April 30, 2015

Quote of the Day

Senator Sanders brings a wealth of ideas from the 19th century including voting rights for women, a graduated income tax, and free public schools. He also favors the prohibition of alcohol, an end to paper money, and diapers on horses. -- Don Surber
Hat-tip: Insty
2016 Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

Not Enough Global Warming to Support The President's Agenda

I saw a pair of juxtaposed tweets, but Taranto's presenting two stories seems more damning:

That crappy GDP growth? Too damn cold!

Growth in the first quarter of 2015 was restrained by a historically harsh winter. This quarter was only the fourth in 60 years on record with three or more snowstorms sufficiently severe to be rated by the National Climatic Data Center's Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS). In addition, as measured by heating degree days, this quarter was the third coldest in twenty years. Indeed, winter weather likely reduced both consumption and investment, contributing to this quarter's below-trend output growth. The historical relationship between weather and first-quarter growth suggests that weather may have reduced annualized growth by about a full percentage point this quarter (similar to estimates by Macroeconomic Advisers and Goldman Sachs). Also, first-quarter growth has been especially weak in recent years even after seasonal adjustment, averaging 0.3 percent per year over the past five years as compared with 2.9 percent for Q2 through Q4. This observation at least partially reflects generally worsening weather over the past decade, which may not yet be accounted for in seasonal-adjustment algorithms. While some output lost due to weather may not be regained, many forecasters expect that much of the lost demand from the first quarter will be diverted toward the second.

Fair enough. But Climate Change -- Too Damn Hot!
WHFACT_2014Hottest.gif

But nanobrewer thinks:

Dr. Hayward's Climate column at PowerLine cites the WSJ's recent Notable & Quotable column which harks back to Time magazine, 6/24/74:

Telltale signs are everywhere—from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data.

The hottest year claim comes from the NOAA dataset, which has been ... "adjusted" in a way that would make Al Gore blush. Neither RISS nor the UAH datasets show this warming...

Climate Depot Note

AP is finally conceding that the narrative of the 2014 being the 'hottest year' not only violated scientific methods, but also made a mockery of journalistic ethics. Climate Depot kept up the pressure on the media.


Posted by: nanobrewer at April 30, 2015 11:12 PM
But jk thinks:

That's okay, once it's on the White House web site with FACT in all caps, its purpose has been achieved.

I engaged in an interesting FB fight last night but made my point poorly. Blog friend tg finds the conservative arguments that DAWG is overblown by leftist media wanting. Our internationalist buddy points out that the whole world believes in anthropogenic climate change and that the autocratic governments of China and Russia have nothing in common with lefties, ergo there is broad support.

High fast ball right over the plate, but I rushed my answer. China, Russia, and Progressive Westerners have much in common says I (correctly) but I focus on redistribution and aversion to wealth creation (poorly worded).

I follow up with central planning as being the commonality betwixt NGOs, UN, Hollywood, and the Editorial Board of Mother Jones but it is a comment too late.

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2015 9:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And it's certainly even more "too late" to follow up with, "Whatever happened to 'never trust authority?'" Did you forget what "never" means, or do you simply fail to recognize government force as authority whenever it happens to agree with your own personal beliefs?

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2015 6:02 PM
But Jk thinks:

I think my interlocutor too young for "never trust authority." Perhaps we need to rejuvenate that one...

Posted by: Jk at May 2, 2015 3:02 PM

Not Blue Government After All...

Nope, it's bankers' fault!

baltimore_us_uncut.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

Wells Fargo Bank is the bad guy? Careful. They're one of the "six riskiest banks [who] are big donors to Hillary Clinton."

Oh, and "pushed?" Mr. Hillary Clinton was the prime culprit on that count.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2015 2:17 PM

April 29, 2015

Rats in the West Side, Bedbugs Uptown!

What a mess, this town's in tatters!

The world's best city planner (20:40) was singing about New York City, but Mises.org smelled rats a decade ago in the hometown of Chief Justice Taney and Francis Scott Key.

People tend to take care of property when property rights are strong, and when they're not, well, we see graffiti, litter, broken windows, and often, rats. If you disagree, then ask yourself: How many of these problems afflict your own house or business? I left Baltimore not terribly optimistic about its future and wondered how famous I might become if I was able to construct a "rat index" that gauged rat populations of inner cities that would serve as a proxy for property rights (or their lack).

Needless to say, this is not a project I pursued.

But now that Baltimore has become synonymous with police barricades, pepper spray, curfews, and looting--a sort of Ferguson East--I am reminded again of H.L. Mencken's hometown. The course of events there have all been predictable and increasingly common.


Blue-Model Cities.

But johngalt thinks:

So in essence, Westley says, the cause of urban blight is rooted in political economy, and not race. "White flight" as it is called would be more accurately described as "owner flight" or "capitalist flight" or, as Rosa Clemente might put it: "oppressor flight."

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2015 7:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen. Jason Riley points out that middle-class African-Americans left the city seeking security (property and personal rights) in the same proportion as people of pallor.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2015 7:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Rand Paul, call your office:

Save the cities. Rescue the black libertarians. Drive away the democRATS. And win the presidency in the process.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2015 12:09 PM

Black Men United

Fascinating.

Backup link: https://youtu.be/0HaaRZ8nxd4

This is the right way to get #JusticeForFreddieGray

"Stop hurtin' us so we can just live our life and keep goin."

(Booker T. Washington would be proud as hell of that one.)

"Just because we're black and we have flags on people assume we're gonna hurt somebody."

"We can come together as a unit. And be unified. And be peaceful."

"They won't tell you the good side of what we're doing in these communities."

And I missed the one about how the way they're portrayed in the media is "bad for our image."

Well, there is this small matter of past behavior predicting future behavior. But can this be a lasting change? We can only Hope.


H/T: 9 Signs of Human Decency in War-Torn Baltimore

"War-torn."

UPDATED 18:20 EDT, 5/01: From NYT's Ron Nixon, April 27, 2015:

One of the Crips members, who called himself Charles, wearing a red Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose T-shirt, said the gang members had taken to the street because "there is only so far that you can push people into a corner."

"We're frustrated," he continued, "and that's why we're out there in the streets."

Then he described how he and some Bloods had stood in front of black-owned stores to protect them from looting or vandalism. He said they had made sure no black children, or reporters, were hit by rioters. They pointed them toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores. Charles said Mr. Gray had brought gangs together.

"I rolled over here on a truck, and I was the only Crip and everybody else was Bloods. And they didn't do anything to me. We're together in this." [emphasis mine]

Together - and peaceful - but only with other black men. Color me unsurprised that my first impression was excessively rosy.

But jk thinks:

We need to recruit a better crop of anarchists around here. (A less-than-flowery Review Corner of Hans Hermann Hoppe's newest is slated for Sunday).

A good anarchist could make the case for the Bloods' agency, their filling a market need, and their providing a social structure in Baltimore. I can almost see it but my heart is not in it.

I cannot see into these young men's hearts but suspect their civic pride might be a fraction opportunistic; telling a reporter what she wants to hear is never really bad PR.

We've had a spate of gang violence in the Denver community of Park Hill where I was born and raised. I find it difficult to accept them as contributing to the protection of rights in their community.

I'd sure like to be wrong and lose this argument.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2015 6:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The interesting part is how this episode is so disruptive to the usual order of things that it can provoke this sort of shift in attitude. It's comparable to the effect on political divides after 9/11.

And the gang bangers aren't denouncing the police, or white people, or even the media. They are denouncing the idea that they are associated with the violent element that seeks to tear down the city.

They may engage in crime as a matter of course, but they are by and large social crimes, i.e. drug trade, maybe prostitution. Decriminalize these things and you're looking at entrepreneurial capitalists. Reform government aid to unwed mothers and they'll also become heads of households or, better yet, fathers.

But no, we wouldn't want any of that would we. But THEY would. They're practically demanding it. They just don't know the words to use. They're mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore.

"Stop hurtin' us so we can just live our life and keep goin."

Amen.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2015 11:47 AM

Will People Notice?

The WSJ Ed Page hits one out of an empty Camden Yards today with "The Blue-City Model: Baltimore shows how progressivism has failed urban America."

Nothing excuses the violence of rampaging students or the failure of city officials to stop it before Maryland's Governor called in the National Guard. But as order starts to return to the streets, and the usual political suspects lament the lack of economic prospects for the young men who rioted, let's not forget who has run Baltimore and Maryland for nearly all of the last 40 years.

The men and women in charge have been Democrats, and their governing ideas are "progressive." This model, with its reliance on government and public unions, has dominated urban America as once-vibrant cities such as Baltimore became shells of their former selves. In 1960 Baltimore was America's sixth largest city with 940,000 people. It has since shed nearly a third of its population and today isn't in the top 25.

The dysfunctions of the blue-city model are many, but the main failures are three: high crime, low economic growth and failing public schools that serve primarily as jobs programs for teachers and administrators rather than places of learning.


So WSJ Editorial Page readers know (the news pages released an insane pro-Piketty inequality video yesterday; I'd've posted it had I calmed down enough to copy embed code). Yet our beloved national press can be counted on to defend those same policies, chin stroke, and come out of this with a mandate for minimum wage increases -- and a Federal jobs training bill.

But johngalt thinks:

And criminal justice reform.

But he said the deeper problem is a lack of education opportunities for many kids and a criminal justice system that is a "pipeline from schools to prisons."

Lack of education opportunities? That's quite an indictment of the Progressive education reforms to the public school system over the last four decades. The President's misdirection notwithstanding, the "pipeline from schools to prisons" has more to do with the schools than the justice system.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2015 1:19 PM

April 28, 2015

Really Heating up on the D Side

HuffPo -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will launch a campaign seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 on Thursday.

Sanders will be the first official challenger for the Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who launched her campaign earlier this month.

Sanders' decision was first reported byVermont Public Radio, and confirmed by The Huffington Post.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Don't know if anybody reads Andy Borowitz. I used to find him really amusing, but a few years at the insular New Yorker have turned him into a partisan hack. All the better for some of my FB friends, but I did get a chuckle out of this:

BREAKING: In a head-to-head contest, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 2.5 billion dollars.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2015 9:20 AM
But jk thinks:

On the serious side, I was reminded of our current Secretary of State, Mister John "Reporting for Duty!" Kerry. There is the serious guy that could step in if his predecessor continues to flail: name recognition, experience, donor-relations, statesmanlike bearing -- and an "I told you so" that might appeal to a large percentage of the voters.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2015 9:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Kerry would like nothing more than to be POTUS. He is so much "better" than the rest of us after all.

If Bernie Sanders were a legitimate socialist he would demand that Hillary's 2.5 billion dollar advantage be shared equally amongst all the candidates. (And if Hillary Clinton agreed with her own rhetoric she would comply.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2015 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

He's got four years on her, plus the egregious disadvantage of white maleness. But I think our Democrat friends are in a pickle. The fearsome Clinton machine has scared everyone else out yet the candidate is not ready. If you need to pull someone in, why not the previous eligible nominee? By today's demographics his vote totals win.

Perhaps he could come out as gay...

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2015 2:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Not ready" is just code for the glass ceiling below the White House. If this keeps up I might just have to start agreeing with Hillary that there's a conspiracy to keep women folk down.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2015 2:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Investor's Ed Page weighs in on the Bernie Sanders bid:

Socialist sympathies are part of the Clinton - and the Democratic Party - essence that the media won't touch. Maybe with Sanders in the race, voters will be able to make the connection themselves.
Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2015 3:29 PM

W.E.B. versus Booker T.

All the world is but a stage. And we are watching theatre of the highest caliber play out. "The play? A tragedy called 'man' and it's hero: the conquerer worm." The actors should know how it ends and never forget that this is a union house and they are not to touch anything with out a member of the local stage hands guild. Just do as you are told and everything will be fine. It is sundown in America tonight. Are we brave enough, smart enough, humble enough and committed enough to renew her promise so the next generation can greet the morning in America once again?

Thus ends today's pointed, potent, and defeatist commentary on the Baltimore "race riots" by Glenn Beck who asks, "When will we stand up against the madness?" At least one Baltimore mother did exactly that on Monday. But before ending the madness like what is now transpiring in Baltimore, and previously occurred in Ferguson and other cities this year and last, more of us need to clearly understand its cause. To paraphrase one tweet of the current news cycle:

"White America needs to understand - until we get justice, we be thuggin."

Months ago we were told by a hip hop activist what "justice" is, when she said that capitalism "is the oppressive force."

"And the police are actually in my opinion - and we have a lot of theory that proves this - are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice."

Today I found the best possible rebuttal to this idea, and it is over 100 years old - in the words of African-American spokesman and leader Booker T. Washington (not to be confused with Booker T. Jones and the MG's, as Rush Limbaugh inexplicably did today.) In 1895, Washington addressed the "Cotton States and International Exposition" in Atlanta. Please read every inspiring word but I will highlight the preamble to his conclusion:

The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.

Before King. Before Rand. Before jk and this blog, Washington's conclusion shows that he was the first Prosperitarian. But instead of building on Booker T's message, the NAACP has taken the alternate path advocated by its founder W.E.B. Du Bois that was less "accomodating to white interests."

W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights. He labeled Washington "the Great Accommodator". Washington's response was that confrontation could lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks. He believed that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome racism in the long run.

More than 100 years later, how is Du Bois' plan working out? Not so well for overcoming racism. Just fine though for career activists.

But jk thinks:

The comparison rang a bell and (Thanks, Bing!) I found it in Review Corner. (Insert Taranto gag "it's always the last place you look...")

Jason Riley highlighted the tension between Du Bois and Washington:

An interesting and original subordinate point is the tension between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. Du Bois sought political power to right the wrongs of oppression and Washington sought economic power. Modern leaders chose political power, which is surely defensible after slavery and Jim Crow, but Riley suggests that they should not have abandoned Washington. He highlights minority groups in America that have little or no political power yet do extraordinarily well. Asians, Italians, Scandinavians acquired economic power first, then they entered the political realm. African Americans and Irish turned first to politics and were both poorly served.

This remains true, but I suggest that Riley and my blog brother have a long road ahead to repair racism (though someday, maybe if there were a black President...)

Like Ferguson, without providing a smidgen of quarter to looters and thugs who disrespect their overwhelmingly-minority neighbors' property rights, I call for a reduction in illegality.

I do not have a clue what happened to Freddie Gray, but the dribbling in of his rap sheet is rife with minor drug possession, and he was picked up for having a knife?

The thuggish protesters require the ecosystem of the peaceful protesters in a free speech versus personal and property endangerment calculus I find difficult to reconcile. I suggest that had most of the protesters not been hassled for minor offences, most of the protesters would not be out. Without those legitimate, peaceful protesters, the looters would be manageable.

Not making excuses for lawlessness, but you can't fix people and you cannot easily fix police. You can fix law, and extend liberty and respect to people. I think that is the best path forward.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 4:58 PM

Quote of the Day

Several readers wrote me to object that the mendacity I ascribed to Mrs. Clinton applied equally to Republicans.

Maybe. But what was striking about these critics is that none of them bothered to rebut the point that Mrs. Clinton is a habitual liar who treats truthfulness in politics the way a calorie-counting diner might treat hollandaise sauce on steak: to be kept strictly on the side or dribbled on in measured doses. -- Bret Stephens, WSJ Ed Page


In a Battle of Wits...

Looks like we'll still have Governor Huckabee to kick around in 2016. Good for blog fodder I s'pose.

But in a battle of wits with The Club for Growth, I cannot help but feel the Gov. has brought a knife to a gun fight.

If, as many suspect him to, Mike Huckabee announces a presidential bid in Hope, Arkansas, on May 5, he'll enter the race with some unique advantages. But he'll also be burdened by a furious rivalry with a conservative activist group likely to have a budget of tens of millions of dollars, a group he's compared to "suicide bombers" and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

The politician in me objects, but the poet in me would enjoy a Huckabee vs. Hickenlooper contest in 2016. As much fun as we've had since there was speculation that George W. Bush might select California Congressman Christopher Cox as his running mate.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 12:21 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

Fred Rose ©1940

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink

My Sister joins me in the Coffeehouse. ThreeSourcers get an early peek....

