

One of the great visionaries -- of course -- is wunderkind Elon Musk. On this hill I will plan my critical flag. Diamandis's progress is Muskian progress. "Let's change the world with 'lectric cars!" Never mind the WSJ Editorial this week that wondered about building what Musk purports will be a $700 Bllion company someday on subsidies and cheap government loans.

Diamandis spends a decade fighting bureaucrats to offer his sub-orbital space flights; then he has a new fight to offer one to a famous passenger.

I decided that the world's foremost expert on gravity deserved the opportunity to experience zero gravity, so I offered professor Stephen Hawking a parabolic flight. He accepted, and we issued a press release. This is when our friends at the FAA-- whose unofficial motto is clearly "we're not happy until you're not happy"-- reminded us that our operating license permitted us to fly only "able-bodied" passengers, and Hawking, being totally paralyzed and wheelchair bound, did not qualify.

Spoiler alert: Hawking gets his ride. But government intrusion does not get another mention in this shiny new world we are going to create. My review from 2012 stands. So buy the family size bottle of pain-killers and read both Abundance (four stars) and Bold (three-point-five).


Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:08 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 13, 2015

Let us ask ourselves, "Why do they hate us?"

Is this not the Progressive prescription when atrocities are committed in the name of religious faith? When, more than 14 years after Muslims celebrated in the street the 9/11 atrocity, an American man allegedly murders three Muslim students because they are Muslim, is it not just as advisable for Muslims to contemplate why some may feel anger toward them?

Koos Mohammed opines in Morocco World News:

We have Iraq, where the ‘war on terror’ has been terrorising civilians for over a decade now. First raped by the CIA, children in Iraq are now raped by ISIS. What were once safe countries for the average civilian have been turned into something from apocalyptic films in Libya and Syria. The Western media won’t report it, but the freedom the West exported to Libya has manifested itself in a chaos that makes one think, if hell had a jungle, this would be it.

In Palestine, Israel’s most recent military attack on the Gaza Strip left over 2,200 people dead; mostly civilians. The murders of Palestinian civilians by soldiers and settlers occurs almost weekly.

In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the dictators there (friends of the West by the way) brutally suppress the civilians. Executions are common. Those who dare speak out, face life behind bars, or risk being whipped publicly.

So where are Muslim lives sacred? The truth is, in today’s world, in this current setting and condition, Muslim lives aren’t safe anywhere. [emphasis mine]

I must have missed the reports of rapes and other atrocities by the CIA. Perhaps they were overshadowed by Abu Graib. And it's difficult to tell what Koos values more - freedom or dictatorial leadership of "safe countries for the average civilian." But I really must ask, Is it so difficult to publicly state "I am a Muslim and I reject those who kill innocents in the name of my faith?" Or how about, "I treasure the freedom and safety and individual rights inherent in the western nations, and I condemn anyone who threatens those rights for any reason, including religious fundamentalism?"

And oh by the way, those rapes being perpetrated in Iraq... by ISIS... are the acts of Muslims. People in glass houses.

But Jk thinks:

You might enjoy this.

Posted by: Jk at February 15, 2015 2:48 PM

So What's the Deal with Obama's AUMF Anyway?

Well, you could read this article from The Hill, or you can just let me explain it to you:

President Obama, under intense public pressure to respond to Islamist State atrocities that have been splashed across American televisions off and on for many months, announced a campaign to "degrade and defeat ISIL" using air strikes and foreign troops trained by American soldiers. He claimed that a congressional resolution from 2001 (you know, after 9/11 when even Democrats were willing to deploy our military) gave him the legal authorization for this new campaign.

Since that half-hearted plan isn't succeeding, congressional Republicans have been critical of the President. To shut them up he has asked them to vote for a new authorization, that he's said he doesn't need, to keep doing the same thing he's already doing. If they approve it, they own his strategy. If they defeat it, they are to blame when the thing he's already doing doesn't work because, he will say, "I asked for authorization to confront ISIL directly and Republicans in congress said 'no.'"

So essentially, it's a complete waste of time for everyone except Obama, who needs a political cover strategy. And it scares the crap out of congressional Democrats who, like Nancy Pelosi, "would hope that we could find common ground to have bipartisan support for how we protect and defend the American people" while at the same time contending that "a provision to bar 'enduring offensive ground combat operations' is too vague and could allow for U.S. troops to be sent into the field." Sure wouldn't want to risk war in the service of "defend[ing] the American people" would we? Nosirree.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Even WaPo's Eugene Robinson, as big a fan of BHO as can be found that gets paid to write, in a large vote of confidence for Boehner, wrote:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-confusing-war-plan/2015/02/12/32cb9a70-b2ea-11e4-827f-93f454140e2b_story.html

[AUMF] explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn’t really tell us how.

Obama has asked to be liberated and constrained at the same time. He wants no geographical boundaries placed on his ability to go after the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces.” But he also asks that Congress rule out “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and wants the war authority to expire after three years.

I would summarize - without contradiction - even further than JG has: since Obama has no idea how to govern, fight wars, create jobs, etc... all he can do is campaign. So, he'll continue to propose incoherent ideas that allow for more speeches and let the MSM fly cover for the bad/unworkable ideas.

PowerLine's Paul Mirgenoff adds to JG's point that there's an intent to constrain his successor, so his incoherence can be hidden.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/02/are-we-better-off-without-obamas-anti-isis-aumf-probably.php

Robinson finishes off with uncharacteristic brevity: But how urgent is the threat? This is a question Obama seems to want to defer.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Shoot, I messed up, the paragraph following the italicized quote from Robinson is also his.

Can someone hint me the code to imbed URL's in a comment post?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

We live to serve: Comment HTML

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2015 3:30 PM

Stealthflation?

Some guys can't catch a break. Now that it's over, Ruchir Sharma comes out on the prestigious WSJ Ed Page in fulsome support of Stealthflation, which I vigorously opposed.

While there are many reasons behind the decline in the price of oil, one of them is the end of QE, which has reduced speculation in commodities and strengthened the dollar. The price of oil and the dollar have long been known to move in opposite directions. Now, the sharp decline in the price of oil and other commodities like food is putting more money in the pockets of the middle class.

I think I still put more weight on other "many reasons," but let it not be said that I do not play fair.

Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Well you did totally crush me in the GLD/SPY wager.

One of the many reasons in addition to the end of QE is the beginning of Euro QE.

And speaking of putting more money in the pockets of the middle class, consider this: Office supply big box Staples, like many retailers, has a low profit margin. (SPLS' is 2.67% and the "Food and Staples" sector of the S&P500 is 2.9 on average. (No, not the same kind of staples.))

"So what's your point, pointy head?" My point is that government makes more net profit from the gross revenues of these "evil corporations" business than the "evil" corporations themselves do. The average state and local sales tax, nationwide, is about 7%, or more than double that of WalMart: 3.27%.

Talk about a drag on the economy. And government didn't even build that!

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2015 11:56 AM

February 12, 2015

Quote of the Day

I would add that I don't think you'll ever hear an atheist say, "He can't be a true atheist if he did this." -- The Friendly Atheist, hailing Harsanyi
But johngalt thinks:

Well sure, contemporary atheists do not by and large commit atrocities, but what about the atheist crusades throughout history? Let's not get on a high horse, atheists.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2015 3:29 PM

The threat of climate change is "real"

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama declared, "No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change." "His statement was met with scattered, muted applause," writes CNN's Madison Park. Almost as if the assembled audience were skeptical of his claim.

