March 31, 2015

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I un-followed George Takei on Facebook today. I have enjoyed his nerdy humor and science posts. I bristled a bit at -- but accepted -- his single-issue advocacy. But the jokes kept me connected.

It has been a couple of tough days. We differ on Indiana -- but I differ with most of my friends, including some with whom I usually agree. Takei is on MSNBC, taking whacks at Gov. Pence and posting them. Whatever, we're still good.

And then:

takei_soda.jpg

It strikes me that the jokes have slowly been slipping away, while the sermons have been increasing in frequency. Not just gay rights, but Net Neutrality and now the eeeevils of sugary soda. If you click through twice you get this video where a bottle of Coke is reduced in a pan to a sludgy, syrupy goo.

I'm a proud Atkins guy and unlikely defender of sugars, but really? That's all you got? There is sugar in Coke (corn sweetener in the USA, thanks to gub'mint). And, if you boil something down it might look unappetizing -- though you could pour the reduced Coke syrup on some ice cream and add some maraschino cherries and Cool-Whip®...

So, if you follow George, and he posts a funny share it. We're splitsville.

But johngalt thinks:

What happens when you boil down "organic mango juice?" Spoiler alert: Basically the same thing, except it's orange instead of black. And it tastes like candy instead of "burning" and "garbage." (I wonder if it's possible to burn the mango juice too.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA6p6pNkfdY

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2015 2:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And he can't even use spell check anymore... his meds must be slipping. I don't miss talking to the arch-liberal in my complex, either....

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 31, 2015 10:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, so many of his jokes are about grammar that linking to the "are pretty terribly" post struck a nerve. But I did not want to pile on.

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2015 9:30 AM

Coffeehousin'

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Johnny Burke & Jimmy Van Heusen ©1940

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

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March 30, 2015

Back Home Again in Indiana?

We seem to have no shortage of disagreements of late; let me throw one more contentious issue into the hopper.

I find myself with queer bedfellows (I do enjoy my own sense of humor...) on the question of Indiana's religious freedom law. Line me up with the H8ers and the fundamentalists as we peer suspiciously across Facebook to George Takei, some usual suspects, and a couple of very thoughtful friends.

I collected several examples of thoughtful writing that supported my position:

Fairness dictates that I provide the best of the other side's that I saw (and I will update if somebody wants to share). That would be Garrett Epps in The Atlantic. (Three double letters in three syllables -- now there's a Journalism Name!) Curiously, Epps also appears at the end of Althouse's piece:


AND: I had to wonder What does Garrett Epps think about this? Because Garrett Epps wrote a whole book about how terrible it was for the U.S. Supreme Court to deny special exceptions to religious believers, especially in that case where Native Americans wanted the freedom to use peyote. As I predicted, Epps is otherizing Indiana.

If you want to read just one -- and a short one -- this captures my torn nature. Like the author, I would likely have voted against it. But I will not join the social media condemnation. One's primary and inalienable right to property in one's own person outweighs one's tertiary right to cake.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

Everyone else has disowned me.

You and I are comfortable defining government's boundaries by rights. For those not so inclined, compelling Woolworth's to serve black men at the lunch counter is, well, compelling. It seems a worthy exercise of government power and is not impossible to fit into a rights framework. If no one will sell food to me as a gay, black, one-eyed gypsy in a wheelchair, my right to property in my own person is threatened.

The smartest objection was slippery-slope misuse of this: specifically Muslim taxi drivers at the St Paul/Minneapolis airport have refused to serve customers carrying alcohol. I contend that's a regulated public utility and the question would be obviated by Uber and Lyft. But the potential for misuse is indeed large.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2015 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Misuse? Of liberty? Non!

A pale complexioned Christian fellow may not, as a government employee, discriminately refuse service. If he does then it is appropriate to fire or reassign him, despite violating his religious liberty.

Muslim taxi drivers should be legally free to refuse service for personal religious reasons, public regulation or not.

It's a feature not a bug.

I'm sorry your social circle has disowned you, but you are commended for your principles. Anyone can agree with the majority.

And minority rights is precisely where I suggest you push them back. Rush Limbaugh cites this quote from CNN's Chris Cuomo:

The original law was designed to protect religious minorities, Native Americans, from smoking peyote, you know, the Amish for having to put an LED light on their carriages. You're now empowering the majority, businesses, big groups, largely Christians, and that is going to be a very different impact.

Democrats supported "the original law" including Barack Obama and President Clinton, who signed it into federal law, when it benefitted "minorities." They oppose it now when the exact same principle is claimed by, what he claims to be, a "majority."

The "majority" God-fearing Christian Americans are being empowered to discriminate against the "minority" LGBT community. But what is the smallest minority group of all? The individual. This law actually protects a minority - individual business owner(s) - from a much larger group, namely a well-organized political advocacy group acting in the name of the LGBT community.

Why do they seek to impose their collective will upon minorities? How dare they!

Whether Christianity is a "lifestyle choice" or not, every person living in America should enjoy freedom of conscience. Otherwise we can change the name to Amerika.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2015 5:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, yes, of course I am right.

One good complaint was that this will set the GOP back as "the stupid party" alienates yet another generation of a minority group and those who care for them.

And I'd still be comfortable saying "screw it, we're right" and trotting out your trenchant case -- perhaps without the appeal to authority of one Rush Limbaugh.

Yet, the Republicans cannot make a principled case. It's Romney 2012 all over again! Gov. Pence, whom I admire, is hopeless. "Will this allow discrimination?" "Umm, well, I, ahh let's see, gee no I don't really think so..."

Hopeless.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2015 6:59 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm with you, my e-Brothers.

Worth pointing out a few quotes:

Alter:

[RFRA laws] are about accommodating religious belief, not authorizing discrimination.

Althouse:

These laws are all over the place. Understand them. Understand how they apply in many different scenarios and how they are limited by courts in their application. Stop otherizing Indiana.

Takei and the entire Manhattan Media:
Insert preferred BIG LIE

I listened to Pence today, and admits he blew it a bit on Stephanopolous, but is rock solid now. It only allows discrimination in the you can keep your health plan reality-challenged universe.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 31, 2015 10:58 PM
But jk thinks:

As the prophet once said "life is not ThreeSources." But I would like to see Pence answer "Does this allow discrimination?" with "Damn straight, Skippy! You built that business and you may choose to serve whomever you wish."

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2015 9:34 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Me too, jk, me too. But that is a "beat your wife" question and Pence is smart enough to recognize it. Given a day and a half to think of a better response I've come up with this:

This law seeks to reduce discrimination. In the process of protecting individuals from discrimination, state and federal governments have historically instituted laws that often favor one individual over another. The purpose of this law is to establish equality amongst all individuals, whether they be merchants or consumers. The state of Indiana will no sooner force a merchant to conduct trade against his will than it will force a consumer to do so.
Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2015 1:28 PM

The Senior Senator from AZ Needs your Support

Senator John McCain (Brave War Hero but Philosophical mushhead - AZ) id deciding whether to seek re-election. He emails that he is taking the decision seriously and will not run unless he knows he has the tools and support to win.

Just hours remain until the end of the quarter and I need to know you stand with me.

We are still $25,687 short of our fundraising goals. Will you please reaffirm your support by making a generous contribution of $25, $50, or even $100 to help me lay the early groundwork for a successful defense in the quickly approaching primary season?


Click here to give.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Two days ago, McCain reacted to the Ted Cruz candidacy by saying "They don't know Barry Goldwater, the people who make that comparison" (comparing Cruz to Goldwater). I have long voiced my displeasure with McCain, and I hope that my final bleat at him will be this: "If Mr. Goldwater were here today, he would thank you for your service, and express his disappointment at your Senate record. Shut the hell up and retire."

Mr. McCain, I know Barry Goldwater. Barry Goldwater is a hero of mine, and you, sir, are no Barry Goldwater.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2015 12:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Indeed. We might all consider donating a nickel.

In fairness, the Senator delivered the muscular defense and Democrat-lite spending levels that the party used to stand for, did he not? If I think of the George W. Bush era -- or even Reagan era -- Congresses, McCain is a good senator.

The TEA party challenge is to replace such big-government-conservatives in states like Arizona which can support a liberty candidate and marginalize them elsewhere (cough, Peter King, cough...)

Am I supposed to say that aloud?

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2015 1:07 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Agreed with JK; he's not quite worth two rubbed nickels. He has been a good senator, legislatively, and his occasional oratorical greatness balanced out by his ego and awful flops (McCain-Feingold...); he's best when, like Katniss, he's unscripted.

Hmm, but is he worth a stamp...?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 30, 2015 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh Merciful Zeus! In a fit of subconscious kindness, I forgot McCain-Feingold. No scratch the kind remarks. My sister and her husband went to see him at a book signing or something, even before the 2000 Election -- he waxed poetic on "The British System:" limit the campaign to six weeks and provide public financing.

NO NOT A NICKEL! NOTHIN'!! DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE ASS ON THE WAY OUT!!!

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2015 3:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My credit card was declined. Did it work for any of you guys to enter a negative payment amount?

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2015 7:01 PM

March 29, 2015

Hobbesian America

I had been considering an essay on the Hatfields and McCoys as underscoring the importance of property rights. And I intended to build it into an argument against anarchy. Before I could put fingers to keyboard, I saw that Robert Nozick had already done the heavy lifting:

In a state of nature, the understood natural law may not provide for every contingency in a proper fashion (see sections 159 and 160 where Locke makes this point about legal systems, but contrast section 124), and men who judge in their own case will always give themselves the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are in the right. They will overestimate the amount of harm or damage they have suffered, and passions will lead them to attempt to punish others more than proportionately and to exact excessive compensation (sects. 13, 124, 125). Thus private and personal enforcement of one's rights (including those rights that are violated when one is excessively punished) leads to feuds, to an endless series of acts of retaliation and exactions of compensation. -- Nozick, Robert (2013-11-12). Anarchy, State, and Utopia (p. 11). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

You can look forward to a full Review Corner next week (or, perhaps, make other plans...)

Lisa Alther, in her book Blood Feud [Review Corner], makes the suggestion that the whole contretemps could have been short circuited. Had the (Hatfield) Judge, instead of ruling against the (McCoy) plaintiff in a dispute over ownership of a small pig, said "I cannot tell who owns it. let's roast it outside the courthouse next Saturday," perhaps America's most famous feud would have been avoided.

Blaming Anarcho-Capitalism leaves me exposed. Didn't you just mention an established government court? Did not the disputed extradition across state lines make it al the way to the US Supreme Court in Hatfied v. McCoy? Whose idea of anarchy is that, jk?

I state that post-War Appalachia was Hobbesian, even with the trappings of an inchoate state. The Judge is presented both in Altehr's book and the Kevin Costner miniseries as a man of probity and fairness. But both families were what Nozick calls a dominant protective association. The questionable disposition of pork products did not occasion an appeal or a civil suit, but violence.

Then, when property rights in one's own person were compromised, the escalation, pacé Nozick, happened outside legal channels with each family bringing in "hired guns" with a very loose affiliation with state sanctioned law enforcement. Three McCoys are held captive and executed by Hatfield family members. One suspects there was not a lot of due process.

It was a more orderly time than Hobbes's Civil War which inspired "Leviathan," but there was a failure of government to protect property rights. Private and quasi-private "protective associations" filled the void -- but the result was not an anarchist utopia. Rather, life was nasty, brutish, and short.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 27, 2015

Boulder DA - Life Begins at Inhalation

District Attorney Stan Garnett (D-People's Republic of Boulder) will not pursue murder charges against a woman who forcibly removed a 7 month fetus from her mother, killing the child.

"Colorado law defines homicide as the killing of a person by another," Garnett said.

Fine so far, except that this terse definition doesn't make any allowance for self-defense.

"A person does not include a fetus, even if the child is born following the injury that ultimately leads to its death. It's on this point of law that Colorado is absolutely unambiguous." [emphasis mine]

Garnett continued:

"A prosecutor cannot file murder charges when a baby that is killed has not lived outside the womb," he said. "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."

As much as I disagree with the law as written, I can't disagree here. But a decision was made in this case:

"At this time, neither the autopsy or the investigation have provided any evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth," [County Coroner Emma] Hall [D-People's Republic of Boulder] wrote. [emphasis mine]

I'm left wondering what Ms. Hall might consider "evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside the womb." Her first report card, perhaps?

Garnett said it had been widely reported that witness David Ridley told Longmont police immediately after the incident that he had seen the baby, named Aurora, take a gasping breath.

"Upon a more thorough examination of this witness by the Longmont Police Department, the witness clarified that Aurora was still and her mouth was open, but she was not breathing," Garnett said.

The ol' "didn't inhale" defense. Well, with every measure of respect Mr. District Attorney, bullshit. This juror believes the witness' initial statement, not the one obtained by police officers in your county "upon a more thorough examination" and after he realized or was informed that a breathing baby is a murder victim. And the witness did not even see the baby until the suspect had transported her across town. If she was still taking a "gasping breath" at that time, she was clearly breathing in some manner or other before then.

So the child/baby/fetus that was ripped from her mother will receive only as much justice as a charge of "first-degree attempted murder" and some assault charges. And the suspect will walk on that charge because she didn't injure any of the mother's vital organs, so couldn't have been attempting her murder and, as the DA so has so speciously explained, "a person does not include a fetus."

If a child takes a breath in a bathtub and there is no medical examiner there to hear it, does it really make a sound?

How can these people sleep at night?


UPDATE: [8:38 am MDT 3/28] I gave more thought to the legal fig leaf Garnett is standing behind in this case. Namely, "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."

I thought he may have weighed in on last year's gay marriage controversy, where several counties including Boulder began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in contravention of federal law within days of a 10th Circuit Court ruling the federal law unconstitutional, despite the ruling having been stayed. Apparently he did not. However, he did have something to say on the matter in 2010 during his campaign against incumbent Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, when a Massachusetts judge made a similar ruling:

"This decision is an appropriate endorsement of states' rights and local control, respecting the right of individual states to resolve important and controversial issues for themselves. As Attorney General, I will work to uphold the will of Colorado voters." [emphasis mine]

Despite this pledge to essentially "decide the law" for Coloradoans, Garnett lost the campaign for Attorney General - but should Colorado voters not expect him to live up to his own pledge as the Boulder District Attorney?

This isn't directly comparable, as the "will of Colorado voters" in the present case is expressed by the large number of individuals who made their opinion known to the DA rather than by ballot initiative. But the principle remains - in some cases the law "as written" is unjust.

But jk thinks:

I have some very unpopular and contrarian views on this. I thought if anyone I knew might be in my camp, it might be my blog brother jg. As the great philosopher Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac said: "Oh, well."

This is a horrific crime and excruciating tragedy. I rarely quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (who -- as far as I know never played for Fleetwood Mac), but his famous dictum applies here:

Great cases like hard cases make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their importance... but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment.

DA Garnett is applying the law as written -- a value for which I stand fulsomely. Our Republican legislators will again make a quest to pass "personhood." This has failed badly at the polls, twice, and in the State Legislature. It shall be revived now as "So-and-so's Law" to provide justice.

The alleged perpetrator is deeply disturbed and subject to many serious charges. That one of them is not named "murder" may not seem right, but appreciation for rule of law is right.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2015 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We discussed this briefly at family potluck last night and I concluded it is a conflict between two important principles: "Innocent until proven guilty" and "alive until proven dead." Which may prevail in a court of law is anyone's guess. But it should not matter. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, codified in 2004 at the federal level and adopted in some form by 38 states not including Colorado, impresses me as good law. My less than thorough understanding is that Colorado's "Personhood" initiatives overreached and thus sealed their fate. An initiative seeking to "adopt in Colorado law the federal law criminalizing the murder of unborn children with a clear and specific exception for abortion" would, it seems to me, pass with a large majority. The laboratories of democracy seem to agree with your and my conclusion that failing to try this assailant for murder (and instead try her for attempted murder of, whom, the mother?) does "not seem right."