April 27, 2015

Otequay of the Ayday

In all the years I've been in politics, I'm not sure I've shaken a single socialist out of the "you conservatives hate poor people" shtick. The only way to answer, I've found, is to say: "Yup, you're right: we want to turn them into rich people."

-British Member of Parliament Dan Hannan, writing in "Why Conservatives Have More Empathy Than Liberals."


I May Never Watch Anything Else

Penn Jillette on Jon Caldara's show. Magnets in the air prevented me from watching its broadcast Friday, but it is on the Intertubes:

Every minute rocks, but at 17:30:

We can out-left the Left and out-right the Right on all the stuff that people really feel. It is purely American!

Art Posted by John Kranz at 5:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

President Obama's Legacy

I now know what the eight years of the Barack Hussein Obama presidency will be remembered for, and our lefty friends aren't going to like it. Not because I'm about to bash Obama again - in fact, I will praise him (faintly.) Obama's legacy will not be national health care, wage equality, Mideast peace or even "stopping the rise of the oceans" although he will actually "do" this. (More later.) Instead, it will be the start of a new era of peace and prosperity across the globe.

The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the [sic] Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."

Mr. Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.

"We?" Yes, President Obama's energy secretary is attaching his boss to this effort. The faint praise I promised lies in the fact that he allowed the LNG export terminal permits to be issued. He is "responsible" for the coming 'copious carbon energy for a pittance' revolution to the extent that he didn't try to stand in its way. (Although it likely would have flattened him the way his EPA is attempting to flatten the coal industry.)

America's parallel drive for shale oil is equally breath-taking. Scott Sheffield, head of Pioneer Natural Resources, said his company has discovered huge reserves in the vast Permian Basin of West Texas.

"We think the Permian could produce 5-6m barrels a day (b/d) in the long-term," he said. It is a staggering claim. This would be more than Saudi Arabia's giant Ghawar field, the biggest in the world.

Ryan Lance, head of ConocoPhillips, said North American oil output could reach 15m b/d by 2020 and 25m b/d over the next quarter century, three times Saudi Arabia's current exports.

A vault forward on this scale would establish the US as the leading energy superpower in both oil and gas, a revival that almost nobody could have imagined seven years ago when the United States was in near panic over its exorbitant dependency of imported fuel. It would restore the US to its mid-20th Century position as a surplus trading nation, and perhaps ultimately as world's biggest external creditor once again.

So this revival, this oil and gas "renaissance" started "seven years ago." Circa June 4, 2008, i.e. "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." And as soon as the Global Warming Policy Center's "Blue Ribbon Panel" determines that global warming is a mirage of misguided scientific error corrections, President Obama can take credit for that too. But the accomplishment that will be remembered - the real change that makes real changes in the lives of real people - is cheap and abundant energy worldwide. And like the birth of liberty and prosperity that came in the 20th century, this one will also be a uniquely American creation.

Fracking is still an almost exclusive preserve of North America, and is likely to remain so into the early 2020s. China has large ambitions but the volumes are still tiny, and there is a shortage of water in key areas. Fracking remains mere talk in most other regions of the world.

Lukoil analysts say Russian extraction costs for shale are four times higher that those of US wildcat drillers. Sanctions currently prevent the Russians importing the know-how and technology to tap its vast Bazhenov basin at a viable cost.

John Hess, the founder of Hess Corporation, said it takes a unique confluence of circumstances to pull off a fracking revolution: landowner rights over sub-soil minerals, a pipeline infrastructure, the right taxes and regulations, and good rock. "We haven't seen those stars align yet," he said.

Above all it requires the acquiescence of the people. "It takes a thousand trucks going in and out to launch a (drilling) spud. Not every neighbourhood wants that," he said.

Certainly not in Sussex, Burgundy, or Bavaria.

Or in Erie, Colorado.

This is as unlikely a legacy as anyone could have imagined for a president who, as candidate, bragged that electricity costs would "necessarily skyrocket" as a result of his policy goals designed to promote alternatives to oil and gas. But given the bareness of the cupboard in his presidential library storeroom, I suspect he will gladly take it - deserved or not.

But jk thinks:

Firstly, this constant malignment of my home town has got to stop. We may have elected a bad mayor, but our council held firm against the encroaching Boulder loonies and rejected a moratorium. There's frackin' in them thar' plains. Trust me.

It borders on the humorous how the fracking boom has rescued the Obama Presidency against his wishes and actions. The economic stagnation of other sectors would likely have been a full blown recession. Energy saved his economy and Gov. Hickenlooper (Bloombergian - CO). But Hick has the smarts (he is a Geologist by training) not to stand athwart progress.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 9:53 AM

Tactical Victory, Strategic Loss

The Beatles looked pretty clever for some time having not sold digital rights to their music too cheaply. Everybody else got devalued, but Apple Corps retained value by avoiding the digital market.

We have the Amazon Echo® which I dig muchly. I don't use a lot of "Alexa's" feature-set, but having a voice-activated music player in the living room is handy as can be. There are some challenges of asking for something she can understand and that is available in one's Amazon library or on Amazon Prime®. Cool, but not yet perfect, it leaves one hunting for requests never tried before.

As I was scanning physical media for Sunday's Review Corner, the lovely bride said "Amazon, play Beatles." I thought "No, that's not gonna work, those mp3s are all locked up in Sir Paul's underwear drawer or Michael Jackson's estate or Hillary's email server -- not someplace you're gonna find 'em."

The Echo says "Shuffling Music by the Re-Beatles, from Prime Music." And on comes a passable cover of While my Guitar Gently Weeps. Yet, passable is not The Beatles. I do not hold the Fab Four in the reverent esteem of many my age, but they have clearly earned a special place in music. And George Martin's production was so far ahead of its time, we may yet to have caught up.

And, it struck me that the iPhone generation may never encounter one of the biggest and most influential acts of all time. If you're not digital, you're dead to the millennials, right?

Even some fans might find themselves inuring to The ReBeatles. That would be an artistic loss.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 26, 2015

Problem, Meet Solution

News this week that the town of Erie, Colorado has embarked on a growth program in an effort to attract commercial activity and its concomitant tax revenue to fund city services.

[Erie Mayor Tina] Harris said that the commitments to so much water infrastructure and residential construction were made in order to attract the kind of commercial tax revenue for which the town is still starved.

"We wanted to be able to have commercial development in town, like King Soopers, like a Super Target in the future, hopefully -- just the amenities that our citizens would want to have in town," she said. "We had to have enough rooftops to get those amenities even interested in Erie, so previous boards made decisions to build so much residential to try to prove to the commercial industry that Erie had enough residents that would be their customers."

Well I have one suggestion: Stop trying to ban oil and gas development, and its concomitant tax revenue! Perhaps instead you might try negotiating a deal where they are given streamlined permitting in preferred areas in return for a municipal surtax. Wouldn't that prove something to commercial industry about Erie's priorities? Or does that make too much sense for you to consider, Ms. Mayor?


Review Corner

BY THE MIDDLE of the seventeenth century, war was a distant memory in Japan. The occasional vendetta, rarely involving as many as a hundred men, was the last reminder of the cataclysmic struggles of the era of warring states. Few military men knew how to fire a musket after 1650, armor served as a decoration of great halls, and samurai learned to wield their swords in gymnasia in pursuit of personal cultivation or recreation. While philosophers reconceived the warrior as a gentleman and moral exemplar to justify the privileges of a large, anachronistic military class, its members turned to government service, to scholarship, and sometimes to medicine to occupy themselves usefully. They wrote labored treatises on the Way of the Warrior and retold the tales of their ancestors, for the heroic feats of yesterday remained one source of the peacetime soldier's prestige. Yet reflections upon the ever more romanticized past were exercises in nostalgia. Within a generation of Hideyoshi's death, armed conflict had all but disappeared from his country.
A very good friend of this blog got me interested in the period of sengoku Japan and recommended Mary Elizabeth Berry's Hideyoshi, a 1982 biography of the sixteenth century ruler. It is quite a good read even if one must navigate this archaic format where the text is actually printed in ink on paper and bound into a book, slightly larger and much thicker than a Kindle®.

Hideyoshi appealed to me as something of a father of Federalism in Japan. The peace in the opening quote was gained in substantive part by Hideyoshi's dedication to Federalism. The daimyo (local chieftain) was given broad authority even as it was clear that he was subservient and expected to provide taxes, warriors, comely daughters, &c. to this new central authority.

Previous attempts to centralize authority hit a natural size limit. Hideyoshi's delegation of authority allowed him to unite Japan -- and dream of conquering Korea and China. His predecessor/mentor, Nobunaga, had the military chops but lacked the concept of hierarchical rule.

The forcible concentration of authority was just one direction in the politics of the warring-states era, however. There was another--toward independent local government--that had provided most of the vitality of the age. The steady usurpation of independent daimyo by Nobunaga's small band of vassals seemed to close off this direction, only to reveal its centrality to sixteenth-century life. If Nobunaga was a lord who "did not know the Way," his rebuff of the throne and his attacks upon shrines, temples, cities, and the shogunate were peripheral to his basic denial of domainal rule.

Peace and prosperity are swell things. Federalism is a liberty-friendly means of organizing government. Hideyoshi was of humble birth and below average physical appearance. This has all the elements of a heroic story -- get Disney on the line!

But, no, there is no Japanese John Locke in this story. Hideyoshi really assembled the first modern, bureaucratic administrative state in Japan. Taxes and surveys and paperwork were regularized. Hideyoshi and his friends did very well, rebuilding temples and places and government complexes in Kyoto, and conscripting men and material for two hopeless -- the author uses the term "vainglorious" attempts to overthrow Korea as a base to dominate China. That "the three countries (Japan, China and India) will know my name!" was sufficient reason to sacrifice hundreds of thousands on two occasions -- the second time, the great warrior did not even bother to go.

Hideyoshi probably achieved what he wanted from the second invasion of Korea. He displayed the firmness of his will, showed again that his army could challenge China, and took a gruesome toll in Korean casualties for the slight to his honor.

I have come to what little scholarship I possess late in life, and it has been driven by my interests. This is a fascinating and superbly written book. I recommend it highly. Jonathan Haidt would point out that I view everything on the liberty axis, and this is like Thucydides in that it is interesting from the point of history qua history and statecraft. But I wait until the author brings up in the Afterword the item I ask internally through the whole book; and it refers to a successor:

A characteristic of Tokugawa intellectual life, one which set it off definitively from the past, was extensive and sustained inquiry into an essenially new question: What is the proper role of government? To ask the question is not only to convey a dilemma but to assume that government's function is definable and therefore particular or limited. The question rejects the right of fiat. To begin to define the role of government, further, is to establish a standard against which performance can be measured, and therefore to imply the notion of accountability. To grapple with the notion of accountability is to raise the possibility that government can be judged for failure, and therefore be reformed or rejected. And to explore the possibility of rejection is to see government as a system made and potentially remade by men of new vision.

I am an undisputed fan of peace as underpinning prosperity, art, and culture. One can laud Hideyoshi's -- if repressive -- peace as a foundation of the question with came later.

I will post in a couple days a link to the paper that inspired this detour for me. I need not remind that I am no authority on Japan in any century. I write as a flâneur in sengoku Japan. The book is quite enjoyable (and, as I own a softcover, available for lend). I would not deduct stars for its lacking a place in liberty theory, let's call it four-and-a-quarter stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 25, 2015

Colorado Presidential Primary?

Comments anyone? Denver Post:

Democratic and Republican legislators are drafting a measure to create a presidential primary in Colorado, The Denver Post has learned, a significant shift in one of the last dozen or so states that operates on a caucus system.

Most of the legislation's details are still being negotiated, but the tentative plan would put the primary in a prominent spot on the 2016 calendar and make the swing state a top prize in the nominating process.

My chief objection would be if it binds all of Colorado's delegates to vote for the primary winner. I suppose that would be alright if they were only bound on the first ballot but really, at this point, what difference does it make if most of the other states already have primaries instead of caucuses anyway? Our form of government is becoming more democratic, and less republican, and nobody really even notices.

But johngalt thinks:

Maybe I can spark a comment with one of my own. Here is what I opined on the subject on FB this morning:

I have not researched it myself but according to comments above, any straw poll is binding due to bylaws of the state AND the national party - or at least by one or the other. So, to answer your question Steve House, since any straw poll will be binding the answer seems to be, simply don't conduct one at all.

People come to caucus because they have a strong opinion about the primary candidate(s) they want to support early in the process. Voting a preference poll ballot may feel good but it accomplishes little or nothing. The way to support a candidate in a republican system is to vote for delegates who pledge themselves to your candidate. If nobody is pledging yet because there is more than one good candidate, you elect the one that expresses support for your candidate among the others. This is the essence of an electoral college system, which is the keystone of a republican government.

Let's stop promoting the idea that registered Republicans attend caucus to vote in a straw poll (binding or otherwise) that amounts to a de facto "insider's primary." I would like to see the party promote the concept of delegates and educate more of our members that government "by the people" is achieved by selecting a proxy to carry your wishes to the nominating convention - not by marking a piece of paper and going home with a false sense of accomplishment while power brokers in Washington figure out ever more ways to manipulate outcomes of democratic primaries.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2015 12:33 PM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking about it. Don't rush me.

You know I agree wholeheartedly with democracy versus republicanism concerns. I have zero problems with caucusgoers selecting the candidate as opposed to the unwashed.

My problem is that I lack the vision to see Colorado's having an important place in the nomination process. It would be good for the party, and massively entertaining, but it has never happened, the early states were all written in in the Bible or the Declaration or Tocqueville or somewhere. A Colorado Super-Tuesday Primary might be good, but I think it difficult to acquire prominence at this stage of the game.

It also difficult to try to fix one state's being a broken cog in a dysfunctional system. Delegate-schmelegate, I don't suspect a candidate will be selected at the convention in our lifetime. I love the stories of the Dems in 1924 or Republicans in 1880, but those are not coming back. If the RNC were to nominate on the 14th ballot at 3:00 AM and the DNC staged a modern three-day-infomercial they'd be at a distinct disadvantage.

The Straw Poll gets folks to caucus. At caucus, they are exposed to good things. Happened to me. I'd keep it.

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2015 10:32 AM

April 24, 2015

More Huzzah's for Jonah


The Clintons are like the Tudors of the Ozarks.
via his NR column

Plenty of great stuff, including the moniker: The Clinton-Industrial Complex


All Hail Jonah!

Doin' the ThreeSources Internet seguen' that other Americans won't do:

I recently watched Christopher Nolan's Insterstellar for the first time. I liked it, despite its gratuitous lack of nudity. Relativity plays a big part in the story (spoiler alert). Matthew McConaughey is dazed and confused by the fact what takes just a few minutes on some far-flung planet translates into months or years back home.

I made a similar discovery when I drunkenly ate a past-date spicy Jamaican beef patty at a 7-11 in October of 1995. Even though I was only a few hundred yards from my bathroom, it felt like it took years to get there.


No, scratch that.

I awarded headline of the day at 8:25 Mountain. I must regretfully rescind in favor of:


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

NAGR, RMGO are not gun owners' friends

Most ThreeSourcers are aware of the dynamics that cause politicians to resist actually solving problems that they claim to champion, and that those factors cause the same to happen with social activist groups - think Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. But what never occurred to me until now is that, sometimes, the same thing can happen in gun rights advocacy.

JK dubbed the National Association for Gun Rights the "People's Gun Rights of Judea two weeks ago. He directed ire at the NRA for blacklisting pols who associate with the competing group. Without any opining on the NRA in its own right, it is becoming painfully clear that the NAGR and it's Colorado predecessor, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are not gun owners' friends.

A full-blown public war of words has developed between RMGO and Colorado liberty groups and the Independence Institute. Independence's president, Jon Caldera, held a radio telethon of sorts to lay out the depth and breadth of RMGO malfeasance. In short, it is opposing state legislation that would EXPAND gun rights, in the form of increasing magazine capacity limits, for the express reason that ANY limitation is an infringement on gun rights and gun owners should hold out for full repeal of the law.

"Shut your pie hole and go buy one [magazine of 16 round capacity or more] and ignore the law," said Dudley Brown, president of RMGO. But ignoring the law doesn't make it go away, and the law's existence helps RMGO raise money through political donations by citizens who fear that the law will be expanded, not rolled back. Okay Dudley, will YOU ignore the law? Will you stop fundraising on it?