But they, and we, would be wise to consider what the Investors' Editorial Page says is the "real reason behind the warming scare," as revealed by a U.N. official.

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.

Intentionally change the economic development model of the last 150 years? The period with the greatest advance in health, welfare, safety, prosperity, peace and happiness in the history of mankind? Destroy capitalism, the mean by which man trades peacefully rather than looting and pillaging in the manner of Genghis Khan and the prophet of Islam?

No, I think I'll have to agree with President Obama on this one. The plans of the U.N. are no hoax.


February 11, 2015

U Chicago's Syllabus for the Constitution

Dr. Larry Arndt swears this is a powerfully useful sight.

press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/tocs/toc.html

From the advisory:

this collection may be engaged at any number of points. The oversharp distinction between theoretical reflection and practical activity was alien to the leading members of the Founders' generation. They usually thought and acted as though theory and practice should inform each other rather than remain in separate compartments. The arrangement of this collection is meant to foster that kind of free movement and interchange.

But jk thinks:

Wow. One could enter there and not come back for a while.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2015 11:07 AM

February 10, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

To which Slate's Phil Plait, a doctrinaire global warmist, offers this Orwellian rejoinder: "This is nonsense. The claim is wrong. The scientists didn't manipulate the data, they processed it." -- James Taranto
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By the same method, my gastro-intestinal tract processes a double bacon cheeseburger, a side of onion rings, and a vanilla milkshake. It takes in a variety of food products, extracts what it wants from them, and then the, *ahem!*, end result is an unrecognizable pile of something bearing no resemblance to the input material with no redeeming value or use.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 10, 2015 7:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Taranto's response is not too far off. First Child, Malia Obama, was skeptical of a ban on "processed" food.

So my oldest [sic] daughter [Malia], who was probably 8 at the time, he took a block of cheese and he said, if you can cut this cheese up into the powder that is the cheese of the boxed macaroni and cheese, then we'll use it. She sat there for 30 minutes trying to pulverize a block of cheese into dust. I mean, she was really focused on it, and it just didn't work, so she had to give up. And from then on, we stopped eating macaroni and cheese out of a box, because cheese dust is not food, as was the moral of that story.

I'd say both images work.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2015 7:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Umm, with due respect to the First Child, yes, it [powdered dairy products] is food.

And personally, I've never liked vanilla shakes.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 11:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And this.

The idea for selling macaroni and cheese together as a package came about during the Great Depression when a St. Louis, Missouri salesman began attaching grated cheese to boxes of pasta with a rubber band.[3] In 1937, Kraft introduced the product in the U.S. and Canada.[4] The timing of the product's launch had much to do with its success. During World War II, rationing of milk and dairy products, an increased reliance on meatless entrees, and more women working outside the home, created a nearly captive market for the product, which was considered a hearty meal for families. Its shelf life of ten months was attractive at a time when many Canadian homes did not have refrigerators.[
Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 11:55 AM
But dagny thinks:

If giving Malia cheese and expecting her to make cheese dust with utensils available in the kitchen indicates that cheese dust is not food, then does giving her raw milk and expecting her to make cheese (with the same equipment) indicate that cheese is not, "real food?" Just askin.

Posted by: dagny at February 12, 2015 1:24 PM
But jk thinks:

And, while we're on the subject, I'm a bit tired of being called a "science denier" by people who won't eat anything unless they personally wash the manure off it.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2015 2:00 PM

Quote of the Day

Speaking of Obama, [Monday] he presented a $4 trillion budget that he says would help the middle class. And then the middle class said, "You know what, how about just giving us $4 trillion? That will help us. We will figure it out. We'll figure out what to do with it." -- Jimmy Fallon
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yeah, but he had to take the four trillion from us first, and it spends an expensive night in Washington first. Better idea: how about just letting us keep the damb four trillion in the first place?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 10, 2015 7:08 PM

February 9, 2015

A Conduit for Bad Ideas

We need more gay-friendly voices on the right.

Here's George Takei today:
takei_consumerism.jpg

Takei has 8,384,811 likes (followers). And when I clicked to see the exact number, I see 40 of my friends among them -- and the five pictures up top show a mad lefty, a few moderates, and a libertarian-leaning righty. Dave already believes this nonsense with all his heart. Jocelyn will not be swayed. The other three are very bright but over time are at risk for accepting the "Takei-ian seen" against the "Bastiat-ian unseen."

I bade a fond farewell to Andrew Sullivan's blog last month. Sullivan was as out a gay man as one can be without hiring skywriters. But he embraced free market principles and understood the infringement of liberty presented by GLAAD and their ilk. He endured unimaginable hatred for that. While I don't know what finally made him snap, that cannot have been helpful. I've watched in silent distress as a thoughtful friend has been driven to conformity by leftwing academic participation.

Beyond Solicitor General Ted Olson (HOSS!), every gay-friendly voice one is likely to encounter will be anti-market and anti property rights, because the advocates for Prosperitarianism are associated stringly with either explicit anti-gay bias or the nuanced "well you shouldn't have to bake a cake" that contravenes their agenda.

When a poor sap brave soul tries to marry the two liberties, like an Andrew Sullivan, they are beaten unmercifully from both sides. Medals should indeed be handed out to African-American Conservatives, but property-rights respecting gays -- if any remain -- should get Kevlar vests (nicely tailored, of course!) I am Facebook friends with the fonder of GOP Proud and he is taking what is at least a hiatus.

I do not know the answer. Righties can understandably be skeptical of "special rights" and dismantling of Burkean/Chestertonian tradition. But conceding the field to Takei does not serve the cause of liberty.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

You know -- and I'm just spitballing here -- the allegation on the table is that the American practice of sending our dollars to China in return for cheap goods is destroying the Chinese ecology, to say nothing of the damage being done to those cheap-ass Spongebob Squarepants water wings that lad is staining (seriously, what kind of parent sends his kid to go swimming in an algae swamp, but requires him to wear water wings?).

So, America is getting tons of consumer goods on the cheap, and as a fringe benefit, we're ruining a potential enemy military superpower. I don't see a downside to that argument.

If we paid more to China, they wouldn't use the cash surplus to clean their coastlines and rivers. They'd use it to build fighter jets from the blueprints they stole from us, or take over Tibet, or something!

-o0o-

Okay, I've had my fun. Allow me to rephrase:

(1) We're buying lots of cheap stuff from China.
(2) China is polluting its own soil, fouling their own air, and poisoning its own children.
(3) Correlation is not causation. It does not follow that it's our fault their doing that to their own country, nor does it follow that if we'd stop buying their drech, the country would get cleaner.

Like I told the kid in the picture on the right - don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 9, 2015 8:21 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


> What is it about being gay that makes a conduit for bad information more efficacious?

1st, I think it's more clearly "gay friendly" than "gay." Guessing that only a fraction of Takei's FB friends share his lifestyle. I scan his page occasionally for the humorous bits, but am not a friend; my BFF goes there regularly.

Primarily, the attraction is to be rooting for the minority or downtrodden. So those wanting to be oh-so recognized in supporting the LGBT cause think they are lining up for their tragically-hip merit badges.