More than jailing this monster for as long as is deserved, I seek to change Colorado law so that it reflects "the will of the people" in protecting individual liberty. And I seek to shame Boulder's Coroner and DA who, it is my firm belief, could have found the needed evidence if they had looked for it. And further shaming the DA for his convenient conversion to "law as written" absolving him from any duty of professional judgment.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I will yield on the charge of "murder" as the suspect did not appear to intend the child's death. To the contrary, she claimed her as her own newborn child. So the proper charges seem to be kidnapping and manslaughter.

But the point of the discussion is whether or not the newborn is a human life in the eyes of the law. That this even requires debate is a ludicrous byproduct of a misguided debate over abortion rights.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 12:43 PM

Media Study

With apologies to Kübler and Ross, I went through five stages of grief over Instapundit's "Teach Women not to Rape" series.

  • Denial: Is he really doing this?
  • Anger: will he stop?
  • Bargaining: I'll buy some gear on Amazon if he'll stop
  • Depression: he's not going to stop.

But now, I have not only reached Acceptance, I accept that he is correct.

One of the great tools in the media toolkit is the steady drip. Shark bites is the textbook case: "Man, another shark bite? This happens ALL THE TIME." But Insty's constant reports of sexual malfeasance are amazing.

I am reminded of the Catholic church's problems. One can point to some differences, but I'll point out similarities: people in a trusted position misused that position to take advantage of young people for whom they were acting in loco parentis. The priests got the drip treatment: "Another? This happens all the time." For those who do not read Insty every day, he has one almost every day. Generally a public school teacher having various degrees of inappropriate (and don't mean holding hands) behavior with minor students, male or female.

The perps, however, are all female. And Reynolds's point is that a male teacher would never get the light treatment -- mutatis mutandis. He's got a point, though I am unenlightened troglodyte enough to accept a punishment differential.

But the silence speaks volumes [ED: cliché, replace!] If the Today Show covered these with Reynolds's regularity, I can't help but feel the nation would rise up in arms, as they did to the Catholic Church.

And, if they covered Benghazi or the IRS Scandal like Watergate . . . oh, never mind.

But jk thinks:

Okay. Swap the genders -- does it still engender jocularity?

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2015 4:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, in that case it has me looking for my shotgun.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2015 5:35 PM
But AndyN thinks:

jg - Is the selective outrage because of the sex of the assailant or the victim? At least a few that Insty has linked recently have been female victims of female assailants.

Posted by: AndyN at March 27, 2015 11:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The assailant - definitely the assailant.

The dictionary definition of "rape" is sexual penetration of one person by another (of any orifice by any object) without the consent of the victim.

And apparently "statutory rape" is an American invention circa 1930. I can't tell when the definition was changed from "a girl" to "a person" but the British Dictionary still has what I consider to be the correct definition: "the criminal offence of having sexual intercourse with a girl who has not reached the age of consent." [emphasis mine]

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2015 10:25 AM
But jk thinks:

The United States of America has invented many wonderful things. If I can add "statutory rape" to the list, I will do so with pride.

I do not appreciate its being used to prosecute a 19 year old with a 17 year old girlfriend, but I think my blog brother is ignoring the difference in authority and power: a teacher, supervisor, or President of the United States has a power differential with a student, employee, or intern. Any sexual relationship in such a circumstance needs to be carefully considered.

I do not accept that a minor of any gender is legally empowered to make that subtle determination, so I support prosecuting the adult of any gender who can.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2015 10:29 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed in principle - but do we need a look-up table of acceptable/unacceptable age pairings? And would they differ by gender? One wonders if this is why other nations try to keep law out of personal relations.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 11:29 AM

Tweet of the Day

UPDATE:

Television Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"We're very much, the three of us, as a package" is followed by the question, "What about a possible replacement for Jeremy? Who would you be prepared to work with? Who would you like to work with?"

Excuse me, what? Jeremy's not the only "knob."

I'm looking forward to the new show: 'Three Idiots Gear' broadcast on HBO, Netflix, somewhere like that.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2015 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

They were clearly pushing him a lot further than he wanted to go. I'll go on record as giving props to May and Hammond for their solidarity to date. They're walking away from the BBC's biggest show.

If Paul Gigot calls me for a cushy WSJ gig -- sorry lads, I don't have the same rectitude.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2015 1:36 PM

March 26, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

taranto150326.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

Press Conferences We'd Like to See

Real question from Jonathan Karl, ABC News's White House correspondent :

Karl: Josh, just a quick one first on Yemen. I know you're asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen. But now that we have essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for a counterterrorism strategy?

jk's imagined answer:
Earnest: Hell Jon, the White House continues to believe that ObamaCare® is a success!

James Taranto offers the real answer -- and it's worse.

But nanobrewer thinks:

*Sigh* I miss Taranto... the guys at PowerLine are powerful writers, well informed and incisive, but I just felt better after chuckling so much over the news....

If I ever get settled job-wise, I'll have to pay the WSJ for access... have wanted to forever.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 26, 2015 11:20 PM

March 25, 2015

Post-Preview_poop

I've seen what Andy N complained about routinely: write / preview / then "kaboom" Intertnal syste-server-error and the post is all gone. I've just learned to copy to clipboard after I've done a Preview in the Comment Pane, and go back into the Comments and *Paste*

Sorry I didn't think to post this to SysAdmin before. It happens nearly every time, and this is a newer computer than the previous model with the same problem. I can blame FireFox, but I've not verified that Chrome or IE is immune to this.... still, fun to blame FF after what they did to their CEO.

But johngalt thinks:

IE is largely immune to this problem, but it happens sometimes. If you know you're going to write a lengthy comment, try composing it in a local text editor and then cut/paste into the comment widget.

I see that "post" is now the default button (bold text.) Sometimes I hit enter after typing the password and I get a preview. Then I think the comment was posted and leave without posting. Did you change this recently admin? [Actually, preview is still the default. I just tried it.]

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2015 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I played a bit with the design to put the password image nearer the textbox. Kinda ugly, but if I crop in tight on the words, that might be nice.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2015 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Hmmm....

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2015 3:56 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I think you should have left it the way it was. I'm not particularly bright, and I figured out how the old way worked after one failure. I'm not entirely sure you really want to read what people even less bright than I am have to write.

Posted by: AndyN at March 26, 2015 7:11 PM
But jk thinks:

We might get some knuckle-draggin', science-denyin', global warming opponents dropping by -- I sure want to make it easy for them.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2015 7:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Global warming opponent?" Oh, you mean rube shamer. [first comment]

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2015 1:17 PM

Snowball's chance in hell

My Facebook feed exploded when Senator James Inhofe (Denier - OK) threw a snowball on the Senate to further his claim that "Global Warming is a Hoax." Inhofe's stunt was easy to mock and I'm not sure I agree. But the response surprised even me. Ozzy bit the head off a live bat and elicited a similar response.

Somehow, I'm not expecting the same old sturm und drang over this:

Virginia Democratic Rep. Don Beyer repeated the claim that more than 7,000 Americans were killed by "climate change-fueled" natural disasters last year in an attempt to tie burning fossil fuels with extreme weather.

The claim, however, is patently false, according to Politifact. It's also a horribly misleading based on the data.


It was the whole world, not the US. And it included earthquakes which are not climate related.

I contend the correct number is zero. Every death from a storm is tragic, but to say that it would not have happened without 1°C warming is specious on a grand scale.

But johngalt thinks:

Think about it this way - Skeptical independent thinkers, branded "deniers" by their detractors, ask for more and better evidence of something before completely reorganizing and reprioritizing their life around it. Conversely, the detractors lap up every drop of the revealed Truth of self-avowed "experts" (as long as they have the proper scientific letters after their name) and are willing to follow said experts over any cliff, no matter how high. And the skeptics are the ones who are supposedly "anti-science?"

This is like saying that King Arthur was "pro-science" in sparing the life of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" when he predicted an eclipse of which he had prior knowledge. Another way to look at it is that King Arthur was a rube.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2015 5:50 PM

Peaceful Islam?

'Heretic' a new book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, makes a philosophical case for the reforms needed to make Islam a modern faith, compatible with the rest of the modern world. Writing in the WSJ she listed five critical reforms:

1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran. (...) The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

A story in The West Australian quotes AHA from her book:

"It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been 'hijacked' by extremists," she said.

A reformation, similar to that in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, was necessary, Ali wrote.

"We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts."[emphasis mine]

I heard a statement in a news report yesterday that sounded possibly like this, and went searching for it today. It was made by the current President of the Islamic Republic... of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

President Ghani stressed, “We have the capacity to speak truth to terror. Terrorists do not speak for Islam -- we do. And it's the genuine Islam that is interested in dialogue between civilizations and cooperation and endeavor forward.”

He added, “These [terrorists] are not classic national liberation movements; these are destructive, nihilistic movements. And it's essential that we confront them with vigor and determination.”

Perhaps not a direct call for "reform" of Islam, but dialog and cooperation, and trade mentioned elsewhere, are some of the end results of such reform.

His true intentions are further revealed in his remarks on an incident in front of a Mosque in Kabul last week:

No individual is allowed to make oneself a judge and use violence to punish others in degrading manners. Launching personal trials and choosing who to punish stands in clear contradiction to Sharia and Islamic justice.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan condemns yesterday's act of extreme violence and makes it clear that ensuring justice is only the duty of courts and whoever engages in violent acts outside law will be dealt with strongly.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan also condemns in strong terms any action that causes disrespect to the Holy Quran and Islamic values.

We Muslims are all obliged to protect the sanctity of the Holy Quran but only within the instructions and principles of Islam.

Hopeful, perhaps.


'Lectriccars!

While my blog brother takes to ThreeSources to point out the dangerous racism of Tesla motor vehicles, Holman Jenkins lays down some obvious on the WSJ Ed Page. Tesla's whole business plan is to get bought out by an automaker to balance its efficiency portfolio for Federal regulation. Until then, it can limp along (at a high market cap, all admit) by treading water on the flood of subsidies and mandates.

And all the while, Libertarians will cheer Elon Musk. But this is not a rant. Put the caps lock key away, son... Besides, Jenkins takes some whacks on my behest:

In what way, then, is Tesla disruptive, the fanboy description of companies that come along and render obsolete what went before?

Good question. When a user leaves his driveway in a Tesla, he still wastes time staring out a windshield and gripping a wheel. He still sits in traffic. As with any other car, Tesla's electronics are long out of date before the car's useful life has expired. As with any other car, a Tesla owner ties up thousands of dollars in a piece of equipment that sits idle 95% of the time. Uber is disruptive. Tesla isn't. Tesla is disruptive mostly of a driver's confidence that he's going to reach his destination without needing a tow.

Tesla solves no problem of the automobile. It only creates a new problem.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Gotta break some eggs to make an omelet!

The Jenkins piece is a cry to short Tesla. One good Saskatchewanian report or -- NED freakin' forfend -- the election of a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul and their value could plumment.

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 1:42 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I know it's off topic, but I'm too cheap to pay for a subscription and read the whole thing to find out for myself. Does the column explain how, exactly, Uber is disruptive?

My understanding is that Uber just provides a minimal amount of screening of drivers and cars who can be hired directly by people in need of a ride. While conceptually it's a nice step away from the over-reaching regulatory state, functionally it looks to me like a modest compromise with the status quo ante cab system. The consumer can usually get a ride for a better price than by calling a cab, but in exchange puts his safety in the hands of someone whose only qualification was owning a relatively new car and being able to pass a test that every teenage boy in the country can pass.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think anybody should be stopping Uber from doing their thing, I think they should live or die on the strength of what the market thinks of them. I just doubt that they'll ever be anything close to disruptive of that market.

Posted by: AndyN at March 25, 2015 2:03 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN: I can send the article if you'd like, but it's really about Tesla's market cap being overly contingent on Federal subsidies and regulations.

Uber is just thrown out as a comparison, but I'll play.

Uber is not disruptive to cabs (well it is, but...) Uber is disruptive to car ownership. I even thought about it as I posted the excerpt. My love for my little MR2 is well known 'round these parts. But do I need a car?

I work from home. I have <60,000 miles on an eleven-year-old vehicle. I could scrap insurance and maintenance and just call Uber or Lyft when I want to go to Starbucks -- and probably come out spending less.

If that's not appealing -- and I confess it isn't to me, Uber replaces the second car of the exurban couple and the first car of the urban single millennial. As it becomes more popular or more automated, ride-sharing becomes a better substitute to car ownership. That disrupts parking, maintenance and all the cottage industries around private vehicle ownership.

You would not be the only doubter around ThreeSources (I may be the only believer) but you must admit that a move from ownership to sharing changes everything. Jenkins's point is that a move to EVs changes gas stations (and they probably just trade a row of pumps for chargers).

On the safety issue I will push back. I think that has been overblown, if not by big-Taxi, by luddites in general. There are some pretty horrific tales of very bad things from taxi drivers. The protection is not from Uber's comprehensive check -- it is from the rating. You only select a driver with a high and frequent ratings if you're a young woman coming home late from a bar. The safety is crowdsourced.

Every bad incident gets a lot of press -- I don't think that is a fair proxy for the relative safety.

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 2:35 PM
But AndyN thinks:

jk - I just spent too much time typing out a thorough response, previewed it, hit post and had it blow up. I'm taking that as a sign that I need to be less verbose and prolix, so I'll just summarize.

The only reason Uber jumped out at me here is because I just read a cabbie's take on it last night - http://taxicabdepressions.com/?p=1759. I think the most important point he raised is that even if a cabbie isn't inherently safer, an Uber driver who screws up doesn't have commercial insurance to make you whole.

I think Uber is even less of a threat to private car ownership than it is to traditional cab companies. Too few of us base our transportation budgets on strict cost/benefit analyses. This is still a nation where full-size pickups are consistently among the top selling vehicles. Before people embrace the (possible) practicality of ride sharing, I'd expect them to at least take the baby step of not buying a fuel-guzzling cargo vehicle to use as a passenger car.

Posted by: AndyN at March 25, 2015 4:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And they do AndyN, many of them, just not me or you. I think Holman's point of including Uber in this discussion was to illustrate just what it is to be "disruptive." It means a fundamental change in things, not just fueling your self-driven conveyance at a different "pump."

What you seem to be hung up on is the magnitude of Uber's disruption. I think we'd all agree that, for now, it is relatively small. But so was the horseless carriage in its infancy.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2015 5:29 PM
But jk thinks:

AndyN -- as ThreeSources' sysadmin, accept my sincerest apologies for technical failure.

Okay, let's put time scales on it and see if we cannot all get along. Short term, yes, Uber is much more of a threat to BigYellowTaxi; that is why they are fighting it tooth and nail. Long term, however -- and the reason for Mister Jenkins to call it disruptive -- is its potential to affect car ownership (disagree or not, there is potential).

Yes, they'll have to pry the steering wheel of brother jg's awesome 70 'Cuda from his cold dead fingers. I look at Lyft as Uber as transition to driverless cars. Yeah, we all like to read Kerouac, but commuting everyday, why not get driven and recapture the time you'd have spent. No parking, no insurance, no maintenance, no tipping the valet -- you get door to door service everywhere you go.

That is an appealing vision, and just the changes in parking qualify as disruptive. We can build bars on all those parking lots.

I get Uber and Lyft confused but at least one adds substantive insurance on top of what drivers are required to carry. There was a big contretemps over whether it is in effect on the way to pick up a client, but once the rider is onboard, he or she has that. I'm pretty skeptical of the cabdriver's word.

Lots of reasons for a truck, but I might turn your argument around. One buys for one's largest need. Maybe if truck-sharing becomes popular, you buy the Camry and call LyftGate when you need to go to Home Depot.

Oh, and 20,000 - 30,000 fewer people die every year. There's that. DUI, handicapped, 73-year old 60's icons...

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 5:35 PM

March 24, 2015

Immigration Man

Is that what David Crosby (age 73) thought he was when he clipped a jogger named Jose Jimenez with his Tesla at 50 miles per hour?

According to the CHP, Crosby was going the speed limit--55 mph--and he didn't see Jimenez off to his right because he was driving into the sun.

"I'm sorry officer, I didn't see the red light because I was driving west near sunset." Are you kidding me? What if George W. Bush had hit a jogger with a Spanish surname while driving his SUV? [My dollar is in the mail.]