Headline of the Day

With apologies to Pirsig, I think this guy, Rob Friedman, is right:

Education and the Art of Minibike Maintenance

When I was in the ninth grade, my older brother Walter talked me into taking the class called small engines. There I learned to appreciate mechanics and enjoyed being able to understand how a lawn-mower engine (a good ol' Briggs & Stratton ) actually worked, and how to make my minibike go faster.

This new interest presented a dilemma. To my father, a physician, and my mother, a teacher, their job was to help guide me toward college. That meant a focus on academics--and I duly took algebra, geometry, biology and the like. But once again Walter stepped in, this time convincing me to take a class called auto shop.


Glenn Reynolds's "The New School [Review Corner] speculated on the need to match these disciplines better than we do; there's no reason a welder shouldn't read "Tale of Two Cities" (Whuffo?, as Kurt Vonnegut might say) but there is also no need that every person who might be happy fixing cars has to accumulate serious debt and give four years to get a piece of paper.

(And in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" the protagonist was an academic.)

Education Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Hear hear! "Specialization is for insects."

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

As education policy, I'm inclined to agree with you and RAH.

Actually, it is broader than that. I am guilty of conflating the Smithian-Ricardian economic concept of specialization with which I agree 100% with a narrow mental rigidity that Heinlein opposes.

In short, let's not make Bill Gates grow his own food, but let's encourage the welder to write plays or the auto-worker to reprogram the robot. Kumbaya.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2015 3:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or the climate researcher to change his own oil.
Or the battery chemist to pump his own gas.
Or the politician to know how one, single, solitary, fracking thing on earth actually works. (And also, to care.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 4:14 PM

Quote of the Day

At least the United Nations' then-top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, acknowledged--however inadvertently--the faith-based nature of climate-change rhetoric when he resigned amid scandal in February. In a farewell letter, he said that "the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma." -- Lamar Smith (R - TX)
But johngalt thinks:

All too honest. But then, the U.N. is about "dialog" and "problem solving" and has nothing to do with religion, right? Well, it seems the U.N. has a rather strong interest in religion.

Now, what does any of this have to do with the UN attacking religion?

The UN has a love/hate relationship with religion. They refer to them as FBOs – faith-based organizations.


Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 12:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:
Finally, the latest accusation is that more than 70% of the NGOs and FBOs working with the UN are 'Christian.' Now Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jewish organizations are pressuring the UN to correct what they perceive as a bias toward Christian programs.
Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 2:24 PM

April 23, 2015

Sites with Obnoxious Popping


On browsing at PowerLine:

[JK] had to set them up in IE as a non-trusted site

That's a neat trick! Yes, they occasionally apologize for their association with WordPress, and that site plays Holy Hell with my Firefox (and sometimes Chrome)... only Netzero has been discovered to be worse. All I can say is thank god for hand-helds!!

On Media & Blogging:

[JK] Whedon-y glow around here of late and I hoped to keep the ember lit

Um, all I've seen is the various levels of medieval savagery he's willing to propose for those of us out of step with his White-Privileged anti-prosperity approach to Global {whatever}. Is that what you mean, JK?


But jk thinks:

Life is funny sometimes. I've often laughed that the most avowed socialist I ever encountered, Kurt Vonnegut, wrote Harrison Bergeron -- the singular and perfect refutation of Socialism.

Of Course, Mr. Vonnegut also wrote "God Bless You, Mister Rosewater," my brother's favorite, and an obvious anti-capitalist screed. I was thinking of Rosewater when I was reading Nozick's praising Rawls (with me so far?) They tell the same story but it does not hold up to factual scrutiny; Bergeron does. Bergeron is popular, Rosewater draws stares even from Vonnegut fans.

Whedon might be in that class or he might subconsciously question progressivism's underpinnings. Or it might be art. My Buffy sire, Jonathan V. Last, calls "Amends" the most religious hour ever on TV (that's a compliment). Whedon is an aggressive atheist and laughs at that, but it is easier to read it Last's way than Joss' (Joss, Like Moses, Jesus, or Gates gets a singular possessive without the s). Perhaps the stories escape their authors' control. Blog friend sc, burdened with a lot of pointy-head graduate English Lit education, likes to quote CS Lewis that there are fundamental archetypes which creep out in our literature and art.

But at the end of the day, Whedon and Vonnegut deliver powerful messages of liberty, though their personal relations with the topic may be more complex.

At the risk of going to the well one too many times, I was going to suggest that I thought of Dollhouse's evil Rossum Corporation when I read of our former SecState's exploits in the NYTimes:

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world's largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

Rosatum, Rossum -- you can call it coincidence, but this is the Internet.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2015 9:56 AM

That Damned FOX News!

Just one sweet sip from Peter Suderman's Hillary Clinton's Campaign Isn't Answering Questions About Sketchy Clinton Foundation Donations; you'll want to quaff the whole thing.

For example, Fox News reporters, also drawing from Schweizer's book, dug into various aspects of the story, and found evidence that officials from Kazakhstan's state-owned energy company Kazatomprom visited with Bill Clinton at his home in New York to inquire about a possible deal with Westinghouse, which is also involved in the nuclear energy business. When contacted about the meeting by Fox News, a Clinton Foundation spokesperson denied that the meeting had ever happened. But when Fox News produced photos of the meeting, the Clinton spokesperson changed the story and said that it had happened.

If only they had a picture of the Gorram Email server! Having fun? Why yes, I am.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:56 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:
But they're also going to stick, I think, because they play into the public perception of the Clinton's [sic] as vaguely shady and corrupt, as power players and dealmakers who can never be fully trusted. That the Clinton foundation failed to report key donations, and that Clinton representatives have plainly lied to reporters about Bill Clinton's dealings, only amplifies this impression.

The election of Hillary Diane as President of the United States would amount to the second reign of the Clinton Crime Family, albeit perhaps with the roles of boss and consigliere reversed.

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 6:18 PM

Absurd Conspiracy Theories!

Even for the Clintons, this is rich.

The [Clinton, Wolfram and Hart] foundation and its list of donors have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Republican critics say the foundation makes Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, vulnerable to undue influence. Her campaign team calls these claims "absurd conspiracy theories."

Yessir, my Facebook is filled with absurd conspiracy theories. But none of them to date have caused me to re-file five years' tax returns.
(Reuters) -- Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.

I'd provide another link, but those are the first two paragraphs of the same story. I'm sure we could just look at the server and clear this all up in no time. Oh, wait...

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | What do you think? [5]
But nanobrewer thinks:


PowerLine has been tracking these stories. I focused on Putin's attempt to corner the world uranium market, approved by HRC's State Dept. NYT says that Putin now controls as much as 20% of US-based uranium, via Uranium One (hint; NOT employee owned).

Apparently the NYT column noted in the PL article is a 4000+ word essay on the topic, and presents a serious game-changer... MSM attacking the Clintons... sell the stocks, Martha!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 1:42 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I hereby award bonus points for the use of "Clinton, Wolfram, and Hart" (with or without the Oxford comma...).

I also understand that the issue is not "errors in how they reported donations from governments," but more specifically, for at least the last three years, they reported that they foundation DID NOT RECEIVE ANY MONEY from foreign government sources. None. Zero. Zilch. Also, blatant lie, to the tune of at least seven figures to the left of the decimal point, and quite possibly eight. Yes, that's in base ten.

It's not a matter of "oops, we under-reported a few things." It's "we raked it in hand over cloven hoof, and then lied through our sphincters, claiming we got nothing, sweeping it under the rug, and we'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

This is cattle futures on steroids. Clinton only knows two tunes: hiding money (cattle futures, I'm dead broke), and hiding incriminating records (Rose Law Firm, e-mail servers). And she only knows one dodge: this is a distraction from a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 23, 2015 3:35 PM
But jk thinks:

@nb: Two dangers of reading PowerLine: 1. Hyper-aggressive popups and on page scripts. I had to set them up in IE as a non-trusted site (lawyers gotta eat too I guess...) 2. You can start to see the world as you wish it were and not how it is. Yes the NYTimes will bite on this story, but when it comes up in a debate (if Candy Crawley allows it) it will be "old news" as Whitewater and Cattle Futures are today. I hope you're right but I am not rushing to Intrade.

@ka: Thanks, I liked it -- there's been a Whedon-y glow around here of late and I hoped to keep the ember lit. I have been converted to an Oxford, Comma, Proponent thanks to Internet scolds -- but it specifically hams this gag, and the gag supersedes grammatical convention.

@all: the worst part is perhaps from the Times article

Before Mrs. Clinton could assume her post as secretary of state, the White House demanded that she sign a memorandum of understanding placing limits on her husband's foundation’s activities. To avoid the perception of conflicts of interest, beyond the ban on foreign government donations, the foundation was required to publicly disclose all contributors.

I read that as "Even the Obama Administration was too transparent and anti-corruption for Sec. Clinton!"

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2015 4:16 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand an update: we have confirmation of $131 m-m-m-m-m-million from Guistra to give Putin control of American uranium. $131,000,000.00 is firmly into NINE figures to the left of that decimal point.

Quid pro dough, baby - quid pro dough.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 23, 2015 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Aaaaaaaaand they just "forgot" to list that. Hey, I don't keep every cappuccino receipt either -- who am I to judge?

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2015 5:16 PM

April 22, 2015

EV Superfund Alert

It is common knowledge that hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs. Which of course means it is not true.

While conventional lead acid batteries used for starting internal combustion engines (ICE) are readily recyclable, state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries are not.

Given the extremely high metal value of used cobalt-based lithium batteries it seems strange that only one company in the world, Unicore of Belgium, has bothered to develop a recycling process. When you take the time to read and digest Umicore's process description, however, the reason becomes obvious. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is an incredibly complex and expensive undertaking that includes:
  • Collection and reception of batteries;
  • Burning of flammable electrolytes;
  • Neutralization of hazardous internal chemistry;
  • Smelting of metallic components;
  • Refining & purification of recovered high value metals; and
  • Disposal of non-recoverable waste metals like lithium and aluminum.
The process is economic when a ton of batteries contains up to 600 pounds of recoverable cobalt that's worth $40 a pound. The instant you take the cobalt out of the equation, the process becomes hopelessly uneconomic. Products that cannot be economically recycled can only end up in one place, your friendly neighborhood landfill.

Disposable diapers are less a scourge upon the earth.

But jk thinks:

Worth it to run your car on coal...

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2015 4:03 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm still holding out for a Delorean with the bolt-on Mr. Fusion on the rear deck.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 4:35 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs

It's not common knowledge, it's CONVENTIONAL WISDOM.. And (tsk-tsking the crude language on order) it's not 'untrue' it's about convention, not about wisdom.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 1:06 PM

HAPPY EARTH DAY II!

Brother Keith is right. This deserves sharing!

Hat-tip: Insty.

UPDATE: Obama's Earth Day Flight Emits More CO2 Than 17 Cars Would In A Year

But johngalt thinks:

Only seventeen? Really? They must be the 17 clunkers that escaped the federal "crush and melt all the low-cost used cars" program in Obama's first term.

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 6:24 PM

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

My Facebook feed is full of Malthusian nonsense, and the Denver Post has a whiny, uneconomic article decrying "Lexus Lanes." Things is bad. As The Refugee would say "Mongo pawn in the game of life."

But I held out long enough for good news, and I found it:

Record Numbers Of Drivers Trading In Electric Cars For SUVs

President Barack Obama promised to put a million more hybrid and electric cars on the road during his tenure, but new research shows drivers are trading them in to buy sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

The auto-research group Edmunds.com found that 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.


Happy Earth Day!

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Sorry, left this link out. My bad. http://bit.ly/1K5uma6

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 1:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Crikey, three in a row. Meanwhile, in the Buffyverse: Joss Whedon says climate-change deniers should be barred from life-saving medicines. As or me, I aim to misbehave: http://bit.ly/1QkbDvQ

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 2:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Schadenfreude, schadenfreude, Earth Day morning you greet me.

Electric cars are also facing increased competition from more fuel-efficient vehicles. Aside from market forces, federal fuel efficiency standards have been forcing automakers to increase the miles per gallon of engines.

If POTUS wants to hawk more EVs he'll need to roll back federal CAFE laws. Even counting the entire membership of the Sierra club he doesn't have enough fingers to poke in the holes of his anti-gasoline political dike.

Electric cars also suffer from issues with battery life. Each hybrid or electric car battery can cost thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars, which only helps tip the economic scale in favor of traditional vehicles.

"It wouldn't make sense to replace a 12-year old battery with a new battery that's going to last 12 years, because chances are the car's not going to last that long," Eric Ibara with Kelley Blue Book told Detroit News.

And even if it did, what do you do with the old battery? "It's recycling!" No. No, it's not.

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2015 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Ah yes, The Man Who Invented Reavers.

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2015 3:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

George Carlin opines in classic foul-mouthed hilarity: the Earth is just fine, if humans are a pestilence, the earth will get rid of us!

It's also a fabulous slap-down of uppity, spoiled types obessed with white guilt that are preaching "We've got to save the [xyz]!!!..."

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 1:13 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Glad to see that "Bill Nye, the Lyin' Guy" is catching on. Of course he's not a science guy, he's a politician!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 11:08 PM

April 21, 2015

Gun Rights as a Model

I think I would copy the model as well as the work ethic, but Insty draws the same line I do.

But johngalt thinks:

"When all they could get was half of what they wanted they took it, and they went for the rest later."

Besides appearing unreasonable, the all-or-nothing approach also belies a fear that public opinion is moving away from you, rather than in your favor. So compromise really does make sense most of the time, unless your true goal really is fundraising from angry constituents.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2015 6:45 PM

April 20, 2015

Word of the Day

All Hail Taranto. Speaking of Will Saletan, he says:

His edentate logic has come back to gnaw him.

If anybody else needs to look it up: here ya go.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:12 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Forget edentate, I had to look up Will Saletan.

And yes, I agree - Bow down and hail this rapier wit in just nine words.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2015 2:27 PM

The Real Problem in Iran.

I disappointed blog siblings last week.

Apologies all around, but I cannot see meaningful progress in foreign policy while President Obama is in office. It is not that he is some Kenyan, anti-Colonialist, Socialist plant. He is a bit of an Arabist in the mold of President Carter, a pacifist/appeaser in the mold of the Harvard Faculty Lounge, and he refuses to let foreign expenditures affect his domestic agenda: we'll have no less butter because of guns.

Blog patron-saint Natan Sharansky has a column in the WaPo today which cleaves to the real issue. "When did America forget that it's America?" Sharansky compares the moral certitude of our objection to Soviet totalitarianism to moral ambivalence against Iran:

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides' respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today's postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.


You cannot fix this with Corker-Menendez, or a letter to the Ayatollah.

Hat-tip: Insty.

But johngalt thinks:

"When did America forget that it's America?"

I don't believe she did, per se. A majority of the minority of her voting-eligible citizens who actually went to the polls, chose younger/cooler... twice. [Was GWB younger OR cooler than Algore? Hmmm.] It wasn't a conscious decision to elect one of "the declining number of true believers still loyal to their [Soviet leaders] ideology." It just sorta happened. But now, after a hard and sustained tack to port, I am more confident than ever that America's keel is intact, and her moral certitude will return.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2015 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

On topic: I don't think Sharansky believes America has forgotten, the piece at directed at our leadership which has.

Side topic: Merciful Zeus, yes. Governor Bush was two years older than the Vice President, but still a young 54 in 2000. Yet the VP suffered from an inability to project a vibrant personal image. My two favorite recollections from the debates are:

1. His (VP Gore's) weird alpha male attempt to intimidate Bush by standing beside him (I recently saw an interview with a debate coach -- they were actually expecting that).

2. In the middle of an answer by the Governor, the VP interrupted by shouting out "WHAT ABOUT DINGELL-NORWOOD???" in a voice that would have sealed the audition for "Revenge of the Nerds."

The less defensible examples of my theory are probably 1988 (Though Gov. Dukakis had zero coolness in the tank helmet) and 1984 (Mondale was neither young nor cool, but he did give several years to President Reagan.)