Socialism plays the same piper's tune, and it's supporters are shameless in their perfidy (for a plethora of reasons): yeah, sure, it's "for the children" alright.... Capitalists, who have no problem being true to themselves, are too honest to shy away from or deny the problem areas that any 'ism has....

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 9, 2015 11:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, gay-friendly. And for those who do not follow Takei on Facebook, you're missing something. Eight out of ten posts are funny gags which are heavy on geek humor and grammar; I get a couple very clever things from Takei. The rest are split between promoting his career and his advocacy.

It's a good deal and one a libertarian would do well to imitate.

Brother Keith, I must push back against the spitball barrage. The heart and core of everything I believe is the power of property rights, comparative advantage, division of labor, and trade. Since the partial restoration of property rights, 100 million have brought themselves out of grinding poverty. To hold US consumers responsible for externalities and growing pains is to suggest that a billion people can just stay poor.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2015 10:57 AM
But jk thinks:

For those of you who have not seen it this TED Talk is a pretty fair look at the aspirational spirit behind the "sweatshop" workers.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2015 11:03 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Brother JK, I believe I must apologize - in my meager attempt at contrarian humor, I think I poorly stated my case. I'm going to impose on your graciousness for a second chance.

What I read in Captain Sulu's own comment on the photograph was that he blames the efforts of China to productively earn capital and the world's willingness to buy their goods ("rampant consumerism bears heavy consequences") for the sensationalized pollution in China. Implicit in that is that this ecological cataclysm is the result of profit motive, productivity, and the free market. Should China invest some of its profit in environmental cleanup and pollution management? Probably. It would certainly be a wise investment.

He blames not just China for China's problem, but America and the world, as if it were our fault ("We turn to China to cheaply produce..."), and that it is the world's responsibility to fix it ("Now is the time... for both Chinese and global leaders to take... action...").

It is to those premises that I react. I am told that one of the biggest sources of pollution in the large cities of China is air pollution, largely the result of dependence on wood-burning and coal-burning stoves for heating and cooking. I could be misinformed. My point is that if China has earned the money, it's China's right to spend it as they see fit. That's my respect for their property rights.

My counter-argument: I don't blame consumerism and trade with other counties for this problem. Conversely, consider this: no one likes living in a cesspool. The problem in China is that the control of wealth and the ownership of profit is centered on the political leaders, and they keep where they live (relatively) clean. The producing people, who are virtually slaves, are the ones who have to live in it, and their leaders do not care. Were the control of the means of production to devolve from the political bosses to the owners of business who live and work where they own, produce, and market, those people would be dissatisfied living in a cesspool and use the wealth they earn to clean it up. Therefore, I propose not suppressing consumerism, but private ownership of the means of production and classical liberalism, as the better cure for pollution.

Better?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 10, 2015 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

You need never apologize for your always thoughtful commentary. Someday I hope to get you to appreciate accordion and banjo music.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2015 3:01 PM

Quote of the Day

Whether you're an elderly couple in mid-Wales who have just had 20 per cent knocked off the value of your retirement cottage by the new wind farm on the hill opposite, or you're a tribesman in the South East Asian jungle whose virgin forest home has been trashed to make way for a palm oil plantation to grow eco-friendly biofuels, or you're a scientist in New Zealand who has been hounded out of your job because your research doesn't fit the "global warming" narrative, or you're a science teacher in Ohio who is obliged, whether you like it or not, to lecture your charges on the dread perils of climate change, or you're a Republican senatorial candidate who has been targeted as a "denier" in a green attack dog campaign financed by Tom Steyer, you're all victims of the same global scam: a scam perpetrated by a tiny handful of individuals whose junk statistical manipulation of the global climate records have transformed routine weather patterns into the world's biggest and most influential ever science scare story. -- James Delingpole
Very uncomfortable with the word "scam." It implies a mens rea that I suspect does not exist for most of the warmies -- but I love the enumeration -- though far from complete -- of the costs.
But johngalt thinks:

If by "warmies" you mean your FB friends who are down for Gaia, nature and cute furry creatures then I'll agree with you but Delingpole called out "a tiny handful of individuals" who manipulated global climate record statistics. Our friends, FB and otherwise, who have chosen to place their complete and Absolute faith in those manipulated statistics, are mere foot soldiers in the movement. (Or, to the extent they advocate theft from their neighbor in the name of this "hoax", they are budding National Socialists.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2015 3:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Agreed with JG's emphasis on the "tiny handful" b/c they are profiting from this, as well as being part of the Big Lie.

To add to enumeration, I just found this bit in my records when attempting edification to one of my (very smart, and well meaning) friends who'd become a useful idiot: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/world/africa/in-scramble-for-land-oxfam-says-ugandans-were-pushed-out.html?_r=4&ref=world&
Oxfam report of poor farmers thrown off their land - with violence, in many cases - so friends of Gore can get carbon credits.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 9, 2015 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Dr. Mann lied. People died.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2015 3:43 PM
But jk thinks:

That's my flippant way to admit you're right. The few who corrupted data had mens rea.

My reflexive rejection is directed at Senator Inhofe (HOAX OK) who provides a too plump target for the Jon Stewart crowd by calling the whole thing a hoax.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2015 4:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not the whole thing, just the whole "man caused" thing. Speaking of Stewart, have you heard he's being considered to replace Brian Williams?

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 3:01 PM

Interesting Podcast

One of my favorite authors, Amity Schlaes, talks up Coolidge, her books, Millennials' work ethics, and limited government on Glen Meakem' podcast (just a hair over 15 minut5es).

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent. A good listen.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2015 3:25 PM

Review Corner contribution

Not having much time to read - I will finish Krauthammer's outstanding Things that Matter, and post a review... someday - I think this CRB review of Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind will be of interest to TS'ers, whereby Liberal media bias is qualified, quantified and measured for effect.

A PowerLine post alerted me to this part:

Professor Groseclose devotes chapters 18-20 of Left Turn to his analysis of the effects of media bias. In his preface he briefly states the conclusion of his analysis of the effects: “The effects of media bias are real and significant. My results suggest that media bias aids Democratic candidates by about 8-10 percentage points in a typical election.

I especially like the quotient derived by the author, The Slant Quotient or SQ. Here, our reviewer summarizes nicely things like:

papers are 20 to 40% more likely to print a negative headline if a Republican is in the White House than if a Democrat is there.

For instance, if I had time for a FB column on politics, I would offer a prediction that media would "suddenly" discover the U6 category for measuring un/underemployment when/if the GOP takes the white house.

economists, Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro, programmed a computer to construct a list of "politically loaded phrases"—ones not merely descriptive but also connotative—uttered by members of Congress. On the basis of these phrases, Gentzkow and Shapiro counted the use of these phrases by 400 daily newspapers. They assigned the equivalent of a S.Q. to each paper. [detail about key phrases deleted - nb] The most liberal newspapers were the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. The most conservative papers were the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal.

I bear witness to what Mike Rosen says about the WSJ, which is fairly liberal in it's news section, but has a conservative editorial section, and the review notes that different predictive models give slightly different SQ values for the WSJ, but the other ODT sources are solidly liberal.

No surprise, but the SQ analysis and results are something that Brietbart should pick up to help it's creds (and ideally, circulation). Make no mistake, Shrillary is coming, and every inch lost will be hard to regain (note how hard it is to ditch Lyin' Brian).

But jk thinks:

@nb: Well, I am glad to have some company out here on the lunatic fringe! I like the idea of voting on actual bills and think the test and scores seem pretty valid. Just upon viewing the results of the actual politicians does it seem odd.