A CHP spokesperson says that Jimenez was the one who was on the wrong side of the road, because California law requires pedestrians to be walking/running against traffic when they're outside of a residential or business zone (this was a rural road) and he should have been on the left; while the incident is still being investigated, they do not expect to be filing any charges against Crosby.

However, the office noted, a pedestrian's action doesn't excuse drivers from exercising due caution while behind the wheel.

Ya think?

Music Posted by JohnGalt at 7:32 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

I take some Tesla whacks one post up. But, in all fairness and a rare bit of magnanimity to Musk: David Crosby has proven to be dangerous with any implement in his posession: "OMG!!! Lookout! It's David Crosby . . . and he has SALAD TONGS!!!"

My blog brother assumes every Jose Jimenez in the Golden State is likely in violation of immigration law?

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 11:41 AM
But jk thinks:

Props for the headline, BTW. Awesome.

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I admit the weakness of my example in the implication that every swarthy gent be asked for his "papers please" but I meant it as illustration of the inverted hierarchy of law enforcement. However much (or little) importance one places on enforcement of immigration law, jaywalking can scarcely be more important.

How about a compromise then, with the Administrative State. We'll let them outlaw "jaywalking on westward proceeding avenues at sunset." Lest they dent some innocent passerby's expensive fender.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2015 12:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And... it was the central element of the awesome headline.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2015 12:46 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm thinking some government funded Public Service Announcements. Maybe the First Lady can get involved: #letswalksafe or #lookthefuckoutitsdavidcrosby

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2015 1:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Going to get towels now, for wiping coffee from screen.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2015 2:26 PM

Damned Improper if you ask me.

The WSJ Ed Page reports $124.7 billion in last week's GAO report classified as "improper payments" and defines it as "Washington circumlocution for money that flows to someone who is not eligible, or to the right beneficiary in the wrong amount, or vanishes to fraud or federal accounting incompetence. "

The Government Accountability Office reported the new 2014 figure last week, which is a $19 billion or 17.9% year-over-year increase. The overall error rate ticked up to 4.5% of outlays from 4% in 2013. Improper payments are spread across 124 programs among 22 agencies, but some 65% are concentrated in three areas.

One is the earned-income tax credit, the transfer program meant for the working poor with its error rate of 27.2%. That means nearly three of 10 dollars were in some way undeserved--and the Treasury Inspector General thinks the real share is closer to four or even five of 10. The GAO says the causes are "inability to authenticate requirements, improper income reporting, and inability to verify income before processing returns." Is that all?

Naturally, the White House has proposed a major expansion of this credit, and there's bipartisan support in Congress.


Jay Cost [Review Corner] call your office! They may not know where the $124,700,000,000.53 went, but you can bet the body part of your choice that it went to constituencies.

But johngalt thinks:

It's alright, Obama's "stash" is big enough to cover it.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2015 3:55 PM

March 23, 2015

Reason Does Review Corner

Follow-up on [Review Corner]:

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 5:57 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"The American character flits to and fro on the question of its role in the world." Fair cop. Why keep bloodying our knuckles on the chin of the world's bullies when all the other kids on the playground insist on judging US the "bad guy?" Suffer the whims of bullies for a while, kids.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 6:56 PM

Jesus Wept.

jesus_wept.jpg

And, seeing my biological brother "liked" this, I did too....

But johngalt thinks:

"Of all the oceans on all the planets in countless galaxies, you had to cry into mine."

That Jesus - what a heartless warmonger. Isn't that what everyone says?

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 6:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Complaints about my relatives may be tedious, but this guy is off-the charts smart and -- if you pin him down -- can be quite rational and empathetic. To find this puerile nonsense amusing just breaks my heart.

With apologies to Churchill, it's a strawman, inside a non-sequitor, wrapped in a false accusation.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2015 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Likes" are just so cheap these days, as to be thrown about so carelessly.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 8:13 PM

STOP THE PRESSES! CRUZ IS RUNNING!

In the worst kept secret ever department, Senator Ted Cruz (R - TX) has announced that he is running for President. Game on. I have hereby added the GOP 2016 Primary category.

Am I in Camp Cruz? I think not. I'll give him a respectful listen, but he starts a couple of rows down. I am far more philosophically inclined to Sen. Rand Paul, and I have great respect for the Executive experience and fortitude of Gov. Scott Walker. But I'll listen to Cruz, and proudly support him if he comes away with the nomination.

Peter Suderman takes a rarely-for-Reason fair look at a GOP contender with "5 Things to Know About Ted Cruz's Run for President."

Suderman handicaps the plusses/minuses of entering first, speculates on his support among different party wings, points out that he's running on a flat tax, and delivers props for opposing Ethanol in The C2H5OH State The Hawkeye State.

UPDATE: Another Reason post is less kind...

Ted Cruz announced his presidential campaign at Liberty University this morning in front of a captive audience of nearly 1,400 students--none of whom had any choice in whether to attend.

That's because all Liberty students are obligated to show up for convocations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Absenteeism results in "four reprimands and a $10 fine," according to student Eli McGowan, who is president of the campus's Young Americans for Liberty chapter.


Ow.

UPDATE II: Ann Althouse loves it! She undergoes conversion while liveblogging the speech.

The Speech (Should be watched in full):


But johngalt thinks:
5. Cruz is adamantly against ethanol cronyism -- even in Iowa.

"But people are pretty fed up with politicians that run around and tell one group one thing and tell another group another thing. Then they go to Washington and don't do anything they said they would do."

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 2:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed that props are well deserved for the Ethanol stance -- and confess to disappointment with Gov. "I can kick ISIS ass because I fought the Unions, but an Iowa primary voter wearing an ADM® t-shirt, offering sausage on a stick makes me wet my pants" Walker.

I wonder if my blog brother will be equally supportive of his brave stances for faith and family in Iowa.

At the end of the day, my biggest problems are style (he has been running for President since he was five and comes across as pretty slick) and concern for experience (he is our Obama -- we forgive him because we agree, but he is the same wet-behind-the-ears freshman Senator we elected in 2008.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2015 3:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Insofar as the separation of church and state does NOT infer an abolition of individual faith and family beliefs by members of government, I am supportive of anyone who, bravely or otherwise, asserts his personal beliefs in the public square. I call that "the free market of ideas."

Call me when he wants to legislate faith or family. Then I might have a problem.

As for the "wet-behind-the-ears" complaint, let it not be said that Republicans are incapable of learning and adopting new ideas from Democrats.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 5:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I'm also a little disappointed that our bi-coastal blog brothers are so late to comment on this. Everything is always so dry and wry until they show up!

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 5:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I was a little late getting the paychecks out this month; no doubt they're being passive-aggressive.

I just posted video. And it is a good speech. But I am not wildly comfortable with many of the populist elements. I dunno.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2015 12:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Isn't some populism necessary to win an election? I'm intrigued by his potential to build a coalition that includes Tea Party and so-cons and so-called Reagan democrats.

That, and Rove and Krauthammer don't like him.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2015 3:07 PM

March 22, 2015

Review Corner

So the Tooley reforms legalized "fornication" (having sex outside of marriage ), while keeping adultery (sex with a married person) illegal; but there was no punishment for the latter. (Several decades later, the General Assembly repealed the adultery criminal law entirely.)

During debate in House Judiciary Committee on the change in 1971, I asked retired Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice O. Otto Moore, who was working with Tooley to promote the criminal law reforms, "Can you tell our committee the difference between adultery and fornication?" After a brief pause, Justice Moore responded: "Well, I have tried both and I was unable to tell any difference."

Denver University Law Prof and Independence Institute's Second Amendment HOSS, David Kopel, is much beloved 'round these parts. I posted video of his superb talk on NFIB v. Sibelius at one of the first LOTR-F sessions. He is sometimes the sole voice of reason on Channel 12's "Colorado Inside Out" and has done well before in Review Corner: both solo and group.

Rules for State Legislators: Jerry Kopel's Guide is Kopel compilation of his father (Gerald Kopel)'s columns he wrote for the Colorado State Legislature's internal newspaper. Kopel Peré "served 22 years in the Colorado House of Representatives, between 1965 and 1993. As a Democrat, he was in the minority for nine of his eleven terms. His election record was eleven wins and two losses, including two victories over incumbents. Among the legislative offices he held were Assistant Minority Leader, and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee."

We have since instituted term limits, but Kopel's tenure allowed him to learn the ins and outs of an incredibly intricate process and to view a lot of State history up close.

The legislative turnover is enormous. After voting several thousand times in a session , I often forgot why I voted a particular way the previous year. Next session, try again and add a little more to what you already obtained. The bureaucracy (and private lobbyists) always outlast the legislature. The Chinese civil service outlasted Genghis Khan, even without term limits.

The bulk of the book is direct advice for new legislators, but it is of great interest to those who would seek to understand or perhaps influence the process. Even a reader with muted political interest could profit from suggestions on negation, compromise, and working across the aisle.
New members of the minority party will do worst of all. This is partly due to lack of experience, but also because seniors in the majority party show their new majority members how to kill bills by targeting new minority party members, similar to gray-haired wolves bringing small live animals back to the den for pups to practice killing.
[...]
Getting bills passed and into the statute books is always pleasant. But from one who was there from the mid-60’ s into the 90’ s, don’t let “bill loving” ruin an otherwise enjoyable opportunity to serve your constituents.

The last section of the book includes some very interesting background on Colorado's quest for statehood, earliest elections, and an enumeration of all Colorado Governors.
On the afternoon of March 3, 1905, John Waldron, counsel for James Peabody, the Republican candidate, made the following comment, recorded in the Legislative Journal, page 35: "My attention has just been called to the fact that owing either to gross carelessness or unbridled license of the reporter of one of the newspapers in this city, I have been reported in the paper, which has just been published, as denominating (the opposing speaker) as a 'liar .' I did not call him a 'liar.' I plainly said 'lawyer.' (Applause.)

Entertaining, Interesting, and -- if I may say -- a sweet book of a son compiling copious wisdom from his esteemed father. Five stars.

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

March 20, 2015

Taranto's Razor

Ordinarily, the press would slobber at the sound of a sitting vice president comparing his political opponents to armed violent fascists. Yet with the exception of coverage in Politico, a Washington Post blog, Commentary and in a CNN.com item, Biden's political provocation drew slim attention. The near-universal newsroom response seems to have been, It's only Uncle Joe going off again.

Biden gets a pass from reporters, but why? Vice President Dan Quayle, equally prone to the loopy comment and awkward gesture, and similarly a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, was punished for his gaffes. My colleague Timothy Noah grappled with this double standard three years ago, deciding that Biden gets the breaks Quayle didn't because journalists understand that Biden is "not a stupid man. He's a smart man who often says stupid things." -- Jack Shafer, Politico


We have another theory: It's because Biden is a Democrat and Quayle is a Republican. -- James Taranto

But AndyN thinks:

If they honestly believe that Joe Biden isn't a stupid man, that might explain why they also think that Barack Obama is the smartest man ever to inhabit the White House. And if he surrounds himself with people of this intellectual stature, then the President is probably justified in believing that he's the smartest man in every room in which he finds himself.

Posted by: AndyN at March 20, 2015 5:17 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

In their world, "smart" = 'says the same loopy things that bear no resemblance to reality outside of an NPR broadcast'

Sen. Durbin (Dustbin) is similarly smart (in this twisted, anachronistic and narcissistic way), simply for the reference to Ms. Lynch being sent to the back of the bus.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 21, 2015 12:07 AM

Quote of the Day

Democrats are furious, though watching them try to shame Mr. McConnell into moving up a vote on the first black woman nominee for AG is amusing. Someone had the bad idea to roll out Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who compared Ms. Lynch to Rosa Parks, railing that Republicans were making her "sit in the back of the bus."

This would be the same Dick Durbin who filibustered Janice Rogers Brown (the first black woman nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) and who kicked off the bus Miguel Estrada (the first Hispanic nominee to that court)--filibustering him seven times over 28 months, until he withdrew his nomination. Progress, thy name is not Dick Durbin. -- Kim Strassel


Trigger Warning: I'll warn ThreeSourcers that the link contains some approbation for the Senate Majority leader. I don't want to ruin anybody's day.

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Also the same dustbin that voted against Condie Rice.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 21, 2015 12:17 AM

March 19, 2015

Maybe the World is not ThreeSources after all

obama_cleanenergy.gif

UPDATE: That's one way to put it...

obama_cleanenergy2.gif

But johngalt thinks:

In other news, Denver VA hospital $1 billion over budget

That's a thousand $millions.

That's 136% MORE than originally budgeted.
That's 236% of the originally budgeted cost.
That's 865% of the originally INTENDED cost.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 7:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I only have one question: When are we going to elect a president with the balls to increase it's "clean" energy use to 100 percent overall?

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

You act as if these two topics were somehow related...

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2015 7:15 PM

All Hail Camille!

Feminism, education, the Clintons. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

UPDATE: I know it's long for a work day -- but at the very least do 51:00 "I respect the TEA Party" through Anti-Hillary 51:50 "She's a fraud! She's a liar."

Education Posted by John Kranz at 4:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Total Eclipse of the Sun!

When? Tonight! At 1:41 am MDT, according to the astronomy calendar on my smart phone.

ThreeSourcers, being smarter than the average bear, are thinking, "How do I see a solar eclipse at night?" Simple - Fly to Scotland. Or just watch on this website.

Science Posted by JohnGalt at 3:56 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Damn. 2:30 MDT, not 1:30. A bridge too late.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2015 3:14 AM
But jk thinks:

I hit it at 2:22 thinking I might catch the end and it was just starting. I thought they were perhaps replaying it.

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2015 9:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You beast!

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2015 12:26 PM

EV Math

In the fine tradition of this blog's 2009 gem "Oil Math" I'd like to paint a comparative portrait of two types of automobile: The gasoline fueled internal combustion engine and the battery fueled electric vehicle, or EV.

Oil Math shows us that a gallon of gasoline contains 131,760,000 Joules of energy, or 132 Megajoules for short. JB Straubel, the CTO of Tesla Motors in 2008 told us that the firm's Roadster battery has a capacity of 55kW-hours, and since 1 Watt equals 1 Joule per second, can be converted to Joules by multiplying kWh times 60 seconds per minute and times 60 minutes per hour.

55,000 * 60 * 60 = 198,000,000 Joules

Which seems like a lot until you divide by the number of Joules in a gallon of gas and find that a fully fueled Tesla Roadster has as much energy on board as

198 mJ / 132 mJ = 1.5 gallons of gasoline

That's about 1/10th the fuel capacity of an average internal combustion auto, and now you know why, a) EVs have such a short range between charges, and b) that range fluctuates wildly depending on such things as:

• Single driver ~180lbs
• Soft top or Hard top on vehicle (with windows up)
• No air conditioning usage
• No heat usage
• No headlights or cabin air blower (large 12V loads)
• Tires inflated to recommended efficiency setting 30/40 front/rear psi

At your next few fill ups, stop the pump at 1.5 gallons and see how much your range varies with the myriad changes in driving conditions.

So let's recap: An EV has, a 1.5 gallon fuel tank that weighs 900 pounds and takes 2-12 hours to refuel. That fuel tank also has, according to Jerry's posting on the Tesla Motors forum, a predicted useful lifetime of 10 years and costs $30,000 to replace. (Or the bargain price of $12,000 if you buy your first replacement battery up-front, at the time of purchasing the Roadster.) And all this on a $90,000 car?

The next time you get to speak to a Tesla owner, ask him, "How do you justify the horrible economy of your motor vehicle?" Sure fill-ups are free, if you can find a Tesla charging station on your Google Map, but how many gallons of gas could you buy for $30,000 over ten years? Keeping it simple, at $3 per gallon, 1000 gallons per year, or 20,000 plus miles of driving. That would require 67 full charges in your Tesla, if you never drive faster than 30 mph. But if you choose to drive the speed limit like everyone else does, double that. And if you use the heater, A/C and headlights too, triple it. 200 charges per year, or once every day or two. And remember it takes 2-12 hours depending on the charger.

Maybe he's not like regular folks though, but instead is more like "Roblab" from the forum:

I don't know about the rest of you, but long distance driving is a pain in the ... for any car. Who does roadtrips anymore? All you need to know is whether your car will make it to the airport.