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2015 5:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We probably agree that all of these examples require filament bifurcation, as they were a contrasts between two Caucasian dudes. Anyone of any age, who is not either white or male, is automatically more "cool" unless the pale guy is quite young. By the very definition of the word. (Even 'The Fonz' stopped being cool once he hit about 30 or so.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2015 2:19 PM

Quote of the Day

Tim Tebow to Sign with Eagles after Wandering in Desert for 40 Days -- Jim Geraghty
I told blog brother AlexC on Facebook that the upside was that he'd get to see me in an Iggles T-Shirt.
But johngalt thinks:

I still believe he is better than at least one of the 32 starting QBs in the league. It's hard to see him being competitive in Philly though. He might be in camp just to put competitive pressure on the rest of the corps. (That's pronounced "cohr" Mr. President.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2015 2:50 PM

April 19, 2015

Review Corner

Drawing inferences about the movement of animals from their tracks-- as hunter-gatherer trackers do-- has obvious survival advantages, and we have been able to apply those inferential skills to everything from driving to the store to flying rockets to the moon. Historian of science and professional animal tracker Louis Liebenberg has, in fact, argued that our ability to reason scientifically is a by-product of fundamental skills for tracking game animals that our ancestors developed.
There is much to like about Michael Shermer's The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. Hell, the title alone ensared two of my blog brothers. It is worth almost the entire $16.99 on Kindle just for the suggestion to evaluate "free," "democratic," or "rule of law" nations not on a binary scale but a contiguous one.
In general, the data show that liberal democracies with market economies are more prosperous, more peaceful, and fairer than any other form of governance and economic system. In particular, they found that democratic peace happens only when both members of a pair are democratic, but that trade works when either member of the pair has a market economy. 60 In other words, trade was even more important than democracy (although the latter is important for other reasons as well).
It is a great exegesis on the progress of society and science, it contains ThreeSources-friendly sections on law, trade, technology, and economics.
Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, and the others thought of social governance as a problem to be solved rather than as power to be grabbed. They thought of democracy in the same way that they thought of science-- as a method, not an ideology. They argued, in essence, that no one knows how to govern a nation, so we have to set up a system that allows for experimentation. Try this. Try that. Check the results. Repeat. That is the very heart of science. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1804, "No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth."
I come to praise Shermer, not pan him, but I am going to have to compare it unfavorably to two recent Review Corner targets.

The first is Alex Epstein's The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels [Review Corner] and not only because they are alphabetically adjacent when I sort my Kindle library by title. I withheld fractional stars from Epstein for being "too Objectivist" and I stand by that, because I think his book presents a compelling case without the philosophical underpinning specifically of "the standard of value as being human life."

Shermer is Editor of Skeptic Magazine and I was thinking this might be something of a big-O work, both from the recommendations I received and the relentless attacks on organized religion in the middle Part II: "The Moral Arc Applied." It is pretty rare that I skip material in a book, but each chapter in this section was "religion is responsible for everything bad, and you are mistaken about any good you feel it ever provided. Okay, got it, Champ, can we move on? I am nothing if not fair, I subscribe totally to the following example in concept and prose. But the extension to blaming slavery on the bible and discounting Christians' contributions to abolition wears thin. Quickly.

Why did they deserve an eternity of misery and submission? It was all for that one terrible sin, the first crime ever recorded in the history of humanity-- a thought crime, no less-- when that audacious autodidact Eve dared to educate herself by partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Worse, she inveigled the first man-- the unsuspecting Adam-- to join her in choosing knowledge over ignorance. For the appalling crime of hearkening unto the voice of his wife, Yahweh condemned Adam to toil in thorn- and thistle-infested fields, and further condemned him to death, to return to the dust whence he came.

And yet, proceeding on to nuclear disarmament, animal rights, and a few snotty comments about CEOs, Shermer is no Objectivist. Perhaps if we sent Shermer and Epstein off on a lengthy camping trip, we'd get two superior thinkers.

The second, and more obvious comparison is Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature [Review Corner]. Shermer quotes Pinker extensively and made no secret that his book is built on the idea of moral and scientific progress documented so well in Pinker's book. For me, that left the comparison always open and while I liked Shermer, I would tell anybody choosing one to read Pinker's (and save $7!)

The full Dawkins (never go Full Dawkins!) assault on religion is tolerable, especially to this atheist, but Mister Skeptic applies a far less critical gaze at social science. Part III relies on many "Psychological Studies:" oldies but goodies where people zap others with electricity, and many new ones, many based on fMRI technology -- of which I am a skeptic. The dog's brain lights up here when he sees a bone, the man's brain lights up here when you read him poetry -- this proves X. Interesting, but pacé climate models, I think they have come to be too trusting in their machines.

Tyler Cowan fans could read the first four chapters, then go watch the Stanley Cup playoffs and have a fantastic experience. It is a serious and noble effort and some of my negatives might be related to passages I found difficult, like animal rights and violent psychoses. But, occasionally the Review Corner hammer must be dropped. Two-point-seven-five stars.


Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 17, 2015

Mea Maxima Culpa

I have long accused Reason magazine of holding GOP candidates to far higher standards than Democrats. I felt they had to show their independence, so they would bash every word of a Republican that wasn't doctrinaire libertarian, yet borderline socialists like Senator Barack Obama seemed to get a pass.

I may have been right then, but Matt Welch has been busting Senator Clinton's chops fairly regularly, and has given breathing room to GOP announcements as the mixed bag that they are.

Today, Welch delivers a crushing -- and well deserved -- blow to the entire Democratic field as tired, old, and bereft of ideas. The maraschino cherry on top is the most unflattering picture of Sec. Clinton you will see..

If there was to be a Tea Party-style wave of contested Democratic primaries (and there won't be any time soon), it would likely not be on the issues of drug policy or surveillance (alas!), but rather income inequality, Robin Hood taxes, and jacking up the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Progressives who think those are winning national issues may want to reflect that the only likely 2016 candidate to fully embrace them will be a geriatric socialist from Vermont.

So the base is trying desperately to foist the Blue State model onto recalcitrant Red State America; the party establishment is coughing up deeply unlovable dynastic schemers like Hillary Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and meanwhile the Clinton machine is neutralizing potential challengers by God knows what means. I know it's fashionable among some to bemoan the "clown show" of the 2016 Republican presidential field, but at least there's an actual contest there, and a detectable pulse.


Ow. That's gotta sting.

But johngalt thinks:

Hillary is this cycle's Bob Dole, but without the distinguished military career in her background. She'll probably lighten up and be more likeable after her likely electoral defeat. Nah, probably not.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2015 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Distinguished military career did not provide us a President Dole or McCain. The jk younger/cooler theory will be tested, but the "historic" gender is an untested variable.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2015 11:24 AM

Embracing the "Old Hotness"

Kim Strassel likes Sen. Marco Rubio just fine. Yet she prefers the Rubio who campaigned against incumbent Charlie Crist (Crist - FL) on the third-rail issue of entitlement reform.

That Marco Rubio--Rubio the Reformer--has been somewhat on show in recent months. He talks convincingly about the need for limited government, for a 21st-century economy, for a revamped and stronger foreign policy. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he isn't afraid to say how he'd do it. He's assembled an impressive campaign team; he has policy expertise. Moreover, he's young, an optimist, and has an inspiring history, as well as talent for connecting all this to his call for a renewal of American opportunity.

Yet the central question of a Rubio campaign--and the reason many in the GOP donor and activist community remain uncertain of what to make of it--is just how bold a reformer remains after five tough years in Washington. Mr. Rubio was hit in 2013 with a big conservative blowback to his Senate immigration reform bill, and it clearly made an impression. The Rubio who emerged from that experience has become a bit hypersensitive to politics in ways that undercut his reform credentials.


In other Rubio news, Ari Armstrong gives a fair Objectivist overview of the "Good and Bad:"
Rubio's speech was short on policy details, but he did offer a broad outline of some of his main goals: He wants to "reform our tax code, reduce regulations, control spending, modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace ObamaCare."

Refreshingly, Rubio does not toe the anti-immigrant line so common among conservatives. Instead, he favors legislation that, while flawed, would move in the direction of a rights-respecting immigration policy.

Regarding taxes, as James Pethokoukis points out, Rubio would modestly cut the "top tax rate on labor income . . . to 35 percent from 40 percent" and expand tax credits; however, I've seen no indication that hed get serious about cutting federal spending.


Looking at all the elections since I was born "younger, cooler" seems to always win when there is a real disparity.


April 16, 2015

Verisimilitude

It might be a low blow. One could scour the Internet for flattering and unflattering clips of two candidates....

But frozen, fickken' NED on a stick -- tell me this is not descriptive: Chicks on the Right juxtapose a Sour-faced, dour Republican with a Woman of the People! through two TMZ clips.

I am guilty as the next guy of putting Mr. New Hotness in the second tier, but I keep an open mind.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

Colorado Minimum Wage

A: Thank all that is sacred that we have a Republican State Senate.

B: Enjoy an archetype of progressive / libertarian argument: All Hail Caldara!

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 2:55 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

AAAAAAAAAAAGH!

I had to just let that out first.

Okay, so the minimum wage that was indexed to inflation "has not kept up with inflation." Well, that all depends on the definition of what inflation is, doesn't it Mr. Clinton?

I will step over the opportunity to argue stealthflation again and instead, pursue a point Br'er jk will agree with - it is not inflation that the isn't keeping up with, it is prosperity. The minimum wage "isn't enough" anymore because a dynamic free-market economy has increased wages (and other compensation) for some, and government force is required to increase compensation for "all."

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2015 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

You left out a few A's. This is a great example of completely and trenchantly winning an argument but nobody cares. Your prosperity comment is well placed, but so is Caldara's response of "you just want more.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2015 11:32 AM

For Minorities, Rubio is "New Hotness"

On Monday the Inquisitr posted, "Marco Rubio May Have Just Stolen the Minority Vote From Hillary Clinton."

A look at Marco Rubio's platform as a Florida senator shows that he is very active in immigration reform, health reform, education, and government reform. Rubio's [sic] has also claimed to not be against state acceptance of gay marriage and state-funded abortions for women. Rubio does not agree with federal funding of most programs, which may cause hesitation to some. Overall, there are many areas on his platform that could make Marco Rubio a minority vote competitor for Hillary Clinton.

And those priorities also appeal well to young voters, along with unaffiliateds. I can see the general election ads now: "It's your choice, America: Old and busted, or new hotness?"

2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

All Hail Taranto!

James Taranto picks up something I had missed. When Sec. Clinton joins her Democratic compatriots in blasting Citizens United v. FEC, there's a hidden gem -- an easter egg in software parlance -- the trial was about financing a movie critical of her!

Now, in a bitter foretaste of life in "a President Hillary Clinton world," Mrs. Clinton is urging an amendment to the Constitution to do away with the right to criticize her.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 15, 2015

Regressive Colorado: Murder of Unborn Still Not a Crime

Works for me:

The fetal homicide bill introduced Tuesday by Senate President Bill Cadman includes an unborn child, at every stage of gestation from conception to live birth, as a "person" for the purposes of homicide and assault offenses.

However, it specifically says it does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child or a medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of a mother of
her unborn child or the mother's legal guardian.

But not for Democrats:


Cadman told The Denver Post the bill protect's [sic] a woman's right to choose abortion, but Democrats decried it as an attempt to put "personhood" into law.

I decry the Democrats utter refusal to consider the humanity of unborn people. After all, the feds crossed this reasonable and obvious rubicon eleven years ago.

But johngalt thinks:

I called my position on this "reasonable and obvious." The Denver Post agrees.

A 2013 law made it a felony to unlawfully terminate a pregnancy, but it is a Class 3 felony with a sentencing range of 10 to 32 years unless the mother dies - when it becomes a Class 2 felony. The Class 3 felony is utterly inadequate.
Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2015 4:32 PM

EMailGate

Those rightwing nutjobs over at the NYTimes are just not going to let this private email server story go.

But Mrs. Clinton did not reply to the letter. And when the State Department answered in March 2013, nearly two months after she left office, it ignored the question and provided no response.

The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials' use of personal email.

"Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?" Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. "If so, please identify the account used."

Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, "Does the agency require employees to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they have turned over any communications involving official business that they have sent or received using nonofficial accounts?"

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Well yes, but...

Some pigs are more equal than others in Hillary's village.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 2:09 PM

Bleeding Purple

Dear dagny is reserving her emotional investment until at least June but I will go on public record that I am on the Rocktober bandwagon already.

Arenado nearly doubled up the guy at third, too, which is even more incredible.

That said, part of my prescription for a successful season is to keep the starters healthy. Rest them regularly and coach them to hustle, but not take dangerous risks that could end their season. Nolan got away with it this time but even he said after the game he probably wouldn't do it if he had a do-over.

But jk thinks:

A most unexpectedly auspicious beginning.

A former bandmate loves to post lengthy diatribes on the Rockies as being the worst team in the history of sport and the Montfords as the worst owners. I mean, holy cow, it has been seven years since we were in the World Series -- you think fans in Chicago or Boston would put up with that?

I have enjoyed the season so far, but needling my strangely silent friend is the best part.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2015 12:21 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Worst team in the history of sport"? I saw this headline this morning:

AARON HERNANDEZ CONVICTED OF MURDER; SENTENCED TO THE NEW YORK JETS

And I haven't even mentioned the Raiders. Not once.

And I'm no Patriots fan by any measure, but Brady had a good season, especially considering that all his best receivers were either out with injuries for half the season, on trial for murder, or catching passes from Peyton Manning.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 15, 2015 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I think these themes are pretty popular in Denver Sports Talk Radio. There are a few 24 x 7 and they gotta talk about something.

The Montford brothers do themselves no favors; they combine Sec. Clinton's deft ear for politics, Rep. Maxine Waters's charm, and The President's humility.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2015 1:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Are you kidding? Dick and Charlie Monfort are white male meat-packers. They profit from murder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They could be as suave, charming and humble as the day is long and would still never catch a break.

Heh: The comment password du jour is "hotdog." Heh.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 2:08 PM

Quote of the Day

Our Margaret:

I'm off the next two weeks finishing a book, and I can already tell you this is a terrible time to be away from the scene. Hillary Clinton's announcement followed by her dark-windowed SUV journey into deepest darkest America was the most inept, phony, shallow, slickily-slick and meaningless launch of a presidential candidacy I have ever seen. We have come to quite a pass when the Clintons can't even do the show business of politics well. -- Peggy Noonan


Those Bleedin' Greedy CEOs!!!

Sec. Clinton, at $300,000 per speech, makes half the average CEO's annual income in an hour. And the WSJ Ed Page reckons "more than 13,000 times the earnings of the typical worker."

Still, somebody has got to fight for the folks.

Mrs. Clinton said in her Sunday campaign video that the "deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top," and she would know based on her taste for amenities and expenses along with her speaking fees. "She insists on staying in the presidential suite" of luxury hotels that she chooses anywhere in the world, including Las Vegas," the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote last August. "She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation--only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do."

There's one more way she and husband Bill have stacked the deck in their favor. The average worker--if she could even dream of pulling down $200,000 for an hour of work--would pay taxes on this income; Mrs. Clinton often doesn't.

By routing speaking fees through their familys foundation, the Clintons ensure that the money won't be taxed before it is directed to support foundation travel, meals and promotional events, among other things. The highly compensated political influence peddlers at the top of the untaxed sector of the U.S. economy have found their champion.


Nice work if you can get it.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Hillary Diane has some nerve claiming to champion the middle class while she accepts cash gifts from foreign dictators valued in millions of dollars.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 2:31 PM

Cotton don't cotton

Tom Cotton holds forth with Jeffery Goldberg and does exceptionally well. Goldberg clearly does not agree with almost anything said, but gives Cotton fair questions (some hammered in) and a free range to reply.

Tom Cotton strikes me as the most interesting Senate freshman for any number of reasons

and
he is quite obviously positioned to lead the most hawkish wing of the Republican Party. He is exceedingly bright, and blessed with a wonk's mindI will readily admit that his knowledge of Middle East minutiae is impressive, even if I disagree with much of his analysis. And he is a superior standard-bearer for the confront-Iran-before-it's-too-late faction in the Senate because, as an Iraq combat veteran, he cannot be labeled a chickenhawk.

The whole thing is worth reading.