There were a few on funding abortion. Being squishily pro-choice, I might have gone for those and scored a bit higher, though I am comfortable saying that we not take money from those who oppose it. When someone retorts "but we take money from Quakers for tanks" I look at my shoes.

And yes I am just like you (and grumpy cat). Every ballot referendum that starts "Shall taxes be raised..." or "Permitting a bind issue for.." gets an immediate NO! I made a mistake voting against a Police station for Erie the first time. Last time I was in, having talked with the Chief who addressed our HOA. Courts good -- we should triple the budgets for justice in the city, state, and country. Legitimate functions of government should be well funded.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2015 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

When Erie raises the speed limit on Erie Parkway to the 85th percentile speed, and makes the speed limit in front of my kids' school the same as in front of Erie Elementary (or vice versa), then I'll support more money for Erie cops and their fascist tools.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And you're still closer to DeMint. Bachmann's score is NEGATIVE 4.1. Somehow.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 11:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I was opposite the "PQ" position (and got 1 point instead of 3) on only four votes: Yes on House District for DC, Yes on bonus limits for TARP recipent executives, Yes on 2010 Defense Authorization Act that killed the F-22, Yes on importation of drugs from Canada.

Still no idea what "PQ" stands for. Progressive Quotient?

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 12:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Bing says "Political Quotient."

On that Erie Speed Limit issue, you are in luck! I happen to know the new Country Chair of the Weld County GOP -- personally! If you'll forward me the exact details, I will get it in this person's capable hands. It's as good as done.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2015 12:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So in summary, a high score on this "Political Quotient" indicates that one is more inclined to use government power for political ends? Is that what we are to conclude?

Nice to know that you know somebody who is somebody. Can he/she fix your speeding tickets?

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2015 2:52 PM

February 8, 2015

Review Corner

What about the wrenching social changes brought on by capitalism and the Industrial Revolution? Is it your conviction that small-town life, centered on church, tradition, and fear of God, is our best bulwark against murder and mayhem? Well, think again. As Europe became more urban, cosmopolitan, commercial, industrialized, and secular, it got safer and safer.
I had always considered Steven Pinker to be a pointy-head Harvard Professor, but his Wikipedia entry says "He is a Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind." Remarkably devoid of phrenology.

But his The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is a masterful work. He collects, analyzes, and communicates voluminous amounts of data from wide-ranging sources and varying disciplines to assemble a comprehensive look at violence from cavemen to 21st Century city dwellers. It does the whole concept of scholarship proud.

The graph stunned almost everyone who saw it (including me-- as I mentioned in the preface, it was the seed that grew into this book). The discovery confounds every stereotype about the idyllic past and the degenerate present. When I surveyed perceptions of violence in an Internet questionnaire, people guessed that 20th-century England was about 14 percent more violent than 14th-century England. In fact it was 95 percent less violent.

It ranges broadly through history, anthropology, economics, genetics, and philosophy -- but there is always a foundation of supporting data. The first and longest portion on the book is dedicated to convincing the skeptical that the world you see on CNN every night (every night you're stuck in a n airport anyway) is less violent than the pastoral settings of indigenous peoples or pre-industrial country life. He describes an illustration from "the 15th -century German manuscript The Medieval Housebook, a depiction of daily life as seen through the eyes of a knight."
In the detail shown in figure 3-5, a peasant disembowels a horse as a pig sniffs his exposed buttocks. In a nearby cave a man and a woman sit in the stocks. Above them a man is being led to the gallows, where a corpse is already hanging, and next to it is a man who has been broken on the wheel, his shattered body pecked by a crow. The wheel and gibbet are not the focal point of the drawing, but a part of the landscape, like the trees and hills.

Ah, the good old days. And this was a huge step up from the hunter-gather societies. The city of Boulder is thick with those who wish we could return to those peaceful days when indigenous Americans roamed an unspoiled land to hunt buffalo and worship mother Gaia. Trouble is they had 100x the murder rate. In some pre-historical societies studied a member had a 50-50 chance of meeting death at the hands of another human as from natural causes -- all before discoveries in hygiene and medicine reduced natural causes.
The same kind of long division has deflated the peaceful reputation of the !Kung, the subject of a book called The Harmless People, and of the Central Arctic Inuit (Eskimos), who inspired a book called Never in Anger. 72 Not only do these harmless, nonviolent, anger-free people murder each other at rates far greater than Americans or Europeans do, but the murder rate among the !Kung went down by a third after their territory had been brought under the control of the Botswana government, as the Leviathan theory would predict. 73

In the concluding chapters, Pinker offers several reasons for the downward slope of the violence curve. I think most ThreeSourcers would agree with most of the reasons; enlightenment values score highly.

The largest reduction comes from Hobbs's Leviathan and is bad news for our Anarchist friends. The Sheriff and courts clean up Dodge. Murder rates fall by magnitudes, but not without cost.

When it came to violence, then, the first Leviathans solved one problem but created another. People were less likely to become victims of homicide or casualties of war, but they were now under the thumbs of tyrants, clerics, and kleptocrats.

The book is not political. Prof. Pinker takes a couple gratuitous swipes at President Bush, but I assume that is in his contract at Harvard.

Pinker does not spike the football, but one could easily use this as a celebration of Progressivism. The greatest gains have been made in Western Europe. The U.S. South (and West) were slower to drop and still lag behind. The sphere of protection and empathy was expanded from tribe to race to all races to homosexuals to animals. Are we all heading to Denmark and just at different locations on the path?

The North is an extension of Europe and continued the court- and commerce-driven Civilizing Process that had been gathering momentum since the Middle Ages. The South and West preserved the culture of honor that sprang up in the anarchic parts of the growing country, balanced by their own civilizing forces of churches, families, and temperance.

That is a difficult consideration for me but I want to repeat that that is not an explicit thesis. Halfway through, I read a Denver Post article on coyote-killing competition. You don't have to be on the PETA board to be discomfited by that. Is there an optimal level of civilization (and homicide?) Most accept liberty's requiring trade-offs in safety. Perhaps that is part.

More appreciated 'round these parts, the second act of the Civilizing and Pacifying process was what the economist Samuel Ricard called "Gentle Commerce."

You have an incentive, moreover, to anticipate what he wants, the better to supply it to him in exchange for what you want. Though many intellectuals, following in the footsteps of Saints Augustine and Jerome, hold businesspeople in contempt for their selfishness and greed, in fact a free market puts a premium on empathy. 38 A good businessperson has to keep the customers satisfied or a competitor will woo them away, and the more customers he attracts, the richer he will be.

Pinker is a Psychologist, and the last chapters evaluate his theories experimentally. Many of the studies make very interesting reading: student/paid guinea pigs who were told to skip a meal given two radishes and having to sit in front of a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and try solve unsolvable puzzles. Sadism has just moved from the fields to the Ivory Tower.

The data in the final chapter comes mostly from studies like these and fMRI scans. I found it interesting but am skeptical of both processes. There's a bit of Jonathan Haidt style, more real world data (and Pinker quotes Haidt extensively). But my skepticism led me to find that a weak finish to a strong -- and important book.

Five stars -- its small flaws are overwhelmed by its important contributions.