UPDATE: Looking at the EV from the other direction, to carry as much energy as a typical auto with a 15 gallon fuel tank would require a battery ten times as big - 550 kW-h. Such a battery, if you could afford it, would weigh 9,000 pounds. Something tells me the efficiency metric just ticked down.

But jk thinks:

"The next time you talk to a Tesla owner.." Huh. I don't consider myself either Goober Pyle or Mick Jagger, but I don't think I know a Tesla owner or even an aspiring Tesla owner.

I am a big fan of Peter Diamandis [Review Corner]. He challenges readers to see things on logarithmic scales. The EV might double specs twice in ten years; the gas car will be more linear. So give the tank a six gallon capacity that refills in 30 mins to three hours. Then the comparison is not so bad assuming affordable and plentiful electricity.

I think, knowing you, that you join me in saying "cool -- just don't give $7500 subsidies."

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2015 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I do not disparage the E or the V in EV. (I am an electrical engineer, after all.) Electric motors are on the order of 90% efficient, compared to 50% for internal combustion. The villain here - the *ahem* "900 pound" gorilla - is the electrochemical battery.

In ten years we may well have fuel cells that can be refilled at a gasoline pump (with gasoline) and give us the best of both worlds. Sadly, development of that spectacular solution is handicapped by the environmental religion that preaches: gasoline is evil.

By the way, those electrochemical batteries are Lithium Ion chemistry. The exact thing some suspect of crashing Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 6:18 PM

Because, Science!

"War is the continuation of politics by other means," said Carl von Clausewitz... and so is environmental "science."

She said the Bureau of Land Management study, known as the NTT Report, is "based on the best available science," while the Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Objectives Team Final Report "would mean restrictions for the oil and gas industry in sage-grouse habitat."

"Any time there are any restrictions, whether it's for wildlife or health or safety, you hear the oil and gas industry complain," Ms. Spivak said.

The coalition's data challenges focus on three "highly influential" scientific reports, prepared by the BLM, FWS and U.S. Geological Survey, that rely on data from "an insular group of "scientist-advocates" who skew their research to advance "policies they personally support," according to the executive summary.

"The Reports were developed with unsound research methods resulting in a partial and biased presentation of information, and peer reviewers have found them to be inaccurate, unreliable, and biased," the summary says. "They contain substantial technical errors, including misleading use of authority and failure to address studies that do not support a federal, one-size-fits-all narrative."

For example, the coalition says the reports are quick to blame human activity for the bird's decline but fail to give proper weight to the impact of predators such as ravens, even though their population has increased by 300 percent and local raven-management efforts in states like Nevada have shown success in boosting grouse habitat.

The three reports "all fail to recognize predation as the single most important factor affecting the abundance” of the Greater sage grouse," according to one of the coalition challenges.

"Restrictions" on industry based on the "best available science." Not irrefutable science, or even accurate science. Merely, "the best we have at the moment."

What would we do without scientist-advocates? Live long and prosper, that's what.


March 18, 2015

quel horreur -- the world's worst music store closing!

The Libertarian Musicians' Guild will not require a huge hall for its annual meeting. Good acoustics, perhaps, but not a ton of seating. We'll conclude someday, why art attracts leftists.

A FB friend from a guitar group whom I do not know well posts a link to this, with a long introduction that is more overwrought that the article.

This is an obituary for Guitar Center, a chain of big box musical instrument stores that was captured and infected by private equity during a national trend of greed and reckless expansionism in the late-1990s and early-2000s. The company started as a Los Angeles organ store, became a successful purveyor of guitars after the Beatles arrived in the United States, evolved into a national competitor over a period of decades, and shall finish, with sad poetry, as the symbol of everything dysfunctional about American corporate finance, management, and retail in the modern age.

CEOs, bad. Private Equity, bad. Debt, bad. Okay, I hear you.

Two things are funny. One, I am not certain how bad things are. Eric Garland does link to a WSJ article about the firm's finances and it does not look great. I am not sure it's as far as "obituary" yet (Mr. Twain, line one!) Garland seems well versed, but companies come out of dire straights all the time -- except when they don't. I'm not sophisticated enough to call this one.

Funny the two, is that no guitar player likes Guitar Center (though I've heard great love of the giant one in Austin). It's the McDonalds of music stores -- many will patronize their stores, but they'll apologize when caught ("I just needed some mic cables man, don't tell Mom you saw me here...")

I don't want to see anybody fail, but this is a hugely competitive business. Reading Garland, it looks like they "went big" in 2007 with some Bain Capital financing. (Boo! Hiss! Greed!) I'd say they've had a great run (past tense -- again the one nearest me appears open). Like, oh roughly 137,855 businesses, they do not have an answer for Amazon. GC (or MusiciansFriend.com) is a big box retailer, not an authoritative source for personal service. Amazon has better IT, the same inventory at the exact same price, better return policies, Prime® shipping, and a billion regular customers.

My "dinky," "little," local shop, Wildwood Guitars went big on Internet sales a few years ago. No Bain-style financing required. They now have the same quaint store where everybody calls me by name and I can hang out half a day. But they have a website and an amazing inventory. I bought a guitar from MusiciansFriend last year because I thought Wildwood did not carry the brand. It turns out they did. The MF.com guitar was defective and Wildwood ended up boxing it up and shipping it for me (astonished that MF was charging return freight on bad gear), reordered one at the same price, and when it arrived, checked it out and set it up perfectly.

So, GC has Wildwood eating their lunch on one side, and Amazon devouring them on the other. I don't really think their debt structure is the problem. I suggested it had to do more with Joseph Schumpeter.

UPDATE: Not as current as the WSJ article, but Fortune: Bucking trend, Guitar Center plans big expansion, overhaul of store fleet

At a time when overall music instrument sales have stalled and web sites like Amazon.com ( AMZN 0.86% ), eBay ( EBAY -1.79% ) and Craigslist are selling more and more music gear, Guitar Center is doubling down on its physical presence, with plans to open between 15 and 20 stores a year for the foreseeable future on top of its current fleet of 262 locations. (It had 210 stores back in 2007.)

One such new store is the mega-store Guitar Center opened Thursday in New York’s Times Square.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 5:50 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Joseph Schumpeter? Well, musicians are creative people; it seems appropriate that the closing of a guitar store would represent "creative destruction."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 18, 2015 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Rimshot -- aisle five.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 6:53 PM

Who will be the first GOP presidential aspirant to follow suit?

But jk thinks:

Mondo Heh!

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 3:56 PM

Savor the victory a bit more

WSJ Ed Page:

President Obama might also reflect on his own contribution to Mr. Netanyahu's victory. Israelis surrounded by hostile nations sworn to their destruction are most likely to take risks for peace when they feel secure in America's support. But Mr. Obama's looming concessions to Iran’s nuclear program have united Israelis and Arabs in opposition. The President has also been so personally and overtly hostile to Mr. Netanyahu, even trying to stop and then belittling his speech to Congress, that he invited a backlash.

It isn't Mr. Obama's habit to admit error, or to be gracious to his opponents, but it would serve the interests of both nations if he were. Israel's raucous democracy is imperfect, like America's, but it is the only reliable one in the bloody cauldron of the Middle East.


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

Good Econ in Denver!

I linked to this in a comment for its contribution to internecine drug policy discussion. The whole thing is great.


Education Posted by John Kranz at 3:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

Thought Experiment of the day

Talking with a friend today I observed what a large percentage of US shootings involve gang activity. "What is the root cause of gang violence," I asked? "Gangs." "What is the root cause of gangs," I replied? "Drugs."

This lead to a bold and controversial assertion on my part: "Kids should be able to sell drugs at a corner stand, just like they were lemonade."

Suppose that were true? All illicit drugs are decriminalized overnight. What would happen?

I predict that some people would engage in public drug trade. And communities would drive them to the fringes of society. Parents would take a more active role in discussing and dissuading and punishing their kids. Would gangs disappear? Perhaps not right away. But being permitted to operate in the light of day their nemesis would become self-interested citizens rather than self-dealing police departments and the courts that enable them. Tell me how this would be undesirable?

But jk thinks:

Preach it, brother!

I came to my sentiments on drug policy not from John Stuart Mill or Milton Friedman -- though both are persuasive -- but from Billie Holiday's "Lady Sings the Blues" and Richard Price's novel "Clockers." Holiday had no opportunity to seek treatment for addiction in Jim Crow America; Clockers details the recruitment of young men for the drug trade using asymmetric earnings that would not exist in my blog brother's world.

I wanted to crank up the debate again (thanks!) as an excuse to watch Jon Caldara interview with Prof Dr. Alexandre Padilla of Metro State. One interesting consequence of legalization (~4:10) is that there is less access to drugs for minors in a legal market, because sellers have a reputational incentive to be good where they can maximize profit in the adult community.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: I embedded the video above.

Watching it, it occurs I have to be the ThreeSources statist today and abjure the corner heroin stands.

Licensed, neighborhood drug emporia would be preferable to ensure the collection of taxes and prevent sales to minors. Sorry to harsh on everyone's mellow.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 3:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I will take age discrimination off of the table for now. This is the one kind of government discrimination that might be valid.

And I'm not really for taxing or regulating either. Heroin garage sales? Why not? Just be damn sure you ask for I.D.

And your @$(#ing meth lab is now legal, but is prohibited in residential areas by zoning laws. Get that crap outta the city.

Posted by: johngalt at March 18, 2015 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

None of the brothers or sisters are taking our bait. Why don't they want to discuss our plan to corrupt American youth by letting each of them decide how to live his own life?

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2015 11:41 AM

Quote of the Day

Contrary to what pundits and skeptics and newspapers projected, Bibi and his Likud did not take a savage beating, but rather trounced the opposition. There should be no doubt at this stage just how corrupt media coverage of this election, which captured headlines around the world, was. Someone started drinking the anti-Bibi Kool-Aid and everyone else sipped along. Everyone, that is, except for Israeli voters. -- Micah Halpern NY Observer
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Thoughts:

(1) It's jarring to see someone other than an American president in the role of "the Leader of the Free World."

(2) Given the SCOAMF's barenaked attempt at interfering with - or at the very least, actively attempting to influence - the free election of another country, particularly that of a country which has been historically one of our stronger allies, and particularly against a man who has done his level best to be pro-American under adverse circumstances, it is a pleasure to see how badly Obama failed in this regard. President Reverse Midas Touch strikes again; this doesn't bode well for his March Madness picks.

(2a) Speaking of which, I've saved a copy of Preezy Narcissus' March Madness picks, and am looking forward to pointing and laughing. Since I don't pay attention to roundball, please remind me on April 7 to do my critique.

(3) Bibi Netanyahu knows in his heart that America and Americans stand with Israel, and the placeholder at 1600 Pennsylvania is an aberration. Assuming there isn't a Middle Eastern apocalypse between now and 1/21/2017, he knows it will get better. That being said, don't rule out a Middle Eastern apocalypse in the near future, and it will have Obama's fingerprints all over it, just like the Arab Spring did. Feature, not bug.

(4) It is not the legitimate role of one nation's government to meddle in another nation's process of freely choosing its leaders. I'm not a supporter of "regime change" in any of its popular forms. I recognize the right of Durkadurkastan to choose its leaders by any means its citizens are content with. America can say after the fact that he is a friend, an ally, or an enemy, and act accordingly. When you elect me President, that is the foreign policy you'll get.

(4a) By the above I mean that we act as a nation based on whether the new foreign leader is a friend, an ally, or an enemy of America, not of the personal whims of the guy in charge. "I can't work with this guy" is the personal preference of a narcissist, not the foreign policy of a grown-up Administration.

(5) And yes, it's sweet to see the Obama Stenographic Pool, otherwise known as the leftist media, choking on the results of Israel's election. This morning, I made my non-Starbucks coffee with the delicious tears of the press. It went down smooth.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 18, 2015 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I would not purport to add to your thoughtful comment, but I told the lovely bride this morning that we win so few we must surely savor them.

I should be rational and appreciate firstly the reinstatement of PM Netanyahu's firm anti-Islamofascist leadership. But I cannot help that the joy is eclipsed by the failure of the Administration's (shameful, I think) tactics to influence it. And media failure? What is a Sundae with no cherry on top?

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 1:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Re: (4) above-

"Legitimacy" requires objectivity, which implies reciprocity. No other nation has a role in the selection of America's leader(s) either. Durkadurkastan has the right to say after the fact that he is an enemy, and act accordingly. Just as in (3) above, however, DDstan's leaders must recognize any extant difference between a people and their "leaders" as Bibi has done so skillfully; and as America once aspired to with Iran, before American voters elected President "Burn This Mother F---er Down." Ever since his fateful inauguration, the whole world has been catching fire. (1:30) Where is the Paw Patrol?!

Posted by: johngalt at March 18, 2015 2:35 PM

March 16, 2015

Quote of the Day

Hillary is a Lovecraftian monster, the Cthulhu of American politics who sleeps dreaming of victory, but she will never be president. You can take that to the bank, the same too-big-to-fail bank that probably paid her $250,000 for a 10 minute speech about income inequality. -- Kurt Schlichter
I don't know that this is true. I am starting to suspect it is.

But I could not call myself a friend to Brother Keith if I did not share it.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

And last, the truth can be told - those hideous pantsuits don't hide her cankles, they hide her tentacles.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Hillarhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 16, 2015 11:45 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I have to agree; she cannot win the "likeability" contest no matter what wrings out of the GOP machine and I think the American public are finally sick & tired of hearing things from Manhattan Media that are so far removed from their normal experience. Their praise is sure to be incredibly tepid (but she cares), as will WH support, and "voter fatigue" on the donkey side will be at astronomic heights if SHE declares soon, and manages to dodge any relevant interviews or debates (which is becoming ever more likely). At this point, WJC has already spent all his domestic political capital.

She will not generate anywhere near the buzz that BHO did, and the press barely dragged him over the line in 2014, in big part b/c Romney/Ryan refused to "get dirty."

Certainly, the GOP will benefit from a fresh face that understands modern media. There's antoher spot Ms.CanBarelyUseASingleDevice will fail massively. While we can't take the CO-GOP caucus lesson too broadly, I really think that the rule of "It takes a Carter to get a Reagan" will hold true and America will elect an unsung (yes, even in today's 24/7 over-reported environment) constitutional hero once again.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 17, 2015 3:11 PM

You guys think I make this stuff up...

US_Uncut.jpg

US Uncut

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

I was able to pry answers out of two denizens of 10,000-lake-dom, one generally supportive (in fact, the poster of this meme) and one generally opposed. Neither is on the bandwagon. "He has kind of an odd personality, actually. Not that outgoing." The detractor says the same thing a shade less kindly.

We need to graft Hick's personality onto Dayton's record -- that's an unbeatable Democrat!

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 6:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"He has kind of an odd personality, actually. Not that outgoing."

Was that in reference to Scott Walker, or Calvin Coolidge? It certainly fits both.

Not that I'd deign to note similarities between the two...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 16, 2015 7:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I, too, have been thinking of Walker as "another Coolidge" fro some time. I just am not certain that a plurality of the American electorate joins me in yearning for another.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 7:38 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Two questions immediately came to mind:

1) What were the two states' unemployment rates prior to their current governors taking office?

2) How much of that $8,800 net difference in median income is accounted for by differences in median cost of living between the two states? Trulia says the average listing price of a home in Minnesota is $67k (22%) higher than in Wisconsin. I'd be surprised if there's that big a difference in housing cost but everything else is the same between the states. Heck, you could probably buy a starter home in Madison for what it costs to heat an efficiency in Minneapolis for a year.

A third question just occurred to me - how much of Minnesota's miracle drop in unemployment rate is due to a corresponding increase in workforce non-participation rate? That seems to be the go-to method for decreasing unemployment when there's a (D) in the executive branch.

Which isn't to say that I think Walker is flawless, or that people supporting Democrats always doctor statistics to lie. And of course, it's largely irrelevant whether those stats are made up out of pixie dust and happy thoughts, since not enough voters care enough to look deeper than the headlines and pretty pictures.