The best quote from the newly-minted Senator probably is: Its unfair to Neville Chamberlain to compare him to Barack Obama
or
I think that Americansand this is not true just now, but over the yearsare not fundamentally opposed to war. They're fundamentally opposed to losing wars
but perhaps most piercingly:
I think Obama believes that if America was less of a leader in the world, the world would probably be a better and more stable place.

He does not shrink from any confrontation, like any good leader:

Q; would you not be engaged in this negotiation at all? Would you issue an ultimatum?

A: I thought that Yuval Steinitz had a good list of proposed changes to the president's proposal, and I don't think you can argue those changes are unrealistic, because all he did was take all the statements that President Obama and John Kerry and Wendy Sherman made at the very outset of these negotiations about stockpiles of enriched uranium, about the past military dimensions of this program, about inspections and so forth. The positions he lists are positions that our government previously held.

and, most interestingly (and at odd with some TS'ers, I believe?)

Q; The idea that you are telling a foreign adversary, Don't trust in our presidentthe man who's making our foreign policy? Did that cause you to ask yourself, 'Maybe I am undermining the executive branch?'

A:No, in part because the letter didn't say that. The letter simply stated indisputable facts of constitutional law, and Iran's leaders needed to hear that message, and they needed to hear it from us. What we did was certainly more measured than what past senators had done, in conciliating with people like Manuel Noriega, Bashar al-Assad, or Leonid Brezhnev. The difference is we openly stood up to a dictator, and in a lot of those past precedents, Senate Democrats privately conciliated and coddled dictators.

Goldberg is also refreshingly honest about the workaday Liberal obsession that he clearly adheres to:

back in 2006. When you were there, did it ever cross your mind, We're in over our heads. What are we doing here?

The experience of Iraq taught me that once the kinetic piece starts, you just dont know for sure whats going to happen. And I don't know that you can predict the response of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps

[me, eyes rolling] Oh me oh my, sure; let's not make them MAD!! Sen Cotton, like the pro he is, swats these down indifferently.

More Cotton, faster please!


But jk thinks:

A very good interview -- and a good example of a Republican not getting rolled by an interviewer without appearing bellicose.

Sen. Cotton is perhaps a bit more bellicose against Iran than me. I think you keep your bad options always on the table, but I prefer the rhetoric of peace through strength. Tomato, tomahto.

But my real issue is that we have another year and a half with the Nobel Laureate in the Executive Mansion, and any talk of toughness is just talk. He's an historic guy on account of his complexion and he wants to sign historic things, whatever they say inside.

All for Congress asserting its prerogatives and all, but all one can really do is duck and cover until January 2017.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2015 9:21 AM
But johngalt thinks:

One may also call attention to the fecklessness of the Nobel Laureate, and all those who enable him. This voter awareness could be of value in November of 2016.

There is also political value in articulating dangers before the caca hits the ventilador, lest one be conflated with the enablers.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 2:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JK - Cotton is perhaps a bit more bellicose against Iran than me

And likely a great deal more realistic. Frankly, the REAL option is regime change... but that's not for discussion in open forums. I'm glad he also mentioned BHO's blowing the opportunity to support the Green Revolters....

There is something that can be done: ensure loud & clear, that no back room deal will be lifting US sanctions (and with that, I don't think the EU block will go with any sub rosa deal BHO tries to float thru the UN).

Recall that Libs needs to talk vague and act even with even more subterfuge than a typical pol: they can't be honest w/ themselves, thereby with voters either.

Sunshine: the ultimate disinfectant!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 15, 2015 2:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agree with nb.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 3:25 PM

April 14, 2015

Iconoclastic

I am slapping my forehead and shouting, Doh! How could I be so obtuse and fail to grasp the deep meaning of the symbols on offer from Democrats over the past several years. -- Thomas Lifson

doh.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | What do you think? [0]

All Hail Taranto!

"Hillary Clinton, who has embarked on a roughly 1,000 mile road trip after formally announcing her presidential bid on Sunday, was spotted at a Chipotle in Maumee, Ohio [Monday] afternoon," according to a Democratic Party press release prepared by employees of ABC News. -- James Taranto
2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 13, 2015

This Could be Fun

She does not get the "hands-off" treatment her old boss did. Could be fun:

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Citizens! I command you!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 11:49 AM

Life Is ThreeSources

And the Internet Segue Machine® is bangin' on all eight!

Democracy? Gun Rights? Sec. Clinton for President? Reason is on it.

June 2014: "I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation," Clinton says while promoting her memoir on CNN. "We cannot let a minority of people--and that's what it is, it is a minority of people--hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people." She says she favors "background checks that work" and twice refers erroneously to mass shooters with "automatic" weapons.

We cannot let a few escaped agricultural partners terrorize the effective enforcement of the Runaway Slave Act...

2016 Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"...a viewpoint that terrorizes..." people? So thoughts can invoke terror, in Hillary's village?

And the deciding factor, she seems to imply, is whether the thought in question is a minority or majority view.

Or perhaps it's just whether or not it agrees with her Utopia.

I think we have an answer to the question of what to call Mrs. Clinton instead of the sexist label "Hillary." Hillary Clinton is Starlight Glimmer.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2015 1:55 PM

Free Range Kids

The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car and kept them trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before bringing them to the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours. We finally got home at 11pmand the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.
Well, when your kids run a meth lab, you have to expect that. Oh? What was that? They were playing outside by themselves.

Walking dear Harriet yesterday, I saw some kids playing on the pathway. I said "hello" and the first response was "It's okay, my Mom is right in the window, watching us." I guess I looked like the Child Services narc. I shrugged my shoulders and told them to have a nice day.

But jk thinks:

Good thing nothing bad happened to the little tykes. Except for being locked in a patrol car for three hours away from their parents...

Never seen the show in the link -- am I missing something?

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2015 1:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Am I missing something?"

Yes, yes you are. Picture The Avengers (Patrick Macnee, not Marvel Comics, I mean), but less humorous and more surreal. Terminally British from the mod, mod late-1960's, the backdrop is the Cold War. It has two things in common with Firefly: it pits a freedom-minded individual against the faceless domination of institutional Big Government, and the entire series fits neatly into a single boxed set of DVDs (seventeen episodes). I discovered this series at the same time I was introduced to Ayn Rand's writings, so imagine the effect it had on my young, impressionable little mind.

Patrick McGoohan is an unnamed, high-level intelligence operative who quits his position in the British intelligence service over a matter of principle; the viewer is not told what the matter of principle is. Later that day, he is gassed and kidnapped by... well, someone, and he wakes up in The Village, an unknown location where he is sent so that his captors can find out why he resigned and what he knows. We are not told whether it is the British, the Russians, or someone else who is keeping him. He is addressed merely as "Number Six," leading him to reply "I am not a number; I am a free man."

It can be binge-watched in a single day; a number of theme and tropes used by a lot of liberty-minded individuals. Yes, some production elements are cheesy, and others show their date of origin... but worthy of your exploration -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 13, 2015 3:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Update - I found this brief article from our friends over at Reason, describing the series as subversively tricking the French into accepting small-l libertarian ideals. Go figure... http://bit.ly/1yoEMAk

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 13, 2015 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Will take episode one our for a spin! Thanks.

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2015 4:03 PM
But Dagny thinks:

Count me as a second on the Prisoner recommendation. Watched it as a kid with my parents. Right up there with the old original Trek episodes. I hadn't clicked the link when I started reading KA's comment, and I'm thinking, "He's talking about the Prisoner..." Haad to go back for the link.

Posted by: Dagny at April 13, 2015 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Hard to put a price on the esteem in which I regard you both.

No, on second thought, it's not hard at all; it's $28. I had the chance to try one episode for $1.99 or buy the whole season for $29.99. Anybody else, I'd've bought the first episode...

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2015 9:31 AM

Democracy

I still am down with "Whiskey" and "Sexy," but how are we liberty lovers going to communicate the dangers of democracy? It is hard to think of a word with better appeal.

Two recent local stories remind me that this blade has sharp edges. The first is public outcry over development of a golf course and neighboring community (hmm, sounds suspiciously like where I live) in Arvada Colorado (a western suburb of Denver).

It seems Molson-Coors owns 145 acres "zoned primarily industrial, with some agricultural zoning and commercial use. While a full rezoning proposal has not been submitted to the county, developers are expected to submit an application for the mixed-use development, which would include 454 homes and duplexes."

The neighbors are not pleased.

The first public meeting about the development of Applewood Golf Course was called off after less than an hour because the more than 500 people in attendance filled the auditorium at the Manning School to a "dangerous level of over-capacity."

I had seen this on the teevee news the other night and it brought bad memories. I, too, fought some development near my home. Our group used the same concerns "the traffic, the safety, the children!" We had all been assured by slick real-estate developers that the parcel would remain undeveloped because of unstable old mines -- a geologist was brought in and it turns out the mines were under the existing homes, the new space was clean.

I understand their displeasure. One tends to take ownership of undeveloped land near ones home, expecting the vistas and the dog walking opportunities. But land ownership actually has a well defined legal pedigree around here: there are deeds and titles, and stuff like that. I was just developing a liberty perspective and saw -- before most of my neighbors -- that this guy had owned this land since I was in Junior High and that my little 70' x 100' plot did not really confer the right to dictate terms.

That story has a happy ending. The developer and the neighbors ended up in alliance against the city as he wanted his expensive homes far away from our riff-raff shantytown -- the City was looking to abut them to make different use out of pound of flesh land he was donating to the city to facilitate the deal.

I get it. I look into their eyes and see a younger, more foolish, me. But when it is not you, it is so obvious. The news person asks each what should be done with the land. "Just the golf course," "open space..." There are an awful lot of suggestions from people about the best use of land they don't own. The TV anchors agree: all these people care, they're going to have to figure something out.

Umm, no.

Closer (geographically) to home, I see on Facebook that our burgh is slated to receive royalty. The Erie Colorado Lifestyle page asks "What do you think of the new Burger King?"

"Yuck! do people still eat there?" "Wish it was something healthier!" "Would prefer a 'Mad Greens'" Yadda-yadda. Sorry to belittle my neighbors, but somebody is opening this (it is not clear whether this deal is done). Putting up money, paying franchise fees, hiring, permitting, building. If you want to pick what goes there, open something.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny and I watched "300: Rise of an Empire" last night. It's the sequel to "300" and I really liked it. But then, I'm a liberty lover.

It touches on the differences between democracy and freedom. Not about big government taking and redistributing, but about war and existence. Greek warriors volunteer for battle with Persian invaders and fight, "for your fellow soldiers, for your families, but most importantly, for Greece." They would rather "die on their feet than live on their knees."

Greece was the birthplace of democracy. As such, it was also the birthplace of the tyranny of majority rule. They can be excused. Nobody had ever tried government "of, by and for the people" before. People smart enough to travel into space should know better. But it's just so damned easy to abdicate governing to politicians, who seem to enjoy it for some reason.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2015 7:30 PM

April 12, 2015

Floccinaucinihilipilification*

"Nobody stays in the gulch by denying reality, Dagny..." (I did get called "Randian" last week.)

My favorite part of Rand's Objectivism is its stern adherence to Aristotelian realty. John Allison [Review Corner] parleyed that into a successful management career and I find it philosophically endearing.

So I must caution my GOP friends to avoid pretending that the world is how you wish it were and not as it is. Sec. Clinton's announcement video is awesome. It shows what we are up against and poses the questions we must answer.

I see hundreds of comments about how childish this is, and even the serious folks at National Review dismiss it as a flopped announcement.

All the people who hate it are already not going to vote for Sec. Clinton. What it does do is move the conversation to the gauzy diaphanous vagaries at which she excels. Let the Republican try to bring voters down to the wonky weeds -- she's grandma and apple pie. You may not like her, but the Republican will be scary. Sec. Clinton -- in this video -- is not scary.

She "cares about people like you." And that is the poll group that put her old boss over the top in 2012.

Dismiss her at your peril.

* when I was a kid, floccinaucinihilipilification was in the Guinness World Record book as longest English word. Looks like it is down to #8, but it means "to estimate as worthless" or "deem as trivial." At your peril, friends.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty toes the NR line (toady!), calling the announcement a "belly flop" and "a huge #FAIL." But I don't think we see the bigger picture to differently:

The good news is that she's not going to be a good candidate. The bad news is it's not clear she needs to be one in order to win.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 7:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Slick. If I didn't know who she really is I'd be liking her better than Allison Lundergan Grimes by now.

But this video seems a better fit for the candidacy of Rand Paul. Complete and utter bovine feces as a reflection of what an "Oh Hill No" presidency would be like.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2015 7:38 PM

Review Corner

He gives a brief history lesson that touches on government taxation, the Whiskey Rebellion, and South Carolina legislation that allowed Dark Corner to become one of six distilleries to open in the state since 2011. After that, he explains how whiskey is made. First, malt the grain[...]
I thought I'd leave politics, philosophy, and economics aside for a week and enjoy Jaime Joyce's Moonshine: A Cultural History of America's Infamous Liquor. Perhaps I should have considered that I heard about it on Reason.com, but the book had more to do with taxation and prohibition than distillation tips.

At 1:42 in the video: "A big part of the protest against the British is that the 'New Americans' thought they wouldn't have to deal with this kind of stuff anymore. Thus, the first threat to our inchoate sovereignty was the Whiskey Rebellion, which Washington -- almost personally -- had to vanquish.

Washington, Pennsylvania, a city near Pittsburgh, pays tribute to its role in the nation's liquor history a bit differently. First staged in 2010, the city's Whiskey Rebellion Festival commemorates, well, the Whiskey Rebellion, and for three days in July the city recalls those heady post-Revolution protests against Alexander Hamilton's unpopular whiskey tax.

<Jon Stewart Smug Face>At least the book didn't relate the trade's decline to monetary policy or anything -- Umm...</Jon Stewart Smug Face>
But there was another factor at play in moonshine's decline: inflation. By 1974, the cost of sugar had risen exponentially, to more than $ 40 per 100-pound sack, more than a tripling of price in the space of a year. At the time, a gallon of moonshine was selling for between $ 8 and $ 12. Why pay a higher price and risk the health consequences when you could buy a $ 2 pint of legal bourbon? The math, and the risk, just didn't make sense.

In the end Ms. Joyce weaves it into multiple aspects of modern life. The easrly NASCAR drivers -- like in the Jim Croce song -- learned their trade outrunning Treasury Men on the back roads. They dominated the trade for a generation.
["Junior"] Johnson retired from racing the following year. He was 35 years old, and in his 14 years with NASCAR, he'd won 50 out of 310 races. But for Johnson, racing on a track never held the same allure as racing revenuers on the open road. "I just got aggravated with it," he told Ed Hinton, of Sports Illustrated. "I'd go to a dern race somewhere and I'd done won it two or three times, and it wasn't any fun. You're just going back over and over." He transitioned into team ownership. When Johnson left motorsports in 1995, he'd helped 38 drivers take first place in 139 races.

President Ronald Reagan pardoned Johnson for his moonshining conviction, in 1986, the day after Christmas. In 1998, Sports Illustrated named Johnson the greatest driver that ever lived. Today, he makes his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, about 90 minutes south of the one he grew up in and the site of the track where he ran his first race.


Pigouvian taxation gets a bad rap in the book. The taxes became so onerous that the illegal trade prospered decades past the 21st Amendment (surviving all except the Burns Fed...) The high taxes and the prohibition just don't work.
It was moonshiners, not smugglers of legitimate alcohol from outside the country or diverters of industrial alcohol, who provided the bulk of illicit liquor during Prohibition. In the South, illegal production skyrocketed, as did prices. White whiskey, which once sold for $ 2 a gallon, tops, could now command $ 22. One had only to look at the statistics to understand the scope of the problem. Prior to Prohibition, in 1913, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue reported that federal agents had seized 2,375 stills. But by 1929, nearly a decade into what President Herbert Hoover called the nation's "Noble Experiment," it was reported that one state alone had confiscated "more than this number and the federal government half as many more."

President Hoover, one more obstruction of liberty for which #31 must answer.
But the Democratic Party had Prohibition in its sights. In his Presidential election bid against incumbent Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt made the cause a cornerstone of his campaign. After winning by a landslide, he made good on his promise. A mere 18 days after taking the oath of office, Roosevelt signed into law, on March 22, 1933, the Beer and Wine Revenue Act, modifying the Volstead Act to legalize the sale of beer and wine, and providing for the first time in 13 years a stream of income from alcohol sales that flowed not to criminal syndicates and small-time operators but to the federal government.