UPDATE: Pinker has the lead story on Cato Letters. Hat-tip Facebook friend Brad.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | What do you think? [11]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm willing to take that trade too, but I posit it is a false dichotomy. Restore urbanites' freedom to armed self-defense and then let's see how many murders there are.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2015 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm in. And End the Drug War. But I still suspect we don't get to the Western Europe 1/100,000.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2015 10:37 AM
But dagny thinks:

"An armed society is a polite society." R.A.H.

Posted by: dagny at February 11, 2015 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

4.7/100000 today. Not too bad. Others not reaching the magical standard of western Europe:

Canada 1.6
Finland 1.6
Belgium 1.6
Norway 2.2
Cuba 4.2

We could strive to be at least as non-homicidal as the communist dictatorship of Cuba I suppose. The global average in 2012 was 6.2/100000.

And the most homicidal places on Earth? Honduras at 90.4 and Venezuela at 53.7/100000. Central America has 4 of the bottom 6.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2015 2:54 PM
But jk thinks:

3.1 for the Centennial State. I thought the difference was greater. Thought those crazy Republicans in Texas were in double digits, nut your link has them about 5.

Screw it, that's close enough to Europe.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2015 7:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Texas was 5.9 in 2000, but down to 4.4 in 2012. I'd like to see a breakdown within the state data. Where are the "hot spots" I wonder? Houston? Dallas?

Side note: In a taped address to open the Grammys President Obama claimed that "nearly one in five women in America has been the victim of rape or attempted rape." That must depend on your definition of "attempted rape" because the FBI data on "forcible rape" is much lower:

California - 20.6/100,000 (0.0206%, or 1 in 4854)
Texas - 29.6/100,000 (0.0296%, or 1 in 3378)
Colorado - 40.7/100,000 (0.0407%, or 1 in 2457)

(Shame on you, Colorado.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2015 11:52 AM

February 6, 2015

All Hail Jonah!

Germane to recent posts:

Obama can't help himself. He just can't give a full-throated denunciation of Islamic extremism, or even a tepid one, without doing his creased-pants Niehbur schtick. But look: This isn't complicated. It's really not. If you have to clear your throat for five minutes about the skeletons in our closet before you can feel comfortable denouncing barbarians who bury little boys alive and then go on to rape their little sisters, that is your hang-up, man. I've got my faults, all reasonable people can agree, but I don't feel compelled to list them before I denounce rapists and murderers; "Hey man, I know, I drink too much scotch and I'm sometimes needlessly sarcastic, but you really shouldn't rape little girls or set people on fire." -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

BOOM!

Just, freakin' ... boom.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2015 7:21 PM

Quote of the Day

I have read this tweet several times now and cannot help being amazed. Clinton not only omits her own flirtation in 2008 with anti-vaccine politics, she also breaks the unstated rule of limiting oneself to a single hashtag per tweet. And she is, less surprisingly, remarkably condescending and clichéd--blue skies, spherical earths, it's all about the children. Gag me. -- Matthew Continetti
You don't have to read the whole thing, but ThreeSources is not responsible for your lack of mirth.

Three Cheers for Sen. Mitch McConnell

Interesting factoid for my big-L friends.

After a committee hearing, the Keystone bill spent three weeks on the Senate floor, where it was debated at length and amended by senators of both parties. In all, the Senate voted on 41 amendments--almost three times as many amendment roll call votes as the Democrat-led Senate conducted in all of 2014. -- Sen. John Thune (Better Than Dashle - SD)

It is not liberty in its own right, but the return to regular order is a return to following the Constitution.


February 5, 2015

Can't Make This Stuff Up

Yes, you could make this stuff up. But probably not fast enough or as good as Congress.

Did Congress Lie About Key Facts to Obtain Obamacare Exemption?

Additionally, Vitter alleges that "House and Senate officials submitted false information including fake names, birthdays, zip codes, and had signed under the electronic signature claiming they had provided 'correct answers to all questions,'" in order that Congress may remain exempt from the president's signature health care law.


It's so good it's mandatory! For other people.


All Hail Taranto!

It's an All Hail Taranto! No, it's a Rant!

taranto150205.gif

It is both. I have accused others of tendentious comparison, but I confess that as the video of the Jordanian pilot's being burned alive in a cage went viral, my thoughts turned to Abu Ghraib for the first time in a long time. I elected not to watch the video but am blessed with enough imagine to feel the horror. "Yeah," I thought, "we put some panties on a guy's head..." And apologized and had an investigation and fired some people.

Certainly not suggesting we lower our standards the height of a crushed K-cup, but I also caution folks to remember our moral plane is 10,000 steps up from theirs.

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 4:13 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

If they attack us because we fight back and they attack us when we don't fight back, I choose fighting back. Call me old fashioned. They drew first blood.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2015 11:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I thought of the sad events of Abu Ghraib also, and of the various comments made by people like Kerry and Senator Dustbin, with the thought:

The Khan and Khmer Rouge would have laughed at AG (that's all you got!), but would be favorably impressed with ISIS.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 6, 2015 1:21 PM
But AndyN thinks:

As James Woods tweeted: "If we ever capture the ISIS thug who burned a heroic pilot alive, let's pray we don't pour a cup of water on his face. That would be cruel."

Posted by: AndyN at February 9, 2015 8:39 AM

Quote of the Day

Maybe it's time for the Republicans to tell the Obama Democrats that if they want to own the issue of promising to bring the American people federal government goodness, they can have it. The Republicans should claim as their own what's left, which is to say the entire private sector.

In six years, the Obama Democrats have abandoned any belief in the idea that the private sector is the primary cause of American prosperity. Instead, they seem to see the private sector as a kind of tax sump-pump, a dumb machine whose only purpose is tax flow. -- Dan Henninger


An idea so crazy -- it just might work!

But johngalt thinks:

It DOES work - every time it's tried.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2015 12:51 PM

Yes, vagabonds, there is a strategy

Michael Doran magnificently and at great length argues that BHO has an iranian strategy, and is following it.

Lee Smith supports and greatly summarizes this, tracing what they think is the origin, namely the disastrous Iraq Study Group's report, led by the well-meaning (but doddering, I think) James Baker:

panel urged "Bush to take four major steps: withdraw American troops from Iraq; surge American troops in Afghanistan; reinvigorate the Arab-Israeli 'peace process;' and, last but far from least, launch a diplomatic engagement of the Islamic Republic"

Smith quotes Doran in saying "The Baker-Hamilton report became the blueprint for the foreign policy of the Obama administration" I don't have time to read it all, but it appears that Obama intends detente with Iran to be his Foreign Policy signature achievement. Figures a lazy faculty lounge lizard would grasp on all the wrong, but faddish ideas....

If this compelling argument is true, it again reinforces what the thinkers have long postulated about the Alinskyite players who are out of the lounges and trying to run the country: they certainly have beliefs, which they dare not disclose!

If, in Bushland, America had behaved like a sheriff, assembling a posse ("a coalition of the willing") to go in search of monsters, in Obamaworld America would disarm its rivals by ensnaring them in a web of cooperation. To rid the world of rogues and tyrants, one must embrace and soften them.
quoth Doran (my emphasis).

NOW, he is starting to make sense. Startling, and horrifying sense, but sensical nonetheless. Someone tell Boehner!

Hat tip: The Hugh Hewitt Show, on whose show Smith said that he informally collaborated with Doran, and pretty much agreed with wholeheartedly.