Posted by: AndyN at March 16, 2015 8:19 PM

Reboot Redux

Your "feel good" story of the day:

House_day1.gif

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

Calorie Count

How do we list the calorie content of our pizzas on a menu when we have 34 million different variations of pizza? -- Dominos CEO Patrick Doyle
You should've thought of that before you opened stores in the United States of America, Bucko!
It's a textbook case of a mindless and arcane regulation, of Washington bureaucrats imposing on businesses costs that will have no effect on public health. "We've been voluntarily doing menu labeling for over a decade," Mr. Doyle says. "We even have an online calorie calculator we call the 'Calo-Meter' for every possible pizza order, and it tells customers what happens if they substitute, say, sausage for mushrooms, because we strive to be very nutrition-conscious."

That isn't good enough for the feds. The Food and Drug Administration is now insisting that every one of the chain's 5,000 stores post menu boards on the wall with calorie counts. "It's crazy and it doesn't help consumers," Mr. Doyle says, because "90% of Domino's orders arrive by phone or Internet and are for delivery, so fewer than one of 10 customers will ever see these signs." The signs will cost about $2,000 at every store, and each change of menu will require new ones. That is about $10 million of extraneous costs nationwide for Domino's. Thank you, Washington.

Other than that, Mr. Doyle is having a good day when I visit him at the Domino's world-wide headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.


I'm going to go one worse that that. If you're counting calories on your pizza order, you are doing things wrong. It's grand that they offer an online "Calo-meter" for those interested, but now that we've intruded on property rights, design accommodations, and budgets, I suggest calorie counting is an anachronism of a failed diet policy.

I think Gary Taubes put a fork in calorie counting pretty effectively, but I know there are still some adherents. Yet I don't think I'm wrong to assert that more and more diets are moving away to counting carbs, good carbs/bat carbs, fat grams -- whatever. Yet the calorie is enshrined -- mohair subsidy like -- on American menus for all times.

"A Republic No More." Mister Cost (and Dr. Franklin) nailed it.

UPDATE: I should have included this:

As for those who fret that only the rich are getting richer and upward mobility isn't possible, Mr. Doyle says they should pay more attention to what happens at Domino's. "Over 90% of our 900 franchisees started as an hourly worker in the store," he says. "Most of them started as delivery drivers at minimum wage. They work their way up. They become a manager. Then they come in, they apply to buy a store." So from earning $7 or $8 an hour, they now earn $80,000 to $100,000 by operating a franchise. Many have become millionaires. "This is absolutely a story of upward mobility in America."

That happened, umm, before they had to pony up $2000/store for calorie signage...

But AndyN thinks:

Someone who headquartered a business in Ann Arbor can't possibly be surprised by the political ideology driving a mandate like this.

Posted by: AndyN at March 16, 2015 4:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Man's got a point.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 4:54 PM

WIlliam Easterly, call your office!

I'd like to be nice (just once to try it out, some folks might say), but I cannot cough up any kind words for Michelle Obama's WSJ guest editorial: Let's Ensure That Every Girl Can Learn.

I'm neither nice nor direct -- I want to start with a digression. There was an awesome thing in MotherJones.com (that's pretty nice, my talking up MJ!!!) You get 14 vapid, flaccid, platitudes and have to vote whether each is a diktat from North Korea or a line from a TED talk. I got seven, no better than chance. [SPOILER ALERT, take it first, it is wondrously awesome] A friend of a friend got them by noticing a grammatical pattern. By content, they are indistinguishable, but he recognized a certain locution and got either 13 or 14 right.

I suggest "Let's Ensure That Every Girl Can Learn" is as Michelle Obama-esque a locution as could be constructed. I see her countenance when I hear the words. She's very pretty, well-coiffed, and fashionably attired -- but she's telling me I'm fat...

The substance is Obama-esque as well. Girls need education (I'll let others address whether the gender component is necessary) and the First Lady is meeting with her equivalent in Japan, Akie Abe, to collect a bucket of UN and OECD money to fix this.

I'd eat kale for a week if the First Lady would read William Easterly's "The Tyranny of Experts" [Review Corner] (she might not want to be seen carrying "The White Man's Burden," I'm okay with that). And I'd make sure it's certified organic if she'd read James Tooley's "The Beautiful Tree" [Review Corner].

Both books describe -- in grisly, miserable detail -- the problems with imposing a top-down solution from an outside culture and implementing it through corrupt and inefficient governments and NGOs.

Let's, instead, show the value of liberty.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

Just Another Day at ThreeSources

It appears Cato Senior Fellow and Supply Side co-founder Alan Reynolds has dropped by to comment on one of brother jg's posts.

This caused me to search for a Review Corner of his superb "Income and Weatlh." I did not find a review, but I do reference it quite a bit.

Oh carry on people -- being star-struck doesn't suit you!

But Alan Reynolds thinks:

There a bunch of reviews on Amazon. David Henderson wrote one too. I'm doing a lot on Twitter @AlanReynoldEcn and most of my heavier lifting is posted http://www.cato.org/people/alan-reynolds

Just because I've been doing this since '71 you should not assume I'm old.

Posted by: Alan Reynolds at April 25, 2015 1:02 PM

March 15, 2015

Review Corner

Can't we all get along?

At their very worst , libertarians can behave like Jacobins: disrespectful of tradition, convinced that logic-on-paper can answer all the important questions about the human experience, dismissive of history and cultural norms, possessed of a purifying instinct, and all too ready to pull down institutions that they fail to recognize are vital to the integrity of the society in which they wish to operate.

The primary weakness of conservatism is that, relying as it does on the Burkean presumption that society is the way it is for a reason, it can refuse too steadfastly to adapt to emerging social and economic realities and it is apt to transmute solutions that were the utilitarian product of a particular time into articles of high principle.


All hail Charles C.W. Cooke. His The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right's Future is a Fusionist book -- from a National Review author no less -- at a time when we badly need a return to Fusionism.

Cooke is a bright and gifted writer, though one is occasionally slowed by reading sections in his posh Oxford accent. He is a good champion as he is willing to recriminate both sides. A self-proclaimed atheist and supporter of gay marriage, he can be stern on the establishment and populist/conservative wings of the Republican party:

Before the GOP will be trusted again as the natural party of government, it will have to rebuild-- and dramatically. During the Bush administration's turbulent eight years, the Republican Party steadily ruined its reputation, damaging the public conception of conservatism in the process. Republicans spent too much, subsidized too much , spied too much, and controlled too much. The party abandoned its core principle of federalism, undermined free trade, favored the interests of big businesses over genuinely free markets, used government power to push social issues too aggressively, and, ultimately, was somewhat co-opted by the Christian Right, which moved from being one part of the coalition to being the dominant one.

At the end of day, however, this little-l cannot help but feel his heart is on the conservative side. He has correctives for the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Front, but he follows in the William Buckley and Frank Meyers mold with a Chestertonian/Burkean appreciation for tradition.
But unless you believe that human nature has radically changed in the last two and half centuries , this should alarm you. When progressives argue that the Constitution belongs to another era, they are effectively contending that mankind has evolved beyond error and greed, and that the precautions taken by America's careful revolutionaries are no longer necessary.

He shows his cards mostly in the sections on immigration, abortion, and the Supreme Court. My favorite description of Karl Popper was that he first improved his opponents' arguments so he could attack them at their strongest points. If Cooke fails in this superb book, it is in not attacking libertarian immigration arguments at their strongest points. On SCOTUS, he's going to align more with Justice Scalia and less with Justice Thomas, but it is a free country and he makes the argument well.
Think about it like this: If our judges are not making their decisions by closely examining the original intent of the law and applying it to the cases before them, then what are they doing? There are only two options. Either they are examining their own views and exporting them to the public at large, or they are attempting to divine the sentiment of the majority of the people. But if we are to have a Constitution that reflects the views of a majority, then why have one at all? We already have Congress to do that.

To recap, a gifted writer has written an enjoyable and informative book which supports my fundamental foundational cause: preserving and strengthening the libertarian-conservative alliance. And, I respond by attacking individual sections where I find he is "not libertarian enough." The enterprise is clearly fraught with peril (and that sentence will sound better if you read it in your best Charles C.W. Cooke voice).

Left unmentioned in Review Corner so far is his brilliant appreciation for America's founding documents and his superb defense of the founders' "warts." The chapter on guns alone is worth the cost of the whole book. He has a keen appreciation for the challenges both wings face from progressives and elites. But it is important that we succeed.

If the rising generation is full of committed collectivists, they have a funny way of showing it. For now, Millennials vote reliably for the champions of the New Deal. But in private they customize their lives and operate within bespoke networks of their own devising. This, ultimately, is a generation of nonconformists-- one that is more comfortable with Uber than with the taxi commission; with Airbnb than with Hilton; and with Facebook than with Healthcare.gov . In a better world, conservatives would be their natural allies, defending the integrity of private institutions against the homogenizing Leviathan and playing Silicon Valley to the Left’s DMV.

A great book. Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:45 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Terri thinks:

I'm in! Thanks for the review His writing and thoughts are always a must read.

Posted by: Terri at March 16, 2015 9:34 AM

March 14, 2015

Colorado GOP Reboot

Colorado Republicans met in Castle Rock today for the party's bi-annual ritual of electing its leadership team. Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary positions were at stake. I am pleased to report that the sitting Chair, Ryan Call, was displaced by challenger Steve House.

Like Winston Churchill’s 1945 loss after winning World War II, Ryan Call lost his re-election bid for State GOP Chairman this morning to former gubernatorial candidate Steve House. While both sides claimed they had the votes to win, it was House who pulled out the victory with 237.66 votes to Call’s 179.33 votes. House received 57% of the vote, and congratulations across social media.

And a surprising outcome, for its decisiveness if not its conclusion, had Derrick Willburn winning the Vice-Chair race on the first ballot in a crowded field. Derrick received 203 votes compared to 88, 65 and 44 votes for three other formidable candidates, passing the majority threshold of 201.5 by just 1.5 votes. (All county co-chairs each cast half-votes.) So each of us who voted for Derrick can basically consider himself "the deciding vote."

Derrick's message of outreach to urban voters of color resonated with the county party leaders and bonus members who seized on his offer to lead the effort to bring voters of color home to the Republican party from a Democrat party that always promises but never delivers any improvements in their lives. Derrick will be a great partner for Chairman House, who said:

"Denver and Boulder are where the biggest opportunities lie for growing the Republican tent. We must open the doors to new voters who are just waiting to enjoy the prosperity and freedom that only our party can deliver."

Finally, the new party Secretary Brandi Meek represents youth, women and the rural western slope. Together these three new leaders are certain to take Colorado Republicans in a far different - and I think far better - direction than might otherwise have been.

But Jk thinks:

Great Day for Colorado. Thanks, County Chair!

Posted by: Jk at March 14, 2015 9:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Is it too much an "inside baseball" question to ask what was wrong with the old guard?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 15, 2015 10:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I wondered the same thing nb, when I got involved with the party and found everyone upset with him. He drew a full-time salary and didn't give money to candidates who could have used it, mostly. He dismissed the liberty wing of the party and maintained an open feud with many of them. He did many things behind closed doors and didn't answer questions forthrightly. He also, now infamously, set us an "Independent Expenditure Committee" for the CO GOP that was supposedly separate from the party and therefore able to spend money like a PAC. But the party pays the IEC's legal bills. And the IEC paid a consultant big bucks, then that same consultant was convicted of fraud or some such in Virginia. Call was accused of back room dealing and spending money to defeat Republicans he didn't like in primaries.

Basically, it's a long list that almost everyone can find something to be mad about.

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2015 11:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll be Mister Positive! Without attacking Call for anything specific, I suggest that it was time for a change to allow the liberty wing to spring up and change a somewhat sclerotic state party apparatus.

Okay, that wasn't too positive, but I got to meet House during his gubernatorial campaign and was mightily impressed by his background, integrity, and dedication to liberty principles. I'd've picked House over anybody.

The best defense of Call was his success in 2014, but there were suggestions that he could have helped in a couple House races and chose not to; control of both chambers was within grasp.

I get weary of Tea partiers demanding scalps qua scalps, but this was a good one. I wish Mister Call a long and happy life, but I congratulate House and the assembly that elected him.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 11:20 AM

March 13, 2015

In Support of "Premium Support"

Title comes from the Ryan-Widen bill, which apparently was DOA, so yesterday, a few years ago!

Anyway, the real purpose of the post is a push back intended for a FB post and I'm going to use this as my sounding board (and electronic white board). I started it by noting massive increases in some bills in my first circle: most notably, a $900 copay for a Urgent Care visit, and this person had an employee-sponsored Kaiser plan (if any plan should be a Caddy....). I got a quick reply from an extended family member saying:

I don't think you can blame the new bill for the increased costs.

That is mainly for TS'ers, and I don't think I'm going to bother with educating someone with Kool Aid all over their lips, bib and shirt. (FYI, folks THIS is just part of what we're up against). Next;

I don't understand why the bill isn't more popular

Here's where I want to start writing, furiously about Backroom Billions for Execrable Exchanges, about how this was clearly an attempt in classic crony capitalism for Blue Kaiser-Anthem to kneecap their competitors, all the while simply being fattened up for the Fed to slice 'n dice them into gov't programs .

But no, I'll take a deep breath and make the most cogent, simple and sans numbers point, in the hope it'll keep some from reaching for the rehydrated powdery Kraft confection.

==========================================

Why isn't the bill more popular, I'll innocently posit?

Because the vast majority of Americans - myself included - would absolutely support system that increased the quality of care. That's a humanitarian goal that would be worth increased cost.

Unfortunately, the ACA as delivered achieved a political goal of heavily controlled insurance plans (and massive bureaucracy) and pretends to this day that health coverage or "insurance" is the same as "healing injury."

Turns out the American public are pretty wise to these things: I just hope it's not too late to turn this genie from Kaiser's CEO's wet dream** into something that helps ordinary folks.

{yesss, I'll post the graphic of GALLUP's December poll showing ACA tanking.... URL's here are for our/my purposes..}

======================================

(these four are optional... I may start losing the tablet-typers to a pop-up any second)
Face it, 1. if it were a good thing, we would willingly participate and not have to be forced to take up these plans.
2. If it were a good thing, Congress would also be on board, but they are spinning madly to stay out.
3. If it were a good thing, it would be more popular.
4. I do love it when people vote with their feet, and note that anybody not looking for an out, is a chump, or being punked.

Whew, now I can read it over and see what is worthy of a FB post that has a true message, dumbed-down just enough to reach those still wondering what's the big deal about Gruber?

D'oh, I was supposed to get through it w/o using That Man's name!

**I just looked this up and am so not surprised...

The top paid, actively employed executive on the list was George Halvorson, the outgoing chairman and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, who received total compensation of $7.9 million in 2011

But nanobrewer thinks:

If it were a good thing, the number of practicing physicians, would be increasing

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 14, 2015 12:51 AM

Compliance

I just performed an email search for "jk cheats on his taxes." I will turn over all matches to the IRS if I am audited.

Why would they want to see the others?

jk

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

While IDK if I want to know the source of this frustration, I can share the upcoming first anniversary of my non-issued tax return (yes, from 2013).

I can also share a fair amount of info and advice on the IRS, which is all family and FB friendly....

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 13, 2015 5:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Can DC Matic be sold west of the Mississippi?

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2015 7:03 PM

They Don't Read ThreeSources?

The WSJ Ed Page has not yet grasped the certainty of Gov. Mark Dayton's (D - Target) being the 2016 Democratic nominee.

Mr. Obama has paved the way for Hillary's coronation. By making her Secretary of State, he gave her foreign-policy credentials.

But his main contribution has been governing to the left and thus helping to wipe out the next generation of Democrats. The historic midterm routs of 2010 and 2014 eliminated the younger politicians in state houses and on Capitol Hill who would typically be drawing national media attention in the seventh year of a Presidency. Nearly all of the big swing states, like Florida and Michigan, have GOP Governors.

The most consequential Democratic Governor, California's Jerry Brown, will be 77 years old in April. He ran for President against Bill Clinton in 1992. The Democratic leaders in Congress are all ancient mariners who have hung onto power even after losing their majorities. There are no 40-something Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill comparable to Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio.