From the (hard-drinking) colonists to the hipster Brooklyn craft distillers, Joyce writes an interesting tale. Four Stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 3:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 10, 2015

Quote of the Day

But what happens when Machiavelli's Prince reads and employs "Rules for Radicals"? In 2009 President Obama's friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett was asked on CNN about media bias, particularly at Fox News, and she responded: "What the administration has said very clearly is that we're going to speak truth to power." I remember thinking: "Wait a minute, youre the White House. You are the power." -- Pete Peterson

Penn in Denver

Hurt to miss it.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Ditto. I think I received an invitation, and was willing to cough up the 75 bucks each for me and dagny but, so much to do. Lame excuse I know.

The 3SRC segue machine strikes again, however. I surely would not have recognized him without yesterday's story.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2015 12:11 PM

The People's Gun Rights of Judea!

#readyforrand

Senator Paul a no-show at the NRA convention? What, did he have a fundraiser at PETA?

Sen. Rand Paul wasn't invited to speak at this weekends National Rifle Association annual convention because the Kentucky Republican is caught in the crossfire between competing gun-rights organizations.

Top NRA officials are unhappy that Mr. Paul has for years lent his name to fundraising solicitations for the National Association for Gun Rights, a group that fashions itself a more conservative alternative to NRA. Mr. Paul's aides have been told by the NRA he will be unwelcome to participate at NRA events as long as he remains affiliated with NAGR, according to people familiar with the conversation.


As I beg the Libertarian Party to remake itself in the image of the NRA, I have to check out the Judean Peoples' Gun Rights group -- some of the NRA's underlying principles seem to lack principle on occasion.

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty

But johngalt thinks:

Related: RMGO is taking heat for its "stupid" stance on magazine limit compromise on at least one talk radio show. Backstory here.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2015 6:27 PM
But Jk thinks:

RMGO is stupid on everything. They are an evil organization using a name to coopt Second Amendment enthusiasts into many bad endeavors.

Have they any friends around here?

Posted by: Jk at April 11, 2015 2:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I forgot to make the connection: NAGR is the RMGO founder's latest effort. They are very likely a national and a local version of the same thing.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2015 1:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Damn, damn, damn. Thou art correct. Dudley Brown is President of both organizations.

This does not speak well of Senator Paul's discernment.

This is some inside baseball to Colorado Second Amendment enthusiasts, but Brown is a crank of sorts -- and I apologize if I in any way disparage cranks. While the NRA was racking up national victories, and the SAF was winning McDonald v Chicago, Brown was suffering ignominious defeats in his backyard -- while he was parading against abortion and gay marriage.

About the only good thing I can say is that Dudley Brown failed to pay his taxes for three years (computer crash -- he should have spun up a VM on clintonemail.com).

Yes, I'd love to see the NRA challenged by a rights-based advocacy group. I think the group you're looking for is the SAF

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2015 2:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

RMGO stupidity update: http://gazette.com/editorial-group-harms-gun-rights/article/1549663

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 3:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

More than you ever wanted to know about the false premises of RMGO can be learned in this KHOW radio podcast. As CompleteColorado dot com billed it, "KHOW audio: Caldara does monster telethon against RMGO."link

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2015 2:38 PM

April 9, 2015

Being overweight is bullshit

Those who know me may say my headline is callous, but I could not resist - this week in particular.

Our pal Penn Jillette shed 105 of his 330 pounds rather quickly when his doctor told him that obesity led to his hospitalization for hypertension.

"I was on six very powerful meds to bring the blood pressure down. My doctor said I needed to get my weight down, and if I brought it down 30 or 40 lbs. it would be a little easier to control. And then he said something in passing that completely blew my mind - he said, 'If you got down to 230, you probably wouldn't need any of the meds.'"

So how did he do it?

To lose almost a pound a day by his March 5 birthday, the magician limited himself to 1,000 calories daily.

Now that he's at goal, Jillette has shifted into maintenance mode with Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Nutritarian diet. The plant-based plan eliminates processed grains, sugar, salt, and animal products.

"I eat unbelievable amounts of food but just very, very, very healthy food," emphasizes Penn.

Instead I would say very, very, very low calorie food. The elimination of processed grains and sugar are probably what got him into shape. Salt and "animal products" have been unfairly maligned in the government-funded scientific research for decades, with both being exonerated of their evilness in recent months. But, if it works for him...

So does he cheat or indulge once in awhile?

"I could probably have a steak or a doughnut every couple of weeks, but I just haven't felt like it," insists Jillette.

"When you're feeling as bad as I felt, and you go to feeling as good as I feel, the temptation to go back to doing what you were doing when you felt bad is not very great."

But jk thinks:

Glad he's doing well and could not be happier.

I confess to philosophical disappointment. His choice seems to contravene three episodes of the TV show referenced in the title. "Obesity" questions the obsession with chasing svelteness; "Fast Food" is not kind to a hyper-reduced calorie diet; "Organic Food" -- well it's just funny as hell.

I appreciate the difference of his being 300+ pounds (330! That's 23 and a half stone!) compared to the generally healthy competitors in the "Fat Guy Olympics" who carry an extra 10 or 15 lbs.

But Penn is a man of appetites to which I relate. I question the sustainability of this, but wish him the best.

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2015 9:56 AM

That's Affirming!

The great health care economist, Johnny Mercer, said "You got to ac-cent-tu-ate the positive!" But, I am not sure whether the board chair of Connect for Health Colorado (Colo-bama-care®) Sharon O'Hara got the message.

O'Hara expressed confidence in Robert Malone's ability to right the troubled exchange's finances -- if it's possible at all.

"If this is doable," O'Hara said, "he can make it happen."

When pressed on her qualifier by Republican state Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, the chairwoman admitted that she's not sure of the exchange's viability.

"I have my doubts on good days," O'Hara said. "Today is not one of my good days."


I feel better, you?

But dagny thinks:

I just want to know how much money she makes, not to mention the rest of her board, that could otherwise be spent on health care??

Posted by: dagny at April 9, 2015 3:17 PM

When You've Lost POLITICO...

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 2:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Shall I call thee "Diane?"

"Some people say" it is sexist to refer to the front running Democratic presidential candidate as "Hillary" despite this being her given and legal name. As I understand it, we are to call her "Mrs. Clinton" though I'm not sure how that is less "sexist." Shouldn't it be "Ms. Rodham?"

Perhaps the best thing is for her to campaign under a pen name? Much the way Joanne Rowling is world renowned as J.K. Rowling, the Democratic presidential aspirant formerly known as Hillary could instead seek to become: President H.D.R.Clinton. Certainly nothing sexist there.

"I'm Ready for H.D.R. Clinton!"

Snappy.



UPDATE (jk here, sorry to crash, but I needed a comment with an image):

Absolutely! You'd never refer to a male candidate by his first name! Oh, wait...

rand_shirts.jpg

2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Not fair. That male candidate has TWO first names!

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 1:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What am I saying? I mean, his first name IS a last name!!

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 2:18 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Someone should probably have a word with the sexists at readyforhillary.com. Maybe as penance they can go around scraping all the Hillary for President stickers off of cars.

Posted by: AndyN at April 9, 2015 7:48 PM

My Little Pony

Everything comes to ThreeSources in due time. I was not too surprised to see that we have, to date, passed over "My Little Pony:"

my_little_pony_search.gif

Yet, the time has come, thanks to Brandon Morse at The Federalist: "Marxism is Not Magic!" The Ponies find a society dedicated to egalitarianism and suspect that something is not quite right.

For instance, the first episode includes a song-and-dance number where the village sings about how great being the same is. During the song, the Pegasus "Rainbow Dash" flies in the air slightly above the others, and two other ponies guide her gently to the ground. This is very reminiscent of the story of Stalin showing a young leader how to keep his people under thumb by cutting taller stalks down to the same height as the others.

The baker laments her muffin's awful taste, but is glad that she's no better than every other pony.

Other examples include loudspeaker propaganda with messages like "you're no better than your friends" and "difference is frustration" blasting repeatedly throughout the village. People who deviate even slightly from imposed rules are thrown into jail for resocialization.


Fraternité, Egalité, Hé!

Hat-tip: Insty

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I think I saw a part of one of these episodes. "Wow" I thought, then went on with my business. Seems I should have paid closer attention. It was essentially the animated version of Rand's "Anthem."

And it reinforces the Robert Nozick Review Corner:

"She and her village live in a utopia, but it is her utopia."
Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 2:33 PM

April 8, 2015

Left vs. Left - Public Health Mandates and Naturalists

I may not agree with naturalist nut-job RFK Junior that childhood vaccinations constitute a "holocaust" in our country but I defend his right to opt-out of vaccinating his children if he should so choose. Meanwhile, California's legislature is considering SB 277 to eliminate exemptions from vaccination mandates.

If it would save over 100 people in a state of 38+ million people from infection by a largely treatable disease, wouldn't it be worth it to make individual choice illegal?


Change.org

The United States Postal Service is buying 180,000 new vehicles. Our government plans to spend $6 billion dollars on new trucks to deliver neighborhood mail, and they only make this big of a fleet purchase about every 25 years! In a moment when more and more companies and individuals are turning to sustainable energy, it is time our USPS does the same. President Obama recently announced the federal government will cut carbon emissions by 40% over the next 10 years. What better place to start than with the new fleet of postal vehicles?

Awesomest idea ever, huh? Sign here!

But johngalt thinks:

But but but - 'lectric cars have a bigger carbon footprint than internal combustion vehicles, unless they're charged by the wind or the sun or a nuke or hydro plant.

ThreeSources segue-machine to the rescue: Require that they only be recharged at abandoned VA Hospital solar farms.

Where do I sign for that?

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:55 PM

Socialized Medicine

I don't know if the Aurora, CO VA Hospital story has caught fire outside The Centennial State, but it has been a hot topic 'round here. It's been a real soap opera with one contractor walking away. The project is 50% done, years late, and expected to be at least 3x budget. Sen. Gardner & Rep Coffman are fighting the bonus paid to the brave government workers overseeing this fiasco.

Yet, it appears misfeasance in government provided healthcare may be more widespread.

Two years after being completed, $8-million-worth of solar panels at a Little Rock, Ark., Veterans Affairs hospital have never been turned on, and now the hospital is tearing down some of the panels.

A chunk of the roughly 7,000 inactive solar panels outside the Little Rock Veterans Affairs Hospital was recently dismantled to make way for a new parking garage, Little Rock news outlet KATV reports.


Turning them on is immaterial -- I am sure the graft was received. Ergo, it fulfills Prof. Glenn Reynolds's idea of a successful public project.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

A parking garage? Insult to injury. It is at least restricted to Leaves and Teslas, I hope.

Q: How do you know whether or not the new solar PV installation in your town has been turned on?

A: I'll get back to you when I can describe a tangible effect.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:47 PM
But jk thinks:

My first thought was "Oh, a parking garage -- at least something useful."

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 3:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Has Br'er jk noticed that his favorite solar farm, on the flight path of Erie Airport, has a spiffy new sculpture monument to celebrate its existence? I can't tell what it is yet but it looks like maybe it's shaped like a little house.

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

Yes, that is on the flight path to Starbucks®, so I know it intimately.

There is a small shed/trailer that has been there as long as I have been around. Someone has opened it up and filled the yard in front with what look like chainsaw sculptures from the highway.

Assuming we're discussing the same thing, that is associated with the solar farm only by unfortunate proximity. The sculpture farm looks to me like a budding private artistic endeavor. Classes the place up a bit.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 4:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm describing something that, if memory serves, is slightly eastward from the Edward Chainsawhands sculpture studio.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I just came from there...I'll pay better attention next time.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 5:39 PM

Burn the Heretic!

Penn Jillette, line one! Mickey Kaus dares apostasy! He and I differ substantively on immigration, but we're both good recyclers -- unafraid to waste water, energy, or time cleaning our trash. But in the California drought?

Here's another potential water-saving idea: A moratorium on mandatory recycling. I would guess at least 10% of my water use comes from washing/rinsing all the recyclables I am required to separate out from the regular trash. We single yuppies use a lot of plastic take-out containers. Rinsing them makes recycling them easier and, more important, avoids having the recycling bins become a magnet for rats. All that rinsing is a huge hassle. I assume it is normally worth it because it cuts down on land fill use and conserves raw materials like aluminum.

But are those worthy ends more important, right now, than saving us from running out of one of the necessities of life? Seems like a no-brainer: It's more important to save the water. We could start recycling again when it starts raining again.


Or never -- it's Bullshit!

Recycling Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHAHAHA! Good point, Mickey.

But dedicated do-gooders already rinse their recyclables with effluent from their no-flush toilet instead of with precious tap water. "Get with the program, slacker! Hey comrade, put this 'Mickey Kaus' guy on the list for a home visit by the Resource Abuse Team."

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 11:47 AM

Quote of the Day

[Ted] Nugent has been known to make a controversial comment or two during [NRA]conventions, which some corners of the media inevitably demand major Republican figures either endorse or renounce. I, for one, am always shocked that a guy like Nugent would make a comment that might bother some sensitive folks; he always seemed like such a quiet, taciturn, shy fellow.

cat_scratch_fever.jpg

-- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]


Back on Team Rand

I got on YouTube and watched the extended-director's cut of Sen. Rand Paul's announcement, complete with the invocation, warm-up speeches, and a charming introduction by his lovely wife.

I will listen to all the candidates, but I have to disappoint the fans of Gov. Walker and say that I was pulled back into Team Rand.

Seema Mehta at the LATimes highlights the challenges of his moderating pragmatism:

In the months-long unofficial part of his campaign, Paul has burnished his image as an unusual candidate for his party, visiting inner cities and college campuses and talking about issues such as reducing penalties for drug use as he courts the young and minority voters. But to succeed Paul will have to shore up his appeal among the Republican base of older white voters -- a dual need that carries the risk of forcing him into a more conventional posture.

Already his efforts have raised the question of whether he is canting his long-held views to feed his presidential ambition -- and whether that will attract more supporters or fewer.


This target demographic is pretty impressed. The rise of ISIS and general configuration in the Mideast had caused me to think that maybe Paul's time was not now. Yet, Rand invoked the spirit of Reagan's strength. This is normally what you call "pandering" to a GOP crowd, but I found it answered my concerns. Let's build an incredible arsenal of freedom, but let's not use it for nation-building: I'm in.

I'll be interested in how he handles Israel. I rolled my eyes at a few populist messages on balanced budget amendments, term limits, and foreign aid. But the lovely bride and I are in.

UPDATE: Roger Simon is interested

But johngalt thinks:

He is one of my top three - Walker, Paul and Cruz. (I probably need a Ringo to round out the group. At this point I could only name who that would NOT be.) I am glad that there are three serious candidates who all pass muster with me. I will wait to see how the primaries play out. The base is very important, which I think gives Cruz an advantage. His faith-on-his-sleeve approach doesn't bother me as much as it would have before the war on Christianity became mainstream. Still, there are FB friends who say, "Cruz? Just, no."

Instead, I say that about Jeb. And Carson, Huckabee, Perry, Christie, Graham, Trump, Pataki. Rubio could be my Ringo.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 11:41 AM
But jk thinks:

I suspect Sen. Rubio is a much better drummer (now that was just mean.)

I, too, an glad to have a field of interesting candidates. I'm even listening to Gov. Perry; Cruz can be my Ringo. I made a de riguer joke about his musical ability, but Mr. Starr is a pretty sharp cat with a good feel for issues of liberty.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Point of order: Does this make you a "Randian?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll wear it with pride.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2015 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Latest: Rand swaps places with Hillary - takes lead in Iowa and Colorado polling. But the witch, who shall be called "Mrs. Clinton" and not "Hillary" still leads in Virginia. Indicating a strong pro-big-government vote no doubt, in this tremendously affluent suburb of the District of Columbia.

I wonder if they're going to change the slogan to "I'm ready for Mrs. Clinton!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 11:42 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

a few populist messages on balanced budget amendments, term limits, and foreign aid

You missed one that fired up Paul M. at PowerLine:

any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed

Paul M went more than a bit over the top in his reaction, which earned him more opprobrium from his own peanut gallery, than they leveled at Sen. Paul, most of whom seemed to like Sen. Cruz best.