Iran Posted by nanobrewer at 12:50 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

And this approbational strategy toward the Shiite Islamists prevents Iranian nukes... how, exactly?

ISIL has done a superb job of distracting western attention from Tehran, where the greater threat likely lies.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2015 1:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I am generally suspicious of the "evil genius" theory, most politicians lack one required trait.

But I am reminded of President Carter's White House Diary that he published. I was far less political during the Carter years and did not pay close attention. Reading the diary on the Begin-Sadat peace conference at Camp David it is absolutely stunning how Carter and every member of his team were so incredibly biased against Begin and Israel. The referees were wearing hats with the other team's logo in that one.

I still hold that everything the President does can be best explained by ascribing the "faculty lounge" mindset: Arabs over Israel every day of the week.

I think that explains the President without contradicting Doran.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2015 10:01 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

> strategy toward the Shiite Islamists
> prevents Iranian nukes... how, exactly?

Because Barack Obama.... this is where the "horrifying sense" part of it comes in. What JK said about 'faculty lounge' mindset ('Like') now becomes just as important as all of Doran's research.

One must not quibble over such tedious details as "prevention;" that's so negative and oh... so Cold War of you! Once they're our friend, then all these wonderful things can happen - they might even open enroll for Obamacare! (Someone has to, Congress won't.)

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 6, 2015 10:23 AM

February 4, 2015

The most ridiculous thing I have seen all year

It's early February, but Wow. Is It Time To Kill The K-Cup, Before It Kills Our Planet?

Click through for the most inane, over the top, dystopian video of all time. "[M]ade by Canadian production company Egg Studios takes a look at the environmental impact our coffee addiction has created. Titled 'Kill The K-Cup,' the short showcases a dystopian future where a single-use coffee pod monster destroys everything in its path."

I was very disappointed to see someone whom I respect a great deal post something like this on Facebook.

Surely there is some fancy Latinate term for the fallacy, but people just cannot comprehend how big the world and the economy is: 8.3 billion K-Cups, like LA's "13 Million plastic bags" sounds as if it would break the system. But I don't hear any landfills cracking. I live near a big one -- and they could double or quadruple it without much concern.

The other link I saw said "our oceans are drowning in plastic." That is both overwrought and non-germane. That problem, to the extent it is one, is about litter; I don't see K-Cups rolling down the street. They are used in kitchens and offices and most all find there way into the waste stream.

I'll leave the "but there not recyclable" argument to a good viewing of Penn & Teller. The same show answers this, but "where are we gonna put 8,300,000,000 used K-Cups?

A friendly shopper on Amazon shares the dimensions of an intact K-Cup: 2" top diameter. 1.75" tall (with no bulging of top or bottom). 1.43" bottom diameter approx. 5cm x 4.5cm close enough for Government work? The cube root of 8.3 Billion is 2025, so we're talking a regular structure 101 meters square and 89m deep.

Remind me to buy stock in GMCR.

And yet, eco-warriors, that is non-schmooshed and treats it as a containing cube -- I think a modern landfill could easily reduce that to 20% of its theoretical size. So, we have an American football field 109.7 m by 48.8 m piled 35 m high. Damn that's still a lot, but I suggest my local landfill -- as featured on TopGear -- could handle it. But we don't have to. There are 1,908 landfills in the US alone (as of 2009) and 560,000 acres of the US are active landfills.

At 4046.9 m2/ acre, that is -- 3.66 K-cups in every square meter. And it is full of delicious and aromatic coffee! No heavy metals. I'm a Senseo™ man myself and would love to see the format bolstered by its biodegradable pods. But really, people, we can handle this. Set panties to "unbunched."

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 6:07 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

A cubic mile of K-Cups?

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2015 8:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Mmmm. A mi3 of coffee...

Check my math:
63360 inches in a mile (5280*12)
/2 in/cup = 31680
Squared = 1003622400 in one layer
* 36206 rows (63360/1.75" high)
= 36,336,865,865,143
/ 8,300,000,000 This year's worldwide production
= 4378 years of delicious fresh coffee.

Yup, we're fine.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2015 10:18 AM
But jk thinks:

And, when it's full, we just bring in a big Monty Python foot to squoosh it down and get a few more millennia.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2015 11:34 AM

END PMS

According to the Free Dictionary there are 196 different meanings for the acronym "PMS." The two most popular, pre-menstrual syndrome and pantone matching system, are not the topic of this post. I refer to a 197th meaning: Politically Motivated Science

State senator Doug Whitsett, in Oregon of all places, named this enemy of the common man in his commencement speech to last year's graduating class of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine:


Politically motivated science and statistically significant science are much like oil and water. First, they are nearly impossible to mix. Second, oil rises to the top like science that is fabricated to support political motives.

(...)

Estimated, assumed, surrogate or fabricated data points predictably produce 'counterfeit-science'.

Too often, we are asked to believe that biological systems are just 'too complex' to support science that is statistically significant. Moreover, we are expected to accept the unsubstantiated and often unverifiable assumptions that are used to calibrate the models.

Scientific reports that are not statistically significant are by definition, insignificant. They are irrelevant, immaterial and inconsequential.

Worse, computer models are too often manipulated to fabricate alleged scientific support to justify a political end.

The modelled reports are then employed to mislead those who believe that science is the 'final word'.

There is no such thing as 'the final word in science'.

Moreover, there is no such thing as 'scientific consensus' or 'settled science'. The scientific method requires that we continue to question, continue to probe, and continue to debate the validity of every scientific assumption.



But, Vermont Does It

Not blessed with that Yankee Ingenuity like The Green Mountain State, the UK is struggling to heat homes with windmills.

UK demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW) between 5pm and 5.30pm on Monday, according to official data from the National Grid. But wind contributed just 0.573GW during the same time, just over 1pc of the total.

In stark contrast, gas accounted for 42pc, coal for 29pc, nuclear for 16pc, pumped storage and hydro for 5pc, and interconnector imports for 5pc (the total doesn’t quite add up because of rounding).


It adds up plenty good for me -- commercial wind power is a complete waste, providing 1% of the energy needs at substantive cost.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

Congratulations, Burlington!

You'll save millions of gallons of gasoline as people no longer want to drive to view the fall foliage!

burlington.jpg

From US Uncut, shared by a Facebook Friend. And, yes, they are both serious.

UPDATE: PBS News Hour link

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Dude -- it was on the Internet! Of course it is true! I added a link to a PBS video. "Climate Change is the biggest problem we face -- the biggest problem we've ever faced!" ~1:35

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 12:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Unlike Colorado, they include hydro as renewable. I think that means Las Vegas is there too.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 12:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Residential? Is that a qualifier?

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Only if anyone wants to shop or hold a job.

It's not a lot windier here, or a lot more rivers here, and certainly not a lot sunnier here than lots of parts of the U.S. It was just a bunch of decisions made over ten years or more, to get towards renewable energy.

Tell that to the Boulder City Council, who doesn't have a Winooski river, or an underutilized [fish habitat destroying] hydroelectric dam in a neighboring state to leech 45% of their power from. But Boulder could build the same "renewable" power plant that Burlington did: Wood stoves, aka "biomass."
Biomass is just a fancy word for something that gets burned to produce energy -- in this case, they haul in scrap wood from across Vermont, use the heat to make steam, and thus generate electricity.

That smokestack up top? That's just water vapor being emitted.
Sure! Plus CO2.