Nobody bit on Gov. Dayton -- I can take it. The WSJ is wrong, however -- Governor Hickenlooper (D - Urban CO) is comparable to Sen. Rubio. I'm rather surprised to hear his name so infrequently.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | What do you think? [12]
But johngalt thinks:

How about Hick's (having trouble picking an adjective here) "not widely held?" religious faith affiliation? The electorate was unkind to the Mormon candidate, suggesting it might not warm to a Quaker either.

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2015 7:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

AndyN said, "I still fully expect the GOP to try to give the election away by nominating someone who conservatives will have a hard time voting for even while holding their noses..."

I am an optimist, and I feel a rising tide of grassroots influence in the GOP. Exhibit A is the highly possible defeat of Colorado's OGRE (old-guard Republican establishment) GOP State Chairman, Ryan Call by businessman, political neophyte and blog favorite Steve House. The Colorado GOP Central Committee Meeting is tomorrow morning in Castle Rock, and we'll know the result by this time tomorrow.

Denver's Fox31 covered the story today and is largely dismissive of the importance of the outcome. I, on the other hand, see this as a run at the palace gates by people tired of being ignored and, most importantly, with the palpable hope of advancing the principles of liberty within the Republican party. First Colorado, then the nation. Wish us luck!

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2015 7:22 PM
But AndyN thinks:

jk - I'm flattered that you remember where I live since I think I probably only mentioned it once ages ago. I may be overestimating the impact of gun rights enthusiasts since it's a topic near and dear to me. On the other hand, Ace of Spades HQ did a poll last week on what readers considered a deal breaker issue, and the #1 choice was gun rights, ahead of size of government, immigration and repealing PPACA. And even if Colorado's place in the debate wouldn't otherwise have drawn broad attention, it became a big deal when Magpul decided to move and governors from all over the country started trying to offer them a new home. I was reading about it on gun blogs run by folks near me, and not just links to the CO news, but original analysis of their own.

jg - I agree that grassroots are going our way, but I really doubt they'll move enough people far enough, fast enough to help on a national scale in 2016. And I don't think religion is going to matter to Democratic voters as long as they think he's on the right side of all the other issues. I hate to raise the tattered old "if a Republican did this..." flag, but I'd expect the left to make an issue of it in the general election if he was a Republican, not so much since he's one of theirs.

Posted by: AndyN at March 14, 2015 9:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stipulating that governors from "all over the country" doesn't mean "every other state in the country" I'm still compelled to add: But not California, Connecticut, Maryland or New York. (See the video.

Posted by: johngalt at March 16, 2015 6:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, to be in Baltimore, LA, of New Haven where the criminals don't have guns -- think of the peace and security you'd have walking the streets at night. When will those other states learn?

I suppose Candidate Hickenlooper will have some explanations to provide, AndyN, but the Ds ran -- and won twice with -- Mister Bitter Clinger. Not sure how many of their primary voters frequent the same websites you do (excepting, of course, ThreeSources).

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 7:05 PM
But jk thinks:

The Wash Examiner lists 21 alternates. Hick looks as viable as any of the other 20 to me. (Gov. Dayton does not make the list.)

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 8:28 PM

All Hail Remy!

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

LMAO! His best yet.

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2015 6:53 PM
But Jk thinks:

Agreed.

Posted by: Jk at March 13, 2015 9:06 PM

March 12, 2015

Review Corner Follwup

An interview with Jay Cost about A Republic No More [Review Corner].

Makes me want to go back and add stars...

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

Kids these days...

Fortune: American Millenials are Among the World's Least Skilled

They're so stupid! No, not because fuddy duddies like me just aren't down with the new hotness, but because they really are less skilled than their peers in other nations. Okay, fair enough - they were measuring job skills and employment is something Millenials don't have a lot of personal knowledge about, but still... chicken or egg?

When the results were analyzed by age group and nationality, ETS got a shock. It turns out, says a new report, that Millennials in the U.S. fall short when it comes to the skills employers want most: literacy (including the ability to follow simple instructions), practical math, and -- hold on to your hat-- a category called "problem-solving in technology-rich environments."

Not only do Gen Y Americans lag far behind their overseas peers by every measure, but they even score lower than other age groups of Americans.

Yes, you read that right. America's youth are less skilled than are older Americans. You know, the "tech incompetents" who can't even figure out a smart phone.

"We really thought [U.S.] Millennials would do better than the general adult population, either compared to older coworkers in the U.S. or to the same age group in other countries," says Madeline Goodman, an ETS researcher who worked on the study. "But they didn't. In fact, their scores were abysmal."

What does that mean for U.S. employers hiring people born since 1980? Goodman notes that hiring managers shouldn't overestimate the practical value of a four-year degree.

Allow me to repeat for emphasis: "Abysmal." (That's uh-BIZ-muhl, for you kids out there.)

But how can that be? Overall government spending on education in the USA has roughly tripled since 1980.

US%20ed%20spending%201980-2013%20in%202009%20dollars.jpg

Paul Krugman would doubtless conclude, "It should have quadrupled." Yeah. Right.

Education Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

In "Hard America, Soft America," Michael Barone said there was nothing so worthless as an American 19 year old or so valuable as an American 30 year old. His thesis being that we mollycoddle them in school (soft America) but that the workforce (hard America) polishes them to luster.

In the dirigiste, Obama Economy (you can throw in Bush's second term if you seek bipartisanism), these worthless 19 year olds did not get the Hard America jobs. Sad.

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2015 3:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The reality that American youth have such substandard (can I repeat ABYSMAL again?) job skills is bad enough. What's worse is that they are widely perceived as being our smartest and most technically adept generation ever. Perhaps, if game play and video streaming are your only criteria.

Yes, it is sad. Very sad.

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2015 12:03 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
nothing so worthless as an American 19 year old or so valuable as an American 30 year old

That's HILarious. Agreed that schooling in this country is dramatically poorer than when I went through (Heh; what ISN'T I idly wonder), and even then my Dad endlessly griped....

Unfortunately IMO, the Obamanation envisions a workforce that is no longer polished by industry to created by schooling and coddled by gov't jobs (and programs for those w/o jobs) to keep their touchy and spiky "rough edges" so they can be more easily formed into mobs aka Ferguson.

That's why I always intended the most valuable education, including skills development, takes place in the home. I'm heartened that my offspring (for now) is still allowed to learn to do their math any way they can. So the Common Core methods are presented alongside some of the older-fangly ones I recognize.

I understand the C-Core testing in ways is intolerant of this... I'll have to ask my kids, who are doing PARC this week!

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 13, 2015 1:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This week I learned that the common core math implementation requires every student learn (and regurgitate on demand in a standardized test) multiple methods for solving math problems. It's not just teaching one non-intuitive method and ignoring all others, as I'd previously understood.

Still learning more about this stuff. Maybe I'll know enough to blog about it soon. Or at least, more than I've previously blogged about it when I knew less.

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

Disturbing Images

TRIGGER ALERT! (And I do not mean Willie Nelson's guitar.)

Hillary_nixon.jpg

Hat-tip: Breitbart One Silenced Millions Awakened on Facebook.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Heh.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2015 2:39 PM

Risk Assessment

I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader where to file this. "Crazy s**t" does not yet exist as a category. I suppose "We're from the government, and we're here to help" is good.

Lenore Skenazy, HOSS and World's Worst Mom, provides an indispensable service, asking parents to do rational risk assessment. Yes, be cautious and protective, but understand there are costs to locking your child up in a Styrofoam room all day with his helmet on.

Even were you to be that careful, your child would still be at risk from the deadly detaching zipper!

Recall Details

Units: About 140,000

Description: This recall involves Kids Korner brand boy's, girl's and toddler's cotton/poly blend fleece zipper hooded sweatshirts with a front zipper, two front pockets and knit ribbing around the wrists and waist. The sweatshirts were sold in 62 different prints and solid colors in infant, toddler to children's size 4.

Incidents/Injuries: Kroger has received one report of a zipper pull detaching from the sweatshirt. No injuries have been reported.


No injuries. One out of 140,000 failed. I think more children were harmed by the poor spelling if "Kids Korner."


March 11, 2015

All Hail Jonah!

As ever:

Hillary has only two comfort zones: deep in a bunker or high on a pedestal. Drag her out of the former or knock her off the latter and she's at sea.

Frank Bruni Joins the VRWC!

This is getting good. VRWC, for you young'uns, is the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, the creation of a pink-pantsuited First Lady to explain those who were starting rumors of her husband's infidelities. Those rumors, of course, turned out to be entirely true.

I remember I sent away to Brent Bozell for a free "Proud member of the VRWC" bumper sticker.

But I never imagined it would include the NYTimes's Frank Bruni.

She was on the spit Tuesday because she placed herself there.

But the real problem with the news conference wasn't anything specific that she said or didn't say, any particular tone of voice or set of her shoulders that she aced or bungled.

It was what kept coming to mind as she stood before the cameras once again, under fire once again, aggrieved once again by Americans' refusal to see and simply trust how well intentioned and virtuous and good for the country she is:

Yesterday.

It was all so very yesterday.

And elections are about tomorrow.


Gotta sting a little.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 4:00 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Larry Kudlow gets in on Team Conspiracy too, echoing a comment I made earlier:

"And this whole deletion thing is so Nixonian. Remember Rose Mary Woods and those mistakenly erased 18 or so minutes of Watergate tape? Is it possible that Hillary is Nixon's political daughter, or at least his niece?"
Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2015 1:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Good to see Larry -- I surely miss that man.

Scroll up to see a disturbing pictorial representation if you've a strong stomach.

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2015 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ugh. I saw the picture before the warning.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2015 2:40 PM

Three Cheers for AP!

Not a headline you see every day at ThreeSources, but this is promising:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Associated Press filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

The legal action comes after repeated requests filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act have gone unfulfilled. They include one request AP made five years ago and others pending since the summer of 2013.

But jk thinks:

Our 37th president has been invoked a time or two lately. I loath on stilts the "heroic" designation given Woodstein & Bernword, but Watergate and the resignation of a President was the product of tenacity by the WaPo and eventually the press corps.

They ground on it every day, and most of the country wanted to talk about something else, but they would not let it go. Jon Stewart loved to laugh at FOX News' "obsession" with Benghazi, but had any of the MSM outlets joined them, there would have been big scoops and Pulitzers.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2015 3:31 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You're both right, of course. I would add to JK's thought an interesting comparison - whether Woodstein's "obsession" with Watergate is comparable to the right's alleged "obsession" with Benghazi. I'd also be quick to point out that Watergate didn't have a body count. Watergate, it does not bother me; does your conscience bother you, Mr. Stewart? (No points awarded for recognition of THAT reference -- that's just too easy).

Just for the halibut, though, I'm going to add a little levity here, and combine the fear Andy and I share, based on a long history of "the GOP establishment to nominate a candidate so bad that even Joe Biden could beat him," with my harsh reference to Hillary! and her "dumpy, lopsided ass." JK, this twisted quote may spike your memory, but the following line may lead to the need for an intervention. Tell me when you recognize this - and whether it all fits:

"Mark my words, Walker is going to kick your dumpy, lopsided ass back to whatever place would take a cheap, boorish, fashion victim, ex-First Lady like you."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 11, 2015 5:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Madame Secretary deserves no comparison to the magnificent Glorificus. I could be one of her minions.

(After a few years off, the suddenly cable-less le condo d'amour has restarted Buffy at Season One, Episode one. Merciful Zeus, they are young! But I still find myself enthralled -- even with the weak Season One.)

The better Watergate comparison is to Lois Lerner/IRS scandal. I would suggest that it is far worse, but both represent interference in the electoral process by Cabinet level executive agencies.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2015 6:02 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

If I were Hillary, I'd get an infusion of DNA from Maggie Thatcher incubated in Condi Rice's stem cells, then single-handedly BringBackOurGirls, then convert Chappaqua to a convent, then try "Option C"

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 11, 2015 6:12 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Michael Barone notes:

This looks like evidence of a peace treaty between the White House and Camp Clinton. Other evidence: the White House earlier walked back the statement that the president had not received any emails from Clinton on her personal account and then said he had.

Whereby, HRC fallates the WH talking points about the letter from the 47 Senators. And now, the WH has tacitly said they will not harass HRC on it.

Oh, and btw, Herself is directly quoted as carrying both an iPhone and a B-berry.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 11, 2015 6:23 PM
But stormlighter thinks:

ӏf somе one desires to be updated ѡіth most recеnt technologies
thеrefore he must be pay a visit this web page and
be up to date every day.

Posted by: stormlighter at April 1, 2015 6:34 AM

March 10, 2015

He Heard it Too!

I thought perhaps I'd eaten some bad clams, but it seems Peter Suderman (Suderman, Computer-man as Kennedy calls him, or "Hubby Dearest" as he's known to Megan McArdle) also heard Lanny Davis assure FOX News viewers that "you cannot delete from a hard drive."

For example, Lanny Davis, a crisis communications guru long favored by dictators and Democrats, including and especially the Clintons, rose to her defense over the weekend on Fox News Sunday opposite host Chris Wallace. In the process, Davis managed to demonstrate that he is willing to exaggerate on Clinton's behalf, and also that he does not understand how email works.

For one thing, Davis rejected the idea that the emails could have been deleted. "Last time I looked you cannot delete on a hard drive," he told Fox News host Chris Wallace, according to RealClearPolitics.

Perhaps he should look again before he next appears on national television to discuss the matter because that's, well, not true. Yes, permanently deleting data from a hard drive--including email--is usually harder than just pressing the delete button once, but it can definitely be done on most any system. Indeed, even if a hard drive were somehow set to prohibit deletion, hard drives can crash or disappear. Backups can fail to backup. There is no natural law that requires the permanent conservation of email.


Don't know if you saw Taranto yesterday, but under-discussed is that she turned the emails over as hardcopies: 50,000 pages of printouts.

That might delight tree-farmer and Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell, but I am guessing prosecuters would enjoy having headers and, yes, some hard drives to do a little forensics on.

Maybe I'm showing my age, but I remember President Nixon offering hardcopy transcripts instead of tape.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:08 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I thought of Nixon today too, as in "The last time I recall a high level government official having to account for "gaps" in the record of his official business, he resigned his office to escape the embarrassment of being impeached." Magnetic audio tape or magnetic ascii data can indeed be deleted, but both leave a similar cavity that betrays their prior existence. And what was it we learned during the IRS email scandal? It is called "spoliation" and it is legally binding if there exists an official "duty to preserve" the evidence in question.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2015 3:14 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

I'm Old Fashioned

Jerome Kern & Johnny Mercer ©1942

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink

March 9, 2015

All Hail Geraghty

Noticing that Rep. Trey Gowdy (Wouldn't want him prosecutin' me - SC) had noticed some gaps in the "discovered" emails, Jim Geraghty steps in to help the Secretary:

hillary_blackberry.jpg

UPDATE: Funny Yes | No ?

hill_at_mydamnserver.jpg

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

Questions I have not heard asked yet:

If Secretary of State Clinton had a self-owned, self-directed, self-served and self-secured email account that she used for conducting official U.S. government business, how unlikely is it that she did not have multiple such accounts on the same server?

If Secretary of State Clinton sent official U.S. government emails to other members of the Obama Administration, how specious is the president's claim that he learned about the privately operated account(s) "in news reports?"

If Secretary of State Clinton sent official U.S. government emails to her counterparts in other countries including Russia, with whom she attempted to initiate a rather infamous "Reset" of US-Russia relations, how unlikely is it that the intelligence agencies of other countries including Russia hacked her account(s) and read every last message (including those ostensibly dealing with bridesmaid dresses?)

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2015 2:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG: I'm going to add fuel to your fire, brother. If Hillary's basement server was handling official State Department bidness, then there were certain levels of physical security required by Federal law - something a trifle more secure than a hollow-core door and a padlock, and gear somewhat more sophisticated than a file server, an off-the-shelf wireless router, and a connection through Comcast or Frontier.net. Consider this: http://andstillipersist.com/2015/03/physical-security-of-the-clinton-e-mail-sever/

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 10, 2015 7:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

CRTs? Dang, that "undisclosed government location" photo is old.