I just hope the 1st term senator from Kentucky has the wherewithal to inject some youthful energy and play to the strengths of new media. One step will be to continue to hone his rejoinders the inevitable storm of Gotcha questions, from the Manhattan Media dinosaurs that will be leveled at GOP candidates for the next 18 months.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 10, 2015 2:13 PM

April 7, 2015

Harvard Prof: My Former Student, President Obama, is "Misguided" on Climate Regulation

Mr. Tribe dismissed the criticism and said that his brief and comments reflect his views as a constitutional scholar, not as a paid advocate for the coal company. "I'm not for sale," he said. "I'll say what I believe."

Nevertheless, the highly respected left-leaning Harvard Law Professor Lawrence H. Tribe, has made himself a pariah. Or, looking at it from a different perspective, he's decided to stop being a rube.

"I feel very comfortable with my relationship with Peabody," he added. "Somebody wanted my help and it happened to coincide with what I believe."

But a number of legal scholars and current and former members of the Obama administration say that Mr. Tribe has eroded his credibility by using his platform as a scholar to promote a corporate agenda -- specifically, the mining and burning of coal.

So one must choose - he can be a scholar or he can defend commerce qua commerce - but not both.

Next week Mr. Tribe is to deliver oral arguments for Peabody in the first federal court case about Mr. Obama's climate change rules. Mr. Tribe argues in a brief for the case that in requiring states to cut carbon emissions, thus to change their energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the E.P.A. is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority under the Clean Air Act. At a House hearing last month, Mr. Tribe likened the climate change policies of Mr. Obama to "burning the Constitution."

Clearly this is stinging the Rube Movement, and more than just a little.

"Whether he intended it or not, Tribe has been weaponized by the Republican Party in an orchestrated takedown of the president's climate plan," said one former administration official.

Weaponized? If so, it is indisputably as a countermeasure to the president's climate plan for mass economic destruction.

It is widely expected that the fight over the E.P.A. regulations will eventually go before the Supreme Court. If it does, Mr. Tribe said that he expects he "may well" play a role in that case -- which would be argued before two other former students, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Elena Kagan.

Is it possible then that Tribe was retained by Peabody in a strategy to intimidate the high court in favor of "a corporate agenda -- specifically, the mining and burning of coal?" Sure, that's possible. And it's also possible that one branch of government strangling an entire economic sector against the will and without the complicity of other branches really is like "burning the Constitution."

UPDATE: Furthermore, strangling an entire economic sector, or a specific corporation, or even an individual, is the very thing that a "Republican form of government" guaranteed by the Constitution [Article IV, Section 4] was intended to prevent - by a single branch or even, indeed, by all three in concert! It was to be, a minimal state.

The minimal state treats us as inviolate individuals, who may not be used in certain ways by others as means or tools or instruments or resources; it treats us as persons having individual rights with the dignity this constitutes. Treating us with respect by respecting our rights, it allows us, individually or with whom we choose, to choose our life and to realize our ends and our conception of ourselves, insofar as we can, aided by the voluntary cooperation of other individuals possessing the same dignity. How dare any state or group of individuals do more. Or less.
But AndyN thinks:

I guess by the same logic (and I'm using that word charitably) every climate scientist who takes government money to continue pushing the AGW lie is eroding his credibility by promoting the agenda of his paymasters?

Posted by: AndyN at April 7, 2015 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I can be a pretty calm, equanimous guy. But the double standard AndyN points out drives me insane.

With all due respect, petroleum engineers and scientists would find good paying work irrespective of the effect CO2 has on climate. They'll eat.

Climate researchers likely have other options, but their funding is 100% predicated on climate concern. Should accurate risk assessment spread, these folks would all be crafting new grant applications to observe snails or leeches. Yet, a guy who works for Shell or once got a free AFP T-shirt is tainted.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't be silly Andy. Everyone knows that nobody "profits" by the spending of tax money by government. It is strictly for the "public good."

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:59 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I don't believe that everyone knows that, JG. I doubt that you could find a better real world example of a disused hole filled to the top with rubbish than most departments at a modern university. There must be at least a few people who believe there's profit to be made by burying bank notes in those holes.

Posted by: AndyN at April 8, 2015 8:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. But even though corrupt individuals do personally gain through the misapplication of government revenue, it is called power not profit. They don't seek personal gain so much as the ability to harm others - a power they wield with glee against anyone who they perceive as more powerful or successful than themselves. The term "profit" is dirty to them. They call their gains something else - "Social Justice."

So-called Social Justice is the wage of the bureaucrat. He spends it paying off debts in the ledger of his own self-esteem.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I should add that I did sense your complementary sarcasm, AndyN.

I also want to call attention to a timely example of a bureaucrat seeking personal gain through the harming of others - doing so through the tactic of "social justice" - for the advancement of her own dilapidated self-esteem. Her name is Starlight Glimmer, a.k.a. Ivy Starnes.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 2:46 PM

Dark History Recounted

Peter Berkowitz pens an explosive recapitulation of the Scooter Libby prosecution in todays WSJ.

I doubt a single ThreeSourcer does not believe that Libby was railroaded by our nations own Inspector Javert, Peter Fitzgerald. Much of the story is well known, but the new hook is Judith Miller's new memoir, in which she recounts Fitzgerald's manipulating her to coerce false testimony, and a pretty obvious example of exculpatory evidence he was bound legally and morally to share.

Yet Javert -- I mean Fitzgerald -- was sure he could crush Libby enough to compel (equally false?) witness against VP Cheney. Several lives were destroyed, but Berkowitz throws one more item -- the latency this induced into the successful "surge:"

It is painful to contemplate how many American and Iraqi lives might have been spared if Mr. Libby, the foremost champion inside the White House in 2003 of stabilizing Iraq through counterinsurgency, had not been sidelined and eventually forced to resign by Mr. Fitzgerald's overwrought investigation and prosecution.

Republicans have -- unsurprisingly -- turned on Amb./Sec./Gen. Colin Powell. On a Facebook forum I stated that I appreciated his service and honor, but that I did not understand his politics, Yadda-yadda. Another member reminded me that Powell knew the Libby charges were false and could have ended the contretemps with one true sentence. But that never happened.

I've also seen complaints that President Bush should have pardoned him on the way out the door, but chose his legacy over what was right. It is hard to argue with either of those.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AndyN thinks:

I'm not sure "turned on" is really accurate. Unless I'm mistaken, by Powell's own account he's voted for the Democratic candidate in a majority of the presidential elections in which he's voted. I think saying that Republicans have turned on him at least implies that he's a Republican who's gone astray. That doesn't seem to be the case.

Posted by: AndyN at April 7, 2015 10:45 PM

April 6, 2015

You Don't Hate Veterans, Do You?

Scientific American:

As part of President Obama's plans to combat climate change, the White House announced a program on Friday for the U.S. Department of Energy to train 75,000 people to work in the solar power industry by 2020, many of whom will be part of a military veterans jobs initiative called Solar Ready Vets.

The announcement comes as the solar industry in the U.S. booms, adding more than 30,000 people to its workforce between 2013 and 2014. Another 36,000 solar jobs are expected to be added this year. Solar power project prices are falling and investments are streaming toward solar as one of the most promising low-carbon electricity generating technologies used to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving up global temperatures.


I'm shopping for sweaters! This Global Warming thing is fixed -- thanks, President Obama!

Hat-tip: Insty, who calls it "Solyndra II."

But jk thinks:

The only good news about this is the unbearable lightness of its being. Last month, the US Economy added 136,000 lobs -- and that was panned as a possible precursor to recession. This is projected training of 75K over 60 months.

Oh sure, it will probably cost $7,000,000 per trainee, but what an incredible example of "small-ball" from a lame-duck president.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2015 4:32 PM

Eighty Minutes?

Shorter than a movie -- pop up some popcorn! You can watch it three times instead of a baseball game.

It is Tyler Cowen's "My conversation with Peter Thiel" and it is available as a podcast or YouTube. One is reminded of Wm. F. Buckley's "Firing Line" for the wide ranging yet elevated dialog.

A great and rare Facebook find is the extantcy of two or three other humans who see Elon Musk as a crony capitalist. Thiel is the real deal -- everything Musk's fanboys think Musk is.

Forty minutes interview, forty minutes Q & A (including a final question from his George Mason colleague Bryan Caplan). Good stuff if you can find the time.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Ban Fracking!

I don't often laugh at threats to a person's livelihood. But the industry of plastic recycling is built on a foundation of lies, and its load-bearing walls are various subsidies. If low oil-prices threaten this already tendentious enterprise, I'm sorry. You folks are just going to have to get real jobs.

BINBROOK, England--A former World War II bomber hangar houses a monument to the recent plunge in oil prices: hundreds of bags of shredded plastic.

The hangar is used by CK Group, a recycler of bottles, pipes and sundry bits of plastic. Plastic is often derived from oil, and there used to be money in recycled scrap. Not anymore. The fall in oil prices has dragged down the price of virgin plastic, erasing the recyclers' advantage.

"Many in the recycling industry are hanging by the skin of their teeth," says Chris Collier, CK's commercial director, walking among the bales of unsold shreds. "Everybody is desperately chasing for money to stay alive."


Dropping cable for streaming services has been a great excuse to watch all the Penn & Teller BS shows again. Recycling (Season 2, Episode 05) is one of my all time favorites. It is available on YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Recycling Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

Dear Recyclers: "We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt. "

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2015 11:10 AM
But johngalt thinks:

But... I thought recyclers did this out of the goodness of their hearts, to benefit Mother Earth? Why all this talk about money and profit? Or do they only care about Gaia when there is something in it for THEM? A tad "selfish" non?

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2015 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno. One of the more pernicious lies about the movement is that it makes all kind of economic sense. If people saw it as a sacrifice, that might help.

Oh no, who am I kidding? Almost nothing would help. It is gris-gris on a grand scale. (Has brother jg seen the P&T BS episode in question?)

Even when the questionable economics work out in the 3rd R's's favor [singular possessive of a plural numeral -- whatchya think?], I remain convinced no-one has counted the additional energy expended in cleaning and redundant transportation. I happen to be an avid recycler -- my recycled trash gets washed in hot water, so it doesn't stink in the big airplane hanger they stuff it in because it is totally useless.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2015 2:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think I have, but I've watched Transporter and John Carter more than once. Recycling is Bullshit is easily worth watching more than once.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2015 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"If I discovered all my efforts were meaningless in recycling, I would feel really betrayed by ... the community."

From the recycling mom in the conclusion to P&T's 'Recycling is BS.' How will moms and dads and others all across America feel when the find out the same thing about all the myths they've been fed in the promotion of man-caused climate change?

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2015 3:12 PM

Quote of the Day

Well, I am the last guy in this galaxy to follow nb's sagacious counsel and see Interstellar. Man, I loved it. I paused it to type this quote into my iPad, but I needn't have bothered -- a trip to IMDB shows this as the top quote. And now I see it made it into nb's review as well. Worth another visit all the same:

Cooper: We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.

Great film. There are some quibble-worthy elements, but I found it refreshing to be treated to a smart film that used beauty and score for impact.

Art Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 5, 2015

Review Corner

Wittgenstein, Elizabeth Taylor, Bertrand Russell, Thomas Merton, Yogi Berra, Allen Ginsburg, Harry Wolfson, Thoreau, Casey Stengel, The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Picasso, Moses, Einstein, Hugh Heffner, Socrates, Henry Ford, Lenny Bruce, Baba Ram Dass, Gandhi, Sir Edmund Hillary, Raymond Lubitz, Buddha, Frank Sinatra, Columbus, Freud, Norman Mailer, Ayn Rand, Baron Rothschild, Ted Williams, Thomas Edison, H. L. Mencken, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Ellison, Bobby Fischer, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, you, and your parents. Is there really one kind of life which is best for each of these people? Imagine all of them living in any utopia you've ever seen described in detail. Try to describe the society which would be best for all of these persons to live in.
Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia has been on my "I should read that " list for a long time. Jonah Goldberg references Nozick frequently. When it appeared on a friend's group reading list, I decided to dive in. I even got to quote him last week in my Hatfield & McCoy post.

The book proves, in three parts (Anarchy, State & Utopia), that a minimal state is ideal. There you go! Saved you 367 pages! The correct answer is: "A Minimal State."

The minimal state treats us as inviolate individuals, who may not be used in certain ways by others as means or tools or instruments or resources; it treats us as persons having individual rights with the dignity this constitutes. Treating us with respect by respecting our rights, it allows us, individually or with whom we choose, to choose our life and to realize our ends and our conception of ourselves, insofar as we can, aided by the voluntary cooperation of other individuals possessing the same dignity. How dare any state or group of individuals do more. Or less.

The book presents my beliefs methodically and rigorously. Part I takes down anarchy, less based on its being undesirable, more that a private "protective association" would likely become a de facto state.
I treat seriously the anarchist claim that in the course of maintaining its monopoly on the use of force and protecting everyone within a territory, the state must violate individuals' rights and hence is intrinsically immoral. Against this claim, I argue that a state would arise from anarchy (as represented by Locke's state of nature) even though no one intended this or tried to bring it about,

Reading Randy Barnett's superb Structure of Liberty [Review Corner], the hardest thing for me to accept was giving up expectation of my Bill-of-Rights rights over a wide area. Expecting due process, Fourth Amendment protections and jury trials in any US State is a powerful feature. Crossing the line from Walmart Protective territory to Targetland, do I give up more than everyday low prices?
It might be claimed that our assumption that procedural rights exist makes our argument too easy. Does a person who did violate another's rights himself have a right that this fact be determined by a fair and reliable procedure? It is true that an unreliable procedure will too often find an innocent person guilty. But does applying such an unreliable procedure to a guilty person violate any right of his?

The book seems too full for 367 pages. It is a violation of all that is righteous and true to cover it in Review Corner. The previous pull quote was the summary of a lengthy logical proof and comprehensive discussion of a topic of considerable depth.

Well, if a State is good, surely an all-powerful State is super-duper awesome: right? Actually, Part II shows why this is not the case. The non-minimal state exists, in a view I share with Nozick, to provide a patterned distribution of society's benefits.

As John Locke writes Two Treatises in response to Milner, Anarchy, State and Utopia is a book-length response to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice. I expect Rawls fans around here number about the same as those of the Oakland Raiders. Nozick contradicts Rawls forcefully -- but first he praises the work's seriousness and importance, attempts to eloquently state Rawls's key arguments, and then sends the reader to read Theory in its entirety (we'll think about it...)

Rawls correctly states that n persons working together will vastly out-produce the sum of each's singular production. We bristle at any contravention of property rights, but Rawls looks to spend this bounty to the advantage of the least advantaged. If that's the foundation of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's "but your factory used our roads" it is subtler and more truthful.

Nozick attacks instead the idea of patterned distribution. "To each according to his ____" is a pattern, whether it be need, height, intelligence, work effort, or whatever. Nozick dispute's the pattern is at all sustainable -- refuting Piketty more than Warren. Voluntary transfers will un-pattern the distribution over time.

Employers of factors of productions are not all dolts who don't know what they're doing, transferring holdings they value to others on an irrational and arbitrary basis. Indeed, Rawls' position on inequalities requires that separate contributions to joint products be isolable, to some extent at least. For Rawls goes out of his way to argue that inequalities are justified if they serve to raise the position of the worst-off group in the society, if without the inequalities the worst-off group would be even more worse off. These serviceable inequalities stem, at least in part, from the necessity to provide incentives to certain people to perform various activities or fill various roles that not everyone can do equally well.

Part III, where we started. Whose Utopia? How enforced? What rights to individuals to opt in or opt out?
We argued in Part I that the minimal state is morally legitimate; in Part II we argued that no more extensive state could be morally justified, that any more extensive state would (will) violate the rights of individuals. This morally favored state, the only morally legitimate state, the only morally tolerable one, we now see is the one that best realizes the utopian aspirations of untold dreamers and visionaries.
[...]
Believing with Tocqueville that it is only by being free that people will come to develop and exercise the virtues, capacities, responsibilities, and judgments appropriate to free men, that being free encourages such development, and that current people are not close to being so sunken in corruption as possibly to constitute an extreme exception to this, the voluntary framework is the appropriate one to settle upon.