I am just sick and tired of these Democrat voters who ignore science.

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2015 1:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Like.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

The electric rates have not gone up -- anybody else guess they were sky high to begin?

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2015 4:27 PM

Tomorrow's Vaccine

The WSJ Ed Page slams Sen. Rand Paul (R - Jenny McCarthy) in VaccineGate®

He pitched all this as an "obvious" question of "freedom": "The state doesn't own your children. The parents own the children." Oh, my.

I stand foursquare with Gigot Pharmaceuticals in support of all the current vaccines. But I stand with Senator Paul in defense of "our inalienable right to property in our own persons" and would extend that to minor children.

Circumspection of state power is always a good idea; I do not find these positions irreconcilable.

Yes, let's discard the Junk Science Lancet study that Measles vaccine causes autism. But what about when President Hillary Clinton wants us all inoculated against Tea Party membership? And one of her donors comes up with a shot (or sizable and rough coated suppository)?

I'll call anybody an idiot for not vaccinating their kids, but I am not marching up the Capitol steps to demand enforcement.

2016 Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [0]

All Hail Harsanyi

The New York Times claims that this insane "presidential vaccine controversy" we're all taking about raises important questions about "how to approach matters that have been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by conservatives."

Well, here's another question: How do we deal with the false perception that liberals are more inclined to trust science than conservatives? Or, how do we approach the media's fondness for focusing on the unscientific views of some conservatives but ignoring the irrational--and oftentimes, more consequential--beliefs of their fellow liberals?


The whole piece is superb.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 3, 2015

Curricula Complacency

I am already guilty of starting brother jg's discussion down a side road with my first comment. Even I cold not torture it further.

But allow me a quick rant which may or may not fit in. You can call it jk's law if you'd like:

Half of what you are taught in school is absolute crap.

My progressive friends equate the teaching of Creationism with poison. We must seek out any place in this great nation where that happens, expose it, ridicule them, fine them, lock people up, and put it all on the Daily Show.

Now, I do not subscribe to Creationism and would vote against its being taught to my imaginary offspring. But I accept that the time they are not being taught that, they will simply use the additional time to reiterate the benefits of recycling. I was taught many things that were absolute lies, or drivel and I -- well, my classmates came out okay.

It is part of critical thinking skills. The suggestion that 12 years (15 after pre-K and Community College are free) will be filled with absolute truth is naïve. So, the rush to purge a curriculum of a bad definition of liberty, or the easy way to add six and nine -- or underestimating the efficacy of carbon dating, seems over-pursued.

Tell your precious snowflakes that half of what teacher says is absolute crap and that they need learn to distinguish which is which. Then buy them pizza.

Education Rant Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

Practical Common Core

We've all read many pro and con opinions on the Common Core educational curriculum, both in concept and in practice, but it has been generic and cherry picked and sensationalized, among other things. Today I present a real-world example of "a Colorado social studies curriculum aligned with Colorado's 4th Grade Social Studies Standards and the Common Core Standards." It is called Do Colorado!

If you click on the Preview Book link you will find, right after a respectable treatment of "Freedom" and "Citizenship" the page (one page) on "Economy." [p.44 pdf, p.77 in text]

Economy is a word used to describe the way people make money. No matter where you live, you must be involved in some activity that provides a way for you and your family to survive. Food, clothing and shelter are basic needs in your family and every community throughout the world. These things are usually not given away for free. People must trade their time and labor for money.

In America, we have a free enterprise system. This means that we are free to choose the type of work we will do to make the income we need. If we want to work for a company, the owners of the company may require us to be educated about the company's products or the way the company does business. We may also be required to learn certain skills before working for a company. Some jobs pay more than others. It's important to learn the skills and get the education for the job you want.

I'm very interested in ThreeSourcers' opinions of this, as well as the paragraph on Entrepreneurs that follows - but first, just this. Fire away in the comments.

Education Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

What if Colorado does not wish to be "done" in such a manner?

I will play if you want, but you have already lost the argument by playing on their terms. (Lookit, the day after Ayn Rand's Birthday, me talkin' like that!) Arguing the merits/demerits of curricula is a subjective enterprise and a tacit admission that it is okay for the Feds to shove one down our throats if it be good.

The Facebook version is for Conservatives to howl at the complexity of Common Core Math and proponents to display that they are teaching basic numeracy which is valuable. Both are right. Nine plus six is 15; but so is ten minus one plus ten minus four.

You have placed your foot squarely in their trap. The issue is nationalization of curricula and the tremendous amount of persistent data collected, not the definition of "economy."

Friends?

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2015 3:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, still friends. Anyone else?

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2015 3:44 PM
But jk thinks:

To pump up the footballs to 13.5 psi and play by the rules:

Umm, not perfect, but a lot better than I would expect. Exchange of value is presented as voluntary, and skills are important to providing value.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2015 3:54 PM

Jeb

A Politico article blasts former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. I know -- stop the presses! What are the odds? Alert Taranto's "Bottom Story of the Day" department.

I clicked on "Jeb Put Me Through Hell" to laugh at an unseemly Politico hack attack from some third grade classmate of the Governor who traded a peanut butter sandwich for applesauce or something...

Yet that is not it. The author is Michael Shiavo. I bet most ThreeSourcers remember the name and the story. It is the day I left the conservatives and joined the libertarians.

But it never would have become what it became if not for the dogged intervention of the governor of Florida at the time, the second son of the 41st president, the younger brother of the 43rd, the man who sits near the top of the extended early list of likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates. On sustained, concentrated display, seen in thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of emails he sent, was Jeb the converted Catholic, Jeb the pro-life conservative, Jeb the hands-on workaholic, Jeb the all-hours emailer--confident, competitive, powerful, obstinate Jeb. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it's the Jebbest thing Jeb's ever done.

Curiously and morbidly, my wife had a life-threatening medical event several weeks after, and our conversations about Terri and Michael Sciavo left me knowing her exact stance. But before that case -- most notably the Supreme Court visit, I was a Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, John Kasich conservative Republican.

But this is one more reminder (an d I am willing to discount it for its source) that the Establishment GOP does not want government out of your life. Weave this with his indefatigable support for Common Core and let us say the Gov is not my choice in 2016.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

Caught Off Guard

Yes, I missed the confluence of my two favorite topics: politics and junk science. The Internet Segue Machine™ surely requires an overhaul. Brother nb surprised me with his QOTD yesterday, causing me to ask that internet-question: "Is This a Thing?"

Oh, yes Indeedy. Reason has gone on Defcon 5, Facebook is a-Twitter and Twitter has turned about-face. Jim Geraghty leads with the politics, linking Ace, channeling nanobrewer.

Vaccines are the media's new "Birth Control Pills" question for the GOP -- injecting an out-of-nowhere wedge issue question into the debate just because it hurts the GOP.

Almost all GOP politicians are pro-vaccination, of course -- but a distressing number of GOP voters are against it, making this a politically difficult question.

Note that the media could drop any number of such wedge issue questions on Democrats -- do you favor the making taxpayers pay for voluntary sex-reassignment surgery -- but they don't because they're Democrats themselves and want to hide such wedge issues, not expose them.


Clearly, the nation will turn to the strict scientific rationality of Sec Hillary Clinton in 2016. I laugh to keep from crying.

UPDATE: The Facebook group Friends of Best of the Web is generally a very un-libertarian bunch, but a fellow member hits it out of the park:


State-mandated Vaccines?