Hill claimed that "any mail server secure enough for a former POTUS is secure enough for me" and "the server was on our property that is secured by the Secret Service."

She also said, "I never sent emails containing any classified information." Clinton word-parsing alert! Okay, how many did you RECEIVE?

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2015 1:43 PM
But jk thinks:

On the Internet, gotta be true: IP addr traced to Manhattan location. Inter'stin'

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2015 1:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Rep. Gowdy expects to subpoena Clinton's email server. I expect Hillary to be held in contempt of congress. Nobody can expect that she will comply.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2015 1:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Life imitates ThreeSources (at least the WSJ Ed Page imitates johngalt).

With the Clintons, you always have to parse the meaning of "is," and Mrs. Clinton didn't say she never received classified information via email. But if she meant both send and receive, then how could she have done her job given the hundreds of thousands of miles she traveled during her four years at Foggy Bottom?

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2015 1:19 PM

Quote of the Day

The Democrats' response to Herself's trouble has taken three main forms: 1) What she did wasn't technically illegal, says David Brock and other slavish Clinton retainers, even hauling out that old Al Gore classic, "no controlling legal authority"; 2) What about Scott Walker, huh? say the Democratic-party operators, pointing out that as a county executive Walker also used a private email system -- and, to be honest, Walker's response to the terrorist assault on Milwaukee County's consulate in Benghazi has never been explained to my satisfaction; -- Kevin Williamson

I'm Decidedly Un-neutral on Net Neutrality

L. Gordon Crovitz piles on Netflix's CFO David Wells's "lobbyist's remorse only a week after the Federal Communications Commission voted to replace the open Internet with Obamanet."

Last year National Journal reported that Netflix was "relishing" its role as the lead lobbyist for net neutrality, "not only advocating a position that would protect its profits," but "also earning goodwill from web activists and liberals."

Today Netflix is a poster child for crony capitalism. When CEO Reed Hastings lobbied for Internet regulations, all he apparently really wanted was for regulators to tilt the scales in his direction with service providers. Or as Geoffrey Manne of the International Center for Law and Economics put it in Wired: "Did we really just enact 300 pages of legally questionable, enormously costly, transformative rules just to help Netflix in a trivial commercial spat?"


Yup!

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is the insidious part about crony-capitalism: a very, very few folks made out very well on this and the Netflix owner will probably finish his tenure and life not much inconvenienced by this...

It's the rest of us who are going to be holding the bag of diminished freedoms and reduced options. I'm reminded of a quote from a game designer and history expert:

if no decent men fought for the Third Reich there would be no moral lessons to learn; it is no surprise evil men can do evil things. It is in the fact that good men can help them where the real lesson is to be found.

On the upside, I hearten myself with the idea that technology will provide new openings in the attempt to make a solid bureaucratic firewall on our access to the great network of mankind's ideas. Worse comes to worse, the technophile in me knows that no firewall can hold us back.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 9, 2015 5:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, blog brother.

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2015 2:52 PM

March 8, 2015

Review Corner

When his advisors pushed back on this scheme to finance Social Security, arguing that it was regressive, Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded, "I guess you're right about the economics, but these taxes were never a problem of economics . They are politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect those pensions. . . . With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program."6 He was right; no damn politician ever has.
I am a laissez-fairin', public-choice theory studyin', anti-government, little-l libertarian. Reading Jay Cost's A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption, I felt the naïve waif. Cost details and documents corruption from the American founding and the particular growth of corruption from the Jackson administration. I will contrast my philosophical vision with Cost later in the review, but as a comprehensive, serious historical work on an important topic, He hits it out of the park -- or, returns it for a touchdown!
How is it that one of the wealthiest, most powerful entertainment organizations in the world pays no taxes and squeezes broadcasters? The answer is simple: run the Hamiltonian ideal of nationalistic encouragement of socially useful businesses through our localistic, pluralistic system, and voilá! As far as the taxman is concerned, the NFL is no different than the Red Cross.
Some historical figures I admire (President Chester A Arthur) have dirty fingers exposed, and some periods of history I hold out as ideals are treated roughly. Cost clings passionately to the Gilded Age's reputation for corruption, where I might see excesses in a country's unregulated expansion.
This era has often been called a laissez-faire period of history. The phrase suggests a lack of governmental interference in the economy, but in fact the government was a major player in it, strongly supporting certain industries with favorable policies. After the southern Democrats bolted from Congress in 1861, northern Republicans were free to pursue whatever legislative program they liked . As most of them were former Whigs, it should come as no surprise that they instituted a version of Henry Clay's American System.
Perhaps I should watch "Blazing Saddles" again. I've been soft on Presidents Grant and Harding for their contributions to liberty, but Cost is rightfully indignant about the corruption. It's not just Crèdit Mobiler and Teapot Dome, there was an accepted level of fraud. I've been easy on both because, being pre Humphrey's Executor, I'm not certain they felt responsible for the entire Executive Branch. But that is a pretty weak defense. Cost is right to be more demanding, as I would be when Sen. Harry Reid (Graft - NV) appropriated $21.5 Million to build a bridge over the Colorado River, connecting Laughlin, Nevada, to Bullhead City, Arizona -- where he owns 160 Acres. His assistant explained:
As has been stated before, Senator Reid's support for the bridge has absolutely nothing to do with the property he owns and is based on the fact that the project is good for southern Nevada, and nothing else.84
Cost adds: "At least [Tammany Hall sachem George Washington] Plunkitt had the decency to admit that he was engaged in graft."

The brilliant backbone of the book is the First and Second National Banks. The first pitted Hamiltonian aspirations against Jeffersonian ideals and was, in Cost's estimation, good because of the stering stewardship of Hamilton and Albert Gallatin. The Second crumbles in the partisan and venal Nicholas Biddle's tenure and is squashed by Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet.

I did a bit of research on Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who delivered the death blow as Sec. Treasury, replacing Sec. William Duane who would not pull the government deposits. It is foolish to look back at a time in history and suggest that it lacked rancor and partisanship, but you can make a good case for the Bank War's being an important foundation of the divide still extant today. Cost draws a line from the Bank War to the corruption of Fannie and Freddie and the Panic of '08. Masterful!

With the Second Bank, Nicholas Biddle was not afraid to use the bounty generated in part from the federal subsidy to lobby important people like Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Fannie and Freddie, as Franklin Raines put it, managed their political risk "with the same intensity" that they managed their economic risks.

Serious. Comprehensive. Exhaustively detained and documented. Republic No More is an important work in the field of public choice or as an argument against government encroachment in to the private sector. BUT . . .

But maddeningly for me, Cost refuses to go there. It's not his job -- and he says it straight up "The point here is not to criticize the principle of industrial regulation, to promote a laissez-faire view of political economy, or to argue against social welfare provisions like Social Security." The thesis is rather that the founders chose a structure optimized for limited government and that the structure could not handle the tasks hurled upon it. No argument here. He quotes President Wilson from his academic days discussing the Madisonian system
as "Newtonian." With the direct election of Senators, regulation of industry, and mandate to provide general welfare, the system lost its balance.

Again no argument. I'd refer Cost to Randy Simmons's "Beyond Politics" [Review Corner] (Cost's scholarship is well-founded, I would not be surprised if he had read it). What manner of system could pretend to handle Social Security, Medicare, a secondary market for mortgages, interstate highways, banking regulations -- and run armed forces on the side?

Here I think I have a solid critique. But Cost suggests that we have swallowed hard and done some bi-partisan reforms in the past, The 1986 Tax Reform is his current example. I remember President Reagan going to his death bed pointing out that he never saw the spending cuts promised. But Cost's favorite example is the Mugwumps. Post-reconstruction America was just as divided, says Cost, but anti-Blaine/anti-Grantism Republicans joined with good government Democrats like President Cleveland to clean up patronage. He ends with a plea for extremists on both sides to come together on areas where consensus exists. No Labels meets the Mugwumps -- sounds like a feature on Mystery Science theater.

It really became a pressing concern after the calamitous War of 1812, when the country learned the hard way that it simply did not have the infrastructure to win a war such as that. This was unacceptable for a young, restless nation eager to make a claim to world greatness. As James Monroe intones, "We cannot go back. The spirit of the nation forbids it." The problem , of course, was that the spirit of the Constitution, at least as understood by James Madison at the time of ratification, did forbid it.

On its terms this a fantastic and important book. The horrors of Medicare and continuing corruption are astounding. I feel churlish withholding points because his philosophy doesn't match mine. But after laying out a compelling case of government overreach -- to not suggest, say, umm, scaling back government, seems a serious flaw. Three-point-five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 4:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 6, 2015

Goin' Full Commie!

Sorry, gang, the liberty thang has been fun and all. But Gisele's Ché swimwear...

Hat-tip: Chicks on the Right

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

From http://hispanic-culture-online.com/che-guevara.html:

These images have traveled the world inspiring thousands of rebels to fight for their cause. In Latin American countries, Guevara is a legend and will continue to be. Our wonderful Central and South American nations are still plagued with dictatorships and unfair conditions for our people.

Here are some of the most representative images of Guevara, when he was a true rebel aiding in the Cuban political process that aimed to improve conditions for all, a process today, that is far from its idealistic beginnings.

So, some embrace "the brain behind the success of Fidel Castro-led Cuban revolution" because he overthrew a dictator, and sought to "improve conditions for all." The fact that the deposed dictator was replaced by another dictator is immaterial (to them.) Once again, the ends are not as important as the idealistic original intent.

And I believe we've had that conversation about why capitalism isn't more popular than it is, i.e. because people think our current mixed economy is "capitalism."

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2015 5:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

She's a professional wire hanger, nothing more. She's not paid to think.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the wisdom of Edna Mode: "Supermodels. Heh! Nothing super about them... spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves. Feh! I used to design for *gods*!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 7, 2015 11:36 AM

Our Margaret

Peggy Noonan joins Kim Strassel in taking some whacks at Sec Clinton, reminding me of a great book she wrote. Has it really been 16 years?

Sixteen years ago, when she was first running for the Senate, I wrote a book called "The Case Against Hillary Clinton." I waded through it all--cattle futures, Travelgate, the lost Rose law firm records, women slimed as bimbos, foreign campaign cash, the stealth and secrecy that marked the creation of the health-care plan, Monica, the vast right-wing conspiracy. As I researched I remembered why, four years into the Clinton administration, the New York Times columnist William Safire called Hillary "a congenital liar . . . compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit."

Do we have to go through all that again?

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 9:45 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Sadly though, after the current president her antics would be a welcome relief.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2015 11:19 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hillary may be evil incarnate, but at least she got vetted.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 7, 2015 5:17 PM

Quote of the Day

Perhaps "All Hail Kim!"

The Clinton camp has spent this week explaining that none of this was untoward, that no laws were broken, and that she's being transparent.

Were you just awakening from a 40-year coma and still a bit fuzzy, this might strike you as remotely plausible. For everyone else who has lived through the Bill and Hill years, this email caper is pure Clinton. -- Kimberly Strassel WSJ Ed Page


Honorable mention (same article): "The Clintons thrive in gray areas."

But johngalt thinks:

And they have more than fifty shades.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2015 11:17 AM

March 5, 2015

2007: When Secret Email Accounts were a bad thing

Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

An Economist in a Cowboy Hat

And it ain't even Merle Hazzard!

Here's a video of Randy T. Simmons, a follow up on Sunday's Review Corner.

Hat-tip: Brother Bryan on Facebook.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

From Randy's slide at the 3:20 mark: Markets and politics are a dichotomy. Each is a competing way of achieving goals - Markets are the arena of individual action; Politics is the arena of collective action.

This is a powerful concept we all should think about. It says, politics does not merely impede free trade, ostensibly for purposes of deriving operating revenue and for "smoothing the rough edges of capitalism" through regulations claiming to promote "fairness" and "honest dealing." Politics is actually in direct competition with free trade.

Another interesting thing Simmons said was that voting is irrational. I believe he even said rational people don't bother to vote. This chafed at first but prompted a new way of looking at the failures of the political parties. In particular, the Libertarians. They are wasting their time imploring us to vote for their candidates. Instead they should implore us to stop voting. Stop participating in the democratic process. Live as free men and work to undo the democratic welfare state, for it is the enemy of the Republic we seek so desperately to keep.

Tea Partiers, libertarians, lovers of liberty and other fellow enemies of statism need to find new ways to degrade, defeat and ultimately destroy the Administrative State in the District of Columbia, or ASDC. To plagiarize the latest Bill O'Reilly bumper sticker, ASDC is EVIL.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2015 9:34 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My comment above isn't the first time we've discussed the evils of the American Administrative State. JK called it to our attention two summers ago, during the height of the NSA public surveillance scandal, in the form of an A. Barton Finkle post in Reason.

I'm still open to suggestions for a better acronym than ASDC by the way. ASUS? ASUSA?

Posted by: johngalt at March 9, 2015 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

In the book, Simmons seems more nuanced on voting. He quotes Chapter and Verse in the book on Bryan Caplan, why it is likely illogical to vote; but in the video he seems strident and dismissive. Caplan never tells you not to vote (though many libertarians I know do), but he explains why those who do not are being rational.

Your Bureaucracy question is even better asked of Jay Cost in the more recent Review Corner. Wilson thought a "scientific" administrative class important because it would be less subject to patronage and concomitant corruption.

He backed off later in favor of a more energetic executive, but those who clamor for "more government, please" are fine with this. Who cares if the EPA is destroying rights -- you want the kiddies to breathe clean air don't you?

What to call them? Perhaps Michelle Rhee would lend us "The Blob:" her appellation for the Teachers Unions and associated bureaucracy.

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2015 12:54 PM

The 2016 Election

You read it here first. JK called it when no one else saw it.

The Republican nominee will be ThreeSources' favorite, Gov. Scott Walker (Unionbuster - WI). Because we always get our preferred candidates, right?

The Democratic Nominee will not be Eric Hoteham Sec. Clinton. She is more evitable than in 2008. A dark horse will be needed to save the race . . . and that dark horse will be . . .

But First a word about "Uncle Billy's Beard and Body wash." Why have two bottles cluttering up your shower when Uncle Billy's provides moisturized skin and a bouncy, voluminous beard in one, manly bottle? Now in Lumberjack scent, or original pine.

The Democratic nominee will be Minnesota Governor and Target bazillionaire, Mark Dayton.

A month after Mr. Walker's inauguration in January 2011, he catapulted himself to the front ranks of national conservative leaders with attacks on the collective bargaining rights of Civil Service unions and sharp reductions in taxes and spending. Once Mr. Dayton teamed up with a Democratic Legislature in 2012, Minnesota adopted some of the most progressive policies in the country.

Minnesota raised taxes by $2.1 billion, the largest increase in recent state history. Democrats introduced the fourth highest income tax bracket in the country and targeted the top 1 percent of earners to pay 62 percent of the new taxes, according to the Department of Revenue.


Thus the NYTimes article quoted above -- and a thousand internet memes were born.

Have you seen them? Walker cut, Dayton raised -- and Minnesota has performed better. And -- dontcha know -- the states are both populated by hardy white folks who can mange bitter winters and eat lots of unusual Scandinavian meat and fish products. It's practically the same place except for college sports.

I have not yet dove into the underlying data, but it seems compelling at first glace.

But we will have a year and a half to discuss it.

UPDATE: FEE debunks a corollary post (that somebody sent me) comparing Dayton to predecessor Gov. Pawlenty (Charisma - MN). I'd say it is still notakedown, and they could point to increasing employment through tax hikes, minimum wage increases and higher regulation.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If you're taking bets on that prediction of yours, let me know what odds you're laying and how much money you're willing to put up.

The Democrat party has a problem: Hillary has just gone into spontaneous combustion mode, what with her personal e-mails and all that. Princess Running Joke (Far Left - MA) has the extreme left wing of the party clamoring for her nomination, but the party machinery knows she's skating on thin ice, and they're leery of a re-enactment of Reagan-Mondale (except Warren wouldn't take Wisconsin, not with Walker there).