As a serious work of philosophy (I have left out the elaborate proofs) this might be enjoyed by other ThreeSourcers more than me. I confess that I prefer Nozick's conclusions but find Randy Barnett's prose construction preferable to the quasi-mathematical language of philosophical proof.

Yet to read a work this serious that underscores my more intuitive belief in "minarchy" is interesting and valuable. Four-point-five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 5:21 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

The utopia Hugh Hefner created and described seems to me the one that appeals to the largest number of these individuals, but I digress.

Anywhere in his 367 pages did Nozick answer the question: "Whose Utopia?" The obvious answer is, the modern Utopians - we (and they) call them "Progressives." Their vision is universal, by definition, because whomever disagrees is a bigot, and there is no room in Utopia for bigots.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2015 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent review. The book sounds excellent as well!

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2015 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks. You would enjoy it.

Hef's Utopia would probably not wow Thomas Merton (I missed by not doing a Review Corner of "The Seven Storey Mountain" to link to). This starts a nice induction proof of the group P' including all the people on the list but Thomas Merton...

I dwelt least on Utopia because my projected readership is not composed of Utopians. I think his best defense is that the utopia is generally presented as a well patterned distribution of resources and that a patterned distribution is not stable. Another excerpt? Why the hell not?

It might appear obvious that if people feel inferior because they do poorly along some dimensions, then if these dimensions are downgraded in importance or if scores along them are equalized, people no longer will feel inferior. (" of course!") The very reason they have for feeling inferior is removed. But it may well be that other dimensions would replace the ones eliminated with the same effects (on different persons). If, after downgrading or equalizing one dimension, say wealth, the society comes generally to agree that some other dimension is most important, for example, aesthetic appreciativeness, aesthetic attractiveness, intelligence, athletic prowess, physical grace, degree of sympathy with other persons, quality of orgasm, then the phenomenon will repeat itself.8
Footnote 8: Compare L. P. Hartley's novel, Facial Justice; and Blum and Kalven, The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation, p. 74: "Every experience seems to confirm the dismal hypothesis that envy will find other, and possibly less attractive, places in which to take root." See also Helmut Schoeck, Envy, trans. M. Glenny and B. Ross (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1972).

Nozick, Robert (2013-11-12). Anarchy, State, and Utopia (p. 348). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2015 3:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Harrison Bergeron is on the line.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2015 1:45 PM

April 3, 2015

Charles C W Cooke's Dog, Oakley

You're welcome. [Review Corner]

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

Like Water for Chocolate

"Quick! Name your top five novels!" or "desert island books" always produces a list of books I read when I was young. Since I turned 30, there have been a few that touched me but the pantheon remains undisturbed from my 25h birthday.

If one were to crack it, it would probably be Laura Esquival's Like Water for Chocolate. It's a more contemporary (for 1989) look at the Latin-American Mystical Realism genre. I highly. highly recommend it. There was a decent movie, but the book is a masterpiece.

Our brave protagonista cannot marry the man she loves and lives a life of quiet heartbreak caring for her difficult mother. She is the finest cook in the village, but her emotions pour out and infuse all those who consume the food. Her love is married to her sister (puta!) and she makes the cake. Her tears mix with the batter, and all the wedding guests -- after a lovely day and a divine meal -- all become unbearably morose after eating the delicious cake.

Now that we have "cake police" and the newly deputized "nuptual pizza patrol" in our great nation, I have been thinking of Esquival's great work all week. Who wants to eat food that was coerced at gunpoint?

Gay Rights Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

Ahh, "art." ;) Just bustin' yer chops - I told dagny just yesterday that I aspire to be just half as good a writer as jk.

To clarify: You find a compelling interest in the CRA because food and accommodations are a necessity, whereas wedding cake and wedding photos are not, correct? And this interest applies to all persons, be they black, LBGT, Irish, etcetera, correct?

Because what the CRA has evolved to is objectionable not for the broad range of aggrieved classes it seeks to protect, but for its excessively broad definition of "accommodation." If not reversed, how long before modern-day Roscoe Filburns will be compelled to sell wheat to some aggrieved class member, despite having no intention to sell it to anybody?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2015 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words.

I'm very uncomfortable. I can take -- and have taken before -- the hard-line libertarian view that Woolworth's was a private business and should not be compelled to server anyone. Before you call the pizza police on me, I felt that without government enforcement of Jim Crow laws, things would have been okay.

But I cannot prove that. I read of my musical heroes' (some of whom have dark complexions) travelling across the South and being unable to find rooms or food. My (Filipino) in-laws were denied service in 1963 driving from Ohio to Colorado. They begged a restaurateur to allow them to heat a baby bottle.

How does one square a compelling interest for government to intervene and a desire for government to stay out? I suggest that intervention is defensible on rights grounds because the customer/traveler has a right to live and to work. Broad impediments to that right (It's singular -- property in one's own person) are a compelling interest for government to act.

I generally dislike rights arithmetic, but yes, the right to eat outweighs Woolworth's right to discriminate.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2015 7:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm less interested in reliving the past than improving the future. As for the past, you answered it yourself - Jim Crow LAWS. Written by government. Enforced by government. Yes, it was representative government and probably reflected the majority popular will, but that was then. Times and attitudes have experienced a sea-change, but government has not. It still enforces odious laws. They're odious to different folks today than then.

"Can't we all just get along?"

Can't the law just let us all try?

I think Sandra Day O'Connor was half right and half wrong when she wrote:

"We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."

Racial preferences, to the extent they may or may not have been warranted in the past, should certainly be temporary. But the time to end them is now, not in 2028.

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2015 8:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, but.

But it seems fair to ask how one's theory of rights operates under certain known circumstances. I'd ask a climatologist to plug in his computer model to past parameters to see how well it "predicts" known values. (He or She would probably ask me about the Koch brothers, but I'd still ask.)

If one is to make a fulsome defense of refusal to serve on the grounds of private property rights, it seems fair of an interlocutor to ask about the Woolworth's lunch counter.

By the way, here is the promised link to Jonah Goldberg's G-File. Highly recommended.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2015 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had to research the Woolworths lunch counter story, as I had only a vague recollection of the details. I wondered if the segregation was by law, or by policy, or both. I didn't find that specific answer but I did find evidence that the free market worked.

As media coverage of the demonstrations grew, more protests were being staged through the state of North Carolina, and other Southern cities. Sales at boycotted stores began to be affected by the protests, which led store owners to offer service to all customers in their establishments.

And they didn't even have to provoke a shooting or burn down a strip mall.

What am I missing?

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2015 10:31 AM
But Jk thinks:

Okay, how about Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States?

Negroes in particular have been the subject of discrimination in transient accommodations, having to travel great distances [p253] to secure the same; that often they have been unable to obtain accommodations, and have had to call upon friends to put them up overnight, S.Rep. No. 872, supra, at 14-22, and that these conditions had become so acute as to require the listing of available lodging for Negroes in a special guidebook which was itself “dramatic testimony to the difficulties” Negroes encounter in travel. Senate Commerce Committee Hearings, supra, at 692-694. These exclusionary practices were found to be nationwide, the Under Secretary of Commerce testifying that there is “no question that this discrimination in the North still exists to a large degree” and in the West and Midwest as well. Id. at 735, 744. This testimony indicated a qualitative, as well as quantitative, effect on interstate travel by Negroes. The former was the obvious impairment of the Negro traveler’s pleasure and convenience that resulted when he continually was uncertain of finding lodging. As for the latter, there was evidence that this uncertainty stemming from racial discrimination had the effect of discouraging travel on the part of a substantial portion of the Negro community.

(Hat tip Insty)

Posted by: Jk at April 5, 2015 3:48 PM

April 2, 2015

Iranity

From Tom Gross' fascinating ME blog, he cites statements from a variety of sources:

But first, to answer a question JK posed a while back, WTF is BHO thinking?
1. JK, you are laboring under the assumption BHO thinks in a way remotely similar to you and me.

Forget Churchill Obama isnt even measuring up to Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain dealt from a position of weakness, one that Hitler continually exploited in the negotiations.... In sharp contrast, Mr. Obama is acting out of personal aggrandizement. Mr. Obama is dealing from a position of strength that he refuses to use. Instead of using the sanctions to pursue his original promise that Iran would not get the bomb, Mr. Obama has moved the goal post. [nb - this is just human; and it's exacerbated by the next point] Mr. Obama is surrounded by sycophants, second-rate intellectuals, and a media that remains compliant and uncritical in the face of repeated foreign policy disasters.
NY Observer.

Note the last sentence (emphasis mine); not only is BHO's ego tied up with this, but so is a swarm of unelected hangers-on and the media types of whom Brian Williams is a sadly, very average example ... and don't even get me started on the HRC/Harry Reid mindset; I do therefore it must be good....

Now, more general observations:

If a deal on Irans nuclear programme is clinched, it will be hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough. It will be nothing of the kind. If the framework agreement is signed on the basis of current drafts it will a reckless recasting of the Middle East. The deal is flawed and naive.
The London Times (firewall applies)

Once upon a time, only the Chamberlain's of the world cared to spike the ball after completing a deal; in our 24/7 media world, far too many media-types (sorry, I need to hold the word reporters out for those who've proven to be a cut above the ordinary) think their prestige - and in some cases, their next book - is tied up with spiking it first.

And they are just the types that have projected the infallible image that the Lightweight-in-chief believes in himself, where in reality, he's a mediocre example of the faculty lounge gripes-a-lot type.

Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may probably will be the most catastrophic decision in human history
- Thomas Sowell.

Many died as a result of Chamberlain's weakness (who was physically quite ill, too); we can only hope and pray that Sowell's "probably" vision turns out to be wrong.

Hat Tip: PowerLine

But johngalt thinks:

In the last linked piece, Sowell goes on to suggest that Obama wants Iran to have the bomb:

In Obama's vision, as a citizen of the world, there may be no reason why Iran should not have nuclear weapons when other nations have them.

Politically, President Obama could not just come right out and say such a thing. But he can get the same end result by pretending to have ended the dangers by reaching an agreement with Iran.

But your opening question remains - why? Sowell again:

It is amazing - indeed, staggering - that so few Americans are talking about what it would mean for the world's biggest sponsor of international terrorism, Iran, to have nuclear bombs, and to be developing intercontinental missiles that can deliver them far beyond the Middle East.

Back during the years of the nuclear stand-off between the Soviet Union and the United States, contemplating what a nuclear war would be like was called "thinking the unthinkable." But surely the Nazi Holocaust during World War II should tell us that what is beyond the imagination of decent people is by no means impossible for people who, as Churchill warned of Hitler before the war, had "currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them."

That word - hatred - somehow led my thoughts to Frank Marshall Davis, an Obama mentor. Some of his writings are linked in his Wikipedia page footnotes. This one sets the tone: May 12, 1949: How Our Democracy Looks To Oppressed Peoples

Four years ago, we had the opportunity for world leadershipThis was near the end of World War II, a global conflict for freedom and liberation We shouted our antagonism toward the superior race theones of the Nazis.

But before the guns grew cold, we interpreted freedom, and liberation to be the exclusive possession of the imperialist governments of Europe. I have watched with growing shame for my America as our leaders nave used our golden riches to re-enslave the yellow and brown and black peoples of the world.

As the colonials see it, the Marshall plan is a device to maintain what they call "white imperialism " and no manner of slick phrases can convince them otherwise. They also see our congressional failure to pass the civil rights program as merely the domestic side of the same coin of the oppression of non-white peoples everywhere.

A particular kind of hatred - one rooted in not just race, but what they call "imperialism."

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Related: "Capitalism is an 'oppressive force' against blacks."

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And if the "established, entrenched, neo-mercantilist statism" that has come to dominate the world economy since WWII is what Davis meant by "imperialism" then he may well have a point. But blaming it on race is a fatal distraction.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Tinfoil hats all around! But need I be the first to mention Ms. Valerie Jarrett? The most powerful person not named Obama in the Executive Branch was born in Iran. This is an aluminum receptacle of worms which I'd like to keep sealed on both ends. But...

I'd love to be told I am a crazy conspiracy theorist. Go right ahead.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2015 1:54 PM

Life Imitates ThreeSources

Well, at least David Harsanyi. All hail as he decries pachydermal pusillanimity in the Indiana RFRA: Let's Face It, Republicans Are Cowards On Religious Liberty (But Voters Aren't)

Republicans have talent for courting just enough controversy to generate prodigious amounts of negative press but at the same time not doing enough to accomplish anything meaningful. And few things in this world rattle your run-of-the-mill Republican more than some ginned-up outrage over "discrimination" or "bigotry." The media's deliberate distortion of the intention, reach, and history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act--not to mention pressure from corporations like Apple and Walmart--was more than enough to do the trick.

What excuse does Mike Pence have for flubbing a simple question about discrimination on national television last Sunday? What's his excuse for pledging to "fix" a law that's already straightforward, innocuous, and ubiquitous? He's not alone, of course. When Arkansas legislators passed the same bill by a wide margin (what the media calls "controversial"), Gov. Asa Hutchinson threw it back to lawmakers and asked them to rework it to guarantee that the make-believe concerns of his MoveOn.org-mimicking son could be "fixed."


The Stupid Party -- can't be hip or principled.


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Does defending someone's right to be a bigot make you a bigot yourself? Some say yes, but they are wrong. The same way that defending Illinois Nazi's right to be racists does not make you a racist yourself.

"I don't agree with your principled objection to making a gay wedding cake but I'll defend (maybe not to the death but you get the picture) your right to refuse."

I also don't agree with your decision to abort your baby but I'll equally defend your liberty to make that choice.

So we can now plainly see that the "pro-choice" party is not really so much pro-choice as it is pro-abortion. And pro-Christian shaming.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 1:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg hits this out of the park in his G-File newsletter:

Megalothymia is a term coined by Francis Fukuyama. It's a common mistake to think Fukuyama simply took Plato's concept of "thumos" or "thymos" and put a "mega" in front of it because we all know from the Transformers and Toho Productions that "mega" makes everything more cool.

But that's not the case. Megalothymia is a neologism of megalomania (an obsession with power and the ability to dominate others) and thymos, which Plato defined as the part of the soul concerned with spiritedness, passion, and a desire for recognition and respect.

Fukuyama defined megalothymia as a compulsive need to feel superior to others.

And boy howdy, do we have a problem with megalothymia in America today. Everywhere you look there are moral bullies utterly uninterested in conversation, introspection, or persuasion who are instead hell-bent on grinding down people they don't like to make themselves feel good. If you took the megalothymia out of Twitter, millions of trolls would throw their smartphones into the ocean.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2015 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

BOOM!

You are right - that's awesome.

This "thymos" sounds a lot like "ego." If you know the difference please tell me, but both probably have a role to play in the narcissism for which the temporary White House resident is so renowned.

Megamegalothymia?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2015 7:02 PM

Quote of the Day

The bad news, for those of us on the suddenly victorious side of the gay marriage debate, is that too many people are acting like sore winners, not merely content with the revolutionary step of removing state discrimination against same-sex couples in the legal recognition of marriage, but seeking to use state power to punish anyone who refuses to lend their business services to wedding ceremonies they find objectionable. That's not persuasion, that's force, and force tends to be the anti-persuasion among those who are on the receiving end of it. -- Matt Welch Reason.com

April 1, 2015

Not everyone loves Schumpeter!

stossel150401.jpg

And get off my lawn!

But johngalt thinks:

And I still enjoy buggy rides, but I don't drive one to work.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 11:23 AM
But jk thinks:

And my old Kay-Pro can search the Internet! I just find a pay phone, insert a quarter, push the handset in my acoustic modem...

Posted by: jk at April 2, 2015 12:52 PM

Quote of the Day

They do not believe in "burying the lede:"

If the House panel investigating Benghazi really wants to get a look at Hillary Clinton's emails, perhaps it should subpoena the Chinese military. Beijing--which may have hacked the private server she used to send official email as Secretary of State--is likely to be more cooperative than are Mrs. Clinton and her stonewall specialists now reprising their roles from the 1990s. -- WSJ Ed Page

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 9:42 AM | What do you think? [0]

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