If an private individual or group of its own volition elects to prohibit un-vaccinated people from entering its presence, the police power is appropriately deployed to enforce that prohibition. But to have the state mandate a segregation between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals is an unjust overreach.

UPDATE II: A new record for updates on Insty's post about this.

2016 Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Directly answering the FOBOTW commenter above: Yes, state mandated medical treatments is tyrannical.

As dagny wisely observed this morning, the problem only arises because the majority of our school system is "public." If it were private then each school could decide for itself whether unvaccinated children could enroll. The question would be settled freely in a marketplace of vaccinated and unvaccinated schools.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2015 12:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Very wisely observed. I am new to this debate, I think because it has been ginned up as a GOP Gotcha enterprise. I mean, really, even hard core progressives, how big is the Federal role?

Before reading dagny, the FOBOTW dude, and Judge Napolitano, I would have said that a GOP leader should strongly endorse the miracle of vaccination, strongly condemn the junk science that suggests great risk, and trust well informed polity to do their best.

Now, I will add the Randy Barnett-esque argument that private spaces should mandate vaccination. This "fixes" the free-rider-on-herd-immunity problem without empowering government.

Do I believe the people that brought you "cake police" will allow someone's precious little snowflake to be barred from Disneyland? Not so much. But it is a principled stand I can endorse.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2015 3:18 PM

February 2, 2015

Sorry all you rat bags misunderstood me...

And, I was sick!

Erie Mayor Tina Harris, who was held to standards on these pages, has mastered the non-apology apology, so critical to political success.

What I was expressing with this comment is the people paid to come into our community were not presenting their message and petition from an Erie point of view. They did not understand the issue from an Erie point of view. In other words they did not sound like Erie. They did not look like Erie because their effort was not an Erie based effort. It was not a comment on something superficial. It was a comment on their message and its lack of being Erie centered. I should have said it that way, instead of shortening it to what I did.

The comment was an attempt to ensure Erie resident's voices held more weight than paid representatives. After all, my duty is to speak for and stand up for Erie residents over all others. I should have remembered, when taking a stand there are always people who will try to weaken your stance. The lady who posted the video has helped me understand, "every single word, every phrase, will be analyzed." While I do not appreciate the manner she has gone about teaching me this lesson, I do understand the message. As Leon Brown said, "The person who does you wrong, is also teaching you a lesson. Respect them for this, if nothing else."


Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 7:10 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

A letter to last Friday's Daily Comrade by one Bradley Beck quoted extensively (and not too convincingly, IMO) from Epstein's _Moral Case for Fossil Fuels_. It at least put a face to the Mayor's feeble attempt at a "Big Lie." I wish some more attention was paid to the out of state (and possibly foreign) funding the Ban the Frack crowd....

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 5, 2015 12:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Amen to that! As if all the opposition were local grassroots homeowners and all the support was flown in from DC on Gulfstreams. I've little doubt heronner sees it that way.

Point of Order: Bradley Beck is a frequent attendee at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons and he is mentioned but not named in my review of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels as the guy who pushed me over the line to read it. Do you have a link to the letter or are you reading it on biodegradable carbon?

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2015 9:37 AM

Quote of the Day

Daniel Foster comments on the C. Christie quotes in reference to vaccinations, with this most memorable:

[T]his is the next two years. New York Times reporters following around GOP aspirants with gotcha questions designed to make them look like yokels and kooks. . . .There's not much we can do to stop it, but we don't have to actively encourage it, do we?

Yes, I declare a moratorium on the tactic of fratricide. Let the Left with it's POTUS posterchild (shoot, I can't double emphasize a compound word!) digging it deeper everyday, have this tantrum.

But jk thinks:

I feel like I walked in on this movie in the middle (but casting Will Ferrell as the guv was a great move.)

Reason has panties severely creased, but I'm not expecting smootchies for Gov. Christie from that quarter.

I'm interested in promoting vaccinations and limiting GOP fratricide. But who are the GOP complainers who want mandatory forced vaccinations? I follow all kinds of crazy and I confess that I have not seen much of that.

Reason magazine did a symposium on whether forced vax was a valid state power: even they were all over the map. I don't see what is objectionable in Christie's comment.

As one who has cooled -- substantially -- on the Governor's being the GOP standard bearer, the problem I see is not his excessive libertarianism. Am I missing something?

We vaccinated our kids; you should too. Am I going to kick your door down at 3AM with jackbooted nurses? Not likely.

Is that not a decent GOP response?

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2015 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Judge Napolitano had the right answer on this last night with Megan Kelly - "Vaccinations are a state law issue. There is no federal role in whether they are compulsory." Or sentiment to that effect.

And dagny had an even better answer, which I'll relate above where it is a better fit.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2015 12:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Foster's column, too, found little to be concerned with in the big guy's comments. I don't recall anywhere that CC argued that the FED needed to be running (or deciding)... he just mentioned it, as I believe is true, too, as a legitimate space for government action.

The press did get their "Macaca" moment (remember a promising aspirant GOP governor from VA?), or so they thought with Sen. Paul....

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2015 11:35 PM

Room on the Patriots' Bandwagon.

Robert Kraft supports Israel.

And, Darth Hoodie -- closet Tea Partier?



Sports Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Huzzah! And I thought I was pulling for them merely for their nickname. (And position in the crosshairs of the drive-by media.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2015 2:36 PM

Tweet of the Day

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

I'd rather lose the way Denver did last year - going away - than to have victory snatched away as a rookie New England DB did to Seahawks Nation last night. Brutal! But satisfying for this Broncos fan. I've seen Brady cry before. I rather enjoyed seeing Richard Sherman's boo hoo face this time. (And, that of Mr. Happy go Lucky head coach.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2015 2:30 PM

February 1, 2015

Blast From the Past (Meta Version)

It's always fun to get a new comment on an old post that has been delivered to some unsuspecting person by a search engine. Well, unless it is Viagra spam or links in Cyrillic.

But it was fun to hear from somebody who added facts and color to our discussion of Strings & Things Music and the Voxmobile.

Bob from CodeZeroRadio found the post and left this:

I worked for a short time at Strings and Things and Go For Baroque music ( Bill started after a particularly nasty fight with his wife). I even traveled with Baker to California to sell a van full of Moog synthesizers. I landed here in a search for the Vox Mobile. My son is now on a quest to find it. Anyhow, yeah I got some stories about working there. Like the time Bill finished off his first fifth of Old Grandad and told two guys that a pair of monitors they were looking at were junk. He then said "Piss on 'em!" And he did. Whipped it out and peed all over the speakers. Good times.

I traded a couple emails with Bob and he retuned This jewel of a link: The Voxmobile has been found and has its own site at www.thevoxmobile.com. I remember sitting in it but I had no idea of its impressive musical and mechanical specs. I think ThreeSourcers will enjoy a gander.

UPDATE: HOLY COW! UPDATE OF ALL UPDATES! It is FOR SALE!

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

And shipping is a very reasonable 750 bucks!

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2015 2:33 PM
But Bob thinks:

How odd it turns up on a web site I visit often. Fate? Serendipity? They seem a little optimistic on the price. Thanks for posting that update. Now if I could just find out what happened to that Klipsch system that was installed at the Rainbow Music Hall...

Posted by: Bob at February 5, 2015 1:55 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)