I'll tell you who could inject some potential sanity on that side of the aisle were he their party's nominee, and that would be Jim Webb (Blue Dog - VA). I don't see today's Democrat party having the sense to nominate him, but he's an articulate moderate, though he hasn't been consistent in his record. He'd also have the advantages of being able to triangulate a solid conservative, and deny the Republican nominee a clear shot at the Reagan Democrats.

But Webb wouldn't get the nomination. Assuming Hillary's star implodes to the point of the event horizon and Lieawatha can't gin up broad appeal, I could see the Democrat party giving the nomination to a candidate who would energize the statist left and still appeal to the mainstream of that party, who is a proven fundraiser, with national name recognition and a reputation for strong campaigning, and decades of experience.

Unfortunately, that would be Jerry Brown (Fantasyland - CA).

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 5, 2015 1:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay. I can do skepticism. And I agree that a sensible Democratic party would go with Sec. Webb. (And the teal unicorns would use Colgate®)

While they may not be sensible, a few are not completely stupid and they have to be concerned. Governor Moonbeam is a good dark horse choice as well, but I suggest he has been around too long and is easily portrayed as too far left. Plus the whole Linda Ronstadt thing...

I don't know Dayton -- is there a knock on him or his story?

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2015 2:13 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I don't know whether there's a knock on him or not - and that's part of the point. I don't think he has the national name recognition that a candidate would need.

If Dayton has any viability, and if I were one of the smarter luminaries of the RNC, I'd be doing my oppo research right now to see if there's any debunking to be done on the alleged "Minnesota Miracle," and what causes helped the economy there.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 5, 2015 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Franken-pork? No, not a Scandinavian food, a possible cause for Minnesota's economic bounce, such that it is or may be.

"I don't think he has the national name recognition that a candidate would need."

"Clean articulate black man" anyone?

P.S. Love the Liz Warren nicknames. Har!

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2015 2:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I was actually thinking '92 (no, not Cleveland Harrison -- 1992) and a young, unknown Governor of Arkansas. There was a Saturday Night Live skit on how nobody wanted to run against the sky-high polling President George HW Bush.

I'm not suggesting that anyone has President Clinton's preternatural political skills, but they will be looking at some melanin-enhanced equines at the DNC -- I've provided my pick.

And yeah, Keith, sure I'll bet a beer.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2015 3:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I don't see Fauxcahontas as ready for prime time at all. Dayton sounds like a solid choice (hope DNC isn't watching) for the new Dems. So, he'll need national recognition?

ABCNN, NBCBS and NPR could solve that in a Hands-UP! Kerry's Hero minute. QED

Dang, but I was hoping the the Hildebeest hit the Reset-No!-That's Self Destruct! button in the the third week of 7/16, or ideally, IN Chicago.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 5, 2015 4:41 PM

March 4, 2015

Yea!

Both Colorado Senators voted "Yea" on overriding President Obama's veto of the Keystone Pipeline.

Let people whine about fruitless labor, this is how legislation is supposed to go. Well done 114th!


Elevator Talk on Iran

I watched PM Netanyahu's speech twice yesterday. (Hey, we dropped cable -- it's free!)

I responded to a good friend of LOTR-F who sent an interesting link to Stratfor. You know I hate to waste 20 minutes of typing, so I offer it here as a clarification of my Prosperitarian stance:

Hey, David. Are you by any chance a fan of Dr. Deepak Lal, the UCLA Economics Professor?

He has a bunch of good books, but in "Reviving the Invisible Hand," he discusses the economic importance of what he calls Liberal International Economic Orders. His LIEOs comport roughly to Pax Britannica and Pax Americana.

The iPhone is a marvelous gadget and great example of Ricardian economics -- it uses parts from 42 countries. If the sphere of safety does not include those 42 countries, then the sphere of economics will be shrunk to match. And iPhones will cost more and the world will be poorer. (Some no good friends of mine have me reading Wealth of Nations; it's right there in front.)

I accept from liberty theory your suggestion that we stick to our knitting, and I completely concur with your reading of the founders that it is outside the purview of the American Experiment.

But -- my first and widest break from traditional libertarianism is my willingness to take an expansive enough view of "national interest" to support preserving the LIEO. I call myself a "Deepak Lal Libertarian," and on occasion the silly neologism "Properitarian."

I'm also a fan of William Easterly and have given up foolish ideas I used to hold about exporting Democracy and Nation-building. I'm humbled by the Bush years but not to the point of isolationism. I would stand fulsomely with Israel as the one rights-enforcing state in her region and I would suggest a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat to the LIEO.

I don't pretend these questions are easy, and I enjoyed the link you sent. Our country did a great thing in defeating Soviet Communism, I'll support the fight to contain or vanquish the theocracy in Iran.

jk



Nice graphix can't help KOS-niacs understand economics of Nuke & Coal

An interesting series titled GETTING TO ZERO (CO2 emissions, that is), from which the nicely-done graphic comes.

(UPDATED... it worked!)

Energy%20ROI.jpg

Higher graph = better. Good article and explanation of the buffered bit as well:

n this study, "unbuffered" is the raw generation without storage, while "buffered" includes the cost of pumped hydro storage where it is needed to buffer the difference in peaks between production and consumption

Now that I've read the comments: I see that even a well-written article which was not blasted in the Comments section, nevertheless did not make much headway (I only spend few min. in the comments section). Best summary:
OK Nukes might help, but I've got problems with waste...
One even cited her HS Chemistry teacher (still having her brain in a jar I suppose).

Others pattered about not being able to get CSP on their rooftops (DOPES: this is about massive amounts of energy...like quads and stuff).

Hat tip to PowerLine (once again)

But jk thinks:

My appreciation for Cato is well known 'round here. Their energy guys assure that "you can take a lefty's solar/biomass/wind proposal, do a global replace for "nuclear," and hand it to someone of the right.

The exact same levels of subsidies are required -- but the nuke plants need it for insurance, permitting, &c. I hear that as gub'mint protection from gub'mint, but some people I admire greatly say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

JK:

say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Yes, the currently employed technology for nuclear power plants in today's (horribly overblown) regulatory environment is not viable.

Why? Because current technology employed are 40-50 year old designs! It's been a coon's age since I've looked into it - once professionally, once as a lurking/blogger - but the state of the art designs are very viable, or so says the PM with whom I interviewed (who would have no reason to lie to me)! There's a small cadre of companies, a few local, sitting on very nice designs and just waiting.... which is why I didn't get the job! Greenwood Village.... just as well, I suppose.

The regulatory environment is - well, let's just say it would be quite comfortably familiar to the architects of the ACA.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 6:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

CATO energy guy: is that Chip Knappenberger?

Btw, that same article I cited has a great explanation of how the energy storage in Norway & Sweden's copious dams is what makes Danish wind power close to viable: when the wind blows, the Danes send power north & the northern folks hold their water, when it doesn't the water & electrons flow south.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 5, 2015 4:20 PM

Local publishers

I saw an article sometime over the weekend, but can't remember where and more importantly WHO. It was about a local company that's getting into the publishing business (books ODT, I'm pretty sure).

Anyone else note this?

Posted by nanobrewer at 3:37 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Sorry, no, I did not see it. The insane-asylum newsletter perhaps? Tough biz.

I see the guys that have the back cover of Reason selling leather-foil handsomely bound copies of great works in the liberty canon. Bless their hearts, but I wonder where the market is.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:07 PM

Quote of the Day

It saddens me to say this, but I no longer believe that the government should mandate health care. It's not because I've abandoned the basic principles behind health care reform. Quite the contrary. But a great idea, is just an idea, if you can't execute. And the government has proven time and time again, it can't execute. So I'm over it until someone figures it out. -- Former PPACAo2010 supporter Melissa Klein
Randy T. Simmons, call your office!

Nobel Politics

The rise of partisanship is a hot topic these days and now we learn, even the Nobel Committee is not immune

Mr Jagland had attracted criticism after overseeing a number of controversial of awards, including ones made to Barack Obama in 2009 - less than a year after the U.S. president took office - to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and to the European Union in 2012.

No serving chair has ever been ousted since the awards were first made in 1901, even with shifting political majorities.

The committee is appointed in line with the strength of the parties in Norway's parliament.

Perhaps Norwegian voters felt the Nobel awards had become too partisan for their taste.

But jk thinks:

Not fair to the President. His job was to not be George W. Bush -- and he excels at it.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 3:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll grant you that, and I stand corrected. Nonetheless, taking a swing at Cordell Hull? Not an opportunity I get every day, and soooooo worth it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2015 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

A new member of the FDR administration to dislike. Thanks, Keith, you provide a valuable public service.

I can recite the names of all Secretaries of State (big big fun at parties -- everyone laughs when you get to Philanderer C. Knox) and know him as the longest serving in that position. The distasteful items at your link were not known to me.

Serious question: as PM Netanyahu's speech hangs in the air, one is reminded of leadership and foreign policy. I tend to give FDR and by extension Sec. Hull a wide pass for foreign policy because they kicked ass and took names in WWII. Horrible, horrible crew in so many ways -- but they defeated Nazism and Japanese Imperialism.

Am I too kind? It's frequently said...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:20 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Cordell Hull bears the brunt of a special animus from me; his refusal to accept refugees from the St. Louis is half of a set of bookends of the FDR Administration's failure in handling WWII, the other half being Manzanar. Are you too kind to the FDR Administration? It depends on how you view prolonging the Great Depression, the government expansion of powers under the pretense of the New Deal, trying to pack the Supreme Court, and the very existence of the United Nations.

Ask a dozen friends of yours when World War Two started, and eleven of them will cite December, 1941. Only one will answer "September 1, 1939." Roosevelt may have kicked some Nazi ass, but don't forget that the war raged for 26 months before Japan bombed us. Hitler and the Germans managed to not provoke us enough for two years, and I picture the tension on the phone line the day after Pearl Harbor, with Hitler phoning Hirohito and Tojo and asking them what they had been thinking. Yes, we eventually got into the war and won it, though I give more credit to the military than to the Roosevelt Administration for that.

I did not know until recently that Cordell Hull can also be thanked for income tax and the inheritance tax. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2015 5:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I suggest I have the correct animus for domestic policies and the deep scars inflicted on American liberty.

But the will to mobilize a two-theatre war, maintain alliances, appoint and correctly trust Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and lead the public through very uncertain chances of success is difficult to dismiss.

It's as if Justin Bieber discovered the cure to cancer or something...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 6:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Manzanar should never be forgotten. In fact, it's one of those episodes that should be painfully recounted by Hollywood every 10 years or so, as is slavery, and the Holocaust.

I'd argue that war really started between 1937 (Marco Polo Bridge, Nanking....) and the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938, but technically, 12/7/41 is most correct as prior to the Day of Infamy it was only a european war with a new naval skirmishes in the Indian Ocean, one battle near Nomonhan and ever growing "incidents" in China. My Dad who fought in WW2, always argued 1937, but wanting to be a Marine, he always looked east.

Currently reading Churchill's books on WW2 and have to support JK's assertion that FDR's support of Lend-Lease (and other quiet moves) is every bit as huge as Lincoln preserving the Union.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 6, 2015 1:45 PM

Deeds not words

No links to back up my assertions this time, although I looked. The video excerpt of National Security Advisor Susan Rice's speech to AIPAC most often posted is the one where she "proves" that her boss' bad deal with Iran is a good deal because she repeats the mantra "no deal is better than a bad deal."

In the same speech she said, and I have to paraphrase because I'm going from memory of seeing her say it on FNC yesterday morning - "We must judge Iran by its actions and not its words." By "words" we can consider those of Iran's president when he said, "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism." Setting aside for now the Islamic Republic of Iran's military exercise to sink a 1/100th scale model of a US aircraft carrier at the peak of "negotiations," this advice is quite sound. Many recent examples of deeds not matching words support Ms. Rice's statement. One such example is quite well known - "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

But jk thinks:

Or, as Jim Geraghty said "Great News! Obama's Drawing a New 'Red Line' with Iran! We Can Relax Now!"

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 1:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Rice's speech to AIPAC
[learning to properly cite quotes...]

Has been widely reported as "openly derided." That woman has no shame; she's a natural for a Clinton appointee!

Following right after was the widely-applauded speech
by the NJ Senator with a distinctly non-jewish surname that directly contradicted Rice's most salient points.

It will never threaten Israel or its neighbors, and it will never be in a position to start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Not on my watch.
and
Let us do all we can now to get an agreement that dismantles Iran’s illicit program and ensures that it will not have to be a military response

Bolded above was one of the more promiment snide tweets from Dems in response to Bibi's speech. If I tweeted, my reply to them would have been: "he has plans - it's NOBama!.

Nice to see that bi-partisanship is still alive, and sad w/o surprise to note how distant POTUS is from it.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 3:35 PM

March 3, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

taranto150303.gif

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | What do you think? [0]

March 1, 2015

Review Corner

Their calculations are at odds with those of businessmen, their market counterparts . Whereas the latter asks how much people want something, the equivalent of asking what they are willing to pay, the politician asks how many people want something. [...] Legislating tax policy is a process of give and take, but those being taken from are seldom part of the conversation.
Public Choice Theory marries the consequentialist and rights-based argument for libertarianism. And Randy T. Simmons's Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure bakes the cake and puts the handsome couple on top.

Simmons uses just enough economics to ensure a factual underpinning. I don't think any interested reader would feel overwhelmed with theory and charts. Yet there is enough for a serious reader to see the projected and actual effects of previous policies. And it raises the work above polemics.

Despite the importance of individual preferences in democracies, a number of otherwise attractive political features have the unhappy facility of violating Paretian efficiency. The two most prominent involve redistribution of income. Redistributive gains dominate efficiency considerations in policy discussions, and democratic institutions encourage this redistributive propensity. In addition, democracy has an unfortunate but a distinct penchant for enacting inefficient proposals-- proposals that make some better off but at the expense of others or even worse, making everyone worse off in the long run.

Ruminations on Pareto efficiency always gets you invited back to the best cocktail parties. But for a non-strident, non-polemical book, Beyond Politics advocates for a vastly limited government. All the popular arguments for government interdiction for labor, safety, alleviation of poverty, and imposition of medical code standards are comprehensively dismantled. Society as a whole will be worse off and the solutions will be less innovative and less effective than those subject to the trial of market competition.
The great accomplishment of modern public choice has been to demonstrate the pernicious workings of the visible hand of politics. The same decision makers operating under market and political rules produce quite different results.
[...]
Judges force the redesign of everyday tools and airplanes. They decide if surgeons in operating rooms were acting appropriately or if CEOs ran their financial firms appropriately. They are the most powerful regulators in the American system. And with each new , groundbreaking decision a judge's status in the legal , media, and academic communities increases.

Simons does not come up with many public goods better provided by government. Protect property rights, adjudicate disagreements and let free exchange handle the rest. He quotes both Coase and Bryan Caplan extensively. You cannot compensate for thee failures by invoking democracy or popular consent -- the system has many misplaced incentives built into it.
In Latin "votum" or vote means "ardent wish." But obviously many American voters are not terribly ardent and are, in fact, highly frustrated, which explains why the right to vote is not regularly exploited by many citizens.

Accessible but serious: five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Okay I'll bite - First Ayn Rand explained why a proper government only engages in the protection of individuals from other individuals. Now Utah's Randy Simmons concurs, saying that most "public goods" aren't good - that protecting property rights and adjudicating disagreements are the notable exceptions. So we must ask why then, does government continue doing things that are not in the best interest of the citizenry? Why do folks like us go along with the legal, though immoral, violation of so many of our freedoms?

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2015 9:17 AM

Boulder Rejects 'Net Neutrality!'

The so-called Net Neutrality rules imposed on service providers for the "information superhighway" last week were sold as essential to prevent companies from restricting internet access for those who can't afford to pay higher tolls on the "fast lanes."

Today I read opposition to this point of view from, of all places, Boulder, Colorado.

"In my view, (the tolls) make a lot of sense if we want to use this efficiently, and I think we have to," Nuzzi said.

You see, "When roads and parking lots are free, he said, they tend to become overused."

Oh, "the internet is different than roads and parking lots" you say? I will admit that is true - when government prohibits the allocation of limited capacity by price, and the capacity is overused, it's much harder for voters to see slow internet connections than traffic jams and packed parking lots.


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